Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moonshine from King's County Distillery hits Long Island

A great offbeat choice for summer cocktails and mixing; King's County distillery's moonshine adds a nice bite to lemonade and is an interesting choice to add to tonic (although it is nice to sip when it is icy cold).  We found this stuff at Bottles and Cases in Northport, Long Island...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Behind the Green Door Cafe in Hampton Bays...

Kyra in raspberry bliss....

Mark and Lynn spend Sunday morning at the Green Door General Store in Hampton Bays

Lynn and I got to Westhampton beach on Sunday but we were a little burned out on the fried calamari at the Beach Huts so we took a slight detour to Hampton Bays' venerable Green Door General Store and Cafe.  The place is several different things (farm stand, PX)  but Lynn and I go there for the food and the unbelievable warm, family oriented service.  Justine, the lovely daughter of the owner greeted us warmly, remembered what we ordered over a year ago and was patient with us as we debated whether we should go or stay.  Lynn basically got a lobster roll as a salad and I got great, meaty crab cakes on a salad.  The flavor of both was perfect and it subdued our considerable hunger after a late night party I had with my fellow Martial Arts practitioners. The food is great, but the charming, mostly very young staff are what give the place it's aura of effortless competence.Naturally, we will be back...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mark and Lynn dig Barefoot White at Bayport's Flo's....

Mark and Lynn have been taking advantage of the nice weather by going to Flo's.  This venerable Bayport institution sells freshly prepared delicious food.  The seafood is the draw for me but Lynn has become partial to the Bacon Cheeseburger.  Better still is the recent development of having beer and some simple wines available at a new bar space.  Lynn and I have enjoyed the red which is a Bolla selection as well as the white; a very nice, crisp Barefoot  white.  The bartenders are all nice and personable as well (in keeping with the overall attitude of the young, attracitive staff there).

Bartender Connor serving up a crisp Barefoot white to Lynn

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lynn loves Amanda Oakleaf's cupcakes in Winthrop, Massachusetts

Jackson enjoying the Happy Birthday cupcake...
Like ancient Diogenes in perpetual search of a decent human being, Lynn is in perpetual search of a great cupcake.  On our recent trip to Winthrop, Massachusetts (again with Winthrop!) she may have found it at Amanda Oakleaf Cakes.  The storefront has a light hearted elegance that reminded me of some of the fanicful sets on the film Funny Face which seems appropriate considering the creative pedigree of many of the staff at AOC.  Ms. Oakleaf herself is a formally trained painter having studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.  The business has grown considerably in a short amount of town having started out in Ms. Oakleaf's. Boston apartment.  Indeed, Ms. Oakleaf has gained considerable media attention most notably having recently been a competitor on the Food Network Cake Challenge.  

In any event, Lynn felt the rasberry almond cupcake was a swirl of creamy, slightly sweatend pale pink frosting on top of a crumbly almond cake.  Our grandson Jackson went for the "Happy Birthday" cupcake which was a classic vanilla swirled frosting with colorful sprinkles scattered on top. 

The cupcake salon also had a refrigerator full of chilled delights like the cupcake sized creamsicle cheesecake which had the great summer taste of a classic popsicle. 

Mainly though, Lynn was impressed by how AOC didn't oversweeten the cupcakes.  And, again, the space is really elegant with displays of wedding and specialty cakes which had us on our tiptoes pointing in delight to this one and that one....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is Winthrop turning into the Brooklyn of Boston?-If so, is Blackstrap BBQ leading the way?...

One of the more noticeable trends in food in the past decade or so has been the elevation of food to the level of gourmet attention that previously had not gotten this kind of attention.  That might account for why you might turn to the pages of Bon Appetit and find recipes for high end tacos, grilled cheese and so on.  Noteworthy on this list is the inclusion of BBQ as a dish worthy of gourmet attention and the attention of great chefs and restaurants.  This has been particularly true in Manhattan and the northeast which seems to view this dish as a kind of romantically rustic relic of the south and southwest.  Being from not only the south, but North Carolina I have a kind of reverse snob outlook on this movement which goes something like this "There is no way some 3 Star Michelin chef in Manhattan, Long Island or Boston can make BBQ as good as they did at Skinner and Daniels." (an old school  BBQ place where I grew up in Wilmington)  For the most part I have been correct about this, however, a recent trip to see our family in Winthrop, Massachusetts has challenged my thinking on this.

It is there that the very fine Blackstrap BBQ has managed to replicate the tough to match vinegar based Carolina style of pork in some of their offerings like a BBQ sandwich and as part of a dinner.  Other side dishes include collard greens, green beans, cornbread (another bulls eye) and watermelon.  We merely got take out on one of the last nights we were there so there was much we didn't get to sample that seemed tempting like Buttermilk Fried Onion Rings, Sweet potato fries and Corn and Andouille Fritters; not to mention Blackened Catfish on a Po'Boy and Buttermilk Fried Catfish. 

Again, did I mention this is Winthrop, Massachusetts?  Is there a small renaissance in Winthrop where hip, forward thinking eateries hover just under the radar of Boston (as Brooklyn is to Manhattan for example)?  If so, Blackstrap is definitely part of this movement.

47 A Woodside Ave.
Winthrop, MA 02152

M & L

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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