|Local burger joint Irondequoit, NY|
One muggy August afternoon in 2001, I packed a suitcase, told my parents I’d be back in two weeks from visiting Mexico and never returned. On June 5th 2014, I returned to Rochester, NY for the first time in more than a decade. I spent some days in my hometown, catching up with old friends and family and then Ithaca, NY, and New York City.
|It's not a zoo, but the best|
supermarket in the world
A great outing for early morning, the Seneca Park Zoo is full of interactive installations that are meant to inform and educate. There is an otter presentation that puts emphasis on conservation and cleaning up the environment.
|Hangin' with George|
Preserving the history of one of Rochester’s most famed millionaires, The George Eastman House is a walk through a time when moguls were only millionaires (because now they are billionaires) and went on safaris to Africa (wait, that is still a thing...). I have always liked the Eastman house and gardens; I always wonder what it must have been like to live with so much material wealth after his mother struggled to support him and his siblings, even if Eastman's mom was unimpressed by her son's fortune.
A traditional English pub in downtown Rochester, I watched the opening World Cup game at The Old Toad. The bartender spoke with a British accent; she was either really good at faking it or they take the authentic part really serious and outsource to the UK.
|Taughannock Falls NY|
The clever slogan “Ithaca is Gorges” is no exaggeration. Ithaca is in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The natural beauty is worth the trip. If you are in Ithaca, make a point of visiting, at least, one of the falls, you won’t regret it.
Ithaca is a small town, housing two major universities, it is full of shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and activities. Our stay was short, but The Moosewood Restaurant was the perfect place to reunite with my madrina, Marina, her son and my mother. My mom raised us with Moosewood recipes. She’d introduce us to exotic foods from her worn copy of Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. Over green enchiladas (I had to get something spicy!), locally
On my shopping list was to track down a record. “A record?” my dear chosen aunt/madrina asked me. “Yes, a record.” In the basement of Autumn Leaf Used Books, I found exactly what I was looking for: Angry Mom Records. I got the vinyl, I got stickers, I got happy.
Our reunion continued with Marina’s daughter, my dear friend Leslie. She works in Ithaca and knew where to take us for dinner. At Just a Taste we had freshly made tapas as we waited. I was surprised how quickly we filled up on tapas; it looked like a little bit of food but combined with the local ‘flight’ of wine (a sample of locally produced wines), we were laughing and reminiscing with full bellies in no time.
Brooklyn aka NYC
|Museum of Natural History|
Home to my fantastically fierce and creative cousin, SabinaIbarrola, Brooklyn did not disappoint. We had lunch (lamb with chicken) in Central Park and visited the American Museum of Natural History. I had a restful nap in the planetarium induced by the dulcet tones of Neil DeGrasse-Tyson’snarration of how the universe is expanding. And on Saturday night, I got to know some of the performers from internationally renowned Heels on Wheels.
The trip was short (10 days) but well worth it. Rochester hasn't changed that much: the weather still sucks, and the people are warm and kind. Although I must admit, the best part of my trip was hearing my children say “¡bienvenida a casa mami! Welcome home.