In the beginning…
While at the height of me acting perfect, according to the rules of my Keto diet, I, being the dedicated dieter that I was, found myself watching a video of THIS GUY, the Rock having a “cheat day” to the diet he was on. I thought this guy was psycho for eating 100 pancakes dripping with syrup while also being on a diet, then I thought, “well.. he’s THE ROCK, he doesn’t need a diet that be less FAT!” Lol So, I looked into what these cheat days were and I was FLOORED by what these people were calling their cheat days. It was as if they were trying to force their bodies to have heart attacks and diabetes in less than a 24-hour time period. I couldn’t believe how much sugar and/or carbs was in all of that stuff, look at what The Rock did there? That is absolutely NUTS! I’m sitting here crying about having 1 stevia packet of sugar added to my coffee, while the Rock, and many others, were having crazy cheat days. Well, I thought like that because I normally don’t see sweets and think that I need to have them, and if I do have them, they’re in small quantities. This is what made it very easy for me to roll into the Keto Diet, in the first place, it was easy to limit carbs/sugar … well that was until I stumbled on the nectar of the Gods ( Knafeh ), one day while in Israel.
Warming to the idea…
I was in Yaffa-Tel Aviv, Israel (bka YAFFA) trying to check out the Arab life and how the Arab folks in Tel Aviv cooked their excellent food, to see the clock tower, and also to walk the stairs by the port at the Mediterranean Sea, for a quiet sunset to take photos of. Walking south, I smelled some amazingly sweet smell that overwhelmed my nose and body, it smelled like the juiciest pancakes ever… and I flashed to that picture of the Rock with those damn pancakes! I was really hungry immediately. Someone clearly was making pancakes, to my senses, but -whew – it was an amazing pancake if anything. I walked to an area that the smell was coming from and started to close the distance on it. Upon getting 30 meters from this store, I suddenly realized that the store had a line that went down and wrapped around the block! It was clear that the excellent smell came out there, so, I check for the place, on Google, and see that it has a near perfect rating, but had no idea what in the world they were selling there. Given the size of the line coming out of this store and judging by the kind of “security” or “chefs” posted at the door (I really couldn’t tell if the workers at the doors were bouncers or chefs), this had to be something that I had to experience!
Every step closer to the store that I got, I swear, a new person jumped on the line. I saw people hopping out of cars and seamlessly jumping into the line. Then I noticed people with pro-cameras filming and taking pictures of the size of the line, then I looked at that line and wanted no part of that! I had a huge debate of how much I wanted to find out what this whole thing was about, but that picture of the ROCK came up again. Uhhh and it smelled like 1000 pancakes this time… but I still couldn’t make out what that thing that they were selling was, judging by what Google was telling me. I caved in, got on the line and chilled for a moment, made a call back home… 45 minutes later, I realized that it was no longer daytime anymore, it was night time (WTF). I finally was within 5 meters of the body guards of the store. What an accomplishment for someone who didn’t know what the hell he was going to get, but got on the line anyway- FOMO LOL. Finally I was able to enter and see what these guys were making, which I still couldn’t figure out from what I saw online, but looked like some orange cake with ice cream on top and some green stuff spread about. I spent damn near 1 hour on a line after I followed a delicious smell to its origin, for something that didn’t look all that damn appealing, initially.
I get in the store, I ask the for what the best experience would be, and they told me to get what they referred to as a Knafeh (or Kunafe or Kunafa depending on the Middle Eastern country you’re in) plus some ice-cream on top, and a Turkish tea (which looked at tasted like coffee for sure). Hey, when in Rome, you do as Israelis/Palestinians. As they were preparing my treat, it became clear that this wasn’t a damn cake at all, it was some wildness I couldn’t describe and had to go look up. When I did look it up, I realized that I had seen this thing before, at multiple Arab markets, but never thought to try it- especially since I couldn’t real Hebrew or Arabic.
A Knafeh is a magical treat, made from cheese that covered in thing angel-haired noodles (sometimes replace with a thin layer of dough), pistachios and sugar-water syrup (what I was smelling), primarily, which varies from country to country, but can be topped with another cheese or ice-cream topping- delivered from God himself. You’d never think that these things could ever go together, I swear to you, this slice of heaven is the perfect treat that only true masters can reproduce over and over again successfully. I sat down, ate this crazy piece of Knafeh dessert and was mesmerized immediately. Never will you experience such madness in your mouth, my brain couldn’t compute the ingredients. The way the cheese was melted down and bronzed, the way they topped the knafeh off not with regular ice cream but ice cream made of GOAT MILK! uhhh PERFECT!!! The next day, I told everyone I knew about this thing and they warned me that it’s highly addictive and to not have it frequently. I had to bar myself from going back to Jaffa because nobody else in the whole of Tel Aviv made anything that tasted as great as this place, but it was like half an hour away from where I stayed, and I didn’t want to break the diet more times that I did. When I returned to the USA and tried feverishly to find its replacement, I could not. I tried many different Middle Eastern stores, but NONE came even remotely close to what I had in Jaffa. It was not possible, and believe me, I tried over two dozen different places when I got back. I’m pissed now though. I only had it right before we went into Quarantine of 2020, and am kicking myself for not having it in any of the MANY other Arab markets that I saw it in, but slept on because I didn’t know what it was and nobody let me know about this secret of the Arab world! I was in many markets, taking pictures of it because it was so orange, so CLOSE to it and never even had an idea to even try the damn thing. EPIC FAIL! Now it’s Quarantine and I can’t have any damn real Knafeh! Everyone I’ve told about this thing has gone MAD over it, but you must have it from people who REALLY know what they’re doing, or you might ruin the experience for yourself. Otherwise, if you’re in Israel, stop by Jaffa and get you some diet-ruining, cultural deliciousness.
As always, the finished products can be found on the main site of www.drunkphotography.com.