No longer just coming soon.. now arrived!

Sometimes my inspiration for this blog comes from the strangest of places.   This particular posting is coming from a very unlikely muse, Marilyn Hegerty who is the restaurant reviewer at the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota.   At 85 years old she became an internet sensation with her earnest and insightful review of The Olive Garden which burst onto the Grand Forks culinary scene late last year.    So, if Marilyn can review The Olive Garden why can’t I review the latest entry into the East Hampton scene?You got it, I’m talking about the new Stop and Shop Supermarket on Newtown Lane.*

(*could also be substituted with the Stop and Shop nee Walbaum’s in Southampton)

After a lengthy wait for Stop and Shop to open in East Hampton*, the moment has finally arrived.  My visit occurred the other day on a busy Tuesday afternoon.    After a long day at the office, I figured a late shopping excursion would be both fashionable and just what the doctor ordered.   Apparently my doctor thinks shopping is good for me.
The parking lot was bustling with eager patrons as I arrived and while there were limited spaces.   Luckily,  the flow in and out of the store was so constant that it was only a few mere moments before I was able to find an ample space of my very own.   I could feel the excitement as I approached the SELF OPENING front doors that where both swift and convenient for a distracted shopper.
I was greeted as I entered into the market by smiling and friendly employees who were smartly dressed in purple and dark blue uniforms surrounded by lush, opulent and tempting looking produce. The lighting was bright and cheery and the aisles were clean and spotless, a definite improvement over the old Walbaum’s.   I asked one of the managers if they had any gluten free pasta to which he cheerfully responded, “of course in our new organics section!”   They have an or
ganics section!  I then knew I made the right choice to give this Stop and Shop a chance!
Finally with my pasta in hand I made my way to the check out aisles.   It was a pleasant surprise for me to now find many aisles opened with real human cashiers, also smartly dressed in purple with blue aprons.    The line was fast moving and the staff also told me about the savings I could receive if I filled out a form for a “preferred customer card.”   How lovely… I’m preferred and they just met me!
All in all, it’s the largest and best lit super market now operating in East Hampton.   It attracts vistors from out of town as well as people who live in East Hampton.    It’s a welcome addition to the community and will hopefully get better as they learn the preferences of the community.  So I have to heartily recommend Stop and Shop for your grocery shopping in our humble little hamlet.
Generic election sign .. so I don’t make and MORE enemies!

Speaking of our little hamlet, the election is finally over!   Now, I know it’s never a good idea to discuss politics I think it’s fair to express my general outrage over the littering…. and I do mean littering of signs everywhere. People always complain about real estate signs but these paper ones are wayyyyy worse.  Besides we can put the same sign every two feet!   If it were up to me, I would actually fine the candidates $10.00 for every sign they leave out after today.   Its bad enough my mailbox was full… and I mean full… like
more stuffed than if Frontgate, Orvis and Restoration Hardware both did  a double mailing for Christmas.  Oh the trees that had to die for such negative and prolific propaganda!   I’m glad it’s over and I now have room for my catalogs!

Holiday Hangover … How to make the Hamptons Happy… Again!

I’m back after the holiday week/weekend.  It wasn’t that I was lying back and taking it easy.   In fact, it continues to be for me along with most real estate agents, one of the busiest seasons in recent memory.    So, I took a breather from the blog and immersed myself in the summer of 2013.

While every year people seem to say the traffic and the crowds are worse than the year before, this year they’re right.  It’s a war out there!   But there is a chance for peace in the Hamptons and I’m making my attempt for a Nobel Peace Prize for my fine work right here with Hamptons Chatter.     So how can we turn our little piece of heaven into a shangri-la?
First of all, you avoid the places that make your blood pressure boil.   Last year, I had one of my most successful blogs ever talking about the most unfriendly places in the Hamptons (Hamptons Hostility 7/13/12).    But this year,  I’ve learned to be more of a “glass is half full” kind of guy.  I’m going to offer solutions for the problems of the east end.   So here they are in no particular order, my “pointers” for making a happier Hamptons.

Terror awaits the hungry diner at Topping Rose!

1)   Improve the Service !   –  Last Monday, I went to the Topping Rose in Bridgehampton.  In case you weren’t aware, this is celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s new restaurant at the spa and Inn of the same name.   While the food was actually dynamite the service made me want to go postal.   Now, I don’t mind mediocre service when I’m at a…. say… Friendly’s or TGIFriday’s.     But when you’re paying top dollar for the food, you shouldn’t have to wait 50 minutes after your reservation time just to get seated and another 10 minutes to get water! UGH!   I’m sorry throwing a skimpy cheese plate on the house doesn’t compensate for getting dinner at 10:40pm on a 9pm reservation.      Guys, people are spending the bucks on the food and the booze so hire the extra bus person and the extra cook.  Also, it’s not a bad idea to admit you screwed up and not blame it on the other patrons!   Other than the Topping Rose, this is also good suggestion for Serafina (updated… had dinner there tonight… AWFUL service and no air-conditioning) and The Living Room.       By the way, I know none of you are going to listen to me so go try it yourself!

The devil is in the machinery!

2) Get Rid of Those Auto Check Outs and HIRE SOME PEOPLE! –  Here’s my ancient Chinese secret, if you need more Calgon on the weekend, wait.    Besides the way the lines move at the K-Mart, CVS and Walbaum’s stores in South and East Hampton it’s quicker to order it from Amazon!    I know, I keep harping about this but at least hire some extra check out people.   Those scanners don’t work!!!    Besides, there are some people who these things just scare the bejeezus out of.  It’s the equivalent to them of appearing on stage!  They sweat!  They panic!   They freeze… then they freeze the machines!    It’s like Lucy in the chocolate factory.   I like my machines in movies…  example “The Terminator 2”.. not when I buy my milk.

3) Get Ample Parking and Force  Commuting! –  As anyone who’s been to Soul Cycle, Fly-Wheel or any of the gyms out here knows, half the work out is finding a parking space.   I’ve actually heard reports of fist fight in one particular spin studio!!!  Blood is not a good color on Lululemon!   So here is my idea… ride your bikes to spin class people!!! DUH!   You don’t have to do two classes this way and

It’s my space and class is starting!!!

you’re actually helping to save the planet (watch that Al Gore movie it will explain)!    On top of that gym/spin studio owners could help themselves by offering incentives to patrons that commute!   How about free water for everyone who comes in a car of two or more.  I know free water… it still cracks me up I’m willing to pay $2.50 for water!   My grandmother is rolling her eyes in her grave every time I do it!   But back to the topic… how about at least a free stain remover for those who have blood stains from the fights in the parking lot!!?  I know, it’s a brilliant idea!    OK, there it is my treatise on how to make the Hamptons happy again!  Have a great summer everybody!!!


What’s wrong with Walbaums…. it’s Fresh Direct to the Rescue… and since most locals never see it, a peek inside East Hampton’s Baker House!

Soviet Grocery or Walbaum’s check out line?

I often compare the Walbaums in East Hampton to a soviet era grocery store.  I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.    The selection is thin and it takes an hour in line to buy a loaf of bread.   Now, I don’t blame the employees there for the chaos of this EH establishment.   They are for the most part an overworked and very friendly bunch.   The problem is the fact that on a typical day, there are two cashiers scheduled at the height of the rush hour along with those stupid automated self-checkouts that are rejects from Spacely’s Sprockets!  OPEN THE POD DOOR DAMN IT! It’s enough to make someone go postal!!    I’m not even going to mention the “wages of fear” parking lot!

I primarily do most of my dinner shopping at The Red Horse Market, which I love.  But they really don’t have a great selection on things like paper towels and k-cups.    Thus I’m always running to in EH.   If only King Kullen were closer!  But soon I’ll have an alternative.   According to their website, Fresh Direct will be firing up their Hamptons service next week.  So skip the lines… avoid the aggregation and spend more time on line reading this blog and ordering on line!!


I don’t often like to admit this but I grew up going to the Jersey Shore.  But my Jersey Shore was not the one of Snookie and The Situation.    So when I get calls from friends who want to come visit the east end for the first time I have to explain there are no Hyatt’s, Hiltons (well except Paris in SH sometimes) and W’s.   Here in the Hamptons, the choices are fewer but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptional places to recommend.   Since most of you who read this have never been inside any of the resorts or B and B’s out here (unless of course you love afternoon delight)  I’ve taken it upon myself to give you a little education and preview.   So you can feel confident telling your friends the perfect place to rest their heads after a day of sitting in traffic on 27.   My first preview is of East Hampton’s Baker House 1650.   You can visit their website for rates and reservations and click below for a video preview starring yours truly!

Hamptons Hostility… If you miss the city don’t worry, there are plenty of unfriendly places here too!

I have an old friend named Hope, not that she’s old but I’ve known her forever. Anyway, she used to have this idea that New Yorkers are basically masochistic at heart.  They loved to be abused.  She often toyed with the idea of opening a restaurant named “Insults,”  where diners can come for a good meal and get insulted as they dine.  Now, I personally loved the idea, I knew it would be successful too!  I mean it took the term “home style” to the next level!  It was like a Saturday night at my house growing up!!!

Anyway, this theory explains why some of the most popular places on the East End are some of it’s most unfriendly!  So where, who , why?   Here is my list; THE TOP 5… Hostile Hamptons Hot Spots!!!

Normal people sit over there!   We will ignore you!

1) Navy Beach – Sure the views are great and the crowd is good looking but unless you’re hanging with Giselle or Kate Upton you can forget about getting decent service.   I went a few days ago with some of my middle aged friends, yeah the ones in their early 40’s and late 30’s.  We couldn’t get the waitress’ attention for anything.   The food came out sporadically, some had food others didn’t.  When we asked management, it was brought to our attention that the order was too confusing so it was our fault half of us weren’t being fed!   As for getting a second round of drinks, I would have been better off going to Gossman’s to get them.

2) Citarella East Hampton – “Excuse me mam’ if I could get a half pound of the Alpine Lace Low Fat Swiss.”  “Excuse me.. ?”   “Excuse me mam’?!”  “Can I get… (she cuts me off) “YEAH I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME.”   Charming!  But if only this were an isolated incident.   While the guys in the fish department are actually friendly, it doesn’t make up for the rest of the store.  I guess if you don’t enjoy your job, you’re not exactly smiling to the customers. There must be a lot of unhappy people at Citarella.

3) Goldberg’s Bagels (Southampton) –  To me the Goldberg’s in Southampton is last chance to get a cup of coffee before hitting the highway.  But yet, it’s nothing like going into the Bagdad Cafe.   It’s surly city with an exclamation point!!!   But unlike other establishments,  I know, I actually think I got a handle on why they’re not happy flipping their flagels!     It’s the fear of working too close to 27 and the terror they live with that a speeding BMW may one day careen off the highway and create a drive in window!   Meanwhile, if you go to Goldberg’s in East Hampton, FRIENDLY, FRIENDLY, FRIENDLY.   So I know my 27 theory must be the reason!


4) East Hampton Parking lot behind Walbaum’s – I know it’s not me but EVERYONE in that lot is nasty.  Perhaps the fact it was built on an ancient Indian burial ground has something to do with it!   It starts with the aggressive drivers and trickles right down to the overly aggressive “brownies” who are no doubt getting paid in Clearasil.  The biggest mystery to me is how it could be the nicest beach day of the year….  and that lot will still be packed!!!   WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE SHOPPING NOW!?!?  Do it in the city, it’s easier!  Perhaps the heart of the unfriendly is the actual Walbaum’s!   Everyone in this place is either annoyed or uninterested!  I never went to a Soviet grocery store during the cold war but I imagine it must have been a lot like this; long lines, hostile help and lousy produce… in my opinion anyway.

5) Pierre’s Cafe Bridgehampton – Do I really need to elaborate? It’s French!  I’m talking about the little walk in place next door to the restaurant.    It’s a little bit of Paris right in the heart of the Hamptons, “you stupid American!”