city island: i’m on team johnny.

city island: i’m on team johnny.

Dear Hurricane Earl, I know you caused a ruckus for plenty of folks further south, and that was admittedly not very cool. I know you were supposed to be all big and bad, that as an East Coaster, I am now supposed to be wary of hurricanes instead of tornadoes.

But apart from the boisterous breezes, which made wearing a skirt a no-go for our Saturday trip to the Brooklyn Flea Market (stop by just for old-fashioned shaved ice and fruit pops at People’s Pops, YUM), you really outdid yourself with the weekend weather. So my sincere thanks for that, in part because it resulted in my first adventure to City Island.

What’s that?, you ask? City Island is a small maritime community that is surprisingly part of the Bronx, neighbors Pelham Bay and is known for its plentiful seafood, nautical activity and views of Eastchester Bay and Long Island Sound.

You can get there by bus or bike easily enough and when I decided to sell my car, I was envisioning my new automobile-free life with, well, much less automobile. But the thing about living in student housing with most of your new friends – many of whom hail from various New England locales, is that there are abundant opportunities to ride shotgun. One such friend, a Scarsdale local, offered to drive us out to City Island for dinner, so we packed into his SUV and headed across the bridge to stuff ourselves with seafood.

As we followed the Labor Day weekend crowds down City Island Avenue, past one dining venue after the next toward our destination, our host informed us of the fierce rivalry between Johnny’s Reef and Tony’s Pier, two seafood restaurants across the street from each other offering nearly identical fare. Like the Yankees and the Mets, everyone is die-hard one team or the other, and thanks to years of visits with his dad, the Scarsdale native and all-out Yankee fan is staunchly on Team Johnny.

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nyc eats: a tasty new chapter.

nyc eats: a tasty new chapter.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I fell off the planet.

Got sucked right out of the blogosphere into a frenzied–albeit pleasant–black hole of packing, daydreaming, tying loose ends, and selling gobs of our stuff to strangers. I’ve shirked my food scribbling duties (though I’ve continued to take countless low-quality photos of slightly above-quality dishes and scrawl well intentioned notes on napkins and receipts), and I’m not proud of it, but I’m BACK I tell you. For good. To regale you with gastro adventures galore.

Also, by back, I mean that I’m once again a displaced Texan. This time, however, I’ve side-stepped a return to the Midwest and instead landed in a hustlin’ bustlin’ nabe of the Bronx. That’s right folks. This little foodie scooted off to the Great Big Shiny Apple. It’s been almost a week, and now that we have crappy Internet installed (yes, there is an ethernet cable surging Web life into my MacBook), I figure I’ll jump back in the dining saddle with a whirlwind wrap up of our taste bud travels thus far.

Ready? GO.

After a disgustingly early flight, feeding my kitty tranquilizers (vet-approved, mind you), a connecting flight in Philly, and an anxious taxi ride, we managed to find ourselves on the corner of Eastchester Road and Morris Park on the grounds of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where the male counterpart will continue studying gray matter. We giddily picked up our keys at the security desk (yes, mom, there is a 24-hour security guard on duty) and road the left of two 28-story elevators up to the ninth floor. Ta-DAH! An empty studio with a view of… well, the Bronx isn’t exactly gorgeous, but you can see a ways off. Look below, and there are three or four eateries across the street. Starving, Joshua? Me, too.

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