TRUST ME! Bragging rights this summer will belong to those who actually get a reservation at “EMP Summer House.”    It’s the “Hamilton” of this summer.  The much hyped pop-up of Eleven Madison Park (which will be closed this summer for renovations) launched their website for reservations on May 1st and already they are booked solid through mid July (unless of course you don’t mind sitting down at 11:30 at night).    Located in East Hampton at the site of the former Farmhouse, Laundry, Purple Cow, Spring Close and Moby’s…  reservations are exclusively

A whale of an improvement at Moby’s. EMP Summer House1

for American Express card holders and are being done online at the EMP SUMMER HOUSE website.     According to their press release, the fare will be a bit more casual than the city venue, with lobster, fried chicken, flatbread and salads on the menu.     So far I’ve not had much luck getting at table after navigating the website and two hung ups with American Express.   I called Monday to get information on the website from Amex and got a recording the wait time was 45 minutes – apparently Paul McCartney tickets went on sale at the same time.   Membership has its privileges indeed!   It’s called frustration!  Anyway, thanks to me you now have the web address (a step ahead of where I was) and the knowledge that new reservations will be made available online on June 1st at 12 p.m.    These available dates will be from July 15th through August 15th.   I’m not sure how anyone can plan a meal that far in advance?  I can barely decide what I’m doing today but I’ll tag along if you get a reservation.

Well if you’re new to the Hamptons, let me give you a little word of advice.    When visiting friends, looking for homes or hooking up on Tindr make sure you double check the address.     Recently, I had made plans to meet customers at a home on a certain street in Bridgehampton.     While I eagerly awaited for them to arrive, they called to say they were already inside the house looking.    The only problem with this story is they

Halsey Lane

were looking in the wrong house!  They had the right address but on the wrong street and town!  UGH!  Luckily, this all happened without any incident but it could have been a tad uncomfortable if this had happened in say Texas where everyone has a gun and cites those “stand my ground” laws.   Anyway, I’m here to tell you there are certain streets you need to be wary when playing Lewis or Clark on the East End.   Here we go:

THE TREE STREETS:  Oak –17 Streets in Southampton and 7 in East Hampton, Cedar – (including Points, Views etc.) 18 streets in Southampton and 6 in East Hampton, Pine – 23 in Southampton and 4 in East Hampton.

THE OLD FAMILY STREETS: Hildreth – (not including the stores) 9 streets in Southampton and 2 in East Hampton.    Halsey –10 in Southampton and 0 in East Hampton and Gardners – 4 in Southampton and 5 in East Hampton.   Luckily there is only one Widow Gavitz Lane and Downer Place in all the Hamptons.

THE WATER STREETS: Bay – 24 in Southampton including the views and 12 in East Hampton, Ocean – 9 in Southampton and 8 in East Hampton, Beach – 8 in Southampton and 7 in East Hampton.

THE LOCATIONS: Middle – 5 in Southampton and 3 in East Hampton, Northwest – 1 in Southampton and 3 in East Hampton, Main – 3 in Southampton and 5 in East Hampton.

I mentioned these streets in a blog once before but I thought it was worth reminding everyone given my recent missing customers.



In case you haven’t noticed, it’s starting to look a lot like spring in the Hamptons.    Are the trees budding?   Have the lilies bloomed?   NO!   Traffic is picking up.   There are more cars today than there were last weekend and probably more next week.    One of the other rites of spring is also here, “RESTAURANT WEEK.”     From March 26th to April 2nd, a select number of eateries will be celebrating “East End Restaurant Week.”   I’m not sure how this IS different than “Hamptons Restaurant Week”….. but…..  many of the names are similar.   Fresno, Nick and Toni’s and Service Station in East Hampton, Le Charlot and Union Cantina in Southampton and Page, Wolffer Kitchen and Barons Cove in Sag Harbor are a few of the participating eateries.

zuccini chips
Zucchini Chips at N&T’s!

For a complete list of where to chow you can click here for the details. For a complete list of where to chow you can click here for the details.

Speaking of Union Cantina in Southampton..  I recently stopped by for dinner and was pleasantly surprised.   I went when they first opened and was initially underwhelmed.

Deconstructed Enchiladas

Luckily, I decided to give them another shot.      You should too.    We started with what I assume are the homemade chips and guacamole,  very solid.   After that,  I had the “deconstructed” enchiladas, house salad and tortilla soup.    All were delicious with a little heat but not overwhelming.      The service was good… not great but good.   It could be that I was there on a snowy night and nobody really felt like working.   I know I didn’t feel like cooking on a snowy night!    We all love a snow day.    Anyway, I would say try for yourself and let me know if you agree.    Oh, the margaritas are definitely worth trying too…. not too sweet with a good kick.

Are we there yet??????  Are we there yet?    Well, I’m already here …. out of the traffic suckas!    But while you haul your buts… or is it butts… out here in the

This just screams fun!  Unlike Sea World where there are just screams.

next few weeks there’s something new along the LIE!   I know…  excitement on the expressway!   No longer do you need to ignore your kids and spouses and declare they, “hold it in until exit 70.”     You now have the Long Island Visitors at Exit 52!   That nearly 18 exits sooner!!!  Yes, I’m good at math… I took Calculus 101 twice!     Anyway, “THE” answer is yes… they are clean bathrooms.    Plus, they have a a market featuring long island specialties and some fine cups of coffee too.    But for me, I had a whale of a good time just walking into the place (see photo).   It’s almost as fun as Sea World but nobody gets eaten by the giant fish!



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.

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!?