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30 January 2006

Flee for your lives, after a great dinner at a really cool new place


About six months ago, an Internet Relay Chat pal of mine, Lolllllllllllllllllllllla, returned to Israel, where she's a university student, after a visit to see her family back home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She typed something like this:

[Lollllllllllllllllllla] I was scared the whole time I was in BA. It's crazy there, crime, violence.
[Lollllllllllllllllllla] now I feel safe again. I'm so glad to be back in Israel.

Either I was on another planet, or somebody had put LSD in my hot chocolate, or somebody had put LSD in her hot chocolate, or something. She was not describing Planet Earth 2005 as I generally comprehended it, and I flatter myself that I generally comprehend it pretty thoroughly and clearly.

Well, I think I Do pay close attention to Earth (except The Black Hole of NL, whose lingo I still only dimly comprehend -- they could be having a big Cannibalism Fiesta three blocks away and I wouldn't know it).

But add to this the notion that Safety is an entirely subjective, individual perception -- Safe You Are If You Think You Are -- then indeed, for a uni-age woman in 2005, Haifa is a heck of a lot Safer than BA. Because she says that's how she feels, and she was authentically relieved to be back in one of Israel's largest cities.

Headlines filter to try to grab our attention (an unread story is a worthless story, the reporter shouldn't have bothered and wasted everybody's time) by their Coefficient of Horror k(H) . No matter how sophisticated and educated we are, Flying Severed Human Limbs always grabs us more forcefully than G8 Sub-Ministers planning an economic summit.

Until these rags are entirely produced automatically, dispensing with Human Beings entirely, depending instead exclusively on Software, Editors are going to put the Flying Severed Human Limbs on Page 1, and the summit goes low on Page 8.

When things run smoothly, they are Boring. When everything is exploding klabooey and sirens fill the air for blocks, women are wailing, and the governor declares a state of emergency and suspends all civil liberties, this is Not Boring. Not Boring is what sells the newspapers and television infonewsical programming and the occasional forays radio makes into disseminating the news, sports and weather. The selling of these things is what sets the rates the Advertising Department can charge for carrying your entity's Ad in the newspaper. The shareholders prosper. Explosions and machine-gunnings are better for prosperity than multinational agreements regarding cheese imports and exports.

But let's face it, when newspapers were erratic enough to employ me in the editor's slot, I just liked The Loud Stuff. I'm by nature a very Jaded sort of person. I don't like to get so Jaded that I have to meet a lot of Government Officials, but I like Jaded. And Depraved a little. Sordid is a flavor I'm very fond of. And these are the Spices and Seasonings with which Chef Bob would cook up the evening's edition of the newspaper. This is the way I preferred to Dress Earth each evening for a few hundred thousand readers. Others may have preferred something more elegant and tasteful, but I had a penchant for

Have you heard?
It's in the stars --
Next July we collide with Mars!

-- Cole Porter, "What a Swell Party"

and I just knew so many of the readers felt the way I did. I particularly liked arranging it all to suggest that Nothing Makes Any Sense Whatsover. I preferred to send a more Hopeless, Dire World out into the Honor Boxes, shake up the folks, get 'em thinkin.

In an old metal-font shop, the largest headline font possible -- maybe 96 point -- is called Second Coming type, reserved for Eisenhower climbing out of the grave and playing nine holes of golf, or First Contact.

Couple of weeks ago PatfromCH asked if the USA still has the DEFCON crisis-emergency-catastrophe-paranoia national military Cold War Worry Level.

No, since 1988, the Air Force is out of that business and has handed the responsibility of scaring the living shit out of everybody to media editors, particularly those who like Severed Limbs and understand their fundamental profit-oriented mission.

How much would you pay for a Boring Newspaper? And you would pay this much for a Boring Newspaper why, exactly?

So back here in NorthAm it can seem as if Israel and Palestine and the Middle East are violent, dangerous and scary regions.

But this is Reality Filtered Through The Brains of Newspaper and Televison Editors.

Here's what's REALLY happening in the Middle East. Right Now.

And it sounds DELICIOUS! And NOT BORING!

(Portuguese down there too.)

We start with Haaretz's links to other Things happening in the Middle East. (Like The Thing.) But apparently Israelis can get around to dealing with that after dinner at the new Sushi restaurant. I would so much hope that Lebanese can also attend to their Crises after a lovely and entertaining seafood dinner overlooking the Mediterranean. I hope Druse all over the region are Eating Really Well tonight, with Valet Parking.

Are we expected to Hate, Suffer, Fear, Torment and Kill Each Other, AND eat crappy food??? AND not have any Fun? Must the great chefs be exiled, and leave the region with crappy food? Who ordered that?

Everybody have fun tonight!
Everybody have fun tonight!
Everybody Wang Chung tonight!
Everybody Wang Chung tonight!

-- Wang Chung, "Everybody Have Fun Tonight"


Haaretz ("The Land")
big daily national newspaper, Israel
Tuesday 31 January 2006
Shvat 2, 5766 [Hebrew Lunar Calendar]
Israel Time: 03:09 (EST+7)

Today Online
What makes Islam so easy to hate?
Responses: 351
Spielberg: Jewish 'fundamentalists' are angry with me
Responses: 135
Netanyahu compares Hamas win to rise of Hitler
Responses: 222
We cannot wait another 25 years
Responses: 95

More Headlines
02:20 Settlers complete Hebron wholesale market eviction
02:39 Amona settlers vandalize military jeep, stone guard position
00:22 Hamas rejects Quartet's calls to disarm and recognize Israel
21:44 U.S. Evangelists to boost Israel support in wake of Hamas win
02:53 Abbas in Jordan in diplomatic bid following Hamas win
23:40 'Trojan Horse' developers may strike plea bargain with state
01:05 Holocaust center in honor of Wiesenthal to be built in Vienna
00:41 Petition bids to bar transferring funds from Kadima to Likud
23:24 MK Ben-Eliezer quits committee amid growing Labor campaign chaos

Sushi with Samantha
in Tel Aviv

by Michal Palti

Is Israel on the verge of becoming a culinary superpower? Or do Israelis perhaps follow trends and "check out a new restaurant" once a month or year? Judging by the restaurants scheduled to open in the coming year, mainly in the center of the country, but in outlying areas as well, both answers are affirmative. The owners of popular restaurants are trying to repeat their success, experienced chefs are looking for a new arena in which to exercise their talents and foreign chains want to invest in Israel, perhaps because the reputation of the awakening industry has reached culinary centers overseas.

In most cases, the average investment needed to open a new restaurant numbers in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is used to train cooks, buy kitchen equipment, plan interior design, supply the food, et al. While restaurant managers and chefs may refuse to reveal the exact sum, only in exceptional cases is the investment any higher.

According to the managers, the chefs and the owners, most of the restaurants will offer a full menu (appetizer, main course and dessert) at a price of NIS 150 per diner.

Most of the new restaurants will be situated in commercial centers, and will cater specifically to a crowd that eats lunch outside of the office: Most of the investors want "to play it safe," rather than invent any new arenas for culinary activity. Evening meals are almost always added value, according to the current investors' statement of intentions. The Herzliya Pituah area has never been more popular, but Ramat Hahayal is not doing badly, either.

The following restaurants will open in the coming year and are in various stages of preparation and renovation:

* Sushi Samba. At the end of March, the fifth branch of the Sushi Samba chain will open on Habarzel Street in Ramat Hahayal in Tel Aviv. Branches of this chain are located in New York (on Park Avenue and Seventh Avenue), Miami and Chicago. Nitzan Raz, the chain's chef, says that the branches specialize in a combination of Japanese dishes with Peruvian and Brazilian touches. The Israeli branch will attempt to disseminate some of the glitter of the Manhattan branches in Ramat Hahayal - Sushi Samba is known as the favorite restaurant of Samatha from "Sex and the City," although it should be noted that New Yorkers change their food trends even faster than frenetic Israelis.

The local branch will seat 140, and will include a dining area, cafe and bar-lounge. The design motifs will resemble those in the chain's American restaurants: a large, prominent space, full of colored squares. The designers are the architectural firm of Baranovitch Kronnenberg (who also designed Chimichanga and Zozobara). Steven Lovell, who is in charge of operations, says that at the entrance to the restaurant there will also be a large sake refrigerator, about four meters in size, "the likes of which has not yet been seen in Israel."

Raz adds that "the Japanese chef who works in the New York restaurants is coming to Israel to train workers. We think that there is a great awakening in Israel in the food industry, and consider opening in Israel a challenge." He says that a local group will invest in the Israeli restaurant, and the place has been undergoing renovations for about a year.

27 Habarzel Street, Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv

* Isadora. Chef Haim Cohen is the adviser, kitchen organizer and composer of the wine list at the Isadora restaurant, which will open in Rishon Letzion's new City Hall. The owners of the restaurant are the Gindi family, contractors who have planned many projects in the city, and who, according to Cohen, "decided that Rishon Letzion deserves an excellent restaurant, too." Architect Ilan Pivko plans orange chandeliers and a dominant black interior for the restaurant's interior.

"I'm putting together a menu that I like," says Cohen. "Mediterranean, with local ingredients. The food will be tasty and not overly decorative." Cohen is passing along the menu to chef Ram Antabi, who will be the acting kitchen manager, and says that he has brought a staff that worked with him at Keren to prepare the kitchen, put together the pastry menu and design the wine list.

Hacarmel Street corner Zadal, the new City Hall building, Rishon Letzion

* Pique. The Turkish chain is opening its first branch in Israel early in February, in the wake of the successful branches in Athens, Dubai and Moscow. The restaurant will offer Turkish food, which is based on cooking in a tabun and a coal grill, under the direction of the chain's chef, Orhan Tekin, who is training Turkish and local workers.

Ron Mechanik, the restaurant's manager, worked as a waiter and a cook at Roshfeld, and after the restaurant closed, he worked with him privately, until a group of investors led by Turkish-Israeli businessman Menashe Carmon asked him to manage the new place.

"The trend of Turkish cuisine is catching on now all over the world, like all ethnic cuisine," says Mechanik. "This is traditional Turkish cooking that has been adapted to a restaurant."

Pique will seat 450 and another 80 in the summer. The design of the restaurant "in a warm and dramatic atmosphere" is being planned by architect Nir Portal, who also designed the Aroma Cafe chain.

"The Turks have wanted to open a restaurant here for a long time," explains Mechanik. "They believe in the Israeli market and its openness to types of cooking and food, and Turkish cuisine is familiar to part of the population here, too."

11 Shenkar Street, Herzliya Pituah

* Meat and Wine. A chain of meat restaurants with branches in Australia, South Africa and Dubai is opening a restaurant in Israel in mid-March, and will at once be opening branches in Bahrain and in Beirut later in the year. The specialty of the chain is grilled steaks, and according to Lawrence Thorpe, who is responsible for operations, and who is now in Israel, "The branch in Herzliya will be a kosher one, although those who enter it won't feel any difference between this branch and any other meat restaurant."

The Israeli chef is Ilan Niv, who will adapt the menu to Israeli cuisine, including salads and appetizers. The owner of the Israeli branch is London businessman Carl Lindy, who will soon come to live in Raanana. The restaurant will have 200 seats and will be designed by architect Gadi Halperin.

16 Shenkar Street, Herzliya Pituah

* Ad HaEtzem. Another branch of the veteran Herzliya restaurant will be opening at the beginning of March in the Airport City compound near the Ben Gurion International Airport. According to owner Yoram Yerezin, "We are catering to the residents of Shoham, Modiin and Savion." He says the menu will be identical to that in the Herzliya Pituah branch. Brothers Ari and Yoram Yerezin are the owners, together with other partners, in the restaurants Ad HaEtzem, Zozobara and Chimichanga, as well as the Reviva and Celia Cafe.

Ari Yerezin also plans soon to open a high quality chef restaurant, in which he will be the chef. The restaurant will open in the Ramat Hasharon area, but its final location has yet to be determined.

Airport City compound, near Ben Gurion International Airport

* Chapra and Ornitos. Two different restaurants belonging to chef Avi Conforti. It is only typical that if Israeli chefs open another restaurant or branch, the active Conforti will open two. The chef responsible for the menu at Chimichanga, Moses and Zozobara will launch the Chapra restaurant between July and September as a sister restaurant to Zozobara - followed immediately by Ornitos.

The location of the restaurants has not yet been decided, and it will be somewhere between Kiryat Atidim and the area around Chimichanga - the area of the Cinerama and Yigal Allon Street. "Chapra will be the quieter sister of Zozobara," says Conforti. "It will be designed in black and white, will serve a healthy but stir-fried and Asian menu, and will seat about 100."

The Ornitos restaurant, on the other hand, will serve Spanish and Portuguese dishes cooked in stone and iron ovens. The menu will include main courses of meat cooked in a unique process, and according to Conforti, "it will be possible to eat dishes shared by the entire table, it will be social eating." The first courses in the restaurant will be Latin, Spanish and Chilean.

* Yonatan Roshfeld's restaurant. According to chef Roshfeld, he will open a new restaurant by the end of this year, but "it's still to early to give exact details." According to an advertisement in the magazine Al Hashulhan, and rumors in the restaurant business, the new restaurant will open in Beit Gibor in Tel Aviv, next to the Dan Panorama Hotel. The restaurant will have an area of 400 square meters, and there is still no opening date. Before it became the site of the future restaurant, the place was supposed to host the competition "A Chef is Born," a Channel 10 reality show. The program did not pan out, and the owners then contacted Roshfeld. The Roshfeld restaurant at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center (TAPAC) closed about two and a half years ago. It was funded by businessman Adam Schneeweiss, and since its closing Roshfeld has been his household chef as well.

b Spaghettim. The chain will open a new branch in the city of Aix en Provence on the French Riviera, and another three branches: on Hillel Street in Jerusalem (a branch that was closed and will reopen), on the promenade in Bat Yam and in Ramat Yishai in the north. The branch on the French Riviera will open this coming April, and according to Dror Nehushtan, one of the owners, it will cover an area of 220 square meters and will be adapted to the Riviera: "The raw materials will be local and will be integrated into the menu, which will absorb many outside influences."

b Tati. The cafe-bakery and bistro will open another branch whose location has not yet been decided, in Ramat Hen or in Kiryat Ono. Today there is a Cafe Tati on Derekh Hashalom in Givatyaim, beneath the Channel 10 building, and alongside it, there is a bread store and pastry shop of baker Noam Babila. According to the owners, Anat Zermati and Vanessa Rakin, they are interested in providing the residents of the cities adjacent to Tel Aviv with a top of the line cafe and bistro, so that "they won't have to confront the traffic jams and parking problems day and night, and will go out for entertainment near their place of residence." The new spot's menu will resemble that of the existing cafe-bistro.

b Kohinoor. A kosher Indian restaurant belonging to chef Rina Pushkarna, which will open in April in Herzliya Pituah in the area of the public auction house, near Pushkarna's Tandoori restaurant which operates there. According to Pushkarna, "there is a large clientele that wants to eat kosher Indian food. This restaurant will be my second restaurant to serve a menu for the kosher community, the first restaurant operates in Jerusalem in the lobby of the Grand Plaza Hotel, and is very well received." The restaurant in Herzliya Pituah will seat 200 and will be designed in a spirit similar to that of the Jerusalem restaurant. Pushkarna adds that soon she will begin proceedings to open a kosher Indian restaurant abroad.

b Aluma Bakfar. This coming April, a sister restaurant to Aluma in Kfar Tarshiha will open in Ramot Naftali, on the road to Maalot. According to chef Tal Ze'evi, Aluma Bakfar will open in a complex of five bed and breakfast rooms in a wooden structure imported from Canada, and in the center area there will be a boutique restaurant. The site overlooks the Hula Valley and the Hermon. The restaurant will be furnished with antique furniture imported from England by owners, Ilan and Alfa Peri. According to Zeevi, "The restaurant will be similar in spirit to the restaurant in Tarshiha. My background and that of the owner, Alfa, is classical French, and we are including elements of Galilee cuisine - special herbs and vegetables." The restaurant will seat 30, and will have a lounge bar and a large selection of mezes (appetizers).

© Copyright 2006 Haaretz. All rights reserved


Blogger Bob Merkin said...

yo patfromch

better late than never

as far as I can figure out, the USA still has the DEFCON system. But it seems to be a lingering artifact from the Cold War when our enemy was them Russian Kommies -- USA vs. CCCP, the Superpower Standoff of Mutually Assured Destruction.

DEFCON doesn't really address this new era of Hardware Store Wars, the USA vs. a bunch of guys who fly commercial passenger airliners both as weapons and their way of getting around -- Public Transportation System Enemies. The USA vs. Eight Men on the city Bus.

Here's what a non-government (a fan) site says:


DEFCON DEFense CONdition
In the event of a national emergency, a series of seven different alert Conditions (LERTCONs) can be called. The 7 LERTCONs are broken down into 5 Defense Conditions (DEFCONs) and 2 Emergency Conditions (EMERGCONs).

Defense readiness conditions (DEFCONs) describe progressive alert postures primarily for use between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders of unified commands. DEFCONs are graduated to match situations of varying military severity, and are numbered 5,4,3,2, and 1 as appropriate. DEFCONs are phased increases in combat readiness. In general terms, these are descriptions of DEFCONs:

DEFCON 1 Maximum force readiness.
DEFCON 2 Further Increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness
DEFCON 3 Increase in force readiness above normal readiness
DEFCON 4 Normal, increased intelligence and strengthened security measures
DEFCON 5 Normal peacetime readiness

EMERGCONs are national level reactions in response to ICBM (missiles in the air) attack. By definition, other forces go to DEFCON 1 during an EMERGCON.

DEFENSE EMERGENCY: Major attack upon U.S. forces overseas, or allied forces in any area, and is confirmed either by the commander of a unified or specified command or higher authority or an overt attack of any type is made upon the United States and is confirmed by the commander of a unified or specified command or higher authority.

AIR DEFENSE EMERGENCY: Air defense emergency is an emergency condition, declared by the Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command. It indicates that attack upon the continental United States, Canada, or US installations in Greenland by hostile aircraft or missiles is considered probable, is imminent, or is taking place.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US Strategic Air Command was placed on DEFCON 2 for the first time in history, while the rest of US military commands (with the exception of the US Air Forces in Europe) went on DEFCON 3. On 22 October 1962 SAC responded by establishing Defense Condition Three (DEFCON III), and ordered B-52s on airborne alert. Tension grew and the next day SAC declared DEFCON II, a heightened state of alert, ready to strike targets within the Soviet Union.

On 15 November 1965 the day Strategic Air Command (SAC) postured down to defense condition (DEFCON) III.

On 6 October 1973 Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a surprise attack on Israel. On 25 October U.S. forces went on Defense Condition (DEFCON) III alert status, as possible intervention by the Soviet Union was feared. On 26 October, CINCSAC and CINCONAD reverted to normal DEFCON status. On 31 October USEUCOM (less the Sixth Fleet) went off DEFCON III status. The Sixth Fleet resumed its normal DEFCON status on 17 November 1973.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Influence can be defined as the power exerted over the minds and behavior of others. A power that can affect, persuade and cause changes to someone or something. In order to influence people, you first need to discover what is already influencing them. What makes them tick? What do they care about? We need some leverage to work with when we’re trying to change how people think and behave.

Blogger Vleeptron Dude said...

Hi kiramatali shah and Salam if appropriate -- well, Salam is ALWAYS appropriate, so Salam to you --

Who are you where are you what are you, and why were you Googling for sushi in Tel Aviv?

This is the Original Old Vleeptron. I lost editing control of it for awhile and had to create a new Vleeptron blog, so please join us there at

and feel free to direct your thoughts to us there.

I'll check out your link. The only person I want to influence is my wife, and the only thing that ever works is trickery, lying and deceit. My parents spent a lot of money to send me to Drama School so I can lie without my nose growing longer.


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