What a superb roundup of culinary delights did 2016 bring.
From discovering a new, favorite food truck to indulging in mouthwatering crepes in an artsy, cheerful café, I have tasted some of the most memorable dishes the North Fork has to offer. Each sensational bite was an experience in and off itself. I invite you to savor the bounties of the diverse plates and farm-stand finds, tiered with the freshest flavor and the finest attention to detail.
The North Fork takes their food seriously. Discover which impressed my gastronomic senses in 2016.
1. #13 Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Crepe, My Creperie
2B Sound Road, Wading River
The quality of the crêpes at My Creperie are so superb, they top any crepe stand I have been to in Paris. If you love crêpes as much as I do, you have to be here. The dough was soft and light as it blanked the warm and gooey cookie center. Sit inside and admire the cheerful paintings and prints by local artists and grab a cappuccino to go.
2. Crispy Chicken Slider, Nice Buns Slammin’ SlidersBirch Avenue, Southold
A regular food truck at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, their sliders pair perfectly with the sprawling views of the vines and the live, afternoon music on the lawn. Their crispy chicken slider drizzled with a gently spiced mayo on a toasted bun, really hit the spot during my wine tasting afternoon. These may be nearly impossible to share, so I recommend setting aside one (or two) for yourself.
3. Stonefruit Crumble Pie, Four & Twenty Blackbirds
1010 Village Lane, Orient
This was that rare pie where you could not resist a second slice. Baked with love and some of the freshest ingredients around, this Brooklyn-based pie maker has the most adorable interior with an outdoor seating area you could sit and read at for hours. Their Stonefruit Crumble had the perfect crust: semi sweet and not too flaky, with gobs of fruity filling. It is going to be a long waiting period until their spring 2017 re-opening date.
4. Local Fish Sandwich, The North Fork Shack
41150 County Road 48, Southold
At this newly opened laid-back spot on the North Road, The North Fork Shack delivers local seafood bites that are perfect after a long day at the beach. My favorite is their fish sandwich, a crispy, moist and flaky fish filet served on a warm sesame seed bun. I would dive right in for another bite any day.
5. Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Peconic River Preserves
4603 Middle Country Road, Calverton
Melissa Sabbatino’s small batch fruit preserves are ideal for pairing with your favorite local cheeses, grilled chicken, and for spreading across baguette slices. I first discovered her line of jams at Browder’s Birds this past spring. I love my strawberry rhubarb jam on top of freshly baked muffins and scones in the morning for breakfast. To wrap up your day, spoon your favorite over cool vanilla bean ice cream.
6. Pecorino Tartufo, The Village Cheese Shop
105 Love Lane, Mattituck
A cozy French cheese shop on Love Lane, that is the place to discover imported and domestic cheeses before heading off to the vineyards for a day of tastings. Bring along my favorite cheese, Pecorino tartufo with little morsels of truffles in each bite. After a day of shopping, stop in for some fondue and a glass of Merlot then pick up some local gifts. Peconic River Preserves is an exceptional pairing for their cheeses.
7. Belgian Waffles, North Fork Guest House
35995 Main Road, Cutchogue
A five star breakfast that tasted so fresh. I would drive here and stay overnight just to indulge in their homemade breakfast. The North Fork Guest House is a modern, chic B&B that is just steps away from nearby vineyards and boutique shops, including Bedell Cellars. On my breakfast menu was the Belgian waffles with strawberries dusted with powdered sugar. These are those special waffles you will try so hard to recreate at home every Sunday morning. I also tried their homemade granola with Greek yogurt and blackberries, and a ginger coconut cream scone. I paired my breakfast with freshly brewed coffee from North Fork Roasting Co.
8. Pan Roasted Angus Filet Mignon, The Rams Head Inn
108 Ram Island Drive, Shelter Island Heights
During my first visit to The Rams Head Inn this summer, I feasted upon one of their signature dishes served with artichoke creamed spinach and rosti potatoes. The filet mignon was cooked to perfection — what a masterpiece! Each layer was a slice of heaven on earth. The dish set in well with the classic, laid-back vibe. You could sit out on their back patio for hours while drifting back in time 40 to 50 years prior at the last oasis of the East End.
9. Prosciutto Salad, First and South
100 South Street, Greenport
My favorite appetizer on the Greenport restaurant’s specials menu was the prosciutto salad with prosciutto di parma, heirloom tomato, Long Island goat cheese, and cornbread croutons. The cornbread croutons were very unique with a little nod to the Southern-inspired ingredients of most dishes on the menu. A unique element of First & South is the impressive chalkboard art inside the dining room by local artist, Kara Hoblin. The art designs rotate every few weeks.
10. Smoked Bluefish Rillettes, Red Maple at The Chequit
23 Grand Avenue, Shelter Island Heights
The smoked bluefish appetizer on Red Maple’s summer lunch menu, crafted with crème fraiche, chives, fried capers, rustic toast, was a dish I craved for months after I first tried it. Though very rich, it is perfect for enjoying slowly on a lazy summer afternoon with a good book. The capers were a very nice touch. Pair with a sauvignon blanc.
Vanessa Gordon is a Hamptons-based writer, tutor and fitness instructor. She received her Master of Arts degree in Education from New York University. She loves paddle boarding, antiquarian cookbooks and tea rooms. Find Vanessa on social media @EastEndTaste.