While I’ve had many amazing food experiences in New York, the absolute best meals were the one’s that could not be bought in a restaurant. These were the meals spent with the Sivan family. Delicious and steeped with culture, my first experiences with home-cooked Jewish and Israeli food was indeed grand.
The morning after a lovely wedding (the reason for my being in New York), the two sets of parents hosted a lovely brunch in the Upper Westside. Brunch was a celebration of succulent and wholesome foods.
Tomatoes, onions, and chive cream cheese was laid out to accompany a variety of bagels. Also present were lox and salted fish, four types of cheese, and a variety of nuts and seeds (including cashews, almonds, walnuts, and whole hazelnuts).
It felt like every kind of fruit was present, whether in dried form or fresh — dried dates, dried kiwi, fresh berries of all kinds, fresh melon, and fresh pomegranate just to name a few. There was also a mysteriously delicious fruit. What I thought was an inconspicuous date turned out to be green fleshed. A baby kiwi, perhaps, with skin so tender you could eat it whole. Turns out, it was a whole new fruit all together — a kiwi berry.
Ima Dahlia also baked up a storm making four types of pies (apple, plum, peach, and blueberry) and her famous honey nut bars which were truly delicious with coffee.
The company was a lovely gathering of new and old friends. The setting also couldn’t be more perfect — set high up in an 11th floor apartment overlooking Central Park and the city line.
We were also lucky enough to be extended an invitation to a family dinner in the Lower Eastside, which was happily and quickly accepted. Dinner was a veritable feast of traditional Israeli food, served family style.
The star course, made by Charlie, was a baked Chilean Sea Bass with tomatoes and onions that melted in your mouth. Not outshined, were the other amazing side dishes including a cucumber avocado and tomato salad, brown rice with brazil nuts and pomegranate, sautéed green beans with cashews, sweet potato puree, fried tilapia, and boureka — a delicious pie of spinach and cheese layered between phyllo dough. Ta’im!
Dinner was followed by games, an invitation to a second wedding celebration in Israel, and ended with the host family singing Shalom.
Stuffed and full of heartwarming feelings, we headed back to our apartment, packed our bags, and got on a plane headed for home. Our last meal in New York was indeed memorable and could not have been spent with more wonderful people.