Monday, December 5, 2016

Pierre's Market in Sagaponack brings high end picnic food to the fore....

Pierre s Market in Sagaponack took over the rustic space of the old Sagg General a little less than a year ago.  The result is a charming, sleek and even sexy outpost that hums in the summer being near the beach and having great food and drink perfect for a beach picnic. 

The fall and winter of course brings a noticeable and pleasant slow down of the pace of life on the East End of Long Island. And, as a result, Lynn and I have enjoyed getting lunch at Pierre's on several occasions when we weren't sure what we wanted but wanted something thoughtfully and well prepared that wasn't a fortune. We are especially fond of the duck salad which is a particular treat when we are starved and desperate for something delicious.

We also get a kick out of occassionally running into Pierre himself (a giveaway is his rakish yellow coupe parked outside-impossible to miss!).  He is always charming and warm.

The young staff are also attractive and sweet natured no matter how busy the market might be.

Rockin Fish in Northport merges Pub with High End to great success....

Lynn and I had gravitated towards the North Shore of Long Island from our own home on the South Shore with the approach of the holidays.  Our recent trip toe Old Westbury Gardens saw us take a releatively easy detour to Northport a charming village with genuine throwback charm, particularly appealing this time of year.

We took a chance on a restaratunt that we had noticed called Rockin FIsh.  Rockin Fish seemed to us a kind of interesting combination of village pub and high end eatery (a gastro pub of sorts).  There are plenty of pubs on Long Island and certainly plenty of high end joints but rare to see the twain connect. 

It does here.  I had a plate of great wasabi and lime garnished oysters ice cold and hefty (AKA "Oysters Samba")  Lynn had Tuna nachos that were delicately plated with juicy hunks of tuna and were not the huge mass of goo and cheese that you typically find in restaurants.

The design was hip and low key with whimsical touches such as a neon anime/cartoonish looking fish hovering on the wall near the bar.

Lynn and I will definitely be back as we are particularly interested in the generous happy hour with $1 Oysters on the Half Shell....M&L

Artist Wendy McNaughton makes our day!

We recently reviewed the book Knives and Ink (Bloomsbury) for this site and as I am also a fan of some of the people involved in our coverage I sent my copy off to the Illustrator of the book Wendy McNaughton who was not only nice enough to sign it but sketch a knife poised above a pie on the dedication page.   Very nice!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Locals brings a hipster vibe to Port Jefferson...

Lynn and I have begun frequenting Locals in Port Jefferson for cofee and macarons (Lynn's thing).  The place reminds me very much of old haunts from college and my mid-20's.  There are almost always students there pecking away on their laptops and a few professorial types wandering in and out.  WIth its re-purposed seating and Banksyesque artwork the vibe and atmosphere would not be out of place in the Village or even Brooklyn.  The coffee is the best we have had of late and Lynn is enamored of the macarons which are light and flaky with interesting flavors (like pumpkin).   The service is crisp and efficient and there is a warmth there despite the hip interior.  M&L

Mark and Lynn are bewitched by The Hatian Spirit....

Lynn and I found this fairly obscure cocktail recipe by chance.  We were going to concoct a Manhattan but had no bourbon. We did have vermouth and for some reason we thought maybe to use rum instead which led to a google search along the lines of "cocktails made with sweet vermouth and rum."  Up popped the Hatian Spirit which is a sweet and savory cocktail made with rum, sweet vermouth and small trace of Amaro.  We have made this our "transition cocktail" going into winter and indeed it warms us up nicely....

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

In Love with the Love Lane "Mahatituck"......

One of our favorite discoveries of the late summer and early fall has been Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck.  Love Lane Kitchen manages to balance a family friendly atmosphere with sophistication and a first rate menu, wine list and cocktail offerings.

For now, my favorite restaurant cocktail of the minute is the restaraunt's version of the Manhattan  called "The Mahatituck" which I have had on a couple of recent occassions.  The key ingredients seem to be the use of the sublime antica red vermouth along with (what appear to be) bourbon soaked dark cherries.   This is the best drink I have had since we frequented the late, great Riverhead Project.

The bean in NYC delivers first rate Macarons....

Lynn has been on a macaron trip of late and we picked up a couple from The Bean in their East Village location on 2nd Ave. Lynn got lavender, rose water and dolce la leche.  She particularly liked the lavender and rose water which had authentic flavors and a lightness that a lot of typical macarons lack. 
The place was very busy but the staff handled my questions and requests with aplomb and ease.

Rise Coffee gets us going....

On a recent Saturday we happened upon the Pop Up store front of Rise Coffee on Stanton Street.  The space is as compact as a closet but the barista functioned with complete expertise and ease behind the counter.

Rise's coffee is pure goodness and responsibility using pure water, sustainably sourced farms, non GMO, local and Organic ingredients.  Just as important (to me) was the extra jolt of caffeine (1.5 more than typical coffee) provided that propelled me to walk several hours around the Lower East Side. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

WTF?! (What the French) busts French lifestyle myths about food, wine and everything else....

 WTF?!: What the French  (New American Library) by Olivier Magny is a series of over 80 vignettes addressing an aspect of French fashion, eccentricities and of course cusine  In the course of his work, Mr. Magny dispels many myths about French food and eating habits.  For instance, he mentions that the three most popular foods in France aren't steak-frittes, cassoulet and magret de canard but pasta, pizza and sandwiches.  Also, while brunch is a staple of French eating and socializing it does not have the same emphasis on imbibing as American brunch.  Mr. Magny does mention that the proliferation of international cooking shows such as Top Chef has brought about a new interest in using organic ingredients. 

With regard to French Wine, Mr. Magny mentions that the notion of terrior or region is the dominant principle in wine.  In restaraunts, one doesn't order Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc but Bordeaux, Champagne and Sancerre.  Mr. Magny argues that the notion of specific place in a growing world that emphasizes globalization is what makes  experiencing French wine particularly unique and cultured experience.

Mr. Magny's mini-essays also cover topics like French flower arranging, bread, smoking and grocery shopping.  All of the essays are packed with wit, insight and again, are notable for taking aim at some of the classic myths about French habits and lifestyle (such as "French women don't get get fat").  This is a great read as refreshing as a sip of French Champagne.  


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Knives and Ink is the seaon's most unique culinary/literary offering...

Chef Catherine Doyle San Diego California SportsService Petco Park,

One of the most unusual culinary oriented books of the year, Knives and Ink (Bloomsbury) by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton  is a wonderful compilation of the rich origins connecting some of the world's most accomplished Chef's and their signature tattoos.   The book weaves these stories with Ms. MacNaughton's fanciful artwork along with an eclectic sampling of menus from the featured chefs.  The stories behind the ink vary wildly and are funny, poignant, idiosyncratic and always very personal..  

Timmy Malloy of Tavolata in Seattle, Washington (Bloomsbury)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mark and Lynn dash into Grindstone Coffee and Donuts...

 When we recently checked out Grindstone Coffee and Donuts in Sag Harbor the place seemed as busy as it was during the height of summer when it first opened (in early August) and we had first noticed it.   Lynn and I have checked in there to get a pick me up shot of coffee and/or espresso.  The coffee is strong and black as ink with the espresso having a nice chicory flavor. We have not tried the donuts yet (which make the store smell divine)but with summer over and beach body anxiety on hold for a bit we will certainly "cave" soon enough. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Grey Goose Martini at the US Open....

I (Mark) went into the US Open and had a nicely made dirty martini with the signature Grey Goose Vodka of the tournament at Toro's Pop up. 

Wolffer Kitchen is a sexy spot for Lunch in Sag Harbor....

Lynn and I happened upon Wolffer Kitchen as a sort of accident when all of the restaaraunts in Sag Harbor were slammed on Labor Day weekend.  Wolffer Kitchen is the culinary satilite of nearby Wolffer Vineyards and first winery owned restaurant in the Hamptons. We were immediately struck by the sleek yet cozy nature of the place.  The restaurant has an inherent ambiance that is particularly sexy and sophisticated for a lunch spot on the East End of Long Island.

We have been there a couple of times and have enjoyed sitting at the bar as our servers and bartenders are attentive and amiable.  I have favored the local Wolfer Rose (with grapes from Argentina) and
Lynn has gravitated to the Truffle Fries which are crusty, garlicky goodness.  I have enjoyed the Tuna Tartare which has just the right amount of flavor and is served ice cold. 

Lynn had "The Beekeeper" which is a refreshing blend of Vodka, Lavendar, honey, citrus and crystalized ginger garnish.  With it's combination of sweetness and sting it is is rapidly becoming her favorite cocktail. 


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mark and Lynn discover Casamigos Tequila....

We had frequented Montauk lately and had tried a first rate well aged Tequila Anejo from  Casamigos at Saltbox. Casamigos had a smoothness and a hint of oakiness that we associate with a well made bourbon.  This smoothness of course makes sense since Geroge Clooney, no stranger to smoothness, is one of the owners of the company (along with Randy Gerber). 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mark and Lynn take in the Montauk Brewing Company....

We finally made it to the well regarded  Montauk Brewing Co. on an early Friday afternoon.  We loved all of the offerings.  Of particular interest to us was the Driftwood Ale which had a fragrant, briny taste  and the Watermelon Session Ale which was unbelievably refreshing and managed the difficult (to me at least) trick of infusing beer with fruit.  The bartenders were great and really attentive and handled the many customers with good humor and finesse.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

An appreciation of Papa Nick's Gluten Free Pizza....

Lynn and I have come to appreciate Bellport's Papa Nick's Gluten Free Pizza.  It has a nice, light crunch with a smoky flavor.  Mainly, it doesn't play havoc with our weight the way traditional carb based pizza does. Great to be able to have it delivered and goes great with our favorite roses....

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mark and Lynn experience food truck excellence with Poseidon's Kitchen...

Lynn and I went to Barrier Brewing in Oceanside and had a great experience.  While there we ran into a sublime food truck called Poseidon's Kitchen.  The proprietor Alan Artieda whipped up the most amazing fish taco either one of us had ever had.  The breading was light and tempura like; the sauce had finesse and the tomatoes tasted like summer.   It goes without saying that this was a perfect complement to the Brewery's icy cold and fragrant offerings....

Friday, June 10, 2016

Saltbox in Montauk pulls Mark and Lynn into the seaon...

Lynn and I made a sojourn into Montauk and took in a quick drink at the Saltbox Restauraunt and Bar.  We enjoyed a crisp dirty martini and Lynn had a "Montauk 33" consisting of (among other things) gin and blood orange liqueur.  The day was cool but the drinks tasted like summer. 

The atmosphere managed to be rakish yet elegant.  We will have to try to grab a bit there in the near future...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mark and Lynn visit Long Ireland Brewery in Riverhead.....

Lynn and I and our friends (who are serious beer aficionados) ventured into the crisp spring air to visit Long Ireland Brewery in Riverhead.  Lynn and I had a brush with the Long Ireland guys about 4-5 years ago when they had been involved with the Long Island Roller Derby troupe the Long Island Roller Rebels and their brews had made a favorable impression on us then.

Oddly enough, we had initially thought to go to Montauk's Brewery (the only LI brewery of significance that our friends had not visited).  We got stuck in not one, but two mammoth, mysterious traffic jams which is one reason we cut our losses and decided to check out Long Ireland which our friends had visited on more than one occasion and was highly recommended by them.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a jovial giant of a guy named Dan who is one of the owners and who we had remembered from the Roller Derby.  The atmosphere was folksy and old fashioned in the best kind of way.  A pretzel warmer anchored one end of the bar and the walls were filled with vintage brewery ephemera. 

Lynn and I had a generous flight for only $8.00.  All of our samples were drinkable and had their merits but the two standouts for us was the Breakfast Stout Nitro and for me was the Gose brew which was brewed with sea salt and had a pleasant smoky briny quality which would be great paired with seafood or shell fish (and would be a great tonic on a hot summer day). 

Speaking again of the atmosphere it was really refreshing to be in a brewery that didn't have one (or usually more) giant screen televisions with the "game on."  The feeling of community was strong and the brews and company were great making for a particularly satisfying, uniquely Long Island experience.

M& L

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

America's Best Breakfasts chronicles the art of the breakfast...

In this fast paced culture Breakfast has passed from the most essential meal of the day to a near luxury if not a decadent indulgence.  America's Best Breakfasts: Favorite Local Recipes From Coast to Coast is a celebration of the exotica that is the American Breakfast.  Authors Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman are our tour guides from Coast to Coast where they introduce to the reader to the exotic variety of rustic diners, hot spots, and off the beaten path establishments with cult followings.  

The book also provides recipes from these establishments some of which have a nostalgic familiarity (Chicken Fried Steak from Petrow's in Omaha); some of which are familiar but with a twist (Cheesy Biscuits and Vegetarian Gravy from Over Easy again from Omaha); some of which are pure creativity (San Francisco's Craftsman and Wolves has an uber decadent meat and cheese muffins stuffed with a soft boiled egg called "The Rebel Within"). 

For Lynn and I, breakfast is probably the least likely place where we would experiment or try to get creative.  This volume promises to change this:  Looking forward to trying Kimchi Pancakes from Sunshine Tavern in Portland as well as the Filipino Steak with Garlic Friend Rice from Uncle Mike's Place in Chicago.

For more on this book see


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jackson and Sloane visit "The Pirate Museum" (AKA The Childeren's Museum of the East End)

Our grandkids recently took in The Children's Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton.  We have visited it many times with them and they always love it.  They call it "The Pirate Museum" because of the striking Pirate Ship situated there.  They both have a healthy interest in creativity; drawing, painting making collages and so on.  So, we were glad for them to be able to do some of those activities in the Museum's "Drop in Art Studio."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mark and Lynn spy the Orient Country Store....

 Lynn and I were starving and in a hurry to catch our Ferry ride in Orient, NY  with not enough time to sit down and have a meal and the prospects of food on the Cross Sound Ferry not 100% appealing.  We took a gamble and lucked into a anachronistic gem of a place a couple of miles from the Ferry called the Orient Country Store. We ducked in for a quick bite and Lynn was blown away by the succulent Reuben perfect comfort food with the temperature in the single digits.

The atmosphere was relaxed and folksy (not an automatic default on Long Island) the owners and staff very warm and generous.  We are glad to have a pit stop for our frequent Ferry journeys or trips to the North Fork of Long Island.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Josh Friedland's Eatymology chronicles the vocabulary of food, wine and spirits for the 21st century....

One of the most informative, charming, readable and witty food books of late; Eatymology: The dictionary of modern gastronomy  is a great primer  for those wishing to learn the "new" vocabulary of food, wine and spirits. Author Josh Friedland catalogs this vocabulary with an admirable combination of seriousness and satire (and very accurate reporting and research)  in both his illustrations and writing.  The sharp, sleek binding make it a sophisticated, offbeat host/hostess gift. It would also work with food aficionados who need a good self referential laugh....

FELF-IE: A photographic self-portrait of a farmer, typically taken with a smartphone and shared via social media

Monday, January 11, 2016

DUO's great Bloody Mary....

Lynn and I went through Kingston last weekend and stopped at one of our Upstate favorites, Duo Bistro.   The food was predictably great but the Sriracha infused Bloody Mary was an unexpectedly pleasurable way to warm up in bitter cold Upstate,..

Friday, January 8, 2016

Mark and Lynn discover Henry's in Ballston Spa....

Lynn and I went through Upstate New York last weekend to celebrate New Year's seeing friends, visiting old favorite haunts and so on.  We found ourselves famished in Ballston Spa and didn't feel like enduring the pangs of hunger any longer so we ditched our idea to make ti to Saratoga Springs and decided to take a chance on a place that was new to us called Henry's .

The restaurant's website describes itself as a "neighborhood tavern and restaurant."  Our thought was the place was selling itself short as it had better food, atmosphere and service than many a gastro-pub that we have visited.  There was a nice fire near the entrance; the bartender was attentive and instinctual; Lynn had a great platter of fish and chips with the fish being prepared more in a tempura style than the usual heavy handed, over breaded, over battered manner.  I had a crisp, crunchy spinach salad and we both warmed up with a frothy pint of Guinness.

We make a point of going through Ballston Spa when we are Upstate and we are glad for this place to be a newly discovered  pit stop for us.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Singing the praises of Torso Lingerie Studio (yet again)...

Lingerie is a subject mostly  uncharacteristic to our site.  However, as much as we focus on food/spirits/wine and the like we like to think of this site as a reflection of our experiences and interests.  So, in that spirit we feel obliged to sing the praises of Torso Lingerie Studio in Ballston Spa (not far from Saratoga Springs).  There is little doubt in our mind that Torso is the most fashionable outpost in Upstate.  The pieces are expertly curated by the sublimely warm and chic owner Deborah; indeed, most of the studio's pieces come off are works of art with their sculptural quality, silhouettes and sensual shapes and textures.  I have found Lynn great stuff there for years and this weekend Lynn managed to find some beautiful pieces to inject her wardrobe with some sensuous  energy to combat the letdown after the holidays....


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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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