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!?


It’s now official, the Hamptons are now the sixth borough.    When you pick up your land line phone, you now have dial the area code for local calls.   It’s not that it’s a big deal but I kind of think it’s the tipping point for something.  I’m not sure what… but it’s definitely a tipping point for something.

New Technology is coming to the Hamptons!

Meanwhile, I never realized it but when you sell real estate on the East End you start to speak a language all of it’s own.   A few months ago I started noting the terms I use with some of my other friends in the biz out here to describe the people and places in our humble little neck of the woods.   So here they are in no particular order or significance, additions to the lexicon of selling Hamptons real estate.

TMS or Taj Mahal Syndrome – this is when a home seller thinks their particular property is the best of the best.   Yes, it involves an inflated price tag on their home and total denial of the realities of the market place.    While they love their gilded fish faucets in the downstairs powder room, very few consumers will put a value on such a luxurious fixture.   It doesn’t matter how much they cost.  It’s really a frustrating affliction for realtors because how do you not insult your sellers while explaining, “everyone thinks your #@#***%  gilded fish are hideous?”

Catfished – this term is actually used more often when discussing Facebook profiles  but can also be used to describe when some customers actually see an advertised listing in person.     Thanks to

Catfished:  photoshopping happens

modern technology and overseas sweat shops, it’s easier for property photos to be “enhanced” without spending a fortune.    A gaping hole in the roof?   No problem, it’s solved with a click of a mouse and a wave of a pen.   So imagine, the buyers delight when they actually see the house in person!?  They’ve been “catfished.”

A Kobe –  Remember when Kobe Bryant got tangled up in a sex scandal a few years back?  A few nasty headlines and the next thing you know is his wife got a brand new bauble the size of Texas?   Well it happens here too. So, while diamonds are a girls best friend, real estate is many a girls BFF (rings can get lost).   Now, I don’t want to sound sexist.  There are more than a few men out there getting their “kobes” too. But while I’ve also noticed it’s usually spouse #2 who gets these 8000 square foot multi-million dollar baubles, there really is nothing wrong with it.    I’m happy to helps someone “kobe” anyone, anytime.

Earhardt – Yes, I’ve written about this before but a great term is worth repeating.   This one was shared to me by one of our local cab drivers a few years ago.    This is a person who is renting a home in the Hamptons but can’t remember where it’s located.    A reference to the pioneer and missing aviator Amelia Earhardt.    These particular folks are usually spotted wandering around early in the season on the streets of the east end looking for the cedar shingled house with the pool in the back yard.

Yes it’s fun being here in the playground of the rich, famous and sometime clueless… where we have a lifestyle and a language all our own!