I have so many great memories from growing up in East Hampton, NY – but I didn’t fully understand what a special place it is until I got a little older. We live in Pennsylvania now (a Philadelphia suburb), and I really do love it but no matter how old I get I will always miss ‘home’ – especially in the summer. Thankfully, we get to spend lots of time visiting EH while the kids are on summer break. This month, during our trip, Cindy and I were able to hang together with our families and we thought it would be fun to give our Cassandra’s Kitchen friends a look at some of our favorite East Hampton foods and restaurants – since we spend the majority of our time there eating, drinking, and hanging at the beach.
Of course, we spend a lot of time with my mom and dad. And on my last trip I had a meeting/visit with my mom and Ina to discuss her upcoming cookbook, Cooking with Jeffery (click here to pre-order an autographed copy). We were also able to chat about her current favorite products and what new items Cassandra's Kitchen will be adding to our store this fall. And...we cooked and ate, always the best part!
You know the saying "When in Rome...?" For me that translates to "When on Long Island, eat bagels." The New York bagel is a general staple in East Hampton. We frequent Hampton Bagels – it’s a must while we’re there and our family gets them often. Goldberg’s is also super popular, which is why there’s always a long line (too long for me). And there’s also the One Stop Market where we pick up bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches (on a bagel or a roll). Everyone has his or her preference…but they are all wonderful circles of carbohydrate goodness. And I always make sure to bring three dozen bagels home to PA to freeze. They satisfy our breakfast cravings for the rest of the summer.
Luigi’s is my favorite stop for lunch. They make their sandwiches on the most delicious Foaccia bread. I always get ‘The Avocado.’ It’s not on the menu (my mother introduced me to it). It may not look like much but I crave it! Avocado, mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula, and their balsamic dressing sauce (I would take bottles of this home if I could).
For dinner one night, Cindy and I went to East Hampton Grill, which is always one of my first stops. I can’t live without their Biscuits and Honey. All the food there is very good. I love the salmon and the blue cheese wedge salad – and you can’t go wrong with the ice cream sundae and chocolate sauce!
I also met friends at East By Northeast which overlooks Montauk’s Fort Pond. The view was beautiful and since I’d never eaten there before I was excited to check out the menu. There were only three of us, but I swear we had enough food for 10 people! We tried a little of everything – sushi, oysters, duck tacos, crispy cauliflower (in our favorite Chinese takeout containers!). The entree specials were excellent. I will be back!!
We stopped by the Living Room (part of the Maidstone Hotel) one night for drinks and dessert. The Sticky Toffee Date Cake is out of this world. Ina Garten actually used this recipe on one of her Barefoot Contessa shows and it's featured in the Foolproof Cookbook. The original recipe comes from Laura Donnelly, onetime chef at the Living Room and writer for the East Hampton Star. And I must mention The Living Room's chocolate cake – I’m a chocolate lover and I couldn’t pass it up!
But of all these places, my very most favorite place to visit is Atlantic Beach. We spend as much time there as we do sleeping! You can find us there morning to night – we’re Atlantic Beach diehards, even the wind and clouds don’t deter us.
And we always get some volleyball going. I’ve been playing volleyball with Cindy’s husband Brad and crew for over 15 years – and it’s my absolute favorite way to spend my vacation (and a great workout!).
After a good day at Atlantic Beach we often head over to Maidstone Beach to relax and enjoy dinner. My family has been going to Maidstone at night for 35 yrs – my parents have always called it a bivouac. Technically, I think that means a temporary camp without tents or cover, but we have used the term forever to mean that we are cooking out at the beach. There’s usually some fishing taking place and we always end the night by roasting marshmallows. The kids love it.
There was a time when we actually cooked all of our food there on the beach – hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, clams. We've gotten lazy over the years – packing and unpacking everything is a lot of work! Now we opt for takeout. Smokin’ Wolf and La Fondita are my top choices. La Fondita is the cutest little Mexican kitchen (the name means ‘little kitchen’). They serve traditional Mexican street food that’s not overdone, tastes delicious and travels well. And Smokin’ Wolf serves southwest style barbeque – think ribs, wings, chicken, and seafood all with a bbq tang. The grilled corn on the cob with Cotija cheese and chili powder is so good.
No matter how much time we spend visiting, it’s never enough. My favorites may not be the most ‘happening’ places, but they make me so happy! If you get to visit East Hampton I hope you take some of my advice, explore on your own and enjoy every minute of your time there!