Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook in Israel
Is this the year you take the trip of a lifetime? If you’ve got an extra $7,829 lying around and a hankering for hummus, then block off June 26- July 5 for what has to be an unforgettable trip to Israel with Zahav chef Michael Solomonov.
The trip is equal parts sightseeing and culinary tour, with visits to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea interspersed with excursions to try cheese aged in 2,000 year old Israeli caves and sardines fresh from the sea in Akko.
Airfare is included in the price, and the flights leave from and return to Philly. You can also book your own flights and just pay for the land portion of the trip if you’d rather, which will cost $6,054 per person.
Get a preview of the trip »
Executive chef of Zahav, Michael Solomonov
Zahav, Michael Solomonov’s flagship restaurant famous for its authentic Israeli cuisine, is becoming a “Lamb Shack” from February 6-28.
The lamb, which is “an entire bone-in Colorado shoulder braised with pomegranate juice and chickpeas into a melting mountain of meat like you’ve never experienced,” has become something of a cult favorite for Philly diners and critics, but has historically only been an option for parties of nine or more due to the several day preparation process it requires.
In response to the public demand for lamb, Solomonov has decided to offer only his famous pomegranate lamb for the month of February (and a vegetarian option for the less carnivorous.) The Lamb Shack menu is $36 per person, and includes hummus and tehina, house baked pita, salatim, and “whomping hunks” of pomegranate lamb.
Also, if getting to try some of the most sought after lamb in Philadelphia isn’t enough for you, Zahav is inviting guests to BYO for the entire month of February at no additional charge.
It seems like we’ve been writing about nothing but lunch for the past couple days (with Juniper Commons and V Street adding new midday services), but now there’s another entry into the lunch game–even if it’s only for a limited time.
Read more »
Michael Solomonov of Zahav, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, etc. appears on the above edition of Munchies where he explains how to make a Hanukkah slow roasted short rib while wearing his bathrobe.
Also of note, we have the menu for Zahav’s Very Jewish Christmas that is set for December 23rd. Tickets still remain.
A Very Jewish Chrismas menu »
Meatballs at Pizzeria Stella
Travel + Leisure Magazine recently named Pizzeria Stella’s Polpette dish and Zahav’s Bulgarian-style meatballs as two of their picks for Best Meatballs in America.
Pizzeria Stella’s meatballs are created from a mix of pork, veal and beef, ricotta, bread and fresh herbs. Roasted in Stella’s wood-fired oven, these little guys are then finished in a simple sauce of San Marzano tomatoes and olive oil.
Zahav’s meatballs are made with equal parts beef and lamb, then cooked over charcoal. But as T&L puts it, the touches that really make them pop is sugar for a hint of sweetness.
Well done, Philly.
Best Meatballs in America [Travel + Leisure]
Pizzeria Stella [Foobooz]
Lunch rush at Dizengoff | Photo by Michael Persico
You’ve got to understand something about Israeli cuisine right from the start: It’s not something that existed in the American consciousness a few years ago.
Really, it’s not something that exists there now. Not in most places. You’ll find a few spots in and around New York where Israeli dishes get to shine. And there have always been delis where you could get your brisket and your matzo ball soup, but that’s more about Jewish cuisine than it is Israeli. Like the thing about thumbs and fingers, all Israeli restaurants are Jewish but not all Jewish restaurants are Israeli.
Read more »
Today, OpenTable revealed its Top 100 restaurants “fit for foodies” in America. The list was determined by OpenTable’s analysis of more than five million reviews of more than 20,000 restaurants across the country. The list includes twelve restaurants from Philadelphia, the second most restaurants from one city, only Portland, Oregon had more.
The list includes a high concentration of restaurants from California, Oregon and Pennsylvania but not as many from traditional restaurant cities like Chicago (five restaurants), Los Angeles (five), New York (four) and San Francisco (one).
Read more »
Photograph by Michael Persico
Last July, Michael Solomonov sat down with Philly Mag’s John Marchese and revealed that he’d battled addiction problems:
[Solomonov] told a story of spiraling into alcohol and drug abuse and how people close to him pushed him into detox and rehab. He now has several years of recovery and sobriety behind him. Solomonov later agreed to talk publicly about his addiction, but only in general terms. “At some point in my life, I’ll be very upfront about it if I can find a way to make it helpful,” he told me. “Because of my responsibility to other people in recovery, I need to figure out how I’m going to be more specific and more detailed. But I’m not ready to do that right now.” In a world of graphic addiction memoirs written by teenagers, Solomonov’s reticence is refreshing.
Solomonov has obviously decided it’s now time to come clean about getting clean. In today’s New York Times, he tells columnist Frank Bruni that he was “living a double life” when he opened Zahav in May 2008: Read more »
Set an alarm, drop your calls, and mark your calendar because today at 1 p.m., tickets go on sale for the next Cage Match Dinner Battle at Alla Spina. And with only 26 spots open, attendees will be competing for spots as much as the chefs will be for the winning title.
The tasty matchup will happen Wednesday, July 16 between Michael Solomonov & Co. from Zahav and Marc Vetri & Co. from Vetri. Fun fact: Solomonov used to work under Vetri. Like every competition though, there can only be one winner. Will it be student or teacher? Insert dramatic sound effect here.
The ticket is $95 per person and a portion of the proceeds will go to Rooster Soup Company, a kickstarter put together by Federal Donuts and Broad Street Ministry.
To reserve your spot, call 215-600-0017.
Alla Spina [Foobooz]
Rooster Soup Company [Foobooz]
So the good folks over at Food Republic had an interesting idea: 5 editors, 5 world cuisines, 5 days, with each day’s focus being stories about (or inspired by) a single cuisine about which the editors wanted to learn more.
Yesterday, it was Japanese food. Today, it’s Israeli, with a bunch of stories all being done by Matt Rodbard. And one of those stories happens to be all (well, half) about Michael Solomonov, Zahav, and Solo’s two upcoming restaurants–which, of course, is why I noticed it in the first place.
Not just that Solomonov got a mention. It’s not like I’m stalking the guy or anything. But being a non-Philly writer writing about things Philadelphian, Rodbard got taken to task for a (slightly) clumsy line he included which some readers took as a slight against Philadelphia. It wasn’t, actually, but it did ruffle enough feathers that I–as the man who once went all kinds of apeshit over Matt Duckor characterizing Philadelphians as a bunch of jug-blowing knuckleheads and fatties who didn’t know enough to wear our good overalls out to a fancy dinner at the Olive Garden–was looped into the Twitter conversation.
Here’s what Rodbard actually said