Hamptons Epicure: The Top 5 Things I Ate in April on the East End

Fried Pickles at The Springs Tavern
Fried Pickles at The Springs Tavern

Spring on the East End. Buds are budding, greens are greening, brews are brewing. Of course, never content with nibbling with just one fork, I swam across Flanders Bay to take in just a bit (actually a ball) of the best that the twin fork has to offer as well.

#5 Fried pickles are not health food, but once in a while, one should indulge. I suggest you do so this spring at the Springs Tavern in Springs because they do them right—very thin rounds, dusted with a light cornmeal batter. These delights are designed to be shared (they’re too salty to enjoy alone), and eaten while very hot. Pairing them with a cold beer is more than implied.

#4 A ball of Goodale Farms’s mozzarella. Not that I ate it all at once. I didn’t, I swear. I picked up this plastic-wrapped bad boy at the farm on the North Fork, just outside of Riverhead. Lasagna seemed likely but then I just started lobbing off a lobe at a time and enjoying it, intensely.

#3 I always try a restaurant’s carrot soup given the opportunity. I’m rarely disappointed. But when I found a special offering of roasted carrot soup with pickled ginger and crabmeat at Buoy One in Riverhead I was especially taken. It had never occurred to me to beef up such a soup with seafood. The crab was a good choice. The pickle-y-ness of the ginger made for an interesting balance.

#2 The Class Act at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead is a mix of Sparkling Pointe Brut and St-Germain elderflower liqueur with a lemon twist. It’s sweet but not heavy. Heady. But I only had one in order to stay…classy.

#1 A distinctive taco in the sea of bland tacosameness—the chicken taco at Azao Café in Hampton Bays is the real deal—dark meat and skin cooked into tender submission. International cuisines embrace the dark. (You know that China ships all of its chicken breasts to the U.S. for the chump market, right?) Azao Café is in the former Orlando’s Café space at 40 West Montauk Highway, under new management. Same fabu menu.

You can follow Stacy’s informed and opinionated foodie adventures on Twitter @hamptonsepicure. Stacy is currently at work on a Hamptons-centric cookbook with co-author Hillary Davis.

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