Perfect Summer Pesto: A Lazy Al Fresco Lunch

IMG_2913People may wax lyrical about spring and its blossoms and fall or its ripe beauty, but for me, summer is always ma saison préférée.

This may come as no surprise to anyone who knows I grew up on a little tropical island, but my favorite meals always go something like this: Outdoors, at a little table surrounded by dear friends, gorgeous water on the horizon, azure sky above, the promise of a fresh simple feast before us.

So when my trusty Let’s Lunch bunch decided to do al fresco dining for our monthly lunch date this month, I was all over it.

Now, I’m fortunate that New York City and its nearby beaches offer me these ingredients on a plate. And recently, I found myself in the Hamptons enjoying one such meal with one of my dearest friends, chef Simpson Wong.

What was to come? A little summer pesto …

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The Lobster Roll (Amagansett): A Hamptons Classic

It’s hard to mention visiting the Hamptons to anyone in New York City without them assuming you’ve been to the Lobster Roll.

This festive roadside shack in Amagansett has been serving up lobster rolls to year-rounders and the well-heeled beach set since 1965 — clearly, the folks there are doing something right.

After years of visiting the Hamptons, I was starting to feel it was a little remiss to not to at least try the place once. So on a recent summer weekend at the beach, chef Simpson and I decided to take a break from cooking and headed over to Amagansett …

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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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