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.

 

FOOD FLASH: MAIDSTONE GETS A MAKEOVER AND VINE STREET ON COVE HOLLOW.

Well the Summer season is off and running in the Hamptons, although as I shovel the snow from my driveway you wouldn’t know it!     Yes, the sex scandals (Vasectomy Fever) and celebrity misadventures are already hitting the web and Page Six.   But other than real estate the only topic worthy of lengthy conversation is the new restaurants, at least in my humble opinion.

By now many of you know there are a slew of highly touted arrivals including, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bilboquet coming to the east end.    What you may not know is there are a few more new eateries that are also causing a buzz among the Hamptons regulars.

The first is the newly revamped Maidstone Hotel on Main Street.    Partners and Alchemy a boutique hotel and restaurant management group has taken over management of the

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The New Maidstone Inn.

village landmark and given it much welcome facelift. With a freshly trained staff and revised and diverse menu from Chef David Standridge of NYC’s Cafe Clover,  it’s a change for the better.   Gone are the Swedish meatballs and plethora of salmon dishes and instead you have more accessible menu dishes including local fare such as scallops, fresh fish, burgers and roast chicken.   Lots to choose from here.

Popovers
Say yes to the carbs!

But for me the biggest standouts from my dinner were the freshly baked popovers, butter lettuce salad with roasted beets and tarragon and the seared Montauk fluke.   Prices are pretty much on par with most places around town with entrees averaging in the $30 range.    Also worth noting is the huge shrimp cocktail.  Huge shrimp… that cracks me up! But i digress.   Between the fresh new atmosphere, attentive staff and diverse menu it’s really worth the trip!     Oh, and if you’re on a non-carb diet the popovers are worth a cheat day!  SERIOUSLY!

The other entry on this weeks blog is the newly opened “Cove Hollow Tavern.”    The owners of Shelter Islands hugely popular Vine Street Cafe have moved

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The sleek new look of Cove Hollow Tavern

into the spot of the former Cafe Max on Montauk Highway in East Hampton.     The menu features some interesting items including for ahi tuna crudo with watermelon and chilies; haricot vert salad; snail and squid ink spaghetti with snails and fennel.    While my gang ordered the Grilled Atlantic Snapper and Seared Diver Scallops, I was a little less adventurous and ordered the roasted organic chicken.   Now, while I’m a big fan of Vine Street I was a little disappointed in the “CHT.”   So were all of my companions.     It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great and there was nothing really compelling for me to advise running there anytime soon.  Granted it’s a brand new restaurant so give them time and hopefully they’ll get their game on. By the way, the interior while very intimate is spectacular and the bar space is inviting and spacious.   I have no problem heading to Vine Street which between the drive and a ferry is well worth the trip.   So here’s hoping “CHT” is as good as it’s sister restaurant in the near future.

 

 

 

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!