new york city trip report – february 2012

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to take a few days off from my daily grind and jet off to New York City.  During this short four-day trip, I recharged and reenergized myself; what better place to do that than in New York City.  The more time I spend there, the more I fall in love with the city and its frenetic pace and energy.  I love wandering around the different neighborhoods, each with its own charm and personality, and, of course, discovering the city’s culinary treasures.  I am always armed with a long list of restaurants to try, knowing that I would be lucky to eat at just a handful of them, unless I eat six times a day. On this trip I visited some old standbys and also uncovered some new gems.  I left New York City completely inspired by my new food discoveries, and I am ready to duplicate these treats in my kitchen, with my own twists, of course. Continue reading

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new york city trip report – part #2: highlights

I love NY! Every time I visit, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this great city has to offer. This time around, I had 6 days to take in the city and here are some highlights from my trip.

#5 – Occupy LEGO Land inside Occupy Wall Street

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This movement even has its own facebook site… Continue reading

new york city trip report – part #1: top 6 dishes of the week

New York City, with every kind of restaurant imaginable, is a food lover’s paradise. It is one of my favorite cities and I’ve had the good fortune to have visited there four times in the past year and a half, including a trip last week. I always go armed with a long list of restaurants to try, culled from various sources such as Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats and Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate as well as websites such as Serious Eats and Eater NY. For this trip, my list included some new-to-me spots like The Mile End Deli in Brooklyn, The Breslin Bar and Dining Room, Sweet Revenge, and any one of Eataly‘s eateries, as well as old standbys Ippudo NY and Shake Shack. I made it to all of the restaurants on my list, discovering many wonderful new dishes and enjoying some old favorites. Although it was hard to narrow it down, I wanted to share with you the top 6 dishes I enjoyed this week. Why 6? Well, because I just couldn’t get the list down to 5. So here they are, in reverse order:

Continue reading

manzanar national historic site

Guard Tower at Manzanar National Historic Site

On our drive down from Mammoth last week on US-395, we stopped at the Manzanar Natiional Historic Site. Ironically just a short distance from the town of Independence, Manzanar was one of ten relocation centers where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. There are not many structures left, but you can see cement foundations, outlines of gardens, and signage of the buildings that once stood there, still surrounded by barbed wire fences. A replica of one of the eight guard towers that were used by military police equipped with search lights and sub-machine guns stands as a reminder that the Japanese Americans were held there against their will, and not “for their protection.” The desolate landscape against snow-covered mountains was an eerily beautiful and moving sight, almost haunting, really.

This dark chapter in American history began in 1942 when the U.S. government under President Roosevelt enacted Executive Order 9066 authorizing the Secretary of War to declare areas of the United States (mostly in the western US) as military areas “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” The Executive Order also established the War Relocation Authority, which paved the way for the creation of relocation camps which would house over 100,000 Japanese Americans, most of whom were American citizens by birth or were willing to become citizens but were denied the opportunity due to the immigration laws at the time. No charges were ever brought against any of the internees, nor were there any trials or due process, as prescribed by the Constitution of the United States.

Manzanar resembled a small town housing up to 11,000 prisoners and was self-sustained in many ways. The camp had its own hospital, schools, farms, co-ops and more. There were dances and baseball games. Most people held jobs within the camp or helped with the American war effort by making camouflage nets. Despite the severity of the circumstances they endured, these (mostly) American citizens of Japanese ancestry made the most of their imprisonment and lived hopeful lives even though many had lost everything.

As America celebrated the 235th anniversary of its independence, I thought it was fitting to end with this quote inscribed on a plaque by the guardhouse that says:

May the injustices and humiliation suffered here as a result of hysteria, racism, and economic exploitation never emerge again.

Soul Comforting Tower at Manzanar National Historic Site

I know this is more serious than most of my posts, but I was truly moved by visiting this site. If you are ever driving up US-395 heading towards Mammoth, I urge you to stop at Manzanar to learn about the courage and the indomitable spirit of the Japanese Americans and the fragility of the freedom and liberty we sometimes take for granted.

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