New York appears to have been on the receiving end of some of the worst weather this year and my friend Lynn and I felt some of that on day two in the Hamptons, but it didn’t put a damper on the spirits we needed to sample.
We met Andrea from the Hamptons Visitors Council at the Golden Pear in East Hampton. It was one of four locations for this bakery/deli/coffee shop which seemed to have quite the selection.
I settled on a blueberry scone and we talked a bit about the Hamptons, which encompass quite an area that includes towns such as East Quogue, Hampton Bay and Sag Harbor. As she said, each hamlet has its own personality and it’s one of the few areas in the world where celebrities often mingle with locals because they consider themselves locals here.
Lynn and I drove around a bit before our lunch at Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett. I have to admit that I thought it was just a local pub, but I was very impressed with the food and drink selection.
We started with a few cocktails, the first of which was a nut/fruit combination called a Bikini Martini (Malibu Coconut, Absolute Vodka, pineapple juice and grenadine). Then there was the Premium Skinny Margarita (that uses agave nectar instead of sour mix to cut calories) and the Fresca Tina (Grey Goose L’orge Fresca with a splash of cranberry).
The first food item was one of the simplest creative dishes I had seen – Baked Chili. They simply bake their chili topped with cheese in the oven and then top in with sour cream. It was just outrageous and I had to use my self-control to keep from finishing it!
Next, we had a great Arugula Salad topped with apples and nuts, followed by a tender and flavorful Prime Rib Sandwich with mozzarella cheese and horseradish sauce on a ciabatta roll. There were also some sweet and spicy ribs that were a little smoky.
We were thoroughly stuffed, but the staff (and patrons) all insisted we had to try the Banana Taco with an Almond Mocho, a rich and nutty coffee with amaretto. I’m glad they did because it was worth the extra calories.
It was a good thing I was full before hitting the next stop. Tates Bakery is known throughout the country as both Consumer Reports and Rachael Ray magazines have named their chocolate chip cookies No. 1. They make one million cookies per week (including whole wheat and gluten-free ones), but most people don’t’ know that they also sell plenty of muffins, birthday cakes, cupcakes, fruit pies, ice cream sandwiches and homemade marshmallows – for hot chocolate in the winter and s’mores in the summer.
I had a great visit with Kathleen King, who began her famous bakery by making cookies to sell at her father’s farm stand when she was only 11. I left with some samples and met back up with Lynn.
We spent some time resting at The Maidstone, where we had stayed the night before. There are plenty of comfortable chairs throughout this Swedish-owned hotel and we also got to see some of the Norwegian items they had for sale, such as clogs and beauty products. It’s definitely a unique place to stay, with only 19 rooms and unusual extras like yoga in the garden, room service and spa treatments.
Our last stop before leaving the Hamptons was the Red|bar Brasserie. We had a nice chat with Patrick, the bartender who is in his ninth summer working out here. It’s an interesting place, with French music in the background and some tasty homemade potato chips at the bar. He made us a light and crisp Venetian Spritzer (prosecco and aperol) before we tasted the tender Braised Pork Belly with Celery root, that had a bit of sweetness from the pork rind and green apple. Then, we sampled their homemade Foie Gras Terrine, served with brioche toast and fig jam.
I knew I just touched the surface of the Hamptons on this trip, but before I could come back, I had to head over the pond to spend some time with my favorite spirit, courtesy of Beefeater.