On Saturday, July 13th, the 3rd Annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks was hot! It is the largest food soirée in the Hamptons that attracted foodies near and far to taste and sip the bounty of the North and South Forks of Long Island, known as the East End. For those of you who are not familiar with the East End, the forks extend into the Atlantic Ocean like a two-tined fork. Farms, fishers, artisanal food purveyors and winemakers share the riches of this region’s land, sea and vines.
This sold out event was held under a tent at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton, on one of the most hot and humid evenings of the year; I should have brought my Wüsthofs as I could have cut the air it was so thick. An amalgamation of 36 restaurants, 8 specialty food purveyors and 17 vintners served and poured while we mingled and munched. And to add a little more sparkle to your champagne, the event was hosted by Bobby Flay and the Emcee was Alex Guarnashelli; an Iron Chef star-studded moment.
A portion of the ticket proceeds went to All For The East End (AFTEE), an organization whose goal is to generate significant new and creative sources of funding and organizational support for the not-for-profit organizations of Long Island's East End townships.
Noah’s, Greenport, NY—Chef Noah Schwartz
Crab stuffed deviled eggs
If you are not a lover of deviled eggs you can be swayed. Chef Schwartz is serving these beauties up at his restaurant and once you sink your teeth into these creamy, sweet and slightly spicy bite you will be a fan forever. The lemon aioli combined with the sweet crab and a touch of cayenne pepper was a fantastic combination.
First and South, Greenport, NY—Chef Taylor W. Knapp
Chocolate covered pork rinds, with anise, fennel, and smoked bay salt
Are you thinking what I am about to say? “Chocolate covered pork rinds, that seems so wrong?” And quite the contrary! We all know that sometimes opposites attract; salty and sweet go hand in hand and believe it of not —so does pork rinds and chocolate—a surprising culinary marriage of sorts. The pork rind was covered in chocolate and just on top was anise, fennel and smoked bay salt; it was sweet and savory and a delicious pairing. Their presentation was clever as these little gems sat on a piece of driftwood. If you go to First and South be sure to ask them about the chocolate covered pork rinds.
The Square, Greenport, NY—Chef Keith Luce
NoFo duckling summer rolls
Have you ever wondered what that packet of mystery duck sauce is suppose accompany when ordering Chinese take-out? I would guess that the majority of people use it on spareribs and an egg roll; at least I do. But how many of you order duck when taking-out Chinese food? I never do; considering I have about 100 packets in my cupboard, maybe I should. Chef Luce made his own special duck sauce that I would welcome over those mystery packs any day. This was sweet, slightly spicy and not overpowering to allow the duck to shine within this delicate bundle, bravo.
Grana Trattoria Antica, Jamesport, NY—Chef David Plath
The best meatballs I have ever eaten were my great Aunt Mary’s. To this day no one can replicate her recipe. There is even a video of her preparing it and a written recipe to follow along and still not even close. Grana’s meatballs reminded me of my great aunt's; a moist and toothsome meatball with italian seasoning and a simple marinara. I only wished these were larger; but I made up for it by eating five.
The Riverhead Project, Riverhead, NY—Chef Lia Fallon
Summer sea scallop ceviche
The ceviche was my first taste of the evening, a delicious starter to get my palate going. It was a summer party in my mouth; the sweet local scallops were marinated in the citrus juices and then combined with: corn, red and green peppers and romaine lettuce. This dish was bright, punchy, smooth and with a touch of heat.
Navy Beach, Montauk, NY—Chef Randy Santos
Local watermelon gazpacho with jonah crab, petite basil and sea salt
This savory bite kept my taste buds cool. I typically think tomatoes when I see gazpacho and this twist was a nice surprise; the yellow watermelon was silky, sweet and balanced beautifully with the crab. The basil and salt brightened the overall taste. I was inspired by this bite and will be working on my own gazpacho recipe soon, stay tuned.
Sea Grille Restaurant at Gurney’s Inn, Montauk, NY—Chef Angelo Montemarano
Organic quinoa salad mixed with lentils and chickpeas, served with mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots and dressed with lemon vinaigrette
Quinoa has been the grain-rage for the past few years and it has taken me some time to enjoy this ancient, nutrient rich grain. Gurney’s Inn Resort and Spa is a historic oceanfront resort that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. I was surprised to see them serving this dish; Montauk is the fishing capital of the world and I assumed we would be tasting fresh fish from the local waters. There is however a spa component to Gurney's and the Sea Grille Restaurant prides themselves on being SPE Certified, a holistic approach that focuses not just on health, but on the sourcing, preparing and enhancing of food. The combined selection of ingredients was a powerful and healthful bite and the lemon vinaigrette heightened the taste of the quinoa, rich lentils and chickpeas.
Joe and Liza’s Ice Cream, Sag Harbor, NY—Joe and Liza Tremblay
Mexican chocolate spice ice cream
Hands down my favorite taste; the Bikram Yoga heat levels under that tent may have contributed to this being my all-star and I bet the majority of the "eattendees" would agree. The cooling chocolate went perfect with the heat of the pepper; this was subtly sweet and spicy—how can you go wrong? It was so good that my husband Chris had to share it with the folks at Fresh Hamptons and for a good reason, he was sweating profusely and was thrilled to get a taste of this cold treat.
Fresh Hamptons, Bridgehampton, NY—Chef Todd Jacobs
Crisp Long Island duck confit with a warm salad of spinach, oven Yukon potatoes and sautéed forest mushrooms with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette; all local and organic.
Duck Confit is one of my specialties and I appreciated the execution and thoughtful flavor profiles and balance within this dish. The duck and mushrooms were meaty and earthy, a nice complement to the sweet spinach and tangy vinaigrette. The potatoes added that additional layer of creamy yumminess. I would crown this dish Long Island’s finest. Chef Jacobs will be catering Food Riot on Saturday, July 27th, to help Slow Food East End Support Local Farmers Market; a dinner you do not want to miss.
The Bell & Anchor, Sag Harbor, NY—Chef Sam McLeland
Duck rillette on crostini with pickled red onions
A rillette is a preparation of meat similar to a pate and so glad they did. On top of a crisp crostini was the duck rillette that was confit and the tang from the red pickled onions topped it off nicely, cutting through the richness of the duck rillette.
Gourmet Sorbet, by the Sorbabes, Sag Harbor, NY—Nicole Cardone & Deborah Gorman. Summer cucumber white wine mint and juicy passion fruit lychee
This is an all-natural, non-dairy sorbet. The fruit is sourced from local farms and is a refreshing treat with some interesting flavor combinations. The cucumber white wine mint was so refreshing; I can see this as a Le trou Normand, a palate cleanser in between courses or in a glass of sweet'tauk lemonade.
Sarabeth’s Bakery, New York City—Sarabeth Levine
Chocolate marmalade cookies
Sarabeth Levine is a true Hamptonite; an award-winning pastry chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur and a legendary jam maker. Her buttery cookies were sandwiched with orange marmalade and then dipped in Belgian chocolate; melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Vineyards that were pouring
Castello di Borghese, Jamesport Vineyards, Lenz Winery, LIEB Cellars, Macari Vineyards, Martha Clara Vineyards, Mattebella Vineyards, One Woman Wines and Vineyard, Palmer Vineyards, Pindar Vineyards, Raphael, Scarola Vineyards, Sherwood House Vineyards, Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery, Suhru Wines, Wöllfer Estate Vineyards, Waters Crest Winery.
If you missed Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and want to experience and taste your way through the North and South Forks of Long Island, you can attend the Harvest East End; this celebrates the wine-and-food bounty of Long Island Wine Country and will surely satiate the appetite and thirst of food enthusiasts. I attended last year, debuting as the out east foodie and I met some incredible food and beverage artisans. The celebration will be on Saturday, August 24th at McCall Vineyard & Ranch on the North Fork in Cutchogue, NY.