It's been entirely too long since I've worn my $800 jeans out to an all night hotel party where I did blow off of hand cut crystal and pretended not to notice the European girls because they were trying too hard, all the while maintaining enough self control to hit the 9am spin class the next morning with Alec Baldwin. You know, the class with the disco ball.*
To correct this, we went to the Hamptons.
Seriously? I love this place.
The wifey and I had never been, and I must say that I had some less than positive preconceptions. Luckily, our awesome friends Kim and Paul have the lowdown on the place and invited us up over Labor Day weekend to hang in the super sweet house they had rented. We took the opportunity to get some hands on, first person Hamptons style learnin'. Turns out I was wrong. Well, mostly.
The first surprise was how undeveloped the entire east end of Long Island is. Nature preserves, parks, and beautiful ungroomed beaches dominate the area. Occasionally, springing up in random pockets, are these high gloss little villages, usually no more than a few streets wide, composed almost entirely of uber-chic designer stores, overwrought restaurants, alcohol dispensaries, and art galleries sporting price tags approaching the GDP of Peru. It creates a surreal but not unpleasant juxtaposition.
I really liked strolling the sparkly towns and doing lots of people watching but it was great to get out and explore the seemingly endless farm stands and tiny farmers' markets. I had just assumed that land was so expensive that everything was trucked in, but damned if it's not a little San Joaquin Valley out there.
We got another surprise one night for dinner when, while headed out to a restaurant, Paul suddenly veered off the road and onto a pothole filled dirt path. We kept driving toward some rundown metal warehouses, past broken down delivery trucks and several pens of intense eyed Rhodesian Ridgebacks. At some seemingly random place, Paul parked.
"Welcome to the Fish Farm," Kim announced.
Beware: Killer Koi.
Turns out the Fish Farm is a secluded aquaculture venture near Amagansett that mainly wholesales to wholesalers but also happens to have a walk up counter and a handful of old picnic tables. They have a small menu featuring, well, pretty much what's in the tanks.
We started with an aluminum tray full of what may have been the best steamers I've ever eaten. They were briny, chewy, goodness dripping with butter and garlic.
We followed the clams with a sweet and plump lobster roll that was basically a huge pile of no nonsense lobster for your face. The straight forward approach is definitely where the Fish Farm excels. They have the fresh raw material swimming all around you and all they really have to do is get it into your mouth without messing around with it too much.
I'm not sure they've entirely embraced this philosophy though as was evidenced by our final dish, the French Box. A huge painter's palette arrived covered in scallops, prawns, lobster tail, and shrimp but also fingerling potatoes, blueberries, heirloom tomatoes, and asparagus.
The whole thing kind of got away from them a bit. I won't say it was a large and slightly bizarre mess but, well, I'm lying - it was a large and slightly bizarre mess. Did I also mention that it came with cocktail, tartar and ponzu sauces?
Whatever shortcomings I found with the food they were more than made up for by the beautiful bayside beach setting. They even threw in an amazing sunset as a bonus.
The Fish Farm is also BYOB so don't be shy with the bottles.
As a side note, the Hamptons also happens to be where Jackson Pollock got all crazy with the paints. We stopped by his barn to have a peek but it was closed at the time.
On our way out from our lovely weekend we couldn't resist stopping for one more lobster roll. And a beer. And clam fritters.
Luckily, the Canal Cafe happens to have all of these lovely things. The fritters were perfectly fried on the outside and all super creamy and a little chewy on the inside. The lobster roll came on delicious bread and had a little more crunch to it than the Fish Farm version due to the addition of celery. Both are hightly recommended.
I tried to get Girlie to let us just stay and move in there, but she (shortsightedly) insisted that we continue to the airport and back to Michigan.
Not a bad spot for lunch.
It was a great beach break while it lasted and I officially would love to go back to the Hamptons. If any of you have a house there, please call or email and let me know which bed I'll be sleeping in. Thanks.
*May or may not be partially and/or entirely true.
The Fish Farm is at 429 Cranberry Hole Rd, Amagansett, NY 11930 (631) 267-3341.
Canal Cafe is in Hampton Bays, NY (631) 723-2155