Food Seen: Rowdy Hall History, Christmas Eve Eats, Mexico City Tacos in Sag Harbor and More

Colin Ambrose
Chef Colin Ambrose.
Photo: Courtesy Estia's Little Kitchen

Holiday traditions are coming back to Almond, weeknight specials arrive at Bell & Anchor, a tasty cocktail recipe from Main Street Tavern and more dining news from the Hamptons and North Fork.

Chef Highlight: Colin Ambrose, Estia’s Little Kitchen

In March of 1991 Colin Ambrose purchased a sleepy coffee shop in Amagansett called Estia, and his second career as restaurateur began. Prior to moving to the East End, Ambrose spent 10 years as a bar manager, then as advertising director at TopShelf magazine, a trade journal for the bar and restaurant industry.

With a long-time interest in cooking and gardening, Ambrose quickly established a friendship with local community farmer Scott Chaskey, and in 1992 became a member at the Quail Hill farm, Long Island’s first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). That friendship has served him well over the years as Chaskey has been a confidant and mentor, helping the Estia team develop a two-acre garden in Amagansett that served Estia’s tables for 16 years, and now over at Estia’s Little Kitchen’s garden, which is located just outside the back door at the Sag Harbor location. Ambrose has always taken farm-to-table seriously. At his erstwhile Amagansett location, he once had a Two-Hour-Salad on the menu: picked at 4 p.m. and served at 6 p.m.—and that was decades ago!

Having recently sold his Darien, Connecticut offshoot, Estia’s Back Porch Café, Ambrose enjoys fishing, farming and his familyJessica, his wife and partner of 25 years, and daughters Lyman 23, Mansell 20 and Whittier 18. He also enjoys fishing with a fly rod when time allows, and has recently taken up beekeeping.

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Over in Bridgehampton, Almond has announced their 20th annual Christmas Eve tradition of Berkshire suckling pig roast, sourced this year from Roaming Acres Farm and served with seasonal accompaniments for $45. A portion of the revenue from Christmas Eve will be donated to the Pajama Program (pajamaprogram.org). The program provides new, warm pajamas and new books to children in need in the United States and all around the world, many of whom are waiting to be adopted. The regular a la carte menu will also be available. Hours on Christmas Eve, December 24,are 5 to 9 p.m. Almond will be closed on Christmas Day.

Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor has a crowd pleaser on the menu: tacos guisados. New to the menu, these stewy tacos are found all over Mexico City—as well as the rest of Mexico, for that matter—and the offerings at Estia’s include andouille and scrambled eggs; Mexicana (onion, bacon and tomatillo salsa); calabacitas(vegan), and the Pavo Western (scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, onion, pepper and pico de gallo). Closed Tuesday, Estia’s serves breakfast and lunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Chef/owner/farmer Colin Ambrose says the garden has been set with a cover crop for the winter, and tables are available for al fresco dining, weather permitting.

Bell & Anchor on Noyack Road in Sag Harbor has four killer weeknight specials: Tuesday is pork Milanese night; Wednesday is lobster night; Thursdays mean mussels and fries all night; and Sunday evening features chef and co-owner Sam McCleland’s bouillabaisse! Speaking of bouillabaisse, December 14 is National Bouillabaisse Day!

Did You Know: That the name Rowdy Hall refers to a local boardinghouse frequented by the first artists and writers to visit the Hamptons at the turn of the century. According to local lore, when church-going locals would pass the place on Sunday mornings—still full of reveling guests—they declared the establishment to be a “Rowdy Hall.”

Hello Old Friend
Hello Old Friend. Photo: Courtesy Main Street Tavern

Cocktail of the Week: Hello Old Friend, via the Main Street Tavern—2 oz gin, 1 oz Contratto bitters, ½ oz Giffards Pamplemousee, three dashes of orange bitters. Stir. Add an orange twist and serve in a rocks glass over ice! (This just in—the restaurant is now open daily.)

We Hear That: There’ll be a Long Island Winter Take-Out Restaurant Week from January 24—January 31. Could be good timing, given the recent spike in COVID.

Fun Fact: The Guberburger—a regular burger slathered in peanut butter—originated in Sedalia, Missouri and can be found on a lot of local menus!

Quote of the Week: “So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.”—Franz Kafka

 

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