Ina Garten, East Hampton’s most beloved cook, has posted a list of must-eats and must-visits on her website. David and The One have some experience on the South Fork and chime in with their reccos, too.
It’s indisputable. Ina Garten is the ne plus ultra resident of East Hampton. From her envy-inducing home-TV studio and her drool-worthy creations to her penchant for blue and that caramel-colored laugh, she’s everyone’s favorite neighbor.
Since U.S. travel is through the roof this year, the Hamptons, especially East Hampton, might be on your list if you’re headed to the East Coast. And Ina is welcoming her fans to the South Fork.
“I know the Hamptons has a reputation for being really ‘fancy,’ but what I love are the farmstands and local food shops. Here are some of my favorite places to visit,” Ina says of the list she assembled in her vacation guide on the Barefoot Contessa website.
But we know some other folks who, along with HRH Ina, are pretty familiar with the Hamptons. Say hello to your junior food travel agents, The One and me. We’ve spent several memorable summers in East Hampton, and while we’re sure we don’t know it as well as Ina, nor do the sea of people part when we walk into a store, we thought we’d second some of Ina’s choices and add a few of our favorites to the list.
Carissa’s the Bakery
Ina loves Carissa’s the Bakery (631.604.5911) and for good reason. The One and I have been there many times and Carissa & Co. are just lovely people. But lovely will only get you so far in our house when it comes to food. Carissa has the goods, too. If you make it there, tell them David and The One sent you (ha!-say Ina sent you). But whatever you do, don’t leave without a loaf of their pickle bread (below). You’ll love it so much, you’ll want us to be the godparents of your next kid.
Round Swamp Farms
Oooooh, don’t get The One started on Round Swamp Farm (631.324. 4438). He loves it so much, he’ll talk your ear off. Hell, he could talk the bark off a tree stump about RSF. It’s that kind of love. His favorite dish–above all else, including me–is their picnic chicken. We have wonderful memories of sitting on the beach at sunset with our friend Ellen Kroner eating containers worth of picnic chicken. But it doesn’t stop there. They have incredible baked goods (try Claire’s Lemon Pound Cake), fresh seafood (scallops, scallops, scallops), and, of course, vegetables.
Loaves and Fishes
Loaves & Fishes Foodstore, in Bridgehampton and Sagaponet, NY (631.537.0555), has long been a favorite of La Garten. She and owner Anna Pump, were close friends when Anna was alive, and Ina featured many of Loaves & Fishes recipes in her books. The One and I have stopped by the Bridgehampton store several times on our way to East Hampton. Their prepared foods are amazing–roasted fish, fried chicken, roast duck and chicken, kuchen, tarts, and pies, anyone? But don’t overlook their unique and artisan packaged food, too. And my shrink, Lady Edith, swears by their classic Loaves & Fishes Cookbook.
1770 House Restaurant & Inn
From the simple to the sublime, you’ll find it at the 1770 House Restaurant & Inn (631.324.1770). Although we’ve never spent the night at the inn, we have eaten in the formal main dining room and in the tavern in the cellar. My preference? I’ll take casual over fancy any day. The dinners in both restos are three-course prix-fixe affairs where seafood presides, but everything–sea or land–is locally sourced.
Now, Miss Ina doesn’t mention Rowdy Hall (631.324.8555), a pub set back from the crowds of Main Street, but I don’t think that’s a reason not to go. The One and I were there a lot, especially right after a movie. It’s casual, friendly, and relatively cheap. We love pub grub, so we’ve filled up on burgers, mac and cheese, fish and chips, chowders–you name it.
The most memorable time we ate at Rowdy Hall was on The One’s sixtieth birthday. We had planned to visit Paris, but Papa Leite was sick, so we canceled. The One said since we were staying home, he wanted to spend the day in his three favorite places stateside–Roxbury, East Hampton, and NYC. So I made him a big breakfast in CT, lunch (below) was at–you guessed it, Rowdy Hall–and dinner was at a sweet French bistro in the city. We were exhausted when we fell into bed, the day was a close second to dinner at a fave Paris spot Chez Janou.
Pollack-Krasner House and Study Center
The One’s going to kill me for saying this (again), but I’m in enough trouble with him to last three lifetimes, so what the hell. He believes he might be Jackson Pollack reincarnated. He thinks this because he was inextricably drawn to The Springs, where he had to rent a cottage by the sea. The same Springs where Jackson Pollack and his wife, Lee Krasner, lived for many years. He was eerily fascinated when we toured the Pollack-Krasner House (631.324.4929) one summer. And he was always creeped out whenever we drove by the spot where Pollack died in a single-car accident with his mistress and her friend.
Do I buy it? Eh. Do I love to tease him about it? Absolutely. Do I wish he would suddenly remember where he, as Jackson, stashed millions of dollars worth of never-before-seen paintings? You bet your ass!
Regardless if I’m living with the reincarnated genius who was Pollack, the Pollack-Krasner House and Study Center is worth a detour from tony Main Street. The tour includes the house, which was meticulously recreated for the film Pollack, starring Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden, as well as his studio, where his most famous paintings were created. It even gave me chills.
The Springs General Store
Because we were residents of The Springs for a few summers, The Springs General Store (631.329.5065) was our de facto go-to place for most everything. Especially on lazy Sunday mornings after having imbibed too many glasses of Cortes de Cima Portuguese wine or the very New England-y Rose Kennedy cocktails, thanks to our friend Bill.
While the offerings at the store were always robust, it was the charm of the place–the folks, the building, weather-beaten rocking chairs, the defunct gas pumps–that did it for us. And the fact that Jackson Pollack was a frequent customer didn’t hurt things, either.