Let’s make this clear. Although I write a food blog I don’t always want to cook. In fact, if I wore an apron I would throw it away in protest. Enough already! That’s what happens after three weeks of elaborate Passover meals and feeding a gang of neighborhood kids whose mothers’ aren’t in a rush to call them home. The best solution for Passover burnout and matza fatigue is going out for some of the tastiest gluten in the country. Here is a list of my favorite places to find bourekas (burek), Turkish pide (meat pizza) and wonderfully fluffy couscous, my idea of leavened heaven.
It doesn’t look like much but the stand on the main road through Gedara sells some of the best bourekas in the country. The crisp outer layers encase a steaming interior of cheese, potato or spinach, always freshly baked throughout the day. The phyllo dough is still made by hand, using a recipe originating from Izmir, Turkey; The same one being used by the current Iraqi owner, Gilad who continues the tradition. Gilad cuts the bourekas using a mezzaluna and asks if you want to add schug (Yemenite hot sauce) or a hardboiled egg.
Location: 7 Herzl Street, Gedara. It is a bit north of the central bus station. You can’t miss it with its gigantic sign. Kosher.
The Original bourekas in Ramle:
I am regular customer at the Turkish bourekas stand in Ramle because it’s right in the middle of one of my favorite outdoor markets. Like all quality bourekas stands, sometimes I have to wait before a tray comes out of the oven even if there are a few left over from a previous batch; they won’t sell it to you if it’s cold. There are always several that are a bit burnt on the top, these I love the best for they crackle when bitten into. I buy a cup of cold lemonade and walk to the nearby park to eat it, leaving a trail of crumbs behind me.
Location: Jabotinsky 3, Ramle. Telephone: (08) 925-5911. Kosher
Pide in Yehud:
Lahmajoon, or meat pizza is often found in Arab bakeries around the country but Turkish pide, although similar, is harder to find. Nestled in the old commercial center of Yehud, a town with a large Turkish population, The Flavors of Turkey bakery provides the traditional delicacies that many have grown up with. The owners are both Turkish and so is the head baker, Mehmet Kazelrak who was born in Urfa in eastern Turkey and has been baking from the age eight. The pide is wonderful, with a thin crust holding just the right amount of savory ground meat. Read more about the bakery in Baroness Tapuzina’s post.
Location: 10 Zvi Yishai, Yehud. Telephone: 077-5466830 , Kosher
Couscous and more in Ashdod:
In the industrial zone in Ashdod, on the aptly named Worker’s Street is the family owned Mama Mafruma restaurant. It is a simple diner that serves up some terrific Tripolitan cooking, attracting families, couples and local workers alike. I ordered couscous with mafrum, a North African dish of potatoes stuffed with meat in a fragrant tomato sauce. The restaurant also serves slow cooked meat in cumin, fish patties, vegetable soup and a variety of salads, from spiced pumpkin to tangy pickles. The service is quick and the price is just right.
Location: 44 Ha’avoda St., Ashdod, 08-8567681, Ashdod
Couscous in Mitzpe Ramon
Hakatzeh Restaurant and Pub (On the Edge, referring to the crater right out of town) is a family owned Moroccan diner in the heart of the Negev. After a day of hiking there is nothing better than their steaming bowl of couscous with chicken and vegetable soup.
Location: 2 Har Ardon, Industrial center Mitzpe Ramon
Telephone: 050 7565063, 08 6595273
Next year perhaps I will adopt myself a Moroccan grandmother or head over to Liz’s for Mufleta.