This is what a plane looks like.

I know the weather outside is getting more and more frightful.   In fact, the thought of shoveling driveways, cold wet feet and darkness at 3:30pm has you completely depressed and overwhelmed.    I know!  I know… I feel you!   But before you call the doctor to “up” your daily dosage of “vitamin Z” (zoloft), read this blog.     It will bring you comfort and joy.   DISCLAIMER: please don’t go off your meds folks, while I’m a joy for my family and at least 2 of my friends, my suggestions here are not meant to be any sort of medical diagnosis so put down the phone.   Jacoby & Myers have more important lawsuits pending.

Ok, so what’s my advice to put sunshine back in your life?    Go visit and book yourself a flight to the sunshine state for as little as $35 dollars!   Yes, you heard that right.    For about the same cost as taking the jitney to midtown, you can instead haul you butts to Islip Airport (the easiest airport on the planet) hop on a plane and be in West Palm Beach, Miami or Ft. Myers in about 3 hours.    So, the ride is about the same amount of time as a jitney as well.    I will tell you the flights are no frills and you must pay for any additional baggage (checked, carry-on and emotional).    In fact, while I was writing this I just got a quote for a flight from Islip to West Palm in January

for $108 round trip!  Now, that doesn’t include taxes or my baggage from growing up as the youngest of 6 in suburban New Jersey.       From what I gathered, these rates will likely go up in the not too distant future but in the meantime stop complaining about the weather!

If you’re not lucky enough to have the time or ability to hop on a flight to Florida and are instead heading to the Hamptons, you’re not alone.     I call it the “Hurricane Harvey.” Because, for the first time ever, I had multiple rental inquiries for the week between Christmas and New Years!    I’m not sure why Mr. Weinstein’s exploits have convinced peopl

This is what a food truck looks like!

e to “staycation” this holiday season but it’s kind of weird considering we also had a hurricane of the same name wipe out more than a few resorts in the Caribbean.      Word to the wise here, if you’re planning on being out here the week between the holidays and want to go out to eat, MAKE RESERVATIONS!   It’s going to be crowded.     It’s traditionally a busy week but a few of my restaurant buddies have said reservations are up over last year.


Speaking of eating out.   I mean really eating out.  Like outside …. in the cold…

This is what a taco looks like!

OUTSIDE.    You might have noticed a food truck recently on the grounds of the Milk Pail in Water Mill.    For those of you not brave enough to stop, I’ve done some snooping for you and discovered it’s a taco truck.   It’s called AJI Authentic Mexican Food.   Ok, they have more than tacos and the food is pretty good.   The hours seem to have a lot to do with if the weather is good and traffic wasn’t too heavy.    So if you’re driving east, see the truck and have a hankering for a good taco, burrito or nachos stop by.     It’s not the best you’ll ever have but it won’t disappoint and it’s kinda fun!






“The falling leaves, drift by my window.  The falling leaves of red and gold.   I see my a/c, it’s still cranking.   It’s Autumn time in New York.”      You may say you’re frightened by climate change but secretly you know you love these 75 degree days in November.    But in spite of the w

HIghway Restaurant’s Chicken Pot Pie!

arm temperatures other signs of fall have definitely arrived.   The apple picking, the dog walks on the beach and of course for foodies like me (in the sense that I don’t hold my nose up at movie theatre nachos) prix fixes and new fall menus.

One of my favorite foods of fall is a good chicken pot pie.   This has been something I  discovered later in life since my early exposure consisted of a Swanson’s TV dinner.  In fact,  there are a more than a few things hated as a kid that I now love.  For example,  I hated steak for quite a long time due to my mother’s unsurpassed skill in killing a cow twice.    But like everything these days from macaroni to pasta, iceberg to arugula, donut to cronut everything seems to have a more epicurean slant.   Now, chicken pot pies are enjoying their moment in the spotlight and the competition for your fork is heating up.   I guess it’s also a case of everything old is new again.

The showdown occurs every Monday as Cove Hollow Tavern and Highway Restaurant are going head to head in a show down of puffed pastry poultry.      Both are homemade and both are about 100 steps above those frozen ones from your childhood.   Being a fan of both establishments, I can say you won’t be disappointed in either but the winner and still champion is….. the one at Highway.     Why?   It’s more. While both are tasty, Highway Restaurant’s is chock full of white meat chicken, more flaky crust and it’s a meal and a half.    Yes, I’ve taken mine home to go and finished it the next day for lunch.  Cove Hollow Tavern’s is more like a soup with a top of buttery pastry on top.   CHT pot pie is less a meal and more a nice appetizer.    Either way, I suggest you try both and judge for yourself.     Now if only both locations would figure a way to put these in a preformed aluminum tray with a side apple cobbler.   Now that would be nostalgic!

Meanwhile, I love getting my google alerts.    Some of the key words I get are “real estate, my name, Sag Harbor and Hamptons.”     It’s great, if you don’t do this you should.    I get the latest on market trends, business comings and goings and the latest felony charge for my namesake somewhere in the midwest.      Recently I got an alert that Vogue magazine has an article about some island in New Zealand that’s their (ha, I didn’t write there) answer to the Hamptons.  Its called Waiheke Island and I guess now we can say we’re “Long Island’s answer to Waiheke.”    So this had me thinking, what other parallels can me made about the East End?        Here are a few of my observations.


Bridgehampton Commons – The Rodeo Drive of the Hamptons – It’s all about the shopping.   Face it, where else can you actually walk for 100 yards and not hit a real estate office or bank?


Key West
Hanging out in Montauk… uh Key West!

Flanders – The Secaucus of the Hamptons – lots of waterfront property and a heck of a lot cheaper than if you drive 10 more minutes.

Montauk – The Key West of the Hamptons –  It’s the “end” and home to some of the besthangouts around.

Rt. 27 – The 405 Freeway of the Hamptons –  You hate driving on this road but do you have another choice?

Finally,  Greenport – It’s the Brooklyn of the Hamptons.    Hip, cool and too late to get a steal.











Well the Summer season is off and running in the Hamptons, although as I shovel the snow from my driveway you wouldn’t know it!     Yes, the sex scandals (Vasectomy Fever) and celebrity misadventures are already hitting the web and Page Six.   But other than real estate the only topic worthy of lengthy conversation is the new restaurants, at least in my humble opinion.

By now many of you know there are a slew of highly touted arrivals including, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bilboquet coming to the east end.    What you may not know is there are a few more new eateries that are also causing a buzz among the Hamptons regulars.

The first is the newly revamped Maidstone Hotel on Main Street.    Partners and Alchemy a boutique hotel and restaurant management group has taken over management of the

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The New Maidstone Inn.

village landmark and given it much welcome facelift. With a freshly trained staff and revised and diverse menu from Chef David Standridge of NYC’s Cafe Clover,  it’s a change for the better.   Gone are the Swedish meatballs and plethora of salmon dishes and instead you have more accessible menu dishes including local fare such as scallops, fresh fish, burgers and roast chicken.   Lots to choose from here.

Say yes to the carbs!

But for me the biggest standouts from my dinner were the freshly baked popovers, butter lettuce salad with roasted beets and tarragon and the seared Montauk fluke.   Prices are pretty much on par with most places around town with entrees averaging in the $30 range.    Also worth noting is the huge shrimp cocktail.  Huge shrimp… that cracks me up! But i digress.   Between the fresh new atmosphere, attentive staff and diverse menu it’s really worth the trip!     Oh, and if you’re on a non-carb diet the popovers are worth a cheat day!  SERIOUSLY!

The other entry on this weeks blog is the newly opened “Cove Hollow Tavern.”    The owners of Shelter Islands hugely popular Vine Street Cafe have moved

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The sleek new look of Cove Hollow Tavern

into the spot of the former Cafe Max on Montauk Highway in East Hampton.     The menu features some interesting items including for ahi tuna crudo with watermelon and chilies; haricot vert salad; snail and squid ink spaghetti with snails and fennel.    While my gang ordered the Grilled Atlantic Snapper and Seared Diver Scallops, I was a little less adventurous and ordered the roasted organic chicken.   Now, while I’m a big fan of Vine Street I was a little disappointed in the “CHT.”   So were all of my companions.     It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great and there was nothing really compelling for me to advise running there anytime soon.  Granted it’s a brand new restaurant so give them time and hopefully they’ll get their game on. By the way, the interior while very intimate is spectacular and the bar space is inviting and spacious.   I have no problem heading to Vine Street which between the drive and a ferry is well worth the trip.   So here’s hoping “CHT” is as good as it’s sister restaurant in the near future.




Are Short Term Rentals Harming The Hamptons… and I FINALLY got to Topping Rose!!

So the Hamptons are more crowded this year than last.  But yet, everyone from shop keepers and especially real estate agents (talking rentals) are saying that business is off.   One thing I always do when I take my stroll around town trying to look better dressed than the next guy, I always ask shop owners “how was your season?”   The response I keep hearing “not great.”    But it’s so crowded, which leaves me wondering what gives!?     Well some folks are blaming the increasing popularity of those short term rental websites for the problem.       For example, you can rent a house in Southampton from a website called Marquis for a nightly rate of $1,100 a night even though this is in violation of town code which requires a minimum of 14 days.     So, according to some there lies the problem.    You have a house which advertises an occupancy of 12 people each essentially paying $100 per person, they’re not the types who are going to be spending money about town in the shops and restaurants.     By the way, I like that the Hamptons are becoming more accessible to folks who wouldn’t normally be able to visit but by allowing overcrowding in houses it’s more like a spring break location than quiet escape from city living.    What do you think?

Finally,  I got the chance to visit the new Topping Rose by Jean Georges last night and I can say is it was worth the wait.  Although the reservation lines need some fixing… about 45 minutes of holds, hang ups and transfers… the total experience was great.   The menu is unpretentious with everything from an amazing mini pizza to a terrific kale salad and a really solid cheese burger.    Service was solid and entrees arrived within a half hour of ordering.  I had the penne with meatballs and thought they were over the top awesome.   My dinner guests ordered the burger and the salmon, each earning a thumbs up from each.   I also recommend the heirloom tomato salad which right now is on the tail of being in season so go try it now.    This is a huge step up from last year’s outing by Tom Colicchio.