IRVINA LEW

Travel Writer & Author

Tag: North Fork

Memorable Dining in the Hamptons After Labor Day

Eons before farm to table, market fresh, or locally sourced were part of my vocabulary, I recall turkeys in our backyard coop, a post-WWII Victory garden, and playing the “incubator game,” to guess the date when eggs would hatch at the family’s hay, grain, and feed store. Summers in Bay Shore—on Long Island’s South Shore, midway between Manhattan and The Hamptons—meant biking to Ghosio’s farm for corn, wading into the water to scoop up clams with my toes, and special Sunday “suppers” in a grand old Southampton mansion. I always ordered Long Island Duckling, which appeared on every menu (typically served with an overly-sweet orange glaze). I ate it to salute my mom, who—before she was old enough for a driver’s license—transported the quacking birds in the back of my grandpa’s red wooden truck from various duck farms in Eastport to Manhattan. Life was more carefree when I was 15, when I rode in my boyfriend’s red convertible to a burger shack across from the ocean on Dune Road, Westhampton. After marrying an avid sailor, our summer cruises overnighted in Montauk, where I ate lobster at Gosman’s Dock; Sag Harbor, where I tasted my first Pate de Foie de Canard with toast points and cornichons, mini-gherkin pickles at the American Hotel; and on Shelter Island, where the lure of the Victorian Chequit Inn, now Red Maple at The Chequit, was an easy walk from and within view of the harbor.

In those days, there was no talk of traffic and mansions were “old” and hidden behind tall shrubs south of the highway, not mega-new and built on potato fields. Money came from family, not from show business or Wall Street. The first vineyard was planted in 1973 on the North Fork.

Hampton’s bounty, however, has sustained Eastenders since Colonial Times, and it’s at its peak at summer’s end, when my friend and I restaurant-hopped recently.

From our lunch table on the narrow front porch of the American Hotel, l watched weekenders stepping off the Jitney, parents pushing strollers, and old-timers chatting about the fundraising efforts to rebuild the Sag Harbor Cinema, destroyed when fire raged down Main Street in December 2016. The American Hotel long promoted an off-season, midweek dinner-and-movie special, and memories of those evenings sparked a sudden Proustian madeleine moment. We ordered simple favorites: a beautifully presented Cobb salad, a crab cake burger, and my duck sandwich, which was sourced from Crescent Farm, the very last remaining duck farm on Long Island, and served with a lime aioli and apple slivers.

One evening, we dined at The Maidstone, across from the Hook Windmill, in East Hampton, which was known as The Maidstone Arms when I first dined there in 1996. The 18th-century clapboard colonial inn has recently been refurbished with the owners’ contemporary art collection and a décor accented by animal skins atop porch chairs and on the floors. The ingredient-focused menu showcased perfect produce: tomatoes, heirloom or in gazpacho; corn, in a risotto and in a most creative Corn Off the Cob, spiced with green chilies, cilantro, lime and ginger and peaches, grilled with mint, lemon ricotta and water cress, in pie, gelato and even grilled in a bourbon-based Old Fashioned. Local fish and Joyce Farm beef enhance the choices, as did a lovely Cuvée on the reasonably priced wine list.

For our last night, we dined at Jean-Georges at the Topping Rose House, one of an illustrious group of stars in the JG galaxy, which showcase his magic with spices and subtle flavors. Here, Drew Hiatt, chef de cuisine, has overseen the kitchen for my past few meals, each of which has been prepared using ingredients from the one-acre farm on the property of the 19th century former mansion. With drinks, we shared a signature JG dish—the best truffle and fontina cheese pizza. Another signature, the tuna tartare on avocado, is topped with spicy radish rings and flavored with a ginger marinade. The roasted Maine lobster is served with roasted corn, sweet corn vinaigrette, and basil, and the Parmesan-crusted chicken arrives atop artichokes with a lemon-basil sauce. A delightful assortment of mignardises followed the berries and ice cream that we ordered for dessert.

After Labor Day, it’s easier to drive (or take the train or Jitney) the 100 miles east of Manhattan and restaurant reservations are more available. Be assured, local fish and farm-fresh ingredients appear until Thanksgiving and December is the season for sweet, local bay scallops. Much as I adore summer bounty, fall has its appeal and I usually order a lobster roll at Bobby Van’s (Bridgehampton), onion soup at Rowdy Hall (East Hampton) and linguine with clams at Cappelletti’s (Sag Harbor).

Written for The Daily Meal

North Fork Wine Paumonok Irvina Lew

Long Island’s North Fork Wine Trail

The North Fork Wine Trail, with its cool, Bordeaux-like, marine climate, runs from Riverhead to Greenport on Long Island’s northeastern end. Each winery tasting room along the trail sells flights, glasses, and bottles—individual wineries may also provide vineyard or cellar tours, harvest festivals, live music, snacks and/or food truck fare. The route runs along two parallel east-west roads—Rt. 25 and Rt.

48—between 85 and 100 miles east of New York City. Here are nine tasting rooms worth a visit, organized from west to east.

Read more on about.com 

Irvina Lew Long Island

Where to Dock and Dine on Long Island

image: yvonne albinowski

image: yvonne albinowski

Dockside dining is a spectator sport. At waterfront restaurants, a big part of the scene is the scene. Landlubbers residing at deck-top tables watch the seafaring cavalcade as part of the experience: yachters relishing in their trophies while the captain backs into a slip and the more modest boaters negotiate flinging lines ashore. But for all, it’s about the picturesque scenery, sipping summertime drinks and savoring Long Island’s bounty. This summer, whether circumnavigating the Island or charting a course to one destination, our selections for dockside dining should not be missed. Even if you go by car.

LONG ISLAND SOUND

image: yvonne albinowski

image: yvonne albinowski

Old Mill Inn
5775 West Mill Rd, Mattituck
Vibe: low-key and local, authentic NoFo
(631) 298-8080, oldmillinnmattituck.com

When the red vintage inn comes into view it feels as if time stands still. The former gristmill dates from 1821 and the interior showcases yacht-like polished wood. During prohibition the mill was a popular drop-off spot for rumrunners who transferred hooch during low tide. Sipping a gin and tonic under brightly colored umbrellas on the deck while looking up the creek, the rural North Fork vista still resembles what it might have been decades, even centuries ago.

This was part of the appeal that attracted owner Bia Lowe to the Mattituck Inlet locale. She’s retained that timeless beauty and created a spot that highlights Long Island ingredients, particularly seafood. There are always specials in the bar or on the beach and live music scheduled throughout the summer. There’s no charge when boats dock at the restaurant. If there’s no more space, the adjacent Mattituck Inlet Marina & Shipyard (MIMS) offers a special rate to Old Mill Inn guests: the docking charge is $1 per foot for four hours; $3 per foot overnight.

 

PECONIC BAY

SALT Waterfront Bar + Grill
63 S. Menantic Road, Shelter Island
Vibe: crisp but casual, shorts and cocktails
(631) 749-5535, saltshelterisland.com

Alison and Keith Bavaro, who spent their childhood summers on Shelter Island, returned to create new memories at their happening, four-venue complex on the southwest side of Shelter Island. Reservations are recommended for SALT, the main restaurant, where chef Darren Boyle’s focus is on fresh and local ingredients. The market-driven menu features his “Best in Show” clam chowder, plus multicultural temptations from tabouleh and falafel to tempura lobster roll and tuna tataki salad.

The Ship Wreck, 50 yards away overlooking West Neck Harbor, is a full-service bar within a 39-foot refitted schooner where local wines, SALT Waterfront Wheat (their house-brewed beer) and raw bar specials, sushi and chicken are served while live music plays. For those on the go, the new retail outlet at The Tasting Room also sells local wine and serves grab-and-go goodies. The venues are all within the Island Boat Yard on Menantic Creek, which offers resort-like facilities: a swimming pool, showers and chauffeured van service. (All of which come in handy for those who take advantage of the newly launched private catering facility.) While locals simply anchor out and walk on in, there’s a gas dock, transient docking for 20 (from 20-55 feet, as available) and a fee: $4.50 per foot (weekends), $3.50 (mid-week).

 

GREAT SOUTH BAY

image: yvonne albinowski

image: yvonne albinowski

Island Mermaid
780 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach, Fire Island
Vibe: casual, family, eat with your hands
(631) 583-8088, islandmermaid.com

Sitting under an umbrella on the deck at the Island Mermaid and watching the sun set over Fire Island Ferries docking, paddle-boarders skimming across the bay and bathing-suit clad kids selling hand-painted shells from red wagons is as close to a staycation as a day trip can be. Inside, the cozy bar catches the view and serves souped-up, blended frozen piña coladas, a good selection of Long Island wines and 21 beers, including craft brews, some Long Island-based.

Last summer, Scott Hirsch the operator/owner of Island Mermaid celebrated the restaurant’s 25th season. Though there’s plenty of seating for a rainy day, it’s the bay-front deck that comes alive in the sunshine. There’s always a great vibe, the best views and the most extensively varied summer menu favorites. Regulars park their bikes or boats and order fresh lobster rolls, the Mermaid’s famous fried calamari, line-caught local fish or a fresh tuna BLT (with avocado). Weeknight specials include half-priced entrées on Monday and wine bottles on Wednesday; there’s beer and barbecue on Tuesdays and Long Island clambakes are a Thursday night tradition. The four transient boat slips can accommodate beams up to 27 feet, the widest on the island. Docking costs $20 per hour. Reservations are highly recommended.

 

SHINNECOCK BAY (NORTH)

CowFish
258 East Montauk Hwy, Hampton Bays
Vibe: welcoming and rustic
(631) 594-3868, cowfishhamptonbays.com

The four-season restaurant CowFish boasts manicured landscaping and curved paths leading to the steep-peaked space with post and beam construction and panoramic views. The bar on the upper level leads to two roof decks, each with water views, and the bar in the waterside garden overlooks the floating dock. Brunch includes a bellini, bloody mary or mimosa and there are some popular mealtime favorites: Oysters Hampton, Hampton Bays #1 Clam Chowder, blackened fish sandwiches, burgers and steaks. CowFish supports Long Island agriculture and procures fresh local seafood and line-caught fish.

There’s ample complimentary transient docking at the floating dock and within the marina. Plus, the Rumbarge shuttles from CowFish to their Caribbean-themed Rumba location across the bay; it will transport boaters at anchor in the bay to either venue. The eatery is well located immediately south of Montauk Highway at the Shinnecock Canal and offers easy access by boat through the canal from the Peconic or through Shinnecock Inlet from the ocean or nearby bay-front boating communities.

 

SHINNECOCK BAY (SOUTHWEST)

image: yvonne albinowski

image: yvonne albinowski

Dockers Waterside Marina
94 Dune Road, East Quogue
Vibe: elegant, summer chic, well-heeled
(631) 653-0653, dockerswaterside.com

Dockers Waterside is a casually chic destination reached beyond the oceanfront mansions, tennis courts and beach clubs dotting Dune Road. It’s a nautical space where the color palette of marine blue and stark white dominates the décor and the staff uniforms. The popular gathering place offers a windowed veranda, outdoor lounges that feel like waterside living rooms, three bars and live music until midnight, three times a week. Even from stools in the interior bar, there are views of osprey in the marshlands and boats on the bay. Executive chef Scott Hastings is starting his sixth season sourcing fresh seafood from local purveyors. His casual, comfort food menu also features burgers and a chunky lobster mac and cheese. For Dockers’ 27th summer season, there’s a new, 20-slip marina with 9 dedicated transient slips plus a floating dock. Pulse readers enjoy a special rate: $1 per foot.

Full Article on Long Island Pulse

Vineyard Vacations

An A, B and C of winemaking estates

For those who enjoy sipping and savoring a white or red, there’s a bevy of exceptional wine destinations to visit in classic European regions and in “the new world,” which includes Long Island. How lucky we are to live so close to North Fork winery tasting rooms and to be able to savor the best local foods and wines at restaurants like the North Fork Table and Inn. It even feels like France, sipping rosé at an umbrella-topped table on the gravel-based terrace at Croteaux Vineyards in Southold.

But though we all value our local bounty, the endemic enthusiasm for traveling to far away wine regions offers new pleasures: Discovering distinctive terroir and topography, exciting foods and wines, diverse cultures and regional recreational opportunities.

This ABC of winemaking estates introduces Abadia, Barnardus and Caudalie—located in Duero, Monterey and Bordeaux, respectively. These winery hotels are located on vineyards and each offers two restaurants, a spa and tastings. Each is also located near a major airport. Another bonus? A plethora of non-wine-related activities are within reach.

Read more at: The Pulse (lipulse.com)

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