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I have a few friends who don’t quite understand my love of food.

They don’t comprehend how when we’re out to dinner something delicious will stop me mid-conversation as I take a moment to be one with the dish.  How the camera roll on my iPhone is not filled with cute photos of my nephew, but instead is the keeper of a deep chronicle of the meals I’ve eaten.  How I can recall the exact meal we had at that restaurant when we first went there six years ago, but I cannot remember what I did at work yesterday.

Because of this, I have moments where I question why I’m friends with these people at all.

On the other extreme, I know people who try the latest, newest, hottest places, but are hyper critical of everything, as if they are the only authority on what tastes good.  These folks remind me of the self-proclaimed “foodies” who are now everywhere, the food groupies who think because they have had bone marrow and uni and octopus that now they breathe some kind of rarefied air.

I don’t fall into this category either.

This week I went to a meeting where early in the conversation the person I was talking to said she craved a piece of chocolate. Coincidentally, I’d brought two squares of chocolate with me, so I gave her one.  She proceeded to have an intense meditation with the square, unwrapping it and putting the square up to her nose, closing her eyes while she breathed in deeply and savored its aroma. Then she ate the square as if it were a four course meal, experiencing every single little bite. She had her extended moment, proclaimed that the chocolate was exactly what she wanted. And then our conversation about the business at hand continued.

I aspire to be that kind of food lover.

The truth is, I’m just a girl who loves to eat.  My earliest memories revolve around food: falling into the apartment when I was five and scattering Skittles everywhere, watching my mother make veal parmigiana—my favorite meal when I was eight years old, before I’d heard of political correctness—and bake a sour cream cinnamon swirl bundt cake with regularity, at ten eagerly anticipating the time when I was older so I could help make Thanksgiving dinner.

I will often plan my lunch while I’m eating my breakfast at my desk in the office.  If I’m running an errand in an unknown part of town, I will research the area for a restaurant I can try while I’m there. I just love food.

When I think of food I love, I dream of things like this extraordinary almond croissant from Petrossian…

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…and its airy, flaky, almond paste filled interior…

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I think of Christmas morning breakfast, where my parents and I make scrambled eggs with vegetables, cheese grits and freshly baked biscuits….

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…and of the equally delicious bowl of shrimp and grits (with a fried poached egg!) from Perilla.

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I’d want to hold onto the feeling that the most delicious French Toast I’ve ever had—from Blue Ribbon Bakery—gives me, in all of its fluffy, custardy, almost ethereal beauty.

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I’d salivate over the chicken meatball and arugula salad from Penelope in the Murray Hill section of New York, its mouth-wateringly juicy meat and the simplicity of the peppery greens dusted by a shower of pecorino cheese…

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…as well as the Sweet Corn and Lobster Agnolotti that I had at Balthazar in September, the epitome of a succulent seasonal summer meal.

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I’d want to recommend my favorite lobster roll in New York City from Ed’s Lobster Bar, perfectly dressed and housed in a buttery top-split roll, with no small part played by the supporting sides of perfectly crispy French fries and tangy house made pickles…

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…and the Truffled Egg Toast from ‘ino, its runny and vibrantly yellow yolk enriched by a drizzle of earthy truffle oil.

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Most of all, I’d pay mental homage to the chocolate chip cookie, crisp on the outside and soft, ooey, gooey on the inside. The most perfectly comforting comfort food of all.

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When I think of the food I love, I want to share it.  A delicious dish just elevates life into something grand, with more unexpected pleasures just a meal away.

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The plan today was to hang out in the air conditioning, read a book on the couch and catch up on the DVR.

But there was a food festival that lured me outdoors.

Normally picky about where I eat, I wouldn’t have gone near a food truck for a meal a few years ago.  Somehow a handful of food trucks have brought me over to the parked side.

With over 30 vendors at the festival, I definitely needed to pace myself, but I managed to indulge in some of my favorite food in New York City, from a truck or otherwise.

I started with Taim, the mobile outpost of the diminutive West Village eatery.

They make the tastiest falafel I’ve ever eaten.  Perfectly crispy, yet still tender and herbaceous inside, the falafel balls are accompanied by a cucumber tomato salad, pickled cabbage, hummus and tahini sauce.  Happiness in a pita.

The Strawberry-Raspberry-Thai Basil Smoothie isn’t bad either.  It was perfectly refreshing on this hot summer day.

Moving on to the line next door, Mexicue offered a delicious selection of tacos and sliders that marry two popular styles of cuisine:  Mexican food and barbeque.

Yes, please.

The special Elote taco – filled with roasted corn goodness that epitomizes summer – and the BBQ brisket slider made leaving my air conditioned apartment worth it.  Worth it twenty times over.

The Red Hook Lobster Pound offers classic seafood conjuring up warm beach days, even when you are stuck in the asphalt jungle.

The Connecticut style lobster roll, served warm with butter(!), is the order of today.

My stomach couldn’t take much more, but I had to save a little room for dessert.  The Coolhaus ice cream truck sent me to the edge of nirvana.

First you choose your cookie, then pair it with the ice cream of your choosing.

I chose the Maple Waffle White Chocolate Cookie and the Brown Butter with Candied Bacon Ice Cream.  Heaven.

Lucky for me, I ran into my friends Judy and Peter, who are fellow food lovers.  He chose the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream; she had the Maple Waffle White Chocolate with the decadent Pistachio Truffle.

And now, I’m off to take a nap.

To find out where you can experience any of the delectable treats above, follow the vendors on Twitter for current locations:

Taim:  @TaimMobile

Mexicue: @Mexicue

Red Hook Lobster: @lobstertruckny

Coolhaus: @CoolHausNY

This year for my birthday, all I wanted was a moment of peace and quiet.

So, I gave myself a full day.   It began something like this:

When you live in a metropolitan city, sometimes you need to flee just to maintain your sanity.  I escaped to Montauk.  About three hours outside of New York City, Montauk is on the edge of Long Island and the more laid back sibling to the tony Hamptons.  The beach offered a respite from my city life.

Afterwards, I checked into my room at The Surf Lodge.  It was very cool.

The room was small, but chic…

…with modern touches throughout the space…

…a chair in here…

…and a chair out there…

…they offered a welcome opportunity to take a load off.

Every room sits on the edge of Fort Pond, and mine was no exception.

Venturing outside and exploring later, I discovered little nooks of fun on the property.

Now, The Surf Lodge is supposed to be quite the party scene, the place to hang out in Montauk.  But on this day, it was mellow and peaceful, for which I was very, very grateful.

My gratitude led me to settle in to some cucumber water and a glass of wine…

…and I took in the view in front of me…

…and to the left of me.

The sky was mostly cloudy, with mist off the water lending a mystical air to the day.  The view was at times breathtaking.

It also made me hungry.  But what else is new?

Perfectly seared scallops with crispy garlic chips and pickled shallots brought me joy.

I consider myself a lobster roll aficionado, and this was quite possibly the best one I’ve ever had.  The lobster was simply prepared…and poached in butter.  The fries weren’t bad either.

A tart but sweet key lime pie topped it all off.

After dinner, I ordered a nice chilly glass of rosé and planted myself on a strategically placed chair to take in the view of the water.  The sun made an appearance after being absent all day, and it blessed those of us on the deck with a sunset.  It wasn’t fairy tale perfect, but it was beautiful.

After the sunset and a few more glasses of wine than I was used to drinking, I was pooped and turned in for the night.

The next morning, I woke up to this.

A view of the Pond and a hammock calling my name.  So I got in.

The Surf Lodge, www.surflodgemontauk.com.

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