Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Eating in Jerusalem, restaurant reviews

Before I get started on the "saga" part, I must follow up on some promises I made.

About a month ago I met a friend for dinner in Jerusalem. Since I had to go to Rivka's book store in Binyan Clal afterwards, I looked through the Machene Yehuda Shuk (open market) for a restaurant. If you haven't been there the past couple of years, you probably think I'm nuts, since it wasn't not known for anything more exotic than felafel, but there have been changes. It has gotten rather trendy with fancy cheese stores, boutiques--ladies' fashions, pastry shops and more.

Near my favorite boutique, where I bought a great red linen jacket last summer, I discovered a dairy coffee shop restaurant, with kosher certification. It's close to Agripas and Egoz streets. It seemed ok, so we met there. The waiter and owner apologized that since it was the end of the day, specializing in brunch and lunch, there wasn't much left:
"My wife cooks everything fresh every
morning, and she went home already."

No problem. They had just what we wanted, quiche and salad. It was delicious. I'm sorry that I can't give you the exact name, but if you enter Egoz from Agrippas, it's on the corner of the first street parallel to Agrippas.

Now for something I "promised to do" a few months ago.
There's a French pastry-coffee-sandwich place on King George Street, near the plaza where the Carvel once was, by the Lev Yerushalayim apartment-hotel. My parents loved eating there when they were in the hotel, and a few months ago I started getting sandwiches and salads there when I needed a quick, inexpensive meal in Jerusalem. I was glad to find a spot so convenient and tasty. Then one time when I was sitting in one of the tables in the back, I noticed a worker smoking. He had his lit cigarette, and he walked right past me, from the bakery, passing the breads and cakes, stacked in trays to the storage side. Then he passed by again.

I suddenly remembered that a couple of visits ago, I had to ask a worker to stop a customer from smoking while eating. She was very polite and did it, but this was more serious. I spoke to a woman who seemed to be in charge. First she denied it. But I insisted that she had also seen him wandering around with the cigarette in his mouth.
"He's not a customer; he's the cleaning
help, so what's the problem?"

I didn't find that very comforting and told her that I won't be back, and I'd be writing about it. I'm more disappointed that I'm now boycotting her shop than she is. Over the years I've walked out of restaurants, explaining to whomever is in charge:
"I would have gotten food here, but I'm not,
because of the staff's smoking."

If more of us do it, we can make a change.

Now for something much more recent:
Last night my daughter took me out for my birthday. (OK, it was over a month ago, but we're very busy.) We went to a new restaurant, Italian (meat, not dairy), 41 Derech Beit Lechem. It's a bit far from the center of Jerusalem and the bus station, but I really wanted to see the area, since it was the location of Machon Greenberg where I studied in my "aborted" year in Israel. When I was there in 1969, it was a sleepy Jerusalem neighborhood with large, old buildings and a couple of tiny stores. Now it's part of the trendy "German Colony" with lots of fancy stores and restaurants. I tried to get the feel of my student days, but honestly, it was gone, unrecognizable.

Oh, and how was the restaurant, RAGU? Fantastic!
(no internet site on the discount card, but here are the phone numbers 02-673-0760, 054-204-5610, since it may be a good idea to reserve, especially if you're a large group)


Wormie said...

Better late than never...Happy Birthday!!!!

Batya said...

Thanks, did I tell you that I finished another hat?