Salsa… Soros… and more!

I’ve griped forever about how there isn’t a good Mexican “sit down” restaurant in the Hamptons.    I’ve complained and complained.  Yes, I like La Fondita and Sabrosa but I can’t really see having a nice quiet dinner at either location.     But this summer, it seems we finally can get the whole enchilada and enjoy it too!

First in Southampton is Union Cantina.   Located at the site of the former Southampton Public House,   the “Cantina” opened in mid-June and has been packing it’s tables ever since.   So far, the reviews have been pretty good.   I haven’t yet been but FOHC (Friends of Hamptons Chatter) have been telling me the foods pretty solid… not outstanding but good.    The standouts according to my sources are the enchiladas, roasted peach glazed pork and the freshly made salsa.  While the prices are certainly not Taco Bell they’re not exactly Nello either.    So based on the word of mouth around town it seems Union Cantina is worth a visit.    If you’ve been, let me know what you think.
Secondly,  The Blue Parrot in East Hampton has long been a punch line for bad food and bad service in my book forever!  I went a few years ago when it first opened under the new management which includes Jon Bon Jovi and the girl from Jerry Maguire who has a name I can’t spell.   The food was overpriced, lousy and served with a snarl from the surly staff.      If that wasn’t bad enough they used to have a bouncer there which would have lead you to believe, folks were clamoring to get inside…. and they weren’t.   Anyway, for whatever reason I decided to stop by for a visit last week after a hiatus of close to three years.      The first thing I encountered was a friendly staff and no bouncer!     I had to wait while my table was being prepped so I sat at the bar and had a really great margarita… at $15 bucks it was no bargain but the pour was generous and the mason jar/drinking glass was filled pretty high.
I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I like you!!!

After about 5 minutes, the table was ready and I sat down as fresh tortilla chips and salsa were being dropped off at the table.      That was followed by the house Oaxaca salad and Lime Chipotle fajitas.  While I know fajitas aren’t exactly gourmet and probably not the best way to judge the cuisine, I have to say they were really good and served with fresh made corn tortillas.     By the way, yes you can make bad fajitas I should know, I worked at a Chi Chi’s in college (for those of you who don’t know, it was the Mexican Olive Garden of the 80’s).     My partner in crime Peter had the fish tacos which which also garnered a big thumbs up.      The final verdict is that I take back all the negative things I’ve said in the past about Blue Parrot.    The snarky Go Fund Me page for the chef to take cooking lessons has been taken down and my mea culpa is complete.     So ,  if you’ve not been to The Blue Parrot in years, take my advice and give it another shot.

Finally, just in time for August some good news about what makes the Hamptons such a fun place to live.    According to sources, billionaire investor George Soros made a stop with a few friends at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor.   While that’s not anything to set rumors flying what happened when the check was delivered is the interesting part.  Apparently Mr. S. (as I call him) paid his hefty check with 4 figures not including cents and added on a 100%+ tip for the staff.     While I haven’t been able to confirm this Christmas come early gift from the tight lipped staff at the hotel… my sources are pretty reliable.     Besides, what’s so wrong with being nice!?

Hola! Some new cuisine from South of the border!!

Ok, let’s be real here! The East Hampton Independent just published their review of the new “latin cuisine” restaurant D’Canela in Amagansett. I love the Indy as it’s affectionatly called on the east end … they’re kind of the rogue paper on the East End and they never hesitate to ruffle feathers but I’ve yet to really see a negative review on ANY restaurant. BUT I DIGRESS! Let’s get back to the issue at hand… D’CANELA.

It’s located at 195 Main St., Amagansett the home of the old Main Street Cafe. The decor as you can see from my lousy Iphone picture (but I do love my Iphone, more on that later) is sleek but a little cold. Who knew liquor bottles could ad so much warmth to the decor!? The round neon “open” sign didn’t help much either, I felt like I was dining somewhere in Asbury Park. Even though I felt south of the Jersey border instead of in Mexico, I can tell you the interior was clean and the service was prompt and friendly. I’m sure in time, they’ll get more liquor bottles, warm up the place and have a license to serve booze but in the meantime BYOB and save some dinero!!!!

So how was the food? We started with a mixed green salads and some chips and guacamole. They all got a B+. The salads were fresh and tasty as was the guacamole and the chips were crisp, thick and NOT greasy. So far… So good… they’re already about 10 steps ahead of the inedible BLUE PARROT! Now when it came time for the entrees things went downhill a bit. We weren’t exactly an adventourous crowd. Two chicken and one beef fajita and a mole chicken were the entrees. The fajitas weren’t bad… but they weren’t really good either. First off they came with melted cheese and my friends who are more health concious were NOT happy. Luckily our waitress did her best and got two new ones sans cheese asap! The beef fajita like the chicken was basically meat and onions with sides of salsa, sour and tortillas. The peppers; green, red and jalapeno were all missing. The mole chicken was the best choice. It was moist, tasty and tender (An A-).

All in all, better than Blue Parrot but far lacking anything close to the level of say Rosa’s Mexicana. But it is the Hamptons afterall and it’s January. I think D’Canela will improve in time, let’s just hope they can hang in there during this looooong and so far snowy winter!!!

The best burrito in the Hamptons continues to be from 7-11 in Sag Harbor!

I got another round of nasty comments about the New Blue Parrott in East Hampton. Overpriced, tiny portions, bland and too much attitude are the most common complaints. Sure, Mr Bon Jovi or is it Mr. Jovi occaisionally shows up but if you’re actually going to eat it sounds like that isn’t the place where you want to go. It’s obvious the Hamptons needs a good southwestern or mexican restaurant… why can’t we get one???

I forgot a few weeks ago to mention a great place on the water in East Hampton. While I love the food and view at Bostwicks, I hate the wait. So, if you want to have food with a great view without waiting for 45 minutes, try Harbor Bistro. The prices are actually pretty decent and the menu is ecclectic and interesting without being so exotic you’re scratching your head. My personal favorit is the “seared tuna with soba noodles.” AWESOME! They also have a really friendly and competent staff. Harbor Bistro is located on Three Mile Harbor Road, next to East Hampton Point (where I recently had one of the worst meals of the summer— yes you can ruin a basic chicken breast)! The view is above left.

Finally, This Saturday… Stuff to do. Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge at Two Trees Farm on Hayground Rd, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm A portion of proceeds from the Mercedes-Benz Bridgehampton Polo Challenge will go to South Fork Breast Cancer Coalition. The VIP tent continues to play host to a large overdressed and overly liquered crowd that cares absoloutly nothing about the polo players, horses or anything else other than who else is in the tent and how much cooler they are!!

And for the un-chic set. Fireworks on 3 Mile Harbor this Saturday starting at 9pm. If you have friends on the Harbor, call now!