Jerusalem Wine Festival

This past week was the Jerusalem Wine Festival at the Israel Museum.  The Wine Festival is an annual event, taking place in the Israel Museum’s Art Garden and featuring tastings from wineries from all over Israel.

This was actually Noah’s and my second time to the Israel museum. On our first visit two weekends ago, we looked at a few of the indoor galleries and exhibits. The museum is quite large featuring a wide collection of art, Judaica, synagogue recreations, a model of the second temple, the Dead Sea Scrolls, archaological exhibits, the outdoor art garden, and a few temporary exhibits. When we went, we visited the contemporary Israeli art galleries and temporary exhibits called ‘Dress Codes: Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe,’ ‘Light Spaces,’ and ‘Big Bambu.’

photo from one of the rooms included in the 'Light Spaces' exhibit

photo from one of the rooms included in the ‘Light Spaces’ exhibit

Big Bambu was definitely the highlight of the visit! Essentially, Big Bambu is a huge sculpture made entirely out of bambu…and the best part is that people can climb it! The exhibit is outside in the art garden, and if you buy a ticket to climb you are assigned a certain entry time when you will be allowed to go up in the sculpture:

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Good thing they limit the number of people climbing, because at times it was a little scary climbing up so high on only bamboo floors!

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From the center of the sculpture, it looked like a big mess of bambu sticks to all sides:

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At the edges of the sculpture there were great views looking out over the city and the art garden:

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But back to the Wine Festival!!

The Wine Festival took place exclusively in the Art Garden, and attendees received a wine glass upon admission:

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The various wineries had booths set up around the garden.

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Most wineries seemed to offer about 2-4 wines for tasting, and the people working at the stand were quite friendly and happy to offer multiple tastes or more information about the wine.

Mixed in with the wine were a couple hard cider stands, including one called Buster’s that had an amazing hard lemonade!

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There were also stands giving out samples of passionfruit wine, chocolate liquor, and aperol spritz.

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Mixed in among the tasting stands were some nice places to sit and relax…

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…as well as a few eateries (wine tastings were included with admission but food was for purchase). There was an especially nice looking cheese stand!

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We were at the event for about two hours, and there seemed to be a steady stream of people coming in the whole time. It was definitely a popular outing!

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Afterwards, Noah and I walked home and stumbled upon some live music at the Tahana:

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All in all, a wonderful evening. 🙂

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Soak up the sun

Minneapolis has had a gorgeous summer. There were a few sweltering days in July, but overall the weather has been extremely pleasant – warm enough to enjoy being outside, but not so warm to get that sticky feeling. Given the sunshine, enjoying outdoor activities has been a major highlight of the summer. A few events of note…

the Ordway’s summer dance series

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The Ordway Theater in St. Paul offers free music and dancing on Thursday nights during the summer at Rice Park (right in downtown St Paul). Different weeks have different themes: salsa, polka, swing, etc. We went on swing night. I should take some dance lessons to learn how I’m actually supposed to move my feet, but with a wine+music combination, I think I did alright. 🙂

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the patio at Vincent A Restaurant

Like 112, Vincent A was also listed in the recent edition of Mpls St Paul Magazine as having one of the best burgers in town.

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Vincent A is right in the heart of downtown at 11th and Nicollet, and it has great happy hour timing: 4:30-6pm and again from 8:30-9:30pm. A lot of late happy hours don’t even start until 9:30 at most of the places in Uptown. The 8:30 start time was perfect for a late dinner featuring….

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and since it was happy hour after all…

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These burgers were no doubt delicious, but I’m still more partial to 112.

Obviously.

Surdyk’s

Surdyk’s in Northeast Minneapolis is undeniably a specialty-shop gem. The highlights are wine and cheese, but the deli, chocolates, spreads, and other odds & ends are definitely worth nothing.

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Having heard about Surdyk’s in various Twin Cities publications since moving here, when I passed by the shop I couldn’t resist going inside. Although I didn’t purchase anything, the inside view was enough to tell me this place is GREAT. And I wanted to purchase everything. Yes, everything.

First up: chocolate (naturally).

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An entire display was devoted to pretty much every variety, flavor, and cocoa concentration you could imagine. This was all high quality melt-in-your-mouth stuff: the real deal. No Hershey’s to be found. 🙂

After tearing my attention away from the chocolate, I checked out the dessert case:

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Cakes, bars, tortes…enough said.

Moving on to the deli case, there were several types of sandwiches (a turkey panini looked especially delicious!), cold salads, and a selection of soups:

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Last but not least, the cheese. Oh, the cheese.

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More cheeses than I knew existed (there’s cheddar and swiss, right?). Surdyk’s is serious about their cheese. Not only do they have literally hundreds of cheese options, they can ship anywhere in the world and there is always a cheese consultant at the counter to help you. Yes, cheese consultant is a job.

Next time I’m having a picnic, I’m stocking up here. 🙂