Fresh creamy yogurt with crumbly granola and fresh squeezed orange juice started our day. The air was filled with the sound of music as quartets and single musicians seemed to be playng around every corner with open containers for tourists to chip in for the entertainment.
We did a lot of walking today, paying no attention to the map, we just wondered around. We found the huge market which had permanant vendor stalls of all types. The fresh squeezed juice, organic dips and infused syrups stood out to us and we purchased a couple juices and a dip made of veggies and sunflour seeds which was surprisingly tasty.
Looking for something different for lunch, we peaked our heads into a place selling falafels. Neither of us knew exactly what a falafel was or if it was good. A local sitting on the patio noticed our hesitation and explained to us this tiny little Lebonese Falafel shop was the best in town. We didn’t need any more clarification. We went inside and ordered one. Chickpeas are ground up with spices, deep fried and placed in a pita-like bread called lafa. The cook handed over the hot sandwhich and pointed to what looked like a condiment bar. We added pickeled veggies, fresh veggies, hummus, hot sauce and took a big bite watching the sauces dribble down each others chins. We are definite fans of the falafel!
We left the market area to explore the outskirts of the city. We saw what looked like a big cathedral and walked towards it until we started to realize we had entered a not so great part of town. Seeing various groups of men gathered randomly on the streets with beers in hand and strip clubs throughout the block. We decided turning back shortly would be a good idea.
As evening began to set in we were getting hungry and were attempting to find an Italian restaurant we had seen the night before when we ran into the tiniest little bar on the corner. Inside every seat was taken at the long skinny bar with not much more room to fit additional people yet the bar was quiet. The big screen TV had a soccer game on it and this was serious business. When a major play was made, the bar came alive with either cheers or negative outbursts. We noted how different the bar crowd was here watching the game intently and hushed vs. in the loud american bars where shouting was common to have a conversation while football plays in the background.
After we watched a bit of the game and chatted with a local, we continued looking for the quaint restaurant we had seen. We found it and slipped in without a reservation watching several other people denied a table without a reservation. The restaurant had one chef behind a counter in the center of the room without glass dividing us from him. He cooked the food as we ordered it and we watched him make the sauces and toss the noodles. We shared a salad and the house pasta which was a trio of pastas…seafood in a garlic/olive oil sauce, meat served in a lasagna and cheese tortelini served in a truffled cream sauce.
We closed out our evening with a tiramisu.