Wine & Dine: Topping Rose

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Dawn Watson photos.

I had the honor of dining at Jean-Georges’s Topping Rose in Bridgehampton last night. I went for fun with a friend and not for a professional review but I think it’s always good to share some impressions.

Not having been there since the kitchen was under the direction of Tom Colicchio, I’ve been extremely curious about the restaurant. As I know that both chefs favor a high end vegetable-forward, farm-to-table experience, my expectations were just as high with this newish iteration as they were for the Top Chef guru’s fare. I was not disappointed.  The food was delicious, though definitely on the expensive side.

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I started with a Cucumber Mint Martini, though made with vodka and not gin ($18). It was very, very yummy and refreshing, but best imbibed only once. There was also a delicious sip of the Sancerre, Jean Vincent 2013, Loire, France ($15) to follow.

We didn’t do starters but I enjoyed the Bay Scallop special appetizer, which was served atop pureed cauliflower ($21 I think). Mmm mmm good. Additionally, I tried the Roasted Romanesco, Brussel Sprouts, Balsamic and Herbs side ($9). Tasty. My friend had the Bucatini and Short Rib special (???), which I recall from past visits under the former management has always been perfectly prepared. She agreed.

We shouldn’t have ordered dessert but it’s hard to say no when you’re having a luxury culinary experience. I tried a cappuccino ($8) and the Almond Cake, Poached Quince, Pear Sorbet ($13), which was quite good and the pear sorbet was outstanding! I’m definitely making that sorbet at home. She tasted the Yuzu Saint-Honoré, Coconut Cremeux, Kaffir Chantilly, Yuzu Curd ($13) which was okay if a  bit understated for my taste, particularly as it sounded so intriguing. We also sipped an incredible Moscato d’Asti, G.D. Vajra 2015, Piedmont, Italy ($14) or was it the Chardonnay Blend Diosa, Wolffer Estate 2012, Hamptons, NY ($17)? Hmmm. Whatever it was, it was a great note to end on.

Recommended, but not for the faint of wallet.

 

 

Ring In a Hamptons Happy New Year

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Wondering where to go and what to do to ring in the New Year? You’re in luck. Here are my top picks for those in the mood for some South Fork celebrating the end of 2016 and/or the beginning of 2017.
rogers-mansion-in-snow-by-tom-edmonds-2014Not much of a night owl? That’s okay; Rogers Mansion in Southampton can be seen today from 4 to 5:30 p.m. by candlelight. Celebrate the end of the year with a candlelight reception at the Rogers Mansion and take advantage of the last opportunity to view this year’s exhibit. The parlors and sitting rooms will be festooned with garlands of fresh winter greens and flowers. Colorful antique holiday decorations can be seen on the many trees that decorate the reception rooms in the Mansion Enjoy light refreshments before or after one of several guided tours, which will begin every 15 minutes.

 

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For a bit more of an all-day/all-night affair, check in to c/o The Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton. The eclectic, Scandinavian-inspired boutique hotel features special two-night minimum packages for New Year’s, including an automatic late checkout at 1 p.m.

The dog-friendly hotel, with its 19 individualized rooms and cottages, is set to ring in 2017 in style with a decadent three-course prix fixe dinner and party. Complementing the dinner is a Great Gatsby-themed party where guests will enjoy a champagne toast at midnight. There are no fireworks, so the dogs will love this party! Dinner and party is $95 plus tax per person.

gurneysGurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is also hosting a big shindig. Starting at 5 p.m., the $150 per person celebration includes a “favorite era” costume party in celebration of Gurney’s 90 years in business, plus live music by Kim Sozzi Creations Music, Gurney’s Beach Club DJ Nicole Leone, dancing, 4-hour open bar, hors d’oeuvres, complimentary midnight champagne toast & more. There are also two pre-fixe dinner seatings tonight at Scarpetta Beach. The first starts at 5 p.m. and the second seating is at 8 p.m. Cost is $105 per person, plus $45 wine pairing option offered. No worries about driving home if you don’t want to; Gurney’s is also offering special New Year’s lodging packages.

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The Southampton Inn is also offering up a special celebratory occasion, starting at 7 p.m. The 19th annual New Year’s Eve Gala includes cocktails, dinner, open bar, dancing to live music, special room rates for those partaking of the festivities, breakfast in the morning and late check out for those who need a bit of recuperation time.  Oooh, and Brent Newsom is cooking the New Year’s Eve dinner. Always a treat!

 

 

Just want to get out for some New Year’s Eve fun ? Then head to Zigmund’s Bar in Bridgehampton, which is hosting a New Year’s Eve Party with DJ Drop D from  9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Or pop in at Indian Wells Tavern in Amangansett, which is hosting its New Year’s Eve party tonight featuring a 10-foot projector playing music videos all night long, drinks specials and a televised ball drop.

Almond Restaurant in Bridgehampton will host a special locally sourced four-course prix fixe menu in celebration of New Year’s Eve on Saturday, December 31, beginning at 9 p.m. Guests will receive party favors and a champagne toast will be offered. Cost for the evening is $105 per person, plus tax and gratuity. For a more casual option, the bar will offer bar snacks and specialty cocktails. The a la carte menu will be offered earlier in the evening alongside holiday specials.

red|bar brasserie in Southampton is also offering a special New Year’s Eve menu tonight. Yum!

And Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton will offer a la carte specials for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The restaurant will be open for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and will serve a special New Year’s Day Brunch on Sunday, January 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Imbibing? Then please be responsible. Cheers to a happy, healthy and productive 2017!

 

 

SoFo Donates, Let’s Follow That Lead

The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center is celebrating local families in need this Holiday season by donating non-perishable food items and funds raised at its annual Thanksgiving Open House to the Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor Food Pantries, and donating toys gathered at its Annual Holiday Toy Drive to The Retreat.  Good for them!
In conjunction with its Thanksgiving Open House, SoFo presented donation checks to Evelyn Ramunno, Director, Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry and Tom White from Bridgehampton Community Food Pantry.  The Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry, located at the historic Old Whalers’ Church in Sag Harbor, is a 100% volunteer outreach program providing emergency food assistance to need residents in the community. The Bridgehampton Community Food Pantry assists low-income, needy residents and homeless in the Bridgehampton and Sagaponack area. Additionally, SoFo will donate all toys from its Holiday Toy Drive to benefit families at The Retreat, in support of its Adopt-A-Family holiday program.
“We are very happy to give back in the spirit of the season to help ensure that our East End families with limited means are able to enjoy the holidays,” says Executive Director Frank Quevedo.  “We are thankful that our friends and museum members have joined us in raising funds and donating toys to the growing number of local families who are in need of food, shelter and holiday gifts for their children.”

Love, Sex, Anarchy, and Some Great Writing

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As we are getting ready and girding our loins for the opening of the Hamptons International Film Festival on Thursday, there are still a few really great things to go do and see today and tomorrow.

Tonight, Tuesday, October 4, head to Guild Hall in East Hampton to catch a reading of “Love, Sex, Anarchy” by Melissa Bell at 7:30 p.m. As part of the John Drew Theater Lab, the performance, directed by Luke Tudball and featuring Heather Bagnall, is free.

Based on the life of activist/anarchist Emma Goldman, this multi-media theater work in progress incorporates a fluid set, choreographed transitions, an original musical score and sound design, along with archival media to explore ways in which ideologies conflict with emotions. Want to make a big night of it? Then head to the 1770 House down the street before the show and enjoy a special $27 two-course, prix fixe dinner. Just make sure to tell your server the secret code. Pssst, it’s “JDTLab.”

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Iris Smyles photo from her website. Love it. 

Also tonight, it’s Almond’s Artists & Writers Night featuring Iris Smyles, the clever and supremely interesting author of “Iris Has Free Time” and “Dating Tips for the Unemployed” who also happens to be an East Hampton Star editor. The evening, which starts  with a reception at 6:30 p.m, will be the first of many new “Artists & Writers Night” events of the season at the Bridgehampton-based restaurant. The evening will feature a family style three-course menu created by executive chef Jason Weiner. Cost for the night is $45, which includes a glass of local wine or craft beer and gratuity, tax is not included. Reservations are required.

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Kim Addonizio will kick off Writers Speak Wednesdays at Stony Brook Southampton tomorrow night.

On Wednesday night, October 5, head to the Stony Brook Southampton campus for its first Fall Writers Speak Wednesdays of the season with two-time Pushcart Prize winner Kim Addonizio. The author will talk about her recent projects, including her newest poetry collection, “Mortal Trash,” and a memoir in essays, “Bukowski in a Sundress.” The free author talk will begin at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall. Upcoming events in the series include talks by: Dani Shapiro, October 19; John Knight in conversation with Emily Gilbert, November 2; Lia Purpura, November 16; and Ruth Franklin and Susan Scarf Merrell, November 30.

Interested in becoming  a better writer? Then show up early for  an Open House and informational session, which begins at 5:30 p.m. for prospective MFA in Creative Writing and Literature candidates. Program Director Julie Sheehan and other faculty members will discuss the MFA workshops in fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, and more, all taught by distinguished working writers. And for those who would like to learn about writing books for kids, there will also be a presentation on the one-year Children’s Lit Fellows program by kids’ lit Director Emma Walton Hamilton. All those interested in attending are asked to email rsvp_mfa@stonybrook.edu.

 

Hamptons Make Another Best List

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Congratulations to the villages and hamlets of the East End, which already routinely make Best Of lists for beaches, newspapers and addresses. Now we can add another collective feather to our caps, this time for making the Best Places to Teach in New York list.

According to Niche.com, five of our South Fork schools, and three on the North Fork, made the cut, determined by: teacher salary, experience, attendance, and the district’s academic, safety, and resources grade. Other ranking factors included: Academics, Teachers, Clubs and Activities, Diversity, Outcomes and Health & Safety. Warning: Some of the rankings seem almost as baffling as new math,  as there are many lists and factors involved in the overall grade, but hopefully those of us who aren’t Millennials will still be able to grasp the concepts.

Coming in at #25 (out of 583 schools) was Sag Harbor, which received an overall grade of A and also placed #77 in Best School Districts in New York (out of 669 districts) and #66 in the Best Academics (out of 548 districts) in New York.

Westhampton Beach and East Hampton followed right after, earning the #27 (A+) and #28 (A) spots. Westhampton stood out for Districts with the Best Facilities (#2 out of 523), Districts with the Best Food (#9 out of 499) and Districts with the Best Extracurriculars (#16 out of 462). East Hampton placed in the Best Facilities (#29 out of 523) and College Readiness Ranking (34 out of 544).

Southold made the list at #40, earning a B. The Nork Fork school also ranked #46 in Safest School Districts (out of 476). Shelter Island came in at #46, earning a B.

Bridgehampton hit the middle of the list at number 55, earning a B+ grade. Southampton came in at #63, yet was named #47 in the Best School Districts poll, #15 in Best Facilities (out of 523) and #30 in Most Diverse, earning an A overall.

Rounding out the list was the Mattituck/Cutchogue School District, which placed hot on the heels of Southampton at number 66 and earned an A overall. The Nork Fork school placed high on the Safest list (#13 out of 476), Best Administration (#19 out of 429) and Best School Districts (#67 out of 669).

To see the full rankings, click here.

 

 

 

Budapest Meets Bridgehampton

Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra Gala

Sylvia Hemingway, Kati Marton, Ivan Fischer, Daisy Soros==Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra Gala==Carnegie Hall – Weill Terrace, NYC==February 18, 2016==©Patrick McMullan==Photo – Aurora Rose/ PMC====

The Hamptons seems to have gotten even more cosmopolitan of late. First, the Royal Jaipur Polo Team of India stopped by earlier this month, and now we hear that The Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra held their Summer Kick-Off Party this past weekend at the home of Sylvia Hemingway in Bridgehampton.

Ms. Hemingway is a Trustee at the Museum of the City of New York and also of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The event she hosted at her home was attended by some pretty impressive bigshots, including former US Ambassador to Hungary Donald Blinken and his wife, Vera, Former Town & Country Editor Kathryn Livingston Forgan, Victoria Wyman, Leah and Stanley Rumbough, Julianne Pruett and Bill Yun, singer/songwriter Cole Rumbough, Mike Lovdal, Christine and George Ledes, Dr. Kenneth Mark, Neal Batra, Whitney Schott,  James Sanderson, Jaimee Gregory, Daisy Soros, and Adrienne and Gianluigi Vittadini. Of course Budapest Festival Orchestra Chairman Stephen Benko was there with his wife, Radka, to hear what legendary Maestro Ivan Fisher has up his sleeve for the upcoming performance at Lincoln Center in February.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra is one of the international music scene’s major success stories, being rated among the top ten orchestras in the world. The orchestra is a regular guest at the world’s most important music venues and concert halls, including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and London’s Royal Albert Hall. They have repeatedly been invited to perform at international music events such as the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Salzburger Festspiele or the Edinburgh International Festival.

Photos: Hampton Classic Day 2

Pups needing their forever home

Monday, August 29, was less about competing and more about adopting at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton. Here are a few photos from the annual ASPCA Adoption & Animal Welfare Day. Thanks for the pix Lisa Tamburini!

On the schedule for today, Tuesday, August 30, it’s back to the Grand Prix, Hunter, Jumper and Anne Aspinall Rings for the horses and riders. In the meantime, here are the top three standings for the $30,000 Longines Leading Rider Challenge so far: Mclain Ward is #1, with a score of 72, Peter Wylde is #2 with a score of 60 and Shane Sweetnam is #3 with a score of 52.5.

Check back tomorrow for more fun photos of the #HamptonClassic.