It’s about the time of year when the editorial overlords of Page Six (in the New York Post) try to make everyone feel jealous by telling readers whose yacht Lindsay Lohan is collapsing on in St. Tropez, where Pink is partying in Ibiza and so on. The message is clear: no matter how much fun you may be having, rich people in France (or wherever) are having more than you.
Which is not much fun at all. However, I always think one of the upsides to living in an uncaring consumer-driven society is that fun can be had on the cheap, if you know where to look. In Tel Aviv, fun starts with watermelons, or rather, with what they do to them at the Loveat cafe chain: turn them into ice-blended watermelon slushies. These spell inexpensive and thoroughly delicious summer fun and best of all, there’s no added sugar, so the drinks quench your thirst in a big way.
If you want to give your watermelon beverage a little kick, check out what Chef Moshe Segev does with the fruit.
One of my favorite shops in Israel has no name but it’s easy to find because it’s right outside the entrance of Jerusalem’s central bus station. They’ve got crazy candy in there from all over the place, and it’s the place to stock up on zero-nutrition treats before boarding your sherut back to Tel Aviv or wherever. It’s here that I discovered the Smirk Bar. This amazing little chunk of junk is supervised by a rabbi in England, marketed in Brooklyn and made in Spain. It wants desperately to be a Snickers bar and fails deliciously. I want more.
It’s hard to talk about summer without talking about French fries. If one more person points me to the overrated French-ish fare at Brasserie, I will happily re-direct them to 12 Ibn Gabirol St. in Tel Aviv where the kitchen of a restaurant called Brothers in English turns out French fries so delicious it will save you that trip to Brussels you wanted to make to get some decent fries. Yotam and Asaf Doktor’s kitchen also makes their own iced tea and arak — just add Lindsay Lohan and you’ve got yourself a party, without the added expense of a yacht.
I once saw Bar Refaeli at Meir Adoni’s place Mizlala, on Nahalat Binyamin St. in Tel Aviv, and it wasn’t just a hallucination after downing one of their tangy Bermuda Rum Swizzles…
The halvah ice cream at Vaniglia is a winner, but some might say it’s insufficiently refreshing for a hot summer’s day. In that case, Vaniglia’s lime sorbet makes for a highly suitable alternative.
Good Mexican food is hard to find anywhere outside Mexico or Southern California but if you have a hankering for a quesadilla that can hold its own, go to Casita, right on the water in old Jaffa. Pair your ‘dilla with a crisp shot of arak — here, it comes with a mini-Popsicle dipped inside.
A great, light summer alternative to chocolate sauce over vanilla ice cream is silan date honey syrup – I’ve never found it abroad, but you can find it at almost every grocery store in Israel and it’s delicious.
In this hot weather T-shirts don’t stay fresh for very long. I found a shop in the almost-Jaffa depths of the Florentine neighborhood that sells designer 100-percent cotton T-shirts for as little as 10 shekels per shirt. At prices that low, I’m not even going to say exactly where it is. But if you read about it in Page Six…