A rather impromptu and welcome visit from fellow food gals, Katherine and Liz had me scrambling for ideas of where and how to spend a few hours in Jerusalem earlier this week. In the end it became obvious that none of us ever tire of Machane Yehuda, and that with the time allotted we were happy to explore more nooks and crannies of Jerusalem’s outdoor market, which is still exciting to me even though it is so close by.
Liz made her usual stop at Uzi-Eli’s gat juice shop to get warm with some of his spiced hot chocolate.
When Katherine arrived we headed into the Iraqi shuk to find some lunch. We chose a place tucked into the corner at the far end of the shuk, where the proprietor always sits outside beckoning to passers-by. Inside his unassuming looking eatery we were delighted to find an incredible variety of rice and vegetable dishes, as well as kubbeh soup, stuffed eggplant, and at least three kinds of ktzizot (meat balls). As soon as he opened the maqluba pot, we were all sold, and tucked ourselves into a corner table as the dishes began to arrive. Maqluba literally means upside-down, and it is another example of a dish I have seen much more in Jerusalem than I did in Tel Aviv because of its Iraqi origins (maqluba’s origins are disputed, of course, as with many dishes in Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisine). Usually it is made with meat, so I was delighted to find it offered entirely vegetarian, as a main dish.
After using the pitas to mop up any leftover sauce from the bamia (okra) and kzitzot, we headed over to Marzipan to peruse the sweets and pick up some chocolate rugelach. A month before Hannuka, the bakery already looks quite festive with sufganiot (traditional Hannuka doughnuts) and כדורי שוקולד – chocolate balls (you can read more about those Israeli treats in this article by Sarah of Foodbridge).
Tea at my place was next on the agenda. We sat around the space heater, sipping steaming cups of verbena as it began to pour. Thanks for coming to town, girls! Truffle hunting is next, so stay tuned….