Wine & Dine: Topping Rose


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.


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.



Hamptons Hot Picks: April 16 & 17


This is one of my photos that is currently on view at the Montauk Library.    DAWN WATSON

It’s most definitely a good time for the arts in the Hamptons this weekend. There are so many really great things to do, including a reception for my “Love of the Land (and Sea)” photography exhibit at the Montauk Library on Sunday, April 17, from 2:30 to 4:30. Yay! Please stop by. The show hangs through the end of April.

On Saturday, April 16, it’s the final Farmer’s Market of the season at Topping Rose in Bridgehampton. The word renowned luxury hotel is bringing together some of the best artisans and purveyors on the East End. Stop by the Barn and Studio from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. to shop for goods, products and wares from local farmers and artists.


 Also on Saturday, the Southampton Historical Museum is hosting “Grandpa, Pop & Me: The Wonder of Windmills” family program at 11 a.m. at Rogers Mansion in Southampton. Learn about the significance of windmills on Long Island and make your very own windmill. A take-home handout of Long Island windmills will be provided.

At the East Hampton Library, the second annual Tom Twomey series kicks off at 5 p.m. with a presentation on Colonial Commerce. Frank Sorrentino and Steve Russell Boerner will lead a fascinating exploration of a new transcription project that involves the account books, journals, ledgers, and documents of Culper Spy Ring member Robert Townsend (1753-1838) of Oyster Bay, housed in the Library’s Long Island Collection.

July 201140" x 64"

Steve Miller’s art is on view at Sara Nightingale Gallery in Water Mill. 

Sara Nightingale Gallery in Water Mill is hosting a reception for Steve Miller’s “Your Version, My Version” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The show will run through May 15.

The Parrish Art Museum’s annual Spring Fling will be held on Saturday, April 16, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. The event will feature live music by NOIZ, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar by Southampton Social Club and the annual gallery hunt.

On the North Fork, Alex Ferrone will host a spring reception for her “Aerial Observations” series at her Cutchogue Gallery on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.


Sunday, April 17, brings us Spring Doc Day from the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor from noon to 7 p.m. Three animal-themed docs will be screened, including: “The Internet Cat Video Festival,” “The Messenger” and “The Champions.” Read more here from the Sag Harbor Express.

 The Watermill Center is hosting a brunch from noon to 2:30 as part of its International Brunch Series, which kicks off with Compañía Acción Residente, a performance group from Chile.

Guild Hall is opening up its doors for a free Artists in Residence Showcase from 4 to 6 p.m. Meet novelist Iris Smylles, poet Tom Yuill, visual artists Jennifer Hsu and James Wang and painter Arcmanoro Niles. RSVP here.

Loxahatchee by Roxanne Panero

“Loxahatchee” by Roxanne Panero.

The Southampton Cultural Center is hosting a reception for “East End Realists” from 4 to 6 p.m. The group show incudes: : Lucille Berrill Paulsen, David Paulsen, Pam Thomson, Peter Beston, Roxanne Panero, Jane Kirkwood, Aubrey Grainger, Keith Mantell and Ann Lombardo and is on view through May 23.

And lastly, the final “Long Island Grown” presentation from the Peconic Land Trust will be held at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton at 2 p.m. The series aptly ends with “The Dessert,: featuring Alexander Damianos of DuckWalk Vineyards , Patricia DiVello of Patty’s Berries and Bunches, and Tom Wickham of Wickham’s Fruit Farm.



Stop and Smell the Roses, and the Other Wines Too

Stop and Smell the Roses, and the Other Wines Too

As rose’ (I cant figure out how to add an accent in WordPress–grrr) is known as “Hamptons Gatorade,” it’s no surprise that it’s this Party Girl’s beverage of choice come the summer months. Yesterday, while sampling some mighty fine wines at the Frederick Wildman & Sons “East End Tasting 2014” at Topping Rose in Bridgehampton, I selected this season’s signature bevvies.
My favorites were the Hecht & Bannier Roses from Provence and Languedoc. But then there were the organic wines from Austria. I can never turn down a good Gruner.
The wines were the stars of the show but the event also had “the A-list of Hamptons food and wine,” as organizer George Eldi said to me as we surveyed the room. True dat. And then there was the setting. How can you beat Topping Rose? It’s foodie heaven.
Cheers to what might be the very best Hamptons season yet!

























Hamptons ‘Seafood Safari’ with Kerry Heffernan

Cheers to some exciting news for foodies and locavores. Chef Kerry Heffernan, who lives in Sag Harbor and was this Hamptons Party Girl’s favorite ‘Top Chef Masters’ finalist, is going to be filming a Hamptons-based cooking show called “Seafood Safari” this spring and summer.
The concept is to showcase the 30 species of fish and shellfish that live in our waters, and to pair the freshly caught seafood with local organic ingredients. Kerry and his friend, Captain Ralph Towlen, will catch, cook and eat their bounty from the East End’s waters.
Area fishermen and other local characters will be included in the nine-episode web- and television series. Filming locations will be in Hamptons restaurants (I’m guessing that ‘Top Chef’ host Tom Colicchio’s Topping Rose in Bridgehampton will most likely make the cut, especially as he and Kerry worked together many moons ago at Mondrian and are currently fishing buddies out here), fundraisers and events, homes, and even a private yacht moored in Sag Harbor.
This show sounds like it will be a very tasty treat indeed.

Small Bite: Food News

Small Bite: Food News

Rumor has it that Joe Isidori, former chef of the now-closed Southfork Kitchen in Bridgehampton, has headed back to Manhattan full time to work with Matt Levine on Chalk Point Kitchen in SoHo. The restaurant is slated to open next month.
Isidori had been on the fast track to culinary stardom before taking his place at the ill-fated Hamptons eatery. He had previously held various positions in Donald Trump’s organization before helming Bruce Buschel’s overpriced and pretentious (sorry but it’s true in my humble opinion) sustainable seafood and locavore-inspired boite, which closed in 2013.
I’m quite interested to see what this hot chef cooks up at his new place. I hope he gets the solid that he deserves, as unfortunately, Southfork was doomed from the start as Bruce let his (some say way-off-the-mark) fiery opinions fly about everything from “100 things restaurant staffers should never do” to Southfork’s ultimate demise on his blog, which incensed both patrons and fellow restaurateurs alike. And it didn’t help that the front-of-the restaurant garden soaked up all the exhaust from a neighboring driveway–which made this Hamptons Party Girl and a dining companion sick on the night we spent close to $300 on dinner for three–even though the place was BYO. I love slow food and supporting local farmers and really wanted to like Southfork Kitchen but it literally left a bad taste in my mouth.
The good news (because that’s the kind of news we like to share the most!) is that the building has been occupied by Todd Jacobs’ Fresh, which serves a whole lot of delicious healthy and sustainable food at reasonable prices, for nearly a year now. This cozy spot also has a great bar and live music by a few of our friends, including Jim Turner, a few nights a week. Try the green beans and the vegetarian curry–both are excellent and crave-worthy.
And for those who want the high-end experience, but with a steep price that’s TOTALLY worth it, meander down the street to Topping Rose. It’s my go-to place for special occasions, and every other kind of occasion when I can afford it. In my opinion, Tom Colicchio is a kitchen god.
*Photo by me, at a past Harvest event. Not meant to represent any of the chefs or restaurants mentioned here–just a delicious bite of food.

Tom Colicchio Wished Me A Happy Birthday Last Night-Woohoo!

Tom  Colicchio Wished Me A Happy Birthday Last Night

Yesterday was my birthday, always a VERY big day for this Hamptons Party Girl, and this year was one of the absolute bests.
After a week’s celebration, including dinner at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor with friends, lunch at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton with another friend and a day and night in the city with yet another wonderful friend, eating at fancy shmancy La Grenouille (the original French hotspot that paved the way for places like Le Bernadin) and taking in “The Book of Mormon” on Friday, I spent my second actual birthday in a row at Tom Colicchio’s Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton.
This place is phenomenal and it’s my go-to super-special-occasion restaurant out here in the Hamptons. And if any of my chef friends are reading this, I also love your places and you know it. Nick & Toni’s is next on my list–after I work out enough to fit back into my pants. : )
Anyway, last night we decided to dine European style, very late in the evening. Since it was Saturday night at 9:30 and the place was packed, we had to wait a few minutes for our table to be ready. But that was no big deal at all when the man himself came strolling through the door in his chef’s whites.
After artists and writers, chefs are my biggest crushes and Tom is WAY up there. I love his food and his approach to cooking. I’ve photographed him a bunch of times at foodie events–the photo here is of one I took of him and his wife, Laurie Silverbush, at this past summer’s Chef’s Dinner at Hayground–and he’s always been really great.
Anyway, I immediately held out my hand to shake his and told him it was my birthday (something I do approximately 10,000 times during what I call “Dawnapalooza,” which is the week of my special day; down from the month of my special day when I was younger and less mature and dignified. Ha!). Tom gave me a hearty shake and wished me a “happy 20th birthday.” Now I love him even more for that. : ) Cheers!
BTW–the food was outstanding, as it always is.

Giddy about the ‘Queer Eye’ reunion

Giddy about the 'Queer Eye' reunion

Big strides recently for the gay community. First Pope Francis speaks up for equality (go Pope!) and then Bravo announces that it will air a 10th anniversary reunion special for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” in October.
It’s crazy to think about how far along we’ve come, sociologically speaking, in such a short amount of time–though many would correctly argue that it’s been long overdue–in the past decade. “Queer Eye” was groundbreaking in that it introduced an alternative lifestyle to mid-America, where many just didn’t understand what being gay was about and some feared what they didn’t know. I really think the television show opened a lot of doors in a very subtle and accessible way.
Last year, here in the Hamptons, it was the summer of Ted Allen. The now “Chopped” host, among other things, attended some of the biggest and best food and wine events (including Chefs & Champagne, which we interviewed him for at the Press) and was gracious and pretty darn awesome.
This past summer, it was the season of Thom Filicia. I saw the designer everywhere, including the Holiday House Hamptons showhouse, where he designed a room, and at a Contemporaries cocktail party for Guild Hall at Topping Rose (Tom Colicchio’s terrific restaurant in Bridgehampton). Lucky me!
Both Ted and Thom are such nice guys. I don’t know the other three (Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez and Kyan Douglas) but if they’re anything like their former castmates, I can’t wait to meet them too.