Hotel Delmano: The Last Toast of Summer


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Labor Day weekend in the City and it can feel as if the world has fled to the beach.

For the less privileged, this is prime playtime in New York, however — packed restaurants are emptier, exclusive bars suddenly become accessible.

With Hurricane Earl nowhere in sight, the sky is a saturated cerulean; a light breeze cuts through the waning warmth. We are in Williamsburg, my writer friend Mr. B and I, for an afternoon of nursing our disappointments at not being at a beach ourselves. But mostly, to catch up on this Writing thing that we do.

“I want you to check out this bar,” he says, “I think you’d really like it.”

And so we find ourselves sliding into seats outside the Hotel Delmano, watching the too-hip rompers and ankle boots and tousled-just-so hairdos amble by.

The thing here is the cocktails. It’s mid-afternoon — but a holiday weekend, we reason — so we decide to oblige …

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The Loading Dock: “Worthy” Fish Tacos


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This might be what they call a classic New York food fairytale.

Boy moves to New York. Boy starts selling fish tacos at out of a little stand at the Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo. Boy’s tacos develop a hungry following. Boy opens restaurant.

And to add to the cool factor, he opens it in the loading dock of a former garment factory in downtown Brooklyn — talk about economical use of space in this land-starved city.

The Boy in this case would be Forrest Cole, who explains on his Web site that he first started selling fish tacos at the flea after fruitlessly trying to find a “worthy example” of a Baja-style fish taco in the city.

Now, that’s talking quite a bit of smack about New York’s many pre-existing taco joints.

We had to see just how “worthy” these fish tacos were …

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Purple Yam: Filipino, Just Like Mom’s


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It’s hard not to be leery of restaurants that try to please too many palates.

When dishes as disparate as bibimbap, goat curry and wild boar pizza pop up on a menu that’s supposed to have a distinct Filipino bent, you get the distinct feeling that something’s got to give. Korean and Filipino dishes, after all, can be complex undertakings.

At Purple Yam, the new Filipino/pan-Asian restaurant in Ditmas Park by Chef Romy Dorotan (who shuttered his well-regarded Cendrillon in Manhattan earlier this year), the menu is that varied. But there’s a lot to like about Dorotan’s food so far.

Well, as long as you stick to the Filipino dishes.

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Risotto With Some Snap


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As summer romances go, I’ve been a busy girl.

In addition to discovering and falling in love with the fish guy at the Brooklyn Heights farmers market, I’ve also been seduced by the New Jersey produce man just across from him.

What’s not to love about a giver of fat, red strawberries and deep green, flowering chives? Also, who knew fruit and vegetables from New Jersey could look so good? (I kid, I kid …)

On a recent Saturday, produce man’s beautifully plump peas caught my eye and snagged my heart.

Big, firm and just a gorgeous, gorgeous green, I decided then and there that they were too pretty to puree for a chilled pea soup. Instead, I began envisioning a summery risotto — and I had just the recipe.

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Food Porn: Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes


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Spotted at the Brooklyn Heights farmers market: A tomato smorgasbord at the Wilklow Orchards stand.

(I have to confess, it was the intense burst of colors and sexy names like “Stripped German” that first drew me to the stand. I’m shallow that way.)

After tasting some sweet, sour and super juicy tomatoes, the plan for an Asian noodle lunch was immediately tossed out the window. 

Instead, I have me a bag of tomatoes, green, yellow and brownish purple. And balsamic vinaigrette and a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese to come.

Tomato salad it is, then.

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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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