AUGUST IN THE HAMPTONS… NO RESERVATIONS… NO PROBLEMS… THE BEST GOURMET TO GO!

Yes, it’s finally August in the Hamptons.     The water is warm.  The sun is shining.   Traffic is bumper to bumper on 27 with Range Rovers in full bloom.    While SoulCyle’s parking lot looks like a WWF pay per view.    But enough about all the things we cherish in the Hamptons during August. Instead lets talk about a major first world problem that so many of us know first hand,  the difficulties with getting a weekend restaurant reservation!

Yes, it’s the time of year when 25 minutes turns into 2 hours for a bar table.    It’s more than any south of the highway socialite should have to endure.   But luckily for you Paris, Kimye and all of the other society readers of Hamptons Chatter, you don’t have to suffer in silence any longer!   Here are a few ideas for getting gourmet meals in your very home without having to stoop to pizza or any sort of wonton that comes in a paper carton.

Free form lasagna from JK Chef Collection

1) Call JKChef Collection – 631-460-0010 – started by chef Jeff Purrazzi and Jack Kelly, the service has a stable of top tier chefs that come to you and and will handle the entire meal from soup to nutted apple tare-tatine.   According to Purrazzi, “The process of hiring a private chef is pretty easy.   We normally speak with our clients over the phone and get an overview of the families culinary likes and dislikes…

…. from the formal dining to the beach BBQ.  The key is to match the clients needs to the perfect chef.   Once we do that, we put the two together to create the perfect dinner menu.”    Prices vary based on the size of party and the duration of the event.   If you like more information you can visit their website www.jkchefcollection.com or give them a call at 631-460-0010.    Make sure to tell them Hamptons Chatter sent you!

2) Saaz -1746 CR 39 Southampton – 631-259-2222 – Gourmet Indian food that in it’s short in town has garnered a large and loyal following.    The location is easy since it’s virtually the first restaurant you see as you drive into the Hamptons.    The full menu including a slew of vegetarian dishes is available online and they even deliver to a large chunk of the east end.  So skip the pizza and go for some steamed chicken somos instead!

Salmon Tartare – Fresno

3) Fresno – 8 Fresno Place East Hampton – 631-324-8700 – New American cuisine at it’s best.   Head Chef Gretchen Menser’s rotating menu of classic crowd pleasers with an epicurean twist is why updated menu and get your tilefish or osso bucco to go! Diners have been lining up at this East Hampton favorite for years.    But the real reason I’m mentioning this here is you can go online, check out the

4) East Hampton Grill – 99 North Main St. East Hampton – 631-329-1955 – Walk right by the crowd at one of the most popular Hamptons restaurants, step up to the bar and grab your grub and get out of there.     Yep, the home of the “heavenly biscuits” will pack your dinner for you to enjoy in your own kitchen.   The menu is available online and updated frequently.    While I’m not sure I would get the oysters to go (a little messy) from the fresh fish, to the roasted chicken and the french dip all are made from scratch daily and travel well.  But most important of all, the clean up is a breeze.

The french dip at East Hampton Grill – ask for horseradish!

5) The Seafood Shop -356 Montauk Highway, Wainscott – 631-537-0633 –   Yes you can buy your shrimp and your fresh fish for home cooking but you can also get a complete dinner on the fly without breaking a sweat.   Lobsters, grilled fish and fresh salads and even a chicken breast sandwich are all on the take out menu.    It’s a complete menu available online that is updated with specials daily and diverse enough for even the finickiest of diners.      It might not be fancy but the food is awesome!

So there you have it 5 ideas for the hungry agoraphobic in all of us.

Sometimes it feels a little backwards… but thank goodness for these 5 in 2011!

I was thinking back to last year and some of the happenings in the Hamptons, and I found myself dividing them into some of the best and worst moves on the east end (no, this has nothing to do with dancing). It was interesting to think about it…and as I did a recent incident kept coming to mind. While in Manhattan last week I met a former East End resident who referred to living out here like living in “Hooterville.” While I laughed, I have to disagree, there are enough good things going on out here to make us feel more like “Petticoat Junction!”

#5 – HARBORFROST – Kudos to Sag Harbor resident Benito Villa for picking up the stick so many have dropped before and putting together something to brighten the dull month of February in the Hamptons! From ice sculpting to fireworks and the Polar Bear Plunge, Sag Harbor was the place to be for that chilly wet weekend. Shops and restaurants were packed and it gave us all a little fun to go outdoors during those dark days of winter. If only they turned that PB Plunge into a hard bodies PB plunge, now that would be a ton more fun to watch. Yes, I know I couldn’t be included in that!

#4 LT Burger – Finally a good burger joint with great shakes and no attitude opens in the Hamptons. Restaurateur and chef Laurent Tourondel, who is behind some of the most successful steak joints in the country went out on his own and opened this new Sag Harbor favorite. It proves once again, if you know what you’re doing in the Hamptons they will come and find you! Hint to that other burger place, maybe you should have actually had restaurant experience!

#3 K-Mart’s MYGOFER.COM – While I never in my life ever thought I would be such a fan of K-Mart, I have to say their GOFER.COM is a god send on those busy summer weekends. It’s a simple as going to their website and ordering what you need online. Then VIOLA! It arrives at your doorstep, presto agitato! So to me, KMART does not suck! Take that Mr. Rain Man!

#2 East Hampton Patch – www.easthampton.patch.com – Editor Taylor Vecsey has put together a smart, well organized and informative website for the Hamptons! It’s one of the few I regularly read and my favorite website…. well next to this clever blog of course!

#1 The East Hampton Grill – What LT Burger understood and made them successful, the EH Grill/Hillstone group brought to a whole other level. If you serve people good food, with great service in a comfortable setting, they will wait and deal with pushy crowds to eat there! Since the day they opened and even now in December, it’s the hardest reservation to get in the Hamptons. But unlike some other “hamptons hot spots,” you don’t have to grease the staff to get a table or friendly service. My only complaint is they don’t have the company signature dish of Spinach Dip at this location. Although that may now be a good thing, I want to be able to wear a Speedo at this year’s HarborFrost Polar Bear Plunge!

OK those are my top 5 for the Hamptons this 2011! Tomorrow it’s the five biggest mistakes from the past year! Yeah, I know this blog should be one of them

Two bucks will get you on the subway, but fresh garlic will get you a seat. I know where to buy it and announcing THE EAST HAMPTON GRILL!

Well, now that we all know that Della Famina is soon to be no more… I can tell you that the Hillstone Group the people behind Houstons will soon be opening “THE EAST HAMPTON GRILL.” I’ll assume it’s to be much like the PALM BEACH GRILL which the company owns and currently operates in that “OTHER” resort area. I only hope one thing, they have the Slow Roasted Pork Ribs, the Spinach artichoke dip and the crab cakes! It’s funny but I’ve never heard so much buzz or excitement about the opening of a new restaurant in the Hamptons like I have about this. Sure NOBU is going to Southampton but as I said before, the lines will be longer at The East Hampton Grill!

Citarella is getting a run for it’s money as Mike and Sandy DeGennaro, who own Long Wharf Wines in Sag Harbor and Southampton Wines at Water Mill Shops and Muse Restaurant & Aquatic Lounge chef Matthew Guiffrida have finally opened their long awaited AVANTI CULINARY MARKET.

Located at the site of the old Citerellas in Water Mill, I went to the shopping center the other day to buy cupcakes for a friend’s birthday (at Water Mill Cupcakes) and ended up strolling through what is one of the best epicurean (thank you spell check) centers in the Hamptons. The prices are more than competitive with the other gourmet shops in the Hamptons but the staff was over the top helpful!! The selection of seafood and meats were well stocked but I was bowled over by the extensive selection of herbs and spices (why do I sound like I’m talking about KFC) with the slick and cool packaging.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t try much of the prepared foods since I’m currently trying to squeeze into my 29″ waist speedo so I can’t comment. But I did try the tuna which the chef offered to turn into freshly prepared “tuna tare tare.” It was probably the best I ever had! To make a long story longer or shorter, AVANTI is now open visit their website for more details. But why do that… just go… EAT!

Breaking News!!!! Della Femina sells to Hillstone Restaurant Group!

In news that is going to have all of the Hamptons a buzz… Jerry Della Femina has allegedly sold his East Hampton restaurant to the Hillstone Restaurant Group. In case you don’t know the group it’s the company behind the hugely successful HOUSTON’S restaurant group. The company recently changed their name to Hillstone’s in the Manhattan locations. I’m not sure what the name will be here in the Hamptons, but I assure you the food will be awesome. I have long been a fan of Houston’s/Hillstone in the city. Their salads, their steaks, their everything is fresh, a great portion size and at a great price. If I were The Palm, I would be very nervous right now. This will be the biggest restaurant on the east end this summer…. MARK MY WORDS! Look for an opening in early to mid May!