It is given out that, on my vacation I chose to fly to Israel and visit my child. So explanation is the whole ear of the internet rankly abused (h/t Billy S.)
When I found out that my child wished to go to Israel to learn for a year, I looked at the calendar, towards the yeshiva week break and I said, "Maddie, I intend, during mid to late January, to fly to Israel so I can try out the Brazilian Table at Papagaio's. You are free to see me while I am in country as long as you don't get your fingers too close to my mouth while I am at the restaurant."
I have fewer and fewer things on that "list of things I just have to do." I was a notary, I made turducken, I even got all the degrees I intended to. But ever since I heard of a place where the waiters just keep bringing meat, I knew I had to give it a go. This was last night.
A bit of gap filling -- yesterday afternoon, after coming back and drying off (somewhat -- in the midst of de-socking, the building's fire alarms started blaring. I, being a teacher, hurriedly got my whole family to take the stairs all the way down, stay quiet in line, and move out of the building. Israelis, it seems, react differently to fire alarms. The go INTO the building, take the elevator, and laugh and the shivering tourists who are standing without coats, waiting for an all-clear sign. We called the office and they assured us that we were idiots. We went back in). Then, our old friend Marci called and said she was in the area, so Julie and I braved the winds and rain to go to the shuk and sit with Marci and schmooze. It was very pleasant and, as we walked her back to her car, we passed The Techina King. If you don't know, techina is a paste made from crushed sesame seems. I know -- what WILL they think of next? I happen to be a techina fanatic so when I saw that they actually had a working millstone generating still warm techina, I went in and tried some. Normally, fresh techina tastes vaguely like peanut butter (another favorite of mine) and before one serves it, one mixes it with lemon juice, garlic, parsley and water. But their stuff was raw and yummy. The guy, whom I am assuming was the actual tachina king, though I hadn't realized that the techina needed any sort of governing agent, plied me with myriad flavors. I explained that I have a nut allergy but he assured me that there were no nuts in his techinas so I dove in (not literally). I tried nougat. It was delicious. I tried chocolate. It was delicious. I bought a bunch and we went on our merry way. When we settled in at another bakery to talk for longer I realized that I was having an allergic reaction -- while he might not have added in any nuts, the chocolate clearly had some. I popped a Benadryl and tried to move on with my life.
Anyway, a couple of hours later, Jeff O. picked up my family and drove us to Talpiyot for a meat feast that couldn't be beat (h/t Arlo). We were joined by parts of the Steve L. family (that's Senja, MMNE, Daniella and Zack (ne Spike)), the Jeff O. family (Dr. Sharon, Aliza and two linebackers who used to be Dani and Yoni), plus Rabbi Aaron. We segregated ourselves into two groups -- 1 doing all you can eat, and the other, women (Daniella went for the all you can eat; she bears watching, that one). They give you a little plastic thing with green on one side and red on the other. Leave it on green when you want more food, and move it to red when you want to take a break. We never touched it. They then asked us how we like our meat. Most of the table said "medium rare" and I said "medium well." The wait staff then proceeded to ignore that and bring us whatever they had. Veal medallions, chicken legs, london broil, turkey breast, entrecote, ribs, liver, and who knows what else, plus dips and salatim. Wings were a side dish. A side dish.
So I ate. A slice of this, a piece of that. Yes, I tried the liver. Completely unnecessary. The waiters came over and served, and then we ate. Repeat. Eventually and one by one, we cried uncle and sat and watched while our betters kept eating. I set no records. I ate a reasonable amount and then decided I was done. It was nice. One problem I had was that there was often a gap between services so I just sat around, bored. Couple this with "I got 1 hour of sleep lst night and I had a Benadryl a few hours ago" and you have a recipe for Dan falling asleep at the table, repeatedly.
As to the food. It was good, I guess. All those different choices are amusing but, ultimately, not what I was going for in a dinner. I want a hunka hunka burning steak. That way, I know what I am paying for, and when I am done with it. If I am hungry after a steak, I feel good about myself and my stomach' firm resolve. If I am not, I feel good about myself in that I had a great meal. Either way, I find the idea of a unified meal somehow more enticing than eternal appetizers and carving stations. But it was interesting. We split the bill (which took many doctorates and smartphones) and paid up. Jeff drove us back and I collapsed. Up at 4:30 but only for a short time, and then actual sleep for a bunch more hours. I have heard of worse.
I was warned that I would not want meat for a day or two afterwards. I find that that is in error. In fact, I do not want food, but I have no specific aversion to meat. So there.
Papagaio's is now marked off on my list, I have 2 pails of techina to go through, the wind is whipping up something awful outside, driving rain and wet snow down on the unfortunate souls who chose not to hide in their apartments, and I still have not graded the 65 papers I schlepped with me.