Like any large city, Amman has a lot of interesting places to eat, places where Bob would love to wander in and point at tasty menu pictures labeled in Arabic:
Our tour company booked rooms at the Intercontinental Amman, a sister hotel to the Intercontinental we had in Cairo earlier in the trip and in Nairobi last year.
|Photo from here|
Similar to our other two experiences with Intercontinental, there was plenty of security:
The lobby was beautiful, with live piano music playing much of the time and fresh flowers everywhere (literally--on counters and hanging in vases from the ceiling):
And there was great art on the walls, if photography of past, present, and future kings of Jordan can be considered art:
I kept looking at that picture of King Abdullah. I could swear I had seen him somewhere before. What do you think?
The resemblance is just a little bit creepy.
Speaking of creepy, on one of our nights in the hotel, two of the couples in our group went out for shawarma at a food stand nearby, but Chris and Stan joined Bob and me for dinner in the hotel restaurant, where Bob ordered this:
If you think that looks like sheep brains, you're not only a genius, but you're right. Chris and Stan, next time you should stick with the other couples.
On our first night in Amman, we had The Meal to End All Meals of our trip. When I travel with my gourmet husband, what we eat tends to be as almost as important (at least to him) as what we see. Our guide Isam suggested we try Fakhr El-Din Restaurant in Amman, in his opinion the best restaurant in Jordan. By the time we were done, I think we'd decided that he was right. It was everything Bob had dreamed of for a high-end Middle Eastern restaurant--and more.
We were a little unsure about the place at first when this is what we saw as we pulled up:
The tables were dressed in fine white linens, and the food--a set menu arranged by Isam--came to us as works of art:
The wait staff was very professional but still friendly. That's one of our waiters on the far left, or maybe he was the maitre d':
|Minced raw lamb with spices--|
a Middle Eastern version of steak tartare
|Lime juice with mint|
|Stuffed grape leaves|
|Baba ghanoush (eggplant)|
|Chicken liver in lemon sauce, one of five or six different meat dishes (called mashawi) we ate|
. . . each dish more exquisite in both taste and presentation than the last:
Before long, there wasn't any empty space on the table (or in our bellies). This conflagration of small dishes that creates a mosaic of colors, flavors, aromas, and patterns is called mezze in Arabic:
When they brought out the dessert, plates of fruit in syrup . . .
. . . and stacks of fresh fruit, we were nearly comatose:
Oh, to have had a portable refrigerator. This food would have supplied us for the next two days.
Here we are, ready to gorge ourselves one last time:
As we waddled out, we said good-bye and thank you to King Abdullah, who was flanked by two rifles (and a taxidermied antelope head to imply what those guns are used for--yeah, right).