Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On the Israeli range

Beyond its cities, Israel is largely a farming community. Grapes (for wine), olives (for olive oil), apples and peaches and sunflowers, goats and sheep and cows. (You can even pick your own grapes or blackberries within a couple of miles of the Syrian border.)

It only stands to reason that with cows, you need cowboys. And yes, Israel has them.

Proof: Lunch today was at the Cowboy’s Restaurant on the Merom Golan kibbutz in the Golan Heights. (They also offer horse rides and a simple bunk house.)

The restaurant sits in the curve of a hill next to a paddock of horses that – yes – are really used for cow herding. Started about 15 years ago in a railroad car, the restaurant has expanded, and today is comes complete with a bar whose stools are fashioned after saddles.

On the menu: chicken wings in a yummy sweet chili sauce, salads laced with mint and parsley, and of course beef. Filet mignon, entrecote, T-bones, New York strips….and burgers.

One of the things I miss after a few weeks on the road is a great burger. Most places you can’t get one; the water buffalo burger one year in Nepal was a sad and chewy substitute.

So how is an Israeli cowboy burger? Big…and very very yummy. It even comes with Heinz ketchup.

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