Everything But The Kitchen Sink - Israel 09 Edition, Part Echad

So, apparently the following analogy holds true: Miss Menu postings is to Summer as oil is to water. I can't believe that it's been 2 months since my last post. I am officially a foodie slacker! But, I'm back from another amazing trip to Israel, and I'm hoping that this post will get me back into the swing of things.

Like my trip last summer, I met an incredible group of people, I learned so much, I saw great sights, and I also managed to eat my way through the country! Here's a brief photo recap of some of the culinary highlights of the first leg of my trip...

Falafel/shawarma places are a dime a dozen in Israel - like pizza joints in NYC. Some are just average, but when a great one comes along, it's definitely picture-worthy! Enjoying a falafel laffa with RT and MB at Falafel HaMelech (The King of Falafel, so apropos) in Jerusalem:

The entire trip, everyone kept talking about this bakery called Marzipan. I always envisioned it as a place that sells marzipan as I know it. Boy, was I wrong! This Marzipan is a bakery that specializes in chocolate rugelach. They are constantly cranking out huge baking sheets of this chocolatey, gooey goodness, but also sell fresh challahs, bagels, babkas, and other breads and baked goods.

They sell the rugelach by the kilo, and will even freeze containers for you to take back to the US. EG was nice enough to share a few with CD and me :)

Fresh-baked focaccia at Focaccia Bar in Jerusalem...so simple, yet so delicious. All it had on it was a little olive oil, sea salt, fresh garlic, and basil.

CD, AM, KK, RL, RT, and I spent an afternoon exploring the shuk (market) in Jerusalem and saw some great foodie sites!
Olives...Israel's symbolic, miracle fruit:
Pitaya (aka dragon fruit) is definitely the most unusual fruit I've ever seen. The photos don't do its colors justice!

Shrooms, anyone?

Zatar pita

Crazy selection of nuts and dried fruits

RT picked a fantastic restaurant called Mona for our last dinner out in Jerusalem. A 20-person dinner doesn't always go smoothly, but this one could not have been better! Had to get a Reloaded '08 girls pic...so cute!
RT and MB ordered a whole fish...tastes so good, but looks so gross!

I kept it simple with grilled chicken and veggies, and it was delish.

More of the crew...MR, AM, MB, me, and RT
I am always blown away by how incredible the produce and other foods are from a tiny country smack in the middle of the desert. And, I'm not even talking hummus or falafel...although I had PLENTY of those too! Stay tuned for Part Shtayim with a Tel Aviv/Haifa recap!