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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene

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Erica Marcus

Erica Marcus has covered food for Newsday since 1998. She has written features about the origins of Grandma pizza, the controversy over matzoh brei, the mystery of the soft-shell lobster and many many articles that attempt to justify the hundreds of dollars she spends every year on knives and knife-sharpening. Since 2005 she has written a weekly column, Burning Questions, in which she answers readers' questions. In 2002 her article “A Knish is Still a Knish” was nominated for a James Beard award, and in 2003 she won the New York Newswomen’s Club Front Page award for her “Food Without The Fuss: a history of TV Dinners.” After graduation from Swarthmore College, Erica took a job at Crown Publishers, first in production and later in editorial. She rose to the rank of Senior Editor and worked on a wide range of books, including many award-winning cookbooks. She left book publishing for newspaper journalism the same year she left Manhattan for her ancestral home of Brooklyn, where she still lives. She eats most of her meals on Long Island.

Taqueria Cielito Lindo in Riverhead: First bites

A trio of tacos at Taqueria Cielito Lindo

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

Lunch at the new Taqueria Cielito Lindo in Riverhead turned out to be a satisfying affair. The new place, which took over the downtown storefront last occupied by Julia’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, is simply appointed yet comfortable, with warm and efficient table service. You can also order food to go at the counter.

The place is owned by married couple (and co-chefs) Jasmin and Edgar Diaz-Leal,...

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Free coffee at McDonald's through Sept. 29

McCafe coffee served in Feb. 14, 2013, at

(Credit: AP)

McDonald’s is out to caffeinate the country. From Sept. 16 to 29 (which happens to be National Coffee Day), McDonald’s is giving away a free small McCafé coffee during breakfast hours; no purchase necessary. This comes after a similar giveaway in March.

Follow @McCafe on Twitter for more details and, if you feel so moved, share your embarrassing pre-coffee moments using the hashtag #SipandTell.


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Closed in Oceanside: Lawson Pub

Lawson Pub, like many Oceanside businesses, was hit

(Credit: Gaby Chiha)

Long Island has bid adieu to Lawson Pub, which made its debut near the Oceanside LIRR station in 2011. Shortly thereafter, the place garnered a three-star review for such dishes as shrimp and clams casino and a crazy bacon and lobster salad-topped burger. But in 2012, the gastropub was hit by superstorm Sandy and never fully rebounded.

So, now, chef-owner Joseph...

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National Guacamole Day at Besito

Guacamole is prepared table-side at Besito.

(Credit: Newsday / Jeremy Bales)

When National Guacamole Day and Mexican Independence Day come together, you can be sure Long Island's two Besito restaurants will be ready.

This happens on Tuesday, Sept.16. To contribute to the festivities, Besito in Huntington and in Roslyn has added two specials to the menu, along with a complimentary Roca Patron tequila tasting from 5 to 8 p.m.

Lobster guacamole is one dish, enriching...

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Chefs' benefit highlights East End sustainability

Sang Lee Farms in Peconic offers tours on

(Credit: Handout)

Learn about sustainability while you sample the wares of some of the East End’s best chefs, farmers, fishermen, wineries and breweries. That’s the idea behind S.E.E.D. (Sustainable East End Development), organized by the Eastern Long Island chapter of the chefs' group American Culinary Federation (ACF). The event takes place on Sept. 28 at Westhampton Beach Country Club.

Among the participating...

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New bakery cafe chain hits Long Island

Corner Bakery Cafe is new to Westbury in

(Credit: Corner Bakery Cafe)

Corner Bakery Cafe, a chain with roots in Chicago and corporate headquarters in Dallas, just opened its first Long Island branch in Westbury. The casual new eatery is attached to Buffalo Wild Wings (with which it shares franchise ownership). It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

You can choose a “scrambler” such as the “Anaheim,” with scrambled...

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Closed in Cedarhurst: Mother Kelly's

Mother Kelly's Restaurant in Cedarhurst. (April 5, 2010)

(Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney)

Mother Kelly’s, a Cedarhurst presence for more than 30 years, has closed and the building has been sold. But another branch with the same name is still up and running in a Syosset office building.

Lisa Lanese, who owns the restaurant with her brothers Mark and Glenn Gobetz and their mother, Dorothy Gobetz, said the Syosset menu, while shorter than the Cedarhurst original, features many...

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The Riverhead Project is gone for good

The Riverhead Project in Riverhead, seen in 2011,

(Credit: Heather Walsh)

The Riverhead Project, which dramatically improved dining out downtown, has closed.


Owner Dennis McDermott said last weekend that he hoped to re-open the restaurant with new partners, but Friday confirmed he was not able to find an investor. "Nobody wanted to invest in a restaurant in Riverhead."

The downtown upturn he'd hoped for and helped move along didn't materialize...

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This week's restaurant reviews

Whole red snapper in sweet-and-sour sauce is served

(Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti)

A golden pouf of bread, seed-sprinkled and brown at the edges, is a must-order at the new Bosphorus Cafe Grill in Port Washington, says Joan Reminick. She also likes the Turkish restaurant's tender and juicy chicken and lamb kebabs and the char-grilled whole St. Peter’s fish.

A new Chinese revolution is taking place on Northern Boulevard in Great Neck, where a glittery Moonstone, once the...

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New noodles at Frankly Thai in Franklin Square

Basil noodles with ground pork and shrimp, a

(Credit: Frankly Thai)

Chef Jintana Lauchalermsuk of Frankly Thai in Franklin Square has come up with a new noodle dish, which she and her husband Frankie Perrone are featuring as a special: basil noodles with ground pork and shrimp ($15.95).

As Perrone explains it, the dish is a Thai take on the Italian pasta Bolognese. Made with fat Thai noodles similar to the Japanese udon, it's the kind of dish that allows...

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