From Fireside Fridays to matzoh balls with jingle balls, there’s room at this inn for everybody.
“We have a vision to engage the community,” says manager Mario Arakelian. “We had a recent tree-lighting with about 200 local residents. We are making gingerbread houses, having Santa, carolers, so we try to keep the hotel very active. Because without the locals it won’t be as successful,” he adds.
Executive Chef Ülfet Ralph agrees. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate Chanukah as well,” she says. “It overlaps with Christmas this year. We have a lively Jewish community here and I’m one of them,” she says with a laugh.
That means latke making classes join the gingerbread house construction. Ralph says her kitchen thinks globally — she’s originally from Turkey — but buys locally. “We want to do something fun for everyone while highlighting local farms,” Ralph explains. “We get our potatoes from Sagaponack farms.We like promoting local farmers.”
The gingerbread house making is happening this Saturday, December 10 from 2–4 p.m. At $48, it may be the cheapest house in the Hamptons.
The latke making precedes a Chanukah dinner on either Monday or Tuesday, December 12 or 13. A traditional three-course dinner ends with the latkes you’ve made.
There’s also a “12 Days of Christmas” tasting menu that promises, yes, a partridge — presumably out of a pear tree. It’s a 12-course culinary adventure, so bring a Santa-size appetite.
For Ralph, her favorite is a more traditional meal. “I like a big roast. It makes everyone happy and smells so good,” she reveals. Her secret ingredients? “I use juniper berries and pink peppercorns, and coriander in everything.”
She helps in local charity kitchens and believes in giving back. Ralph says she’s even been recognized at local markets.
“I was born and raised in Istanbul. It’s like New York. It’s so nice out here. Everyone is so friendly and I like that kindness.”
The celebrations continue through New Years’ Day with, appropriately enough, something called a Hangover Brunch in the Good Ground Tavern.
Beyond that? Arakelian says it’s all about creating experiences. Canoe Place Inn features a lecture series with guests from the arts.
“We pay homage to holidays all year round,” he adds.
But for Ralph, it’s Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah. She likes this time of the year best.
“It’s festive. Everyone is so happy. And it brings everyone together. The laughter and the joy just make me so happy.”
For reservations or booking at Canoe Place Inn call 631-763-6300 or email [email protected].
Our favorite man about the Hamptons, Bill McCuddy will go just about anywhere we send him. He is an entertainment reporter and movie critic for PBS. He also co-hosts a WLIW and LTV show “AirHamptons with Bridget and Bill.”