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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bottle of Wine, Fruit of the Vine...

It's not my picture. I wish it was mine. I found this so I could send a good friend a picture of the Golan Heights. It's hard to imagine what the Golan means to us without seeing it, it's strategic heights, it's overview of the valley below, it's importance to Israel's water supply, and it's sheer beauty. Thanks to TrekEarth's photographers (link in the title) you can discover all kinds of pictures of Israel.

I've been there, years ago. I'd like to see it again. Our plans were to visit this summer, but Nasrallah's plans trumped ours. Instead, we've explored downtown Jerusalem, the quiet lanes of Baka, the Talpiot shopping district (ugly but useful), the Israel Museum, a variety of synagogues, the parks and the Tayelet, and almost every restaurant on Emek Refaim.

This week, we decided to try a restaurant we had not sampled before. The restaurant was 'Meat' a distinction that is second nature to observant Jews but for those who are puzzled by this: halachically meat and milk products are never combined in traditional Jewish kitchens. Hence, restaurants serve either 'milk' or 'meat' dishes. No spaghetti meatballs with parmesan in this culinary culture. There seems to be a tendancy in Israel to eat 'dairy' a lot, and the 'meat' is saved for Shabbat, special ocassions, or Argentinians. Texans and Aussies are a close second in the red-meat consumption arena, but no one beats the Argentinians, who I'm told don't even think of chicken as a meat. It's a bird, not meat. Meat comes on four hooves and is barbecued, if you hail from Argentina.

The restaurant was lovely, the osso bucco quite good but my son's salmon ravioli was to die for. Lots of garlic and herbs amidst the ravioli pieces which were generously stuffed with very good salmon. However, the bottle of wine sitting on the table was a Dalton Merlot. Without thinking, and being a lover of Dalton wines, when the nice waitress asked us what we wanted to drink, I pointed to the Merlot and said "That." My husband didn't object--he likes a good glass of red wine and figured I knew what I was doing. Some nagging little thought in the back of my head warned that I might have looked at a wine list first, and done some comparison shopping, but I was tired from the day's errands and ulpan and homework and feeling very self-indulgent.

Such self-indulgence comes with a price. The bottle of wine was excellent. Fabulous, and we took what we didn't finish home with us. Not only because it was excellent but because the one bottle of wine cost more than the three dinners we had with it. Gulp.

As I write this, a glass of that wonderful-but-pricey Merlot sits at my left hand, and I indulge in sybaritic sips, trying to make the pleasure last. A wine to remember.....a bill to remember, too. Well, you can't say we didn't do our bit for the economy this month. Dalton is up near the Lebanese border. If the cease-fire holds, then we'll take our long-delayed trip to the north, do what we can to bolster the shaky economy up there---and make a side trip to Dalton and maybe, just maybe, pick up a case of Merlot. To help the economy, of course.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yummmmmmmmmm. Bring some for us when we finally visit again. As that recipient of the picture, I'd always thought of the Golan as something akin to Ayers Rock or the White Mtns of California, stark, high, and barren--and without greenery! Glad its not at all what I imagined.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 7:22:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

I'll definitely bring some--it's almost impossible to find in California, and you guys will love it!

The newspaper today says its not so beautiful up north any more--word is that 50 years of forestation was burned to a crisp by Katyushas, which started fires almost everywhere they landed.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 6:09:00 PM GMT+3  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have faith in the Israeli spirit that there will again be a replanting to restore trees. Won't sadly be the first time! Still, I'd like to see if I can find some of that wine in California, just for the quest of it!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 7:59:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger בטל בששים said...

We just came back from the north, along with a case of Dalton Merlot 2004. (A case of 12 bottles costs NIS 550). While you're there, you should also go to Moshav Dalton, to visit the grave of Rabbi Yossi Haglili, one of my favorite rabbis from the Mishna (he was of the opinion that chicken is pareve).

Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 9:06:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger Jill said...

Cheers!!! Every now and again you have to throw caution to the wind and indulge in some of the pleasures of life...salude.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 at 12:34:00 AM GMT+3  

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