A good deal of New Yorkers spend as many of their summer hours as possible in the Hamptons. I for some reason just do not get out east that often. I will tell everyone (and probably include it in every summer related post) that I love NYC in the summer. Everything is less crowded and as a result many (not all) places are easier to get into. There are also so many great options for being outdoors that open up I try to take advantage of those on the weekend – while the weather lasts!
When I do make it out east Montauk is usually my town of choice. I just love the town and visiting Montauk Brewing Company is one of my favorite pastimes. When they make me leave the rest of my time is mostly spent eating or on the beach – eating. I basically spend the weekend trying to squeeze in as many meals as my stomach will allow. This is the rundown of the Hamptons restaurants that were in the rotation last weekend.
Heading out to Montauk on a Thursday after work and it’s a perfect night to visit The Hideaway – for two reasons – tacos and tequila. I originally discovered this place via recommendation from the fellas over at The Infatuation and have been hooked ever since. It is seriously off the beaten path hidden inside a marina – and very clearly a locals joint. Reviews were mixed among my group, but I very much enjoyed my array of tacos and tostadas. The many choices of flavors for my heavily tequila-ed margaritas probably helps.
Tired from margaritas, breakfast doesn’t really happen. For lunch I can’t help myself but go to La Brisa, an outpost of Tacombi in NYC, because… more tacos .. and more tequila. The order usually goes like this: Guacamole, Tacos (Catch of the Day, Pollo,Shrimp) and a Paloma. La Brisa is also pretty cute in appearance if that matters to you. The place may have been built specifically for the purposes of instagram.
Later in the afternoon is the perfect time to visit one of my favorite spots Wölffer Estate Vineyard. On Fridays and Saturdays the wine stand opens from 5pm to sunset for wine and live music. It is such a gorgeous spot and never, ever gets old.
This leads back to Montauk for a late reservation at South Edison. At this point I have consumed margaritas, tacos, wine and multiple plates of cheese/meat. I certainly don’t need to sit down and eat a full meal, but can’t waste a dinner slot! South Edison is the epitome of local seafood done right – so a full meal it is. Braised Octopus Tacos, SpicyTuna BLT Chalupa, Scallop Ceviche … no issues devouring it all.
Saturday, oh Saturday. At this point it is two night in and I am definitely in need of some good food to keep me going – but wanting a break from going out to eat. That being said, I obviously have no groceries … we’ve all been there. This is where Madeline Picnic Co. comes in. Their picnics to go include sandwiches, salads and dessert along with kid-friendly and beverage options. You need to place your order by 10am if calling the same day. After that throw on your beach gear and pick-up from one of their designated spots. When hunger hits everyone will be jealous of your Spring Soba Noodle Salad (buckwheat noodles, bok choy, cucumber, charred cabbage, mint, ginger sesame dressing).
Saturday night I always do dinner at The Crow’s Nest. I do struggle with the decision this time. The Miami based Momi Ramen has opened up a spot in East Hampton with the intention of being a solid alternative to the taco and seafood buffet you are most likely partaking in – my current situation exactly. Part of me wants to see what it is all about. I also consider heading toRuschmeyer’s since Max and Eli Sussman have taken over the kitchen at for the summer and I have yet to go Word is they are coordinating lots of fun over there this season with things like Tuesday Burger Nights and Sunday Seafood Boils.
I end up sticking with the Crow’s Nest. It isn’t a spot that gets as much press as some other Hamptons restaurants. I stumbled upon it a few years ago when booking a last minute weekend in Montauk. I always love my meal there and haven’t been disappointed yet. The menu is simple, seasonal and fresh. Finish your glass of wine in front of their nightly fire pits and you will leave very happy – albeit smelling slightly smoky.
Sundays bring me back to Wölffer for Sundays on the Terrace. From 9am to 1pm they serve sparkling rosé bellinis, dry cider cocktails and french press coffee. Throw in pastries from Blue Duck Bakery, and locally made granola, yogurt and honey for Sunday morning heaven. If you are sticking around past Sunday or like to leave late, Topping Rose House will be hosting a Pig Roast & BBQ every Sunday through September. It’s a three-course family-style meal, complete with Wölffer wine pairing. It starts at 6 p.m. in the Orchard of Topping Rose House and is $95/per person (plus tax and tip). Yes, you get back to the city late and yes it isn’t the cheapest option out there – but I find TRH so impressive that it is completely worth it. You can reserve space by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Saveur Summer BBQ is definitely one of the events that I most look forward to each season. For the past few years Saveur has been kicking off the summer with their annual bbq/cookout at Boat Basin. They gather 20 or so chefs/bartenders for what has consistently been a delicious night of food and cocktails.The roster of who participates is always impressive and the event is small enough that you can really connect with a chef if there is someone you are excited to see. This year included the likes of Chefs Edward Lee (one of my faves), Alex Stupak, Christina Tosi, Alex Guarnaschelli and Sarah Simmons … just to name a few.
The night started with seriously crazy thunderstorms, but the event rolled on. The first hour or so was a tad rainy so I spent most of that time working up my appetite between the two bars which were under cover. The Build Your Own Cocktail Bar was a big crowd pleaser. Guests chose between Pallini limoncello, Zacapa rum, and Jefferson’s bourbon as their base liquor, followed by garnishes and mixers of their choice. We went with the Pallini, blackberries, mint and grapefruit soda. Seriously an inspiring idea for a DIY bar for a party at home (give the mimosa bar a vacation for a day).
There were a lot of great bites to be tasted – but I have to say my favorite of the night goes to the Miso Butter Grilled Corn served by Ivan Ramen. It was seriously good. It also made me really happy I happened to have some toothpicks in my bag.
I ate a lot of good chicken, which was very surprising as my heart normally belongs to the gods of the red meat. The jerk chicken from Sarah Simmons and the Birds & Bubbles team was one of my other favorite things I ate – and I went back for seconds.
Growing up in the city doesn’t afford you as much time as you would think to test drive the best of everything as it sounds like. The younger version of myself didn’t spend much time searching for the best food truck or caring about good service at a restaurant. It may also surprise you that my love and appreciation for cocktails only came to be in the past few years as well. If there is one thing I can say I have been test driving truly most of my life – it is ice cream.
Many of the places at the current top of my list do happen to be newer rather older, but their deliciousness cannot be ignored. Sometimes I am in the mood to try something completely new and off the wall. Other times you just really need a classic. There are also spots that maybe aren’t technically serving “ice cream” – but something close enough. This list of NYC ice cream spots covers all of thee above.
Morganstern’s Finest Ice Cream
Walking into Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream is truly like walking into an old time ice cream parlor. Complete the vibe by snagging a stool for service at the counter. The ice cream is eggless and relatively low in both sugar and butterfat. According to Morgenstern, sugar and butterfat get in the way of your tongue’s ability to process flavor – so it is a decision based on taste rather than being health conscience. Right now I am feeling the Vietnamese Coffee and Durian Banana flavor options. Mango Passionfruit and Raspberry Aperol is also on my radar. I may need to leave room for a float as well – all of their sodas are housemade and top notch.
(Photos: Morganstern’s Finest Ice Cream)
Ample Hills Creamery
Ample Hills Creamery opened its’ doors in 2011 and quickly became a Brooklyn staple. Be ready for some seriously delicious ice cream. They have a handful of the more classic flavors as well as signature concoctions (none of them too weird or crazy). There are two Ample Hills shops in Brooklyn as well as a kiosk at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park during the summer. You can also now find them at Gotham West Market. If you don’t live in the area, not to worry – you are covered. Ample Hills now offers nationwide shipping on 6 packs of their pints.
(Photos: Ample Hills Creamery/Grub Street)
OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
When I visit OddFellows Ice Cream Co. I love that everything feels so homemade. You will need to get yourself wrapped up in the array of unique flavors they dream up – ranging from Oatmeal Cookie Dough to Banana Puddin’ to Black Pepper Strawberry to Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The ice cream at OddFellows is made in small batches throughout the day – so everything is the epitome of fresh no matter when you visit. The one potential downside to this is that the flavor options may change quickly and aren’t guaranteed to be available. If the flavor you had in mind isn’t available I say it is a good thing – it will force you to try something else – and they are all pretty amazing. There is usually a sorbet available as well if that is more your speed. Be sure to throw in the extras like freshly made waffle cones and homemade Mast Brothers Hot Fudge.
(Photos: NYC Go)
Cafe Cluny Cart
Cafe Cluny in the West Village has an ice cream cart that comes out of hibernation for the season each May. Go for brunch and grab a cone for the walk home. The word around town is that their banana vanilla wafer flavor is the way to go.
(Photo: Serious Eats)
If you are someone who is looking for more classic flavors made with top notch ingredients Blue Marble is the place for you. Their dairy is certified organic and you really can taste the simplicity and purity of the ice cream when you eat it. You can find them at one of their Brooklyn shops or a number of other locations that carry the product. You can also find them at seasonal outposts like Smorgasburg, Brooklyn Flea and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
(Photo: Blue Marble)
Davey’s Ice Cream
AtDavey’s Ice Cream there is a serious focus on quality. They pasteurize all of their own ice cream base. This gives them complete control over where each ingredient comes from. Besides Ample Hills and OddFellows, few other ice cream shops could say the same. We love that they source local, seasonal ingredients and work with local businesses to develop limited edition flavors. I have my little eye on the ice cream sandwiches made to order with homemade chocolate chip cookies, your favorite flavor and topping.
(Photos: Davey’s Ice Cream)
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
All of the good things seem to be in Brooklyn these days. Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain is housed in a restored 1920’s apothecary. You will definitely feel as though you walked through the door and back in time to a vintage soda shop. My biggest problem when I have been to Brooklyn Farmacy is that truly cannot ever decide what I want to order. A milkshake? Maybe one of the 15+ sundae options .. or 1 of the 20 different ice cream floats. The answer may be that you make sure you visit on a Sunday when they bring in donuts from Greenpoint’s Peter Pan. Go for the gold and get your sundae served atop one of the donuts, appropriately named The End of the World Sundae.
(Photos: NY Times/Brooklyn Farmacy)
Ok, this is not ice cream – but I associate it with those cravings so it stays on my list of nyc ice cream spots. At some point most of us have ripped open a roll of raw cookie dough and eaten some (or all, no judgement) of it. In those moments I suppress the sound of my mother’s voice reminding me I am going to become inflicted with salmonella by doing so. Cookie Dō has so graciously offered a solution to this problem by creating a dough intended to be eaten in that form, made with pasteurized egg substitute. Salmonella threat = gone. You can choose from about 20 different flavors – snickerdoodle, peanut butter, trail mix, chocolate dream … etc. It can be eaten as is right out of the container, mixed into ice cream or even baked … it’s all your show. Cookie Dō doesn’t currently have a storefront, but your order can be shipped or picked up if you are local.
(Photo: Cookie Do)
Emack & Bolio’s
I had only recently stumbled upon Emack & Bolio’s after noticing a bevy of cereal covered ice cream cones showing up on my instagram feed. If the sound of your ice cream being covered in the likes of rice krispies, fruit loops or fruity pebbles sounds like a return to childhood you don’t want to miss. The shop is Massachusetts based and has locations in a few states. The NYC locations are currently both uptown.
The Pineapple. We’ve always been big fans whether it be for eating or blending up into cocktails – and they are a very cool looking fruit. It turns out that the rest of the world has taken notice and pineapples are having a moment. Pineapple decor is everywhere- from clothes and cell phone covers to home goods and prints galore. I have actually come across so many great illustrators/print shops while researching this post I will be sharing them over the next few weeks on the blog.
The term sustainable seafood is one that many of us are familiar with, but don’t have a lot of knowledge around what it really means or how we personally should be making responsible decisions when it comes to the seafood we eat. Sustainable Seafood Week (June 22 – June 28, 2015) was created to help us learn more while enjoying sustainable seafood fare around the city. Things like understanding where your fish is being sourced from, how it makes its’ way from sea to table and embracing local but maybe less well known species of fish are among the topics that will be covered at Sustainable Seafood Week events. I loved this chart from Future of Fish outlining the current state of the seafood supply change vs. their ideal state:
There are a number of events going on throughout the week in addition to those highlighted below, full list here. There will also be more than 20 restaurants around the city serving a sustainable seafood dish created specifically for this week.
Tuesday, June 23
If you are an oyster lover, Grey Lady is hosting Oyster Trivia Night. You will be able to slurp oysters, show off your smarts, and win oyster-themed prizes. Proceeds will benefit the Billion Oyster Project. I love what they are doing in aiming to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor. Oyster reefs once spanned more than 220,000 acres of the Hudson River. Oysters provide a lot to the ecosystem because they filter the water – which helps make the area a viable habitat for other species.
Wednesday, June 24
Grand Banks is hosting a tasting and talk called “Bait to Plate” There are many species of fish that we don’t commonly serve on the table here, but are very popular in other parts of the world. You will look at using local ingredients and simple techniques to reveal the deliciousness of abundant but often overlooked species.
On Wednesday you can get an insider look at the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx. This market handles about one third of New York’s total seafood demand and is the second largest in the world after Tokyo’s – aka this is quite an operation and something you should see! Reminder that the building for the tour will be around 40 degrees, so you will need to dress for the part – and leave your flippy flops home for the day.
Friday, June 26
Union Square will be home to a seafood fest all day Friday. There will be local fish served for lunch at the greenmarket. Head back from 4-8pm for more fish along with music and a beer garden.
Tasting Table is hands down my favorite all things food website and I already spend a more than healthy amount of my day on their site. They recently launched Tasting Table TV, providing more ways for me to waste away my day with oodles of video content.
A pool is on the list for when we build our new house next year. Until then I will be using this donut float as a lounger in my living room.
Urban Space has become renowned in NYC for their markets like Madison Square Eats, and are finally setting up a permanent spot outside of Grand Central. A huge win in the lunch options column for Midtown.
The 6th annual Saveur Summer Cookout is going down next Tuesday at Boat Basin. More than 20 chefs and mixologists will serving up their summertime favorites. Can’t wait.
While I too cannot completely resist the lure of the East End in the summer, I do stay in the city most weekends. This affords me a lot of time to be a tourist. These are a handful of the items on my summer to do list when it comes to eating and drinking in NYC. The list grows every day:
Smorgasburg still remains a constant on my list of favorite activities. I very much enjoy sitting on a blanket all day with the ability to grab endless amounts of food. With outposts this summer in Coney Island, at the Seaport and Queens (coming in July), Smorg is never very far away ..
(Frozen Negroni, Photo Melissa Hom)
The Epicurean Group has opened Alta Linea, a seasonal restaurant in the courtyard of the High Line Hotel. There will be food of course but we love the menu of aperitivi cocktails (Aperol Spritz, anyone?). A must try is the frozen Negroni – which was a collaboration with Kelvin Natural Slush.
Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook is setup to be the perfect summer scene. There are two deck levels inspired to give the feel of Maryland style crab shacks, and they do just that. There is also mini golf on site if you needed any more incentive.
Ample Hills and BAKED have joined evil forces to bring you the Black & White cookie ice cream sandwich, aka Black & Walt. Made with vanilla malted ice cream, fudge and rolled in cocoa crispies, they have been selling out pretty rapidly. Check in with their social media feeds for replenishment info.
I still have not made it to the Butter & Scotch bar/bakery in Crown Heights. On the menu to try is a selection of boozy floats and milkshakes perfect for the season. I’ve got my heart set on the Pretty in Pink float – complete with Aperol, rosé, seltzer and strawberry ice cream.
Porchlight in Chelsea will be hosting their “Summer Sundays” from noon till sunset which will feature cocktails and a $25 crawfish boil.
If the idea of eating and hanging out on a floating lobster shack sounds appealing to you, head to North River Lobster Company. The food is ok, but you are really going for the ambiance, and to drink cocktails out of mason jars.
A recent restoration has taken the 128 year old building that is Pier A Harbor House from crumbling to the latest go-to outside spot. The place is massive with multiple levels, bar and dining options. The location in Battery Park offers amazing views.
A visit to Industry City Distillery (and all of the other great ones we have) should be a must on everyone’s list. The tasting room is open to the public on weekends and they are serving boozy shaved iced piraguas (DRUNKEN SNOW CONES).
It can be a challenge to come up with unique gift ideas for Father’s Day – especially if you are like me and inevitably procrastinate until the 11th hour. If you need help with some ideas, these are four Father’s Day gift ideas that will please dads taste buds and leave his friends wishing they had kids who also had such great taste.
SlantShack Jerky Online shop is currently closed, but check their retail list. I always find at Whole Foods.
Spiked Seltzer Discovered this at the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival and have been obsessed every since.If you are lucky, they are selling in a store near you.
Ample Hills Creamery Their ice cream is a New York staple. Order asap to ensure shipping if you want in time for Father’s Day!
Mouth There are endless amounts of gift options, from one off curated collections to monthly subscriptions.