FOOD & DRINK

Best Place for Sunset Dinner: East Hampton Point, East Hampton

easthampton-point
Book reservations for the main dining room or take your chances waiting for a table outside on the deck, which serves a more casual bar menu, for stunning views of the marina in Three Mile Harbor, whether you’re inside or out. Go early Sunday nights to catch the live reggae band (kids love it!).

Best Place for Sunset Cocktails: Montauket, MontaukParking can be a challenge and unless you’re already pretty far east, it’s a bit of a schlep to get there, but the view of the sinking sun from the lawn on the cliff high above Fort Pond Bay—along with the casual, decidedly un-Hamptons vibe—can’t be beat. Stick with simple drinks, such as a beer or two ingredient cocktails.

Best Breakfast: Babette’s, East Hampton
babettesLots of delicious dishes, generous portions with a variety of healthy options, including tofu, tempeh and whole grain breads and pancakes. They don’t serve red meat, but otherwise it’s not vegetarian: you can get chicken, turkey or seafood. There’s usually a wait for tables outside, but there’s no better vantage for people watching on Newtown Lane.


Best Lobster Roll: Lobster Roll (“Lunch”), Napeague
Located on the ocean side of the long, dune-filled stretch of Montauk Highway between Amagansett and Montauk, this roadside seafood shack, famous for its lobster rolls (hence the name), has a dedicated following. Also go for the steamers, chowder, raw shellfish and fried seafood if you must. Kids menu and crayons available for your munchkins.

Best Steak: The Palm, East Hampton
East-end outpost of the famous New York City steakhouse. Start with a martini at the cozy old-school, wood-paneled bar, then order the Porterhouse and a side of the famous “Half & Half”—cottage fries and fried onions. Prices are not cheap, but since you shouldn’t need another meal for at least 48 hours, you could think of it as a bargain.

Best Sushi: Sushi Zuki, Water Mill

sushiBig portions, creative combo rolls and fresh fish make up for the less than thrilling interior. Insiders order the oddly-named “Tuna Sandwich”—it tastes a lot better than it sounds.


Best Light Lunch: Hampton Chutney, Amagansett
Order a Dosa—a light, crispy sourdough crepe made from rice—filled with your favorite sandwich ingredients garnished with one of their fresh signature chutneys and a cardamom iced coffee at this healthy, Indian-inspired takeout. Then score yourself a spot at a picnic bench outside in Amagansett Square to watch the cute yoginis coming out of Mandala Yoga Center across the way.

Best Sandwiches to Take to the Beach
: Espresso—The Little Italian Market, Sag Harbor
Your belly may pooch out over your bikini bottom after even just half of one of these awesome freshly-baked focaccia sandwiches, but you’ll be too delirious to notice.

Best Coffee: Hampton Coffee Company, Water Mill

hamptoncoffee11Long lines on the weekends are worth the wait for this delicious java. You might spot some celebs; more likely bleary-eyed hung-over share house people.

Best Pie: East Hampton Gourmet Foods, East Hampton and distributed to various local markets
After tasting these naturally sweet-tart pies, you too will want to join the newest religion sweeping the east end: Pientology. Three berry and strawberry rhubarb rule in early summer, blueberry peach is the one to have later in the season.

Best Fish Tacos: La Fondita, Amagansett
lafonditaPerfect as a post-beach snack with a cold beer or before getting on the road for the long drive home on Sunday nigHt. This reasonably priced, no-frills roadside authentic Mexican joint is primarily take out is but it’s much nicer to eat your tacos at a picnic table in the beautifully landscaped backyard by the pond.

Best Cheese: Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop, Sag Harbor
Huge selection of yummy-delicious cheeses of all flavors and knowledgeable (and nice!) owners to help you navigate the myriad choices.

SHOPPING

Best Men’s Bathing Suits: Vilebrequin, Southampton
vilebrequinBeaucoup pricey but these Saint-Tropez suits strike that perfect combo of sporty and stylish without being too “Euro.” Decidedly manly boxer short cuts—long and short—with an array of colorful whimsical prints manage to get even the most die-hard dudes to don starfish, flowers and koala bears. Daddies will melt hearts at Flying Point by dressing Junior in their signature matching mini trunks.

Best Place to Score a Last-Minute Party Outfit: Blue & Cream, East Hampton and Southampton
You don’t have to be a star, baby, to shop in this store…though you might find yourself combing through the racks next to a celeb or two. This trend-driven boutique is stocked with the hottest designers, from Temperley London to Zac Posen. They can outfit you with everything from sexy club duds to flowing dresses appropriate for any event on the thriving summer charity circuit. An array of hip-hop meets skater boy inspired men’s clothes, too.

Best Quintessential Hamptons Style: Calypso, East Hampton, Southampton, Westhampton and Montauk, and Tory Burch, East Hampton
calypso1 Hit Calypso, which has an outpost in every major Hampton (including Greenport on the North Fork), for Christian Celle’s signature flowing, Indian-inspired beach cover-ups and flowing, pastel dresses and tunics. Socialite-turned-fashion-designer-powerhouse Tory Burch’s clothes are considered a (winning) combination of preppy-bohemian—“Grace Kelley meets Edie Sedgewick”—perfect for sultry summer days and nights. The line, originally best known for its embroidered tunics, has recently become synonymous with its Reva Ballet Flats for the trend-chasing masses, but savvy fashionistas opt for her mod-inspired sequined mini-dresses.

Best Bargain: Shoe Inn sale, Amagansett
This annual sale, held during the last two weeks of August at the American Legion Hall, is a shoe-lover’s dream come true. Prices are usually $125 and lower, helping to justify the purchase of strappy sandals despite Labor Day looming. Be prepared to dig through three layers of boxes on top of as well as underneath long tables, but at least the designer goodies are organized by size.

Best Home Store: Homenature, Southampton

A mix of mid-century modern vintage and new stylish furniture as well as home accessories, such as pillows, candles, jewelry, bowls and table linens to funkify your summer rental. Also a great place to pick up hostess gifts if you’re planning to do a lot of mooching.

Best Bookstore: Book Hampton, East Hampton, Southampton, Sag Harbor and now in Amagansett
book-hamptonLocal independent chainlet not only satisfies cravings for beach reads and bestsellers but also a great selection of children’s and young adult titles, ideal for keeping the progeny entertained on a rainy Saturday, and coffee table books perfect for gift-giving. Check the calendar for author readings and signings for when your melting brain matter is craving some intellectual stimulation.

Best Surf Shop: Main Beach Surf & Sport, Wainscott
Tons of boards and gear for real surfers plus cute (and cheap!) clothing and accessories for the surfer girl and boy wannabes from well-known surf labels. The store also rents kayaks and canoes as well as provides moonlight tours and watersport lessons.

TO DO

Best Beach: Georgica, East Hampton and Flying Point Beach, Water Mill

mainbeachUnless you’ve been born into royalty, a.k.a. a resident of East Hampton Village, you’ll have to try to score one of the 2,600 $250 non-resident parking permits that usually sell out before Memorial Day to hit this popular beach, situated near the celebrity-infested Georgica Pond enclave. For those in the Southampton area, Flying Point Beach (Town Parking Permit required but slightly easier to procure) is the place to see and be seen—or enjoy 250 feet of sand and surf.

Best Dancing: Saturday nights at Madame Tong’s, Southampton
After 11:30 on Saturday nights, the tables are moved out of the main dining room so that the dance party can commence. A DJ spins a groove-worthy mix of hip hop, dance, rap, and remixed R&B with a little disco thrown in for good measure. Cool off with a drink at the outdoor bar in back. Great for those folks who want to shake it without having to deal with the nightclub scene.

Best Nightclub: Dune, Pink Elephant, Lily Pond
pinkelephantThe Hamptons nightclub establishment shuffle is happening as it does during every off-season, but I’ve been hearing some buzz about a new hotspot opening. Stay tuned…

Best Place for Live Music: Stephen Talkhouse
One of the last holdouts for live music on the East End. Small, authentically divey venue attracts local talent and big names. Stay after the show for the thriving share house singles scene outside.

Best Work Out: ZoneHampton, East Hampton
You have to be just a little bit hardcore to spin at “ZH”—not because the classes are so hard, but because for summer weekend morning classes, you need to book your bike online at noon the Wednesday prior since classes fill up in less than a half hour. Fans swear by spin classes with owner Marion Weil, Abigail Koplik, and the hunky, yet more Zen Gregg Cook as the best way to sweat out the fast-paced summer lifestyle.

Best Yoga: Yoga Shanti, Sag Harbor
yoga-shantiMake reservations in advance for classes with either of the two owners, Jessica Bellofatto or Colleen Seidman, or the challenging yet cheerful Erika Halweil. Internationally-known celebrity teacher, Rodney Yee, occasionally teaches workshops out of this intimate studio. Be prepared for mat-to-mat contact on the weekends.

Best Waves: “Trailer Park,” Montauk
“The Ditch” at Ditch Plains Beach is probably the most famous surf spots on Long Island, but surfing insiders opt for an area down the beach called Trailer Park, named for the upscale trailer home enclave along the beach where the starting price for homes is $1 million dollars! Parking is in a dirt lot fifty yards past the Ditch Plains lot. Ideal arrival time is between 5:30 and 6:00am when parking is a cinch, the water is less crowded, and most importantly, before the wind has picked up, allowing for cleaner waves (blown out waves suck). When shredders need a break but don’t want to give up their prime parking spot, they grab a bite at the Ditch Witch food truck that sells healthy wraps and smoothies.

– Sherri Rifkin (author of Lovehampton http://sherririfkin.com/)

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