Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams – The Hamptons

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Something about this beachy destination called The Hamptons spoke to me: no one goes to the beach; (brown spots be gone) a stroll along the high-end boutiques on Main Street, attending swank parties, where you eat and drink…and eat and drink some more. Sure you worked all year to get that summer bod, but don’t let that hold you back from indulging. By the time it catches up with you, your flawless figure (plus a few extra pounds) will be heading back to the city whereby your personal trainer will be on you like peel on banana. Go ahead – Sip and sail, nosh and nibble. Pour a round, get the girl’s together for a special burning of the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and stop by a few of these jaunts. Dibs on the diving board?

Tutto Il Giorno

It’s no surprise that Gabby Karan De Felice’s Tutto Il Giorno is so stylish – her mother is Designer Donna Karan. Gabby Karan has added a Southampton sequel to her popular Sag Harbor outpost and locals love it. She’s created a super-chic dining experience with warm wood floors, driftwood grey walls with wainscoting, a grand iron chandelier, linen banquettes, table top mini-moss bouquets and a gorgeous outdoor garden dining space filled with candles inspiring a casual Southampton look. The tiny restaurant, co-owned by chef Maurizio Marfoglia and Gabby Karan, has been packed with celebrities from Calvin Klein and Sarah Jessica Parker to Keith Richards and is nearly impossible to secure a prime-time table at during the summer months.

One can imagine my delight in securing a table without a reservation. It made me feel like “Sully” landing that plane in the Hudson River. Calm, cool, collected and an absolute Stalker Queen. After meeting the local boys at the bar, we were escorted to the outdoor patio seating with twinkling lights above. Upon greeting me, Chef kissed the air above my knuckles. (Damn, recognized again.) With the freshest ingredients from local farms, chef explained the inspiration behind his cuisine. Lusty dishes like fire roasted branzino al forno, (once the first bite of that fresh flavored fish hit my lips, obscene words came out of my mouth in a OMIGOD kind of way. I wasn’t even having sex! ) mussels and clams satisfied my urge without having to reach for control top pantyhose the next morning. The house-made pappardelle was the taste of summer sitting outside under the stars. I contemplated the tragedy of leaving half of it on the plate vs depositing it directly onto my hips. (I think I just found my inner Gael Greene while writing this.) Sometimes you just crave carbs after a long weekend people! As mentioned in paragraph one, go for it and splain’ later. Don’t worry about the calories – you’ll burn them all off biking anyway.

Topping Rose House 

Topping Rose House is located in a 1800’s Greek-Revival Bridgehampton mansion. There is an adjoining hotel, designed by Alexandra Champalimaud of Hotel Bel-Air fame which is futuristic and uber funky. With just the right doses of gallerist-curated art, historic and modern architecture and farm-to-table cuisine, the Bridgehampton hideaway might actually be better than your own private Hamptons home. Or, does your summer home come with a spa, free car and cute cabana boy?

Chef Tom Colicchio ditched the Hamptons a while ago, but the farm to table restaurant is thriving. Topping Rose House Farm, lovingly tended to by local farmer Jeff Negron, is not only a source of produce for the restaurant, but also serves as inspiration for their seasonal menu. Ingredients not grown on-site are sourced from other farmers and fishermen in the area, and are organic and sustainable as much as possible.

This breezy hotspot referred to as “Hopping Rose House”, is filled with locals and socialite wannabe moms talking about how taxing their lives are, because scheduling botox appointments in between shoe shopping is exhausting. Yes, I get it, some of those fancy Hamptons people are full of themselves. But don’t let the obscene display of wealth and preppy outfits turn you off completely. Slick your hair back, forget the pink, channel your inner Stevie Nicks like I did and let your hair down.

Hot as Haiti, even the shortest of short shorts still made you feel mugged by the heat, so this stop was a welcome reprieve. The hubs and I started with a Bloody Mary. With a stalk of celery, big green olive and cucumber, this bad boy made me feel blushed even before hitting the garnish and was worth getting out of bed for (save those cucumber sticks for morning-after, under-eye therapy.) That swank splashed concoction had an edge that could knock the sash off your Kimono…had I been wearing a Kimono! A crisp cold glass of rosé and Lobster Roll followed and we rolled right out the door to our next stop.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard

Founded by Hamburg-born international businessman Christian Wölffer, Sagaponack’s Wölffer Estate Vineyard, is located on his Hamptons estate. I’d like to raise my glass to it’s winemaker, Roman Roth whose pretty pink rosé, aptly named Summer in a Bottle, embodies the season on the East End. One can witness the famous light that attracted artists such as Jackson Pollock here. Savor the wines and watch the sun sink behind the vineyard – the perfect way to sample a tasting flight. I found the Fabiana Botrytis Late Harvest rose’ crisp and refreshing. Look, lets just just get to the point shall we? Do several tastings and soon you’ll be ducking, dodging, and leap-frogging all over the deck right into the vines. Local Hamtonites will get a thrill out of watching you, as they did me. BTW, who is that man with the white hair taking my picture from the veranda?

What better way to channel a glowing surfer babe than to step your sandy toes off the beach ready to indulge. Summertime is the best time to explore a new hangout (think of all the snow you don’t have to plow through to meet up with friends.) Go ahead, try one of these breezy hotspots this season.

Ah yes, the sprawling mansions, jet setting crowds munching on fabulous food while sipping decadent cocktails to the sound of the waves all summer long.  It’s all so champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Stick that in your basket and tote it…


  1. sallycoles2013

    August 25, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    It all sounds tres fabulous! I can’t wait to go and check it out! Champagne wishes and caviar dreams are right up my street! I think there are times and places to eat carbs to abandon (to an extent) and it sounds as if Tutto Il Giorno is one of them!

    • thefoodstalker

      August 27, 2015 at 2:22 am

      It certainly is Sally Coles. Tutto II Giorno is one of them— and my house!

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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