Hamptons Hot Picks: January 2017

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This awesome photo of Nancy Atlas by Michael Heller is courtesy Bay Street Theater. 

Winter schminter. The snow might be gently coming down but the activities this weekend are fast and furiously rolling along. Here are a few of the hot things to do that are on my radar.
Nancy Atlas will be tearing the roof off at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor tonight for the first of only four Fireside Sessions this winter. Most of the shows are already sold out so get your tickets now before they are completely gone. Read all about it here in this story I wrote for the Sag Harbor Express this week. Really awesome gigs!
Also tonight, Friday, January 6, catch some Smokin’ Hot Tunes Fridays at Townline
Bands, Brews and BBQ with Junkyard Farmer. The show at Townline BBQ in Sagaponack is from 5 to 8 p.m., and yes, there are accompanying food and drink specials.
I’m sad to announce that Zigmund’s in Bridgehampton is shutting it down for good next Sunday, January 15. So get out there and support this live music venue while you still can. Tonight, Friday, January 6, it’s Haines Goodale & Co. live at  9 p.m. On Saturday, Retro Sounds play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. There are more musical acts next week through Sunday so check it out on Zigmund’s website and Facebook page.

From Zigmund’s — The bar, which opened in July, was the most recent project for the restaurant duo Jason Weiner and Eric Lemonides, who also own Almond in Bridgehampton and two restaurants in Manhattan.
“Zigmund’s was intended to be a pop up.  Back in July, the owner of the building (who is a buddy of ours) had an opening for a season before a more permanent tenant moved in so we said ‘screw it, lets open a bar!’ It’s been a blast, but we are now moving on to bigger projects,” states Lemonides. “We are looking forward to rounding out the season in the next two weeks with live music, karaoke and our signature Retro Sounds on Saturday. We will close out with a final Karaoke night, so bring your best singing voice to serenade us one last time,” concludes Weiner.
The duo has another project on the horizon for the 2017 season, soon to be announced.
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On Saturday, Guild Hall and the Hamptons International Film Festival couldn’t be more timely. Hurrah! They will be screening the 1962 classic “To Kill A Mockingbird,” hosted by Alec Baldwin, at 7 p.m. at Guild Hall in East Hampton Join the HIFF Co-Chair (that’s Mr. Baldwin) and Artistic Director David Nugent for this annual Winter Classic screening of a wonderful film and a conversation directly following. And don’t forget, our very own Truman Capote is portrayed as a young boy in this fantastic film version, based on the seminal book by Harper Lee. Don’t miss this!

thumbnail_promisespromises_finalposter-2On Sunday and Monday, January 8 and 9, Center Stage at Southampton Cultural Center will hold auditions for “Promises, Promises” at 6 p.m. Interested in auditioning? Please prepare 32 bars of a musical theatre or pop standard. Comfortable clothing required for learning a dance combination. There are A LOT of parts to fill in this one so now’s your chance; dare to dream of being on the stage and actually do it. Performances are March 9 through 26, 2017. Need to know more? Contact Michael Disher at mbentondisher@gmail.com

Last but most definitely not least. Want to give a big thank you to the Sag Harbor Fire Department and all the other incredible volunteers who assisted and responded to the terrible Sag Harbor Cinema conflagration? Then head to Page in Sag Harbor on Sunday night from 5 to 7 p.m. for a well deserved benefit to raise funds for those in need and to thank and support the men and women who battled the December fire and saved our Main Street. For more information, please call 631-725-1810 or email Jacqueline LaBorne at jaci@pagerestaurantgroup.com.

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Dawn Watson photo, taken about an hour before the facade was gently pulled down. 

More Tasty Restaurant Morsels

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I took this picture of Jason Weiner as he prepped for a Harvest East End event a few years back.

Have you seen the terrific article that Bon Appetit magazine just did on Jason Weiner and Almond in Bridgehampton? Well, it’s a real masterpiece. So nice to see our local folks shine in the national culinary spotlight, especially when it’s about something as important as sustainability and some seriously tasty food!

Montauk’s Dock to Dish and its owner Sean Barrett were heavily featured in the piece too. Also mentioned in the feature: Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, Browder’s Birds on the North Fork, Mecox Bay Dairy in Bridgehampton, Milk Pail in Water Mill, Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, Marilee Foster’s farm in Sagaponack and chef Eric Ripert.

You know I like to focus on the positive but I do have one teensy tiny gripe. Why can’t big New York-based magazines and newspapers learn to spell things like “East Hampton,” and the actual names of the featured businesses, correctly? Well, I guess only us local insiders will ever get that stuff right. : )

Hamptons Food News

Estia's Carrot Video

In celebration of the upcoming thirteenth annual Hamptons Restaurant Week, and my love of all things yummy, I thought I’d share some Hamptons food news today.

* First off, Hamptons Restaurant Week is nearly upon us so be sure to make your reservations now before all the good seats are taken. The annual eight-day event is set and will run from Sunday, March 22, through Sunday, March 29. During this time, participating restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe menu for $27.95 every night they are open, except Saturday when the menu may only be offered until 7 p.m.

Some of the East End’s best and brightest will be participating, including: Nick & Toni’s, 1770 House, Fresno, Fresh, Stone Creek Inn, Bell & Anchor, Page at 63 Main, Le Chef, red|bar, Cowfish, Rumba, and more–as well as boîtes on the North Fork too! Click http://www.hamptonsrestaurantweek.com for the full list.

* Now this is something that is definitely worth watching. Chef Colin Ambrose of Estia’s in Sag Harbor–along with a whole bunch of A-list Hamptons chefs, farmers and assorted food lovers–have come together to create a Seed-to-Plate video series. The first on, “Carrot Palooza,” is now live. Featured in this first of what I’m sure is going to be a mouthwatering collection is one heck of a lineup, including: Matt Lauer’s private chef Christopher Polidoro; Joseph Realmuto and Bryan Futerman of Nick & Toni’s (among other Honest Man ventures); Jason Weiner of Almond; Todd Jacobs of Fresh; Robert Durkin of Roberts; Andrew Mahoney of Bay Burger; James Eu, Cassandra Schupp and and Jeff Negron of Topping Rose House; Bette and Dale of Dale & Bette’s Farm; Scott Chaskey of Quail Hill Farm; Marilee Foster of Foster Farms; and Brian Halweil of Edible East End.

The Seed-To-Plate Series: The Carrot video, along with recipes of the featured carrot dishes, is available on Colin Ambrose’s blog, Recipes & Stories by Colin Ambrosehttp://estias.com/weblog/, where home cooks, chefs, and other foodies are invited to explore new twists on healthy American/Mexican fare, ingredients, and cooking methods used at Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor and Estia’s in Darien, Connecticut. I LOVE this!!!

* Also take note that Fresh Hamptons in Bridgehampton is now hosting a cooking class series on Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Looks like attendees will learn how to prepare entire meals, soup to nuts if you will. Here’s a sample menu.
Soup:
 Lightly curried local organic butternut squash soup with anise toast
Salad: Raw local organic kale with garlic and hemp seed hearts, tomatoes, peppers, radishes and fine herbs with lemongrass vinaigrette
Entrée:
 Wasabi dusted local skate sautéed ginger and kaffir lime beurre blanc
“Fresh” Sides:
 Organic brown basmati rice pilaf; Oven roasted organic Brussels sprouts; and Thai red curried local organic vegetables
butternut squash, eggplant, spinach, carrots, broccoli, peppers and onions red curry, coconut milk and cilantro

To learn more, call 537-4700 or visit http://www.facebook.com/freshhamptonsny.

* Lastly, I am SUPER HAPPY to report that it looks like the East End is finally going to be getting a chance to expand its palate just a soupçon more. We’ve got some great food already but I’m definitely glad to see a few more ethnic options popping up. Momi Ramen of Miami is looking to open a second noodle shop, here in  East Hampton. They say it’ll be open year-round and that it’ll be operational come summer. Fingers crossed. I love me a good noodle! Learn more here: www.momiramen.com.

Hamptons Party Girl’s Hot Picks

Hamptons Party Girl's Hot Picks

I know this will be controversial but I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m an animal lover and I strongly oppose a deer cull here on the East End. Therefore, my biggest pick for the near future is hands down the anti-cull demonstration planned for Saturday, January 18, at Hook Mill in East Hampton at 1 p.m., hosted by the East Hampton Group for Wildlife. http://www.easthamptongroupforwildlife.org

Two new community theatrical productions open tonight. “Heroes” will stage in Quogue and “Sex: What She’s Really Thinking” will stage in Southampton. I’ll be in reviewing them both this weekend so stay tuned. To learn more about “Heroes,” visit http://www.hamptontheatre.org. To learn more about “Sex,” visit http://www.southamptonculturalcenter.org.

Shelter Island’s own Margaret Garrett will show her “Tuning Fields” exhibit, opening tonight at Birnam Wood Galleries’ Chelsea location in Manhattan from 6 to 8 p.m. One of her pieces is also on view at the East Hampton Birnam Wood Gallery. http://www.birnamwoodart.com

Dancehampton in East Hampton is hosting a new dance lineup kickoff party on Friday, January 10, starting at 5:30 p.m. Zumba, LaBlast and a hi-intensity cardio tap class–with my friend Anita Boyer–will be offered. I hope I can make at least part of the festivities before I’m off to don my drama critic hat. http://www.dancehampton.com

Artist Christine Sciulli will host an Artists & Writers Night at Almond in Bridgehampton on Wednesday, January 15, at 7 p.m. http://www.almondrestaurant.com

* Deer photo snapped by me, through a window, in a friend’s front yard in Sag Harbor.

Gael Greene, the Original Foodie, Celebrates Her 80th Birthday

Gael Greene, the original Foodie, celebrates her 80th birthday

Gael Greene, the “Insatiable Critic,” who coined the word “foodie,” turns 80 on December 22. But, according to my sources, she got a jump on the day by doing some advance celebrating on Monday night at Macy’s Stella 34 Trattoria in the city.
The bash was hosted by chief Nick Valenti of the Patina Restaurant Group and was emceed by actress Kathleen Turner. The guests, which included several culinary heavy hitters, were treated to more than a few tasty bon mots and scintillating tales.
I first met the former New York Magazine food critic, racy fiction author and “Top Chef” judge on the telephone back in 2011. She was coming out here for a three-course French dinner at Almond in Bridgehampton to promote her books “Delicious Sex” and “Blue Skies, No Candy” and I had decided to interview her to preview the event.
Boy oh boy was she ever a hoot! She told me stories about a few of her conquests–Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley–that made me blush all the way up to my hairline. I definitely got more than I bargained for from the woman who wrote “Delicious Sex: A Gourmet Guide to Pleasure for Women … And the Men Who Want to Love them Better” 30 years ago while vacationing in the Hamptons during her summers off.
Dinner the dinner at Almond, deliciously prepared by chef Jason Weiner, I was fortunate enough to not only meet the legendary Gael in person but to also sit with a few other serious foodie friends, including Silvia Lehrer, Sarabeth Levine and Stacy Dermont–who was brave enough to bake a pie for Gael, which she LOVED. What a blast we had!
I’m happy to report that Gael is still going strong and continues to tell great stories. In fact it was her blog, Forkplay, that was the inspiration for Hamptons Party Girl.
Here’s a link to her website http://www.insatiable-critic.com and here’s a link to the feature I wrote on her http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/Bridgehampton/393124/Gael-Greene-Shares-Sex-Secrets.
Cheers to your birthday Gael!
*Photo is of Gael Greene in 1961, promoting her first book, “Don’t Come Back Without It.”</p>

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin at Great Chefs

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin at Great Chefs

Hilaria Baldwin was glowing and her husband, Alec, was beaming at the Great Chefs benefit at Hayground School in Bridgehampton on Sunday night. I ran into them at the end of cocktail time at the annual tasting event, which raises money for the school’s Jeff Salaway Scholarship Fund and Jeff’s Kitchen, and chatted with Hilaria while Alec asked questions of the Xanté reps.
“You might be the most beautiful pregnant woman ever,” I said, adding that it looked like she was about to pop.
“I’ve got about three weeks left,” she said. “Wouldn’t you love it if my water broke right now.”
“I’m no paparazzi, I’d never do that,” I replied, laughing. “But I do want to get you two together in a shot now.”
He joked around a bit with the Xanté bottle but I wanted a nice shot, and he complied. I’m glad he did. This, by the way, might be my most favorite Alec photo. I love to see when he’s in good spirits, and he frequently has been since meeting his lovely wife.
Anyway …
We chatted a bit more and I told Alec that Barry Sonnenfeld was at the event.
His eyes lit up. “Oh my God! Where?” he said, reminding me of that “30 Rock” episode where he was so happy after getting a Christmas gift as a child that he threw up.
I pointed the filmmaker out and then left the happy couple to mingle and enjoy a few tasty treats before the chefs packed it in for the night.
Also at the event, food legends Tom Colicchio, Eric Ripert, Jason Weiner and my pretend husband, Steve Haweeli.