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Hamptons Epicure: Top 5 Things I Ate in October 2018

Apple cider donuts, truffle martinis, beet salad and more East End delights!

Maybe you had these same five wonderful things in October and many more. I hope so. The East End truly is a food paradise. Kind of makes you want to preserve experiences here. Is it a coincidence that most of this month’s “top five” are pickley?

The lowly donut is not lowly at all direct from the production line at the Milk Pail Fresh Market in Water Mill. I researched this. The tender, warm inner crumb wants to pop right out and into your mouth. While at the Milk Pail, I picked up some Jonagold apples for my husband. I didn’t think I was a Jonagold fan, but freshly picked and oh-so-juicy, this is indeed a fine fall varietal to mash between your teeth.

Jonagold apples
Jonagold apples, Photo: barmalini/123RF

It’d been way too long since I darkened the door at Goodfood. on Pike Street in Mattituck. I adore Luchi Masliah’s empanadas and soups, but this afternoon I was in the mood for a cold salad. Not only did the caponata, with a fresh bun alongside, hit the spot, its pronounced pickle-ness was a delight. This caponata is heavier on the capers than most. Good food, period.

The phrase “Here comes truffle!” springs to mind whenever Chef Arie Pavlou steps out of the kitchen at Bistro Été in Water Mill. His latest invention is a truffle martini. I can hear the wheels turning in your head. Yes, he makes it work by shaking together Belvedere vodka, olive juice, a twist of lime and truffle oil. The unfiltered vodka and olive juice make it “very dirty.” Chef then shaves a generous amount of truffle (white or black, depending on the season, or your choice) over the surface to form the best-smelling sludge ever. Trust me. The first sip or two might throw you a bit, it might seem a tad too sour, but soon enough it all comes together in the mouth and you’re rolling on the forest floor among fairies and sprites, happy as a truffle pig. The salt in the olive juice pulls out the flavors as you sip-chew through your new happy place.

A red watermelon from Dale and Bette’s Organic Farm in Sag Harbor was spectacular. Watermelon is celebrated as a summer fruit, but many local watermelons actually hit their peak in the fall.

Head for the hill! It’s rare that I touch down at an eatery and think, “Wow, several of these dishes are top-five-worthy.” Rarer still is a beet salad that passes muster. But, happily, it can happen. The new Green Hill Kitchen on Front Street in Greenport was the site of just such a miracle. What qualifies their beet salad? The beets are pickled to just the right level to tastily contrast with the dab of Greek yogurt, the toasted hazelnuts and the crisp watermelon radish slices.

Their käse spätzle is mixed with corn and zucchini chunks, which you’d think would lighten the dish and maybe not in a good way. But no, it’s not noticeably lighter than a straight-ahead noodle dish, but somehow Chef Wolfgang Ban has prepared the vegetables in a way that enhances the lusciousness of this gruyere-driven dish. The tuna with wasabi microgreens brought some welcome heat and the cauliflower with its bright salsa verde, pistachios and lemon zest was just right. Definitely worth a return trip soon.

Bonus: the butternut squash bánh mì at the Amber Waves Farmers Market in Amagansett. Run, don’t walk—this market closes for the winter on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. These slabs of squash are tasty, fermented? A little pickled? Whatever’s going on, it works swimmingly with the fresh greens, watermelon radish, apple slices and aioli on a big ciabatta roll.

You can follow Stacy’s informed and opinionated foodie adventures on Twitter @hamptonsepicure.

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