Thursday, August 28, 2008

From Brooklyn to Jerusalem

It was success at the Jerusalem Beer Festival last night and, at 9:00 a.m. the following morning, I'm still on my high from our evening. Keep reading to find out why!

Yesterday was a busy day that started fairly early and ended pretty late. By the time we both got out of the apartment after doing our household errands, it was 3:00 p.m., and boy was our list long. We went to Talpiot to the baby gear store Mozezim. It's in the same complex as our Supermarket, so we figured we would kill two birds with one stone. I had one mission in mind - to show Pidgeon what we needed to get for the baby - and to get him on board with the expenditure.

So, I think we're going to go with the Bugaboo Cameleon baby carriage. Pidgeon absolutely LOVED it when he saw it. He called it the Space Age pram, which made me feel great since it's not cheap and I need him to also be okay with the price. He loved the adjustable handle bars, that you could clip a cup holder to the side of the handle bars, and how easy it seemed to be able to adjust and close it to store in the car. I'm still obsessed with the wheels and I absolutely love how huge the two front wheels are. With the cobble stone streets of Jerusalem, I think these will P"G do us well. We walked around the store a bit more and I pointed out some other items that I thought we'd need, and then it was off to do our food shopping. 

When we got to SuperSol, it was fairly empty. But, by the time we were ready to leave, it was ridiculously full and we ended up waiting on line for almost 30 minutes! That's torture for this pregnant lady, who was at this point on my feet for more than an hour. So, our neighbors had a baby girl in the beginning of August, and I offered to cook them a meal. They finally got in touch with me at the beginning of the week to accept the offer and so I needed to do some shopping. I'm not really used to cooking for vegetarians - especially ones with two little kids and a husband who is closer to vegan that vegetarian. I decided on a menu of edemame (for the protein), thai quinoa, fettucini with creamy peanut sauce (last time we were there, the kids were eating straight out of a jar of Skippy so I think peanut allergies isn't a problem in the family. Either way, I'm leaving the sauce separate) fresh corn and vegan brownies for dessert. I hope they like it!! We ended up spending over 800 shekel yesterday and we really loaded up our cart with foods for our new diet.

Now, this is why I absolutely love Israel. We were on line behind an elderly Israeli couple and in front of a Nun in full habit. I mean, she was dressed to the gills right down to her wooden rosary beeded belt. I was enthralled with her, and kept looking in her cart. I mean, how often do you get to see what a Nun eats? I think she was vegetarian too, she had a lot of fish but I didn't see any meat. Anyway, the elderly woman in front of us is towards the end of checking out, when she decides to check out what we've got on the conveyer belt. She then picks up our giant sized box of Bran Flakes and asks me something in Hebrew. I look at Pidgeon because I didn't understand the words she was using. Pidgeon smiled and translated to me. 

She asked if Telma Bran Flakes were good for "regular bowel movements." I had to cough to keep from laughing and then I told her that it was GREAT for regular bowel movements. Then she asked about the price, and I told her it was almost 20 shekel. She made a face, put down the box, and went back to her items on the belt. I guess 20 shekels for her isn't worth the investment in "regular bowel movements." 

We disagree.

By the time we got back to the apartment, my feet looked like bread rising out of too small loaf tins and I needed to sit down. But, we had lots to put away in the freezer, so with Pidgeon's help we got to work. Somehow, the evening started to fly by, and I still had to cook us dinner and then get ready to meet Pidgeon's brother at the Jerusalem Beer Festival.

We managed to get out of the house around 9:30 p.m. and it literally took every ounce of strength for me to rally to leave the apartment again. I was so tired from our shopping excursion that I really just wanted to pass out.

I'm glad we went though!

Somehow, we managed to find a spot right in front of the Begin Center, which is down the block from the old Tachanah Harekevet (Jerusalem Train Station) where the festival was being held. We made our way amongst the beer drinking set and I saw the line for the ticket sales and was shocked. It was really, really long and it looked like it would take us 30 minutes to just pay the 30 shekel combined entrance fee. I saw though, that there was a short line on the other side of the booth, so I made a beeline for it and forgot to take Pidgeon with me. He got a little scared for a minute when he couldn't find me, but then he saw me waving and came over. We were standing behind these two women with their 3 kids - all under the age of 8 - who were trying to get into the festival. It's not clear if they didn't want to pay the fee or if the ticket sales guy just wouldn't let them in because they were kids - but there was a lot of arguing. Finally, the women and kids left and we paid our fee and go in.

So, the festival wasn't anything exciting. There were a number of beer brands there and, of course, the typical larger ones you'd come to expect right up in prominent spots. I wasn't interested in Goldstar or Heiniken or even the Guiness. I was a pregnant lady on a mission - to find Brooklyn Lager.

I grabbed Pidgeon with one hand and using the other to take my pocketbook and try to shield my belly. It was a good thing I did because people were rowdy and drunk last night, and no one cared who they banged into! I got pretty jostled as I pulled Pidgeon around and through people looking for a Brooklyn Lager booth. We made our way past the terrible band playing on the stage and managed to find a Belgian beer booth. I checked out what they had on tap and noticed that they had a brand called St. Louis Premium in flavors of Strawberry, Peach and Cherry. Well, every single October in New York City, I head down to Heartland Brewery for their famous Pumpkin beer and it's heaven. So, I asked for a little, teeny tiny taste of the St. Louis Premium Peach for Pidgeon and I to sample. 

It was yum! I miss beer man. I'm hoping after the baby, P"G, I'll be able to find the St. Louis Premium Peach again. It was really delicious.

After we took a couple of cards with information about the beer, we decided to keep walking towards the end to see if there were any other beers I was interested in. As we headed out, I noticed a guy who looked familiar. I immediately knew who he was and was just praying he wouldn't recognize me.

No luck.

Of course, he stopped us and said that I looked very familiar to him. I debated whether or not to blow him off but I just played along. I told him how I knew him, introduced Pidgeon, played a little "catch up" and then I spied what I'd been looking for all night long!

A Brooklyn Lager booth!

Well, I couldn't contain my excitement. So, we said our goodbyes to the guy who made my summer experience at Camp Moshava a living hell, and we went over to the Brooklyn Lager booth. I could hardly wait patiently online for the people to get their beer and get away! Finally, it was our turn, and I told the guy how much I love Brooklyn Lager, how I've been looking for it in Israel for 2 years now, and how I wanted to buy a case.

Umm, he wasn't selling bottles. In fact, he wouldn't even give me one bottle to take home.

I was crushed! I asked him how come. I pointed to my bulging belly and told him it would be irresponsible of me to drink the beer now and how I wanted to have it as soon as the baby was born. He was sympathetic but the festival organizers said they couldn't give out bottles.

Makes sense. With that type of crowd, it's pretty dangerous to just hand out glass bottles. That could be a serious weapon!

I promised him I would just slip it into my purse and then leave right away. He felt bad and told me that he couldn't make the decision but his boss, a bald guy named Schachar as he put it, could. But, Schachar was no where to be found.

Meanwhile, Pidgeon's brother, his best friend, his girl friend and another chick showed up and I told them all about the Brooklyn Lager drama. Pidgeon's brother tried the Lager and wasn't too impressed with it, but he didn't hate it, which I guess was pretty good. We told them we were going to wait for Schachar to get back so they decided to go look around the festival.

We literally stood in front of the booth for 35 minutes. I kept looking at every bald man I could find, but no Schachar. Then Pidgeon told me that we had to leave since I had to go home for my shot, and I was just having none of that. I did not come this far - to have bottles of Brooklyn Lager at my fingertips - to leave without at least talking to Schachar. We went back to the guy at the booth and asked if Schachar had a cell phone number. Sure enough, he did! So, I called from Pidgeon's phone and asked him to come to the Brooklyn Lager booth ASAP.

Ten minutes later, no Schachar, and Pidgeon wanted to go home to do the shot. I thought this was defeat.

Until Schachar the bald man showed up and I literally pounced. Between Pidgeon talking in Hebrew, and me in English, we overwhelmed the poor man. He was so kind though and, for 20 shekel, gave me one bottle of beer that I had to slip into my purse. It was beautiful. I thanked him profusely, took his card so I could hound him to find out when they're planning on starting distribution in this Country, and we headed out. We ran into Pidgeon's brother at the ice cream stand and told him we were leaving, and about our success.

I was so happy, I think I skipped all the way to the car. The smile on my face was huge and I was so jubilant to have this bottle of beer. Even the shot last night wasn't as bad - although it did hurt and I did curse a lot - just knowing the beer was in my fridge was comfort enough.

Meanwhile, as we were icing up, my cell phone rang and it was a customer service representative from City Direct. Remember the folks I was telling you about the other week - how they're like Urban Fetch meets Fresh Direct? Well, they've just got fetchier!

Today, to celebrate the launch of The Breakfast Club they left me a "basket" of some of their offerings with a menu. The way this works is that you place an order with what you want in the morning, and they deliver it absolutely FRESH by 6:00 a.m. The menu was pretty impressive, with loads of different types of breads, milk, shokos, juices, pastries and Tal bagels! I think this is a great idea and, who knows, maybe in the next phase they'll add spreads/salads and maybe eggs. I'm keeping the menu as I think this will definitely come in handy once the baby comes and Pidgeon and I are just too tired to go out and get food/breakfast. Besides, it's cheaper than ordering a bagel from Tal bagels and I can always have shmears/salads in the house to put on the fresh bagels!

Well, my vegan brownies are done and need to be taken out of the oven. One thing down, three more things to cook to go!

Yom Tov from Baka!

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