When I traveled to Israel in July 2015 I fell even more in love with Tel Aviv. The beach, the boardwalk, the art scene, the music, the amazing vegetarian and vegan food and the city's dog-friendliness (there are pups everywhere!). On my trip last week I was only able to spend one day in Tel Aviv, but I was sure to make the most of it.
After 90 minutes on the highway, I arrived to Tel Aviv from Beer Sheva. My cousin was waiting for me and we were overjoyed to spend the day exploring together.
Notice my new sunglasses? I bought these at Top Ten, the Israeli version of Claire's. Major score.
Our first stop was brunch and my cousin knew exactly where she wanted to take me. We meandered through the tree-lined streets until we reached Bucke (pronounced boo-kay) on Echad Ha'am Street, parallel to Rothschild.
When I asked my cousin how to best describe this neighborhood, she replied, "We're in central Tel Aviv, a.k.a. hipster Mecca." She continued, "In this neighborhood everyone has on a chic outfit, they're carrying a laptop and of course, have their dog with them or tied to their chair."
It was a beautiful day and we were coveting a spot on the outdoor patio. It made me smile to see they put out water for dogs.
We were super lucky and two people had just gotten up from one of the high top tables. We snagged it and began perusing the menu.
First we decided to share a carafe of what they call "balagan ice tea." In Hebrew the word balagan means crazy or hectic. The translation on the English menu was "mess ice tea." Ha!
The tea had orange, lemon, green apple and fresh mint swimming in it.
As I looked over the food options, my cousin explained that the reason to eat at Bucke is their signature trays, which come with a little bit of everything. I trust her fully when it comes to food, so I said, "Pick your favorite tray and we'll share it."
A few minutes later the country tray landed in front of us and it was amazing! It was three rows of fresh, delicious goodies. In the back row: green salad, scrambled eggs and tahini. In the middle row: roasted vegetables, lentil spread and white beans. In the first row (in front of me): roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes, tuna and labneh cheese topped with tomatoes and pesto.
Our waitress brought over slices of bread, which we used to soak up all the sauces and spreads.
Every time I have a meal in Tel Aviv, I can't get over how fresh the food is. It made me never want to leave!
We worked our way around the tray for at least an hour before tapping out. When they cleared our plates, my cousin piped up, "You know, they make excellent chocolate chip cookies here." Who am I to turn my back on cookies?
We ordered two and I was excited to take my first bite.
When I went to break my cookie in half the chocolate chips in the center had that melty thing going on. You can see the joy on my face!
I could have sat on the patio at Bucke for another four hours. The vibe is so relaxed. They welcome dogs (I spotted at least six) and many people were typing away on their laptops. The food here is the freshest I had the entire trip.