Friday, June 26, 2009

An East End Culinary Tour, "I'm not hungry but I'll eat!"

   This week marked the first Hamptons trip for Erik and I since Yui (my former work spouse as Mike called her) moved to Japan. Before embarking Erik, a vegetarian, complained that on his previous Hamptons trips he had not enjoyed one good meal! I was shocked and felt a personal culinary challenge brewing: I would engorge Erik on amazing food. I succeeded. Here is our overindulgently fat itinerary broken down by day and meal.
   
   Day 1 (lunch): Before we left, we were famished (a good start) so I decided we pick up some olives and cheese from Valentino's Cash and Carry, a great shop on Metropolitan Avenue with great imported Italian cheeses. Nonna is a regular there. We got a loaf of semolina, 2 types of cheese, a prima sale and a ricotta salata, and two types of olives, small black little ones and big green fresh ones. That is how I distinguish them in the giant white buckets. We also got some tasty sun dried tomatoes. I think Erik was a little skeptical, so I offered him a slice from Rosa's Pizzeria. He got the Sicilian, the best slice they offer. 
    We brought out treasures to Rocco's, where we picked up Charlie, the Catahoula Dog, our 3rd traveler on our Hamptons journey, and at a nice lunch there. Rocco cut up some fresh tomatoes with olive oil to freshen up the meal. Erik seemed to enjoy his lunch while listening to Rocco's mumblings with his mouth full. He remarked on how delicious the bread was, so soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. We headed east with the leftover cheese, olives and sundried tomatoes, satisfied but ready for more.
    Day 1 (snack): Arrived and settled, we headed over to the photo shoot, figuring we might as well pick up a snack to hold us over. We stopped by at La Fondita, a small Mexican place in Amagansett on Montauk Highway. Its the first I've seen it open, and I was intrigued. I got two baja style fish tacos and wished I ordered fifty. They were outstanding. Everything a fish taco should be, a warm and crispy but not oily batter with fresh soft warm fish on the inside, covered in a creamy chipotle mayo, topped with shredded cabbage and wrapped in two perfect soft tacos. I also got a Hibiscus Flower Aqua Fresca. Erik ordered a vegetarian burrito that he loved and a Horchata, an Aqua Fresca made with rice milk, cinnamon and almond. For a dessert "snack" we got some $0.35 each Mexica Wedding Cookies, both kinds, chocolate and vanilla. They are like a light and less buttery and nutty short bread with a cinnamon edge and doused in powdered sugar. Fantastic. Erik and I were split, I dug the chocolate, he the vanilla. We swore we'd bring Carrie, Erik's wife who would arrive the following day.
    
    Day 1 (dinner): After the shoot, it was time for more, "snacks." After all, it was a long tiring shoot. We went right around the corner to Citta Nuova. Not only is it a really nice Italian restaurant, its usually open late night, even during the off season, which is perfect for us. We started out with Fava Bruschetta covered in Pecorino Romano and a Shaved Fennel Beet Salad. For sides we got broccoli rabe, which was good and straightforward with olive oil and garlic, but the winner was the Fingerling Rosemary Potatoes which seemed like they were doused in butter (not compling.) They were caramelized to perfection. And lest we forget about dessert, an arborio rice pudding creme brulee. Yes, it was delicious. We were on to some great eating and had only been there one day.
   Day 2 (breakfast): The next morning Carrie had arrived, she's the sweetest girl and a vegan, another challenge, but I think she ended up happy before leaving that day. We ate breakfast at my favorite spot, Hampton Chutney Co. Carrie and I ordered the #7 (seasonal grilled corn, roasted peppers, roasted onions, arugula and jack cheese). Carrie got it in dosa form without cheese and a watermelon juice. I ordered mine in Uttapa form. It was like a pizza and had two much cheese for my liking, but the corn was fantastic. I will only opt for dosas from now on. Erik got the #5 (avocado, fresh tomato, arugula and cheese.) and the Mango Lassi and Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie. I also got a Chai Tea which is always superb. Next, a walk to the beach. The waves were big, the sun was strong. Enough, more food awaits.
   
    Day 2 (lunch): We hadn't quite walked off our breakfast but we saw the Jitney go by and had to squeeze a vegetarian burrito into Carrie before she left. Two more vegetarian burritos, for the lovely couple and some Hibiscus Flower Juice, a fish taco and a chorizo taco for me and the Tamarind Aqua Fresca. And don't forget to fill a bag with more of those cookies. The catch phrase for the Hamptons was taking form, "I'm not hungry, but I'll eat!"
   Day 2 (dinner): The second evening we figured we'd eat before the shoot. We dined at the 1770s House, one of East Hamptons' finer eating establishments. Looking at our attire, they hinted that maybe we should sit in the garden as the dining room is "more formal." Maybe we didn't look Hamptons chic, (thank god!) but with a prixe fix, we were right on budget and maybe slightly hungry? I got a Seared Scallop on a Vichycoisse of pureed potatoes and leeks, and Erik started with an arugula salad, which he later admitted was overdressed. For course two, I got a orvietta pasta with fresh lobster and Erik the fettucini with trumpet mushrooms and farm peas. I would have rather my sauce to be a little fresher and lighter to complement the lobster but it was tasty still. Erik's pasta was the real winner. I secretly wanted to order it, but more wanted him to try the lobster. I won't divulge whether he did. At this point, dessert was excessive, but included so ... Molten Chocolate Cake for Erik, and for me the Date Toffee Cake drowning in Caramel Sauce. (this one's for you, Yui!) After this meal, I realized this place is good, but a little decadent for my agida prone 1/2 Sicilian stomach. Its been a long time but I actually bought some Tums! The butter was to blame, not the extravagant over eating! 

    Day 3 (breakfast): At this point all I wanted was some fresh fruit, but Erik was in the mood for waffles, so before our hike in Montauk, we at at John's Pancake House. It was a great place, full of character and characters, from the giant marlon plaque hanging on wood paneling over the old school diner bar fashioned with a Jerry Seinfeld cut-out picture frame to the straight out of an 80s sitcom waitress who described my blueberry buckwheat pancakes as "dark, heavy, grainy and really healthy for you." They were good and all of the above. Erik got a gigantic Whole Wheat Waffle with Strawberries on top. This place was serious about their batter. 
   We headed off to Camp Hero and hiked to the lighthouse on a really lovely secluded stretch of rocky beach. Charlie the dog was on a different and far more disgusting culinary tour during this trip, too. I had thought he was partial to deer poop, the likes of which he scarfs on the lawn of the Gansett Green Manor, where we were staying. On the beach that day we learned he has a poop tooth for sea gull terds, the shells of dead horse shoe crabs, Erik introduced him to sting ray eggs, and he pranced around with a 3 foot long dead fish carcass in his mouth. Appetizing. On to lunch. 

    Day 3 (lunch): I could not leave the Montauk without eating a Lobster Roll, so we went to Lobster Roll, also known as Lunch, where they served us some really delicious traditional fresh lobster rolls on a hot dog bun, with a side of cole slaw. And as if we didn't already eat batter filled pancakes for breakfast Erik ordered beer battered onion rings. Wise choice my friend. They were perfectly fried. I didn't even need to use the Tums again, surprisingly.

   Day 3 (dinner): By now we were fully disgusted with ourselves and I was feeling like my challenge was successfully executed. We shot our last shoot and headed home, but were hungry, again, and it was pouring and we didn't feel like sitting down at a restaurant as the Catahoula dog had been in the car for most of the day, like a well-behaved doggy boy. So we got a loaf of bread and reminisced about our East End Culinary Journey while driving home and messily shoving cheese and sun dried tomato sandwiches into our mouths along with the olives, all leftovers from the first meal we kicked off the food tour with. For dessert, I found some leftover Mexican Wedding Cookies and Erik managed to down a bag of Sweet Potato Chips, a bottle of green vegetable juice, and a donut!?!? remarking that after 3 days of overeating, its great to end it with some junk food. Touche'.  He asked, "When you and Yui used to come out here, did you eat this much?" Answer: Yes!

1 comment:

kathyb said...

totally enjoyable and excellent post.