Quick Trip to Montreal, part 1

Noah and I have wanted to take a trip to Montreal for months. Noah had some childhood memories from visiting there in the past, and I had never been, so we thought it would be a great spot for a quick, fun getaway! Plus, now that we’re in our new home, we are not that far from Montreal. The trip didn’t take much planning because we could just hop in the car and drive there (don’t forget the passports!). On the way to Montreal, we were also able to stop in Montpelier and see Noah’s parents which was lovely – it’s so great to live near family!

We arrived to Montreal in the mid-afternoon and immediately headed to the Biodome. The Biodome is in the Olympic Park and is basically a zoo that is structured around different habitats. The first habitat is a tropical rainforest:


The tropical rainforest featured a lot of fish, birds, alligators, frogs, and this pretty funky looking capybara:




The next habitat was the Laurentian Maple Forest – it was pretty brisk in the forest! There were otters, beavers, and this very active lynx:

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Plus, more birds:


The other two habitats were the Gulf of St. Lawrence (lots of fish!) and the Labrador Coast (penguins!). I must have been so enthralled by those exhibits that I didn’t take any photos…sorry!

After the Biodome we walked around the Olympic Park a bit.

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The highlight of the park exploration was going to the top of the Montreal Tower (pictured above). Noah and me waiting for the funicular to start moving:


…and we’re off!:


Awesome views of the city:

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Photo op:

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After leaving Olympic Park, we checked into our hotel and then did some research to figure out where to go to dinner. We stayed at the Auberge Bonaparte – a lovely inn that Noah found. The room was spacious, clean, and comfortable, and the stay included a delicious breakfast each day at the hotel’s restaurant. Based on Yelp reviews and a guide book that Noah and I borrowed from his parents, we decided to go to Holder for dinner. Holy cow, this was a DELICIOUS meal! It was a little on the expensive side…but – hey – vacation, right??

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I ordered salmon and Noah had steak – we both loved our meals!

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And we couldn’t say no to dessert:

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Overall, a pretty decadent meal, but so very worth a splurge.

Our first night in Montreal was also the last night of Chanukah, and we discovered this public menorah in a square near our hotel:


Happy 8th night!

Stay tuned for another post about the second half of the trip soon!


Holiday Spirit – Happy Chanukah!

Now that we’re in the midst of this year’s “holiday season,” the Chanukah lights have been sparkling at our house:

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Also, Noah gave me this great new sweatshirt as a Chanukah gift!:


Even though the winter holidays are starting, my fall hiatus from blogging left a few fall holidays unaccounted for. The definite highlight of the fall holidays for me was Sukkot. Noah and I helped to build a sukkah at a friend’s house. We and few others spent the afternoon assembling/decorating the sukkah, and then we all enjoyed a wonderful meal outside together when the holiday started. I got some great photos of the sukkah-building process progressing throughout the afternoon. It started with the frame:

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Then we put up the walls and some lights:

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And finally we added the skach (the vegetation that covers the roof of the sukkah – skach must cover the majority of the roof but leave enough space left so you can see the sunshine and stars) and decorations!:

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Great holiday fun. 🙂

The last holiday to share a photo from is Halloween….Noah came back from a work trip just in time for Halloween, so we celebrated our reunion with some pumpkin carving:

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On that note, hag orim sameach (happy Festival or Lights), and hopefully I’ll check in again soon with some posts about our impromptu 3-day trip to Montreal (we’re leaving in the morning!!!).

Chanukah in the Holy Land

Sufganiya: a filled doughnut, traditionally filled with jelly and enjoyed during Chanukah

Sufganiyot: plural form

Sufganiyot in Israel: a culinary event taking place during the month of Kislev when bakeries and eateries across the country make every variety of filled doughnut conceivable to man, all to be slowly savored, greedily gorged on, and reviewed time and again by journalists and civilians alike, hoping to finally, FINALLY determine once and for all who makes the best sufganiyot in this holy land.

From Roladin:

From Roladin

From English Cake:



From Cafe Ne’eman:

From Cafe Ne'eman


Yes, ’tis the season. But this year, no Christmas undertones or – as it were – overtones in my neck of the woods.


And I have been a total sucker for participating in the mainstream holiday celebration.


Noah and I bought this beautiful new menorah for our Chanukah in Israel…


…and we’ve also been to some great Chanukah parties. In addition to sufganiyot, Chanukah is the holiday to eat all-things-fried (in honor of the miraculous event that the holiday commemorates when one cruse of oil lasted eight days). Party highlights included latkes (fried potato pancakes), delicious food, and a white elephant gift exchange.

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One of the parties was also a fried-food fest for the ages. Equipped with a boiling pot of oil, we proceeded to fry every candy, baked good, and vegetable we could get our hands on:

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At least some small piece of my yearning for the Minnesota State Fair has been satisfied:

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My favorite thing about spending the holiday in Israel has been being able to be feel – and take part in – the holiday excitement as part of an overall cultural and social climate. For example, gelt (lit: money, a chocolate version is often given as small gifts during Chanukah) shows up on your coffee and other treats…

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…hotels display chanukiyot for guests to light and see…


…and people gather together in lobbies to share the joy of lighting the candles together:

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Tonight’s the eighth and final night of Chanukah, and I am definitely sad to see it go. I’m sure I’ll remember this Chanukah in Israel for a lifetime. 🙂

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