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Friday, January 27, 2006

Photo Friday (Vol. LIV) ['hidden treasure' edition]

Sorry about how late this is going up today.  Zahava gave her blessing to my going out for breakfast with a few blogger buddies (Chayei Sarah, Ben Chorin and the visiting MO Chassid) at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem.  This was an incredibly generous gesture on Zahava's part because she is suffering with what I had last week... and I was leaving most of my pre-Shabbat chores over until I returned from Jerusalem (something that makes her bananas).

Well, I'm back... the Cholent is up... the dishes are washed (most of them anyway) and I can finally post a couple of pictures.

This Blogger breakfast we had is the second time this particular quartet has assembled for morning nourishment at this same spot in the trendy German Colony.  It seems our meetings are destined to revolve around MO Chassid visits to the holy land.

During breakfast Ben got a call from his lovely wife asking him to pick up some challah for shabbat.  This reminded me that my lovely wife made a similar request before I left the house.  Sarah was nice enough to recommend one of Jerusalem's hidden treasures; the Par Bakery on 'HaMagid Street' not far from where we were seated.

Not only had I never heard of this bakery, but in a million years I would never have found it without Sarah's able guidance.  You have to go up one alley off of Emek Refa'im and then turn left onto HaMagid which is essentially another glorified alley.  You walk past the back of several stores and houses and weave around road construction and a few creatively parked cars and there you are... a literal hole in the wall!  If you look closely you can see the spot just inside the doorway where these three anonymous bloggers had just been standing!
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Yes, this little hole in a stone wall is it... the famous Par Bakery.  I have a feeling that the two white nylon temporary signs are a recent move away from complete anonymity chic!

I wasn't impressed at this point but we ventured inside anyway.  As you can see here, it was much more impressive once we'd gone into the hole (/sarcasm):
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But as we inched further inside, some heavenly smells began to whisper promises of freshly baked things full of sugar and yeast!  But so far no bakery:
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Suddenly the corner was turned and We were looking into about 3 square yards of space surrounded by shelves and racks of challah, kugel and pastry.  You could comfortably fit about 5 - 7 people inside at any one time, but the closeness just added to the concentration of delicious smells and eye-catching comfort food.

Once inside you don't know where to look first, but I was fortunate to catch this artfully lettered sign (I ended up buying two of the Shgarless Challas):

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For this last shot I went back and stood in the doorway (the one in the second photo) and took in the Par Bakery in all its grandeur (note: my camera's auto-focus malfunctioned in this shot and inexplicably blurred the only 3 people present who blog anonymously!):

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I resisted temptation and only picked up the requested Challah and a chocolate coffee cake for shabbat morning (for the kids!!!).  If I can ever figure out how to get back to this hidden treasure, it may just become my new favorite bakery!

Shabbat shalom!
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Posted by David Bogner on January 27, 2006 | Permalink

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Looks good! Shabbat Shalom
-Faye

Posted by: Faye | Jan 27, 2006 3:36:33 PM

Oh it's Friday?? SHABBAT SHALOM!

Posted by: Lioness | Jan 27, 2006 3:44:01 PM

So typically Israeli, I love it!! Nowhere in America would you find a little hole in the wall place like that. Can't wait to hear how the shgarless challah tasted. Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by: Essie | Jan 27, 2006 4:03:41 PM

Shgarless Challa- I could swear that the last time I was in Israel some of the friendly street people were asking me for money for the bachurim or Shgarless Challa. Seriously.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 27, 2006 4:10:00 PM

mmmmm.... looks delicious. Let us know how that sugarless challah tastes...
Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: val | Jan 27, 2006 4:13:40 PM

I walk past this place all of the time. Yeah, the white signs are new. There used to be an old rusted metal one I think. I've noticed a 3lb difference in your little blue number - good job!

Posted by: John | Jan 27, 2006 4:15:18 PM

That's what I loved about Jerusalem - all those hidden alleyways and treasures. I am adventurous soul at heart and love to explore through a city. Mmmm, just looking at the picture of the challahs, is making me hungry. I just got a flashback to when I was at the University and we were all out late in the city one Thursday night. The buses stopped running, so we decided to walk back. Walking through Mea Shearim, the smells from the bakeries were all around us and as we tried to locate them and soon found them, they unfortunately would not succumb to our pleas to allow us to buy some of the delicious bread.

Posted by: jaime | Jan 27, 2006 4:31:46 PM

Amazing what you can find if you're a little adventurous! Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by: Regina Clare Jane | Jan 27, 2006 5:32:00 PM

You have put me into rugelach withdrawl. I will have to spend the weekend in detox.

Posted by: Alan | Jan 27, 2006 5:43:32 PM

Good Shabbes - and from the looks of those pictures, you will have a tasty one!

--EK

Posted by: Ezer Knegdo | Jan 27, 2006 6:49:46 PM

Nowhere in America would you find a little hole in the wall place like that.

Well, in Syracuse NY there's a similar little hole in the wall called the Columbus Bakery... just the aroma is fattening

Posted by: Ocean Guy | Jan 27, 2006 8:37:31 PM

Nowhere in America would you find a little hole in the wall place like that.

Actually I can tell you about a bunch of places like that, except if I did the secret would be out and then I'd have to kill you. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Jan 27, 2006 8:50:32 PM

Wow, what a fantastic place. Gut shabbos!

Posted by: Alice Bachini | Jan 27, 2006 8:56:13 PM

That looks absolutely fantastic! I love tiny, hidden places like that. Someday I'll have to go to Israel just to go hunting for adventures!

Posted by: Irina | Jan 27, 2006 9:55:23 PM

How dare you David! Now they are going to run out of sweet challot even earlier than they already do thanks to this post!

Posted by: harry | Jan 27, 2006 11:15:43 PM

I love little hole-in-the-wall off-the-beaten-path type of places. How very cool that you and fellow bloggers get together now and then. I have yet to meet a blogger! I would love to someday.

Posted by: Stacey | Jan 28, 2006 7:11:12 AM

Stacey, I thought you and Jack were old buddies. : )

Posted by: jaime | Jan 28, 2006 4:32:25 PM

Par (Pe'er) has another branch at the Shuk...equally delicious.

Posted by: safranit | Jan 28, 2006 7:12:06 PM

That place won first place in a Jerusalem Post article (by Gil and Netanya Hoffman) this past year, rating sufganiyot. I made the trek in search of the perfect sufganiya, since I was already on Emek Refaim street. Even after calling for directions, I drove around for about 25 minutes before finding it.
I was initially disappointed in the selection - after all that searching, it looked like they only had plain ones. Then they asked what kind I wanted, and I discovered that they filled them to order, on the spot! Unbelievable... and totally worth finding the place.
How were the chalot?

Posted by: Toby | Jan 28, 2006 10:47:28 PM

Wow, that's cozy! I wonder where they have any space to bake the bread, or walk around without bumping into each other? ;o)

Posted by: Kiwi the Geek | Jan 29, 2006 7:13:51 AM

I love that bakery! The one you went to has more variety than the one in the shuk. First time I went there, I was very proud of my new "find". One more thing to miss about Israel...

I always thought it was called Pe'er, as in adornment. Who knew it was actually Par? Learn something every day...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Jan 29, 2006 8:27:50 AM

Faye... Shavuah Tov! :-)

Lioness... Yes dear, always a pleasure to give you the weekly reminder. :-)

Essie... It was fantastic, the best I've ever had! I think we have a new stop on Friday's.

Jack... I think you were thinking of 'hachnasat Kala', but I could see where you'd get them confused. :-)

Val... It was like warm, yeasty cake! Yum.

John... thanks for noticing, it's nice to know people are looking at it... it keeps me honest.

Jaime... I had similar late-night bakery hunting tales from my university days in Jerusalem... but mine ended with success (I guess Angel's was more accommodating to the walk-in crowd).

Regina Clare Jane... absolutely. I know people who have been living in Jerusalem their whole lives and are still finding new treasures when they take a new route to work.

Alan... Sorry, my bad.

Ezer Knegdo... You have no idea. The pictures only tell half the story.

Ocean GUy... My wife is an upstater and is convinced she knows who you are. If I've earned your trust, please send an email (treppenwitz at gmail dot com) giving her a hint in the right direction.

Alice Bachini... Thanks, it was wonderful.

Irina... Someday is whenever you decide it will be. Just come... you can consider this your invitation. :-)

Harry... I'm sorry, I didn't realize this was your private stash! It's hard to keep such good things under wraps. :-)

Stacey... You mean you and Jack don't live together? ;-)

Safranit... Thanks for the pronunciation! I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't hear anyone say the name of the place and just took a shot at it from the spelling.

Toby... Better than they looked (which is saying a mouthful!).

Kiwi... There is a whole area out of camera angle that is devoted to baking. It's still crowded but they seem to manage. :-)

Mcaryeh... as I told Safranit, it is pronounced the way you assumed... I just guessed wrong based on a glance at the sign. What can I say... I'm an idiot.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jan 29, 2006 9:06:20 AM

Was also about to jump in with the "Pe'er" pronunciation guide- and tell you that it took me a good year of living in Jerusalem before I'd figured out exactly where it was. I too had the pleasure of their (wholewheat) challa on Fri Ni. Mmm.

Posted by: PP | Jan 29, 2006 9:18:49 AM

I love that bakery! We call it the "hole in the wall" bakery.

There are just too many great bakeries though. Have you been to "the gas station" bakery?


Posted by: Yael | Jan 29, 2006 12:20:05 PM

david, as any sem girl can tell you angel's is very accomodating to the late night/pre-dawn walk in crowd...

Posted by: nikki | Jan 29, 2006 2:26:11 PM

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