Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Long Island Restaurant Week - Where to Dine with Homegrown Chefs & Their Restaurants

The third Long Island Restaurant Week celebration – an extension of what was an autumn harvest, November event, has since grown and expanded into a semi-annual event.

Not surprising. 

There is so much good Long Island food and drink dining -- and a renaissance in local, artisanal food makers and growers -- that it takes more than a once a year celebration to mark Long Island’s food culture!

From April 28th to May 5th, participating restaurants will offer a three-course, prixe-fixe menu for $27.95. 
Here is the come-hither opportunity to explore all the restaurants on the culinary bucket list.
At the same time, you can frequent your favorite spots all the more.

As the Beatles sang, “Eight Days a week is not enough to show how much I care.”
That’s right – Long Island Restaurant Week runs for just eight days.
Best to make a dining plan and mark the calendar.

Here are my recommendations for the best of Long Island’s restaurants in this season’s Long Island Restaurants Week because they are featured in The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook - and have proven their locavore, sustainable, delicious market-driven menus.   

As noted in my book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook, the Island has a heritage of Long Island’s farming and fishing and food community:
Long before the island became the wealthy vacation mecca it is now, the native Shinnecock Indian tribe hunted, fished, and farmed on Long Island and taught the first European settlers how to do so—growing beans, foraging for wild plants, and using fish for fertilizer.
Farming became the island’s first industry.
Today, potato fields may have given way to orchards and vineyards, and dairy and goat farms may have replaced the heritage duck’s grass fields, but Long Island is still recognized as the most productive farming area in New York State.
The Island’s tableau and its cultural heritage of homegrown agriculture have inspired a cadre of ingredients-minded master chefs who possess a reverence for their local food source.
The Hamptons and Long Island Homegrown Cookbook pays tribute to the remarkable, authentic farms, gardens, vineyards, and waterways that are Long Island. It also honors those chefs who are bringing Long Island’s unique homegrown harvest to food-obsessed plates and palates and, in the process, helping the island’s growers and food artisans preserve a precious way of life.
Through their ardent beliefs, tenacity, and commitment to their craft and distinctive local cuisine, the chefs featured here have demonstrated a fidelity to the amazingly good, farm-forward Long Island cuisine.
It wasn’t enough that the chef’s featured in the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook were good cooks – that had to be a given.
What set then apart was that devotion to using local growers, working harder to produce a seasonal, market-driven menu, and embracing local, homegrown artisanal food makers from brewers to vintners to cheese makers and honey growers….
The Homegrown Cookbook featured restaurants participating in this week’s Long Island Restaurant Week Restaurants work extra hard to showcase local farm ingredients and Long Island wines.  
You can bet on this Best of the Best list:  Let us know your restaurant reviews...
Chef Eric Lomando’s Kitchen a Bistro:  631-862-0151 http://kitchenabistro.com and his Kitchen Trattoria: 631-584-3518 http://kitchenatrattoria.com both feature American cuisine and edibles from the restaurant’s on-site gardens.   

Kitchen Trattoria & Kitchen A Bistro Chef Eric Lomando in the restaurant's garden with his "inspired grower" & father in law, Bill Pisano

Chef Guy Reuge’s Mirabelle Restaurant: 631-751-0555 offers exquisite French cuisine with his local, homegrown American specialties tells a story of why this James Beard award winner is a perennial favorite and an inspiration to decades of foodieshttp://www.lessings.com/restaurant_menus.aspx?uniid=24  
Chef Guy Reuge in his Restaurant Mirabelle's pottage
Mirabelle Restaurant - Chef Guy Reuge

East End:
The North Fork Table & Inn: 631-765-0177  The husband and wife chefs at this quintessential homegrown restaurant in Southold is not to be missed.   
Chefs Claudia Fleming & Gerry Hayden (husband & wife), North Fork Table & Inn 

Be sure to take advantage of their Restaurant Week offering – because Chef Gerry Hayden is sure to win this year’s James Beard Award and reservations will be hard to come by after the confetti is throw and the champagne is popped.  http://www.nofoti.com
North Fork Table & Inn's award-winning pastry chef, Claudia Fleming tasting the berries at her "inspired grower,  Oysterponds Farm

Chef Tom Schaudel – who recently was honored at a surprise birthday party at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn by that restaurant’s latest talent, Chef Lia Fallon, has some of his star restaurants – from the many in his portfolio – included in Long Island Restaurant Week.
Chef Tom Schaudel
Some might argue that Chef Tom is the poster child (or is that the “Most-Wanted?!”) for the world of Long Island Restaurants.  From Jewel to CoolFish to Alure to Ross Schaudel catering, he’s been getting it all right in the food world for a long time – a testament to his culinary talent and homegrown roots.
Alure Chowder House & Oysteria: 631-876-5300 Seafood restaurant
A Mano Osteria and Wine Bar: 631-298-4800  Italian/Tuscan and lots of Long Island wine pairings. 

Chef Tom Schaudel & his "inspired grower," Paumanok Vineyards' Kareem Moussoud

The good-food news hits keep growing.
Stay up to date with Long Island Food worlds with the newly-launched Edible Long Island magazine: on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdibleLongIsland and the Edible Long Island Blog: http://www.ediblelongisland.com

And the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook http://www.longislandrestaurantweek.com

Enjoy the special food celebration that is Long Island Restaurant Week.
For more information:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Design a Kitchen Garden plus The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook talk at the Strauss Museum

I was very honored to have been asked to provide a presentation at the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society about How to Design a Kitchen Garden plus talk about my book, "The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook."

An edible double-header, no?!

The Strauss Museum is the charming Victorian home of the Historical Society and an ideal, homey, venue for a talk about homegrown food.

The Atlantic Highlands Historical Society volunteers couldn't have been nicer.  Kathleen Ligon - while out of town helping family in Arizona -- still managed to write and distribute a press release for the event and the news ran in a number of local news sources, including the Asbury Park Press, The Atlantic Herald and local blogs.

I did several interviews with local news, and the feature story with the Two River Times about post-Sandy garden restoration, included an announcement about the talk.

All that pre-event buzz plus the support of my garden design clients and word of mouth, made for a very well attended talk.
In fact, it was pretty much SRO.

I had checked out the room the week before so I was already in Victorian-design heaven envy.
When they say "They don't make them like that anymore," couldn't be more true than at the Strauss.
The green tiles around the fireplace, the parquet floors, the wood paneling -- it's all so quality.  And lovely.

The audience seating was set up in the parlor and extended out to the wide, wide hallway.

The guests were so friendly and kind and enthusiastic -- very keen to learn how to grow their own food.
And there were more than a few Master Gardeners in attendance too!

Show & Tell
I brought lots of seed catalogs to enhance my point that there is not one kind of any plant.
We've gotten so far away from growing our own food or knowing anything about plants -- edible or ornamental -- that all too often, people don't realize there is more than one kinds of say, tomato or sage or lavender or..
I refer to the seed catalog as a "Look Book" because like a fashion collection the catalogs present the most beautiful, sexiest plants that seduce us to possess them.
We have to have them!

I also brought a number of books from the library in order to illustrate how easy it is to get DIY books on how to design a kitchen garden.
Or to learn more about the plants. Or to learn more about the soil. Or to learn more about plant care.
One could devote an entire life to any of these subjects.

I brought a full-color kitchen garden design I did some years ago for a client where I divided a blah strip along a fence in the front of the house into color-coordinated parterre bed sections divided by pea gravel.  Each bed boasted a design and the color themed vegetables and herbs.
It was/is so pretty (post-Sandy, not so much..)  
It was/is fun, too, with Jersey corn, melons, a pizza garden with basil and tomatoes, a red garden with swiss chard, red carnations, strawberries and red-hued herbs, for example.

The garden design layout is very pretty too and I used the drawing to show how one can plot out a formal kitchen garden.

I forgot to bring the soil jar test sample we readied the week before...

So there was lots of pass around, show & tell material.
Afterwards a guest asked to borrow one of the catalogs!

The talk was about an hour long.  The presentation slides cooperated so no tech hassles once we got it to go full-screen with the help of my savvy (and beautiful) neighbor, Stacy.  
Stacy to the tech rescue
She has two perfect daughters too.  She surprised me by attending - and there I was asking for her help!

We enjoyed a very lively Q&A too.  Good questions and thoughtful input.

Here I will share most of the Powerpoint presentation and a few extra images.
Sorry for the photo "dump" but somehow all the photos from the file got onto the blog post! And I don't want to tease the blog gods so will leave it as karma...

our GardenState farm-ette overlooking the Raritan Bay & Sandy Hook

Our Herb Garden off the terrace
Not our house - ha!  Gotta love a White House/The People's House with a kitchen garden. Finally...

Our homegrown leeks

starting our seeds

The audience gathers before the talk. The gorgeous redhead? Maria - my beloved garden muse I cite in the Homegrown book's Acknowledgements -  & a garden design client

I'm showing two of my garden designs in the book, "The Cottages & Mansions of the Jersey Shore"

Video of Soil Sample Testing


Laying out our farm-ette some years ago

Thanks to everyone who attended, purchased a Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook and supports sustainable, edible gardens.

Happy Eating. Happy Gardening.
It is the ultimate in luxury.  And that's true glamour....