Travel to the United States was off 5 percent last year, but this didn’t change how people enter the country. The top 15 ports of entry owned 85 percent of all overseas visits, gaining a full percentage point from 2008. New York JFK, Miami and Los Angeles took the first three positions and took 39 percent of the total, also picking up a full percentage point of “arrival share” relative to 2008. Five of the top 15 ports of entry actually gained inbound traffic over 2008, three of them in Florida: Miami, Orlando, Houston, Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale.
Once your barbeque is finished and you’ve cleaned up the long, you’ll probably want to leave the house for your next meal. You’ve done your share of cooking and coped with the mess. When you’re looking for a restaurant to make your life easier tomorrow, check out OpenTable‘s list of top shops for Best American Cuisine. The winners come from 2.5 million OpenTable user reviews of more than 9,000 restaurants. And, since these are quintessentially American restaurants, you’ll extend your celebration of independence by an extra day.
Since all this is so close to July 1, you can also use it as a way to stretch Canada Day a bit. The food really isn’t any different anyway, except for a few moose dishes, I suspect.
Caroline Potter, billed as OpenTable’s dining expert, calls this “a great time to be an aficionado of American cuisine. From a melting pot of culinary influences, today’s chefs have created a cuisine that is truly our nation’s own.”
So, ready a long list of restaurants that will blow your independence-oriented mind? Look for them after the jump.
I was surprised by how few states are represented. There are 53 restaurant winners on the list, but only from 22 states. I guess Montana, Idaho and oregon don’t have much to offer … though I doubt that’s true. There are some fantastic restaurants in New Hampshire, but none made the cut. So, take this list with a grain of salt. After all, nine of the winners are the Capital Grille.
New York and California, unsurprisingly, led the way, each occupying 11 percent of the results, though neither was able to top the Capital Grille’s 17 percent. Missouri, Colorado and Maryland followed with nearly 8 percent each.
The 2009 Winners of OpenTable’s Best American Cuisine Awards
• Abacus – Dallas, TX
• Aria – Atlanta, GA
• Blue Hill – New York, NY
• Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, NY
• Bluestem – Kansas City, MO
• Café Trio – Kansas City, MO
• Capital Grille, Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
• Capital Grille, Boston – Boston, MA
• Capital Grille, Chicago – Chicago, IL
• Capital Grille, Denver – Denver, CO
• Capital Grille, Kansas City – Kansas City, MO
• Capital Grille, Lombard – Lombard, IL
• Capital Grille, Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN
• Capital Grille, Orlando – Orlando, FL
• Capital Grille, Tampa – Tampa, FL
• Charleston – Baltimore, MD
• Charleston Grill – Charleston, SC
• Cheevers Cafe – Oklahoma City, OK
• Chez Betty – Park City, UT
• Dal Rae – Pico Rivera, CA
• David Drake – Rahway, NJ
• Eddie Merlot’s, Fort Wayne – Fort Wayne, IN
• Eddie Merlot’s, Indianapolis – Indianapolis, IN
• ELEVEN – Pittsburgh, PA
• Eleven Madison Park – New York, NY
• Fearing’s – Dallas, TX
• Flagstaff House – Boulder, CO
• Gayle – Philadelphia, PA
• Gramercy Tavern – New York, NY
• Lahaina Grill – Maui, HI
• LJ’s and the Kat Lounge – Hagerstown, MD
• Lola, A Michael Symon Restaurant – Cleveland, OH
• MICHAEL MINA – San Francisco, CA
• Mulvaney’s B&L – Sacramento, CA
• Murray’s Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge – Minneapolis, MN
• Niche – St. Louis, MO
• Paseo Grill – Oklahoma, OK
• Per Se – New York, NY
• Providence – Los Angeles, CA
• Sweet Basil – Vail, CO
• The Dining Room at The Langham Pasadena – Pasadena, CA
• The French Laundry – Yountville, CA
• The Prime Rib, Baltimore – Baltimore, MD
• The Schoolhouse at Cannondale – Wilton, CT
• Tilth – Seattle, WA
• Tristan, Charleston – Charleston, SC
• Vie – Western Springs, IL
• Vintage Tavern – Suffolk, VA
• VOLT – Frederick, MD
• White Barn Inn – Kennebunk Beach, ME
A US Airways employee had the brilliant idea of helping his roommate bring a concealed semiautomatic handgun onto a plane yesterday. On the bright side, this would have meant one less gun on the streets of Philly. Now, both have been charged by the FBI.
Roshid Milledge, a customer service agent, switched bags with passenger Damien Young at the gate, so Young could bring his unloaded weapon on board the plane. He was moving to Phoenix and asked Milledge about the rules for transporting firearms. Instead of following the rules (how boring …), the customer service rep decided to elevate how passengers are treated by airlines and carried the 9mm gun through an employee entrance, bypassing security.
Another passenger, however, saw that Milledge looked “fidgety.” It didn’t take long for the authorities to find Young, who was comfortably on the plane, and bring him back to the gate (after the plane had begun to taxi).
Now, both Milledge and Young are in federal custody, and according to the Associated Press, neither seemed to be represented by council (yeah … smart).
So, what about all those other passengers on board … you know, the folks who didn’t blow off the rules? They were delayed several hours.
Yet another delay caused by airline customer service …
The Federal Transportation Administration believes that $50 billion is needed to repair major metropolitan train systems … and another $5.9 billion a year to maintain them. Railways that need the money, it continues, are in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Together, they carry more than 80 percent of the train passengers in the country – amounting to more than 3 billion passenger trips every year.
We rely on these trains every day, but we aren’t keeping them in top shape. More than a third of the trains in these seven locations have equipment near or past their useful lives. The money needed to remedy problems, however, isn’t coming in. Eight percent of the equipment on these lines is in “poor” condition, with another 27 percent “marginal.”
William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, makes the astute observation: “We don’t need another report – we need greater funding.”
Did you lose a bag at Philadelphia International Airport? Well, there may be a reason. An American Airlines baggage crew chief was arrested and charged with stealing clothes from the luggage he handled. The game appears to have been: (1) steal the clothes, (2) return them to a department store and (3) don’t get caught.
That last one’s the hard part.
A passenger on Flight 892 from Dallas to Philly noticed four articles of clothing missing – with a total value of $550. It was easy to reach that amount; the tags were still on the items. Later, the clothing, which was purchased at a Nordstrom in Dallas, was taken to a local Nordstrom.
If it seems to easy … well, handcuffs are there to tell you that it is.
This is just the latest instance busted up by police. A TSA official was fired from his job in Philly for lifting passenger belongings, and a theft ring in St. Louis was discovered – after around 900 items were alleged to have been stolen.