Small bites: Café Israel returns to Congregation Beth Israel

ADD A LITTLE SPICE: Bella Frishman, center, will lead the food preparation for Congregation Beth Israel's Café Israel. Also pictured are Julie Sherman, the synagogue's board secretary, and Alan Silverman, congregation member and Café Israel event manager. Photo by Thomas Calder

In 2018, renovations prevented Congregation Beth Israel from hosting its annual celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day). A year later — with updates to the synagogue’s social hall, kitchen, bathrooms and sanctuary completed — Café Israel is back on. Entering its 13th year, the event will be held Sunday, May 19.

As with previous iterations, menu options will be “Israel-inspired with a Moroccan twist,” says the event’s food coordinator, Bella Frishman. Highlights include gluten-free, fried-to-order falafel, shawarma, matbucha, Moroccan salad, Israeli salad and Moroccan eggplant. Frishman notes that all items are vegan-friendly. Plates run $8-$10.

In addition to grub, beer from Hi-Wire Brewing will be for sale along with red and white Israeli wine. Also, mint tea, Turkish coffee and malabi (pudding) will be served inside the event’s Bedouin Tent.

The family-friendly celebration will also feature inflatables, craft stations and balloon artists for the kids. Live music and dance performances will take place that day as well.

No matter what your faith, says Frishman, all are welcomed and encouraged to attend. “It is a very community-oriented, inclusive event,” she says. “We hope it will bring our neighbors from all around the area into our updated home to see what we have done and to learn about Israel’s history, customs and cuisine.”

Café Israel runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Congregation Beth Israel, 229 Murdock Ave. For more information, visit

The Golden Pineapple opens

“The pineapple is a longstanding symbol of hospitality, especially in the American South,” says Donnie Pratt, co-owner of The Golden Pineapple. The new West Asheville bar will hold its grand opening on Wednesday, May 15. Beer, wine and Spanish cider will be available on tap, along with bottle and can options. The space also serves a number of house cocktails, including The Golden Pineapple No. 1 (bonded rye whiskey, overproof dark rum, lime tepache, amaro and almond, served on crushed ice in a golden pineapple) and the Crispy Golden (London Dry gin, lemon, star anise, vanilla, turmeric and egg white).

The Golden Pineapple is at 503 Haywood Road. Hours are 5 p.m.-2 a.m. six days a week; closed on Tuesday. For more, visit

Sausage and beer

Butchers Bessie Smith and Matt Helms are teaming up to demonstrate a pork breakdown on Thursday, May 16. In addition to learning about different cuts and cooking techniques, participants in the hands-on workshop will make their own fresh and smoked sausages. Samples will be served along with charcuterie and a beer pairing. Participants will leave with take-home sausage. Tickets are $75.

The class runs 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at The Chop Shop Butchery, 100 Charlotte St. To purchase tickets, visit

Asheville Food Truck Showdown

Cecilia’s Culinary Tour, Brinehaus Meat + Provisions, Grateful Roots and Gypsy Queen Cuisine are among the 18 food trucks participating in the sixth annual Asheville Food Truck Showdown on Saturday, May 18. In addition to food, the event will feature area artisans, live music and a pet food and animal toy drive benefiting Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. The event is free to attend and dog-friendly.

The showdown runs noon-7 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the WNC Agricultural Center’s Boone Building, 761 Boylston Highway, Fletcher. For more information, visit

Home Dairy 101

On Sunday, May 19, local writer and urban homesteader Mari Stuart will lead Home Dairy 101. According to the course description, students will learn how to make their own butter, yogurt and cheese (ricotta and queso fresco). In addition, Stuart will go over the history of dairy cultures, equipment and ingredients. Tickets are $30-$40 on a sliding scale.

The class runs 3-6 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Villagers: Urban Homestead Supply, 278 Haywood Road. To purchase tickets, visit

Riesling class

“I’m a huge fan of riesling, but it’s difficult getting people to try it,” says Andy Hale, director of Asheville School of Wine at Metro Wines. Many perceive the beverage as too sweet, but that is not true of all rieslings, Hale notes. He hopes to help change this popular misconception with an upcoming riesling presentation and tasting featuring 2017 Pewse Vale (Eden Valley, Australia), 2015 Trimbach (Alsace, France), 2017 Shelton (Yadkin Valley), 2017 Chateau Montelena (Potter Valley, Calif.) and 2017 JJ Prum Wehlender Sonnenurh (Mosel Valley, Germany). Tickets are $25.

The class runs 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. To learn more, visit

French Twist at the Princess Anne Hotel

Chef Amber Whitt will prepare a French-inspired dinner at the Princess Anne Hotel on Thursday, May 23. The meal will be paired with wines selected by Tom Leiner of Grapevine Distribution. Consommé, crustace (scallop, mussel, local ramps, fennel and Champagne foam with baguette) and duck breast served with lavender, blueberry, celeriac, asparagus and green apple are among the menu’s highlights. Tickets are $125 per person and include tax and gratuity. Seating is limited.

French Twist starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Princess Anne Hotel, 301 E. Chestnut St. For reservations, call 828-258-0986.

Friday night barn dance

Barn dancing at the Hickory Nut Gap Farm made its 2019 debut on May 10, and the next dance is Friday, May 24, with additional events taking place every other Friday through Oct. 18. Along with live music and dancing, each event features buffet-style dinners with prices that range from $10-$15. Local beers and ciders are also available for purchase at each dance. General admission is $7.

Dancing runs 6-9 p.m. Friday, May 24, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road. To learn more, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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