There are few restaurants in New York that feel like home. This is largely due to the vanishing hosts that are identified with their establishment, and vice versa. I’m thinking of Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque, Elaine Kaufman of her namesake, Glenn Birnbaum of Mortimer’s.
Charles Masson has re-established that precious position with his pearl of a place, Majorelle. And his passion and precision is passed on to the staff, from Jacques all through the waiters and bussers. My friend Sela calls the Club Room (where you can get a great burger or salad, instead of the more formal dining room menu’s offerings) her “other living room.”
One recent evening, we celebrated my daughter’s graduation and birthday, with a fittingly grand dinner and dessert, decorated with well wishes in chocolate calligraphy. And that was about it for New York.
The energy and events have been rerouted to St. Tropez, Ibiza, Spetses and of course, ‘the season’ in London. Not everyone crossed the ocean though. The East End traffic astounds, and parking spots are battled over. Even if one wanted to battle that, there are far fewer top-notch restaurants in Southampton, than say, Sag Harbor or East Hampton.
There is a theory that it’s because everyone has a private chef. Not true, though I lucked into that theory at Anne Hearst McInerney’s Ashcroft Farm, Friday night. A few ladies sipped rosè as the sun set over Anne’s bucolic property, home to, as in true Hearst tradition, an assortment of chickens, ducks, geese, birds and the true masters of the manor … her dogs. Kyle, chef extraordinaire, spoiled us with a medley of three virtuous yet delicious fish courses, and we floated home, sated and happy.
Saturday greeted us with the news that Jesse Warren had beaten the incumbent, Mayor Irving of Southampton. Jesse, a former M&A guy in New York, now owns Tenet, a chic shop in Southampton. He canvassed door to door and cleverly, with the seniors at Southampton High School.
He was joined by new Southampton Village Town Board Members Mark Parash, proprietor of the beloved luncheonette, Sip and Soda; and Andrew Pilaro (yes, son of Tony, as in Duty Free), all of whom know a thing or two about retailing and how to bring it back to Southampton village, which is now sprinkled with the all-too-familiar empty storefronts.
I fueled myself for a stroll around town with my morning hazelnut coffee from Tate’s. The cookies, while delicious, are ubiquitous, and baked in some huge facility somewhere, but the pies, cupcakes, danishes and cakes that give new meaning to butter cream are all still baked right here.
I took some shots of my favorite old standbys, perhaps not all in the Michelin Guide, but better than that, they are authentic and have been around longer than most of us.
Saturday, I approached the Holiday Hamptons House, long, black dress flapping around my legs, thinking how charming it was that all the pretty girls at check in were in white. Upon entering, I realized everyone was in white, as it was a “white party”, and I had been told that. “Black is the new white,” a sympathetic guest told me.
Iris Dankner, founder of the Holiday House Hamptons (New York and London, too), told me she founded it because while designers are very charitable, none had supported breast cancer. 11 years later (and 22 years of being cancer free) Iris showcased her fellow designers and raised funds for Evelyn Lauder’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Cipriani on Location tempted us, successfully, and we moved between dazzling rooms, finally settling in Barbara Ostrom’s screening room which was glamorous, welcoming and functional, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” looping on the giant screen. Luckily, the blue velvet sofa was enveloping and cozy as poor Barbara twisted her ankle on the way in. So she greeted gazers with an iced foot, from the depths of her sectional.
I will admit now, that my dream eve, is La Parmigiana chicken parm, and Netflix, and so, after I removed my funereal attire, that’s what I blissfully settled in to.
Sunday was the first truly warm day we’ve had out East, and where better to enjoy it but at the beach. Simple, sunny, sublimely summer.