SAG HARBOR IS IN DANGER… COOKIES AND BROWNIES WITH NO GUILT!!!

I’m starting to feel like the Terence Malick of bloggers right now.    In fact, I feel I’m in my “Tree of Life” phase, minus Brad Pitt and with even less enthusiasm from the audience.   But as my fortune cookie said the other day, “you must try or hate yourself for not trying.”  So here I am trying to bang out my ever so entertaining latest installment of “HAMPTONS CHATTER.”   – crickets –

Anyway, what everyone seems to be really discussing in my part of the world is about how Sag Harbor has turned a corner.   I’ve been nestled in Sag Harbor’s Main Street for the better part of 12 years (more on that later) and enjoyed it’s sophisticated small town feel.   From the “five and dime” to home design stores to the Golden Pear coffee shop, it was “hello”… “good morning”…. “have a good day.”    But as Whoopi said in the movie “Ghost,”   – –  “Sag Harbor, you’re in danger girl.”

The main culprit from what I hear is that “new restaurant” that shall remain unnamed.   According to reliable sources, just because the place is empty doesn’t mean they want your unpretentious butt sitting at one of their tables.   More than a few of my city and local friends have gone in only to be told, “we’re full!”    Wow!   I actually was curious and went to YELP to read some of the reviews.   I swear I remember reading them and they were pretty much the same thing, rude staff that had more attitude than Katherine Heigle at a “Grey’s Anatomy” reunion.   But guess what?! I went back to re-read these reviews (I wanted to post them here) and now I can’t find them!  Now I don’t want to start any sort of conspiracy here but …. seriously… unless I’m totally losing it they’ve gone MIA.   Anyway, I will ask is the food really that good?    I’m not a masochist anyway and I doubt a serving of moules et frites will change my life.  So, for now I’m happy going to the Sizzler Steakhouse.

My advice – – guys lighten up!  The great thing about Sag Harbor is it’s a friendly town with not a whole lotta attitude.     Yes, you’re the new kid in town and lots of overdressed and socially insecure people are posting  tons of photos on Instagram, blah blah blah.     “Look I got in and you didn’t!!!”   But this stuff wears thin when most of us are busy worrying about more mundane things like our families, health and paying bills.  Believe me the folks who are getting in WILL care when they’re the only people in the place.   Otherwise, they wouldn’t be posting their dinners on line!    “Look I got in… and I’m the only one here – because nobody really wants to be here” doesn’t have quite the same sexy allure.     I’ve seen it before over and over in the Hamptons and it will happen to you too… too much attitude can be the kiss of death.

Meanwhile, I was getting my morning coffee at Goldberg’s in Wainscott – a friendly place but I don’t eat carbs (lying).    When I came across the most interesting and delicious looking brownie.   Now remember, I don’t eat carbs or sweets (lying again) but when I read the story about this amazing bakery I felt the need to eat… I mean contribute.   It’s called South Fork Bakery.   According to their website:

South Fork Bakery’s purpose is to provide meaningful and
supportive employment to South Fork residents
with ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorders, Autism and
Developmental Disabilities. Employees are immersed
in all aspects of the business, including baking, packaging,
sales, marketing, and business management.

SOUTH FORK BAKER
SOUTH FORK BAKERY GOODIES

What a great idea and the brownies and cookies are great too (or so I heard – as I wipe brownie crumbs from my mouth)!    If you want more information click here!  You can also order products online.   So do something good for others and enjoy.    This stuff is better than moules et frites any day!

 

After more than 14 years in Sag Harbor I’ve decided to make a change.     I am now so very proud to be a member of Sotheby’s International Realty in East Hampton.    Located at 6 Main St.     Make sure to note it in your yellow pages book extra page, rolodex and filofax.   Now pick up that princess phone and give me a call.   You can google the number.

 

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.

SOMETHING BREWING IN SOUTHAMPTON… AND PLEASE DON’T TELL ME WHAT ZILLOW SAYS ABOUT YOUR HOUSE!

Something Brewing.. time to change the label!

I can barley stand it!   It has some folks hops-ing mad!   Apparently the spuds will no longer be flowing on Bowden Square.   In spite of an announcement back in October that the Southampton Publick House would be staying put at the current location, word has gotten out that folks will soon have to fasten their beer goggles in a new location.    Since 1996 the brewery and restaurant have been a staple around town but it seems the new building owners have other plans.    According to some local insiders, the location will soon be home to a “high end Mexican Restaurant.”     Now if you’ve ever read this blog before… that’s a huge deal for me yet I hate to see an old favorite move to somewhere new.     While the Publick house will go on… like Celine Dion’s heart…. it will according to insiders have to be in a new location.   Sometimes a little change will do you good.

Oh is that the blood rushing to your head?

Now for a little advice.   If you want to send any real estate agent’s boiling blood further to their head just say the following sentence, “BUT Zillow said my house is worth X!”   It’s the bane of many a real estate agent and brokers existence.   In fact, The Los Angles Times  recently tackled the issue of “Zestimantes” (Zillow’s estimate) and how many claim they’re wildly inaccurate.    In fact, I have to say part of the big problem with Zillow’s “formula” is that it can’t really take into account factors like condition and location (waterfront, south of the highway, village).    So how inaccurate are these “Zestimates?”  Well the CEO of Zillow was recently quoted as saying they’re “a good starting point” and have a “median error rate of about 8%.”   Obviously this error rate varies in different markets and Zillow even says so at the bottom of the Zestimates page.     While I couldn’t locate the margin in our area, I can tell you that my own personal home fluctuated by about $5,000,000 in a period of 6 months.    Now, I know you think Hamptons Chatter just rakes in the money but the initial high estimate they gave my home was crazy.   I’d move out in hours if I could get that number tomorrow!    Yep, I would guess their error rate in the Hamptons is a heck of a lot more than a 8%.   It’s a big miss in the Hamptons… like an Ishtar big miss!  A “Missestimate” if you will.     So the take away from all of this… talk to an agent or do your homework (Zillow.com is a great source for closed prices) and don’t try let some silicon valley geek tell you what your home is worth.   Besides,  how could you put a price on that “Sistine Chapel” painting on your master bedroom ceiling?

 

THEY HAD US AT MERLOT! WOLFFER KITCHEN AND GREY GARDENS AT BAY STREET!

So, it’s been one of those mornings but here I am anyway.  Without going into details, I went to brush my teeth this morning and instead I ended up well lets just say, I doubt I’ll have inflammation on my gums today.   But before I digress, I’m ready to recap the glorious life of the glamorous and irritated on the East End.

So, last night I had the chance to visit the highly anticipated Wolffer Kitchen in Sag Harbor.   So here’s the good news and the bad news.  The good news is it’s pretty good.   The bad news is it should have been better.    Since it’s the first foray into food for the local vineyard, I’ll give them time to let this potentially fine dine breath.   Located at 29 Main Street in the village, the restaurant opens with a series of folding doors that open up and make it a great place to dine and watch the world go by.    The menu on the other hand is a little more closed with a smaller selection of options.  The wine menu on the other hand is rather extensive and features of course Wolffer wines, numerous imports and this in addition to a few local vineyards including Bedell.

The service as I sat for dinner last night was on their game from start to finish.   I started my dinner with a small Greek salad which was absolutely fantastic, a perfect size with a delicate blend of feta, olives and greens.   Oh my god, do I now sound like a food critic? I have to stop!  Anyway, for an entree I had fresh tuna grilled over pasta which was nice and light but a little too light on flavor.    My dining companion (who you can figure out) had a vegetable platter with I believe some fava beans and he thought it was awesome.   Perhaps the comment that I’m more “suited for heavier flavors”, i.e. bolognese is my favorite should be taken into account.   So what I’m saying is I liked Wolffer Kitchen, I just wasnt’ crazy about it.   Perhaps I’ll hit it up again once they get more time under their belt but I have no doubt it’s going to get better!  Wolffer Kitchen is open daily at 5:30pm and takes reservations on their facebook page or by calling 631-725-0101.

Betty Buckley and Rachel York… The Edies.

I also had a chance to head over to Bay Street Theater last night and catch a performance of the musical “Grey Gardens.”   If you don’t already know the story, shame on you and go directly to Fire Island.  You should know the story!   But anyway, it stars Broadway veterans Betty Buckley and Rachael York as the highly entertaining and dysfunctional society duo.   This is the show that Bay Street was born to perform!    I know tickets are going fast so if you’re thinking of going to see it, get your tickets now! It’s a great show with great performers and a really enjoyable way to spend your evening in Sag Harbor.  It would be an even better night if you call me first and make an offer on the actual Grey Gardens… not that it’s currently for sale but it’s the Hamptons and you never know!

I’m sorry today’s blog was like a review section from Junior Highlights,,, but hey, it’s mine and I write what I want to write!