The following post revolves around the last two visits I've made to Shipudey Zika (shipud = skewer), located on Jaffa's Yefet street. A small place with a welcoming staff and really great food.
The first one happened on my birthday, the second one was on a holiday, with all the streets overwhelmed with local and foreign tourists, mixed in with the occasional foodies and locals.
We were heading to some other place, but on the way we decided to change our route, Zoe said she was craving and all the everyone else were easily convinced.
|Guess which is lamb and which are beef|
On my birthday we arrived at 3am. There was only one last group of diners and they were just finishing up. Our order was taken quickly, and we were served just as fast, with the speed reserved for people closing up and dying to get home.
Nevertheless, the service was gracious, kind and very professional. At 3am that's quite an achievement.
|A great opener|
Zika offer great VFM (value for money) ratio. As soon as you sit down your table is loaded with freebies. Wonderful hummus, hand sliced fries, a variety of salads, fresh soft pitas, falafel and deep-fried cauliflower if it's in the season.
The deal goes like this: all of the above is free, as long as you order something from the meat menu. One-three people usually get one round for free. If you're four you'll get two plates of fries and two bowls of hummus, and so on and so forth. Refills are pretty cheap.If you're not planning to buy a main course - fear not, the prices are still pretty low. Wait, that's not all! The meat is not that expensive either! We usually go for beef, lamb and chicken skewers, but if you wanna go mad there are also internal organs: hearts, kidneys, tonsils and there's even udder.
|Hummus, pitas, salads, salsa, the good life|
Thinking of Zika makes me hungry, so does looking at all these pics.
And it's not like I haven't eaten in a while, there's a half eaten burrito near my laptop, I'm not gonna finish it anytime soon, I'm not really hungry, but thinking back of Zika makes me drool.
|The only thing better than great food is great food you don't have to pay for|
Anyhow, that visit after my birthday ended real quick. We ate fast and took two cabs home. I was drunk after heavily celebrating and for a moment I woke myself up snoring.
The food just drop-kicked me, well, the food and all the booze, I mixed all sorts of crazy; arak, Feigling (fig vodka), lots of hard cider, beers and a few glasses of Baileys.
That was sure a fun night out.
The other visit was something else altogether.
I wanted a Zilber roast beef sandwich so we were heading to the Jaffa Port market.
On the way we ran in to obstacles in the form of aforementioned tourists, slow-walking families, people taking bike rides on the sidewalk, all over the pavement and the boardwalk.
There was also an international photography festival going on, so lots of hipsters with pro \ vintage cams, fashionable folks, pseudo artists with modern haircuts and just your average curious crowds, sitting all over the place, making it impossible to get around.
|A taste of the good life|
We swiftly changed course, Shipudey Zika wasn't far away; we were sure that Zika Hamdan's place will have a table just for us. That wasn't the case, but we got a table after about four minutes, which was pretty good for such a packed day.The party started.
|Om nom nom|
The friends we came told us that it was quite a while since they last visited a place of this sort.
Perhaps it was the fact they aren't much fun and they treat food as something functional, just an action you do and then go on with your day. They said they rather save up or spend their money on trees instead of what they called "wasting".We on the other hand tried to explain how pampering yourself with new tastes improves your mood, how the way is just as important and filled with experiences as the eating, and that memories of fun times are surely more important than bong hits.
|Beef on the skewer and lamb on the plate|
At that point we got our food, so the conversation died and the eating began.
I recall mocking my friends in my thoughts while chewing, and later losing my train of thought when the grilled eggplant arrived to the table.
It was amazing, look at it, it's here, below. Served with tahini, soft chickpeas, paprika, olive oil and fresh parsley.
|Grilled eggplant, tahini, soft chickpeas, parsley, paprika and olive oil|
It was a good day in Jaffa. We passed by a church and the bells tolled, later we heard the muezzin singing form a nearby mosque and at some point we saw people dancing with torah books (it was the Simhat Torah holiday, when people take the holy scriptures out of the synagogues and walk around the building to celebrate the end of the torah and the beginning of reading it anew).
The wind was chilly even though it was still mid-summer, there were happy dogs, cute kids, horses, and people seemed happy.Too bad it was the last holiday for quite a long time.
|All things that are good|
Zika is a place you can always go back to. The food is great, great and affordable, the location is comfortable, there's parking and nearby bus stops, and it's a close walk from the port which is near the beach which is kinda near everything else. You don't even notice how you get back to Tel-Aviv by food.
People are nice there, in Jaffa in general and especially at Zika, going there you can easily start thinking of peace and coexistence, after all it's easier to like people when they make awesome food.