The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: WWW.AMERICANCOLONY.CO.IL)
The American Colony Hotel is one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. Neatly tucked along the seam between the east and west parts of the capital, it is an oasis of harmony and tranquility in a city so often divided by conflict.
When I received an invitation to attend what would be my first ever Thanksgiving dinner there, I naturally jumped at the opportunity. Adding to the appeal was a recital by the talented Belgian soprano Lisa Mostin, with her countryman Jan Vande Weghe accompanying her on the piano with a repertoire of works by, among others, Leonard Bernstein and Bernard Duke.
The recital took place in the hotel’s Pasha Room – the hotel was originally built as a palace for a Turkish pasha and his four wives. The oriental rugs, arched windows and high ceilings as a backdrop to the recital enhanced the east-west feel of the evening.
Dinner was held in the no less elegant Arabesque restaurant.
Besides the traditional turkey and probably the best chestnut soup this writer has ever tasted, the buffet featured a rich selection of dishes and desserts, including homemade pumpkin pie and not-so-traditional strongly brewed Turkish coffee.
Thanksgiving comes around only once a year, but the American Colony will be holding Christmas and New Year’s feasts that are a sure bet for an enjoyable evening.
A five-course Christmas dinner (NIS 400) will be held on December 24. It will feature an appetizer of pureed artichokes, green peas and salmon caviar; seared salmon with a small tartlet, caramelized pearl onions and mushroom sauce; celery soup with mussels and black truffles; slow-cooked duck in an orange sauce with anise stars and thyme served with cracked wheat with dried figs, apricots and pine kernels; and for dessert, Christmas pudding and Cognac pudding with a compote of berries.
A five-course New Year’s Eve dinner will be served on December 31 (NIS 800). It will feature an appetizer of fresh mussels in a lemon vinaigrette with a salad of wakame and cucumber mousse; crab in fennel soup; smoked trout with ginger and lime served with mussels with fennel; fillet of beef stuffed with foie gras served with chestnut puree, forest mushrooms and truffles, shallots, caramelized chestnuts and tomato confit; and for dessert, chocolate symphony cake, crème Bavaroise au café, dark chocolate truffles and Grand Marnier.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
The American Colony Hotel
1 Louis Vincent St., Jerusalem
Tel: (02) 627-9777
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