Saturday, October 16, 2021

NEW YORK CITY: (MOSTLY) VEGETARIAN DINING

 July 21-22, 2021

Our son recently moved to the edge of Chinatown in New York City. For months we drooled over his descriptions of the new restaurants and dishes he and his girlfriend were discovering in the new-to-them section of the city, so it was fun to visit a few of the restaurants and taste some of that food. They are vegetarians, and we are trying to have a healthier diet, so we were happy to have someone guide us to the best NYC vegetarian eats.


We tried to cram in as many local eating experiences as we could during the two days we spent in the city. We even ate at two different restaurants on our first evening, beginning at Xi'an Famous Foods. (We had been to Xi'an in China and had some great food there, so we were excited to try this one!)

Knowing that our main meal was ahead of us, we tried not to over-indulge. The three of us shared an order of Spicy Hot Oil-Seared Hand-Ripped Noodles . . . 

. . . and an order of Chang'an Spicy Tofu.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

NEW YORK CITY: BOWERY HOTEL AND BRONX ZOO

July 21, 2021

I hope to take a trip to New York City at least once a year to visit our son who lives there.  There is so much to see, and I love the city vibe. Our time this year, however, was mostly spent in Upstate New York. But more about that later.

We took our usual mode of transportation--a red-eye flight from LAX to JFK, arriving at 6:30 AM. I could definitely relate to the "never sleeps" part of the sign that greeted us as we deplaned.

My watch said I got over three hours of sleep, but some of that "light" sleep time was just "holding-very-still-but-still-awake" time.  I don't think I got more than two hours of sleep.

Luckily we were able to check into our hotel as soon as we got there, which was around 7:30 AM?. We stayed at the Hotel 50 Bowery in Lower Manhattan, just outside Chinatown. The hotel is snuggly nestled between a Chinese restaurant and a neo-Classic HSBC Bank.

We were really pleased with our choice.  It can be hit-and-miss in NYC if you aren't staying in an expensive hotel.  This was a hit! The service was great and our room was large (for NYC), clean, well-appointed, and had a great view of morning yoga on the deck below us. We will stay here again.


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

TEXAS, EL PASO: L & J CAFE, A PANORAMIC VISTA, AND THE AIRPORT

July 3, 2021

It was mid-afternoon and we hadn't eaten. We were hungry. We saw this billboard on our way to our restaurant of choice. Ah, Texas, gotta love ya.


We had hoped to eat at Kiki's, a restaurant we had gone to on a previous trip, but it was randomly closed for the weekend. We did some online research and settled on L & J Cafe, which turned out to be a great find. 

It was established in 1927 across the street from the old city cemetery.

This has to be the most barren cemetery I've ever seen.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

TEXAS, EL PASO: MUSEUM OF ART

 July 3, 2021

We ended our nine-day trip to New Mexico back where we started - in El Paso, Texas, where we had time to visit the El Paso Museum of Art, get some dinner, and get a bird's-eye view of the city.

Art first. 

The museum is located in the heart of downtown. The current location was built in 1998, and I liked it even before we went inside because of this fun mural on the side of the building.


People and animals have a lot in common, don't they?

The museum lobby had this work on one wall. Created by Andrea Bowers in 2019, it refers to the separation of migrant families at the border. The changing colors of the letters suggests the random divisions going on there.


Sunday, September 26, 2021

NEW MEXICO: ORGAN MOUNTAINS, DRIPPING SPRINGS TRAIL

July 3, 2021

On July 2 we stopped at the Dripping Springs ranger station in the Organ Mountains on our way to our hotel in Las Cruces. We were hoping to do a three-mile hike, but rain was threatening and we didn't want to be caught in a storm, so we continued on to Las Cruces and came back the nexr morning

Our son Sam did some rope climbing here with a friend several years ago, so we were intrigued to visit and get an up-close view. These needle peaks loom over Las Cruces like Mordor rises over Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings. 


These first pictures were taken through the car window on our way in just as the sun was rising.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

NEW MEXICO: A BABY ZEBRA, WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, AND A GIANT PISTACHIO

 July 2, 2021

As we drove through some really beautiful scenery in the Lincoln National Forest on our way to White Sands National Park, the words "Cold Cider" and "Fresh Cherries" caught my eye. 


We pulled into a parking lot and found what we were looking for--and much more. Who would have thought there would be  a one-month-old Grant's zebra in a New Mexico farm stand? 

Goats, yes. Maybe even the llamas . . .


. . . but a zebra? And not just one zebra, but two. The baby's mama was in the pen next to it.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

TEXAS: McKITTRICK CANYON

 July 1, 2021

When we finished our trek through Carlsbad Cavern and got back to our car, Bob called the main ranger station in Guadalupe National Park to see if by any chance McKittrick Canyon had been opened up. We had already tried to get in twice, but it had been closed due to flooding caused by a couple of days of rain. Well, the third time was the charm--it was open!

I was really glad that Bob was persistent. We had a memorable late afternoon hike and had the place almost completely to ourselves.


The parking lot and ranger station are several miles in from the main road. We hit the trail right away because by the time we got to the station, it was 5:00 and the exit gate would be locked at 6:00.

McKittrick Canyon is located just over the Texas border in Guadalupe Mountains National Park at an elevation of 5,018.  How is this for scenery?