STYLE, ART, CULTURE, + EVENTS OF THE SOUTH VALLEY JUNE 2018
THE TORRES RESIDENCE
CENTRAL JAPAN THE OFT FORGOTTEN Page 32 EPICURE
SAVORY SUMMER Page 40
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REFLECTIONS OF VISALIA
MAIN STREET VISALIA'S MOTHER ROAD
THE TORRES RESIDENCE
With Visalia’s tremendous growth in recent years, Main Street has competition for the title as the city’s pre-eminent street. But historically, it was a pathway for those seeking a better life and greater opportunities.
Visalia residents Martin and Judy Torres decided in 2014 to downsize and found their change of pace on 20 acres near Kingsburg, near their children and grandchildren. A devastating New Year’s Eve fire spurred their move into their RV trailer until their new two-bedroom, two-bath home could be renovated.
10 Word Play
Largely agricultural, Honshu Island’s central region is the food bowl for a nation that reveres its rice, Wagyu beef and produce. But it’s also home to stunning alpine scenery, ryokan resorts, hot springs, and beautifully preserved traditions and towns.
Letter from the Executive Editor
28 Downtown Scene: Tacos Lucha 46 Next Gen: Katy Young 50 Fashion: In The Bag 52 Literary Arts: Eileen Apperson 56 Charity Event: Imagine U Annual Gala 58 Kudos
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Ryan Lucas from Tazzaria offers recipes for Summer Succotash Salad, as well as Scottish salmon on red masala, and Stuffed Artichoke Jardinère. The PHD's Jacob Mejia shares his Pear-A-Dise and Sorbet Gin Fizz cocktails.
COVER: The Torres’ guest bathroom includes a singlesink vanity crafted by their son from wood rescued from their burned Visalia home and a downsized barn on their new property. TOP: The pergola on the 20-acre property near Kingsburg is the perfect spot to watch the day pass by.
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FR O M TH E
hat good fortune to have an extended spring with a cooler than normal month of May! I certainly savored the extra moments outside in the sunshine before the temperatures changed, almost overnight, from the 80s to near 100. I’m sure my air conditioner appreciated the extra time off too – but now, as the song says, “…the heat is on.” Although the long scorching days can seem to stretch endlessly before our eyes, there’s no argument that summer brings good things that make the soaring temperatures worthwhile. Visalia enjoys not
Redwood High School and the Fox Theatre, which continue to be focal points today, Main Street has also been home to more “notorious” businesses like the Fashion Saloon. Terry Ommen gives us the historical scoop, beginning on page 12. The long summer days and late sunsets afford more time for fun, and there’s always fun to be had here. Whether we’re supporting local nonprofits like ImagineU, CASA or the Assistance League – glimpse their recent fundraisers in Kudos on page 56 – or enjoying a more casual event around town, there’s always a party going on. In search of a relaxed atmosphere with some
The long summer days and late sunsets afford more time for fun, and there’s always fun to be had here. E X E C U T I V E
E D I T O R
K A R E N
T E L L A L I A N
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT A STORY IDEA, CONTACT ME AT KAREN@DMIAGENCY.COM
one but two weekly farmer’s markets as the Thursday night Downtown Market returns with stone fruits, melons and heirloom tomatoes adding to the vibrant fare. Turn to page 40 for savory, stunning recipes from Tazzaria’s Ryan Lucas that showcase this bounty. And don’t miss Jacob Mejia’s “cool” cocktails with a frozen twist. Speaking of stone fruits, the driveway of Judy and Martin Torres’ home is lined with late-season plum trees that offer beautiful greenery and blossoms in addition to a summer fruit crop. The trees are perfectly situated for maximum enjoyment – along with the fairy garden planted especially for their granddaughters to enjoy. You’ll want to check out the light, bright interior of the home too, on page 18. Whether strolling through the farmer’s market or checking out a spot for an iced coffee, Main Street has always been the main place to be in Visalia. In addition to
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seriously innovative dishes? Try Tacos Lucha at the Oval. Downtown Scene on page 23 highlights the unlikely story of a creative chef on his way to a new position in Oregon who opted to stay in Visalia and open his own place. Tacos with butternut squash and brisket? Homemade Ban Buns and Japanese noodles? Check, check and check. (Did someone say “Japan?” Cheryl Levitan did, and you don’t want to miss her adventures in the central part of that country, in Traveler’s Trek on page 32!) With all this food for thought, I hope this issue gets your summer reading off to a great start. Whether you’re planning extended vacations to exotic places or staycations close to home in our beautiful (albeit hot) Central Valley, do take time to enjoy all that summer has to offer – time with family and friends, a slower pace, myriad fresh, local foods – and plenty of dips in the pool for good measure!
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WO R D PLAY News on writing, books + the world of publishing
une is a month when the outdoors, nature and the wilderness can beckon us to leave our homes and explore new places. We hope that our travels will be a dream vacation, but sometimes they are more of a nightmare. In “Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods,” Cary J. Griffith chronicles the travels of Dan Stephens and Jason Rasmussen as they each become lost alone in separate incidences in the woodland wilderness of northern Minnesota. Most people will set out on an adventure with a reasonable likelihood of returning. Not so Chris McCandless. If you remember Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild“ and Sean Penn’s movie of the same name, you might be eager to learn more about McCandless and why he set out on his perilous journey. In her book, “The Wild Truth,” Chris’ sister, Carine McCandless, explains in depth the hidden torments they endured growing up and how that drove Chris to make his fateful decision. “Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident” by Donnie Eichar explores the mystery of what happened to a group of nine experienced Russian students hiking in the Ural Mountains, who died violently one night on the mountain. Of course, most adventures do not end badly. David Miller in “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” describes the beauty and inspiration of his 2,172-mile hike from Georgia to Maine. His perseverance, tenacity, and proper planning and gear present examples of how to have a safe and successful outing. RESPITE BY THE RIVER For a laid-back, easy-going outdoor adventure, join valley writers and
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musicians at the annual Respite by the River events. The 2018 season continues through Sept. 12, with an event each month. The evening schedule features music from 6 to 7 p.m. on the lawn at the Ranch House of the San Joaquin River Parkway. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and lawn chairs or blankets and eat as they enjoy the music. Desserts are for sale. On July 10, the Gilly Girls will
perform. The sisters are two sets of twins, ages 14 and 11. The author of the evening will be Evo Bluestein, reading from 7 to 8 p.m. from “Road to Sweet’s Mill,” the story of music in the valley in the 1960s and ’70s. Read more about the events at www.riverparkway.org. AWARD WINNERS The winners of the Mystery Writers of America 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards were announced at the 72nd gala banquet at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City in April. The Best Novel award went to Attica Locke for “Bluebird, Bluebird.” The Best First Novel by an American Author was “She Rides Shotgun” by Jordan Harper. The Best Fact Crime was “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth
of the FBI” by David Grann. The Best Young Adult was “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds. The rest of the awards are listed at www.theedgars.com. AGENTS SEEKING CLIENTS The Writers’ Digest website lists more than two dozen new literary agents and agencies actively seeking clients. Jennifer Thompson and Isabelle Bleecker are looking for literary fiction. Kieryn Ziegler likes exciting new worlds, found families and fantastic female characters. Eva Scalzo is seeking romances with exterior obstacles. More about these and the other agents can be found on www.readersdigest.com. FREELANCE OPPORTUNITIES “Early American Life” welcomes new writers and photographers. The content includes history, architecture and decorating in early American homes, antiques, studio crafts and travel related to history. Queries are preferred over unsolicited submissions. Payment is negotiable, but first-time writers of features usually receive about $500. BOOK FESTIVAL ENTRIES Entries for the Hollywood Book Festival are due June 25. The competition is looking for books that may be candidates for film, television, games and multimedia. Entries may be published or not, fiction or non-fiction, most genres. Entry fee: $75. Grand prize is a $1,500 appearance fee. Details at: www.hollywoodbookfestival.com. THE LAST WORD “The moments that I feel the most imbued with a sense of awe are always the moments when I am outdoors. I can't help but feel a certain sense of wonder – I become almost filled with it.” (Kathi Appelt 1954- ) L
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MAIN STREET VISALIA’S MOTHER ROAD T E X T
here was a time when Visalia’s Main Street was the undisputed, pre-eminent street in the city. It was the most traveled and most recognized and, by far, the most important road in town. Some say it still is, however, with the tremendous growth of the city in recent decades, it now has competition for the title. But historically, the popular thoroughfare was more than just the most direct route to get from one place to another. It was a pathway for many seeking a better life and greater opportunities, and symbolized for them, at least, a lifeline to a better future. It wasn’t paved with gold, but the beautiful valley oak-lined roadway offered those coming to town from the west, at least, an inviting entrance and grand welcome into town.
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When the first white settlers arrived in this area in 1852, they set up camp, cut down oak trees and used them to build a fort for protection. The enclosure was located somewhere in what is now the block bounded by School, Oak, Garden and Bridge streets. Obviously, there were no streets at the time of their arrival in this heavily wooded area. When the newcomers realized that the local Native American people posed no danger, the fort was abandoned and the settlers began to spread out, and the new town took root. Two businesses were soon established south of the fort. One was Nathan Baker’s general store, and the other was Matthews’ grist or flour mill. The large mill was built near what is now called Mill Creek, so when Visalia’s first street system was laid out,
Mill Street became the first major east-west road, obviously named after the new flour mill that anchored the east end. In about 1859, Mill Street was renamed Main Street. But many of the old-timers continued to call it Mill. In fact, Thomas Thompson, in his classic book “Historical Atlas Map of Tulare County,” continued to refer to the street as Mill even though the book was published in 1892, more than 30 years after the name change. Old habits oftentimes are hard to shed. Over the years, Main Street became a popular and prestigious business address. Some businesses even incorporated the street name into their business name. Main Drug Store opened at Main and Locust streets in 1933, Main Garage opened at West Street in 1913,
TOP: Main Street looking east from Locust Street. Circa 1963
and Main Saloon set up at Church Street in 1910. Still other businesses opened their doors there because of the status that it provided. The Bank of Visalia opened its doors at Main and Church beginning in about 1885. Sweets Department Store opened across the street and had a proud presence on Main even before the bank arrived. Then in 1917, the stately five-story Hotel Johnson was built at Main and Church; the building owner, John Sublitt Johnson, was obviously impressed with the location.
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Not all businesses were looking for status or glitz; they just wanted a Main Street address and the foot traffic that it brought in the heart of the business district. And some businesses were not all that flattering to the town. The notorious Fashion Saloon and Josiah “Si” Lovern’s Saloon, as well as the popular Wunder Bar, occupied spaces on Main Street and each had their presence etched, or gouged, some might say, into Visalia history. Each provided customers with the adult beverages they craved. And still other businesses and
organizations were drawn to Main Street, anxious to bring culture and entertainment to this pioneer town. In 1904, when Andrew Carnegie gave money to build the Visalia Free Library, the city picked a Main Street location at what is now Encina Street. Later, in 1929, when William Fox, the famous movie mogul and pioneer, decided to build a talkie theater in town, a lot was picked on Main across the street from the Carnegie library. And when a new high school was needed for the growing town, city officials looked to Main Street
Top: The Main Street entrance to town, with a view looking westbound. The oak tree on the far left was at the intersection of Giddings Street. Circa 1912. Bottom: A 1923 map shows the Main Street entrance into Visalia. (Photo courtesy of Ann Shaw)
for the new campus. In 1912, they built it and we now call it Redwood High. As Main Street established itself as an obvious focal point, it was included on every parade route, and auto race car drivers in the 1900s began their races on the famous street and got the checkered flag there as well. The 1940s and 1950s found Main Street to be a regular hangout for local teenagers as “cruising Main” became a popular pastime. Even 19th-century gunfighters were attracted to the street, and we had plenty of bloodstains to prove it. Lights and illuminations of various
types also found the famous roadway. When the townsfolk decided that they needed a town lamp, the forerunner to a streetlight, Main Street was the obvious location. The first town lamp, 12 feet high and 4 feet wide, was powered by highly flammable camphene fluid, and was placed on the south side of Main Street between Court and Church in 1859. In 1937, three traffic signals, the first in town, were installed on Main at the intersections with Court, Locust and Church streets. And then, of course, during the Christmas season, the street was adorned with festive decorations and colorful lights to help set the mood
for the season. The tradition has held, and the Christmas lights continue to decorate Main on what is also known as Candy Cane Lane. Visalia’s Main Street has played such an important part in the town’s 166-year history. It has been the focal point for so much that has happened. Just like Route 66, “America’s Highway,” was the symbolic road to a better life for dust bowl migrants, Visalia’s Main Street offered similar hope to those who were looking for a better future. Main Street has certainly been Visalia’s Mother Road. L
An early Visalia postcard shows Main Street looking east near Court Street. Circa 1910.
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THE TORRES RESIDENCE JUST OUTSIDE THE CITY LIMITS T E X T BY LI SA M C E W E N | P H OTO S BY FO R R E S T C AVA L E
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The Torres home features laminate flooring for easy cleanup and distressed furniture, above. “It’s just a little simple house and we love it,” says Judy Torres of their two-bedrooms and two-bath abode, below.
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wenty-five miles is all the distance that Judy and Martin Torres traveled to begin a new chapter in their lives. It began in 2014 when the longtime Visalia couple decided that they were ready to downsize from their spacious home in the Vintage Estates neighborhood, which is near Giddings and Whitendale streets. Empty-nesters, they longed to be in closer proximity to their children and grandchildren, who were growing up in Kingsburg and Reedley. Initially, they looked at homes in neighborhoods not much different than Visalia’s, but the homes were too big and the routine too familiar. With retirement approaching, the couple was looking forward to having more time to spend with family, the outdoors and each other. They didn’t want to be tied to the maintenance that a large home requires. One day, their son-in-law, Matt Jackson, showed them a dilapidated pink house in the middle of a vineyard that he owns and farms, just outside Kingsburg. Nearby was an equally run-down mobile home. But the property had potential, and it offered just the change of pace that the Torres couple was looking for: life in a small town near their 13 grandchildren, surrounded by 20 tranquil acres of raisin
grape rows and walnuts in a delightfully small home. Plans were put in motion and a demolition crew arrived to take the cinder-block home down to just four exterior walls. The mobile home — a former hot spot for responses from the sheriff’s department — was removed while their son-in-law continued to handle the farming. In anticipation of moving, the couple relocated their RV trailer to the property. But their plans took a sudden turn when a devastating New Year’s Eve fire in their home of 20 years rendered them homeless. Suddenly, they needed their new home renovated more quickly than they anticipated. Sitting down to an outdoor interview under a new but rustic-looking pergola, their favorite spot to enjoy their morning coffee, the couple reflected on the path that they have traveled over the last several years. “That’s quite a feeling to watch everything you’ve worked for your entire life go up in smoke,” Martin said. “It was a humbling experience. It is weird to think back on everything we went through.” Their home was deemed by insurance to be a 95 percent loss, and a beloved family dog also perished. The blaze was started by the dog, who knocked over a lamp in the garage, which was full of flat, stacked cardboard boxes waiting to be filled with the couple’s belongings. A propane tank and generator stored in the garage fueled the intense heat of the blaze. “God is good, and what is important is that nobody got hurt. Other than our dog, there was nothing in there that we couldn’t replace,” Judy said. “It is totally a God thing, the way it all worked out. He pulled us through.” Kind neighbors took them in for a week so they could reevaluate their plan. Included in that plan was moving into the RV that was already parked at their new property near Kingsburg. Rather than driving back and forth to check progress of the renovations, living on-site made the most sense. The couple said with the help of their insurance company, cutting ties to their burned Visalia home was quick and easy, and they sold it as-is. In January 2015, they moved into their trailer. And so with added zeal and motivation, work began in earnest on their new home. And being just two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the project moved quickly.
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559.625.8884 220 W. Main St., Visalia www.janeensfurniture.com
Small and peaceful Five months after the fire, the couple moved in, thankful to escape the confines of their travel trailer. Fast forward to today, and Martin and Judy, who are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year, are in the throes of the quintessential retirement. After 28 years with UPS, Martin retired and the couple is relishing their time together. Their home reflects their peaceful, contented approach to life. Natural light fills every room, wind chimes break the quiet of the countryside with gentle tones, and life feels simple. Modest decor keeps the home uncluttered, reminding visitors that less is indeed more. The couple is able to spend more time doing what they enjoy: spending hours outdoors tending to their landscaping (they do all the yard work themselves), cheering on their grandchildren at the Little League diamond or pulling into the after-school car pool lane when needed. To fully capture the essence of the Torres home, one must mention the beautiful surroundings that effortlessly tie in to the property and add to its ambience. Chairs give a chance to relax outdoors, above. The petite kitchen features hickory cabinetry, below left. The center island offers additional prep space. Vaulted ceilings with wooden beams give the area an open feel, below.
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HOME TOUR The sliding door near the pergola leads to a wooden kitchen table.
The first eye-catching feature is the driveway. With rural properties, driveways are generally simple and can often lead through orchards over less-than-glamorous gravel. The grapevines that originally lined the property have been replaced with late-season plums, and on this spring day, the gorgeous greenery of the trees’ spring growth flanked the driveway, leading to a clear view of the home. At first glance, it’s easy to understand that the couple values their front yard as
an ideal gathering spot for themselves and guests, contrary to common design. All the outdoor visiting and relaxing takes place here, where wildlife viewing is best: A covey of quail meander under the plum tree canopies on the morning of this visit, and at night, the couple admits to keeping binoculars handy to watch a hawk who makes its home in a towering mulberry tree. The pergola, just steps from the front door (which, like many country homes, is rarely used) is the perfect spot to watch the day pass
by, whether it’s farming activity, listening to their four youngest granddaughters play in the fairy garden, which the couple built just for them — or visiting with friends over a cup of coffee. Judy, who takes the lead on the home and garden design, saved four of the original grapevines and planted them along the simple, see-through wooden fencing. The yard features a large grassy area where their Queensland Heelers have plenty of room to exercise and, when they’re out roaming the ranch,
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The master suite, above, has been designed for the aging process with wider hallways and a no-step entry. Below, the Torres’ Queensland Heelers relax outdoors.
provides a free-range opportunity for their flock of new hens. Judy can’t wait until they begin laying eggs and says this project has been one of the best to enjoy with their grandchildren. The home’s interior mimics the exterior. Keeping the home easy to enjoy is the key: That means laminate flooring for easy cleanup after gathering for meals, and distressed furniture with a matte finish that absorbs cute little fingerprints. Truthfully, the only challenges come from the dust that creeps in regularly, a common frustration among rural homeowners. (Oh, and the rabbits that like to chomp holes in irrigation hoses.) Judy said she has not assigned any labels to the decor, as the property truly has its own character and charm. “It’s just a little simple house and we love it,” 24
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she said. “We love to have all this outside stuff to do with all the kids.” She spends time perusing houzz.com, a website devoted to all areas of home design. Entering the home via the sliding door near the pergola leads visitors right into the petite kitchen, with its gorgeous hickory cabinetry. A center island affords additional prep space, and stainless steel appliances provide a contrast to the dark flooring and light wooden kitchen table. Their favorite spot? Standing on opposite sides of the farmhouse sink, gazing out the window while enjoying morning coffee, watching the hummingbirds drink nectar from a feeder dangling just outside. Vaulted ceilings with handsome wooden beams give the area an open feel and tie it to the living room. A centerpiece of this room is an inviting fireplace framed by a thick, dark wooden
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“We are so thankful. I stand out here and look at what surrounds us, and I just feel so blessed to be here.” - Judy Torres
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mantle built by Martin and his son. The men utilized wood rescued from their Visalia home and from a downsized barn on the property. This same wood is used in the guest bathroom, where the couple’s son surprised them with a vanity for the single sink. Fittingly, he also built a cute little stepstool, perfect for allowing little hands to reach the sink. Throughout the home, and especially in the master suite, Martin and Judy planned ahead for the aging process by designing the hallways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker, and built the shower with a flush, no-step entry so that if the day comes, they can “wheel in and wheel out,” Judy said with a smile. While they have spent the past three years adding finishing touches to their home, a few projects remain in the queue, including garden boxes to be built by Martin next to the chicken
coop, and the addition of a guest room and bathroom inside the old barn structure. FOREVER GRATEFUL Martin and Judy, sweethearts from Morningside High School in Southern California, are soaking in the slower pace and quiet that their rural home affords. “Lord willing, we will never have to leave this home,” Judy said. “We are so thankful. I stand out here and look at what surrounds us, and I just feel so blessed to be here.” The fire that swept through their Visalia home reinforced to them that a house is just a structure, but sharing it with someone you love makes it a home. To that end, the couple etched a Bible verse from Hebrews 3:4 in the concrete beneath their favorite gathering spot, the pergola: “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” L
Late-season plums line the driveway, leading to a clear view of the house. LIFEST YLE | JUNE 2018
DOWN TOWN SCENE
VISALIA'S NEW CULINARY HEAVYWEIGHT ANSWERS THE CHALLENGE: TACOS LUCHA T E X T
M A J O R
R O G E R S
ver have a taco with ingredients such as butternut squash, pickled onions or brisket with a fried egg on it? Such culinary art can be found with a little bit of effort when visiting places like San Francisco or Los Angeles. The opportunity to sample something so magic outside of those places is pretty rare though. However, a chef passing through Visalia for a few days a couple of years ago had a vision for our town. Soon after his visit, Chris Gonzalez called the trendy Oregonian sushi restaurant Bamboo that was expecting him to serve as an executive chef and told them that he’s not coming; he had found his home. As Chris searched for a place to set up shop, locals would tell him, “Don’t go to the Oval; stay away from the Oval.” The once-prominent Lincoln Oval Park, once the prospering center of town, had fallen into despair. Enter a new breed of restaurateur. “This place reminds me of home,” says Chris, who honed his crafts in culturally rich areas of Los Angeles, Hollywood and Hermosa Beach. Chris says he and 28 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 8
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his wife, Athena, stopped in town to visit her parents, then they were to continue north. “Athena saw the colors of the trees in the area and fell in love with it,” Chris says of the circumstances that drew them to Visalia. “This is my home now; we’re here to stay,” he says. “I want
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my home nice.” As of now, the Oval isn’t revitalized and not always aesthetically appealing. But that’s the treasure. Pop-up food ventures are quickly gaining customer followings on the north side. Chris says of the move, “In the community, someone has to cast the first stone. I want to put the attention here.” When I asked about potential problems with the area eatery, he responds, “Nonexistent.” I often go to north-side eateries, and I have never seen anything that would make me avoid the area. On my trips to Tacos Lucha, I’ve seen characters as complex as those in the “Star Wars” cantina, however, they do not approach Chris’ patrons because, in his kind, personal way, he has taken care of them and, in return, he is respected as an area business. Tom Knox, local pro-skater and owner of Elite Jiu Jitsu Academy, has a reputation for being a Visalia foodie. He’s tried most out-of-the-way, hole-inthe-wall establishments in town. Tonight, he and his wife, Margie, came out for
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working for the community within the community. The variety of the menu, the spectacle of watching Chris and assistants not only make tacos, but create them, often occurs in time to the house music or alternative rock-pop on his stereo. It’s sort of like a Willy Wonka taco experience. You’ve seen Anthony Bourdain trekking the globe on his travel show. You ever see him going to a city and walking into a TGIFridays? No, he finds the hidden treasure troves. Most of the locations have an edge to them, which adds adventure to the experience. We have that opportunity in this town and, as residents, we owe an opportunity as patrons to those who stick their necks out in hopes of raising our quality of life. There has since been added Ramona’s BBQ next to Tacos Lucha and, in an ramen noodles. Oh, have I not mentioned? Chris makes his own Japanese ramen noodles as well as Ban Buns (meat-infused bread bun) from scratch, the only place in town that does. Tom comes here three to four times a week. They are one couple out of four other young progressive-looking couples dining at twilight under the festive lights of Tacos Lucha. When asked of the area’s reputation, he says, “I’ve never been hassled. I’ve been to other parts of town where people will approach me, but never here.” Tom credits Chris for exposing Visalia to ramen. “And they are open late,” Margie points out as another plus. “When everything else shuts down, they are open.” The taco stand stays lit until 11 p.m. To strengthen my theory that the location is not a troubled spot, I contacted the Visalia Police Department, where I was told that there has not been one call or complaint at the eatery since it opened almost a year ago. Spearheading area revitalization takes more than heart; it takes attraction. A simple taco stand in the Oval isn’t going to produce much of a culinary following. Visalia is far from short on Mexican food restaurants, and everybody has their favorite. What is different here are the ingredients. All taco shells are made fresh, and filled with fillings such as double chocolate stout pulled pork, pork belly chachu, shrimp and longganisa, or 30 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 8
chicken al pastor. If you’re not into meats, you’re in luck. Customer Reham Franko says, “It’s nice to find a place with such vegetarian options.” She and her husband, Eddie, are visiting the taco stand for the first time, finding it by the favorable Yelp reviews. Vegetarian options range from vegetable and Thai Chili, or potato and soy-rizo (a vegetarian chorizo option), or a panko-crusted avocado taco. Other choices include roasted Brussels sprouts, sake and butter mushroom, or cauliflower and carrot puree tacos. Adding to the location’s charm, Chris says, “We make everything from scratch here.” To emphasize fresh, he says, “Every vegetable comes from Visalia’s Farmer’s Market,” showing his pride in
adjacent building, Chris shows me where his brick-oven pizza slice shop will be setting up in the near future. Tacos Lucha’s sign is recognizable by the Luchedores wrestling mask. The name Lucha comes from Spanish for wrestler. The name was born to Chris and his friend, Anthony, while living in L.A. However, Anthony passed away, and the project was tabled until Chris honored his friend by erecting their dream. “Lucha also means struggle,” Chris says. “Life’s about the struggle; it’s about the grind.” In Visalia, there are plenty of eateries you can experience safely from the shore. But why not jump in the current of our town’s newest trend and give this ride a try.
DOWN TOWN SCENE
i Central Japan The Oft Overlooked Yet Unforgettable Japan T E X T
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hen people visualize Japan, they often imagine geishas and temples (frequent sights in Japan’s third-largest city of Kyoto) or the quirky anime and splashy architecture of Tokyo. Those cities, along with most of the country’s major cities and cultural highlights, are found on Honshu island, Japan’s mainland. Many travelers visit Kyoto and Tokyo, but few tour between those cities into central Honshu, the true lifeblood of Japan. Largely agricultural, this region is the food bowl for a nation that reveres its rice, Wagyu beef and flawless produce. But that’s just a taste of what this region has to offer. Home to stunning alpine scenery and Mount Fuji, traditional ryokan resorts, natural hot springs, unique museums, and beautifully preserved traditions and towns, central Japan is a must-see. Utilizing high-speed bullet trains and buses, we left with a small group from Kyoto, toured central Japan and arrived in Tokyo six days later. The following highlights may pique your interest in experiencing the roads and rails less traveled.
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Kanazawa: Kanazawa’s modern glass train station with massive cypress gate (with pillars resembling tsuzumi drums from the traditional Noh theater) was our first sign of the blended synergy of old and new typical of this city. • Its samurai homes and Geisha district look today as they did in the Edo period (17th to 19th centuries), when this city rivaled Kyoto and Edo (old Tokyo) in power and cultural achievements. • Begun in the early 1600s as private gardens for the Maeda samurai clan, Kenrokuen is one of Japan’s three great gardens. Its iconic cone-shaped rope structures (yukizuri) surround and protect the 350-year-old pines from heavy snows. • Skillful lacquerware, woodworking and ceramics are thriving businesses in modern shops (housed in ancient structures). The city is designated a UNESCO City of Crafts. • The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art seems completely at home, its curved glass walls reflecting the history surrounding them. There are remarkably creative exhibits; a favorite is the large faux swimming pool complete with people apparently walking and breathing 12 feet under (thanks to an invisible glass ceiling topped with rippling water). Ryokans: With few hotels in Kanazawa, we traveled to the hot springs area of Wakura Onsen. Living in a volcanically active country can have its perks, such as an abundance of natural hot mineral springs or onsens. Built around these springs, ryokans are more than hotels; they allow guests to experience the unique and subtle beauty of Japanese culture and customs. Entering your room is akin to stepping into the world of the samurai with rice paper doors, low tables, floor-level chairs and woven tatami mats. Room attendants serve frothy matcha tea and “sweets” (neither the green tea lump or red bean in gelatin were remotely sweet), and then help you into your yukata (informal kimono), split-toed socks and slippers. All this is finessed with few words, just kind facial expressions and delicate hand motions. Dinners are traditional kaiseki-style works of art; 12-14 courses of flawlessly prepared and presented seasonal and regional specialties. After that, it’s a soak in the hot springs. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? It probably is when you understand L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 8 35
and appreciate the near spirituality of the experience. For the uninitiated (us), it’s a minefield where missteps can lead to concerns that you have inadvertently caused offense in a culture based on grace, warmth and generosity. Unaccustomed to changing “outside” shoes (uncomfortable wooden “flipflops” called zori) for “one size fits no one” slippers before walking on our room’s tatami mats, we often forgot. Compounding the issue was yet another pair of slippers just for the toilet room. Whenever our attendant knocked, we quickly checked our footwear (invariably wrong) and furiously scrambled to change before she entered. And speaking of that toilet, our usual “carwash” version (it washes, dries and deodorizes) now had an added feature – a tank-topped faucet! Not for drinking, the clean water (which flows only after flushing) doubles for hand washing and tank refilling. Strange but ingenious! For such a private and modest people, it seems peculiar that public nudity in onsens is commonplace. I was unsure whether to try it, but the dinner sake helped convince me and a fellow female traveler to join in. Despite reading up on proper etiquette, the lack of Englishspeaking attendants and/or arrows turned two normally competent women The author, attired in native dress, joins a team about to compete in a Yosakoi dance festival, top right. The participants, men and women of all ages, often wear coordinated and outrageous outfits. Walking up and down the spiral staircase of the stained-glass, multi-story Symphonic Sculpture, right, at the Hakone Open Air Museum can be a dizzying and disorienting experience. The sculpted head of La Pleureuse, or weaping lady, rests in a pond at the Hakone Open Air Museum, below.
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A centuries-old wooden float, above, is on display in Takayama, host of twice-yearly festivals. The float features mechanical dolls operated by men inside the float. A thatched-roof house in Shirakawago, below, has a coffee shop open to tourists on the first floor. The Komagatake Ropeway in Hakone, opposite page, is an aerial tram with occasional views of Mount Fuji.
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into bumbling fools. Placing all our clothing into a locker, we clutched our towels (the size and thickness of tea towels) in a failing attempt at modesty and found our way to a room of side-byside cleansing “stations” (since bathers must be fully clean before entering the springs). With nothing but a low plastic stool, bucket and hand-held shower hose with cleansing products, our tea towels served triple duty as washcloth, towel and “coverage.” Surrounded by diminutive and lovely Japanese women and one little girl, everyone sat and focused on their cleansing except the little girl, who often glanced our way. In a country where the unsophisticated are called “potatoes,” when my companion wondered aloud what this little girl thought of us, I answered, “Older Japanese women look good, older gaijin (foreigner) women look like big white potatoes.” We giggled, we cleansed, we soaked (with our towels now balled up on top of our heads) and wondered why we came. After dressing, we spied massage chairs. My advice? Don’t get in one unless you understand the buttons. Quickly “locked in” as pads gripped our legs, these seemingly innocuous chairs became implements of torture. An attendant soon saved us (no doubt drawn by our squeals), graciously bowed and subtly gestured towards the exit. We left, sure that we had quashed the onsen’s normally zen-like state. Heading
straight for the room’s deep soaker tub with ocean view to wash off the mineral smell, I had my sublime experience. And after a few nights sleeping on a floorheight futon, I even became adept at rolling out in the morning. Yosakoi Festivals: Uniquely Japanese, these festivals occur throughout Japan. With energetically choreographed dancing, teams in coordinated (and often outrageous) outfits all have one muscle-bound member who runs back and forth maneuvering a phenomenally large flag. Skipping our ryokan’s evening entertainment, we joined the crowds cheering them on. Shirakawago: Nestled in the lower Japanese Alps, Shirakawago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its steeply pointed gassho-zukuri, thatch-roofed houses are designed to withstand heavy winter snows. Extended families once produced silk in these multi-story homes (with the silk worms cultivated in the attic). Now its 600 residents seem content with tourism, and the government covers the $100,000 rethatching cost every 10 years. Takayama: This is a small city in the mountainous Hida region. Its twiceyearly festivals draw thousands of visitors. Spectacular centuries-old wooden floats or yatai (some with mechanical dolls) are paraded through the streets, accompanied by bands in traditional dress, with food available at
make-shift stalls (confusingly also called yatai). The rest of the year, these floats are displayed in the Yatai Museum. The city was once home to Japan's most skilled carpenters. The wellpreserved Edo-era streets and wooden buildings now house craft shops, specialty food stores (with unintentionally funny signs to encourage tastings) and saki breweries (marked by hanging balls of cedar branches). Strangely, carp swim freely in the narrow canals, which line both sides of the streets. Nearby Hida is where cattle receive sake massages, an occasional beer and listen to classical music to induce relaxation. Less well-known internationally than Kobe beef, Hida beef is equally esteemed after winning the Wagyu (meaning “Japanese beef”) Olympics. The high degree of even marbling makes for an extremely smooth texture and juicy flavor. That marbling’s high fat content requires a bit more cooking or it’s more like eating butter. Although experts claim that most of that fat is monounsaturated ("good fats” rich in Omega-3s), I remain unconvinced after eating steaks that melted in my mouth at Takayama’s highly rated Le Midi Restaurant. Japanese Alps: The drive through central Japan has breathtaking scenery, with more than 70 percent of Japan's landmass covered by forested mountains. But the drive can be long. With 3 1/2 hours between our Takayama ryokan and scheduled museum visit near Mount Fuji, we visited a “truck stop.” I add quotation marks because this was unlike any truck stop that I’ve ever imagined – aisles full of gourmet food stands, all manner of stores and lines of vending machines with every drink imaginable. Itchiku Kubota Art Museum: A Japanese textile artist who dedicated his life to mastering the lost technique of tsujigahana (a painstakingly complex dye technique for silk), Kubota built this museum near the base of his muse, Mount Fuji. It’s Gaudi-inspired exterior gives no indication of the lofty pyramidshaped gallery within. Enormous and breathtaking textured silk kimonos hang below massive, 1,000-year-old beams as part of his unfinished masterpiece, “Symphony of Light,” a series of 80 kimonos that together express the moods and seasons of Mount Fuji. Hakone: Just an hour by train from
Tokyo, this is a popular weekend getaway with many onsens. Crisscrossed by a collection of cable cars and mountainside funicular railways, Hakone’s Komagatake Ropeway (one of Japan’s highest aerial tramways) provides a view of Mount Fuji when the weather cooperates (it didn’t). This snow-capped mountain is an iconic symbol of Japan, a near symmetrical volcano and Japan’s highest point at 12,388 feet. Each year, tens of thousands of people set out on trails to reach the summit, many climbing overnight hoping for a spectacular sunrise. The grand scale of the 19th- and 20th-century sculptures at the Hakone Open Air Museum seem right at home on manicured grounds surrounded by verdant mountains. The Picasso gallery holds one of world’s best collections, with 300 items donated by the artist’s daughter, and a stained-glass, multistory tower entitled “Symphonic
Sculpture” offers panoramic views. The tower’s spiral stairs and vibrant glass are dizzying. Even though painted footprints indicate direction on the stair treads, I often had to stop to remember if I was going up or down. Thankfully, the hot springs foot bath directly below was a perfect spot to reorient and refresh. Interested in visiting Central Japan? Cruise vacations, even those that include a land component, infrequently travel to these inland sites. For that, you need a true land tour. A number of U.S. companies offer escorted small-group tours (top rated – Tauck, Abercrombie & Kent) and some English-speaking, Japanese-based companies offer customizable private and group tours (top rated – Inside Japan Tours, The Art of Travel). And for the truly adventurous, there’s an excellent website, www. japan-guide.com, to help you plan a tour all on your own.
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Savory Summer R E C I P E S
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SUMMER SUCCOTASH SALAD Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 3 cups Chinese long beans blanched 4 ears char-grilled corn 5 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved 1 red onion, small dice 1 cup fresh basil, torn leaves 4 cups grilled zucchini, small dice 4 cups fresh yellow bell pepper, diced 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled DIRECTIONS Combine all ingredients and toss with your favorite dressing, or make a simple vinaigrette: Whisk together one part lemon juice or white wine/balsamic vinegar, three parts olive oil, minced garlic, a bit of Dijon mustard, and Kosher or sea salt and pepper, to taste.
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SCOTTISH SALMON PLATE WITH RED MASALA RED MASALA INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups white onion, diced 2 tablespoons chopped garlic 4 cloves 1 tablespoon sea salt Dried red chiles 1 tablespoon Tamarind paste 1 teaspoon white sugar 1 cup diced tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes 1/2 cup oil
Heat a pan with the oil and add the onions. Cook until transparent and brown (for all the flavor). Add the tomatoes and cook until they are reduced and combined with the onions. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Remove from the heat and set aside while you prepare the salmon.
SCOTTISH SALMON The following is for one plate. Multiply the quantities for the number you are serving. INGREDIENTS 1 8-ounce filet Scottish salmon, skin on Handful of rice noodles 3/4-1 cup peanut or vegetable oil, for frying 1/2 cup toasted chickpeas * 1/2 cup roasted pearl onions 1/4 cup coconut shavings (purchase fresh coconut, then brown in the oven at 325F for 5-10 minutes) 1 cup blanched Chinese long beans (to blanch, add beans to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, then plunge immediately into ice water) 1/4 cup torn cilantro leaves
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DIRECTIONS Make the masala, then start the salmon. Heat the oven to 300 F. Heat the grill and season the fish. Place the fish skin side up on the grill and let cook for 3 minutes on both sides, then place into the oven for another 4 minutes or so to finish cooking. While the fish is in the oven, start the beans; in a sautĂŠ pan, heat oil and toss in the beans to bring them up to temp and develop color, then season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a small to medium pan and drop the rice noodles in small handfuls to make fried nests. They will instantly cook in the hot oil; flip them over once during frying. Use tongs to remove them and place them on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
To finish the plate, spread some masala on the bottom and place the rice noodle nest on it. Add the cooked and seasoned beans to the nest and place the fish on top. Garnish with the toasted chickpeas, roasted onions and torn cilantro leaves. * To toast chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Blot the top with more paper towels, ensuring that the beans are very dry. Remove all the towels from the top and bottom and toss the chickpeas with a bit of olive oil, kosher or sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (optional). Roast 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy.
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' STUFFED ARTICHOKE JARDINERE
Fill a bowl with ice cold water and add
the lemon juice.
INGREDIENTS 1 egg Juice of half a grapefruit, strained 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons bread crumbs 1 tablespoon capers 2 anchovies (no heads) finely chopped 8 globe artichokes 1 tablespoon all purpose flour Squeeze of lemon juice (for water the artichokes rest in) Salt and pepper for seasoning, to taste Olive oil for drizzling
C O C K TA I L R E C I P E S BY JAC O B M E J I A
Working one artichoke at a time, break off the stems and cut off the coarse outer leaves, then trim the tops 3/4 inch. Scoop out and discard the chokes. Drop the artichokes in the lemon water to prevent discoloration. Fill a large pot halfway with water and stir in the flour and a pinch of salt. Drain the artichokes, add them to the pot and bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.
Once the artichokes are drained; stuff
Beat the egg with grapefruit juice in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan, bread crumbs, capers and anchovies, and mix well.
them with the Parmesan mixture. Arrange artichokes in an oven-proof dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.
PEAR-A-DISE INGREDIENTS 3 slices fresh pear 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar 1 ounce lemon 1/4 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur 1/4 ounce peach schnapps 1 3/4 ounces vodka 1 egg white Lemon twist DIRECTIONS Muddle 2 slices of the pear with the powdered sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, then add all the wet ingredients and finish with egg white. Firmly dry shake the cocktail (no ice) for 15 seconds, then add ice and shake for another 15 seconds. Double strain into a 10-ounce rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with the remaining pear wheel and lemon twist. 44
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SORBET GIN FIZZ INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 ounces gin 1/3 ounce lemon juice 1/3 ounce lime juice 2 dashes orange flower water 2/3 ounce simple syrup 3 ounces prosecco Lemon mint, lemon zest strips, and raspberries for garnish DIRECTIONS Add all ingredients except prosecco and sorbet to a cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds, then strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with 3 ounces of prosecco, then top with a scoop of half raspberry/ half lemon sorbet. Garnish with a lemon mint sprig, lemon twist and a raspberry.
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KATY YOUNG WHEN FUN IS THE NAME OF THE GAME T E X T
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alk into the executive director’s office of ImagineU Children’s Museum and the first thing you will be greeted by is a rather large painting of a cuddly giraffe and dog riding together in a bright red Volkswagen beetle. The next thing you notice are the life-affirming slogans such as “Be Kind,” “Be Honest,” “Be Silly” and ”Never Stop Dreaming” lining the tabletop and walls. That is exactly how this director, Katy Young, likes her office and her life and, to 46 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 8
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that end, she goes to great lengths to ensure that both are filled with passion, joy and a dash of fun thrown into the mix. “I admit that I may have a bit of a Pollyanna-‘ish’ perspective on life,” Young said with a smile. “Yet one thing I have learned over the years is that you can choose to be happy or not, and so I choose happiness, and I try to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me. One of the ways I remind myself to keep happiness alive in my own life is by surrounding myself with
the things I love and those things that I strive to be.” Hence the busy, colorful office of a woman whose job is to help bring joy to children and parents through shared activity and discovery. Born in Reedley, Young moved to Visalia at an early age and attended Willow Glen Elementary School, Green Acres Middle School and Redwood High School. Her parents owned EMI, and she fondly remembers going to the business after school with her younger brother, Wyatt, while watching her parents strive to keep the business growing and their customers happy. She attributes her own drive, strong work ethic and selfconfidence in adulthood to those early years spent observing her parents in their shop. “My parents are the best. They taught my brother and me to work hard, but to also have fun doing it. And for me having a sense of fun infused in your life is vital to make it feel meaningful,” said Young. After graduating in 1999 from Fresno State with a degree in liberal studies, Young held a variety of jobs, including real estate agent, substitute teacher and, until recently, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, where she was in charge of show operations for World Ag Expo. But despite the interesting and demanding jobs she’s held, for Young, the most important thing in her life is her family. “I’ve been married to Brice for almost 18 years. We met on a blind date, and we went to a Thai food restaurant that night. We have been together pretty much ever since,” Young said. These days, they are a family of four, with son Andrew joining the family 14 years ago and daughter Elizabeth a little over a year later. “My family is my favorite part of my life. Elizabeth often comes to ImagineU and she volunteers. She loves to engage with the kids and the exhibits during our day camps, and both Andrew and Elizabeth helped with our 2018 gala fundraiser. I am grateful to be in a position in which my kids can learn and grow while being a part of my work life, much like my brother and I were at the foundry. I think helping out instills some positive attributes in my children.” With all the artistry required of a museum geared to children, I asked Young about how she honed her art skills.
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“Me? I am a horrific artist, but very much a believer in a team concept. Here at ImagineU, you can’t accomplish all that needs to be done without a magnificent team, so you hire and work with individuals who are good at their jobs and you let them shine. You find their strengths, and you let them use their talents to fulfill their passions and when they do, you get this … a place that is fun, educational and a great resource for the entire family. Finding great people, being a good planner and ensuring that the pieces fit and work together are probably my greatest strengths.” With summer right around the corner, Young and the staff at ImagineU are gearing up for seven weeks of day camp. As a working mom, she is proud of the resources and programs that the organization offers parents, and the learning opportunities that the themed camps provide local children ages 5 to 11. Young is most proud of the fact that the camp schedule correlates to most parents’ working hours. For Young, making an impact on the community and teaming up with other
nonprofits to ensure that there is something at the museum for every child is of primary importance. And since the mission of ImagineU is to “Empower and Inspire,” she believes that it is her job to make sure that every child walks away from the museum feeling better about themselves and full of self-confidence in order to feel that they are equipped to tackle the world. “I love that ImagineU can make an impact on the community and that I am able to do so too as a result of the work
that the staff and I are able to do. I like to think that NEXT maybe we can influence GEN the future mechanics and architects of the area as a result of what they experience here. We just never know what will catch a child’s fancy and influence their future. Just imagining the possibilities that await all of our visitors is just one of the many fun parts of my position.” While this is Young’s first foray into running a museum, she couldn’t be happier with her job, the people she works with, and the daily opportunities to watch kids learn and play while she sneaks in a little fun herself. “If you had told me I would have ended up running a children’s museum like ImagineU, I would have probably chuckled a bit,” said Young, chuckling herself. “Yet I am so glad that I am here. Now I really can’t imagine doing anything else because where else could I have so much fun and learn right along with the kids at the same time? Frankly, there is no place else I would rather be.” L
Katy Young with her mother Dru Quesnoy and daughter Elizabeth.
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IN THE BAG T E X T
S H A R O N
M O S L E Y
ith the official start of summer this month, it's time to start packing your beach bag. Whether you're headed out for a day trip or a week-long vacay, having all your essentials right at your fingertips is a summer luxury. All it takes is a little pre-planning before you feel the sand between your toes. Here are a few tips: Start with a great beach bag. Woven straw and raffia bags are topping the fashion charts this summer in slouchy silhouettes ... the bigger the better. Embellished bags are dripping with tassels, fringe and pom-poms. Personalize them with an embroidered monogram for even more fashion flair. Waterproof beach bags are also a good idea, especially if you're a regular at the beach. Add a packable hat. You don't need to worry about fancy or fluffy feathers. You're not going to a royal wedding or a horse race. But you do need to worry about the sun. Make sure that you wear a big brimmed hat that covers your face. There are plenty of crushable hats – even ones with big brims – that can easily be stashed in your beach bag ... or your carry-on if you're road tripping or flying to fun in the sun. Don't forget sunglasses. Another must-have for the beach. Critical for
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protection from UV rays, sunglasses can also make a fashion statement. Oversize shades offer both style and extra shade for your face. Leave the itty-bitty ’90s sunglasses at home. Look for space age Matrix styles to show up in all the hot spots this summer, as well as colorful, reflective-mirrored aviators. And, of course, sunscreen. With increased awareness of skin cancer risks, hopefully your beach bag will include your favorite sunscreen. Finding the ultimate sunscreen that won't leave a greasy residue, won't cause skin breakouts and stays on despite sweating may leave you frustrated. But most manufacturers of sun products now give you plenty of options to choose from, depending on your individual needs. Most dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum UVA-UVB protection with an SPF of at least 30 – if not more. Check out all the "Sun-Smart Tools" at Coppertone. Throw in a few extras. Every trip to the beach is different, but if you've got a big enough beach bag, then you've got plenty of room to stash a few more things. Roll up a colorful towel to double as a picnic blanket; include an extra pair of rubber flip-flops just in case. There's nothing worse than trying to hop across hot sand while trying to keep your cool at the same time. If you're meeting friends for dinner or drinks later, throw in an extra pair of dressier sandals. Mix and match swimwear pieces also allow
for plenty of possibilities. Coverups are always essential, and a silky kimono or poncho in a tropical print or a slinky maxi tank dress will always beat out your boyfriend's giant ratty T-shirt. Now that you've packed for the beach ... you may never want to leave. Happy summer! L
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PIONEER ROOTS GIVE LITERARY ARTS EILEEN APPERSON A SENSE OF BELONGING TO THIS LAND T E X T
ileen Apperson feels a connection to the land, but it’s conflicted. Is it the land that her great-
grandparents experienced when they were among the first to settle near Lemoore in the 1870s? Or is it the agrarian landscape that her grandparents grew up in? Or can this connection still exist as the Central Valley becomes ever more urbanized?
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Apperson’s book, “Patterns in the Land: The Search for Home in an Altered Landscape,” explores these questions and much more as she discusses changes that have taken place in the San Joaquin Valley, mostly in the Kings River to Tulare Lake watershed, and her pioneer family’s place in these shifting patterns. Apperson said her great-grandfather, James Beaver, traveled via the Oregon Trail to Santa Rosa, where he raised sheep and came to own most of the downtown. Beaver Street is named after him. His bride, Kate, had traveled around the Horn from Canada as a child. After some bad business deals, Beaver moved to the Central Valley, where he worked for cattle barons Miller and Lux, who became the largest cattle ranchers in California and among the largest landowners in the country with 1.4 million
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acres. Beaver later bought land and grew alfalfa near Lemoore. Apperson’s grandmother, Genevieve, was born in Lemoore in 1888. The Apperson family pioneers also traveled on the Oregon Trail and tried their luck at gold mining before deciding that farming in the Central Valley was more profitable and a safer investment. Her grandfather, Carl, was born in Armona in 1885. Genevieve and Carl met in Lemoore at the wrought-iron gate at the old Mooney house (now a museum). Genevieve left for Alameda after high school, but nature conspired to bring them together. A year later, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake reconstruction brought Carl, an electrician, to the Bay Area. The couple met again, and their romance blossomed. With siblings running the family farms,
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“My reason wasn’t to make money, and it wasn’t to have a best seller. It was important that I had a book in hand to give to my parents to say thank you.” -Eileen Apperson LITERARY ARTS Genevieve and Carl moved to Los Angeles, where Apperson’s father, Carleton, grew up and married. He never took to life in the big city, so with an opportunity to relocate (when Apperson was 2), he had only one idea of where that would be. Family heritage and small-town life drew him to the Central Valley and a Victorian home on a farm near Kingsburg. “This is where the family belongs,” Apperson quoted her father as saying. She added, “There seems to be such a sense of place with the stories that have been handed down from my grandparents. There’s something about a rural upbringing that gives you a sense of belonging.” Her mother, Dolores, had come from Oklahoma as a child, and her family moved around throughout the Southwest, following the jobs. “She really wanted a home,” Apperson said. The Kingsburg farm fit the bill for her, too. Apperson grew up there, graduating from Kingsburg High School, Reedley College and Fresno State, where she majored in English and creative writing. “One of the things I remember about why I liked writing so much as a child is that my grandmother still lived in L.A. and I didn’t get to see her very often, so I would write her stories,” she said. 54 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 8
Apperson continued studies at Fresno State, getting a master’s degree in creative non-fiction prose, and a master of fine arts in poetry. Following that, she taught as an adjunct at Central Valley colleges, including College of the Sequoias, before landing her position in the English Department at Reedley College in 2001. This spring, she became one of the inaugural recipients of the Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Awards from the American Association of Community Colleges. The award honors her devotion to students, her work on college committees and general determination to go beyond basics to ensure students’ academic success. More recently, she was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Reedley College President’s Faculty Award. Based on student reviews, her awards are well-earned. Most have described her as “awesome.” Her motivation to write her book began when she was a student herself. During a workshop, she wrote a paper on Tulare Lake. “No one in the class had ever heard about Tulare Lake,” she said. “I knew about it from some of the family stories. So, I realized there was a niche there. I could tell stories people weren’t aware of.”
As she went on through more workshops, she kept adding stories. Eventually, this became her thesis for her master’s. She attempted to get this early version of her book published, sending chapters to publishers with some success. Both the University of Utah and University of Nevada asked for the full manuscript. “They sent it back and they said they really liked it,” she said. “But they didn’t think there was a large enough market for it.” Nevertheless, she was thrilled that two favorite publishers had reacted favorably to her book. “At the time, that was enough for me,” she said. She set it aside and concentrated on completing her MFA, finding employment, teaching and her growing family – until she received an email from Fresno State professor Connie Hales, who had been contacted by a filmmaker interested in environmental issues. “He had been to Fresno State, found my thesis, read it and wanted to meet with me,” she said. “So, I became a subject in his documentary, which was great fun.” The description of Christopher Beaver’s film, “The Phantom Lake: Between Farming and Nature,” is on greenplanetfilms.org. Apperson shows
up briefly in the promo. Following this, Apperson knew that she wanted to complete and publish her book. Rather than go through the ordeal of submitting to publishers and hoping for results, she went directly to selfpublishing. “My reason wasn’t to make money, and it wasn’t to have a best seller,” she said. “It was important that I had a book in hand to give to my parents to say thank you.” Her book combines family history with a sense of place and a history of how their surroundings changed through each generation. It combines natural history, memoir and family history while looking at where their region is now and where it will go. “It seems that local history just isn’t taught in schools,” she said. “I’m always surprised at what my students don’t know about where they live, and I think that’s a shame. I was just fortunate that I
knew that local history because I was in a family of storytellers and I was a listener.” She is currently working on a book about a great-great-grandmother whose husband was a colonel with Quantrill’s Raiders in the bloody border states of Missouri and Kansas during the Civil War. Apperson has 100 letters from the Civil War days and has learned that her ancestor was Abraham Lincoln’s cousin, inherited her family’s slaves and was 15 years old when she married. “There are layers and layers of conflict,” she said. “I’m having a great time. I love research. I’m reading everything I can about just what that life was like for them. You wish you had a day you could ask how did you really feel about this?” Through her ongoing research, including a trip to Kansas City, she is hoping to come as close as possible to answering some of those questions.
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2018 IMAGINEU ANNUAL GALA
LIFEST YLE |JUNE 2018
ome with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination….” Those sweet words and a group of Oompa-Loompas welcomed guests as they entered the 2018 annual gala for ImagineU Children’s Museum. The evening started with a silent auction, followed by a scrumdiddlyumptious dinner prepared by the amazing chefs at the Visalia Country Club. A table of sweet treats and a chocolate fountain
had the guests coming back for more. The event was in true Wonka fashion: brightly decorated tables, lollipop centerpieces, and each setting was finished with an ImagineU Chocolate Wonka Bar. Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux was our Willy Wonka for the evening, eh-hum, we mean emcee. He, along with Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler, kicked off the live auction for the evening. Our live
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auction winners walked away with true Golden Ticket items, some that would have Veruca Salt herself green with envy. We are so thankful for all of our sponsors and guests. With their generous donations, we were able to raise more than $100,000. We canâ€™t wait for our next event and we hope to see you there! L
LIFEST YLE | JUNE 2018
ASSISTANCE LEAGUE EVENING AT THE DERBY Assistance League Visalia’s annual “Evening at the Derby” event, held May 4 at beautiful Koetsier Ranch, was a great success. All had fun as wooden horses, manned by philanthropy members, raced to the finish line. Silent and live auctions offered chances to win beautiful prizes, along with a Disneyland 10-pack raffle drawing. Thanks to all our sponsors and attendees who helped reach our goal of $50,000. These monies will help throughout the year as we provide new clothes, backpacks, school supplies, books, puppet shows and U.S. maps for hundreds of Visalia schoolchildren. Assistance League Visalia is a nonprofit, philanthropic organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children in our communities through volunteerism, education and service. All donations stay in this community and are tax-deductible.
CASA OF TULARE COUNTY ONCE UPON A DREAM It was another fun and successful evening at CASA of Tulare County’s 24th annual Once Upon a Dream event. Guests enjoyed an evening of silent auction shopping, two opportunity drawings and an exciting live auction at the event, held May 11 at the Visalia Convention Center. With slightly more than 500 people in attendance, guests enjoyed a gourmet dinner provided by the Vintage Press restaurant. CASA would like to thank everyone who contributed to this year’s event to help raise funds for abused and neglected children of Tulare County. 58
LIFEST YLE |JUNE 2018
Melana Moore, wife of Executive Director Paul Moore, and Julianne Arakaki. Julianne played the violin during dinner. Miranda Martinez, guest speaker, is a former CASA child who told her story about being in foster care and the difference that CASA made in her life. Paul Moore, executive director; Marilyn Barr, former executive director; Miranda Martinez, speaker and former CASA child, and Steve Ashman, her former CASA advocate with whom she continues a friendship.
Mighty Oak Chorus Annual Spaghetti Feed All you can eat with lots of music. Adults: $10, kids 12 and under: $5. When: June 23, noon-6 p.m. Where: First Presbyterian Church, 215 N. Locust St., Visalia Contact: Bud Case, (559) 901-4615, Dee Baughman, (559) 280-5715, www.visaliamightyoakchorus.org A Taste of India Taste, learn and cook easy and authentic Indian recipes with guest chef Deepa Srivastava. The cost is $15, which holds your spot. When: June 23, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Where: FoodLink Tulare County, 611 Second St., Exeter Contact: FoodLink Tulare County, (559) 651-3663
Bacon & Beer Classic (Sportsmanâ€™s Weekend) Join us for our third annual Bacon and Beer Classic sponsored by Sequoia Brewing Company Visalia. Packages are available for $40 and will include a ticket to the shaded STIHL Saloon deck area, three Sequoia Brewing Company beer vouchers, and access to the all-youcan-eat Bacon Station. $15 non-drinker tickets also available. When: June 24, 5-9 p.m. Where: Visalia Rawhide, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact: Get tickets by emailing Jerry@ rawhidebaseball.com or (559) 732-4433 Nutrition on the Go, Quesadilla Lab Experience Are you looking for access to fruits and vegetables along with ideas on how to prepare them into a tasty recipe? Join FoodLink for our monthly Nutrition on the Go produce distribution and educational outreach event. Every month, we have different fruits and vegetables available depending on what's been purchased, harvested from backyards or donated. You'll also have a chance to learn more about our educational workshops. This is a free event. When: June 26, 3- 5 p.m. Where: FoodLink Tulare County, 611 Second St., Exeter Contact: FoodLink Tulare County, (559) 651-3663
Faith Night at Rawhide Join Spirit 88.9 & 100.1 FM for the annual Faith Night at Rawhide Stadium. It will be a fun night of hanging out with friends, family and the Spirit Team. We'll enjoy an evening of baseball with the Visalia Rawhide vs. the San Jose Giants. Come decked out in your baseball gear (any team) and hang out with us. After the game, there will be a fireworks show and post-game concert with Jason Gray. Saloon Area - $20 for adults, $15 for kids (12 & under); Red Zone - $12 per person (all ages). When: June 29, 7-10 p.m. Where: Recreation Park/Rawhide Stadium, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact: Visalia Rawhide, (559) 732-4433 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 8 59
Kimberly Haynes ‘Nectar of Song’ House Concert Bathe in the sublime sounds of the songs of Kimberly Haynes, a visionary artist expressing through music many styles, genres and expressions. The spectrum of her vocal performance evokes both the tenderness of a mother’s touch and the ancient feminine power of a tribal priestess committed to the betterment of her global family. Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli and other guest artists. $20 donation requested. When: July 1, 5-8 p.m. Where: Center for Spiritual Living Visalia, 117 S. Locust St., Visalia Contact: For ticket info, Douglas Hurt, (559) 730-8758
July 3rd Fireworks Show! Wish America Happy Birthday with the Rawhide. Come for the baseball and stay for the Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza after the game. When: July 3, 7-10 p.m. Where: Visalia Rawhide, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact: Visalia Rawhide, (559) 732-4433 Independence Day Fireworks Community Festival Join CASA of Tulare County at the second annual 4th of July Independence Day Fireworks Community Festival at Groppetti Stadium. There will be games, live music, waterslides, swimming pool access, hot dog eating contest, dunk tanks and fireworks. Food and beverages will be available for sale. When: July 4, 2-10 p.m., fireworks show at 8:30 p.m. Where: Gropetti Stadium, 1414 N. McAuliff St., Visalia Contact: CASA of Tulare County, (559) 625-4007
Hanford-Visalia Anime-Comic Con This is a kiddo friendly event. Kids 12 and under are admitted free. Tickets are $6 in advance, and $8 at the door. When: July 1, 11a.m.-4 p.m., costume contest is promptly at 2:30 p.m. Where: Kings County Fairgrounds, 801 S. 10th Ave., Hanford Contact: Ohana Comic Con, (209) 667-8214 60 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 8
Visalia Convention Center Indoor Yard Sale The traditional yard sale has come indoors. Come and find some great bargains with many booths of used and new items. $3 per person or $5 for two at the door. When: July 7, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: Kathy Fraga, firstname.lastname@example.org
Juried iPhonography Exhibition and Opening Reception Arts Visalia presents the first juried iPhonography exhibition. It will display a variety of photographers who shoot and edit their own photography on a mobile or iOS device. Amateur and advanced skill levels will be presented in both edited and unedited formats. Awards will be given for Best of Show and People’s Choice, which will be presented at the opening reception. This exhibition celebrates the unique position that mobile devices play in the production of creative images and the spontaneity they provide. Free admission. When: Exhibition July 5-27. Gallery hours: Noon-5:30 p.m. WednesdaysSaturdays. Opening reception is Friday, July 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. Where: Arts Visalia Visual Art Center, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: Arts Visalia Visual Art Center, Janelle Howard, gallery director. (559) 739-0905
James Bonafe Lotus Flowers
The Comedy Get Down Goldenvoice presents George Lopez, Cedric “The Entertainer,” DL Hughley,and Eddie Griffin. This is a chance to see four members of comedy royalty for the comedy event of the year. Tickets: $35, $45, $55, $79.50, $135 When: July 7, 8 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. Where: Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield Contact: (888) 929-7849, AXS.com Beach Night 2018! Kick back and think of shorelines at Beach Night. Enjoy $1 beer on select drafts and live music from Edward Hernandez. Plus,get free tickets to the game when you wear your best beach attire thanks to Party City. Bonus points for Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. When: July 12, 7-10 p.m. Where: Visalia Rawhide, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact: Tickets at www.milb.com
Annual Hot Dog Festival Bring the family and look at the firetrucks from the different fire departments and enjoy All-American hot dogs, corn on the cob and root beer floats. When: July 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Three Rivers Historical Museum, 42268 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers Contact: Three Rivers Historical Museum, (559) 561-2707 The Fresno Food Expo Expolicious Fresno Food Expo’s public portion invites members of the community to see and taste food and beverages from dozens of chefs and restaurateurs ready to show you their culinary fineness. Tickets: $40 at consignment location, $50 online. When: July 26, 5-8 p.m. Where: Fresno Convention Center, 848 M St., Fresno Contact: Ticket information at fresnofoodexpo.com/expolicious-0.
Dave's Not Here (Foo Fighters Tribute) The Central Valley's premier Foo Fighters tribute act makes their triumphant return to Visalia, this time taking over Barrelhouse. Come enjoy delicious craft beer and sing along to your all-time favorites and maybe even pick up a new favorite. This is a free event. When: July 27, 6-9 p.m. Where: BarrelHouse Visalia Taproom and Beer Gardens, 521 E. Main St., Visalia Contact: BarrelHouse Visalia Taproom and Beer Gardens, (805) 296-1128
OME GAMES IN RED AND GOLD
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Photo by Ken Weisenberger
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Lifestyle Magazine - June 2018