Wednesday, July 25, 2012


We attended the James Beard Foundation's Chefs and Champagne New York event again this year.  It's an annual affair that honors chefs/authors/ distinguished folks in the food industry and is held at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, NY.    

As we did last year, it was a "last-minute decision" to attend this year's event, so we headed out to Sag Harbor for the weekend. Sag Harbor is my favorite town in the Hamptons and is only about four miles from Sagaponack.  Also, we thought it would be a good opportunity to revisit some of the places that we haven't visited for many years.  Many years.  For me, there are certain places and foods that are a must when visiting the Hamptons.

For example, the Lobster Inn restaurant in Southampton was always a favorite for lunch, and Gosman's Dock in Montauk is perfect for steamers--or any fish. (I know. Montauk isn't really the Hamptons.  It looks and feels more like the Jersey shore). And the Beacon restaurant across the street from the hotel in Sag Harbor is always a great place to enjoy dinner while viewing a beautiful sunset.  

First, the Lobster Inn for lunch.  We always enjoyed the Lobster Inn since we began visiting the restaurant about 14 years ago.  The Inn opened in1969 and has been known for its famous splat. 
Splat - Circa 2000
However, we learned that the Lobster Inn is now called the Lobster Grill after being sold and closed last winter.  The Lobster Grill is a new restaurant operating in the old Lobster Inn facility with no affiliation to the original establishment. I don't even remember if a splat was on the menu because we were ready for oysters, steamers, seared tuna, and a lobster roll.  It was a disappointment.  The oysters were not cleaned properly and had pieces of shell throughout the flesh and were tasteless. The steamers were decent, but the presentation was very sloppy.  The seared tuna looked better than the taste.  And the lobster "roll" was something placed between two slices of bread. 

Lobster Roll?
Seared Tuna

That was lunch.  After the Lobster Grill, it was time to check into the hotel and rest a little before Chefs and Champagne.

Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne
The Chefs and Champagne event went well.  The weather was much cooler than last year and it wasn't as crowded.  Last year, the temperature in the tent must have been over 200 degrees and Emeril Lagasse was the guest of honor with Martha Stewart also attending. This year, Ted Allen was the guest of honor along with the award-winning judges of Chopped, which I learned is one of the most popular shows on the Food Network.  Really?  We chatted and sampled foods from the reception chefs, many of which were James Beard Foundation award winners.  And, as always, we tried to take a few photos.  I said tried.

Ceviche Classico

Chef Erik Ramirez

Chef Cesare Casella

Spiedini di Mortadella
Chef David Bouley
Veg Flan with Crab

Chef Marcus Samuelsson
White Gazpacho
Guest of Honor Ted Allen
Chef Daniel Humm

Chef Simpson Wong

Lobster and Shiso Bun
Chef Aaron Sanchez of Chopped
Chef Chris Santos of Chopped

Chef Geoffrey Zakarin of Chopped and Iron Chef

The next day it was a trip to Gosman's in Montauk. 

Before the Opening and Crowds
The food at Gosman's was much better than the Lobster Grill and certainly met our expectations.  First, was steamers served with fresh lemon, clam broth and drawn butter.  Then, spicy tuna tartare cones (a la Tom Keller).  And since Montauk is known for its fluke, the next dish was Montauk jumbo fluke served atop a tabbouleh salad, with lemon and a brown butter sauce.  Finally, jumbo shrimps stuffed with scallops and diced shrimps with roasted vegetables and potatoes served with a brandy-lobster sauce.

Steamers at Gosman's

Tuna Cones at Gosman's

Montauk Fluke
Stuffed Shrimps
After spending all day in Montauk, we returned to Sag Harbor about 2:00 p.m. and stopped in Muse in the Harbor ( for a quick martini and to say hello to our new friendly bartender.

Muse in the Harbor at Sag Harbor
We never made it to the Beacon.  Maybe next time 

FINALLY,  we cannot forget that all of this was possible because of our veterans.  This past weekend the Hamptons hosted an event to honor their local heros who served our country and lost their lives.  We saw numerous signs at establishments and local residents throughout the region who proudly sponsored the Wounded Warrior Project which raised funds for the Soldier Ride Organization.  As I always say, "Thank a Vet."  If it wasn't for them.  We would not be here today.

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