Considering I hadn't been down to the Fraunces Tavern, or the museum, since, well, I don't know when, I decided to recruit my executive editor Frances (yes, Fraunces/Francis) to take the ride down to Lower Manhattan with me for a bite of lunch and a quick tour. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting much.

On a recent dreary Friday, I was cheered by the thought of having lunch with an old friend, someone I haven't seen in years. She suggested (being that she works at Lincoln Center) Lincoln Ristorante, the still-relatively-new Italian restaurant that opened near the reflecting pool of this iconic complex. I thought I'd enjoy a "nice" lunch: I wasn't expecting spectacular.

Sarah Rolleston of Sugartooth Tours waltzes through Hell's Kitchen like the Queen of Candyland. It's as if she's the beloved daughter-in-law of anyone making everything delicious in the neighborhood, and as the dessert tour winds in and out of sleek shops and quaint little stores, everyone from the plump, heavily-accented woman to the young, fast-talking entrepreneur welcomes her, and in turn, you've been let into her sweet, sweet world.

Ah, Brooklyn. It doesn't really get much better in New York City. The streets are wider and less crowded, you can find a seat in your favorite bar and walk into a new restaurant without reservations. This is what I did, late Saturday night, when friends and I decided on a whim to try a recently opened establishment, The Pines.


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