The most magical time to be in Jerusalem is for Shabbat. On Friday afternoons the energy is palpable as families race around running errands before sundown. On Saturday morning, all is quiet. No one sets an alarm, the usual harried routine is put on hold and the day promises rest and relaxation.
I was so happy to be there for Shabbat on this recent trip. On Friday morning my cousin and I took full advantage of the Open House Jerusalem festival and explored a beautiful private home in Yemin Moshe and took a guided tour of the new youth hostel downtown, The Post. We stopped for an ice Aroma at Mamila in between, of course.
After a packed morning, we made our way to Bezalel Street to meet a friend for lunch. As we passed the "I Heart Jerusalem" sculpture, we couldn't resist snapping a photo.
Bezalel Street is always buzzing on Fridays because they host a craft fair every week. The vendors are set up on one side and the other side is lined with cafes, all with outdoor tables and umbrellas.
We sat down and I was excited to review the menu.
It was a hot day (around 80 degrees) so we each wanted something cold to drink. I ordered an ice tea (my usual) and my cousin ordered an ice coffee.
I love the way ice coffee in Israel is really 40% milk. They don't even bother to stir it!
The friend joining us for lunch decided on the panini sandwich with feta cheese, eggplant and pesto.
She said, "This was such a generous portion! The sandwich was toasted just perfectly." While we munched, she was filling us in on her current internship, which is with the Israel Story podcast. It's basically Israel's version of This American Life.
My cousin, a regular at Cafe Bezalel, went with the Norwegian breakfast. It's two pieces of brioche, topped with spinach, sunny side up eggs, salmon and Hollandaise sauce.
She described the dish as, "This bread is thick and buttery and the eggs are cooked just the way I like them. The spinach is fresh (never frozen) and the Hollandaise sauce is creamy, but not too rich."
I chose a menu item that was sort of breakfast, sort of lunch, called the omelette and gouda sandwich. Ever since I studied abroad in Spain, I really miss omelettes in sandwiches. The tortilla sandwich at Mama Leone in Cordoba, Spain used to be my jam. Whenever I see this kind of sandwich on a menu, I have to have it.
Cafe Bezalel's version was on delicious, seeded bread. I loved that they put pickles inside the sandwich. I also really enjoyed the Israeli salad on the side.
My only gripe was that I couldn't really taste the gouda. Gouda is such a strong tasting cheese, that they must have put the tiniest slice in there.
We sat outside enjoying our meal for at least two hours. The people watching was amazing and my cousin saw four people she knew, so our lunch included a revolving door of excited hellos and hugs.
I loved Cafe Bezalel and the vibe of the whole street. It was fun to go on Friday afternoon, our final outing before heading home for Shabbat.