As I am eating my way through the Hamptons, I am meeting great people along the way!
One of the wondrous things of owning Dan’s Papers has been meeting new people and visiting new places. I did both this past week!
Being on the South Fork, I feel privileged to have gotten to know Father Alexander Karloutsos, the recently retired Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and pastor of Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of The Hamptons.
Father Alex built his church in Southampton with a vision to be a vital part of the community — and he did it!
I was delighted when he agreed to let us use his stunning “ballroom” to tape our Dan’s Papers Power Women event and then again at Christmastime, when he offered to host 95-year-old Dick Stone’s wonderful works of art.
This week, Father Alex met for lunch to catch up and I was delighted when he modestly told me that President Joe Biden had called him after hearing of his retirement.
His family and the Bidens go back to when the church hosted a fundraiser for the Beau Biden Foundation in memory of President Biden’s eldest son. Father Alex has a smiling picture of his family with the Biden family that he keeps on his mantle.
We chatted away for a while and then we were both back to our busy lives.
My next stop was a second lunch with my good friend and respected colleague Dan Rattiner. He had arranged for me to meet the prolific and movie-star handsome Ken Auletta.
I have always admired his writing style and substantial body of work that has been featured in The New Yorker. He is someone I can learn from!
His latest book, which is nearly complete, is about the now infamous Harvey Weinstein (Ken attended his trial). I was fascinated to hear about his research process, how he structures his writing and how he decides on a title for his books. He told me choosing a title is the last and final part of his process!
We chatted for a while, but all of us had to move on and for me, that meant a third lunch, this one with my all-time favorite radio personality Joan Hamburg, who now hosts her show on WABC radio.
Angela LaGreca, a wonderful writer and former producer of The Today Show, is now our features and events editor at Dan’s Papers. She knew how much I loved and admired Joan, who is Angela’s “godmother.” So she invited me to lunch with Joan, who is as fabulously sharp and filled with fascinating stories as I expected.
She has met and interviewed anyone and everyone, but she talked most proudly about her children.
Her daughter Liz created a website called candootech.com, which is aimed at helping mature people learn how to navigate their electronics with a club membership. I can’t wait to join to learn the latest “tricks” my iPhone can do!
Joan then “kvelled” (spoke with joy and pride) about her writer son John, who has writing credits for several hit movies, including “Zoolander,” “Meet The Parents,” “Meet The Fockers” and “Along Came Polly,” among others.
Listening to Joan’s radio show has left an impression on me to this day. I even remember her Yellow Door client from decades ago because of their repetitive commercials on her show.
My day ended with a remarkable birthday dinner party for Judith Kasen-Windsor and Jay Schneiderman at one of my favorite places to eat in Southampton: Union Sushi & Steak.
Judith’s partner was the late Edie Windsor, the woman who won the landmark case legalizing same-sex marriage. The birthday celebration was also their chance to officially announce the sale of brick hearts as the keystone of a marriage garden being created in Edie’s memory behind Southampton Town Hall.
What a great ending for an extraordinary day!
Barry Bernstein’s Salt & Loft
A tiny sign with the name Salt & Loft sits above the entrance on Main Street in Westhampton is the creation of attorney, builder and now-restaurateur Barry Bernstein.
He built the restaurant in Westhampton Beach, his beloved town of 40 years, and now has a world-class chef to create top-notch cuisine!
I brought some friends to lunch and we were dazzled by the presentation of the Big Eye Tuna Tartar. It was presented in a carved out coconut. What a showstopper!
Being born in Brooklyn, I couldn’t resist ordering the Brooklyn Burrata served with figs. It was as good as burrata gets!
The “small plate” offerings also included addictive and mouth-watering crispy fried zucchini chips.I also ordered the Big Fat Greek salad, which was perfect! All their salads are offered with additional toppings, and I was surprised to see grilled tofu as an option, along with shrimp, chicken and salmon.
The paninis, tacos and burgers blew me away. The unusually tender swordfish tacos mixed with house slaw, pickles, avocado and pickled jalapeños is not to be missed!
In fact, the food was so delicious that I came back the next day to sample their superb S&L Smash Burger, along with the Beyond Burger (a plant-based burger) and the Big Eye Tuna Burger! All burgers are served with crispy, fresh-cut fries and we upgraded to truffle fries!
Salt & Loft, located 145 Main St. in Westhampton Beach, until Memorial Day is open Thursday for dinner and Friday through Sunday for both lunch and dinner. Call 631-288-2000 to make your reservation and you, too, will become addicted to their great food!