Tahana Rishona

The Tahana Rishona (First Train Station) is a historical site that has now become a center for culture, music, and socializing in Jerusalem. Service on the train tracks that used the First Station ended in 1998, and after that it stood abandoned until renovation started to open it as a cultural center in 2013. Part of the initiative was also turning the train tracks into the rekevet pedestrian and bike trail. As planned, in 2013, the station – called The Tahana for short – reopened and has since become a great location for both Israelis and tourists to soak up Israeli culture, enjoy a good meal or drink, or even go to the ‘beach’ (there is a sandy area with a volleyball court and wave simulator!).

The Tahana features several full-service restaurants as well as places to get a drink, an ice cream shop, and a smoothie/juice joint. A couple weeks ago after Shabbat ended, I went with some friends to Fresh Kitchen for some coffee drinks and cookies.

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Fresh has a lovely outdoor seating area and a broad menu with lots of appealing dishes – so appealing, in fact, that I went back for a real meal last night.

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The Tahana also features a rotating schedule of events for people to enjoy fitness, music, and dancing. Every morning there is yoga, Friday mornings there is a running team, on Sunday and Wednesday nights there is dancing, Tuesday nights feature a live Jazz Trio, Thursday nights there is Zumba, and every Friday at 5:00pm there is a musical welcoming of Shabbat!

Last Friday, I went to the Tahana’s musical welcoming of Shabbat to see the prayer/music group, Nava Tehila. The group playing Shabbat music at the Tahana rotates each week, but I assume that – similar to how it was with Nava Tehila – it is generally a lively playing of Shabbat songs with lots of singing along and dancing from the audience. This past week, there was quite a crowd for the welcoming of Shabbat, and it was a lot of fun to see all the people and families there – happy to enjoy the music and excited for Shabbat!

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Beyond the music and events, the Tahana also features rotating art exhibits…

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…stores where you can by Jerusalem gifts, jewelry, and knick-knacks…

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…and, during the summer, a daily arts and crafts fair as well as a farmers’ market on Fridays:

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Overall, the Tahana is a great spot for pretty much any activity, and I’m definitely planning on visiting more of the restaurants and taking advantage of more of the cultural activities in the near future!

 

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.

What to do with your baby brother

I have a totally phenomenal brother. He is smart, funny, loving, and an excellent role model for not stressing the small things.

We used to wrestle a lot, but then he got bigger than me and I had to put an end to that. Baby boy grew up:

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Jk, he’s not that big.

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Last week, I had one day with my brother all to myself in Minneapolis, so I had to show him how cool I am by bringing him around to do lots of fun stuff. Here’s what to do with your baby brother for one day in the Minneapple….

1. Go to the Electric Fetus

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The Electric Fetus is first and foremost a music store. They have LPs and CDs from pretty much any artist you can imagine. If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, there is always a music expert working at the music desk to help you.

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Although music is the main appeal, the store also sells a little bit of pretty much everything else.

There’s clothing:

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Books:

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Jewelry:

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And a healthy selection of the most random stuff you have ever seen:

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2. Lunch at Cafe Ena

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With so many awesome restaurants in the area, it was tough to choose a lunch spot, but we settled on the award-winning Latin Fusion restaurant, Cafe Ena. In south Minneapolis at the intersection of 46th and Grand, Cafe Ena is super yum. I didn’t try it myself, but I hear their guacamole is to die for. We ordered a horchata to try (mainly since neither of us had tried one before):

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Horchata is a traditional Spanish beverage made from ground almonds (similar to almond milk plus extra spices). For the meal, I ordered a chicken curry dish:

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and the bro ordered a jerk chicken sandwich on telera bread:

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3. Go to a concert

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Vampire Weekend was playing at the Orpheum. Enough said.

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So there you have it. I am officially a super cool sister.

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Sort of. 🙂

Ameri-cuh the Beautiful

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. That and Thanksgiving. I guess I’m a serious American, huh?

The holiday actually started for me this year the night before on the 3rd at the Red, White, and Boom. RWandB is a 2 day festival hosted by Minneapolis Parks and Rec at Nicollet Island that includes music, food, fireworks, races, and an outdoor movie. On Fourth of July Eve (yes, that’s a thing now), the outdoor movie was hosted. Look at this crowd:

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Who would expect anything less for a screening of the most patriotic movie of the 80’s:

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Yesssss. Young Tom Cruise. 🙂

After a fun night of jingoism, we awoke the next morning ready to get our parade on (nothing says Fourth of July like parades, right?). St. Anthony Park in St. Paul offers a parade and festival that we decided to attend.

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Lots of people lined the streets of Como Ave to see the parade.

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The boy scouts definitely had the coolest float:

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Someone forgot to mention to this float that today is all about AMERI-CUH:

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After the parade passed, everyone followed the floats to the parade end at Langford Park:

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After getting to the park. We had to do some people dog and car watching:

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The park was packed with folks having picnics and enjoying our freedom in the sunshine:

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For lunch, we left the park and headed to the nearby Finnish Bistro. As adorable as always, the bistro was a bit more crowded on this visit. We ordered a cold salmon salad and veggie omelet:

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Delish! After eating, we headed back to the park to see the boy scouts continuing their antics:

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We also listened to some jazz music at the bandstand:

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Once the festivities had been thoroughly explored, it was time to head home for a BBQ that my roommates and I hosted in our backyard. The food was awesome:

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Of course, no 4th of July is complete without fireworks. We biked to the Stonearch Bridge to watch fireworks there. Undoubtedly this is the most crowded spot in Minneapolis to watch the fireworks, but it was totally worth it. There were HUNDREDS (thousands?) of people, and the fireworks display was great.

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Happy Birthday America. I ❤ you. 🙂