As we’ve established, I’m a smitten dog lover who can’t get enough of my Russell and Bella—not to mention supporting the many animal shelters and wildlife preservation orgs out here (remember the Walk for Awareness Dog-a-Thon?). With that in mind, I urge you to attend a very special event, Shop for Species Survival, a dog walk and shopping experience for animal and wildlife welfare at J. McLaughlin in Southampton this Saturday, June 26. I hope you and your pup(s) will join us at the corner Jobs Lane and Main Street at 10:30 a.m., when we’ll walk and then enjoy shopping from noon– 5 p.m. to benefit Veterinarians International, which helps provide veterinary aid and education to animals and communities around the world (visit vetsinternational.org to register).
The founder of Veterinarians International, Dr. Scarlett Magda—a vaunted local resident, veterinarian and animal activist—will be on hand as we shop and sip at J. McLaughlin, which is donating 15% of the proceeds to her excellent organization. Dr. Magda will also share some compelling stories about animal welfare and conservation issues globally, including updates on plans for Sri Lanka’s first elephant hospital and much more.
I saw Dr. Magda speak at Bridgehampton Tennis & Surf Club benefit a few years agao and was thoroughly blown away by her message. Before hearing her speak, I was totally unaware of how closely human health, animal health and the health of our ecosystem are so tightly linked. It was a truly eye-opening experience. Check out Dr. Scarlett Magda online to get the full picture of her many accomplishments and important efforts to protect the world’s wildlife, ease animal suffering and stop the spread of zoonotic diseases, which is surely something close to all our hearts in these troubling times.
Summer Heat Brings Hamptons Hunger Games and No Contingencies
We’re certainly not living in Panem here on the East End, but the Covid dystopia is fading and a new series of real-life Hamptons Hunger Games are catching fire in the local dining scene. As restrictions fall away and outdoor dining finds an even firmer foothold, my friends in the restaurant biz are anticipating getting absolutely slammed this summer. Remember, Europe is probably not an option this summer so get ready for the crowds.
One high-profile area restaurateur I know says demand for reservations couldn’t be stronger. They’re getting calls for tables all the way through Labor Day! In fact, this one particular restaurant group has stopped taking standing reservations rather than endure what was shaping up to be a booking nightmare. I’ve been told standing tables end up with one of three results—the customers show up, they don’t show up, or the reservation is given to someone else with a different number of diners, which can cause all sorts of problems at a packed restaurant. And if business is booming, who needs it?
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Southampton Social Club, Union Burger Bar (UBB) and Union Sushi & Steak owner Ian Duke said, pointing out that he’s not surprised people are making reservations in anticipation of fewer restrictions and the possibility of this pandemic finally running its course. During what we hope are the takeout-and-delivery-only days of yore, Duke found great success in Southampton with his recent chicken to-go concept, The Coop, but times are a changin’. With brick-and-mortar dining now on the mend, he’s moving The Coop from its ghost kitchen on Elm Street to UBB on Bowden Square where he can feed fried chicken and wings to actual in-person customers. And Duke says “The phones are ringing.”
Meanwhile, East Hampton Village just approved outdoor dining on a more permanent basis. Local restaurants, retail food shops and other eateries—including inns and hotels in residential neighborhoods—will be permitted to operate sidewalk café areas and private outdoor spaces between April 15 and November 15.
Needless to say, reservations are hot stuff right now. They’re beginning to look like Village beach passes—everybody wants them. So, if Hamptons restaurants don’t skip it altogether and continue to offer tables in advance, I wish you good luck actually getting one.
As they say on Panem, “May the odds ever be in your favor.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, word is that private chefs are also in severely short supply. Perhaps curbside pickup will remain popular after all?
Forget the Contingency if You Want Your Deal to Live
Just like local dining and reservations, Hamptons real estate is on fire right now. But even in this roaring market, mortgage contingencies are a surefire deal killer. Yes, contingencies are pretty standard in purchase agreements but in peak season, sellers aren’t willing to risk going into contract only to have the deal fall through two weeks before Labor Day because a buyer can’t qualify for financing. It’s a bad look and a great way to lose all that summer heat. No one wants to wait another year when they’re ready to sell now.
Bottom line: Buyers, be ready to buy. Sellers, there’s no shortage of demand, so make sure you take advantage of it.
Spring has sprung here in the Hamptons. The crocus have bloomed, the trees have buds and new restaurants are popping up everywhere. But before I go into what’s new, let’s talk about what is no longer around. Let’s bow our heads for a moment of silence and say something kind about a few of the shuttered establishments.
Old Stove Pub-They really knew how to kill a cow twice.
Hudson Blue Crab House – They employed a lot of people in witness protection.
EMP Summer House – I always knew who was there every minute… thanks Instagram.
Bay Burger – The Jazz nights were very jazzy.
The Princess Diner – It was better than prison food.
Now onto the brighter side of things. There are more than a few new restaurants coming to the east end this summer. One bit of news is that we’ll have not one but TWO new Mexican restaurants coming to town. One is from the folks at Nick and Toni’s and La Fondita. It’s called Coche Comedor and from what I read on Edible East End, it’s going to be amazing. You can read the details by clicking here. Although, they said they were opening in April, my “sources” tell me it’s actually opening later this week which believe it or not is MAY! I’m sure it will be great and besides I’ve always been a fan of Commodores (especially with Lionel).
The other Mexican is an upgrade from La Superica in Sag Harbor. I actually liked the food at Superica but found
the party atmosphere (which often included the staff) a little frustrating and too much for even this hipster. Anyway, the folks from Sen in Sag Harbor are upping the ante, renovating and hoping to open K-Pasa by this memorial day. The Sag Harbor Express broke the big news back in February but the clever name was just announced recently. K-Pasa…. Get it!?!?! Personally I would have preferred if it were named “Tequila Mockingbirds” or “Taco bout It” or “Guacstar” or … Ok, I’ll stop. You can read more about by clicking the link to the article here.
But enough about Mexican, this is the Hamptons…. where is the seafood? Well for those who like to have their fish and filet it too there will be Ed’s Lobster Bar in Sag Harbor. Going into the slot formerly occupied by Bay Burger on Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike. The building will be refitted to resemble a sea side cottage and feature both indoor and outdoor seating. My idea was to keep it Bay Burger but add roller skating waiters and have trays for the car window. But hey there’s a reason I’m not in the restaurant business. Apparently Ed’s is a big deal in SOHO and they’ll be bringing the same cool vibe to here in the Hamptons. If you want more details, you can read more about Ed’s in 27 East by clicking here.
Finally, some major switcharooing in East Hampton. Hold your hats for this one…. The folks behind Bay Kitchen in East Hampton which used to be Bostwick’s are heading to the site of the former Princess Diner in Southampton. The new establishment will be
called Silver Lining Diner. The menu will be a bit more upscale than your average diner and you can read more about it here. Ok, are you following me? So, now the place that was Bay Kitchen for the past few years and The Boat House before that will become Bostwick’s once again! Meanwhile, Bostwick’s which is currently on Rt. 27 at the former Snow Flake will stay put and remain Bostwick’s Chowder House. So you’ll have two Bostwick’s to choose from this summer.
Oh and one last thing, if you’ve driven by the site of the former Agave, Mercado and Hudson Blue Crab House you may have noticed there has been some renovating going on. Rumor has it they’ll soon be reopening as the Gawanus Canal Lobster Company! Just kidding, I’m not actually sure what’s going on but I heard a new restaurant will be going in the spot, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, Michael’s restaurant in Springs is relocating to the site of their other location known as The Blend on Three Mile Harbor Rd, East Hampton.
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.
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 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
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.