Eating In Jerusalem With Dvir

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Eating In Jerusalem With Dvir

“Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer “Unknown

I am a foodie. Foodie is a cutesy word to describe the passion I feel when eating something wonderful. I particularly love the street food in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem.

The flavors are strong and the ingredients are the freshest.Eating on the streets of Jerusalem involves all your senses. You see, hear and smell the food being made.

Fate and the Internet connected me with Dvir Hollander as our guide in Jerusalem. It turned out that Dvir was also passionate about street food and knew exactly where to go and when. (hollander2000@gmail.com)

We met at lunchtime and we were hungry. When Dvir recognized that we were kindred spirits about food, he described himself as a “ friendly dictator” when it came to where we should eat. We walked through the New Gate and entered the Old City in the Christian Quarter. Immediately we were on the Via Dolorosa listening to the Muslim call to prayer. Our lunch was vegetarian at Lina restaurant. In Israel, the chick pea is clearly the most important legume and the main ingredient of hummus. Everyone has their favorite hummus place in Israel but to me, eating it in the old city is always the best. There is freshly baked pita. It smelled like it came right out of an oven nearby.

Everything we ate at Lina was amazing and we followed Dvir like sheep when it came to food from that point on.

We stop for some halvah near the seventh station of the cross. Halvah means sweet in Arabic. It is a tahini based candy made from sesame butter. I have to admit that I had grown up on packaged halvah and hated it. One trip to Turkey changed my mind about halvah and I loved this fresh one from Al-Amad with its dense, flaky texture and nutty sweetness.

We needed caffeine and Dvir took us to Abu Mussa in the textile market for some thick grainy sweet Turkish style coffee with cardamom. I forgot how much I love that coffee. The taste brings back the memories of being here for the first time with my college friends Susie and Kiki.

At Dvir’s recommendation we have dinner at Chakra. Chakra is a trendy seafood inspired restaurant with fresh-baked focaccia off King George street.

It is delicious. I was hoping to go to Machneyuda the celebrity chef restaurant in the Machane Yehuda Market but even the best concierge and tour guide can not get you in that week so make reservations before you go.

Our second eating day started at Jaffar Sweets for freshly made Knafeh. It is neon orange shreds of phyllo dough drenched in syrupy sugar rose-water and filled with gooey, salty. warm goat cheese.

Knafeh is a favorite at Ramadan and now also a favorite of mine. It’s a must eat in the old city.

I had a blood sugar drop so we stopped for quick, incredibly delicious lamb kabobs from A Shaab.

Kabob is taken seriously in the Arab Quarter and each restaurant has their family recipe for preparing it.

I was not leaving the old city for Yad Vashem and the Israeli Museum without falafel. Israelis feel as strongly about their falafel as they do about their politics. We get falafel and hummus from Abu Achmed. The falafel which is made of chick peas is right out of the fryer – hot and crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Of all the falafel I have eaten in Israel, these are the most special.

The hummus (because you need chick pea sauce to put on the chickpeas) is outstanding. It comes with a lemon tahini sauce that would be great with anything. The taste of the freshly baked pita bread makes everything even better.

We drink fresh pomegranate juice and more cardamom Turkish coffee from Haj Faraj. We relax for a few minutes and enjoy the coffee and his hospitality and more sight-seeing.

It’s clear that in a few days I have become addicted to roasted Arabic coffee with cardamom.The scent of coffee from the Sandouka  brothers shop is overwhelming. I buy some to take home.

The fragrant smell of spices wafts through the air as Dvir takes us to Sea of Herbs. Sea of Herbs is run by two Palestinian brothers Isaac and Jacob. They sell spices, herbal teas, health and wellness products and natural remedies. As we watch Jacob expertly mix the spices, we are brought into his world of remedies and flavors and buy many things to try at home.

Today’s lunch is at Arafat. Everyday this tiny restaurant serves up a surprise meal. It is a no choice, simple, delicious menu. When the lunch is ready, queues appear out nowhere. When they run out of food, lunch is over.Today’s meal was lamb meatballs in a tomato broth (kefta in Greek) vegetables, rice and hummus. It was filled with local people and in the know tourists.

Summers in Greece when I was young have made me a bit of baklava snob but I am alway hopeful. it is the world’s most famous middle Eastern/Mediterranean dessert. Many countries take credit for baklava. It is filo dough drenched in sugar syrup or honey. We stop at Alaseel Sweets for a bite of the delicious pastry on our way out of the old city.

There is much conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis. The links between food and peace are easy to see with people living in conflict areas. Traveling, eating fresh, local food in the Arab market and looking in the eyes of people who prepare the food makes you believe that human beings do have the capacity for peace. Thank you Dvir for including all this delicious food in our visit to Jerusalem.

Fly safe,
JAZ

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Top Ten Coffee Travel Moments

“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion.  Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind.  The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition.  Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with gun powder. “

Honore de Balzac

Top Ten Coffee Travel Moments

I realized by writing this blog that I am addicted to caffeine. There are way too many references to coffee.  It is the only vice I have left.  I thought I would embrace it by writing my top ten coffee travel moments.

!. I am seventeen and in Europe for the first time.  We  are  in CERVINA in the Italian Alps. There is a cappuccino bar that we go to every morning and have fresh cappuccino before a day of skiing. It is pre cell phones and Starbucks.  The only cappuccino  you got in NY  was in the Italian restaurants  after dinner.  There was no decaf cap. Cappuccino every morning was as big a deal as skiing in the Alps for the first time.

2.   The island of SANTORINI in Greece is where i am spending my twenty third summer.   I am staying at my friend’s house on a mountain overlooking the sea.  It is one of those  Santorini white houses with blue tile.  We have to walk halfway down the mountain every morning to have coffee and fresh bread with butter and honey, at a café run by a family that doesn’t speak English. Santorini was  not the five-star  tourist destination it is now but it always had five-star views of the sea, volcano and black sand beaches. .  “kafe me gala  sketos parakalo” The grandmother always dressed in black would smile at my bad Greek pronunciation and bring me my coffee. They used condensed milk all the time with coffee and I love the taste.  I think they wear black  because someone in their family close to them has died – usually they are widows.

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3.  My daughter who is twelve and her tap company have performed at the Cuban Ballet Festival throughout Cuba.  We are driving back to HAVANA from Santa Clara.  Since Petrol is scarce, members of the Columbian Ballet Company are sharing the bus with us. We get back around five and I have a serious lack of  caffeine headache.  I invite the Columbian dancers who I have spoken to in bad Spanish  for a coffee at the hotel.  I order a double espresso and drink it down  like I am doing a shot of tequila.   First they stare at me and then they laugh and do the same.  We start by drinking espresso shots –we move on to Mojitos. No one slept that night. (Cuba,Jim Kane)

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4. We have arrived at the SACRED VALLEY in Urubumba, Peru.  We are spending the night at the beautiful Sol Y Luna  hotel and the altitude is 9000 feet. (2400 m)  It is our first night in the Andes.  I start to have this headache and feel dizzy. As we are going to our rooms someone says to me, “Be careful, the headache is the first sign of altitude sickness”.  I go right to the worst case scenario.  I remember my mindfulness training as I am going into high anxiety mode. I investigate the feeling in my body and think it isn’t that severe. It feels like a lack of caffeine headache.   I remember I didn’t have coffee that afternoon. I relax and go right to sleep. I wake up early and have a wonderful Peruvian breakfast  of yogurt , fruit, kikucha cereal ( grain like quinoa) and coffee. No more headache.

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5. I usually hate instant room coffee.  But in PANAMA it was really good. It is called Puro and I brought some home.   I have a confession. I kind of like non dairy creamer   Sometimes your diet needs a few chemicals.  I got up every morning in  Gamboa  to watch the sunrise over the rainforest and had a coffee while lying in a hammock on the terrace.

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6. Anna and I have spent the day on  the island of NAOSHIMA in Japan.  It is the island that Tadao Ando has designed and dedicated to art and nature.  There are museums, outdoor sculptures, galleries and installations in houses throughout the island.  It is a bit like a scavenger  hunt trying to see everything.  But we did it. We are at a small  ferry at the other end of the island that locals use to head back to the mainland . I am looking for coffee. We see something that looks like it might be open. We walk in. There is cool music and magazines and interesting furniture and art . It is  like a Japanese Greenwich village coffee-house  on this little island street.  We can’t believe our luck.  We have coffee and wait in this beautiful restaurant for the ferry and talk about our amazing day.

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7. I had been  in the  incredible  city of VENICE for a few days with my daughter and a friend. My son arrived after traveling around Europe alone.  He had a lot to say and wanted to have  a coffee in Venice and talk about his travels. We sat in a café on the canal and he told me his stories. I was happy sitting there listening to him  and I could hear  that he loved to travel as much as I did.  Family travel moments are few and far between now. It was a beautiful trip.

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8.  It was my first day in ISTANBUL. I had shopped at the Grand Bazaar with my guide for the day Renan.  We stopped for lunch.  We met  carpet salesmen from Los Angeles.  Suddenly, it didn’t seem so far away.  This was my first experience with Turkish food. Hot yogurt soup and something with my favorite vegetable –eggplant.  – delicious. I had my first Turkish coffee. (a lot like Greek coffee) I loved the thickness and the feeling of the grounds in my mouth ( coffee that you can chew).  It isn’t bitter either so I am able to drink it without milk. She read the coffee grinds to me.  We used to do this in Greece. It was my first coffee fortune in a very long time.  It wasn’t bad. My next one wasn’t great. So I stopped doing it and just drank the coffee.

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9. I am in EDINBURGH, Scotland for the Fringe Festival. My daughter is performing there with her high school theatre group. In the summer, walking down the Royal Mile is crazy. Everyone is in costume and giving out flyers and performing and begging to get you to go their shows. The Starbucks is right at the beginning of the Royal Mile, next to the Fringe Ticket Office. I meet a friend for coffee after picking up some tickets. We are surrounded by Vikings and Elizabethans all having cappuccinos and lattes. In fact, only the barristers are   dressed in modern-day clothing.  I felt  a little underdressed.

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10.   A few weeks ago, I was walking down Portobello Road in LONDON with my college friend Suzie.  Suzie was the first person I traveled around Europe with . We were about eighteen. We lost touch after college but reconnected  a few years ago through the magic of facebook.  We were both going to be in London at the same time. We aren’t looking for vintage clothes like we used to  (and still do) but vintage housewares.  It is freezing out. We go into a coffee house and see a long queue. It is called the Coffee Planner. The girl in front of me says it is the best coffee on Portobello Road and worth waiting for. Suzie buys an unbelievably good sandwich from a vendor outside and we sit and drink our coffees eating this sandwich.   Jayne and Suzie together again in Europe. ( St. Paul’s Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge)

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Do you have any good coffee moments?

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Turkey

.“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

Things I’ve Learned  In Turkey

It’s hard to find turkey in Turkey ( but I found one in a cage at the caravanserai on the silk road).

Skembe (tripe soup) is a popular hangover cure.

If a hotel  in Turkey has a good personality, it is not five-star.

The tulip originated in Turkey and was exported to Europe during the Ottoman Empire. There are tulip tiles in many of the old mosques. (Rustem Pasha Camii , Istanbul)

In some villages, if a girl doesn’t know weaving and a man cannot make pottery, they shouldn’t get married.

Most Christians were illiterate in the time of Constantinople.  Now Turkey has a literacy rate of one hundred per cent.

Fresh Turkish bagels in Istanbul are better than Jewish bagels in New York. Pastirma is Pastrami in Turkish. It does seem strange having amazing pastrami and bagels  in Turkey. ( no mustard or cream cheese)

The world’s tallest man is Turkish (8 feet 1 inch).

Turkish toilets are like Japanese toilets.

Hillary Clinton and I both stayed at the Lugal in Ankara,

People can go into any mosque in Turkey.You do not have to be a member of a mosque –even on the Bayram  (high holidays).I happen to be in Istanbul on the Bayram ( last four days of the Muslim calendar). On the first day ( while many  Muslims are in Mecca) according to the story of Abraham sacrificing his son, livestock is slaughtered and shared with the poor, friends and relatives.  Traditionally the skins are given to the Turkish Airforce to make jackets.  Every part of the lamb must be used for God.  It is a holiday for visiting the sick, elderly, honoring the dead and giving to charity.  It is a bloody day in the villages.   I ate some amazing lamb meatballs wrapped in phyla dough in honor of the holiday. ( Uc Serefeli Camii, Edirne)

There is no such thing as buying too many leather jackets in Turkey. Everything is best quality and best price. (www.kircilar.com.tr)

The highest peak in Turkey is Mount Agri (5,166 m). It is also said to be the place where Noah’s Ark came to rest.(Mount Ararat)

It was in ancient Anatolia that writing was first used by people.  The first coin in the world was minted in Turkey as well.

Anatolia is the birthplace of Homer, King Midas, Herodotus and St Paul the Apostle.

Turkey is the only secular Muslim country among all the Muslim countries in the world. The thirteen countries surrounding Turkey are unstable. “You take Iraq, Iran and Syria and we will take your problems.”

Pide is Turkish pizza. Pita is not. (Nar Lokantsi restaurant, Istanbul)

It is better to read a book about Ataturk written by a foreigner because it will be unbiased. Turks worship him and rightly so – He is responsible for the way Turkey is today. (Ataturk memorial, Ankara)

Turks accidentally became Muslims. They started as shamans and encountered Islam on their way to Turkey.

Restaurants connected to gas stations in Turkey are delicious. Don’t try this in the U.S. (  If you are headed to the ancient  Greek city of Pergamon stop at Saglam Restaurant – Mehmet Saglam -Bergama)

We are luckier than the ancient Greeks because we got to take a cable car up a very steep hill  to  the Acropolis of Pergamon. We are also lucky that it wasn’t windy.

Turkish people take care of the old, sick and homeless in their families. If someone is homeless, the Turks blame the family for not taking care of them. If they don’t help them “they put them in the fire.” I think I saw one homeless person in the time I was there. Where was his family?

According to a Global Sex survey, Turkey is the world’s most virile nation.

I like the name Turkish Delight much more than the actual candy. I like the green m and m  pistachio candies a lot.

Don’t tell a Greek or Turk this but their food, dessert, liquor , coffee, evil eye jewelry, prayer beads, backgammon sets and seaside resorts are very similar.

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If you are a woman, the only establishments that you need to be aware of are the Turkish tea houses. If you are in doubt look around and see who else is in there.

Some hotels in Turkey have airport security. Airports have double security, first to come into the airport and then to go on the plane.

A hotel that cannot be run worse can have a restaurant that can be run best.

In a Hammam (Turkish baths), the Turkish women and children wear bathing suits. The foreigners do not . If you did not know this and you end up in a small hammam with Turkish families, it can be awkward.

It’s best to wear light slip on shoes when visiting mosques.

Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey.

You can still get on the 6:00  car ferry from Gallipoli across the Dardanelles to Cannakale if you arrive at 5:57. (Cannakale morning)

Azerbaijan looks like a nice place to vacation. They have a lot of commercials for tourism  on Turkish TV.

Zeus was born on Mt Ida. King Priam sent his son Paris there to grow up with the bears.

Turkish carpets have double knots which make them the strongest carpets in the world.  Seeing how carpets are made are a big part of Turkish culture.

Hand woven carpets are dyed naturally.  Red – rhubarb, pomegranate; brown –wet walnut, blue-indigo, yellow-saffron, orange-onionskin and green –sage. (gallerycappadocia.com)

The Turkish government subsidizes the carpet industry. Carpets are shipped  anywhere in the world for free. Yes, I took advantage of that and also the best price for a beautiful dowry rug. (made by a village girl)

The most valuable silk carpet in the world, is in the Mevlana Museum in Konya with 144 knots per square centimeter. In the 13th century, Marco Polo wrote “the best and handsomest of rugs are woven here, and also silks of crimson and other rich colors”.

Turks introduced coffee to Europe but they do not grow coffee. Their coffee is famous for the way it is prepared. One of the few words I learned in Turkish ( a very hard language for me) is “tsekeses” – no sugar.

The property rates for homes are quoted in dollars and not Turkish lira.

According to Turkish tradition a stranger at one’s doorstep is considered “A Guest from God” and should be accommodated accordingly.

Mother in-laws in Turkey are smart. They know they have to get along with the daughter in-laws.  Daughter in-laws in Turkey are smarter, they know they have to respect the mother in-law.

Turkey provides 70% of the world’s hazelnuts; the nut in your nutella was most probably grown in Turkey.

If you happen to be on the road to Iraq and Syria, stop off in Cappadocia.

In Turkey, you can change continents several times a day. In one day, you can be in Troy, Mesopotamia, Byzantium and Constantinople.

The most important thing to bring to Turkey is pants with elastic waistbands. The food is amazing. It is a combination of Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean.

The Famous Trojan Wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where a wooden statue of the Trojan Horse rests today. There is another wooden horse that was sold to the city of Cannakale (nearby) from the Hollywood movie Troy. I saw both fake Trojan horses.( Troy, Troy, Heinrich Schliemann excavation at Troy, Cannakale-Trojan Horse from the movie Troy)

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Part of Turkey’s southwestern shore was a wedding gift that Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra.

The are eight million Kurds living in Turkey. They are not all terrorists. The ones who are, control the drug trade through Turkey.

Iranians and Turks are not considered Arabs.

Gallipoli was the bloodiest battle in World War One.  It was an eight month campaign. In that time the total Allied deaths were 43,000. The total Turkish deaths were 63,000.  Many Australians and New Zealanders died there. (ANZAC forces) Many come to Gallipoli on April 25 which is ANZAC day. I met a few Australians in Cannakale who had come to see it. There are many memorials and cemeteries in the Gallipoli memorial park. (ANZAC memorial, location of fighting).

Quote on the Ataturk Memorial at Gallipoli ” Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”  Ataturk 1934

Whirling dervishes fascinate me. Belonging to the order of Sufism, they dedicate themselves to a life of poverty and spinning around.   They detach themselves from the here and now, to reach a state of religious ecstasy that I think can be achieved in easier ways.  Also, whirling dervishes are slow.

Turks do not throw their own garbage away in Starbucks or McDonald’s.

The opera and the ballet are state-owned and not as popular as soccer.

There are no images in mosques because God is unseen. The ban on images of people led to the development of the detailed and beautiful calligraphy that is the principle adornment of mosques and other Islāmic religious items. (Eski Camii, Edirne, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Sokullo Mehmet Pasa Mosque, Istanbul)

The only thing you have to do in Turkey is accept a drink every time it is offered. ( This will  happen in every shop you walk into. It is very time-consuming but pleasant -especially if you like apple tea or Turkish coffee).

for more info see

Top Ten Favorite Things in Turkey

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/my-top-ten-favorite-things-in-turkey/

Things I Have Learned In Istanbul

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/things-i-have-learned-in-istanbul/

Top Tem Meals In Turkey

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/top-ten-meals-in-turkey

Things I Have Learned in Ephesus

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/all-roads-lead-to-ephesus/

In Ruins

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/in-ruins/

I am “very good lucky” to have been on this trip.

Tsekkeru Edarim Turkey,  Fly Safe ,

JAZ