Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Hamptons’

Sunday (I don’t want to get on the Jitney) Dinner

Sunday Dinner at the Loboscos in Sag Harbor, NY.

Crisp white wine, sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes of different shapes, sizes, and vibrant hues, savory and salty baked clams– the flavors of summer in themselves are an escape from the city during these especially hot days and nights. Sunday dinner after a beautiful weekend in the Hamptons is always a bittersweet event. Fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market, friends, and family, always make for an amazing meal, but supper is always the last thing I can fit in before boarding the bus headed back to Manhattan.

Tonight I was a guest at my friend Stephen’s house in Sag Harbor for dinner. After a completely kitchen-free weekend, I was happy to throw together a few no-fuss sides to add to an already impressive spread. I had been talking so much about my watermelon and arugula salad the day before at the beach, I decided to make it again this evening with some ingredients from the Amagansett Farmer’s Market, along with some quick pickled red onions and cherry tomatoes.

The produce at the Amagansett Farmer’s Market is amazing, and my friends, despite being foodies, still could not quite understand my excitement over my salad supplies. The baby arugula was the most tender, peppery, absolutely perfect green I have ever tasted, I have to say, it was probably worth it’s $6.99 per 1/4 of a pound price I failed to notice.

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Ricotta Salata, Pepitas, and Lemon Vinagrette


For my watermelon salad I mixed the arugula with some frisee to bulk it up enough to serve the group of 10. I cubed half of a sweet seedless watermelon, and about 6 ounces of salty ricotta salata cheese. I tossed in a bunch of salted pepitas (sunflower seeds are delicious too) for a little crunch, and I usually dress it with a simple lemony champagne vinaigrette (1 shallot, minced, juice of 1 lemon, 2 T champagne vinegar, 1 T dijon mustard, 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper). This salad is incredibly light and refreshing, easy, and goes well with almost any summer meal.

Stephen’s dad grilled a steak and burgers, and whipped up a batch of baked clams in the backyard (which deserve much more attention than my vegetable side-dishes) while we enjoyed the pool, some Southampton Double White Ales, and the company of three very funny little dogs. We ate under the vine-covered pergola, and Stephen’s mom set the table with blue checkered cloth and wildflower bouquets, my favorite combination for any summertime spread.

The table being set up...


Clams!


Before we could see sun setting, or the paper lanterns illuminated in the trees of the yard, we were having our last laughs, sips, and bites and running out to the car. Now, typing this and only seeing the red glow of brake lights out the window of the bus, it seems much more than 100 miles away from that special tranquility, comfort, and certain contentedness that can be found in the summer at home.

Vespa!

Advertisements

A Sad Goodbye to my Second-Home: Planet Bliss Closes After 10 Seasons on SI

The Planet.

It has been a while since I last posted, as these days most of my food related resources are being put to use at Everyday Food Magazine, or working in the restaurant at L’Ecole… but this weekend a very bittersweet occasion took place that I absolutely had to make time to write about.

After almost 11 years– at least 8 of which I spent working there– Planet Bliss restaurant on Shelter Island has announced it will be closing it’s doors, and invited everyone to be a part of celebrating the past decade last Saturday.

While many things shape who we are, and who we become– those of us who are a part of the Bliss family had a mutualistic relationship with the restaurant. The personalities of owners Julie and Sebastian, the staff throughout the years, and all of the regulars made bliss what it was. Even the Zagat caught on to the “eclectic” vibe of the staff several years in a row. The atmosphere at Bliss offered something much different from any restaurant in the Hamptons, or anywhere, that I have experienced. While it offered comfort, and that warm, weight-lifting feeling of being at home, it also had an incredible energy that will be difficult if not impossible to ever duplicate.

How has it effected me? Well, first and foremost, I think it is pretty obvious that I would have never chosen food as a career path had I not been amongst Sebastian and his relentless passion for cooking. So thank you Baz, for not only teaching me so much, but keeping me interested, and inspired after 10 years in your restaurant. With so much experience to pass on, I was always paying more attention than you probably thought. It was great watching a chef cooking exactly what he wanted, using fresh ingredients, and always experimenting without the rigidness and downright coldness of most kitchens. You always made it look fun (except on those days Rem would hold the thermometer over his head and it read what, 160?) Your skill, creativity, love for food, patience, and of course your sense of humor through it all will always mean so much to me, and I hope to some day be half the chef you are (I’m one burn closer to being there).

Opie and Baz (Thanks for the pic Nika)

There is also Remmey, who I miss every single day. If it wasn’t for PB I wouldn’t have become so instantly close with him. Even if it was only for a short time, we probably knew each other better than most people will ever hope. So many of the best Bliss memories I have are from the summer Remmey worked in our kitchen. That big, red, sweaty kid who put a smile on my face the second I walked through the screen door in the back. Whether it was entertaining a bachelorette party, rescuing baby bunnies from Jezebel the cat, or making a flame-kissed steak– Rem will always be remembered as a big part of Bliss.

And to Julie, and the rest of the front-of-house: Vee, Mimi, Opie, Chop, Chris, Nicole, Erica, Kathy, Ali, Julie F, Kara, Ian, Karen, Selina, Lolo, Remy, Sam, Xange, Leah… There are too many memories, most of which I feel we wouldn’t want written anywhere, especially on the internet, no? There were late nights at Sunset, sometimes with the cash out locked in the glove box– how many years ago was that? Later nights at the bar, like Cory’s jungle-themed birthday party… “Damuck, you were my ride, and I can’t sleep here!” “Staff meetings,” and God only knows how many margaritas. Endless literary discussions with Opie, after all these margaritas. Can a stripper juice even be classified as a margarita? Bingo night. “Just One Drink at The Chequit.” All the late night, no A/C, tequila driven dance parties to Madonna and any other DJ Mimi choice hit. The Gerbil Box. The ritual we all openly shared that would get us through doubles on Saturdays and Sundays. Brunch. Staff parties. BCD’s (boozy coffee drinks). It’s goddamn impossible to list them all, but there really is no need any way. Some of my most unforgettable, well–… most amazing nights, have been spent at Bliss. Though I’m sure the party will continue whenever and wherever we end up together, only a place like PB could have gotten us together in a first place. And how it ever functioned or how Julie and Baz put up with such a staff I will never know, but I will always be grateful.

Sunset Beach with Vee, Amanda, and Mimi (circa 2005)

And of course there are the regulars, most of them I will miss, some I will be relieved not to see again– I can’t lie about that. Always an interesting crowd behind the bar, or out on the porch, you were all obviously a huge part in shaping Bliss as well.

Saturday night seemed like any other wild evening at Bliss, but if one looked closely, I think the underlying sadness could easily be sensed. I know it wasn’t just me looking around the glowing orange walls, down at the worn wooden floors, and everywhere in-between suddenly becoming nostalgic over EVERYTHING. The nappy-haired Barbie doll on the bathroom door, the two toilets in the woman’s bathroom– the hanging lock on the door, worn from one too many customers pulling on it despite the clear typed warning not to do so. The ever-present scent of sticky parsley spray. The bamboo benches, and millions of flurry pillows– round, long, brown, white, orange. The liquor cabinets eerily empty. The ancient cash register, God how many late nights were spent hunched over that thing, desperately trying to do math, sober up, or both. Tables and chairs with wobbly legs– am I being melodramatic now? Perhaps, but I really felt at that moment like one of the mismatched pieces of silverware housed above the bread warmer. It stung in my heart that I would never again write on the chalk-board, put a ticket on the line, or slam the walk-in door behind me again. But between the dances on the counter, sweaty hugs, kisses, and numerous cocktails, I know we were all feeling the same way. The unsettling effect of being up-rooted, displaced.

But I can’t forget about the happiness in this ending as well. Julie and Baz have welcomed two truly amazing children into their (and all of our) lives. Phoenix and Tola are going to get to spend a lot more time with their parents, and who could be sad about that? Especially when they are the coolest, most loving, fun, smart, inspiring people I can think of? I personally couldn’t have asked for a better second Mom and Dad if I tried.

Tola and Phoenix Bliss

So again, thank you Julie and Sebastian, and to my extended Bliss family. Please share any wonderful memories of Bliss you have here, (or e-mail me any photos to share at foodequalslovenyc@gmail.com) as my words alone could never sum up everything that was PB, and all that it meant to me.

Julie and Baz

Healthy, Delicious, and Dangerously Addictive: Hampton Chutney Co.’s Dosa

Seasonal Dosa at Hampton Chutney Co.

It was a gray February morning, a Sunday. It was wet– whether it was snow or freezing rain I couldn’t tell, but I walked down the cobblestones of Prince Street hoping I could avoid a fall long enough to reach an eating establishment without the usual weekend brunch wait.

Between Broadway and Lafayette, I recognized the familiar grass-green sign hanging above the Hampton Chutney Co., and shuffled a bit faster to get inside.

The Hampton Chutney Co.’s original location is in Amagansett, NY, and while in high school, especially when heading out to Montauk to surf in the summer (or working next door at the surf shop), Hampton Chutney was always one of my favorite spots to stop for lunch. While the Soho location doesn’t have the charm of the swinging screen door, or outdoor picnic benches, and omnipresent wind-chimes– it does have the same mellow meditation soundtrack of indian chants, and of course, what is really important, the ever-so-addicting dosa.

A dosa is an Indian take on the crepe, made with rice batter and black lentils. It is very light, and more crisp than the French classic– but the inside is still slightly tender and chewy. It is filled with a variety of savory items, the most traditional is the Masala Dosa ($7.95) with spiced potatoes– but Hampton Chutney offers many combinations like Avocado, Tomato, arugula, Jack Cheese, and Grilled Chicken ($11.95), a Seasonal Dosa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Portobello Mushroom, arugula, and Jack Cheese ($10.95), they even have a Breakfast Dosa made with Two Eggs, Spinach, Roasted Tomato, and Jack Cheese ($8.95).

Each Dosa is served with a choice of Cilantro, Curry, Mango, Tomato, Peanut, or Seasonal Pumpkin chutney. These chutneys are also available for purchase, and are a really great way to spice up weekday lunches on sandwiches and salads, or even used alone as a dip. Out of habit, no matter which dosa I get, I always seem to go with the Mango Chutney. It is the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with just a little heat. With the flavors in the Seasonal Dosa, in hindsight, I should have gone for a more mild flavor, that would have complemented the flavors a bit more (maybe the pumpkin?).

Daily soups are also offered, as well as the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had (on sourdough with tomato and avocado… yum!). And as for drinks, they don’t offer bloody marys on Sundays, but I was happy with their warming Cardamom Coffee with more than a hint of spice. They also have delicious Chai Tea (iced and hot), and Mango Lassis, a light yogurt drink with mango that is a meal in itself. The freshly baked cookies (especially the White Chocolate Macadamia) where also a favorite of my friends and I, although I didn’t get one during this visit.

Any quick and inexpensive meal that can transport me back to a summer afternoon in the Hamptons in the middle of February is certainly one I’d recommend to anyone, whether they are familiar with the Hamptons location or not. With so many variations, the dosa makes a great breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack that is super healthy and offers something unique if you are tired of sandwiches and wraps. There is also a location on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 83rd, and both NYC locations deliver.

The Hampton Chutney Co.
68 Prince St (Between Broadway and Lafayette)
464 Amsterdam Ave. (Between 82nd and 83rd)
Amagansett Square, Main St, Amagansett, NY