Monday, November 7, 2011

Is Jerusalem for Foodies?

There was a time when Jerusalem and fine dining just didn't really go together.  Sure, I once stayed here for about a month for less than $10/day, including an Old City roof top to sleep on, a couple of slices of Pizza, the local version of bagels (shown above) and as much of the city as I could see by foot.  It was a good time, at a great price, but, for sure, there was more eating than dining!

That has all changed.

Today, the old is still there, but, in case daily pizza (or falafel), isn't your thing, there are choices!   In the Old City, my favorite shawarma place, sadly, is gone, replaced by what the locals tell me is an amazing bakery.  And, fortunately, a new shawarma place has sprung up around the corner -- I'm told, and the lines would make me tend to agree, that it is as good or better than the old one.  I'll try to find out tomorrow.  In the meantime, side walk crepes, long a convenience only found in Paris, are not plentiful in Jerusalem as well!  I sampled one for lunch today, and may never return to Paris :-)  (needless to say, french fries have long been global)

 Of course, today's special treat was dinner for 15 Israel Riders at Eucalyptus, an outstanding Iraqi Israeli restaurant located in the old artists colony, not far from Jaffa Gate.  We feasted on a 12+ course meal, outstanding service, and frequent visits from the chef, whose family is originally from Iraq.  He taught us about the local herbs, how they are used in his family recipes, and how he came to feature such fine dining in Jerusalem -- not to mention the ancient practice of upside down chicken :-).  It was outstanding dining, and a great evening.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, the real work (and fun!) begins.  All but a couple of the riders are here in Jerusalem now.  So, in anticipation of Wednesday's early morning start for the Israel Ride, Tuesday is the "staging" day -- those who brought their bikes get them assembled, renters are fitted for their bikes, we do a practice ride on/near Mount Scopus, and start to get to know our fellow riders -- we will be spending the next few hundred miles with them!  The day ends with a safety briefing (required), and final explanation of the logistics and plans for our bike ride to Ashquelon, on the Mediterranean,  departing from Jerusalem on Wednesday morning!

Looking forward to getting started!


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