This past year, I had the incredible honor this year of discovering dozens of new culinary artisans, restaurants, farm stands, boutique bed and breakfasts, and so much more. I had the opportunity to sit down at over three dozen new restaurants that I had never before dined at, and partook in over two dozen benefits, galas, and functions, and a special cheers to the most thrilling summer in the Hamptons and North Fork.
East End Taste in 2015 was an immense success, and 2016 will be even better! I am looking forward to sharing new tastings from my gastronomic journey across the East End and beyond. From comfort classics to homemade creations, below are my top ten “Best Things I Ate in 2015.”
Browder’s Birds and the Hamptons Aristocrat have created one of my most favorite chicken pies. I must have purchased a half dozen of these fresh mini pies five times since I first tasted them in September. Created with organic and local ingredients, never has there been a more perfect harmony between farm and table.
Potato Gnocchi, Montauk Lake Club & Marina
Chef Ricky Hebson’s menu at this private waterfront club rotates every two weeks. He always utilizes local ingredients whenever possible. His culinary creations will delight your palate during each and every dining experience. One of my particular favorites is his specialty Potato Gnocchi with Maine lobster, pea ramp pesto, and gremolata bread crumbs.
Rock Shrimp Rigatoni, The Restaurant at Baron’s Cove
The ultimate comfort food experience. I find myself cozying up in Baron’s Cove’s, seaside vintage inspired lounge sipping one of their signature martinis paired with their Rigatoni dish exploding with generous amounts of shrimp, chilies, and herbs. This is the dish to carry you through the chilly winter months.
BAO Buns, Harlow East
I would never be ashamed to reveal how many times I ordered these sensational BAO Buns (approximately just over a dozen times). They are sticky, sweet, and crunchy all in one. Plus, they were a huge hit at Taste of Two Forks; the line was around the bend.
Chocolate Mousse & Whipped Cream, Kris Gordon’s own
I would love to invite every single one of you to come over for a taste of my husband’s chocolate mousse made with Hershey’s milk chocolate. For an added taste of tart, garnish with raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries. It pairs perfectly with his homemade whipped cream, made with one third the amount of sugar of most freshly whipped creams, and extra luscious. May I suggest a second tasting?
Lobster Roll, HARBOR Mtk
One of the executive chef’s best kept secret is how he creates one of the best tasting lobster rolls, featuring an entire lobster claw intact. Finish your summer meal with their homemade trio of chocolate truffles. My experience was topped off with genuinely friendly staff. This is what a summer spent in Montauk is meant to be like.
Nestled in between two crunchy, dense, chocolatey cookies are Browder’s Birds egg white meringue. Made with the Green Thumb’s organic mint and fair trade chocolate, this a do good and feel good treat. I made a vow that I will hire Hamptons Aristocrat to cater an afternoon dessert party at my home this coming summer, with Minty MoonPies as the centerpiece of the gathering.
Swedish Meatballs w/ Lingonberry Sauce, Kris Gordon’s own
I requested my husband make Swedish Meatballs with mushrooms and egg noddles at least three to four times a month, and he even surprised me on numerous occasions when I arrived home from teaching my evening fitness classes. The sauce is creamy with piney notes of rosemary, and the pork and veal blend meatballs are savory and sweet. We use Rigoni di Asiago’s lingonberry sauce.
Sticky Date Cake, The 1770 House
The work of a genius. Cool, homemade vanilla ice cream paired with your traditional sticky date cake generously coated with a luscious caramel sauce. Simply stated, I never share mine.
Chicken Satay, Red Stixs
One of my ultimate late-night cravings during this past summer. Then, I was lucky enough to enjoy it again (in unlimited quantities) at Taste of Two Forks in July. When in Manhattan, head over to Red Stixs for their $22 lunch special, which includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert. To make it even better, their famous chicken satay is a choice on that special menu!