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Shabbat Shalom

While most of Europe is freezing in these horrible winter temperatures, we had a day of Spring today. Today is Saturday and Saturday is Shabbat; the 7th day of the Jewish week and the Jewish day of rest. On Shabbat, Jews recall the Biblical Creation account in Genesis in which God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and rests on the seventh. That’s why weekends here in Israel are Fridays and Saturdays. So today, everybody just went out. Walking around the streets of Tel Aviv, there’s always so much to discover and to photograph. In days when blogs attract attention mostly by photos and less by words, I’ll just post this picture of Rothschild Boulevard hoping you’ll understand the sunny day and happy vibe in town.

Saturday also means free time for creations to me. Before reaching the textile and the yarn, I decided to make some Lokshenkügel. Say what? Kugel is a yiddish word and its definition is: “an Ashkenazi Jewish pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from egg noodles or potatoes, though at times made of zucchini, apples, spinach, broccoli, cranberry, or sweet potato. It is usually served as a side dish on Shabbat and”. Didn’t know that but hey, fits my shabbes. It’s not a very common dish and not for everyday but once in a while you can really crave for it. I like the pasta tasting sweet. My recipe is a combination of others: first of all, cook about half a kilo of pasta, not necessarily egg noodles, but small ones. In a bowl, mix 4 eggs, +- 250 grams of sour cream (some people add cottage and/or cream cheese too), 1 cup of sugar (I combine brown and white), 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Once the pastas are cooked (max. 5 minutes) and drained, add them to the bowl and stir. Meanwhile prepare the topping, and here’s when you can use your fantasy: I used Kellogg’s Special K, oatmeal, walnuts, some melted butter and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Then just put it in the oven for maximum an hour, on 180°C. Let it cool for 10 minutes when done and mmmmmm…

And now to the crafty part, I’ve just finished this beautiful worsted cotton raspberry scarf for a friend and I’m about to start a new one on demand – the color is called graphite. So maybe I should go do my sewing class homework? Not now. I’ll quickly finish this little pouch for someone first. And why do I always see something to clean, something to rearrange, something to do? Will I ever be able to relax in my own house on Shabbat?

Antwerp · Lifestyle · Shopping

The Story of Pola & Charles

It reads like a fairytale. Pola, a loving grandmother who lived in Antwerp, met Charles, who moved to New York after World War II. They fell madly in love with each other, and Pola followed her heart all the way to the Big Apple. Now, almost 20 years later, their granddaughter (and pride) Laurence Lapa runs a multibrand boutique, named after her two biggest inspirations in life.

Almost 1 year ago Laurence opened the Pola&Charles-store in the Nationalestraat in Antwerp. The interior is based on the city she came to love: that of a typical New York boutique. It’s probably best described as cosy with a raw edge.

“This place used to be a little dark shoe-shop, ran by a very old lady. By opening up the whole first and second floor and by using elements of a more industrial nature (for example the metal stair), we created a more lofty-feel to the place.” It’s true, despite the fact that the shop is quite small, you have a feeling of openness and light. The mixture of raw elements and soft clothes give the store a special attitude.

The cosiness isn’t limited to the interior of the store. It can also be found in the philosophy behind Pola&Charles. It’s all about individuality and personality. This reflects in the clothes, handpicked by Laurence herself, based on her personal choice. Laurence travels back and forth between New York and Paris to find those special brands that stand out. My personal favorite? Gat Rimon!

Gat Rimon was founded by three friends who went to Israel, sat themselves down in a street called Gat Rimon in Tel Aviv and decided to leave their jobs and dedicate their life to fashion. It’s safe to say that Stéphanie Mardokh, Yaël Benhini en Cynthia Pariente have succeeded as well as Laurence Lapa to make their dream come true.

Perfect fits and soft materials make this little store the reference for “basic chic”. New addition is the home collection, expected to arrive mid-february!

Visit Pola & Charles – Nationalestraat 21 – 2000 Antwerp 

Mon – Sat: 10.30 am- 6.00pm

Brands: Vince – James Perse – Band of Outsiders – Gat Rimon – 7d – Swildens – Wren – Resin – Fine Collection – Current/Elliott – Brooklyn We Go Hard – My Pant’s – Sundek – Le Fabuleux Marcel – Jane Carr – Ela Stone – LnA – Veja – A Peace Treaty – Petite Mendigote – Officine Creative

Focus on

Focus on: Idan Raichel

Israeli “Singer of the world”

A country has its own musical styles, trends and roots. You would think Israel (also known as “Ingathering of the Exiles”) would offer a lot of interesting world music export products as it is a melting pot of cultural diversity – from Ashkenazi Eastern European Jews till Sephardim or Mizrahim from the Maghreb and surroundings. One of the secrets of making successful music is digging deep in your own and your surrounding roots. As much as Israel is a musical country, with a lot of talent and plenty of musicians; unfortunately, too many local artists these days are busy sounding ‘like’ others instead of creating original and authentic music. Only very few Israeli artists have had international careers – no, the Eurovision contest doesn’t count. One brilliant man called Idan Raichel (12/09/1977) has successfully combined all his influences, his talents and his fascinations into something unique and managed to break down all musical boundaries with his musical project: “The Idan Raichel Project”.

I’ve known Idan since 1998 right after his military service in the army’s rock band. He was then active as a counselor at Hadassim (a boarding school for immigrants, mainly from Ethiopia) and a successful keyboardist with Israeli popular singers. In 2002, from his home studio in the basement of his parents house in Kfar Saba near Tel Aviv, his experiments fusing Israeli pop music with Middle Eastern, African, Indian and other global sounds resulted in what would become the biggest-selling record project in Israeli history and propel Idan to a role as a major figure in the international global music scene. The songs are sung by guest singers and by Idan himself. This project has changed the face of Israeli popular music through a message of love & tolerance and original sounds coupled with sophisticated production techniques.

In 2006, after many number-one hits and a spectacular live show throughout the country, the project got signed to a world music label and embarked on an international adventure. Firstly known in circles of Jewish, Ehtiopian and Israeli communities, the Idan Raichel Project now regularly sells out concerts in large performance venues. Wherever they perform, the Idan Raichel Project unifies the audience into a celebration of what is unique about the cultures of the world, as well as that in which we are all alike.

“This one-man Middle East peace accord makes music that is an ambitious celebration of multicultural diversity. The ethnic elements are cleverly rewired with modern grooves to create an ambient journey that thrillingly bridget the traditional and the modern.” – The Times (London, UK)

Idan Raichel will be performing an acoustic set at the Centre Culturel d’Uccle on February 16th at 20h30.
Website: www.idanraichelproject.com/en
Videos: http://youtu.be/kmW2yAYhMmM (“Mim’amakim” meaning “From the depths)
Videos: http://youtu.be/CtpCGfRRToo(“Im telech” meaning “If you go”)

Antwerp

Sweets for my sweet and sugar for my tummy

You know that story of the little girl who got an Easy-bake Oven for Christmas and loved baking cakes ever since? Well, that’s not me. First of all, I never got an Easy-bake Oven for Christmas (never asked for one either) and I baked my first cake not so long ago. However, when it comes to eating cakes and pies, I can go all “story of my life” on you.

That’s why I was very happy (being the understatement of the century) when my good friends (and fellow bloggers) Ruth and Babs invited me for the opening of the new “Les Tartes de Françoise” store in Antwerp. Oh dear Lord, was I doing a small victory dance when I found out the store was in fact located on MY side of town (somewhere in the South area – the dodgy part). Arriving at the scene, all I could see was the abundance of pie. No wonder “Share happiness” is their message (or as I like to say: “sharing is caring”).

The story behind Les Tartes de Françoise is rather unique. Françoise and Olivier brought a homemade lemon merengue pie to a dinner with friends somewhere in the good old nineties. Their friends were so impressed they told their friends, who told their friends and so on. After a while Françoise and Olivier got orders from restaurants on the lookout for homemade products. Weddings and birthday parties followed quickly. Keyword of this family business is craftmanship. And boy, do they craft good!

What’s on the menu? Did I mention the pies? Les Tartes de Françoise offers a selection of sweet and savoury pies and quiches, (home)made with fresh ingredients depending on the season (pumpkin pie,  almond and pear pie, carrots and goat cheese quiche, …) and of course a wide range of classics (“Hello gourmand au chocolat, how you look lovely today“). Absolute favorite however is the cheesecake made out of curd cheese with a speculoos crust. Françoise’s cheesecake is so popular it even has its own Facebook fan page.

Does this got you all drooling too? Check out the menu on www.tartes.be and order your cake online.

I will gladly come over for a piece.

Huge thanks and bloggerly love goes out to Ruth Van Soom and Babs Jacops.

Les Tartes de Françoise Antwerp opened in December 2011: Ieperstraat 20-22, 2018 Antwerpen. To add even more plaisir du goût, it’s open every Sunday from 9 am till 2 pm.

Antwerp

Focus on: Charlotte De Cock

Although Antwerp’s artistic reputation was at its highest in the 17th Century (with artists like Rubens, Jordaens and Teniers), present Antwerp doesn’t have to taste defeat. To this day, Antwerp is a prominent art city that plays an important role on the international art market. Its artists are still of great importance in providing insight into current visual culture.

One of those great artists is young Charlotte De Cock (06/10/87). Born and raised in Antwerp, and with no artsy education at all, she started painting in 2007. She learned to paint portraits by staring in the mirror for many hours. When she finally felt like she mastered every little detail of the human face and body, she started to expand her repertoire with other themes, for example her famous “Marie Antoinettes” (based on the movie by Sofia Coppola).

Her inspiration lies in film, music and literature. Her paintings refer to song lyrics and movie titles. Martin Schmitt from Gallery DiMeo (Paris, France) referred to her work as ‘Rock – Baroque’.

She has already been part of numerous exhibitions: “Body of Art” at the Liverpool Street Station (London) and the famous Antwerp gallery Campo&Campo to name a few.

Her latest craze is all about the Native Americans (or American Indians). While watching a Devandra Banhart concert (American singer-songwriter and visual artist) she didn’t only fell in love with him (who can blame her?) but also with his headwear: a full eagle-feather war bonnet which is a common American Indian headdress (fun fact: Devandra Banhart has actually seen Charlotte’s paintings and he’s a self-declared fan).

Inspired by her favorite Molière-quote (the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it), the search for feathered war bonnets started. Numerous Facebook announcements and phone calls later, she was allowed to use the war bonnets that used to be on display in the Indian Art Museum in Bobbejaanland (a Belgian theme park). The war bonnets were made by designer Nudie Cohn in the 1940s. With great caution and even greater love Charlotte started to portray the precious feathered headdresses on canvas.

“I don’t believe in mistakes. Everything I’ve done, that has also led me into trouble, I think, is a lesson. Therefore I have no regrets.” Charlotte is a young, energetic lady with a broad fascination; psychology, music, history, film and lots of other things paint the soundtrack to her extraordinary life. Besides a painter, she’s also a DJ in famous Antwerp venues (Kissinger, former Café Capital and Café d’Anvers). Her music is all round, from Gainsbourg to Goose (for the musical dummies: from classic French rock to minimal techno). She designs her own clothes and – just like me – she has a passion for cake-baking.

To quote her deceased father Paul De Cock: “Her spontaneous ventures, her resourcefulness and her natural vivacity make her a cheerful person who has the necessary urge to develop her talents…”

If u wanna see Charlotte’s work with your own eyes:

  • WO-MEN in fine art gallery – Wolstraat 45 – 2000 ANTWERP
  • Veste – Sint-Katelijnevest 57 – 2000 ANTWERP
  • De Godevaart – Sint-Katelijnevest 23 – 2000 ANTWERP
  • Brasserie Lids – Veemarkt 4 – 2000 ANTWERP

Stay updated about Charlotte’s upcoming exhibitions, visit www.charlottedecock.com

Sien Josephine


Tel Aviv

A day in Tel Aviv

Is there a better way to start your day than with a fresh fruit juice? My favorite combination is banana, melon and dates, but it sounds better to say it in Hebrew: “banana, melon, tamar”. Dates come from the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and they have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%, or in other words, a perfect substitute for sugar. My juice in one hand, blackberry and Ipod-touch in the other (do you wonder how I manage that? Well, both have broken screens from falling), I go on to my next step: textile searching.

It’s only recently that I found myself interested in or should I say passionate for creating, crafting and D.I.Y. My latest? Sewing. I started a sewing class, ‘borrowed’ a real old-school Singer sewing machine and started discovering another yet amazing world. So I walk to Nahalat Benyamin Street, the textile center of the city, only a few minutes from my house on Rothschild Boulevard. This historic street was established even before Tel Aviv was born in 1909. Formerly a run-down province of the textile and haberdashery trade, recent years have seen it redeveloped and rejuvenated as a busy pedestrianized precinct full of fashionable cafes and arty shops. Today I’m looking for denim-like textile for a shirt for the next class, but as I discover a tiny store with so many colors and fabrics, I of course end up buying more. In my head it goes like this: here, this fits for pyjama pants, this for a scarf, this for a pillow, this for the inside of a pouch and so on.

Later today, after procrastinating for months, endless repeats in to-do lists and phone reminders AND one car ticket too many, I will get to the municipality for some parking stuff  (do you guys have Easy-park in Antwerp?). The Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality (http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/english) is really very active, efficient, young, involved and hip. Today there is some art on the stairway.

No way I’m taking my car there, so there are 2 choices left: my bike or the “monit sherut”. FYI: my bike is a Belgian bike of over 35 years that I brought with me when I moved here in 2007. My mom used to ride it with me in the back. It’s an old school bike and people stop me in the street to ask me where I bought this retro cool bicycle. A “monit sherut” is a share taxi that falls between a taxi and a bus. Sherut meaning service, these yellow vans follow fixed bus routes and you can stop them anywhere. Payment is done by passing money to the driver in a “human chain” formed by the passengers seated before. The change (and the receipt, when requested) are returned to the person who paid by the same means.

As this being my first blog and just a fragment of my life and of this day, how do I end it? I’ll just share my last ritual of the day: my favorite Yogi tea in my favorite cup.

“Layla Tov” dear readers – meaning sweet dreams in Hebrew…

              Marilyn

 

Antwerp

Caffè Internazionale

When it comes to writing a blog there are two things you need: connection (preferably the internet-kind of connection) and coffee. Both are (well) provided in Caffè Internazionale: not the newest, still the hottest but most of all my personal favorite, located in the south of Antwerp.

More than a year ago, Marco Migliore turned a dark empty restaurant into a warm open lunchbar with a vintage and international feel. Popular dish (and also very new for Antwerp) is the pastrami-sandwich. Although this Romanian Jewish specialty has been a famous treat in New York since Katz’s Deli (a kosher-style restaurant) introduced it in 1888, it’s safe to say that Antwerp has also fallen for its beefy charms. Pastrami is typically sliced and served hot on rye bread, accompanied by coleslaw and a salted pickle.

Other foody goodies on the menu are salads, pastas, classic homemade soup (different day, different soup), a huge breakfast choice (which you can get all day long, very interesting on a Sunday) and of course desserts, delicious cheesecake included.

The food is not the only reason why I keep coming back to this place (although it plays a very important role). To me Caffè Internazionale equals home: the staff as well as the regular customers (a.k.a. the people I happily call my friends) are all one big family.

The moment you enter the place you feel the creativity and smell the coffee that goes along with it. Musicians, artists, graphic designers, fellow bloggers, people with ideas; everyone finds their own place at Marco’s huge front room table. A shot of extra caramel in your café latte, a pastrami to go, a freshly cooked, afterhours dinner for Marco’s friends, he’s done (and I’ve eaten) it all.

 

Thank you Marco, for bringing us all together!

Sien Josephine

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv… tell a vibe

Together with about half the world’s population, I wake up excited for one of many morning rituals: coffee. Where? Which? How? With whom? And if you can add something sweet: lamalo (lamalo meaning ‘why not’ in Hebrew).

It’s been over a year since I quit smoking and I’ve developed this          pseudo-need for sweet. I used to not even like chocolate, and  now I feel this urge for sweet taste in the mouth. So my favorite pastry of the moment: chocolate yeast cake. Doesn’t sound as good as it tastes and no it’s not a fungus. In Yiddish it’s called Babka, for all of those with Yiddish skills. Even Martha Stewart has a recipe for it, but it’s not the easiest to bake: http://www.marthastewart.com/312994/chocolate-babka

My favorite Tel Avivi coffee place of the moment is called Ben Ami (www.benami.co.il) and it’s very well located. First of all it’s a two-minute walk from my home. It’s located on a junction of 3 streets: Nahmani Street, Melchett Street and Montefiore Street. What’s in the middle? King Albert Square and yes it is named after our Belgian king that came to visit in the early 20th century. The view from the cafe is on one of Tel Aviv’s finest buildings and it’s called the Pagoda. Built in 1925, it is one of the most typical constructions of the eclectic style, combining oriental and occidental motives. It was originally built for a rich textile negotiator from New York called David Moshe Bloch. The architect, Alexander Levi, originally from Berlin arrived in Palestine in the twenties but went back to Germany in 1927 and died in Auschwitz in 1942. No one really knows if someone is living there, but it’s very well maintained. Rumor has it, it’s owned by a Swedish jewish family that owns Puma.

When wondering what it is that I and so many others like so much about Tel Aviv, there are many answers. How can we describe this vibe to those who never came to visit? To those who don’t get to see this side of Israel in their media? Enter my blog! Tel Aviv gets so many adjectives; it’s young, vibrant, happening, cool, hip, in, hot, fresh but why? Some say it is because it’s the city of contrasts, clashes and paradoxes. The mixture of old versus new. Orthodox versus secular. East versus West. Europe versus USA versus Middle East. Tradition versus innovation. A synagogue versus a gay bar. An old colonial house versus a Philippe Starck tower. It’s this clash that gives the city its surprising and slightly uneven gait.

Let’s keep blogging and unravel the secrets of my dear city. Till later, Marilyn

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