Day 230: Letters and Sodas.

The pressure was on when choosing what to do for Aurélien's first day on Long Island. Aurélien has been to Manhattan several times and while we will certainly venture out on the LIRR to meet up with friends and to show him where I actually grew up and where I was born (sorry to disappoint, I'm not a real Long Island girl!), I wanted to spend the first few days tranquil chez maman while he adjusts to New York time. 

Staying somewhat local, I took him to the authentic 1950's soda shop Hildebrandt's (as seen on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) in "ye village" of Williston Park where we sat at the counter for homemade ice cream and coke (not coca light!). "This is what HD Diner is trying to be!" he exclaimed in delight. Yes, HD Diner (HD as in Happy Days) the chain of American diners in Paris that supplement the stereotype that fine American cuisine does not exist and that we live solely on burgers and fries. Let in be known that my appreciation for a good hamburger started in Paris.

Hildebrandt's, on the other hand, is the real deal! We felt like we were in a timewarp back to a 'simpler time'. Even the clean-cut 21-year-old server, looks and almost acts as if we are in 1957 with his dimples and small-town charm. We were sold on the American Dream until he shared with us that on the weekends he plays lead guitar in a Sepultura cover band... 

The first day on L.I was a success, now I'm off to share the ultimate American experience...the supermarket, to show him how it's really done.

Freshly handmade mint and peach ice cream

 Aurélien's eyes widened when he saw this...
The French would starve if there was no dinner after 8:15!


  1. What a good idea Ella! I'm from quite a bit east of there so I don't know the 'hood but my gf lives there and I'll mention it to her! I don't eat iced cream but could def use an eggplant park and a good burger with sweet potato fries. I'm craving American food these days, like turkey with sauce and mash, etc- I guess that's what the holiday season does to you. Have fun!

  2. @D - This place is a little L.I gem! It's so authentic! When you are back on "the island", you have to check it out!! xo.

  3. is their cheesecake good? I miss that!

  4. @Gabe - You know that you are my first male reader (that I know of!)..I'll have to stop addressing everyone in my posts as "ladies" now that I know you're up on my blog. Thanks for reading!

    And I haven't tried Hildebrandt's cheesecake, we'll probably go to Glen Cove or Little Italy for that. :)

  5. @Ella - haha I'm honored to be your first :)
    I think you're very funny and I can't wait for your book to be published ;)

  6. Can't wait to go back to NYC! Haven't been to Long Island yet. I must!:)

    I was just telling a French colleague here that after a few years living with a tiny "beer" fridge, I'd probably hug my mammoth North American fridge when I get home!;) (I don't know if I'll hug it, but I'll fill it up! The mere thought of being able to keep a PITCHER in it gives me butterflies in my stomach!;) (Les p'tits bonheurs!;))

    Funny the silly things you miss when you're overseas;)

    I'm glad you're showing the boy a good time:) When are you guys heading back to Paris?

  7. @Duchess - So how are you enjoying your Paris vacation so far? Or are you back in the Netherlands?

    I have been enjoying North American conveniences myself like being able to purchase food after 8pm, being able to go out to eat at any time of the day where there is no break in service and a truly heated home where I don't have to sit right next to the heater to stay warm. My apt. was an icebox when I left! I miss Paris but am enjoying this mini-break.

    L.I is great but you need a car to enjoy all of its nuances and charming towns...that's why it's not much of a tourist attraction but there are tons of treasures here!

  8. Came back to The Hague on the 27th. Back to work the next day. Now I'm out sick because a colleague of mine also came back from Paris with a stomach flu and decided to share the goodness. Ugh. But I'll live:)

    Hope you have great plans for NY's Eve:)

  9. @Duchess - Welcome home!! Ugh, colleagues tend to pass things around the office...them and babies on planes! Beurk! I hope you'll feel at least a little better for NYE (although this holiday is suppppper overrated!). : )