On Governors Island: Water Taxi Beach


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It can be hard not to think you’re having the best meal in New York City when you have your toes in warm sand, a hot dog in hand and a front-row seat to a sweeping view of New York harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline.

Even if the hot dog is perfectly ordinary — which it was — there’s little that can beat the experience of lunching at the new Water Taxi Beach on Governors Island on a summer Friday.

Read: When the rambunctious crowds aren’t there and the place isn’t teeming with kids.

Not that Water Taxi Beach, which officially opened July 11, is only about its location. It serves basic, somewhat inexpensive, boardwalk food done nicely — the burger patty didn’t taste like it’d been defrosted just minutes before and the fries would not have been out of place on a steakhouse plate.

Having been to my fair share of beaches, I’ve found that these qualities in boardwalk food, sadly, are a rarer find than one would think.

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Calexico Carne Asada: Taco Truck Fare With A Wait


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You would think that when a bunch of guys running a street food cart in one of the busiest neighborhoods in Manhattan get around to opening a restaurant, there wouldn’t be much of a wait for your food.

And yet there we were at Calexico Carne Asada in Brooklyn, mid-afternoon on a recent Friday, waiting for 10 minutes … 15 minutes … more, before our tacos and burrito finally surfaced.

We’re talking carne asada/pulled pork piled onto or wrapped up in tortillas, folks.

Assuming the meats have been prepped ahead of time, shouldn’t these be fairly easy to put together?

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Paris: A Lunch With A View


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For a first-timer in Paris, the Sister had not done badly.

Sure, we hadn’t managed to get into L’Ami Jean or Hidden Kitchen, but the basics had been covered: Berthillon ice-cream, Laduree macarons, cervelas at Brasserie Lipp, a cocktail at the Hemingway Bar.

What was left on the list? Much too much.

Nonetheless, we decided, end with a bang we must. And so we found ourselves packing into a tiny elevator and rocketing into the gray Parisian sky.

The lunch to end our lunches (for now) in Paris would be at a classic — Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, which, at more than 400 feet above ground level, offered a sweet spot to sip some bubbly and look out onto the city beneath.

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Paris: Putting The "Ohh" in Aligot


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Like many good New Yorkers, I had come to regard carbs as the enemy.

I’d accepted that Asian noodles were my Delilah. But with a few exceptions — any dish of steak frites that crossed my sight being the main one — I’d been able to stick to this waistline-watching strategy. I would push around (most of my) potatoes on the plate and leave bread (mostly) untouched. 

Paris, however, has ruined me.

There were the perfectly baked breads that just demanded to be devoured. The delightfully salty butters that called to you from the table, insisting on being slathered on said perfectly baked breads and then devoured.

And there was the aligot at L’Ambassade D’Auvergne, a lovely little restaurant that specializes in the super elastic dish of melted Laguiole cheese stirred together with mashed potatoes and garlic.

My breaking point came when I set eyes on the aligot.

Fighting it was futile. I admitted defeat and said, “Just take me.”

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Shhh … People Are Eating


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Not that I was looking, but I may have found a restaurant that’s even quieter than Chanterelle, a place in New York that was so hushed when I dined there a few years ago that you could probably have heard a toothpick drop.

We’re not quiet folk, my sister and I. So we knew we were in for it when we stepped into L’Ambroisie in Quimper, France, and the place was so silent that you could almost hear the soft shufflings of proprietor Armelle Guyon as she glided from table to table taking orders.

There’s been quite a bit written recently about how noisy U.S. restaurants have gotten — like crowded train stations filled with shouts and clangs, really. However, when it comes to dinner, my quibble tends to be with places that are on the other end of the sound spectrum.

After all, who wants to feel like they’re eating in a stalled elevator sans muzak?

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