Come on Baby Light My Fire!!! Warm Ideas for a Very Cold Day!

With Valentine’s day right around the corner and the 12″ of snow on the ground I know a lot of you are thinking about a nice romantic evening with a glass of wine….. or 6…. in front of a roaring fire!    So are there any good spots for that romantic dinner before dipping into the champagne glass tub (you know what I’m talking about) without heading to the Poconos?    Yes, there are my friends and I’m here to tell you more!

First up… The American Hotel, Sag Harbor. –    The Hotel has a big huge hearth and a style from an era gone by…. and I’m not talking about the clientele.   Big fluffy chairs a warm wooden bar and some nice dark lightening that would make Joan Rivers look like Kate Upton…. or at least Florence Henderson.   It’s the perfect date night location with a solid menu, great service and dim flickering lights that are going to make you look good!

Hey baby, am I making you hot?  At  EH GRILL.

1770 House, East Hampton.   –  I  love this place but I’m particularly fond of eating in the basement.  Its far less formal than the main dining room and they have the rustic brick walls, gas fireplace and some of the best meat loaf I’ve ever had!     Be sure to make a reservation if you want to eat downstairs, it’s now more popular than ever before.     A nice relaxing place to spend your Valentines Day.

East Hampton Grill, East Hampton. –  Where did you think the EH Grill would be, Quogue!?   A great
bar scene, great food, a huge fireplace and some of the fastest service on the East End.  So, why is fast service so important?   Well if you’re looking to get lucky that night, who has time for a 5 hour dinner!?!?

Robert’s, Water Mill.   –  If one of you is from Southampton and the other is from East Hampton, this is the perfect place.   My favorite dish there is the “penne bolognese”… but I can’t eat that anymore. Summer is around the corner…. oh hell i’ll order it anyway.   Featuring a great menu, great service, a really extensive wine list and a toasty gas fireplace, Robert’s is a great place for a little smooching.

There are two more I want to mention but I’m running out of space.  Red Bar in Southampton is another great location for a romantic evening, featuring it’s great open space and plenty of candle light.   Also, Race Lane in East Hampton…. Big sofas in front of a fireplace… enough said.

Finally for those desiring something a little off the beaten Hamptons path, may I suggest going to Riverhead.   No, I won’t suggest going to the only waterfront McDonald’s with boat slips in the country (trivia fact.. check it out) but rather one of the most innovative and different restaurants I’ve experienced in a long time.   THE RIVERHEAD PROJECT or RHP is located at 300 E. Main St., Riverhead and in addition to the chic decor, diverse menue and great service there are some out of the box events like “The Wine Project” … with a sommolier supervised wine pairing dinner and “The Movie Project”… which is…. well you get it.  Go to their website for more information.   It’s fun stuff!  Recently, I had the chance to talk with owner Dennis McDermott (formerly of The Frisky Oyster in Greenport ) and chef Lia Fallon about what makes RHP so unique.


The birthplace of Hannibal Lechter? Plus, where would he go for lunch?!


Pass the fava beans!!! It’s Hannibel’s house!


We all know that Sag Harbor has been a haven for artists and writers of all types for years.  John Steinbeck, E.L. Doctrow and the late great Spaulding Gray have all found their inspiration among the waters of the fair Harbor and the stale beer of Murph’s.  Well, maybe Steinbeck never went to Murph’s but I bet he would have loved it!    But I digress… so, I learned something new the other day when talking to a friend of mine in Hamptons.  The house is located on Jermain Avenue in Sag Harbor and to be honest,  I fail to see how this sweet property could have ever been the birth place of the red wine swilling cannibal known as Hannibal Lechter.   The house is currently on the market for a little under  $1.5 million dollars and listed with Gioia DiPaolo of Douglas Elliman in Sag Harbor.    You can see the listing here…. and yes it’s walking distance to Murph’s!  That alone makes it worth more than the asking price!!  So make and offer and tell them I sent you… and who knows if you buy it, maybe you too can be inspired to write one of the most frightening best sellers of all time!!

our Sag Harbor office.

Sidewalk dining at Madison and Main

So speaking of Sag Harbor and dining but not the cannibalistic kind; the town was recently voted one of the friendliest places in the country.   But now I think it deserves another honor.  I’m declaring Sag Harbor the “Lunch Capital of the Hamptons.”   Sure, there are plenty of restaurants in the Hamptons but where can you go to have a good lunch (especially during the week)?   With the recent addition of Madison and Main, Sag Harbor is by a long shot the best place for the mid day meals.     While East Hampton has Ralph Lauren and Bridgehampton has real estate offices, the Harbor has more eating restaurants per foot than any other town.   It’s also the only one where you can dine out doors without breathing in the exhaust from Rt. 27.   Let’s think about this, you have the American Hotel (I suggest The Cobb salad), LT Burger (I recommend the fries and turkey burgers), Dockside (the tuna wrap), Madison and Main (tuna tacos), Bay Burger (the burger duh) and Page (you’re on your own) all with open air dining.     So why am I writing this?  Well because when you have your weekend guests and you want to get them out of the house for some privacy Saturday afternoon, send them to Sag.  See this blog is good for something!

Change, Change, Change…. or maybe not and your friend who got a $40,000 oceanfront rental is lying!

I keep hearing everyone talk about how “The Hamptons have changed so much over the past few years.” Well, I beg to differ. I’ve compiled a list of things that are still the same out east. And remember as Carly Simon sang, “these are the good old days.”

The best steak place in town is still The Palm.

Sushi is still free Thursday nights at Bamboo.

The bagels at Hampton Bagels on North Main are still the best.

The staff at Bagel Buoy in Sag Harbor is still nasty.

The American Hotel still has a great Saturday night bar crowd.

The lines at Walbaums in East Hampton are still way too long.

Friday night at Almond is still a bad place for DWF’s to meet SWM’s but hey, it’s still fun!

Howie at Paradise is still the best bar tender.

Driving out on Friday night to the Hamptons can still take almost as much time as flying from NY to LA. Thank god we know Howie!

I’ll still have to wait in line to get into Georgica.

There are still no $40,000 oceanfront summer rentals in Bridgehampton despite what your friend’s friend is saying.

The East Hampton police still hit the beach at 9:01a on weekends to ticket dog owners.

You still need a mortgage to get a lunch at the Golden Pear.

And finally… the donuts at Scoop Du Jour are still just as good as when they were Dresen’s.

So stop your belly aching folks and just enjoy the summer!!!

Finally… If you read this blog than you know about Russell my new terrorist… I mean dog. Anyway, he’s here thanks to the folks at Last Chance Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. Russell is also a big martini drinker so it only makes sense that he and I attend the first annual “Martini’s for Mutts” to benefit the Last Chance Animal Rescue Fund, on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. Yeah, I’m giving you plenty of advance notice.

Enjoy an evening of poolside cocktails to benefit this most worthy cause at the home of Edward Montak and Michelle Neufeld, at 214 Toppings Path in Sagaponack.

Last Chance Animal Rescue Fund is a charitable, not-for-profit organization, created to save the lives of animals. The organization states “We rescue animals that are located in “KILL” facilities and underwrite the costs of relocating them to “NO KILL” facilities in hopes of finding them a forever family. The minimum donation is $30. RSVP at

Also, look for last years weekly afternoon tea dance to be relocated to Bamboo in East Hampton. Details to come…


So many of my friends…mostly gay men and women ask me for my impressions on various restaurants and what they mean in the dating sense. Like in the city a friend of mine would call and say, “I’m going on a date tonight… we’re going to Per Se.” I would usually respond to that with “awesome… you got a winner or you found a winner and you’re willing to spend some bucks.” So, in the Hamptons what does it tell you when the person picks the restaurant. TONS! If you read below I’ll answer all your questions. Now remember, this guide and glossary is only good if you’ve been asked to one of these establishments. It’s also a good guide to picking the right location for someone who is truly special.

: Nick and Toni’s , The Palm or the American Hotel.

What does it say: If it’s on a Friday or Saturday night.. it means they have connections. They’re also not short on cash and willing to go head to head with some of the biggest attitudes in the Hamptons. If they order the zucchini chips (at N&T) or onion rings (Palm) they’re daring… not afraid of calories because they’ll be at the gym in the morning. It also says, they really know the menu. If one of the hostesses or maitre d’s say “hello,” you know they’re doing well because they obviously slipped one of them a few buck$ for Christmas. They deserve a least a second date or to go a few bases. If you’re date is on a Sunday or prixe-fixe night, it’s up to your discretion.

Underlying issues: My advice would be to avoid any topics or conversations dealing with the following: ex-wives, alimony or investing with Bernie Madoff.

Restaurant: Matto

What does it say: Chances are your date is a summer renter here in the Hamptons. They’re still new to the scene so if you’re waiting for that invitation to Jerry Seinfeld’s residence forget it. If this is a first date, finish the evening and change your cell number. You can do better.

Underlying issues: Avoid topics relating to home ownership in the Hamptons, real estate, St. Barth’s at Christmas and flying coach versus first class.

Restaurant: 1770 House

What does it say: Your date obviously knows some of the hidden treasures of the Hamptons. It also says, they’re willing to go to a quiet place and they’re not afraid to hold a conversation with you. They’re smart and into the finer things in life. Confident and not afraid to spend a little extra for something special. Now, I want to be clear we’re talking about the upstairs restaurant here… if you end up in the downstairs pub it only says one thing to me; THEY’RE MARRIED!

Underlying issues: If your upstairs you can pretty much discuss anything, they obviously are open and willing to talk. If your DOWNSTAIRS avoid discussing wives, mistresses, explaining difficult things to children and commuting to the city from Nassau County.


What does it say: If it’s Friday night and he’s taking you to Almond, he’s gay! If you already knew he was gay… then just enjoy he probably knows a lot of people.

Underlying issues: If it’s Saturday, I’m not quite sure what to do but I think you’ve done ok. If it’s Friday and your on a hetero date… avoid topics like musicals, football and closets. It will only make you both uncomfortable.

My last note today and probably the most obvious!


What does it say: People go to Cyril’s for one reason to drink. Odds are your date just got out of rehab or is probably fresh from the daily Montauk AA meeting. I would also be suspect of everyone your date just said hello to, odds are they’re tomorrow’s date! If you drove separately (hopefully you did) pretend to get a text message and leave immediately to deal with a “personal issue.”

Underlying issues: Avoid such topics as binge drinking, rehab, STD’s, sobriety or monogamy!

If today’s blog offends anyone.. I apologize, it was written with a strong sense of humor. But remember, there’s a little bit of truth in every jest!