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Old 03-27-2009, 10:50 AM   #1
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My trip to Israel

I am back and getting back into the swing of things. My Israel trip was difficult at times and amazing at times. The work aspect of the trip was horrible. We worked very long hours in very uncomfortable conditions, but it was worth it for a free trip to someplace I have always wanted to go.

In this post I will mainly just discuss the food otherwise the post could go on and on and on.

I arrived Saturday morning. The country basically shuts down Fri evening to Sat evening. There are a few restaurants open and a few corner stores, but not much else. I was desperate to find some local food to eat after my long flight so I asked someone at the hotel where I could find a falafal stand. He said it would be hard to find one open on a Saturday, but then thought of one place that might be open about a 30 minute walk. I found the place and thankfully they were open. It was well worth the walk. The falafal was so tender and delicious and the hummus was amazing. It was a great first meal and that and a coke (made with sugar, not corn syrup) cost me about $4. My belly was very happy.

The rest of my group arrived later in the day and we all went out to dinner together. The women in the group were not adventurous eaters. Someone else in our office had recommended an Italian place not far from where we were staying. I really did not want to travel all that way to eat Italian food, but I was not going to argue. It turned out to be a great restaurant and I did well by ordering a local fish. I do not remember what the name of it was, but it was a white flaky fish similar to cod or haddock. it was very tasty done with plenty of garlic and local olive oil. We also had a few bottles of local wine which was very nice as well.

Breakfast at the hotel was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. There wasthe typical American fare, but then there was also tons of different fish like smoked white fish, herring, lox, and many others. There were a variety of cheeses from soft white goat cheese to smoked aged cheeses. There were at least 10 different Israeli salads which had tomato and cucumber and different herbs and spices along with olive oil. There were 5 or 6 different types of olives. A huge bowl of hummus and another of tahini with about 10 or more differnt bread choices from pita to challah to croissants and on and on. There was a fruit table with Jaffa oranges (so good) and other exotic fruits. There were local dates which were so plump and sweet and sticky. I could not get enough of them. I am not someone who usually eats breakfast, but the first morning I had 5 plates full. It was great.

The next night we went to Jaffa for dinner. Jaffa is the town next to Tel Aviv and is one of the older parts of Israel at about 4,000 years. Jaffa is more Arab than Jewish, but it is still a good mix. A couple of our co-workers from Israel took us to this restaurant and ordered apps for us. Before we know it the table was covered in hummus, baba ganoush, olives, Israeli salads, the best lemonade I have ever tasted, and tons and tons of freshly baked flat bread. We could have not ordered anything else and walked out full. We did order main dishes though. There were some things on the menu like testicles from many different animals and some other interesting things. One of the main courses was lamb fat. I had considered getting that, but chose to go with the 5 meats instead. I do not remember all the meats, but there was lamb, beef, chicken, and two others. They were grilled shishkabob style and were amazing.

In Jerusalem we went to a restaurant in a very very old building. I have no idea what I ordered, but it was great. Like the place we went to in Jaffa, our host ordered a bunch of apps that filled the table. I had something that was like a fried dumpling with meat and spices inside. I also had some stuffed grape leaves that were the best I have ever tasted.

Even the bars we went to had great snacks. We had pretzels at one that were covered in sesame seeds. What a difference in taste that was. I could not get enough of them. Another time we were served a bowl of black olives. They were like the black olives you get here, but they were meatier and plumper and with about 1000x more flavor. They did not taste like a salty tin can. They tasted like olives. Man those were good.

My favorite eating though was getting falafal and shwarma from the street vendors. I would get that and then find a fruit stand (which they had every 10 feet it seemed) where they would mix you us any combo of fruit you wanted. My favorite what the banana leeche and coconut that I had. Everything was so fresh and delicious.

I am possibly going back in May and if I do I have some more places in mind that I want to eat of course. I greatly miss the food. It was a highlight (among many others) of the trip.

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Old 03-27-2009, 11:53 AM   #2
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Wow, it is so nice to welcome you home! Thanks for the great descriptions of the delicious food. Sounds like such a different world. I'm glad you had a safe trip and look forward to hearing more of your observations.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Sound like a tasty trip! Funny how on business trips, food is bulk of what you can experience about a place. I like to say that I have eaten all over the world.

I went to Mumbai, India 5 times this last year and saw next to nothing of the place. Sure ate at a lot of places, though.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:13 PM   #4
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GB - sounds absolutely wonderful!!!! Your descriptions put me right there!!! I could go for some of that fruit right now!
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:22 PM   #5
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Welcome back, GB. You made my mouth water. Sounds like you got to enjoy a lot of Israel's great fresh produce and other foods on your trip.

I could picture myself walking from food stand to food stand and having a ball.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qmax View Post
Sound like a tasty trip! Funny how on business trips, food is bulk of what you can experience about a place. I like to say that I have eaten all over the world.

I went to Mumbai, India 5 times this last year and saw next to nothing of the place. Sure ate at a lot of places, though.
Oh actually I experienced quite a lot of the country, but this thread was just about the food. I went to Jerusalem both at night and in the day. I saw the Western Wall as well as the Church of the Hold Sepcular (sp?) and all but two of the stations of the cross. I went to Yad Vashem (the holocost museum) which was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I went to the top of Massada and I floated in the dead sea. I saw the deserts and I saw the cities, both ancient and modern. For a business trip, I saw a lot.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:34 PM   #7
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Welcome back, GB. You made my mouth water. Sounds like you got to enjoy a lot of Israel's great fresh produce and other foods on your trip.

I could picture myself walking from food stand to food stand and having a ball.
The hardest part was getting full and not being able to fit more food in. I had been searching for shwarma, but having a hard time finding it. I found a falafal place and got a great falafal then walked across the street after finishing it only to find a shwarma stand. I was so full at the time that i could not eat another bite. I walked up and down the street for 2 hours trying to burn some of it off so that I could buy a schwarma, but just couldn't do it. That was thursday night. since everything was closed fri and sat I had to wait until sunday to go back to that schwarma place to get one. It was worth the wait though!
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:38 PM   #8
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The hardest part was getting full and not being able to fit more food in...

So much good food, so little time...
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:38 PM   #9
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Oh actually I experienced quite a lot of the country, but this thread was just about the food. I went to Jerusalem both at night and in the day. I saw the Western Wall as well as the Church of the Hold Sepcular (sp?) and all but two of the stations of the cross. I went to Yad Vashem (the holocost museum) which was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I went to the top of Massada and I floated in the dead sea. I saw the deserts and I saw the cities, both ancient and modern. For a business trip, I saw a lot.

That really sounds spectacular.
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:24 PM   #10
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GB, it sounds like a magnificent trip. Sorry the work part was so hard, but it sounds like you really made every minute count. Well done. Pictures?
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