On the way back from a job interview, I automatically called up Inbal. It was my second interview that week, and I couldn't decide which job to choose. "I'm a little busy" she sleepily replied, "if you don't mind, let's talk tomorrow over breakfast at Hatim Metukim (Sweet Sins). I heard they serve a buffet breakfast every Friday." I immediately agreed – someone like me doesn't say no to something sinful – especially if it's sweet.
At the appointed hour, Inbal and I met at the entrance to the café. At a glance, it looks like a shop. On the shelves sat all sorts of sweet things on lovely dishes that winked at us as we passed. As we went down the stairs, a state of euphoria overtook us. The wood floor and scent of fresh baking drew me to the back of the shop, where I spotted tables crowded with treats. When I looked at Inbal she wasn't smiling. After giving the place a once over, she realized there wasn't anywhere to sit. 'Dammit!' she swore, 'I knew we should have made a reservation.'
The hostess, who was scurrying between the tables, approached us, and nicely and apologetically informed us that they were full, but then indicated a little table in the garden and said 'If you don't mind, you can sit outside.' Despite the fact that it had rained just a short while before and the table and chairs were wet, we didn't even consider finding another place for a second.
Wielding our plates, we headed for the buffet, but due to the huge selection we were forced to spend a long time deciding what to start with and what to save for later. I peeked over at Inbal's plate and it was also empty. Even a calculating and decisive person like her didn't know where to start: Quiches, vine leaves, eggs, assorted cheeses and vegetables, breads, shakshuka, and fresh crispy bourekas just out of the oven…
Not thinking ahead, Inbal and I filled all plates with all the side dishes. Zucchini and sweet potato antipasti that was an amazing and unconventional start to breakfast; stuffed vine leaves, which you don't usually find in a Tel Aviv breakfast; mushroom quiche and corn quiche, both hot and delicious, which could easily have been a meal in themselves. The hostess brought us fresh juice in generous glasses, and then Inbal and I went up for another round. This time we concentrated on the fresh bourekas which came filled with pizza, cheese and potato, and the hot and tasty shakshuka. Despite the fact that we felt like little piggies after the second round, we focused round three on the cheese and bread. We weren't dealing with rare European cheese here, but everyday light and palate pleasing cheeses. Because I'm not a big cheese fan to begin with, this selection was perfect for me.
The fourth round, which was meant to be a minor end to a large meal, turned out to be the crowning glory. Fresh and sweet homemade jam was the perfect topping to fresh challah. I've never in my life enjoyed jam as much as this. I tried to stop the buzzing hostess who was endlessly dodging her way between tables of satisfied customers, in order to ask her which type of jam it was, but we decided to give her a break and live without this bit of information.
When we ordered the coffee we were already exhausted by the meal, but there was one more challenge in store for us: the coffee is served with a selection of homemade cookies, some softer, others crispier, in both vanilla and chocolate, and all of them simply extraordinary.
Once this laborious meal was over, we started to feel the chilly breeze blowing in the little garden of 67 Shabazi in Neve Tzedek. This was the time make a move for home. On the way out, I caught a glimpse of a homemade krembo …so I asked them to wrap one up for me.
While enjoying a little sun on a street-corner bench on the way home, Inbal said that, after crunching all the data, this was not only the best breakfast deal in Tel Aviv, but also the best one she'd had in long while.
67 Shabazi, Tel Aviv.