July 19, 2012
Smoked salmon Napoleon made with pea pancake, crème fraîche, wasabi tobiki, and lobster oil
The Plaza Café has been serving New American cuisine and fresh, seasonal seafood in the heart of Southampton since 1997, but this marks the first season the restaurant will serve brunch.
Offered every Sunday (11 AM–1 PM), the new menu dishes updated brunch standards like ham and eggs made with slow cooked pork belly, a fried egg, and braised lentils; luxe hash and eggs with Long Island duck, a poached egg, and duck cracklings; and brioche French toast topped with orange-infused honey.
Ranked this year by Zagat as one of the top five seafood restaurants on Long Island, The Plaza Café has plenty of fruits de mare on its brunch menu. In addition to an omelet folded with butter poached lobster, asparagus, morels, and Gruyere, you’ll find a fresh pea soup with jumbo lump crabmeat and lime foam; a smoked salmon Napoleon with pea pancake, crème fraîche, wasabi tobiki, and lobster oil ; and the cult favorite lobster and shrimp shepherd’s pie, topped with a chive-potato crust.
The extensive wine list is also extraordinary and a personal project of chef-owner Douglas Gulija. He keeps the menu stocked with curated by-the-glass, half bottle, bottle, and reserve selections, all of which are American, with the exception of a few nods to Gulija’s ancestral homeland of Croatia, and many of which are local. If you’re looking for a brunch spot this Bridgehampton Polo opening weekend, you’ll do well at The Plaza Café. 61 Hill St., Southampton; 283-9323
July 18, 2012
14 years aged Diplomatico Ambassador rum
Award-winning Venezuelan rum producer Diplomatico is hitting the Hamptons hard this summer in honor of its 20th anniversary. Nick and Toni’s, Stephen Talkhouse, and new restaurant Andrra have all hosted tastings of Diplomatico’s five rums, Blanco, Añejo, Reserva, Reserva Exclusiva, and Ambassador. Aged in sherry casks for 14 years, the Ambassador is perfect to serve neat or over ice. Only 1,600 bottles are made per year, so drink it slow and savor the notes of chocolate, aged dried fruit, coffee, and vanilla. Use the lighter Blanco white rum (also chocolaty in flavor) for cocktails, such as the refreshing Hemingway Daiquiri (below). Tonight, stop by La Super-Rica for two-for-one Diplomatico cocktails and the spot’s Wednesday Night Sailing Afterparty (5 PM). The brand will also have a tasting table at Bay Street Theatre’s Rock the Dock bash this Saturday–and look for it at the Great Chefs Dinner on July 28. Whip up this recipe on July 19 for National Daiquiri Day!
2 ounces Diplomatico Blanco
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Dash simple syrup
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a brandy-soaked cherry.
Diplomatico rums are available at Springs Wines & Liquors in East Hampton, as well as other liquor purveyors throughout the East End.
July 17, 2012
At Water Mill Cupcake Company, cupcakes are arranged neatly, with each flavor occupying its own colorful cake stand. There are full-size cupcakes finished with a dainty swirl of buttercream, and there are mini-cupcakes for smaller appetites, or more likely, the indecisive.
The interiors, too, are good enough to eat: pink chairs, sun-splashed white wood tables, and a whimsical collection of baking aprons (which are for sale) that summon the Martha Stewart in all of us. Near the cash register, you’ll find a basketful of one-bite samples.
The dark and exceedingly moist devil's food cupcake is a cult favorite. It comes paired with a fluffy espresso buttercream that’s just sweet enough and flavored with deep, rich espresso. Keep an eye out for the ever-changing fruit cupcakes utilizing fresh, local fruits of the season. We devoured a strawberry and cream cupcake on a recent visit and Key lime on yet another. Also irresistible are the chocolate-dipped cake pops, sold in sets of two, and new-this-summer whoopie pies, which sandwich moist cookie-cakes with the bakery’s signature buttercream. Our favorite combination? It's a toss-up between the classic red velvet and buttercream and a chocolate number with strawberry buttercream—which is studded with bits of fresh strawberry. 760 Montauk Hwy., 726-0444
July 15, 2012
The tasting room at Channing Daughters
Among the three wineries on the newly designated Hamptons Wine Trail, Channing Daughters gets an A plus for wine education. Where a wine is kept and how long it stays in the barrel is merely scratching the surface of what one should know about their wine, according to partner and winemaker Christopher Tracy. During recent tasting classes Tracy has covered the most well known producers in Bordeaux, the nearly dozen varieties of rosé, and grape combinations such as Blaufränkisch and Dornfelder. Held in the winery’s sunlit tasting room, classes ($85) usually include tastings of 12 wines in three flights, accompanied by light bites. In the upcoming Anything But So-Called “Neutral” class (July 19), Tracy will uncork a stunningly complex chardonnay, chenin blanc, pinot grigio, and garganega. Then later, on August 9, he’ll host The Old and the New, examining young wines and their more mature counterparts. To purchase tickets, call Channing Daughters at 537-7224. 1927 Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton
July 13, 2012
Classic French croissants at Loaves & Fishes
Much like the Fourth of July, the French celebrate their independence with a red, white, and blue Bastille Day each July 14. In honor of France, and its enduring influence on the East End, we’ve put together a list of ways to celebrate this Saturday—complete with fireworks, petanque, and foie gras.
Play Boules at Brasserie Beaumarchais
In addition to its boozy Beau brunch, the Meat Packing District import will roll out a classic French petanque game. Have your fill of steak frites, foie gras, and Ricard cocktails and play boules! 443 Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, 212-675-2400; brasseriebeaumarchais.com
Savor a Classic Croissant
Pick up a paper and stop by Loaves & Fishes for a traditional French croissant and piping hot cup of coffee. Baked fresh every morning, proprietor Anna Pump’s croissants are unparalleled on the East End. Try one in plain, almond, or chocolate and enjoy your buttery breakfast and paper at one of the outdoor picnic tables. 2422 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton, 537-6066; landfcookshop.com
See Parisian Art at ArtHamptons
Regarded for presenting the finest post-war contemporary art, ArtHamptons offers a wide selection of galleries and artists from around the globe. Get a taste of Paris with Envie D’Art Gallery, the only collection of French work showing this weekend. Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark, Bridgehampton, 702-2141; arthamptons.com
People Watch at Pierre’s
Bastille Day would not be complete without a visit to the de facto French embassy of the Hamptons, Pierre’s. As you sit on the sunny patio, sipping wine, people watching, and tucking into lobster fricassee and steak tartare, keep an eye out for owner Pierre Weber, who will don full French monarch attire. Afterward, do like the Parisians and go for stroll around Bridgehampton. 2468 Main St., Bridgehampton, 537-5110; pierresbridgehampton.com
Finish with Fireworks
What better way to end your Bastille Day festivities than with a fireworks show on the beach? Catch the best views of the third annual fireworks on Shelter Island from French hotels La Maison Blanche or Sunset Beach. A great view can also be had on Crescent Beach. 9:15 PM. Crescent Beach, Shelter Island
PHOTOGRAPH BY KATHY YL CHAN