So, as I’ve started a trend of writing about the food at various places I’ve been to (like here, here, here, here, and here), I will make Israel no exception. First, I was told early on that shwarma and falafel, although oftentimes associated with Israeli cuisine, are not actually Israeli in origin. That did not stop me from trying some out, and boy did I have a lot of those! In 10 days, I probably had 4 or 5 falafel and shwarma for lunch, mainly because I was trying to diversify my lunches. If I hadn’t paid attention, I probably could have eaten those two for lunch each day I was there. Easily.

Anyway, the first day we stopped at a strip mall for lunch and I got my fist ever shwarma. In my excitement, I took an extremely blurry picture, as shown below:

Shwarma love in a strip mall between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

I’m not going to lie, blurry pictures of food may be the one theme of this post… It’s just so hard to take a picture of food you’re holding and in the process of consuming. And I say “in the process of consuming” because I’m not sure I took many pictures of food before I started eating. It just seemed wrong, plus everything smelled so good!  I have no regrets.

The next was a falafel, my first in Israel in over 10 years. And somehow I took the minute to take a picture before scarfing the whole thing down in minutes.

Falafel, Jerusalem Market hours before shabbat.

And here’s the guy who made it:

My hero.

He gave me the works, including hot peppers and eggplant. Those hot peppers were pretty hot, especially with the hot sauce he lathered on… I’m not going to lie, this was partially my fault, since I wanted to show off my Hebrew and the only thing I could think of was “kol,” which means “everything.” So “everything” is what I got.

My food journey would not be complete without a detour down memory lane, to the largest shwarma I have ever attempted to eat. I’ll preface this by saying I did not intend to get the largest possible sandwich ever, but we were at a mall (as you can see, this a trend) and the place was out of pita, which would have made for a reasonably sized meal. All the guys were getting baguettes filled with shwarma, but I wanted something wrapped around my slow-roasted meats. So, I see on the board something that started with an L (lafah?) and said that. All the guys were immediately jealous, then perplexed as to how I would eat such a large meal. See below:

Bigger than my face. I went dress shopping after this…

Thus started the lunch of the shwarma-that-was-bigger-than-my-face. I only ended up eating about a quarter to a third of it, and the guys helped me out on the rest. It was fantastic, and made for a great conversation piece. Best. Picture. Ever.  Followed only by this beauty.

Yep, biggest shwarma ever.

I was so full after this…  Anyway, the last picture is of something like a falafel except I’ve been told it’s actually of Israeli origin.  It’s called a “sabich” and from what I can remember has eggplant and hard boiled egg in addition to the delicious toppings I’ve come to love on a falafel or shwarma, like tomatoes and cucumber.  It may look untouched, but in reality I had already taken a fork to it.

Sabich from Ha-sabichia, Jerusalem. I forced myself to take this picture before consuming. Also, this was my second lunch that day…

According to the guy behind the counter, a sabich was actually a punchline in some Sex and the City thing, where they added a T before the CH…  Clever, huh?

This place was fantastic, but I couldn’t tell you the address even if I tried.  So, I’m posting a picture of the place in case anyone wants a go at trying to find it.  Although you’re going to need to read through at least a little Hebrew to find it, it is called “ha-sabichia” or “the sabich place.”  All I remember is that it is across the street from a McDonald’s in Jerusalem.  Good luck.

Ha-sabichia, Jerusalem. Our tour guide Zach is on the left.

Well, that’s it for the pita- and lafah-wrapped goodness from Israel.  In subsequent posts, I’ll be detailing some of the delicious fruit and baked goods I had in Israel.  Yum.  Til then…