Hereâ€™s my story, even if it isnâ€™t what you expected.
I never made it to Israel. I got as far as Newark, when root canal complications got the best of me.
Swelling, pain, fever â€“ the full Cleveland. And flying to the East Coast the day after major root canal work was probably, in retrospect, a bad idea. In a diagnostic epiphany, my prescient physician B. Hilberman pronounced it a case of “bad mazel.”
So I cancelled my flight to Tel Aviv. Cancelled my original return flight to SFO, and â€“ after paying handsomely for the privilege â€“ made a new return flight reservation.
Then I killed time by 1) seeing the Francis Bacon exhibit at the Met, 2) consuming pizza at Otto in the Village, and 3) mega-dosing ibuprofen, Cipro and lying flat on my back.
In the meantime, I got to know the lounge staff at the Hilton Newark Airport (Cobb salad dinner, left), and the labyrinthean off-ramps of the New Jersey Turnpike. Heavy skies, leaden humidity, the look of perpetual acid rain â€” the northeast reminded me all over again just why I live in California.
So, I have no tips for great dining in Jerusalem. Alas. But I can reveal that a subtle and delicate balance of anti-inflammatory pain killers, high powered antibiotics and steady doses of red wine can indeed help win the fight against pain and mid-career disappointment.