Victoria’s Secrets: An eventful week

(From l. to r) Bernt Heiberg, Ken Cereola, Stacey Soloviev, Chef François Payard, Greg Gove and Bill Cummings

OK, I admit it — I love to eat! And this week I had some of the best meals of my life, from lobster to a wine pairing dinner with a world-class chef, to an old-fashioned, reliable American meal!

It was my treat to take my friend Donna Schneier, who opened the Palm Beach world to me last winter, to Manna at Lobster Inn across County Road 39, where our new Dan’s Papers office is located.

We recently restored a sculpture of Dan Rattiner on a lobster that has been hidden away in the woods, but thanks to the unique Behind the Fence Gallery, the sculpture is now sitting rightfully at the entrance to our wonderful building in Southampton.

Dan with Dan

We are so happy that he is still writing his unique articles for our very special audience — you!

The decades-old Lobster Inn had been abandoned, but in the past few years, the restaurant has been renovated and restored, now named Manna at Lobster Inn, a go-to destination for the best lobsters and seafood around within the past two years. 

The night Donna and I were there, they had a special: A stuffed lobster overflowing with lobster, scallops and shrimp that was mouth wateringly delicious! I even sucked on the shells until the poor lobster was totally dismembered, but my stomach was enriched!

The friendly staff seated us at a warm table inside near the window, where we watched the beautiful sunset.  I’m in constant awe of the sight of the changing colors of the landscape as the sun sets and the afterglow lights up the sky. 

Manna lit up our palates and we finished the meal with an outrageous chocolate cake topped with ice cream and whipped cream, my favorite dessert. 

Manna is open year round. Check out their website, mannarestaurant.com!

Later in the week, I was treated to an extraordinary Wine Dinner at Jonathan Tibbett’s Southold Social Restaurant with the world-class, famous chef François Payard running the kitchen.

My friend Stacey Soloviev invited me to the dinner, pairing her Peconic Bay Vineyards wines with Payard’s four-course meal. 

Her winemaker Greg Gove explained each wine’s “heritage” to the guests sitting at a long table filling the second-floor dining room. And Chef Payard came out to explain why he paired certain dishes with certain wines. 

My friend Carol Levin and I were both impressed with the 2021 Gillies Rosé, which the vineyard has totally sold out this year, accompanying the salmon crudo surrounded by hearts of palm, sliced radishes, jalapeño and a miso dressing. What a stellar dish paired with such a savory wine!

Our second course was a rich mushroom risotto accompanied by PBV’s 2020 Chardonnay.

Then came the showstopper: duck confit surrounded by a sweet potato purée, presented with a bone that made me think it was a veal chop. But one bite into the tender duck made me put down my fork and revel in the flavor. 

I’m a slow eater anyway because I love to relish each bite, but I must admit my plate was the last the waiter took away to prepare for our fourth course. I loved the duck so much!

The dessert was appropriately called “Payard Chocolate Dome” accompanied by Peconic Bay Vineyards’ 2016 Blanc de Blancs, which blended perfectly with the outrageously delicious dark chocolate-glazed chocolate mousse.

How fortunate for us to have a world-class, third-generation chef in our backyard! 

What a way to end an adventure at the Southold Social!

Fortunately these wine dinners are offered weekly on Thursday evenings featuring wines from the East End vineyards. For $110 per person, it’s a memorable meal!
If you’d like to experience a touch of France in the heart of Southold, visit southoldsocial.com. Head on over and you, too, will love it!

To end the weekend, friends Jerry and Carol Levin joined me for dinner at the incomparable American Hotel, where owner/restaurateur Ted Conklin reigns over the historic and consistently superb dining rooms. 

We had a light meal before heading to Bay Street Theater for a comedy show.

Jerry, a world-class traveler, told Ted, “Your onion soup is the best I ever had!” Now that’s a compliment from an informed gourmand!

From dinner on Main Street in Sag Harbor, we walked the busy street to the theater up the block. 

We were delighted to be laughing and laughing as the unique comedienne Julia Scotti entertained us for a fun-filled hour.

Carol and Jerry Levin with comedienne Julia Scotti (c.)

Bay Street Theater offers great entertainment all year round. Visit baystreet.org to check out a schedule of upcoming events!

Their next show, “All Things Equal: The Life & Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” is written by Tony Award-winner Rupert Holmes

What a great week! Looking forward to another!

More from Around New York