By: Nicole Small
There is an undeniable feeling of community – the clink of glasses against each other, the clatter of forks against plates, a medley of languages and laughter and soft music fills the air. The warm glow of candlelight illuminates each table; strewn with fresh herbs, wine glasses waiting to be filled, and wooden platters of roasted tomatoes and olives. The atmosphere gives way to a feeling of comfort, sophistication and exuberance. As the rolling laughter rises, so does the music.
Guests tickled into the café; greeted with a glass of rose bubbly, we were invited to mingle and chat until we were called to the table. Café Xoho and Papa G’s Pasta worked together to create a stunning five-course dinner. Of those five courses were two dishes which were a collaboration among Café Xoho and Papa G’s Pasta; mushroom ricotta ravioli with a heavenly lemon tarragon cream sauce and hand-cut tagliatelli with a roasted garlic red sauce and a touch of cream. The pasta tasted fresh, and there was an enormous difference when compared to regular packaged pasta.
Xoli, the owner of Café Xoho, mentioned that there are so many foods missing from Israel, but by using the ingredients available you can still create those same flavors. On that note, loyal guests of Café Xoho are looking forward to the possibility of a once-a-month Xoho dinner featuring a specific cuisine, like Mexican food, possibly accompanied by live music.
The coffee is smoky, sweet and ultra rich. The dessert, a gluten free brownie with a light dusting of cocoa, is the perfect way to end the evening.
I had the pleasure of sitting with Gary, the creator of Papa G’s Pasta. “I wanna get my pasta into peoples’ bellies,” said Gary, continuing, “I just don’t know how to do that yet.”
Gary discovered that he enjoys working with his hands with food when his nanny taught him to make homemade meatballs. From there, he decided that he wanted to make homemade pasta to go with them, and he found that he got the same amount of love from kneading the dough as he did when making the meatballs.
Papa G’s tip for the perfect handmade pasta? Make it in a bowl, not on a countertop; that way you won’t be chasing after the egg before it drips off of your table, and your dough won’t be lumpy. Thanks Papa G, but we’ll leave it to the expert! We are looking forward to tasting more of Papa G’s pasta in Café Xoho and other restaurants around Tel Aviv, and even in our own homes! Papa G’s is looking to package their delicious pasta creations, like the mushroom ravioli served at dinner tonight, so that we can enjoy it every night if we want to (and we do!).