I can’t believe I’ve been blogging this long without writing about where I work in Tel Aviv! I report there nearly every day; scrambling eggs, baking muffins, dressing salads, cheesing quiches, saucing lasagnas, rolling cookies, poking carrot cakes, slicing vegetables, and basically every other action word you can think of. That is why it’s so surprising that I have yet to feature it until now.
The above video is a little promotional bit I just finished editing for the place. I like to think we run a little living room coffee shop. We know most of the customers by name, coffee order and sandwich preference. We know when our customers are sick, on vacation, fed up with their mothers,brother, lovers, or bosses. If someone needs cakes on the fly, we bake ’em. Sometimes people are sitting around going about their day and a muffin or plate of cookies appears in front of them, as if dropped from a sweet sugary fairy from the sky…that would be Xoli, i guess.
Xoli is the superwoman/owner of Cafe Xoho. She and I met just before she opened the doors on the place nearly 2 1/2 years ago. This meeting was, of course, purely by chance (friend of a friend of a roommate’s sister kinda thing), but entirely auspicious nonetheless. First of all our names our practically the same (her’s is pronounced Zoli)
Second of all, we had a similar mentality about what we wanted to offer. We were both tired of typical Tel Aviv cafes and poor customer service. I was tired of the food, she was tired of the junky coffee and bitchy waitresses. From that point on and with the help of so many people we slowly climbed the uphill mountain of growing a small business in a competitive environment.
For the last 2 1/2 years Xoli has not stopped pushing this little ‘cafe that could’ up the hill. And sometimes I look around our packed house full of happy customers, who feel like family to us, and I can’t believe it’s working. We have tirelessly transformed picky Israeli clientele into those who find themselves eating out of the metaphorical palm of our Daily Special’s hand! THAT is how much they trust us. We have Americans thanking us for providing them a piece of home, Australians that can’t believe how much our place reminds them of Melbourne, we have British customers addicted to our coffees, and French who love our quiche!
And to think, we do it all from a tiny kitchen. With no gas anywhere to speak of, we have one oven that bakes it’s heart out all day long. We cook eggs and saute vegetables on a sandwich press-style cooktop, and we make everything we can possibly make from scratch.
It’s a great feeling to be a part of something so special. Knowing that we have changed (even in the slightest way) the current fabric of Tel Aviv’s culinary and cafe culture…that is a huge deal!
So my hat is off to everyone I work with at Xoho, and especially to Xoli.