ITCHING FOR MORE LOCAL PRODUCTS? FORGET THE FLEA MARKET! 3 LOCAL GOTTA BUYS!

It’s not as glamorous as it sounds but I was recently driving back from Philadelphia to the Hamptons.    I know, I know… the Outerbridge Crossing is New Jersey’s answer to the Pacific Coast Highway.  But alas, I’m straying off point.   While taking said drive I stopped  at the Long Island Visitors Center in Dix Hills which in case you didn’t know is the first non-disgusting place to stop after Trenton.    It’s also the home of a little store called “A Taste of NY.”   The store features all locally made foods and products from area farm, vineyards and bakeries.    This had me thinking, while we all know about the bigger local products like Tate’s Cookies and Wolffer wines.   There are some other great local products that you might have missed.    Lucky for you, I’m here to share a few of my favorites.

vsc bolo

Vine Street Cafe’s Mushroom Bolognese Sauce – A hearty alternative for your vegan dinner guests, this stuff is just as good as visiting the restaurant.  Seriously, this is not like buying Emeri’s stuff which is more like Ragu with a different label!  I’ve always loved this dish at the restaurant and this is pretty close to dining out.    While VSC has other sauces including a basic tomato and vegetable to go,  this one is IMHO the winner.   It doesn’t taste like a real bolognese (sausage, veal, etc.) but it is rich, hearty and doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing anything.  It’s thick rich and awesomely flavorful.   The sauce retails for about $12.00 and you can buy it at Vine Street on Shelter Island, Cove Hollow Tavern in East Hampton, Harbor Market in Sag Harbor or order it online by clicking here.

Nounos

Nounos Greek Yogurt – Real greek yogurt made right here in Southampton!  Don’t let the fancy packaging intimidate you, this is like a trip to Mykonos without the hangover or Lindsay Lohan.  This stuff is incredibly rich, flavorful and it’s low-fat!  Nounos according to their website is all natural, hormone and anti-biotic free.   If you’re going to try one, I suggest the blueberry blend or mixed berry.    You might have seen Nounos around town in places like the Golden Pear but probably didn’t know it’s local.  Well it is and it’s good and you need to try it.    A 5+ ounce container retails for about $4.00.    If you don’t see it around town you can visit their website to find local sellers.

Hamptons Salt Company Black Truffle –  When I was growing up my Lithuanian Grandmother used to love to cook for me.  I always wonder if she actually liked me based on her stew.    She would cook for my family more than I cared to admit and food had two flavors, salted or really salted.   Anyway, real chefs know the

Hamptonssalt

seasoning is as important as

the actual cooking and there is nothing more crucial than the salt.    I discovered this stuff at Red Horse Market in East Hampton and it was love first shake.    My personal favorite recipe is slightly blanched brussel sprouts covered with a light olive oil and the Hamptons Salt Company Black Truffle seasoning.  Awesomeness!   They also have a variety of salts including rosemary,

ghost pepper and even lime.   Prices range from about $10 for a basic sea salt to $29 for the truffle.    If you want more information or where you can buy HSC click here.

So now you know why I haven’t blogged in a long time.  I’ve been cooking…. and eating.  Now time to hop on the Peloton and burn off all the extra calories.  Hopefully I’ll be back again soon.

 

Hamptons Snow and Tell… Meredith’s Mistake… and Sag Harbor’s Newest Chef!

Meredith…. what went wrong?

Yes, the weather outside is frightful…  so frightful in fact I actually stayed inside, drank coffee and while I was loading kerosine into heaters and batteries into my zillions of lanterns, I watched  the “Meredith Vieira Show!”   I know, I sound like a doomsday prepper!   Anyway, it’s  so sad,  Meredith had the potential to be the new Phil Donahue but instead she’s busy trying to imitate the “Ellen” show.  Why????!   I guess what the television executives are thinking is nobody with half a brain watches television during the day.  Well I guess they’re not wrong but with the ability to watch TV on your phone and everyone having a built in DVR, won’t audiences follow smart programming?  Vieira was great on The View, 60 Minutes and the Today Show.   She was smart and approachable and added a spark to most anything she touched.  What happened!? Oh well but I digress…

Something’s cooking at Baron’s cove!

Some interesting news is thawing around town, while construction continues on the former Baron’s Cove Hotel, the restaurant that’s going into the new facility has apparently lined up a new chef to run the roost.   Rumor around town is that chef Matt Boudreau will be overseeing the new waterfront eatery.    In case you don’t know the name, Matt was the chef at Vine Street Cafe on Shelter Island for the past few years.     While I do love spending the extra $16 bucks and 40 minutes travel time going to “The Rock”, I’m kind of excited to make the trip for some good bolognese a little closer!  Hint to Matt – – – the bolognese on the menu!      In case you weren’t aware, Baron’s Cove was bought by Cape Advisers the folks behind the Watchcase factory a few years ago.  They’ve since started a major renovation of the site and after some back and forth, got permission to open a restaurant on the site with some restrictions.

Meanwhile, the numbers are out and things are looking up for real estate in the Hamptons!   Douglas Elliman just released it’s fourth quarter 2014 “Elliman Reports” for Long Island, Hamptons and North Fork, as well as our Decade (2005-2014) versions of those same markets. The reports are produced in conjunction with Miller Samuel and provide “the most comprehensive and neutral market insight available.”

The Hamptons finished the year with a strong performance. The quarter totals had the most sales in nearly a decade and the highest median sales price in more than seven years.  Along with the rise in sales, inventory remained stable which kept the market moving at a fast pace.

 

If you’d like the read the rest… check it out on Elliman.com!

YEEEEE GADS! It’s Already August 8th! A FEW THINGS YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE LABOR DAY!

In case you were sleeping, it’s now August and it’s full throttle here on the East End.   But unlike Summer when I was 12 years old and it lasted forever, the season seems to fly faster and faster.     But before you get to entrenched with sitting on Route 27 for hours on end or waiting an extra 40 minutes at virtually any restaurant for your table, please make sure to remember why you’re out here in the first place.  You’re here to enjoy the beach, the water, the sun and snarking at the overdressed families at Scoop Du Jour on Tuesday nights!   So here are some of my favorite things to do while the sun is still high.  If you do, you might actually thinking spending all of the money to be in the Hamptons was worth it!

 

A Beach Dinner – While you could use one of the numerous “Claws” or “Clam” companies to caterer your affair… and yes its one heck of a presentation… I prefer to hit Citerella and get some dishes and salads to go.    A big blanket and some nice chilled….errr…errr… “seltzer water” because wine on the beach is not allowed make for a really fantastic evening.  You’ll may also want to wait till after 6 p.m. so that way you can start a nice little beach bonfire and there are some rules for that too (click here) for East Hampton and (here) for Southampton.    But there is nothing more relaxing and memorable then the sound of the surf, the sand and an amazing light show above!  My personal favorite is Wiborg Beach!   The parking lot is small so there aren’t as many other picnickers.

Biking Shelter Island – A few weeks ago I was talking to some local police officers about living in the Hamptons.  One thing they said they would never do during the season is go bicycling!  Yes, the local walk in clinics are making a fortune from cyclists getting clipped by texting busy summer drivers.    Perhaps that’s the reason why I prefer heading to Shelter Island for biking.     In fact, Sag Harbor Cycle Company runs a group ride every Sunday at 7:30 am.  It’s a perfect time to go before the roads get flooded with cars and the gang that runs these things know the safer routes and the roads less traveled.   If you want more information, visit their website and NO TEXTING AND BIKING!

Go Paddeling – It’s about the water people, not about seeing the people that live down the hall from you in the city at spin class!  Its a great work out and think about it, unless you love getting a gamma globulin shot do you really want to fall into the east river?   There are some great companies out here that will rent you kayaks or paddle boards and even give you a lesson.     The calm waters of Shinnecock Bay or Georgica Pond are two local favorites.     If you want more details on who and where, try Main Beach Surf Shop in Wainscott or Adventure PaddleBoards in Southampton.

Take the Dogs to the Beach –  Did I mention that my dogs Bella and Russell love the beach?!  Hmmmmmm…. I’m not sure.  Do your homework and find what times your furry friends are allowed to run the surf!  Also remember to clean up and bring some treats in case they go chasing some delicious piping plover!

Now get off the damn computer and go outside!!!!

 

SPECIAL SATURDAY SHELTER ISLAND ISLAND BLOGGING!!!

Thanks to my friend Peter McCracken for his contribution (he wrote it) of today’s blog!!! Shelter Island scares me but luckily I have Peter to guide me from the north to south ferries:

I had dinner at the new La Maison Blanche, formerly the Olde Country Inn, on Shelter Island. The newly renovated Inn & restaurant was fresh and up to date with a bistro style restaurant. The restaurant and lounge has a modern beach chic twist to it and a handsome crowd. The menu includes fresh local seafood and the always favorite steak frites. The bar, small but intimate, has a fireplace and a separate lounge with comfortable seating areas. There is also a large front porch with seating. The best feature is the new bakery that features fresh brewed coffee, pain au chocolate, croissants and baguettes freshly baked each morning starting at 6:00 a.m. There are 8 comfortable rooms with queen or king size beds if you wish to stay over. A soon to be addition will be the pool located in the garden…next summer! A new treat for Shelter Island and soon to be a popular hang out!

I think Peter liked it!!!