It used to be that the post office was the most reliable way to get your mail delivered. I felt like I was living their slogan that is embedded and deeply carved in stone on their building: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
I felt that way last Thursday as huge snowflakes were falling from the sky.
My events majordomo Don, had made an appointment with the Miami-based events team for Dan’s Papers to come north to visit with our North Fork chefs, wineries and other event venues for the summer. We are optimistic that events in some form will take place.
I called Don Wednesday night, asking him if he saw the ominous weather report. “We are going!” Don confidently responded. Then on Thursday morning, I saw that snow had started to fall and the forecasts had predicted heavy snowfall throughout the day, so I called Don again. “I am on the road. It’s fine! Meet you at 11 a.m.,” he said. And so I did!
With boots laden with snow we met in Riverhead at the Preston House & Hotel restaurant, run by executive chef Drew Hiatt, formerly of the renowned Easthampton eatery Topping Rose.
I was delighted when Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguilar joined us to hear about our planned event for the Chefs of the North Fork. We expect to hold an event in the Sea Star Ballroom contiguous to the Hyatt Hotel in Yvette’s hometown. Our goal, bringing the event to Riverhead, is to have world-class chefs operating on the North Fork to this handsome venue. It is owned by the Petrocelli family, who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars rejuvenating downtown Riverhead and building two hotels, a restaurant, a catering hall and an aquarium that features a sanctuary for wounded sea animals.
After our cozy meeting, we made our way across the street to see the Sea Star Ballroom’s elegant space, which is perfect for our sit-down Chefs of the North Fork Dinner in July.
Then, despite the slushy, snowy downfall, we drove on to the Peconic Bay Winery. Surrounded by piles of snow, the winery looked deserted. But a young man appeared from a truck and told me he’s there representing the owner. Our group was shivering as we gathered around his registration bar to plan a Harvest Wine Festival at his winery for September. You do what you have to do to get things accomplished!
Our busy day continued after that, as we left the winery to drive to what I was told was the best restaurant on the East End of Long Island.
John Fraser, a two-star Michelin chef, had created a wildly successful dining experience: the North Fork Table & Inn in Southold.
Sadly, it is only open for dinner four nights a week during the winter months, so there was no warm meal waiting for us. But there was a red hot chef who has created farm-to-table cuisine using produce from the five nearby farms that supply him daily with their products.
The great man was very modest and I enjoyed hearing his passionate words about his work.
As if experiencing the food wasn’t enough, Fraser has on staff a young man whose mind and skills have created floral designs and arrangements on the walls and tables that are showstoppers! How impressive!
I will definitely be coming back to experience the immersive environment and menu John has created!
The rest of the team was off to Gurney’s Montauk Resort to plan an event there for the end of the summer, but the icy roads I knew I’d be facing on my journey home made me say “enough!”
Thankfully, I made it back safely. I was thrilled to have been a part of such a spectacular day!
Westhampton pizza guru opens
After a year and a half of renovation and acquiring town permits, owners Michael and Jason Brunetti opened Brunetti Pizza on Westhampton’s charming Main Street.
Michael’s wife Mary, a master hairstylist, owns Mary Brunetti Salon across the street and told me with joy in her voice, “I had to change our voicemail message to ask customers to please have patience because the lines were out the door pouring into the street and cars!”
I can tell you why! The salad, clam pizza and outrageously mouthwatering powdered sugar zeppolis are to die for and worth every calorie and the wait!
A Brunetti’s Pizza stop is a must when visiting the Hamptons! I guarantee you’ll love their food as much as I did! Call (631) 288-3003 to order takeout or make a reservation!