Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 7 Cont. - Havdallah and Fine Dining

We concluded our Shabbat with a Havdallah ceremony overlooking the Old City from hotel.  It was a view from the pool to be specific.  Admittedly, we did havdallah a little on the early side, which may have unnerved our fellow Orthodox hotel guests, but between the lapping of the water, the breeze, and the harmonious melodies, it was a great way to say farewell to our one and only Shabbat in Israel.

A view from the hotel overlooking the Old City
Following that a group of us went to a restaurant called Eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus is located just outside the walls of the Old City.  It's "menu focuses on the foods indigenous to the land of Israel, and dishes are made with natural local ingredients."

Chef Moshe Basson has attempted to recreate or at least re-imagine a biblical menu.  Each menu item has a story including the lentil soup which was inspired by the story of Jacob and Esau.  We attempted the seven course tasting menu.  And by attempt, we could have tried the 12 course or 15 course menu.  It was a meal for foodies and casual diners alike.  My favorite was the chicken stuffed figs with tamarind sauce.

Of course the evening was not complete without Chef Basson grabbing one of our fellow trip members Sheryl and having her bless the chicken and rice dish in dramatic fashion.  It was a singularly unique and wonderful dining experience.

This is a significant change from my experience of Israel fourteen years ago where fine dining was only just starting to make a dent in the Israeli experience.  Now amazing restaurants abound throughout the land.  I just hope one day Anthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel's No Reservations fame becomes brave enough to travel to Israel.  He has already been to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.  And there is simply too much good for in Israel for him to pass up dining in the Holy Land.

You can find out more information about Eucalyptus on their website.  I for one, await Chef Basson's cookbook, which I hear from Sheryl is coming out soon.

Eucalyptus Restaurant

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