Thursday, January 06, 2011

Old and New

Rochelle spoke to the concierge last night and he recommended a restaurant called Rossini in the Old City. It's in the Christian Quarter, just inside the Jaffa Gate, and specializes in French and Italian food. Right out of the taxi, I had someone coming up to me "yes, my friend, can I help you, my friend." "No, I'm not interested." "A guide? Are you looking for restaurants." "Go away," I told him. Meanwhile, Rochelle asked him something.

Eventually, we navigated the traffic and got in. It had Christmas lights and a Santa Claus, so I figured it was Christian. Someone had asked if it was kosher, but once I saw the shrimp cocktail, I knew the answer to that. Rochelle and I split two appetizers, and we both ordered the beef stroganoff. I actually liked it better than the goose at Colony, but the others weren't as thrilled with their meal.

Rochelle wanted to split some desserts, so I agreed to split the creme brulee with her, while dad and she would split the tiramisu. Unfortunately, they were out of tiramisu, but instead of one creme brulee, we got three small pot de creme, one of which was creme brulee, one espresso pudding, and the third mango custard. Rochelle wanted to know where the crepes suzette were. It seems that in all the confusion of telling the waiter to bring three spoons and who wanted what, she forgot to tell me that she wanted to change desserts, while the waiter thought we wanted the trio of desserts. I decided to ignore them all and eat.

I liked the creme brulee and mango. Rochelle ordered the crepes, which I didn't care for, particularly the vanilla ice cream, which I found cloying, but dad devoured.

Mom and Rochelle took a taxi back to the hotel, while dad and I walked from Jaffa Gate (only 20 minutes).

The plan for today had originally been to walk through the German Colony, but mom decided she wanted to visit the southern wall excavations and the city of David, so we did that instead. Lots of traffic as today was Coptic Christmas, and traffic was blocked for the Coptic Patriarch. Eventually, we made it to the Dung Gate. Thursday is one of the prime bar mitzvah days, and they had them all lined up. The bar mitzvah boy under a chuppah, with two musicians in front, with the family following and singing along. We watched a couple of them as they made their way to the Western Wall, and then we proceeded to the excavation.

We saw the road at the base of the Temple Mt and the massive stones from the portico that crashed on to it when the Romans destroyed the Temple. We made our way through the ruins of the Ummayad palace to the Hulda Gates, where dad and I walked up the original stairs of the Temple and stood at the threshold.

Then we made our way out and across the road to the City of David. We could see where they were currently excavating, and we eventually made our way to the overlook for "Area G," a 1st Temple Era house and fortifications. We didn't want to climb down the stairs and then back up, so we caught a taxi to Emek Refaim, near the German Colony and had lunch in Caffit.

I ate here maybe half a dozen times when I lived in the neighborhood, so I had recommended it. I had a wonderful cream of leek and potato soup, while mom and dad had tuscan vegetable soup, and Rochelle had the grilled eggplant. They all split the fried sweet potato patties, which they enjoyed immensely. Rochelle didn't care for the bread, but didn't know what other kind she might want, but in any case, she didn't like the other choice (black). Afterwards, dad and Rochelle browsed some stores while mom and I walked back to the hotel.

After that I took the bus to Yad Vashem. It was great to be back at Mt. Herzl. It brought back memories of 26 years ago, when I took this road to Moshav Bar Giora several times a week. Yad Vashem has been completely redone. I think I will have to describe it in a later post since I'm almost out of time. I don't know when I will have access to a computer again, but we leave for Ein Gedi in the morning. Tonight we're having dinner at Shanty, which used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Jerusalem. I hope it's still as good as I remember.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Yad V'Shem is very well done (and was seriously in need of an overhaul, particualrly with places like the Holocaust Museum in DC springing up. If I am not mistaken Moshe Safdi was the architect of the new Yad V'Shem. I particularly liked the way you would always come back to that central corridor and look back to the looping videos of the street scenes from some typical Polish Shtetl as if to give you a reminder of what was lost as you make your way through the Museum. Last time I was there, I was with Fred Rosenbaum (founder of Lehrhaus Judaica and eminent historian of the history of the Jews of the Bay Area.) Ever work with Fred or meet him? He's great!