I know you enjoyed my Tel Aviv post last week and the majority of emails and comments were about the market.
Since you were so enthralled with the Tel Aviv market, I am going to tantalize your taste buds again with the markets in Jerusalem.
Our centrally located Hotel Leonardo in Jerusalem was only a 10-minute walk to the walled Old City that has the Old Souk market. It was strange walking through the hallowed gates of the birthplace of three of the most important world religions and one of the first sites is an ATM machine. It was a chaotic mix of vociferous vendors hawking their wares, covered up women sitting on the ground offering fresh herbs and grapes for sale, and large groups of tourists navigating the multi-level ancient stone passageways.
Of course we were again seduced by the spice merchants and bought even more spices, now accumulating enough for the next 20 years. We also did a little souvenir shopping, and as with all mid-east souks, it’s all about the negotiation/bargaining. Vincent’s sister collects souvenir spoons, so we picked a typical one that usually sells for about 5 euros/$6.50 in Paris and most parts of the world. It was marked 20 euros and the salesman said he would give to me for 15. He claimed it had a mother of pearl handle on it, which I knew was malarkey and that it was probably made in China. I finally bargained to about 9 euros, which was still too much, but I gave in anyway.
Hungry from inhaling the numerous intoxicating smells from the stalls and also weary from our bargaining session, we went to a simple restaurant one of the shopkeepers recommended. We had the most delicious feast of the creamiest, smooth hummus, crispy but not greasy falafel, tomato and cucumber salad, and pickles for less than 20 euros for the both of us. Our waiter was most adorable and genuinely sweet.
On Friday morning we went to the Mahane Yehuda market, which is mostly a food market. Again, it was lively and chaotic, but even more so as people were scurrying to buy food for their Shabbat dinner that evening before the market closed. Shabbat is at sunset, so the market was only open till about 2PM, as sunset was at about 5PM.Challah loaves were flying off the shelves and rolling bakery racks had trays of rugelach, strudel, and babkas. Although we were tempted, we finally refrained from buying any more spices. There were tons of stalls selling fresh pomegranate juices along with sweet orange juice.
A friend of ours recommended going to a restaurant near the market and it turned out to be our favorite restaurant in Israel, (Thanks Amit!). Mahane Yehuda, the same name as the market, is a fun, lively restaurant serving modern and inventive Israeli food. The high spirits of the cheerful staff was infectious and watching the kitchen workers in the open kitchen was like watching circus acrobats except with food. The restaurant, like almost everything else in Jerusalem, closes right after lunch on Friday afternoon, so we were some of the last people there. It’s like a TGIF party and the waitresses at the counter were in a party mood, blasting the music really loudly and downing shots in between serving us. They offered us some (Oh, my god, we were doing shots at 1PM in broad daylight!) and we got right into the spirit. The food was superb, I had carpaccio (one of the best I’ve ever eaten) with some kind of sweet balsamic glaze along with sweet potato crisps, Vincent had a unique dish of ground meat topped with with the most flavorful mid-east spices, cutely served in a frying pan. For dessert we had a polenta cake a la mode with tahini ice cream. The cherry on top the cake of this delightful dining experience was when the check was delivered inside a ladies evening purse.
We were so smitten with Mahane Yehuda, we went back for dinner a few nights later and also to another restaurant Mona, with the same chef,which was also excellent.
10 Beit Ya'akov St., Jerusalem 94323
10 Shmuel Hanagid, Jerusalem
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 210 euros for up to 3 people, and 70 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am happy to announce the sale of a new set of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 20 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.