Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Food in Jerusalem

Point the first: if anyone tells you that Starbucks pulled out of Israel because of politics; they are wrong. ארומה - Aroma is the local corporate coffee behemoth, and, well, Starbucks falls so completely short of what they deliver in both food and drink that Starbucks must have seen itself a grasshopper in comparison. The smaller chain, Hillel, is a full service restaurant which serves Shakshukah, and a wide variety of pastas, salads and sandwiches made fresh in its own kitchen. During our stay, the manager came to know our habits. She called us "Chocolate Junkies."

The Falafel, from a stall on Ben Yehudah, of course was grand; 50nis got us both a full sized falafel with everyhing and two beers. The falafel was beautifully balanced in its seasoning, not overpowered by cumin as our American falafels tend to be, and it was crisp outside without being hard, and tender inside without being gloppy. And "everything" really was, even fries were used as toppings.

The next evening, after our feet had time to recover from our Shrine of the Book adventure, we found a place near Independence Park called The River Noodle Bar, where we had a lovely beef noodle soup with a hard cooked, deep fried egg. No, not pho - the stock held the spicing characteristic of Korean food, with strong hints of sesame.

The following evening we dined at a place called New Deli, a bit like Subway, but even here, the chicken for Morgan's sub was grilled to order and the pastrami tasted like top-flight Chicago pastrami.

Also, the fleishig cafeteria at Yad VaShem does an awesome beef stew.

Final Verdict: the food is better here.

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