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I traveled across the country from Los Angeles to New York, only to end up at a restaurant inspired by California cuisine! What does that mean? It means seasonal produce, lots of vegetables and fruits and lean meats and seafood. And that is what Upland NYC is serving in the center of Manhattan. Upland NYC is built around a California-inspired philosophy that takes heavy cues from the seasons. Chef Justin Smillie was born in rural California and raised in rural New Jersey. His menu honors his background while also showcasing the culinary influences of Tuscany and other places. Upland NYC is a warm and modern open space with large jars of pickling vegetables that line the walls, as well as wine bottles. The kitchen is open but set back a bit from the dining room. As a diner, you can see the kitchen but it is not dominating the space.  
On a recent trip to New York, I had an unexpected open night and decided to get a last minute ticket to a Broadway show. I rushed to Times Square at 5:30 pm to get a ticket for the 7:00 pm show of To Kill A Mockingbird. Once I had my ticket, I had some time to kill and was hungry for dinner. But, I was in Times Square and as I looked around, everything looked rather touristy. I wondered if I would be able to find somewhere in the area that was actually good. After a quick Google search and referring to a few articles in Eater, Thrillist and Time Out, I decided to head to Sushi of Gari located a few blocks away. As I entered Sushi of Gari, I was expecting to order a couple basic items but my eye caught the omakase menu and I inquired about it. Unfortunately, I did not have time to enjoy the entire menu but my server suggested that I select the Sushi Special which included nine pieces of sushi and one roll.