|homemade tahini ice cream with halva, pistachios and date honey|
|Druze flatbread topped to order|
|chicken liver pate with Calvados, honey and spiced carrot jam|
|"Television fish" at Kalimera in Jaffa|
|Tel Aviv's Manta Ray|
|Carmey Avdat's owner/winemaker Eyal Izrael|
Desert farming: While there are lots of good wineries in the Golan Heights, Israel's Napa Valley, we visited a more unusual operation in the middle of the blazing Negev desert. Carme Avdat Farm includes a winery, orchard and cottages built in a valley along the 1500 year-old Spice Route. Desert dry farming results in deeply-flavored apricots, almonds that taste of sweet marzipan, and several red wines including a Merlot and a very solid Cabernet. The farm's rustic but modern cabins would make a terribly relaxing desert stopover, with their stone floors, shady terraces and individual dipping pools.
|Hadubim (The Bears) craft beer at Tel Aviv U. marketplace|
Craft beer and paletas: Like in most hot countries, beer in Israel is fairly week and bland. The craft beer movement is fairly small, but there's about 20 microbreweries trying to counter the prevailing Gold Star and Tuborg corporate brews. Dancing Camel is the biggest, and their La Champa amber ale made a nice change from the usual weak brew in kegs at the Tel Aviv University alumni gathering we attended. Also held at the university is a small and intriguing marketplace with everything from dim sum to handmade lychee paletas, Druze pita and fresh blackberries. Other Israeli microbreweries turn out smoked salmon and pomegranate date-flavored beers. Here's some more info on craft beer in Israel.