I met Rachel in Fire Island, this past 4th of July weekend when Christine, Kelly and I decided to celebrate Independence Day at a nearby beach that’s nowhere near the Jersey Shore but still close enough from home, and that is – the beautiful, the one and only Garden State.
Rachel resides in 325 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach, NY – I heard that she’s been there for more than 30 years now, which means she’s right around my age, no wonder we got along well. In addition, over the course of this long weekend, Rachel has seen me through my best and my worst, and yet, she’s accepted and welcomed me without judgment whatsoever.
Let me see, I first spotted Rachel on our first day in Fire Island, after the 3+ hour commute from New Jersey (rode the Path, the Long Island RailRoad with a transfer, bus, then ferry/water taxi. No elephant rides, though) to Fire Island. It happened as we were doing our “checking” out the main street scene, I saw her at the corner of my eye, but there were no introductions that day.
I woke up pretty early the next day for my morning run and bumped into Rachel as I made my way back to my hotel. I tried not to stop as I wasn’t looking my best, in my sweat-drenched sports bra and running shorts (yes, sexy!). But she looked so fetching that I felt I had no choice but to go over and introduced myself over an iced coffee (aahhhh) and a slice of carrot cake. The carrot cake was a generous portion that I inhaled in a few minutes, the cake is moist, and topped with a decadently sweet icing. Haha, I know. I ate a cake after a morning run.. But its made of vegetable!! (carrot cake, come on give me a break). Say what you will, I enjoyed every bite of this cake.
I saw Rachel again during lunch with my friends Christine and Kelly when we decided to take a break off our beach session and cool off with a meal consisted of eggs, toast/biscuit and coffee of course. I think Kelly ordered an egg sandwich which she enjoyed, I ordered two eggs sunny side up, which was cooked the way I wanted it (a bit runny in the middle, but was a bit short on salt and pepper, and that’s fine). The service was super friendly and attentive, filling our cups with coffee as soon as we’ve downed our java. During lunch, I noticed that Rachel is pretty popular in this island, I need to come back and see her again when I’m not all sweaty from my morning run or from being cooked under the sun.
I did see Rachel again that night (or maybe very early in the morning) while taking a quick break (which means having a cheeseburger and some french fries!!) from the sweet, fun, and a bit naughty debauchery that started in (I think) Mermaid Bar and ended up at a house party where our newly-befriended host’s favorite phrase was, “Aren’t you having the best time?” I honestly don’t remember much about my meal when I saw Rachel this time around, but I did remember that I went out to eat with someone who does not like cheese, and he was not lactose-intolerant. (whhaatt? He told me that cheese smells like feet -- okay whose feet has he been eating and which cheese he's been smelling. Or maybe its the other way. Oh well, not a big deal, it just means...that’s more cheese for me.)
But all good things must come to an end, and I can’t leave this island without one last visit to Rachel. So, on our last day in Fire Island, we made sure to see Rachel for brunch where Christine, Kelly and I decide to have a cornucopia of classic breakfast selections that included cups and cups and cups of coffee, omelet with home fries (for Kelly), eggs benedict (for Christine),the Southwest Breakfast Burrito (for me!!) and banana pancakes for all of us to share. I tasted Kelly’s home fries and it is seasoned just right and I think I saw some small pieces of red bell peppers too. Christine’s eggs benedict looked tasty, with Hollandaise sauce and was served with fresh fruit. My selection, which was the Southwest Breakfast Burrito, is a soft flour tortilla packed and stuffed with scrambled eggs, potatoes, jalapeno peppers and cheese. It was the perfect meal to help me with my hangover, although in the end I did wish that the potato chunks inside the burrito were a bit smaller. I needed to leave some tummy space for the yummy pancakes. They gave us a generous portion of the pancakes, which is perfect because it was delicious, smelled buttery, tasted sweet enough even without the maple syrup. I am salivating just thinking and writing about these pancakes. I don’t think I can articulately describe the taste, but I do remember that it made me feel sooo good after a few “forkfuls”.
After today’s brunch, Rachel is officially a new BFF (Best Food Forever) in Fire Island. She has welcomed me 4 times in 3 days, saw me at my worst, not so bad, so so and on recovery day. The 4th of July weekend in Fire Island, was fun and enjoyable but would not have been the same, had I not experienced Rachel’s Restaurant.