ask Itay about
Coffee • Food
a bit about Itay
What are you working on these days?
Just got back from a long trip in central Europe, and about to begin Film School.
What is the thing that drives you mad?
It’s very unoriginal of me, but the Tel Aviv summer sun is difficult for a soccer enthusiast and bicyclist such as myself. I was never a big fan of the beach, and if you take into account the political climate here – it’s scorching. My only consolation lies in the new trend of “Paletas” – those organic ice pops, they’re amazing.
What makes you happy?
If I wake up next to my girlfriend and am in no rush to leave the bedroom, I’m the happiest man in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, one of us is always in a rush.
When was the last time you cried?
Other than the one tear that drops here and there during a manipulative news piece, I don’t tend to cry. Not that I am big macho, it just doesn’t happen. Two months ago, during a friend’s memorial, I really wept, red-face and everything. It was one of those moments when nothing in this world mattered.
What’s your latest musical obsession?
I try to stay as up-to-date as I can, but I also come back to oldies, here are my recently played:
What was the last movie you watched?
The Argentinian film Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) is the last one I watched in a movie theater. Lately I haven’t seen many good movies showing at theaters, so I watch at home – with my air conditioner on full power.
When it’s time for a new wardrobe, where do you go?
I take pride in a lot of family possessions that have gone down from generations, or from friends who ordered online and got the wrong size. I order online from ASOS and head out every now and then to second-hand shops on Bugrashov Street or Tchernichovsky Street. I try and buy a lot when I’m abroad, so I can come back to my hometown and proudly say: “this piece? oh, it’s from Berlin”.
What’s your go-to café in Tel Aviv?
For great morning coffee I head out to Cafélix, for a business meeting it’s usually Tolaat Sfarim (bookworm in English), and for a lunch-beer it’s Nechama VaHetzi.
Where’s your favorite street or neighborhood to wander in Tel Aviv?
For someone who grew up in Tel Aviv’s bourgeoisie “old-north” neighborhood, I love crossing the Rabin Square line and head south, especially towards the heart of Tel Aviv (Rothschild Boulevard, Ehad Ha’am Street, Montefiore Street). Most of the time I spend at the triangle of Allenby – King George – Sheinkin, because of the variety of bars & restaurants.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in Tel Aviv but never actually do?
I recently realized I love karaoke but I almost never get the chance to have a crazy karaoke night. I love climbing to top floors of Tel Aviv’s few skyscrapers. When I was younger I used to sneak in often.
Who’s your hero and where would you take them out to eat or drink?
I’d love to establish a forum of heavy drinkers in Tel Aviv, and bring Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits to see punk rock shows at the Zimmer club until midnight and then head out to the Minzar pub for some Herring and beer, while someone writes a song or a story.
What would make a perfect day in the sun for you?
My perfect day in the sun would have to begin with a stroll through HaYarkon Park, the place where kids’ birthday parties collide with joggers and runners, and couples who go on the very expensive pedal boats. Most people then head to the port, where the river flows into the Mediterranean, so I’d try and stay clear of that and find a spot on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, on the border with Ramat Gan. I’d find a tranquil spot with high grass and wild bushes. Add a cold sangria or a bottle of Goldstar beer – and you feel just like Lou Reed.
It’s raining outside but you don’t want to stay home – where would you go?
It’s pretty rare to have really rainy days out here, but when it does rain I head out to the cinema and then to a bar or restaurant and watch people run in the rain. I’d go to Lev Cinema in Dizengoff Center (an amazing place to be while it’s raining) and then head to Oban Koban, an Asian place on Ha’Arba’a Street.
What’s a place in Tel Aviv that you feel like only you know about?
On Zvi Herman Shapira Street, next to the Karavan garden there’s a narrow passageway that heads into the Nevi’im street. It’s a small shortcut that not a lot of people know, and it suddenly feels like your in a Favela in Rio De Janiero.
If tomorrow was your last day in Tel Aviv before you left for good, how would you spend it?
On my last day in Tel Aviv I’d like to walk as much as I can, because it’s probably the best way to understand Tel Aviv. I’d start with Jaffa, where I spent a lot of my time growing up because my school was there. I’d get a Masabacha dish at Abu Hassan on the Dolphin Street in Ajami neighborhood. Then I’d go to the observation point from the Pisga Garden, and stroll downwards on the promenade – heading north. I’d walk through the Karmel Market, grab some fruits and sit down on Masaryk Square to eat them. I’d end it with Rabin Square, and remember all the protests and events I attended during all my years in Tel Aviv, and all those drunken nights.
Given the choice, mayor of which neighborhood would you be?
I’ll take upon myself a hard task – I’ll be the mayor of the southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, like Shapira, Lewinsky and Neve Sha’anan. They’re really slummy, with a lot of crime and drugs. There’s also a lot of tension between locals and immigrants, but from all that rises a unique culture and culinary scene. I’d allocate more funds to these neighborhoods and help locals deal with immigrants as well, and vice-versa.
What’s the place in Tel Aviv you’ll never be caught dead in?
The Tachana Complex and Sarona Complex. Two old enclaves renovated for the sake of the many tourists who come to the city. You can barely find any Tel Aviv-born residents there. One must admit that those buildings are beautiful, but walking there feels a bit like walking inside a postcard and everything is very expensive and unauthentic. What can we do, we’re not in Europe.