A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wine Stained Teeth

As many of my friends will tell you, I will rarely, if ever, say no to a glass of wine. Not that I am a connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination. I just know what I like and enjoy partaking in it. By extension, wine tasting is a favorite outing. When S. and I lived in San Francisco, we tried to make it up north of the Golden Gate once or twice a year. Since moving to NYC, we've discovered the North Fork area of Long Island. It was time for a trip out there and out of the city, so RFC, S., S's SO (who will be henceforth known as SG) and I packed up the car for a weekend away.

I can't believe how close the North Fork is, and yet how far out in the country it seems. There are big(ger) pieces of land, farms, farmstands, and wineries, all about two hours away from NYC. We totally lucked out on the weather with two perfect days of sun. We hit five wineries in all, but really just three stood out. The other two were closer to that scene in Sideways of the scary over-run tourist winery, so I won't bother with them. I think the trick to North Fork is to get off the Route 25 and onto the less traveled 48. There you will find Shinn Estate Vineyards and Sherwood House Vineyards. Shinn Estate is owned by the people who own Home in Manhattan. (Which is a lovely little place in the West Village.) During our wine flight, we were led on a short vineyard walk by one of the owners. We also had the opportunity to lavish attention on their cat and dog. The people at Shinn Estate pointed us in the direction of Sherwood House down the road. They boast the smallest tasting room in North Fork, and it is small, a converted shed really. But because you can't hang around inside there, you are forced (wink, wink) to sit outside next to the vines. Earlier, we had stopped by the Peconic Baking Company and there had picked up a moist, lightly spiced pumpkin bread. We brought it out and spent a very content hour nibbling and enjoying their Reserve Merlot. It's amazing we were able to leave. We ended this day eating at Claudio's in Greenport. This was a recommendation by RFC who has been there a few times and it was totally on the mark. We dined on clam chowder, local oysters, flounder and striped bass as well as North Atlantic swordfish. Everything was simply prepared so the freshness of the seafood shown through.

The next day was much more leisurely. We refueled with eggs, toast and bacon at the
Cutchogue Diner. It's a classic with it's chrome outside and cozy, bustling atmosphere inside. Since we weren't quite ready for wine at 11am, we scouted out a few farmstands. They were
already packed with families seeking corn mazes, hay rides and the perfect pumpkin for jack o'lantern making. We selected a few types of winter squash to enjoy later in the week. Having satisfied much of our wine needs the day before, we decided to only stop at one last vineyard, Old Field. We went by The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck and with the help of the friendly and very mellow staff, picked out a couple cheeses which we paired with fresh bread and thinly sliced prosciutto. I am a very bad foodie by the fact that I can't remember what we bought. (Can anyone help me with this?) This became the basis of a little picnic at Old Field. The owners here are very friendly and all the tastings are done outside, the chicken coop in clucking distance. You feel like you are a million miles from the city. We loved their chardonnay and bought glasses of it to enjoy with our snack.

I have to say a big thank you to RFC for doing all the driving. He really needs to teach me how to drive a stick so I can do my part. And S. and SG were perfect traveling companions. I can't wait until our next outing.

NYC Tart

Shinn Estate Vineyards

2000 Oregon Road
Mattituck, NY
(631) 804-0367

Sherwood House Vineyards
Elijah's Lane North of Country Road 48
Mattituck, NY (631) 298-1396

The Old Field Vineyards

59600 Main Road
Southold, NY (631) 765-0004

Claudio's Restaurant
111 Main Street

Greenport, NY
(631) 477-0627

Peconic Baking Co
8595 Cox Lane, #5
Cutchogue, NY
(631) 734-4182

The Village Cheese Shop

Love Lane

Mattituck, NY
(631) 298-8556

Cutchogue Diner
28230 Main Road

Cutchogue, NY
(631) 734-2330


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