I’ve got an Aroma name.image

You know, like a Starbucks name. Like when my friend Re’ut has totally given up on getting Starbucks baristas to get that name right and instead uses “Rachel.”

For some reason my name has always been hard for the Aroma workers to get right. I guess it’s my American pronunciation of “Dan.” Whatever. In any case I always tell them my name is “Oren” for two reasons- first, in honor of my son, and second, well, it’s a common name in Israel.

For Aroma fans, Aroma is the best. Coffee, food, WiFi, and chocolate…what’s not to like. You can find one literally anywhere- on the highway near Dimona, on the corner in Jerusalem, in a mall in Yokneam, you get it. And for most of my adult (ish) life, right in Merkaz HaCarmel in Haifa, twenty feet from the entrance to the Carmelit’s Gan Ha’Em station.

I have a multitude of fond memories of that Aroma, mostly centered around delicious “Boker B’ktana” (a large cup filled with Israeli salad, egg, and tahini) and double espressos consumed at dawn on various trips to Haifa. Extend that to include many, many chocolate croissants and iced limonanas, huge green salads with grilled chicken, and not a few formal and informal meetings held in and around the eatery and I’ve got a lot of warm and fuzzies about that place.

So imagine my shock and awe this week when I emerged from the Carmelit to see not my trusty Aroma, but a…wait for it…huge a Domino’s Pizza in that very spot.image

They paved paradise and put up a Domino’s? Really?

The collective lamentations from me my colleagues came fast and furious throughout the Haifa-Boston International Conference that just concluded. And perhaps that’s a little irrational because there are probably another 8 café options within 500 feet, but I just can’t shake my disappointment.

Luckily the one in the mall near the Maccabi Haifa store is still there. And the one at Ben Gurion- I’ll be stopping there shortly to get ready for the journey home.

See you soon.