September 23, 2019 | BITE: My Journal
The Pleasures of Autumn in the Hamptons
A friend brought me Sagaponack Tiger Spud potato chips. I brought them along for snacking on our drive.
I hope you’re not annoyed that I’ve been basking in the autumn pleasures of the Hamptons. Exploring country roads. Riding the ferry across the Sound. Eating. Yes, always eating. Discovering new spots for peach pie and crumb buns, fresh-pressed cider, and across the Long Island Sound, wonderful shrimp and grits. This fall we’re chomping on Sagaponack potato chips as we explore. That is, I am.
Where was I this summer when you could have used some guidance, you want to know? I was treating myself and pals to a week full of new detours, lobster Cobb salad and oysters in Maine. (Click here to read “Hanging Out at the Harbor.”)
Usually we pick up a pie or two at the Round Swamp Bakery but it was closed Thursday. New Fall hours.
The Bridgehampton bedroom where I’ve been sheltered these last few years had heavy traffic in August so it wasn’t until September 12th that I got the invitation to move in. I brought chocolate bark from Jacques Torres for my hosts and went in search of the Bridgehampton Swamp Farm for pie.
Breadzilla’s pie crust has real flavor. I definitely prefer their peach-blueberry pie to Round Swamp’s.
It was closed on this fall Thursday. So we went to Breadzilla and bought two pies. An apple pie for my daytime drive-about pals, Fran and Howard, and blueberry peach for my hosts, Jim and Hillary (and of course, me, my breakfast pie to pile atop my yogurt and cereal).
I bring a pie to my hosts and then, rudely, I’m the first to take some next morning at breakfast.
Some of my best times in the Hamptons have come after the high season ends.
Round Swamp Farm 97 School Street, Bridgehampton. 184 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton. 71 S. Elmwood Avenue, Montauk. 631 324 4438. Breadzilla 84 Wainscott NW Rd. Wainscott. 631 537 0955.
Brunch at Noah’s
Noah’s in Greenport seems to have doubled in size since the last time I ate there.
We could sit outdoors at Noah’s but I prefer to eat inside where it’s air-conditioned and avoid sunburn.
The clouds chased in and out as we rode the car ferry to Shelter Island for lunch at Noah’s on Saturday. I’d been to Noah’s before, but now it’s grown twice the size and we didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for a table near the window. With so many summer waiters gone back to college, the service is slow. But finally our designated waiter arrives with cuts of warm baguette wrapped in a napkin and butter in a small dish alongside.
Howard orders the pulled duck barbeque with grits at our late brunch in Noah’s.
I didn’t recall the pull of so many brunch temptations. Goat cheese squash blossoms. Tasmanian Red Crab tacos. Blue Star lump crab cake with pickled corn relish. Crescent Farm duck confit hash with shitakes, fingerlings and a poached egg.
The menu said grilled Latham’s corn with chipotle aioli. Yes. Yes. Yes. I’ll have it.
Fran ordered the crab-stuffed deviled egg as a starter and surrendered most of it to Howard and me.
Would it be corn? No hesitation there. I promised myself to order corn until late fall chases it from local menus. Howard and I share the grilled Latham’s corn-on-the-cob, slathered with chipotle aioli and Narraganset queso fresco. Fran’s crab-stuffed devilled eggs look forlorn, as if left behind on a busier weekend.
Pan-roasted striped bass with cherry tomatoes and potatoes.
I don’t covet Fran’s halibut, but I definitely want a share of Howard’s Crescent Farm pulled duck barbeque, on aged white cheddar grits, a generous “small” plate for just $14. And I’m willing to give him a taste or two of my shrimp and smoked cheddar grits with piquillo peppers and a poached egg that I’d smashed on top. With $3 for a large soda, brunch for the three of us is $105 with the tip, which was definitely grander than the service demanded.
I order sautéed rock shrimp with white cheddar grits, sausage and piquillo peppers.
After lunch, we drive east on the North Fork, exploring the look of fall, not buying chocolate or lavender or goat cheese as we sometimes do on early summer visits.
Noah’s, 136 Front Street, Greenport. N.Y. 631 477 6720.Open or lunch or dinner 11:30 am to 9 pm. Monday Thursday and Sunday For 11:30 am to 10 pm. Friday and Saturday 11:30 am rill 10 pm. Dinner Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 pm.
Soul Food Dinner at Commander Cody's
Commander Cody’s sign marks the driveway to soul food fans feasting above.
That evening we take the ferry again, but only the first ferry to Shelter Island. Fran and Howard want to introduce me to Commander Cody’s soul food. Fran goes out to find him at the grill and brings him by to say hello.
Commander Cody tends the outdoor grill and the indoor stove to a full house on Saturday night.
We settle at the far end of the last empty picnic table on the porch. All dinners except pastas include “seasoned fries,” homemade coleslaw and cornbread, the menu advises. Sweet potato fries “available on request.” A baked potato with sour cream will be $2 extra.
Clam strips are basically tasteless. Best wait till you can get whole clams with bellies.
Commodore Cody’s fried chunks of corn-filled macaroni is a treat I couldn’t have dreamed up on my own.
If you want the fish and chips or flounder broiled instead of fried, count $1 extra. I’m not sure what Howard can be thinking when he orders clam strips. That’s exactly what he gets. Dried-out strips of clam. I also have no idea what I’ll get when I order corn macaroni. But the fried chunks of pasta embedded with corn are delicious. By the time the ribs arrive, juicy, greasy and caramelized, I can only eat one and am happy to share. I insist it’s my turn to pay and suggest my friends take the leftovers home for Sunday night dinner since I’ll be somewhere in traffic heading back to Manhattan.
The ribs are juicy, fatty and caramelized. After the macaroni, I can only manage to eat one rib.
I get out my credit card. “It’s cash only,” says Howard. No problem. I find more than enough cash tucked into my little shoulder bag. It’s only much later that I study the chit and realize I’ve overpaid. I must have been drunk on soul food joy and two glasses of water.
You’re right. This bill doesn’t add up but we were too happy to notice the problem.
Commander Cody, 41 Smith Street, Shelter Island, 631 749 1851. Monday through Thursday 2:30 pm to 9 pm. Friday and Saturday 11 am to 9 pm. Sunday 11 am to 8 pm. Cash or check only.
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