Pat and David

Tasty dishes for wineries that put the fork in North Fork

Tasty dishes for wineries that put the fork in North Fork

“A loaf of bread, a flask of wine, and thou....” Omar Khayyam was talking about the medieval wilderness in Persia, but his vision of “paradise enough” works just as well for a picnic at one of the North Fork wineries that permit outside food. Almost by definition, vineyards are beautiful places. And a nice meal with a glass of good wine is bound to soften you up to purchase more wine to take home. Most wineries have some food available, but few are set up to provide a spread like the one you can make yourself. Below, we've included two picnic fare recipes from newly published cookbooks that make our mouths water. By the way, the wineries allowing you to bring your own food are...Read More
McCall Wines reflect a clean and lean approach

McCall Wines reflect a clean and lean approach

Russell McCall has been growing wine grapes on his family farm—and the adjacent Peconic Land Trust property—since the 1990s. But he didn't release a wine under the family name until 2007. Everything about McCall Wines (22600 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY; 631.734.5764; mccallwines.com) suggests patience and long-term planning. The sandy soils of the south end of the original vineyard are planted with four clones of Pinot Noir. At 11 acres, it's one of the largest such vineyards on the east coast. McCall planted Merlot in the dense, clay-rich soils of the other 10 acres of the family vineyard. In 2011, he acquired and rehabilitated the adjacent North Ridge vineyard that had been planted in 1983 with Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon—providing the winery with true...Read More
Lenz Winery’s finesse whites still set North Fork standard

Lenz Winery’s finesse whites still set North Fork standard

A British friend once told us that Americans have too many choices. He was referring to ice cream, but it's equally true of Long Island wineries. More than 40 producers welcome the public for tastings so it can be difficult to narrow the field to fit a couple of days. We knew, however, that we wanted to start with Lenz Winery (lenzwine.com). For years, we've been telling people that Lenz makes some of the best Burgundy-style Chardonnay on the East Coast. We certainly hoped that was still true. In a word, yes. Lenz was one of the North Fork pioneers. Its first vineyards date from 1978, which makes the promise of the “Old Vines” series much more than a hollow boast. (Wines in the series...Read More
Lavender and chevre speak French on the North Fork

Lavender and chevre speak French on the North Fork

Lavender by the Bay could not be better located. It was one of the first farms we encountered as we drove from the Orient Point ferry docks into the agricultural stretch of Long Island's North Fork. In mid-June, the English lavender was just beginning to bloom. This pretty, fragrant spot made a welcoming introduction to the region. The farm boasts 80,000 plants on 17 acres. When the French lavender bursts into bloom around the beginning of July, you could think that you are in the south of France. That's where the French-born patriarch of this family-run operation spent his summers. Fortunately for us, lavender also seems to thrive in the salty, sea air of Long Island. The fields may be the big draw, but it's...Read More
Long Island’s North Fork is gourmand heaven

Long Island’s North Fork is gourmand heaven

We recently sailed the Cross Sound Ferry (longislandferry.com) from New London, Connecticut, to Orient Point on the North Fork of New York's Long Island to sip and nibble our way through an agricultural region we don't visit often enough. If you look at a map, you'll see that the landmass logically belongs with southern New England instead of New York. It's all part of the glacial moraine—the deposit of sand and gravel that marks the southern extent of the last glaciers about 15,000 years ago. A lot of silt has settled over that gritty base, and the warm currents of Long Island Sound help make the North Fork into prime farm country just 80 miles east of Manhattan. In 1988, the area was designated as...Read More
Summer on a roll at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery

Summer on a roll at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery

Today is the first day of astronomical summer, but one of our favorite roadside eateries has been rushing the season for weeks. Bob's Clam Hut (315 US Route 1, Kittery, Maine; 207-439-4233, www.bobsclamhut.com) is known, of course, for fried clams. Or, more specifically, for fried clams two ways. “Bob's traditional” fried clams are dredged in flour. “Lillian's clams,” an homage to long-time employee Lillian Mangos, are dipped in an egg wash before they're dredged in flour. The second method imparts a slightly tangy, almost sourdough flavor to the breading. The price is the same, but you have to specify which you want when you order. Bob's is much, much more than clams, of course. The fried local haddock is always a treat, and this year...Read More
More ice cream, just in time

More ice cream, just in time

Chow and Alan Mezger could almost be the Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of ice cream in the U.K. The two brothers have transformed their dad's hand-churned ice cream business into a kingdom-wide taste phenomenon called Jude's Ice Cream (www.judes.co.uk). But being Brits, their taste references are very different from Ben & Jerry. On this side of the pond, their ice creams seem rather exotic. We doubt that Pillsbury is about to issue Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk or Vegan Malted Banana anytime soon. But you can make your own. A cookbook/wishbook of their recipes has just been published by Kyle Books, and it's available in the U.S. Called Jude's Ice Cream & Desserts: Scoops, Bakes, and Sauces, it retails for $19.99. It's also on Amazon,...Read More
The sheer joy of Hadley asparagus

The sheer joy of Hadley asparagus

Slicing north to south through western Massachusetts, the Connecticut River Valley is some of the richest farmland in northeastern North America. We like to have an excuse to drive 90 miles west from our home in Cambridge at selected moments in the growing season. And as far as we're concerned, the agricultural season begins at the opening letter of the alphabet. “A” is for Asparagus, proudly priapic. When we saw the sign above at North Hadley Sugar Shack (181 River Drive/Route 47, Hadley, MA; 413-585-8820, northhadleysugarshack.com), we couldn't help but smile. Hadley was famous for asparagus from the 1920s until the Fusarium blight struck in the 1970s, decimating the 50-ton annual production from Hadley and adjacent river towns of Hatfield, Sunderland, and Whatley. Farmers fought...Read More
‘Family’ shows the way to fad-free vegetarian cooking

‘Family’ shows the way to fad-free vegetarian cooking

Cookbooks seem to run in phases. A few years ago, we saw a lot of volumes devoted to various ways of cooking meat, especially barbecue. And there are the perennial single-country cuisine books penned by veteran authors. Lately, vegetarian cookbooks by millennial food bloggers seem to dominate. But when we first looked at Hetty McKinnon's new book, Family, we missed the subtitle. We were simply struck by how delicious the recipes sounded. After flipping through, we looked again and realized the full name was Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day (Prestel Publishing; $35). McKinnon moved her restaurant, Arthur's Kitchen, from Sydney to Brooklyn a few years ago, and just continued making strikingly imaginative food that happens to be vegetarian. Maybe we should...Read More
Consider Mionetto Prosecco for the Easter table

Consider Mionetto Prosecco for the Easter table

We don't need a lot of persuasion to pour a glass of Prosecco. The bright, fruity wine—especially when it's produced with very little residual sugar—can be extremely food-friendly. Here in the U.S., we tend to treat Prosecco as an apéritif. The wine is native to the Veneto and Fruili-Venezia Giulia, and the Venetians and Friulani think of it as a wine to drink anytime. We agree. So this spring we tried out the most readily available Proseccos from Mionetto (usa.mionetto.com/us), an important producer in the village of Valdobbiadene and also the largest Prosecco importer in the U.S. We're told that Mionetto effectively introduced the wine to the mass market in America in 2000, so our hats are off to them for enriching American tables. Prosecco...Read More