My first lunch out in 2014 was with my husband, Dave, to Jerusalem Organic Kitchen at the tip-top of Solano, right at the Alameda on the north corner. I suppose because it was my first time, I didn’t think to take any photos, which would have made a nice accompaniment. I will try to do better in the future. But here’s a photo I got from SF Gate via Google images. (Thanks, SF Gate!)
It’s one of those places where you order your food at the counter and they bring it out to you. The first thing we noticed was the cashier, who looked like a younger version of Alan Arkin. Dave ordered the skewer platter and specified that he wanted beef. The Arkin look-alike explained that the platter had three skewers—beef, lamb, and chicken. Dave pointed to the menu where it clearly read: “Lamb, Chicken, or Beef served with Rice or Couscous, and Jerusalem Salad.” The man shook his head and insisted that there was no choice involved—the platter consisted of one of each. Dave is pretty easy-going, so he accepted the combo despite the incorrect usage of a very common conjunction.
While I found a place to sit and got out my little notebook to start jotting down my impressions, Dave made use of the facilities upstairs. He reported his findings back to me upon returning: A handmade sign hanging in the restroom reads “Bathroom for washing hands and #1 only” followed by a smiley face. Heaven help the poor customer who climbs those stairs just to have to come back down again to search elsewhere on Solano for plumbing that could handle #2, to use the restaurant’s language.
While Dave and I were there, we were the only customers dining in, but a few people ordered take-out. Windows on two sides make for a sunny dining area that ends up being trapezoid shaped because of the building’s position on the corner. As far as decor goes, Dave noted that the place could use a coat of paint, but I thought it was cozy and appreciated the vase of tulips in one of the windows.
Our food arrived in 17 minutes, which seemed reasonable. Dave had ordered the most expensive item on the menu at $12.99, which is a little bit more than I would generally pay for lunch out. But he seemed to like it, and it was a generous if not huge portion. I thought my chicken shawerma was just as tasty and a better deal at $6.99.
There are many items to choose from, and they are all are capitalized on the menu, I imagine to show their importance. After all, it is a restaurant, and there’s nothing more important than food at a restaurant, is there? It’s mostly middle Eastern fare, such as falafel, dolmas, and babaganoush; but you can also order french fries, a variety of burgers (including the “Lamb Jerusalem Burger”), and a “Hebrew National Hot Dog” (their italics). I was curious about the chicken soup based on its description: “Chicken, Vegatables, and Wheat, Served with Pita Bread.” I’d seen this alternate spelling of vegetables, but I’d never encountered wheat in my chicken soup before.
Part of the fun in going out to eat for me is reading the menus. I suppose it is the editor in me who delights in humorous misspellings and enjoys the challenge of finding wayward apostrophes. But it also interests me how many ways the word hummus can be spelled in English, since it is transliterated from a language with a different alphabet. At Jerusalem Organic Kitchen, it’s Humos. How many ways can one spell hummus, do you think?
I will probably go back to Jerusalem Organic Kitchen one day, but I wouldn’t write home about it.
Wait, I am home, and I am writing about it. Well, you know what I mean.