Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nazareth, Holy Sites and Tasty Bites a Guest Post by Food Bridge

If you wonder why I share so many guest posts recently?! First, I was very excited to launch the tree nut free macaron series for people living with tree nut allergies. The second one in the series is both tree nut and peanut free mac. Stay tuned for more delicious mac features in the future. Second, I am now hard at work putting together a few of my original recipes and photographs for a couple of professional opportunities with deadlines nearing fast. Third, am happy to launch, what will hopefully be, another series of snippets of food and travel from Israel by me and others. Also roam around my site for Indian and Indian inspired recipes to round up what Food Wanderings essence and what my background are all about.

I am happy to present to you outdoors and nature enthusiast Sarah who you can find at her site Food Bridge. Sarah is not only a very talented food blogger and photographer, but also one of the faces that is weaving the fabric of Israeli society. I can imagine her in Teva sandals (Teva טבע means nature in Hebrew), hiking in the Judean mountains, watching sea turtles in hatching season and walking through the Druze village shuks (outdoor markets) in the Carmel mountains near Haifa. Throughout, enjoying the food at every crevice and alley she finds herself wandering into. Sarah and her site encapsulate the best that Israel has to offer. A bridge of food, culture and history. Sarah, a mom of three, an American living in Israel, was raised by an American father and an Israeli mother of Kurdish descent, mostly in New York State. Now married to an Israeli guy of Polish and Egyptian descent. Israel, a melting pot of cultures and foods.

Go show Sarah some love and follow her on @FoodBridge visit Food Bridge site and submit your Farmers Markets photos at her newly launched Exotic Markets. Here is Sarah:

Nazareth, Holy Sites and Tasty Bites by Sarah/Food Bridge:
If man could choose to be any Greek god I think Dionysus would top the list. Better known as Bacchus to the Romans, he was the deity of winemaking and ritual madness, a freshman party boy of mythological proportions. These were my thoughts as I gazed at the mosaics of Tzipori National Park in Israel, where his likeness decorated an entire floor.  Tired and hungry from a day of exploration, his lifestyle of hedonism seemed rather appealing. The closest option for us was Nazareth, a ten minute drive away to find something to eat.
From above, the streets of Nazareth are a chaotic tangle. On the ground it is more confusing, with one ways, dead ends and roads so steep and narrow they look more like foot paths. Built on a hill in the Galilee, the city has conformed to the terrain and has been molded by history. A closer look reveals the stone corridors of the ancient town where the mosques and churches keep their respectful distance. Hebrew, Arabic and a slew of foreign languages dissolve in the hub of congestion and car horns. A utopia of multiculturalism would be too idealistic but in their own way Jews, Muslims and Christians interact in business and daily life.
We had visited the city before to see the holy sites, the bazaar and the folklore museum, this time we came for the food.  But where was it? With roads going in circles and spiraling off into random alleyways, reaching Diana Restaurant took longer than expected (yes, we asked at least six people; each one pointed us in a different direction). Even our friends who followed our tortuous route (and probably cursed us for it), had to agree that is well worth the detour.
Diana is popular with locals and tourist alike, serving the very best of traditional Arab food. Although it is considered a grill restaurant, vegetarians have plenty of options. The salads are simple but presented together in a magnificent display of freshness and color; coriander, arugula, tomatoes, avocado, cauliflower, labneh… dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil or tehina. The kebabs are made to order, the meat is chopped together with parsley and onions, with a generous handful of pine nuts folded into it. On the grill, the fat melts, basting the kebab and keeping them succulent. We finished it off with warm pita and bulgur mujaddara (made with lentils and onions) and enjoyed the late afternoon sun.
The waiter mentioned that the mayor of Nazareth had eaten there a few days before with important guests from Jerusalem. I asked if they prepared anything special for the occasion but he shrugged and said "No, everything here is special" and I have to agree.
Diana Restaurant and other food sites worth visiting in Nazareth:

Sadaqas Sweets, Baklava Arabian Delights

For Spices:
El Babour Galilee Mill, Spice up your Life in Nazareth

Diana Restaurant
51 Paulos the Sixth St., Nazareth
Grand New Hotel, 5050 Street, Almotran, Nazareth
Tel: 04-6572919 from US 011-4-6572919

22 comments :

  1. What a fabulous guest post! Foods from this part of the world make me drool.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Love this foodie travel post. The sinful Baklava and heady aromatic spices is what is calling me to this part of the world :) Wonderful effort, Shulie, keep it up.

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  3. Beautiful pictures and delicious looking food. I so appreciate that most "meat" restaurants in Israel have plenty of vegetarian options because vegetables are such an integral part of Arab and Middle Eastern cuisine. A trip to Nazareth is definitely in order.

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  4. BTW, we ordered tabouleh salad too but I never did photograph it, I finished it before I remembered. The chef told me he makes it only with parsley, green onions, mint (nana), fine bulgur and lots of lemon juice and olive oil.

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  5. I'm salivating. When we lived in far north New Zealand there was a wonderful Jewish restaurant that was our favorite. The food was delicious. I miss it.

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  6. Holy Yarmulke! Shulie, you are right when you say I'll be interested in this post. Indeed this makes me want to travel w you one day. Take me with you ... please

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  7. Love this guest post! Wish I could be there now!

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  8. When I read through, I recognized the word Kurdish descendant. As a kid, I read some Islamic stories. I couldn't recall what the story was :)

    The last pic is the one that makes me drooling now :D

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  9. Wow, this is an amazing guest post. I love the picture of all the small dishes, that's the way I LOVE to eat! Hope you meet all your deadlines Shulie! If you need any taste testers... ;)

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  10. Thank you everyone, your comments on Middle eastern foods, baklava and Taboulleh (Sarah:) make me drool even further not to mention I can imagine the snesation of walking through the alleys and sitting down at a table at Diana's. Loved that Sarah could share a snippet of Israel with you all!! :)

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  11. Lovely post and great food, got to go back and eat there soon :)

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  12. The vagabond in me is itching to travel again! Thank you for sharing this lovely post. Someday soon I shall visit Israel!

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  13. Lovely post and I love how sarah described all the little alley ways. She just took me on a vacation. The food is undeniably delicious.

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  14. wow most of these foods are new to me except for the fattoush salad. hopefully ill get to travel there one day too :) thanks so much for this post!

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  15. gorgeous photos and gorgeous food - most of which i've not even heard of, let alone have the pleasure of eating - loved every word!

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  16. This is a seriously wonderful post! I would love to go to Israel someday..thanks to Sarah for sharing Nazareth and the Diana restaurant :)

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  17. Oh how lovely! So interesting and I would like to try everything above. Wow.

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  18. I always love reading Sarah's posts (though I am biased as we have eaten our way through several European cities together). And this was a great way to introduce me to your blog.

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  19. I just tried to crawl through my screen! The photos are magnificent!

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  20. love love this post! So delightful!

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  21. gosh - that just looks so amazing!! I could use a plate or 5 of that!!

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  22. nice blog. it provides good information

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