At a time of year during which almost every Israeli citizen is packing up their chattel (along with the children) and heading down for the yearly vacation in Eilat, ready to suffer the never ending line at the buffet, my partner and I decided to dedicate one of the holiday long weekends to a relaxing stay at the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea, without a doubt, should be considered the eighth of the Seven Wonders of the World. The desert atmosphere, the mesmerizing shade of the water, the history and the legacy, its status as the lowest place on earth – all this and more make this an eternal and undying wonder.
After a long trip, my stomach was indicating that it was time for a fill up. An important rule of thumb I’ve learned is that if you are going on a nothing but lounge chair vacation, it’s important and highly recommended to hit the lounge chair on a full stomach.
We stopped at the Tapuach Sdom restaurant located in Ein Bokek. The meaning of the restaurant’s odd name is actually a reference to a large tree about 4 meters high which grows mostly in Israel’s Ein Gedi region.
We seated ourselves on the patio which looks out over enormous mounds of salt, tourists with burnt red skin, and people in suits of black from head to toe – or in a local translation, covered in the thick supposedly healing black mud of the Dead Sea.
At Tapuach Sdom there is something for everyone. This isn’t a sophisticated menu, but a simple one which also has very attractive lunch deals during the week.
For starters we ordered the assorted fried platter, including crisp kubeh filled with meat, pastilles filled with potato, and fresh hot falafel balls. In the centre of the platter was homemade hummus served in a cocktail glass.
In order to watch our figures (after all, we’d be donning our bathing suits in less than an hour) we also ordered the rich sheep’s cheese salad with fresh vegetables, walnuts, croutons, sautéed zucchini and cubes of the sheep’s cheese.
For mains we chose the salmon filet in lemon butter – a long, juicy and beautiful piece of fish was placed on the table. The aroma of the apricot coloured fish filled the air. The fish was perfectly flavoured, soft and delicate and came with a side dish of roasted potatoes topped with cilantro and dill as well as a green salad. We cleaned our plates quickly and so thoroughly that we certainly made the dishwasher’s job a little easier.
Because of the intense heat outside waiting for us outside (about 40 degrees), we chose to enjoy a dessert of cold refreshing ice cream. We consulted our waitress about recommended flavours, and after a short debate we chose strawberries and cream, and mango-passion fruit. Both flavours we chose were a great success. The strawberry especially stood out due to its thickness and sweetness, but the mango- passion fruit offered a light and refreshing alternative. The taste and coldness of the ice cream became increasingly appreciated once you realize that you are about to go outside to face a wall of heat. So we stayed another half hour, because of the ice cream and also because we decided to try and pack the cold air-conditioned air into bags to take with us…
Ein Bokek, The Dead Sea.