Ten Iconic Foods To Eat In The United States

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Ten Iconic Foods To Eat In The United States

“Nobody seems more obsessed by diet than our anti-materialistic, otherworldly, New Age spiritual types. But if the material world is merely illusion, an honest guru should be as content with a  Budweiser and bratwurst as with raw carrot juice, tofu and seaweed slime.” Edward Abbey  

Nearly every major state in the US has their great culinary specialties. I don’t plan my trips around a specific food item but I definitely include it in my itinerary. Here is a list of some must eat foods in America. They are in no particular order. I have tried some and I will try the others when I get there. 

 Lobster Roll, Maine

Half the fun of eating a lobster roll in Maine is the bun filed with butter or mayo and lobster, the other half is eating it somewhere that you can smell the sea. My first Maine “lobstah” roll was in Portland’s Old Port district, where cobblestone streets are lined with 19th-century brick buildings housing restaurants and boutiques. The restaurant was a hip spin on a seafood shack, with indoor picnic tables. You can get a lobster roll in Maine in both Mcdonalds and  7-11. I eat lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Maine and it is always great. 

Beignet, New Orleans, Louisiana

Beignets are pillows of fried dough covered in a mound of powdered sugar. Don’t breathe in when you take your first bite or the sugar goes into your lungs making you cough. Cafe Du Monde is the iconic beignet establishment serving them since 1862,  Exploring the city, you are never far from a hot beignet if the low blood sugar feeling strikes. 

 Copper River Salmon, Washington

Copper River salmon is prized for its bright color and fatty meat and is said to be the best salmon in the world, Sockeye and King filets sell out quickly. It is available fresh from mid May to the end of September and comes from Alaska. If you are lucky enough to be in Seattle in the summer, you can eat it in many restaurants.  It is the best salmon you will ever eat. The fishmongers at Pike’s Place market in Seattle throw the fish around, which started as a way to save time and ended up as a tourist attraction. 

 

Key Lime Pie, Florida

The Florida Keys are iconic for many reasons. Hemingway fished there, the Beach Boys wrote songs there and it is still the best place in the world for Key Lime Pie. Key limes are smaller than the traditional limes sold in grocery stores. The fruit is yellow and usually just fall off the trees when they are ripe.  Add  sugar, carnation milk and aa graham cracker crust and you have the traditional pie.   Just about every restaurant in Key West serves one. 

Deep Dish Pizza, Chicago, Illinois

At three times the height of a New York style pie, Chicago’s deep dish pizza can be intimidating for those who are accustomed to thin-crust pizza. The crust is lighter than it looks followed by a cheese layer and topped with a chunky tomato sauce. Any toppings are contained within. I am a pizza fan and I did love this pizza when I lived in Chicago. 

King Crab, Alaska

 Alaska is America’s “Last frontier” known for its bitter winters and natural beauty. Seafood is a specialty in Alaska but Alaskan King Crab is the most sought after meal. I like it the old school way – boiled with a side of drawn butter and maybe  a few lemon wedges. Many of Anchorage’s best restaurants serve it this way. 

Hoagie, Philadelphia

The Bf is from “Philly” and he says the food doesn’t get more iconic than a hoagie. It was declared the official sandwich of Philadelphia in 1992. The hoagie is a built-to-order sandwich on a long Italian roll, typically filled with deli meat and cheese, garnished with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and finished with a drizzle of oregano-vinegar dressing. it is never heated or toasted.

Barbecue, Texas

I feel like I’m going to be intimidated the first time I walk into a Texas barbecue joint.  First of ail it will be my first time Texas and it’s food you have to eat with your hands. I also feel that people who eat Texas barbecue are able to consume a lot of meat. I’m definitely going to look for a place with a line of people around it and the aroma of wood smoked meat. I will have to ask them what to order and definitely try the sides which could be fried okra or salad with ranch styles dressing. Hopefully I will be on line next to someone who has eaten there before.

Crabcakes, Maryland

Baltimore and the surrounding Chesapeake Bay area are known for serving exemplary crab cakes. The ideal crab cake according to those who know, should have no visible evidence of breading, not be perfectly formed and contain as much pure sweat crabmeat as possible. Asking for the best restaurant for crab cakes in Baltimore is like asking New Yorkers for the best pizza, you are bound to get a lot of passionate recommendations. 

 Fry Bread, Wyoming

Fry bread is the history of the Native American population.The United States forced Indians living in Arizona to make the 300-mile journey known as the “Long Walk” and relocate to New Mexico, onto land that couldn’t easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans. To prevent them from  starving, the government gave them canned goods as well as white flour, processed sugar and lard—the makings of fry bread. Fry bread ( like Jewish matzoh) is the food of survival. Eating fry bread would mean that I was in Wyoming for the first time and learning about Native American culture.

Stay safe,

JAZ 

Ten Places In The United States That I Have Been To And Will Return

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Ten Places In The United States That I Have Been To And Will Return

“America ….. is the land of the richness of life, of the fullness of every hour in the day, the country which gives you the sense of carrying out a huge amount of activity, even though in fact you achieve very little, the country where solitude is impossible.” Italo Calvino

America is big and there is so much to see in the land of the free and home of the brave. The geography, climate, wildlife and people are extremely diverse. We have a brief history compared to Europe and the UK but it is interesting. Here are ten places in no particular order that I love to visit.

Washington DC is the capital of the country and our political center. That might not sound like the place to be be right now but it’s beautiful in the spring with the cherry blossoms in bloom, and in the fall with the leaves changing color. DC is a walkable city if you stay downtown.You have to do the basics. First there are the monuments – Lincoln, Washington, Martin Luther King, Jefferson and WWll. You can see them at night as well. Get your Capitol and White House Tour tickets before you come. It’s fun to just walk down the National Mall and see all the museums and monuments. The Smithsonian Institution has 19 museums all over the city. I also like Newseum, the Holocaust Museum, National Portrait Gallery and my favorite the National Gallery Of Art. Union Market has an amazing food scene and the food in DC is eclectic and delicious. If you have kids, the FBI and the Mint are fun to see.

People from Los Angeles love San Francisco. Their rich people are techies not Hollywood types. It is geographically tiny and you can walk everywhere.  Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is cool.  Riding the cable car is an excellent way to see the city.  Taking the ferry to Alcatraz Island is interesting.  You can walk along Fisherman’s Wharf which is really touristy. I dont recommend eating there.  Swan Oyster Depot is better for seafood. San Francisco is a foodie city so there are many  great restaurants. Go to the largest Chinatown in the US for dim sum and Japantown for sushi. The Ferry Building which has been converted to a market and food court is a great place for lunch. I love the newly renovated San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art. There are many interesting neighborhoods with walking tours. Bring a jacket- even in summer.

Amelia Island is a quiet barrier island, located in the Northernmost portion of Florida, not too far from the Georgia border. The island is one of the Sea Islands, a chain of coastal barrier islands stretching from Northeast Florida to South Carolina. It is great place to relax with southern hospitality. Amelia Island offers 13 miles of quiet, secluded beaches. The setting is quaint and beautiful, with many historical inns, beautiful seaside homes, hiking trails and a few resorts.The weather is mild year-round with an average winter temperature in the 60’s. You will find that the area is not overdeveloped, but rather reminiscent of the old days in Florida.

Chicago, Illinois has the the hospitality of a midwestern city with the  famous architecture and multiculturalism of New York. The food in Chicago is first class and the Art Institute is one of my favorite museums. The elevated Bloomingdale Trail and the Lake Michigan bike paths are fun when the weather is nice. I also liked the Architecture Cruise given by the Architectural Foundation which is a fun way to see the famous buildings. Chicago is home to the comedy club Second City (think SNL) and Steppenwolf Theatre Company (think Broadway). The best time to visit is spring and fall. 

The Big Island is also called Hawaii. I love the Kona side with its volcanic landscape and black sand beaches. The Hilo side has a lush tropical landscape and is definitely a day trip. Yes Hawaii is expensive because it is an island and everything has to be shipped in. If you have never seen an active volcano, go to Hawaii Volcano National Park. Stay after dark to see the glow from the Caldera. I usually never leave the black sand beach.

 As an ex New Yorker, when I visit New York City, I want to see and do it all. It’s a frantic schedule even for a New Yorker. It’s impossible to see it in one visit and you have to resign yourself to see and do what you can. The lines for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Empire State Building are long so get there early. If you are interested in the World Trade Memorial, get your tickets before you go.Times Square is always crowded with tourists. Get tickets for you shows in advance or go to TKTS booth in Times Square for discount tickets to day of shows. See a concert or ballet at Lincoln Center. There are walking tours in every neighborhood so pick neighborhoods that interest you. I grew up in Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn and recommend both as a way to relax in the city. The HIghline is an urban walking park which runs from 34th Street to the Meatpacking District, built on old elevated train tracks, is lovely on a nice day. NY is filled with excellent museums so budget some time for those. The Met is one of the biggest museums in the world and  has something for everyone so I recommend that. I love the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Food is a whole blog. NYC is filled with amazing restaurants and many different immigrant cultures who bring along great food. When I return, I must have pizza and egg rolls from any family run place, cannoli from Venero’s, bagels from Ess A Bagel and a hot dog from Grey’s Papaya . NYC was my last plane trip in the old world so I am particularly nostalgic. 

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Plan to be amazed by the intense color of the red rocks and the night skies filled with stars. There is a magical , spiritual quality to Sedona, Arizona . Sedona has a moderate climate and though it is hotter in summer and snowy in winter, you can really visit anytime. The natural beauty and energy vortexes make hiking, dining, spa and  personal growth experiences even better.

Boston, Massachusetts is one of the most historic cities in the United States. I have been there many times and love the food, museums and the fact that is a slower paced city than New York.The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walk through historic Boston. It takes you through all the major sites and monuments relating to the city’s founding and the Revolutionary War. The trail passes through Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall so plan to stop for lunch.There are beautiful neighborhoods with their own vibe and history to walk through. I love the North End which is the heart of Boston’s Italian community. It involves waiting on a line for cannoli at MIke’s Pastry. You might also want to see a Red Sox game or visit Harvard. Museums in Boston are free to students which is another thing I love about the city.

A new England summer vacation had never occurred to me until my daughter went to camp in Maine. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts is not actually a place to lie out on the beach for eight hours with a drink in hand.The weather can be iffy. There are great restaurants especially if you are a fan of lobster and sea food. The Vineyard is divided into six towns each with their personal vibe, so explore them all, by foot, bike or if it’s raining –  car. If you bring a car, make sure to have a car reservation for the ferry in advance or purchased from a resident. 

I love skiing in Park City, Utah. Growing up as an East Coast skier, the incredible Utah powder is so wonderful. Whatever your level of skiing, you will find runs in Park City. I love Deer Valley. The resort is consistently ranked at the top when it comes to grooming, service, access, on-mountain food, lodging, dining, and kid friendliness. Park City was founded in 1884 after the silver boom of the 1860s, and its mining heritage plays a strong role in defining the Western flavor of the charming little downtown scene. There is an abundance of restaurants and bars to choose from. It is also the host of the world famous Sundance Film Festival which takes place in January every year. 

Sty safe,

JAZ

Election the Musical

Election The Musical

“This is the dangerous thing about musicals. Most of them assume that as soon as you find your voice, you’ll use it to sing to someone else.”  David Levithan

While I was watching the theatrics of both the RNC and the DNC, I found myself thinking of all the Broadway shows I had seen as a kid. It was not unlike the theaters I have sat in for most of my life – the set design, choreography, music, smoke machines, mood and stage lighting, costumes (the heroine wore white), speeches that should have been cut a bit in previews, videos, the grand showstopping finale and of course the critics.

It is months of planning, staging and rehearsal to communicate the message of the parties at the conventions.  In my head, while watching I began putting in the show tunes. Hamilton is too cool for this group, though I did hear it mentioned.  I was thinking more old school show tunes. I wish I could have done this for you but you will have to use your imagination.

Donald Trump was easy. I pictured him as Phineas Taylor Barnum in the musical Barnum singing There is Sucker Born Every Minute. (Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart)


Hillary was a bit harder. I didn’t see her as a leading lady. She was more like the smart or funny best friend. She was Chita Rivera – playing the best friend of Charity Hope Valentine, in Sweet Charity (Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields).


Ted Cruz was another simple one. I didn’t know any Evangelical musicals so I had to settle for Hello from Book of Mormon (Robert Lopez,Trey Parker, Matt Stone). I think it works especially in this video from the Tony Awards.

Bernie Sanders is probably not a singer. What about the Bernie supporters as the orphans in Annie (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin) singing It’s A Hard Knock Life?

Bill Cllinton will be perfect as Conrad Birdie performing Honestly Sincere (Charles Strouse and Lee Adams) from Bye Bye Birdie.

I have a few for the Trump offspring but I decided to go with Heart (Richard Adler and Jerry Ross) from Damn Yankees.  It will be a better show that way.


The finale for the Republican National Convention instead of Queen could be Razzle Dazzle from Chicago. (John Kander, Fred Ebb) I prefer the Fosse musical for this one.

I like Lauren Bacall’s Welcome To The Theatre from the musical Applause (Lee Adams, Charles Strouse) for HIllary’s nomination at the DNC.

What’s a voter to do? I feel a bit like I’m listening to Guys and Dolls (Frank Loesser), Fugue For Tinhorns.

Thanks for reading. That is the fun thing about blogging and the internet. You can share any random thought that comes into your head with total strangers. I never really had any use before for the fact that I know the words to every musical I’ve seen as a kid.

Fly safe,

JAZ