July 1, 2013

Let’s Bring the Israeli Breakfast Here

Americans probably have a hard time understanding the need for a lavish breakfast, certainly when compared to the “on-the-run breakfasts” of perhaps a bagel or croissant with cream cheese and coffee. Recently the San Diego Jewish Journal ran a feature on the “Israeli breakfast” replete with some input and menu additions of award-winning kosher cooking author Gil Marks. If you’ve ever spent a morning in an Israeli hotel, you already know that the breakfast might just be the best meal of the day. So what was Gil’s contribution? 

A comment on the recent addition of shakshouka to the already robust menu of scrambled or hardboiled eggs, a variety of chopped vegetable salads, semolina porridge, cheeses, fresh breads, plain and flavored yogurts, fruit and granola, washed down with fresh juice, coffee or tea. He says that this signature dish is actually a latecomer to the already laden Israeli breakfast table. Marks (who breakfasts on goat-milk yogurt with honey and/or fresh fruit) includes a shakshouka recipe in his James Beard award-winning “Olive Trees and Honey,” as does London-based Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi in his vegetarian cookbook “Plenty.” But there are many different takes on this rustic, huevos rancheros-like dish.

Reading the San Diego Jewish Journal piece that included our good friend Marks triggered a longing in me for the Israeli breakfast. During one of my frequent visits to a gourmet kosher supermarket, I pretty much saw all the ingredients for what a Five Star Israeli hotel might serve for breakfast, which raised my next question. Why we can’t have some restaurants here that offer the buffet kosher breakfast, at least on Sundays. With a little bit of decorating, perhaps with some banners on scenes of Jerusalem, patrons could enjoy an Israeli treat that is far cheaper than a ticket on El Al and the rising costs of Israeli hotels. Nu, who’s biting?