Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Norlan Whisky Glass

Ahhhhmazing gift from my glorious wife!!

This is the Norlan Whisky Glass, a brand new take on whisky glasses with an impressive Kickstarter campaign... Finally arrived!

I was so psyched and took them for a whirl with the most promising of opportunities-- the Glenmorangie Ealanta.

It was a huge success, they sure are right that the nose is hugely magnified with this uniquely designed inner glass structure. They look awesome too. So frickin' psyched.

And here's their awesome Kickstarter video.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Final Scotland-London-Israel Journal post: Links to all blog posts

That's the end of another Trip blog! Here are links to each post from my Scotland-London-Israel 2015 trip. Thanks for reading :)

Scotland-London-Israel 2015 Journal


Scotland-London-Israel 2015 Day 39: Wrap-up

Scotland-London-Israel 2015 Day 39: Wrap-up

Back home, finally! After 6 weeks, it's gonna be so weird to be home. What an amazing and long trip, and so successful and fun. To the Airport, it was trafficky but easy and smooth with Waze. Getting the Delek (gas) was easy, and the dropoff of the car was so much more straightforward and closer than last time. The V.A.T. refund also was very easy!

The big annoyance at the airport was actually Air Canada's fault. Kindof a fail. The lady was adamant that I was only allowed to check 1 bag for free... Nope, it's definitely 3 with Star Alliance Gold. We eventually got fed up of talking to the lady at the checkin desk and went to talk to some other lady at the Air Canada desk. Everyone was frustrated and yelling at each other back at the Air Canada desk and it wasn't very smooth. After 45 minutes, we finally spoke to a supervisor who said, "Oh yes, 3 bags! No problem!" Oy. As is usual with travel, you always have to talk to someone who knows what they are doing. "Did they invite you to the Airport lounge?" "Nope!" Oh man. The nice lady gave us a DAN Lounge pass and checked our bags correctly. So it was nice to finally get that sorted.

Given the longer checkin time, we just got an Aroma sandwich to go, and got a water. To the DAN Lounge, it was nice! Labne, Hummus, Cottage Cheese (yes!) so a great sendoff. We headed from there to the amazing new Dreamliner plane!!! So epic!! I sat beside a religious fellow from Detroit and he was very nice, we chatted a bunch and we were both pretty excited about how fancy the new plane was.

I watched "Because of Winn-Dixie", the movie with Dave Matthews in it :) It is for kids for sure, but it was sooo good :) Dave is the "eccentric pet store owner/guitar player" (obv!) So great. Nice music by him in that movie. I gotta get those tracks from the soundtrack. The music on the epic AC Seat Entertainment system was great. "From Cover to Cover: 30 years of Nettwerk" - like "Coffee House" on Sirius XM Radio. :) There was a really nice Acoustic version of "World Spins Madly On"... a great version!

On the long ride home, just some chillin' and journal catchup. We had a long flight to Toronto, then a quick swap over in Toronto and onto the SF flight. Gonna be nice to be home.

Here's some of the fun stuff I collected or bought as gifts over this trip.

Our incredible new Challah board!!
Countess Grey tea from Fortnum & Mason -- life changing! Also the special "Royal Celebration Tea" from Whittard Chelsea as a celebration for the birth of the new Royal baby, and the Simpsons mini-figures I got in London.
Tons of Zara stuff, and the Zara Men's Summer Cologne
My whisky haul from this trip!! Glenmorangie Dornoch (the lightly peated, UK Travel Exclusive Glenmorangie), Penderyn Welsh Whisky as a gift, Edinburgh Elderflower Gin for Michal, a Dalmore King Alexander III taster for Matt, and then the two non-Exported UK-only whiskies from London: Port Askaig 12 and Dailuaine 16.
My awesome new blazer, tie and shirt from Zara
Zara collar shirt
Awesome tea and biscuits I got as a gift in London
Black teas from Fortnum & Mason
Really cute and fun trivet from our favourite Israeli homeware artist
More fun stuff from London, from the WB Studio Tour, and some London Breakfast tea
Awesome new articles and books -- WIRED Magazine's incredible spread about ILM, Vanity Fair's Star Wars issue, and "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss, in Hebrew :)
Ahhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! My incredible new Hebrew tea set!!!
This is so amazing
Tea towel from Borough Market, the "Ferry Building" of London :)
And a lovely carry-bag from the fine folks at ILM's British office

As always, it is fantastic to travel and to have been away for so long this time was a real pleasure. Whether it was Michal's amazing trip at the beginning in Scotland and London, my longer exploration and stay in London and all the fun food and travel I did, the amazing trip through Turkey and getting to explore all the local foods in 2 hours in the best airport lounge ever, or a lovely few final days of the trip in Israel with a great warm and welcoming family... it was all a magnificent and fantastic experience of a lifetime. Now... where next?!

-Mike Jutan :)
San Francisco, CA
2015 Trip Post, transcribed from notes and completed on 7/5/2016.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Israel 2015 Day 38: Shopping in Jerusalem

Israel 2015 Day 38: Shopping in Jerusalem

To Yerushalayim!

We dropped the car in a parking area just outside of the downtown area and took a very convenient light rail into the city. It actually dropped you directly at the Mahane Yehuda market, which was very convenient and fast! It was much more chill there than last time we visited -- not many people around and yet still all the shops were open for business.

So much candy!
This was some sort of rice cake maker machine
Feta, anyone?!
We had some tastes of cherries, and the dried fruit stand was amazing: mangoes, banana and clementines! We also had some fun hot snack crunchy-mix stuff. It was all very tasty. We wandered the market for a while and found a cool Tahina mill, which was interesting to see and taste a few flavoured tahina sauces.

Then, of course, off to Marzipan!!!!!! The amazing, insanely glorious, tasty to the max, hot-off-the-presses, Rugelach. There was also a Cinnamon Rugelach that we tried this time, but the Chocolate one was totally insanely awesome as usual. A couple of other jammy pastries were great and we tried a few new things for fun. I also got a feta-spinach one this time and it was also so fresh and good. We had a few more tastes at the market and then went off wandering to do some shopping.

Towers of spices!

This was unusual to see such huge tubs of herring of different types, you usually just see it in tiny containers at the supermarket back home!

We continued down to Ben Yehuda St., it was quite touristy but we wanted to see a few shops to get an idea of the kinds of Judaica we might take home from this trip. We saw the Emanuel artist's stuff everywhere in most shops, it was nice but I only liked certain ones. You do see it a lot, so it's a bit hard to find a more unique item to take home. But nice stuff nonetheless! Some silly t-shirts, and lots of nice fancy things like candlesticks and a Kiddish cup.

Wraps that religious women wear to cover their hair.

A very formal hat shop!
"24/6 Market"... obviously not open on Saturdays :)

We walked by another Kosh McD's... with a separate Milk-only seating section! This is so funny to see an entire shop separate Meat and Milk, especially a McDonald's at that! (And especially as I thought that McFlurries were mostly oil and had no milk in them!!!)

We continued to more shops and found a great one at the end of the street with lots of nice necklaces. Very cool stuff. After lots of "window shopping" like this, we were getting hungry and kept rollin' towards lunch. We went down an alleyway to this old cafe that Michal used to go to and it was still there, a place called Tmol Shilshom. It was SO great, an excellent local experience!! A great rec from Spring. :)

Iraqui Cheese Cubes
I think we ordered too much

Heartily enjoying myself
And another random cat outside to say hello to!
The food there was totally awesome and many things I hadn't ever tried before. I got some Iraqi cheese cubes, quite tasty. Also "Milk & Honey"!!! Literally it was on the menu!!!! Amazing.

Spring got a "Sabich" (You mean, a "Sandwich"?!)... and I got the Eggplant Shakshuka, apparently voted Lonely Planet's "Top 10 Breakfasts in the World"?! This was a very, very tasty, and nice side salad to go along with it, which Tahina sauce on the side (that makes a good salad dressing).

From here we headed to more artsy shops, saw some cutout Ketubahs, cutout artwork. There was some really great stuff there, this is the balance we were trying to strike -- between something nice and unique and not overly mass-produced, and something that was a one-of-a-kind and way out of our price range. Some really nice things here and we started trying to decide what item would be fun to take home to use into the far future.

We went from here to the  Mamilla Market, which was more open-air, SoCal style. They had very fancy shops there, including one Kiddish cup store with only silver cups. Some totally amazing things there, but the ones we liked were $300! Maybe for another, future visit. :)

We walked back to an area in between Ben Yehuda and Mamilla -- it was a great balance. Funny that the street with the stuff we really liked was in between those two areas (the mass-produced silly T-shirt market and the super fancy hand-crafted silver wine cup market)... the perfect place to get some epic Judaica to take home.

But first, another snack! We stopped at Spring's Waffle place, a favourite from when she was in Jerusalem before. We got one and shared it, and the girl serving us was actually from Berkeley which was a huge surprise. It was a tasty spot and a good break from walking for a few minutes.

Ah, and then we found a little homeware shop!!!!!!!! Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG... we found our favourite artist's stuff, and there was tons more than the selection in Ra'nannah. Everything was generally nice but then from the corner of my eye I caught the most epic Teapot... a Teapot and Tea cup set that said "Tay" on it: תֵה in Hebrew! This was an amazing design, I loved it, and it was SO J-style!!!! And the cups were so wicked too. Light purple inside... what a huge win. So the J-Tea for the win... "I may need to insta-buy this" I told Michal, and thankfully she loved it too. Also I don't really have an actual teapot at home, for some reason?! Just an old IKEA one, so this is great. It is super nice, and I loved the whole set. So great.

Then we went back to the shop where Michal really liked the candlesticks... but... they had some amazing hand-painted chamsas on MDF with beautiful scribe work on them. The sticks were aweosme... but... CHALLAH BOARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This thing was insanely amazing. Michal said "I think it's absolutely beautiful!" She never loves stuff this much. She was so excited. It was expensive, so we just decided to buy the challah board and leave the sticks for another visit. It was SUPER nice. The scribe work has the HaMotzi prayer on it, and we will start using it at Shabbos dinners we are going to start hosting!

Check out this epic Challah board!!

We headed back to the parking lot on the light rail after en epic shopping day. From there we drove home and had some Hummus and Labane, etc and Pita dinner with everyone. We chatted nicely for a long time as we were leaving the next morning. Everyone came over and we had a good yap and some food, as you do.

We finished off the evening back at Yossi and Elisheva's to have more tea and melon and watermelon, chat late into the evening, and say bye nicely. We went home via a Delek (gas station) to attempt to fill up, but it's hard without a local ID so we will try again tomorrow. Back to Orit and Rani's to pack up, check into our flights, and get ready to leave the next morning.