Posts Tagged ‘Long Island’

Wines, Wine Experiences and Wine Tools for the Holidays

Celebrating any other milestone always goes better with a good wine. Here are some interesting wines, experiences and gifts to enhance your sipping enjoyment.

WINES FOR THE CURIOUS AND EPICUREAN

Orange Glou

For something less familiar, orange wines offer a distinctively colored wine with a taste that’s all their own. The international collection of wines curated by Orange Glou are skin-contact white wines made from white grapes fermented with the grape skins, producing orange natural wines. Options include three and six bottles monthly or a one-time option for the orange curious.

Tolenas Winery

A dessert wine is a lovely finish to any meal. Tolenas Winery newest is a 100% Zinfandel port, lighter and fruitier than usual due to the 2020 heat spell but still taking advantage of the cool California coastal breezes. A female star in the industry, winemaker Lisa Howard is committed to producing wines without chemicals or additives.

Collection Privée from Francois-Louis Vuitton

If your goal is to be the first in line for unusual experiences and a trip to France won’t happen any time soon, you might want to consider investing in the first edition Bordeaux Collection Privée from Francois-Louis Vuitton, the great, great grandson of Louis Vuitton.  Newly introduced to the United States this winter, the collection reflects the terroir of Bordeaux and the elegance of the Parisian lifestyle with Private Cuvée wines from top châteaux such as Léoville-Poyferré (Saint-Julien), Lascombes (Margaux), Faugères (Saint-Émilion), Beauregard (Pomerol), and Lafaurie-Peraguey (Sauternes). Each comes gorgeously boxed.

Dough Wines

Created with Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners, Dough Wines is the first collaborative wine brand from the James Beard Foundation. Dough Wines supports the culinary arts and beverage professions, currently focusing on assisting the Foundation with restaurant recovery, equality in the kitchen and food sustainability. The appellation wines are bundled into three-pack sets: Red Blend Pack, Chardonnay Pack, Pinot Noir Pack, Napa Valley Pack and Best of Napa Valley Pack.

Wines of Sicily

Wines of Sicily is a consortium that works with more than 400 different producers in Sicily who preserve the art of winemaking with sustainable practices. You’ll want to try Nero d’Avola, a versatile wine with an aroma of red floral notes accompanied by flavors of sweet spices and cocoa. Do as the Sicilians do and chill Frappato to bring out its depth and spice and red cherry notes.  For white wine fans, Grillo is a food-friendly blend with citrus blossom and fruity aromas. Lucido (also called Catarrato) pairs well with seafood and veggies with its hints of yellow and green and white flowers and citrus aromas.

Ao Yun

An unusual, stylish wine, Ao Yun (“roaming above the clouds”) is a full-bodied Cabernet blend from the first wine estate in China’s Yunnan province on the foothills of the Himalayas. The 2016 vintage combines Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with notes of sandalwood, Dhofar incense, and crushed strawberries. Ao Yun has partnered with renowned crystal maker Riedel to design an exclusive wine glass for the optimal tasting experience for this Cab blend.

DISTINCTIVE TASTING EXPERIENCES

Macari Vineyards

Macari Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island takes glamping to a new level of luxury with individual bungalows for a personal wine tasting. Customize your experience with a selection of wines including their popular Cabernet Franc, Dos Aguas red blend, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé. Add to that a Mediterranean snack spread, your own playlist streamed through a Bluetooth retro radio, comfy throw-covered chairs and sofas and your gang will enjoy a wine experience like no other. The beautiful vineyard is celebrated for its biodynamic approach to winemaking and is run by three generations of the Macari family.

Far Niente family of wines

The Far Niente family of wines from Napa Valley includes some of the finest vineyards in the country.  You can experience all with a variety of three-wine samplers and a pre-arranged virtual wine tasting subscription. The Far Niente range includes Cabernet Sauvignon from Nickel & Nickel, Far Niente and Bella Union; or Chardonnay from Nickel & Nickel and Far Niente. The happy hour experience includes explanations by wine educators, Far Niente family winemakers and wine experts, plus instruction by chefs on how to create perfect wine and meal pairings.

WINE EXPERIENCE ADD-ONS

Quilt Wines

Add a fun touch to stay-at-home entertaining with Quilt Wines’ Puzzle Pack. Along with a selection of wine, you’ll get a limited-edition 500-piece Napa Valley Quilt Wines puzzle. The wine collection gives you a range of white and red wines including rosé, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and the popular Red Blend.

RGNY

You can be your own winemaker with the new blending kit from RGNY, an innovative winery located on Long Island’s North Fork. The kit comes with curated videos, featuring lead winemaker, Lilia Pérez to help guide you through the almost-scientific exercise of blending RGNYs Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The kit also includes a beaker, four carafes of wine for blending and tasting, glasses and tasting note cards.

TaZa

For safe drinking, unbreakable wine glasses are the smart choice if you’re planning to dine outdoors. TaZa’s chic plastic versions mimic the feel of traditional glasses and come in stemmed and stemless to please all preferences. A must for serious wine drinkers, the ArT Wine Preserver will keep an opened bottle of wine fresh for up to 30 days. Using pure argon gas, this smart device displaces oxygen while maintaining taste.

If you still prefer glass, Empire State of Wine has you covered for no-spill drinking. The shop’s Signature NO-SPILL Stemless Wine and Cocktail Glasses feature Lady Liberty herself with each glass a different color so you can remember whose wine is whose. Even if you manage to tip them over, they still won’t spill as they balance to the side.

And lastly, Repour’s wine stoppers utilize oxygen absorption in an easy-to-use wine stopper for lasting wine freshness for up to two months. Although, in all honesty, I don’t know many people who keep an open bottle that long!

Where to Buy Wine in New York City

Here are four of my favorite shops that carry wide varieties of wine and have staff who are far more knowledgeable than I:

Mister Wright

Sherrry-Lehmann

Astor Wines

Empire State of Wine

Empire State of Wine Courtesy of Empire State Wine

Happy Holidays – drink up!

Road Trip: The Hamptons

Those in the know understand the draw of the East End of Long Island. The Hamptons, sitting on the South Fork of the island, are a group of hamlets, villages and towns lying along the Atlantic Ocean. The area is a perpetual playground for the rich and famous, and for city dwellers who appreciate a beach escape in a rural setting within a short drive of New York City.

The holidays are a special time in the Hamptons. Picture-perfect towns are dressed up in their holiday finest, with homes and trees adorned with shimmering lights. Beaches take on a different cast, with the icy-blue sky and ocean making a vivid contrast to the white sand and dunes. And art galleries and museums put on events to excite even the most casual viewer.

Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

The Hamptons are especially conscious of the safety and health of its visitors. Masks are required in restaurants, shops and during tours and are requested to be worn in all public places. Be sure to check changing requirements and schedules when making reservations.

Dining In The Hamptons

The pandemic has extended the variety of Hamptons restaurants staying open through the fall and winter season. Many have created both indoor and outdoor dining experiences as well as additional takeout options where seasonal menus are enhanced with local beer and wines.

Main Street Tavern, Amagansett

Main Street Tavern Photo By: Ronan Lev

Newly opened, Amagansett’s all-American Main Street Tavern has an expansive beer garden, indoor sports bar and small-town hominess. Menu ingredients are locally sourced and find their way into small bites and comfort food faves like steak sandwiches, lobster rolls and chicken parm. Plan to watch your gridiron giants do combat while munching on Main Street’s superb chicken wings and sipping a classic cocktail or glass of wine from a list smartly curated by Parcelle, the well-known boutique wine shop.

Elaia Estiatorio, Bridgehampton

Elaia Estiatorio

The authentically Greek Elaia Estiatorio restaurant offers dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and an extensive Greek wine list. The restaurant’s quintet of dips (smoked eggplant, cod roe, Greek yogurt, whipped feta and pureed fava beans) is a perfect way to start any cold-weather meal. For simple perfection, the lightly dressed horiatiki (Greek salad) and whole grilled fish will transport you to warmer climes in an instant. Elaia is also offering a take-out Thanksgiving feast, mixing traditional American turkey and ham with Greek favorites.

Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor

Baron’s Cove

The harborview restaurant at Baron’s Cove resort offers a “Chef’s Table” culinary series with holiday-themed dinners for Thanksgiving weekend, Winter Harvest, Christmas weekend and New Year’s Eve weekend. Part of an all-inclusive three-day hotel package, each meal features what is seasonally best from local farms and purveyors, with personal attention from Chef Nick Vogel. Guests will enjoy accommodations in the resort’s variety of nautically themed rooms, some allowing dogs.

Kissaki, Water Mill

Kissaki Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

A favorite among New York City foodies, Kissaki is all about elegant sushi and distinctive sake. The décor matches the quality of the cuisine with clean lines, stylish Japanese minimalism and creative expression. The unusual futomaki (fat rolled sushi), beautifully presented omakase sets, and creative nigiri taken to a new level with chef’s choice of toppings are crowd pleasers. Non-seafood choices are available, and Kissaki’s menu of chiffon cakes is a welcome and unusual surprise. Socially aware seating includes indoor podlike areas and a chic open-air patio.

Bistro Eté, Water Mill

Bistro Eté

A year-round go-to for Hamptonites, Bistro Eté goes all out for the holidays with seasonally inflected dishes and home made desserts. Chef Arie Pavlou prides himself not only on his French culinary prowess but also on his facility to create dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. His smoked pork chop is a sculptural feat, topped with a pumpkin cup filled with greens. Seasonal pumpkin flavors also appear in homemade ice cream. Cocktails similarly reflect the season – try the truffle martini if it’s available.

Calissa, Water Mill

Calissa Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

Dining at Calissa is like a quick trip to the Greek isles. Whitewashed and airy, the restaurant offers a menu of all-time Greek menu hits. An expansive garden area is beautifully lit and invites lingering. Gracious service and a perpetual “on vacation” feel set the tone throughout. To keep your spirits light, there’s live music on Thursday evenings. For the holidays, Calissa is taking pre-orders for family-style takeout dinners as well. Create a new holiday tradition with their luscious souvlaki platter, tender cubes of pork with a rosemary confit glaze.

Highway, East Hampton

Highway

Re-opening in time for the holidays, Highway invites a limited number of diners to enjoy their menu of New American favorites made with ingredients from nearby farms and purveyors. The popular East Hampton restaurant serves hearty, seasonally inspired dishes including miso-glazed salmon and spit-roasted chicken with sourdough stuffing, perfect for cold-weather dining. For a sweet finish, the Milk Pail apple crumble is truly drool-worthy. Takeout is available for those unable to secure an indoor reservation, but, don’t worry – cocktails in adorable Highway mini-bottles are included on the to-go menu.

Bamboo, Southampton

Bamboo

Hidden behind Jobs Lane’s many shops, Bamboo satisfies with affordable Asian fusion cuisine, prepared by chefs trained at top sushiyas like Nobu and Blue Ribbon Sushi. Newly opened this summer, the restaurant offers a choice of sakes and an extensive menu of sushi and sashimi complemented by popular dishes like Bang Bang chicken, Mongolian beef and chicken lemongrass dumplings. Indoor seating as well as an expansive covered patio are available year-round.

T Bar, Southampton

T Bar

Popular Manhattan steakhouse transplant T Bar is a sleek yet cozy choice for Black Angus Porterhouse steak, Long Island duck, seafood and delicious desserts. Lighter fare includes a raw bar menu and crispy sushi, salmon burgers, chopped salads and yellowfin tuna tartare. The wine list is extensive as is the choice of craft cocktails. The restaurant’s beautiful terrace and garden add pure romance for warmer evening dining.

Union Steak and Sushi, Southampton

Union Steak and Sushi

Perfect for those who can never make up their mind, the new Union Steak and Sushi offers an elegant setting for steaks and inventive sushi creations. Local ingredients feature on the menu including duck egg rolls with Long Island duck confit. A must-order, the Union Roll is an unexpectedly harmonious combination of lobster and avocado, topped with marinated skirt steak, eel sauce and yuzu mayo. Evenings are enhanced with live piano accompaniment and an extensive cocktail and wine list. For a lighter meal, sibling Union Burger Bar shares the building and offers additional seating on an enclosed deck.

Things To Do
Tastings

Sagaponack Farm Distillery Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

In addition to wine tastings at Wölffer Estate Vineyard and Duck Walk, a new distillery featuring ingredients from down the road, Sagaponack Farm Distillery, offers tastings indoors and outdoors of their truly artisanal spirits. Be sure to try the unusual rhubarb liqueur as well as their aquavit and potato, wheat and cucumber vodkas.

Shopping

Shopping is more than a casual pastime in the style-obsessed Hamptons. Held on the first Friday of every month, First Fridays bring the community out to enjoy shopping, entertainment, dining and more. Small Business Saturday®, sponsored by American Express, takes place two days after Thanksgiving and invites visitors to explore the boutiques and one-of-a-kind shops that pepper the towns of the South Fork.

And do plan to visit the Artisan Market at the Southampton Chamber of Commerce for handcrafted works from locals.

Arts, Tours and Walks

One of the Participating Destinations - White Fences Inn

28th Annual Hamptons B&B, Inn, Restaurant & Attraction Holiday Tour

For two days on December 5 and 6, a privileged few are invited to enter beyond the decorated doors of some of the most popular destinations in The Hamptons. Upon registration, guests will select their preferred location. All tours are guided and limited in number. Tickets are required and can be purchased online.

The Parrish Art Museum

The Parrish Art Museum

Beautifully decorated and lit during the holidays, The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill offers socially distanced galleries with exhibits by local artists and works about local subjects. Of note this season, Lucien Smith’s large-scale Southampton Suite reflects his distinctive paint spraying technique with oeuvres inspired by his new home in Montauk. Pre-purchase a timed entry allowing a ninety-minute visit.

LongHouse Reserve

LongHouse Reserve

LongHouse Reserve invites you on a personal exploration of the 16-acre reserve and sculpture garden in East Hampton where notable pieces by Yoko Ono, Buckminster Fuller and Willem de Kooning are on view no matter the season. Fall and winter schedule and time slots vary so be sure to check the website where you can purchase timed tickets

Southampton Arts Center (SAC)

The Collectors Sale

A benefit for the SAC, The Collectors Sale presents art pieces donated by more than 180 artists. You’re invited to view the collection and purchase online. A select number of works will be displayed in the back gallery of the Southampton Arts Center (SAC) to help you with your decisions.

For the little ones, SAC offers Zoom Bedtimes Stories, read by the authors themselves. Advance registration is required:

November 29 – Mr. Moon & Paint Your World with author/illustrator Michael Parasekevas

December 20 – Enzo and the Christmas Tree Hunt with author Garth Stein

Hiking

The Hamptons has a range of hiking opportunities including an unusual walk along the dunes, cranberry bogs and beach in Napeague. Appropriately named Walking Dunes, the hike changes frequently as the dunes themselves are in constant motion.

South Fork Natural History Museum (SOFO)

South Fork Natural History Museum (SOFO) - Nature Walk

SOFO’s nature walks encourage visitors of all ages to work off their holiday indulgences with a program of guided tours. Social distancing is required and masks and gloves are provided. Be sure to register in advance as spaces are limited.

Day After Thanksgiving “Walk It Off Walk” – Friday, November 27 – tour the Long Pond Greenbelt on a moderately fast-paced hike.

Annual Thanksgiving Celebration and YES! Walk – Saturday, November 28 – all ages are invited to tour Vineyard Field, right behind SOFO, with SOFO environmental educators. The YES! Young Environmentalist Society has their own walk for ages 10-16.

Full Frost Moon Hike – Monday, November 30 – join a leisurely one-hour hike in Vineyard Field to soak up some conversation and moonlight.

For additional hiking information, visit:

East Hampton Trails Preservation Society

Walking Dunes Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

Southampton Trails Preservation Society

Shelter Island trails

Shadmoor State Park

Where To Stay In The Hamptons
The Baker House 1650, East Hampton

Baker House

The elegant Baker House embraces the winter season with ‘Intimate Moments at Baker,’ a focus on togetherness and family. A striking bed and breakfast with architecture inspired by 17th-century Cotswolds, the Baker House was originally built in 1648 and has a storied history. Serving first as a residence for a sea captain, it later became a tavern, a meeting hall and a site for religious services before its transformation into a lodging establishment in 1996. Baker House provides a mix of refinement and comfort with indulgent amenities including an onsite spa. Popular during the colder months, Baker House’s fire pit is a go-to for guests to enjoy hot beverages while wearing inn-provided pashminas.

Baker House Guest Room

Southampton Inn, Southampton

Southampton Inn

Bring the whole gang to the Southampton Inn for a Thanksgiving mini-holiday with a special overnight package and a four-course turkey dinner at Claude’s Restaurant. But you’ll probably want to stay longer than one night at the family-friendly Inn which offers the personal attention of a bed and breakfast with the services of a hotel. The 90 guest rooms each have a slightly different décor. The inn’s restaurant is popular for its signature weekend brunch which features locally sourced ingredients. Bikes and helmets are available for guest use.

Southampton Inn Guest Room

The Ram’s Head Inn, Shelter Island

The Ram’s Head Inn

If you’re longing for an island getaway but don’t want to worry about changing quarantine requirements, the Ram’s Head Inn is the right place for you. Take your vehicle on the ferry, or hop the inn’s complimentary shuttle and go car-less. Shelter Island’s 17-room waterfront inn is distinguished by its relaxed yet luxurious accommodations and polished service. This season, the Ram’s Head has added four heated outdoor dining igloos and a heated cocktail igloo, available for two-hour bookings.

Ram’s Head Inn Guest Room

New American cuisine is featured with brunch on Sunday. A children’s menu is offered with early dining hours to accommodate families. Live music in the lounge on Friday and Sunday adds a festive touch.

Six Farms for October Fun within Driving Distance of NYC

Oh, wonderful October. It’s the time for pumpkin patches, Oktoberfest, the inevitable corn maze, and, for the family, apple picking and hayrides. With trick or treating still under discussion and venues opening and closing with changing rules and regulations, it’s a good idea to call before you go anywhere during this unusual year. If possible, try to book an event with your own pod so you can enjoy a masked experience without the worry of stranger social distancing.

Riamede Farm

NEW JERSEY

Two farms in Morris County, New Jersey invite you to their farms this month, a mere 80-minute drive from New York City.

You can book a private wagon ride at Riamede Farm in Chester, New Jersey weekdays in October for a tour of the farm’s pumpkin patches and apple orchards. If you prefer to meander on your own, the farm is open to visitors on weekends as well and you can grab some pumpkins and gourds to decorate your home. A Farm Pass is required for entry and must be purchased in advance.

Riamede Farm

122 Oakdale Road, Chester, NJ; 908-879-5353 www.riamede.com

Alstede Farms goes maze crazy this October with a sunflower maze, evergreen maze and a corn maze, all designed to drive you just a bit crazy while soaking up the crisp fall air. You can pick your own apples or opt for a tractor-drawn wagon ride, too. If you’re starved for something to do at night, they even have an evening hayride on weekends. Live music follows by the bonfire with hot apple cider, food, wine, and s’mores kits to refresh.  Book tickets in advance online.

Alstede Farms

1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester, NJ; 908-879-7189 www.alstedefarms.com

LONG ISLAND

The North Fork of Long Island turns October into a musical event at Harbes Family Farm. Just an hour and half from New York City, the Mattituck farm treats you to scenic hayrides complete with singing. Weekend activities add pig races and a family favorite, the Barnyard Adventure area with farm animals, sport zones and mazes. Ticket information is available online.

Harbes Family Farm

715 Sound Ave, Mattituck, NY; 631-298-0800 www.harbesfamilyfarm.com

In the Hamptons (the South Fork of Long Island), Water Mill is where you’ll find expansive Hank’s Pumpkin Town. You’ll know it immediately by the cars parked on either side of the road. It’s open daily and no reservations are required so be prepared for crowds and waits. You’ll find the usual family-friendly activities here: pumpkin picking, corn mazes, tractor train rides, and mega slides for the kids. After all that fun, your reward is Hank’s yummy Fall for Y’All hot apple cider topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and an apple cider donut, served in a take-home souvenir mug.

Hank’s Pumpkin Town

Hank’s Pumpkin Town

249 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY; www.hankspumpkintown.com

NEW YORK CITY

Yes, there are farms in New York City.

The historic Queens Country Farm Museum in Floral Park, Queens offers weekend activities throughout October. The farm, owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, dates back to 1697 and occupies New York City’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland. Plan a visit to go pumpkin picking or navigate a maze, or hop on a hayride. The farm’s Amazing Maize Maze is designed in the shape of Van Gogh’s famous sunflower. Schedule the October 24 nighttime experience online  — the maze books out quickly.

Queens Country Farm Museum

73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens; 718-347-3276 www.queensfarm.org

An officially designated historic landmark, Decker Farm in Springville, Staten Island is New York City’s oldest continuously working family-style farm. 220 years young, the farm is a joy to visit during October with hayrides for the family that meander past costumed artisans performing 19th-century trades. For those willing to try some new-fangled activities, the farm lets you sign up for three tries of pumpkin chucking.  Purchase a timed-entry ticket for a weekend visit online.

Decker Farm

435 Richmond Hill Road, Staten Island, 917-887-0482 https://www.historicrichmondtown.org/deckerfarm

Planning a trip to NYC?