Posted by: Tommy | October 28, 2010

The Shiksa and the Israeli Joe Rogan

We’ve been in Israel since late Monday night.  We got stopped at the border and questioned, not sure why.  Maybe because we have a flight in, but no flight out.  Or maybe because Anna looks so suspicious.  We made it to our hostel and immediately set out to find food.  The front desk guy recommended a place called Mike’s Place around the corner, and since it was 2am, we went there.  I was wearing my orange shirt with a giant longhorn and was immediately greeted with a shout of ” F$#!%ing Longhorns!”  Apparently idiot Sooners are everywhere, even Tel Aviv.  Mike’s Place, it turns out, is a little slice of America, transported to Israel.  All of the food was American, all of the people were American and they even had the Cowboys-Giants Monday Night Football game on TV.  Sadly, we were exhausted, so we ate and left.

Tuesday was fine.  But Wednesday was awesome.  We met up with a friend I’ve had since we were both 12 year olds at Howell Middle School in Victoria – Hether Holmes, and her Israeli TV personality husband, Alon Pdut.  They picked us up in their lime green car and drove us across Tel Aviv to Jaffa, the neighborhood they live in, so we could experience what Alon says is the best kabab in Tel Aviv, at Mishu’s.

It’s a Romanian meat place that has had the same guy at the fire, making the kabab for the last 60 years.  There is no English menu.  There was no English spoken.  It was set in what appeared to be a pre-fabricated metal building with shabby tables and chairs.  And the meat couldn’t have been better. Of course, we all let Anon order for us.  It was late in the day and the place was getting ready to close, so we got their last 8 kababs, each plating 2.  We got 2 plates of hummus and 2 baskets of bread, which we went through like the plague of locusts.  Hether, Anna and I got water while Alon ordered a local “root beer” which tasted suspiciously like beer.

Kabab at Mishu's

After eating, Anna and I asked them to take us somewhere that we could get “wedding rings”.  We’ve heard from several different sources that it would really help Anna and I with the locals in Muslim countries to have wedding rings on our fingers.  Since we own wedding rings that are safely stored in Sally’s jewelry box, we didn’t want to spend a ton.  So Alon and Hether took us to the souk (street market) and we shopped.  And found some great rings.  We spent a total of about $20 on 2 rings.  Anna’s is a tiny silver thing with a small gold circle in the middle, where a diamond might go.  Mine was “very cheap” according to the guy who worked there (every other ring I picked up, he started telling me all the wonderful things about that particular piece.  When all he could say about this one was Very Cheap, I knew I’d found the one).  It cost $7 and fit perfectly.  One problem – it has the circle-cross symbol for woman engraved – big- on the front of it.  Hether reasoned that this was because the wedding ring symbolized my commitment to my woman – I reasoned it was only $7 – and we had rings.

We're Married!

After the market, we went to a cafe overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and had cold drinks and watched the sunset over the water.  Hether and I caught up on old times, she and Alon told us the story of their courtship (they’d spent a total of about 10 days together before Hether was to be in South Korea for a year commitment teaching ESL, so Alon followed her and moved there for the year), and we all had a lot of laughs.

Jaffa at sunset

I was particularly excited to learn that Alon is the “Joe Rogan of Israel”.  Joe Rogan (former host of Fear Factor in America) is best known these days for being the ringside commentator for the UFC.  Which is Alon’s job here.  He writes a column on MMA for an Israeli men’s magazine and does the Hebrew commentary for UFC events that are simulcast in Israel.  He’s going to be hosting a large live MMA event in Tel Aviv next Saturday and we’re hoping to attend.  I’ve been watching UFC for 9 years but have never been to a show.

As was the case in Russia, the best experiences we’ve had have involved getting out of the tourist areas and doing local things with local people.  Yeah, Hether’s from Victoria but she and Alon definitely showed us some non-tourist parts of Israel.



  1. i cant believe you hung out with hether!! too cool!!! love the wedding ring story!! cant wait to see it.. ❤ you

  2. Tommy, while you all enjoyed kababs at Mishu’s, we enjoyed some delicious Pei Wei in your honor. LOVE hearing about your travels.

  3. Sending “hello’s” to Heather — please pass it on. Can’t wait to read your next post about your time there and what there is to see and do. Is Jason going to be jealous if you get to go next Saturday?

  4. Already I am feeling the romance of Israel. The sunset, seeing old friends, buying wedding rings. I am in Philadelphia and had to watch the Rangers lose game 2 so I am feeling sad. Went to Champs last night in hopes I would have a united front of anti-Giant fans watching with us. It was hard to watch the Rangers do so poorly again.

    As for the Sooners, how horrible to encounter that when you first arrive and are tired. I am so sorry. We hope to do our part in November and beat them at Stillwater. Go Pokes.

    Love you.

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