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JAFFA — REDISCOVERED A walk along the seafront promenade from the Dan will bring you to Jaffa, an ancient harbor whose bobbing fishing boats, romantic labyrinthine stone alleys, nightlife, and colorful flea market has long attracted artists and musicians. It is a lovely area to stroll and explore. The rest of the world has finally caught up with the artists, and Jaffa is suddenly sprouting luxury hotels in reformulated spaces. Just opened in the last year are the Setai Tel Aviv in a former Ottoman prison; The Jaffa, designed by John Pawson; and the Drisco, which is actually a revival of an original hotel that had been closed since 1940. In recent years Jaffa has also seen a gastronomic renaissance, with celebrity chefs opening restaurants, bakeries, and innovative hybrids like Beit Kandinof, a combination contemporary arts center and restaurant/bar.

CASTEL WINERY & THE JUDEAN HILLS QUARTET We took a trip to the Judean Hills Quartet, a group of four wineries that have joined forces to establish the region as a serious center for winemaking. Wine has been made here since before Christ, and now these four — Domaine du Castel, Flam Winery, Sphera, and Tzora Vineyards — have become known for producing some of Israel’s finest wines. We visSabich Sandwich

ited the family-owned Castel winery, which was founded in the 1970s, and now produces around 100,000 bottles per year, most of which are exported. Perhaps the most famous winery in Israel, Domaine du Castel offers guided tasting tours, with cheeses homemade at a nearby kibbutz.  

LUNCH AT MAJDA IN EIN RAFA Ein Rafa is a village of about 1,200 people not far from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, and it is unusual in Israel for a co-existence project in which the local Arab schoolchildren share joint activities and games with nearby Jewish schoolchildren. The town is also famous for Majda, a renowned restaurant whose owners are the married couple Yaakov Barhum, a Muslim, and Michal Baranes, a Jew. We had a delicious lunch at Majda, which is famous for its one-of-a-kind fusion cuisine, colorful décor and rooftop views. The restaurant caught on after it was featured on the Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown television show. The menu features dishes such as shrimp falafel, but the star of the show was — again — the sabich, that heavenly Israeli eggplant sandwich. Majda’s version includes hardboiled eggs, tangy amba, Israeli salad, tahini, and parsley, all wrapped in pita bread. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

DINNER AT HASALON Back in Tel Aviv, our culinary troop got to try out dinner at HaSalon, the brainchild of Eyal Shani, one of Israel’s top chefs and the judge on Master Chef Israel. This place is highly unusual in that it is open only two nights a week, and the menu changes each time. There are two seatings on each of those two evenings, with the earlier one in a more traditional format, with dishes served as classical music plays in the background. For the second seating, the music is much louder, the menu service is more innovative — it has been described as performance art — and a DJ starts spinning. “The first seating is dinner, the second seating is a party,” the chef has said. HaSalon, which translates to “the living room” in English, has just opened a branch in NYC, at the Skyline Hotel in Midtown, serving three nights per week: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

DINNER AT MASHYA Mashya, located inside the Mendeli Street Hotel in Tel Aviv, showcases the talented young chef Yossi Shitrit, who melds Moroccan and Middle Eastern flavors for something unique. Shitrit is famous for his innovative use of spices — he serves a bread with a mix of 18 — and for bringing a lightness to classic dishes. Social Life

Profile for Social Life Magazine

Social Life - August 2019 - Sasha Pieterse  

Social Life Magazine is the premier luxury publication for the Hamptons, celebrating 16 years of print. This issue features Sasha Pieterse.

Social Life - August 2019 - Sasha Pieterse  

Social Life Magazine is the premier luxury publication for the Hamptons, celebrating 16 years of print. This issue features Sasha Pieterse.