A few days after meeting Jules, I met another lovely Israeli/British woman from Nigella.com; Francesca! And not only Francesca but her gorgeous family too.
One Saturday night they saved me from a night of way too many Russians that is legally allowed in an apartment. Francesca's family and I escaped to a posh fish and seafood restaurant in Hertziliyah Pituach, which is known for its trendy restaurant scene. It's also where Israel's hi-tech industry is. Those yuppies have to eat somewhere! :) There are a lot of non-Kosher places in Hertziliyah -- so much for being a good Jewish girl. Francesca and I devoured our prawns. I got mine in a coconut sauce and hers were spicy hot with tabasco.
We also got some appetizers. A lovely avocado salad with tortilla crisps on top and a calamari quesadilla.
Francesca's husband got a fish dish.. which looked to be on top a fig sauce. Mmmmm.
I stayed overnight at Francesca's place, and was greeted with the most amazing Israeli breakfast. I'm not sure about other countries, but Israeli breakfasts are infamous. Millions of cheeses, fresh vegetables, fresh bread, fresh pastries. Mama mia! Francesca's table had it all. I was spoiled.
Later, we went shopping around Kfar Saba, where Francesca lives. I bought a Typhoon wooden spoon I am extremely excited about, and raselhanout for a fraction of what it would have cost me had I gotten it at Kalustyan's in New York.
Francesca was an incredible hostess. She really made me feel so welcome. Her children are so sweet and adorable. Her husband a joy to be around. They are the essence of warm hospitality.
From the outside, Israel may seem like a cold place. People are not easy to get along with, everyone is always in a hurry and taking their time at the same instant, people yell at each other for no reason, drivers are insane. At least weekly here I enjoy a nice heated argument with yet another person who tried to cut me in line at the supermarket. But Israels are very much like the sabra plant, that has prickly thorns like a cactus on the outside, and yet has a sweetness on the inside. I am pleased and very lucky to have met both Jules and Francesca and also had a chance to get to know them within.