Now and then while riding the Jerusalem Light Rail, someone will hop aboard the train carrying a small list of stops. There are twenty-three on the “Red Line” and most West Jerusalem passengers are familiar with at least thirteen. The train clearly announces each stop along its route in Hebrew, Arabic and English but rookie riders seem to derive a heightened sense of security by checking their list as they go. I did the same when Marcia and I first began riding; unlike most Jerusalem bus routes, if not alert, one can easily ride the Red Line beyond the Green Line into unfamiliar territory.
Yesterday, on the train into town from Mount Herzl. I noticed a couple seated across from me consulting their station list. They would murmur to one another after each stop so, after I volunteered to assist them with “native insight,” we struck up a short conversation. They were visiting Canadians, recently returned to Jerusalem from Petra, in Jordan, intent that day to tour the perhaps more popular tourist spot, Jerusalem’s famous Machane Yehuda Market, better known as “the shuk.”
Among other things, my new Canadian friends were wondering, “Might we find a good place to eat?” I explained in duller language that looking for food at the shuk is like hunting for sand at the sea shore then advised them not to stop at the first place they found.
We left it at that but, being the sort to reminisce at length about large portions, edgy settings and entertaining circumstances, I thought back to my last restaurant meal in the Machane Yehuda area; the Burger Market on HaArmonim Street. It’s a little off the beaten path and worthy of a blog post, in my opinion, not just for good food but because the experience was so Israeli.