I like brown rice. When I am home, I eat it every other day or so. I grew up eating white rice; I didn’t even know brown rice existed. My relationship with brown rice started when my mother, z”l, of blessed memory, got sick. I was introduced to brown rice for health reasons, but it became part of my routine because I like the stuff. And it likes me, meaning it’s easy on my digestive system (I can’t say the same for homemade challah, one of my favorite foods, that stuffs me up).
So after being in Israel for almost a week, I still hadn’t eaten any brown rice. There are so many culinary delights to sample in Israel, that I wasn’t thinking much about the lack of brown rice. But it’s lunch time, we are in a little square in the old city section of Tsefat, and what do I see:
The Hebrew on the right is pretty much a translation of the English on the left. For example, there’s this long word there which says ‘sanvichim’ (I’m going to let someone who doesn’t know Hebrew guess what that means). Basically, the way to say “brown rice” is “rice full”. Because that’s really what brown rice is, full rice: they haven’t yet stripped it of its nutrients.
Not that I learned how to say brown rice in Hebrew while I was in Israel. The woman behind the counter spoke a heavily British-accented Hebrew, so I knew it would be more than OK to make our requests in English. Here’s the simple dish that my husband and I enjoyed:
Now, you might be thinking, wait, she’s got those three kids with her. Do you mean to tell me she convinced her three kids to eat that stuff?
And my kids enjoyed a familiar food they ate a lot in Israel: pizza. The variety of pizza they sampled on our journey was of varying quality, with this pizza being one of the better ones. The same stand also had fresh squeezed orange juice, and my son helped the young man with the long hair (long hair seems to be in vogue among twentyish young men in Israel; I wonder if it’s a reaction to the army) squeeze out some delicious juice with an old-fashioned juicer.
My next opportunity to enjoy brown rice in Israel came towards the end of our trip, when we visited Jerusalem. My children had the audacity to want to eat at a kosher Burger King, and I happily stumbled upon the Village Green when they were done with their burgers and fries. The Village Green had been recommended to me by a Highland Park friend who visits Israel often (more often than I do, anyway). When you’ve been eating out for close to two weeks, it is fun to be able to choose your food in this sort of display:
We ate at the Village Green twice because we liked it so much. My husband preferred this food to some of the saucier, fancier food we ate elsewhere. Here’s what I ate on my second visit:
Can you guess what kind of cookie is pictured in this photo? If you look carefully at the placemat, you’ll see the address of the restaurant: 33 Rechov Yaffo (Rechov means “street”).
Do you like brown rice? Or would you choose something different from one of these menus?