Out East Foodie's Top 10 Holiday Gifts from Montauk to New York City

The holiday season is in full swing from the Montauk Lighthouse to New York City's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. If Black Friday and Cyber Monday didn't do it for you, this list may gleefully send you on your way to complete your holiday shopping. There is an array of gifts that is sure to feed the stomach and soul with a lot of local love and care. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and happy shopping!

Photography by James Slezak. To purchase this print and other works by James please visit: www.jamesslezakphotography.com

  1. A Love Shared: How does 12 signature sauces by the Long Island Culinary Collaborative chefs sound? And all proceeds of this limited collection of 100 gift boxes go to the ALS research and quality of life care for people with ALS. This was motivated by Chef Gerry Hayden of the North Fork Table & Inn who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. A Love Shared is a collaborative effort to raise awareness about ALS, to promote research for ALS and to raise money for quality of life care for needy ALS patients. 

    Here is what's in the box: 

    Lia Fallon — Mediterranean Fig Chutney / Claudia Fleming — Passionfruit Caramel / Terry Harwood — Ginger & White Soy Mignonette / Gerry Hayden — Red Pepper Jimmy Jam / Keith Luce — Duck Wing Sauce / Sam McClendon — Salsa Verde / Michael Meehan — Pickled Corn Relish / Christian Mir — Ginger Vinaigrette / Joe Realmuto — Townline Hot BBQ Sauce / Guy Reuge — Piccalilli / John Ross — Wild Beach Plum Sauce / Tom Schaudel — Thai Red Curry Broth

    I lost an uncle to this disease and thought this was an amazing effort and gift by the The Long Island Culinary Collaborative chefs as well as Jeri Woodhouse, of a Taste of the North Fork who made the chefs signature sauces. For multiple orders or to personalize your gift contact Jeri Woodhouse at 631.834.1816. Orders can also be picked up at Taste of the North Fork, 53975 Main Road, Southold, NY.
  2. A Taste of the North ForkThis is a perfect segue to Jeri Woodhouse of A Taste of the North Fork who for more than 10 years has been making local ingredient-sourced chutneys, jams, mustards, pickles, preserves, sauces, spices and vinegars from her own recipes. Her gift baskets are perfect for the holidays for that special someone who really wants a taste of the North Fork. Visit: 53975 Main Road, Southold, NY. Phone: 631.734.6100.

  3. Sweet’tauk handmade for the holidays fair: Do not let the size of this shop fool you as there are a plethora of magnificent handmade East End products from local artists, artisans and makers. I left there with a bag full of goodies, a one-stop-shop sure to please anyone on your list. Participants include: 41 Degrees North, Amagansett Sea Salt, Billy Wolf K-9 Coatery, Bob Golden Ceramics, Bonac Bees,  Dana Forbes Jewelry, Deborah Frasca, Ditch Ink, East End Fish Prints, Evonne, Glenn Glasser, Grant Monahan Photography, Gula Gula Empanadas, Jane’s Garden Pickles, Joe & Liza's Ice Cream, The Knot House, Laura Michaels Jewelry, Lazy Point Pottery, Let There Be Light, Lorna's Nuts, Made in Montauk, Michelle Minkoff, Miss Amy's Preserves, Miss Lady Root Beer (I used their root beer to poach pears and paired it with Joe & Liza’s Cinnamon Stick and Vanilla Ice cream, delicious!), Montauk Brewing Company, Montauk Community Garden, My Art Is My Temple, Quail Hill Farm Cookbooks and Hot Sauces (all proceeds of sales go to Quail Hill Farm), Red Hook Lobster Pound, Southampton Soap Company, Tauk Boards, Whalebone Creative and Sweet‘tauk’s all-natural lemonade infusions made with locally sourced fruit & herbs. You can grab a taste of their products during the holiday fair on Saturday and Sunday from 11am – 5pm until December 23rd. Location: 34 South Etna Ave, Montauk, NY, Phone: 631.668.5683
  4. North Fork Long Island Wine Club: There is nothing better than Long Island Wine Country delivered to your doorstep! I have sampled my share of these wines at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and the Harvest East End and if you are not local or rather imbibe from the comfort of your own home this is a great way to sample Long Island Wines. The North Fork Wine Club is the only wine club that exclusively ships Long Island Wine from most North Fork and Hamptons Wineries each month. Visit their website to subscribe. Cheers!
  5. Jimmy’s No. 43: Anyone who is a foodie at heart loves Jimmy’s No. 43 for it’s craft beer and Slow Food approved locavore haven. But the man behind this establishment—Jimmy Carbone—I love more because his spirit to educate and support locally-sourced food and well-crafted beer is unwavering. He wears many hats and is co-chair for Taste of Tribeca, special adviser for The New Amsterdam Market and for Greenmarkets GrowNYC, co-founder of Hungry Filmmakers, co-creator of The Good Beer Seal and the host of Beer Sessions on Heritage Radio. I always say all roads lead to Jimmy Carbone and if there is a time to go to Jimmy’s No. 43 and visit with the man himself, it is now! Hurricane Sandy hit New York City and in particular Jimmy’s No. 43 pretty bad. Jimmy is looking for a few guardian angels to help Jimmy (Stewart) with “It’s a Wonderful Life” rally and fundraiser. This will run until December 15th and all you have to do is purchase a gift certificate to enjoy great beer. For every gift certificate of $25 or more that you purchase between now and December 15th, your name will be entered into their Rare Bottle Raffle. And they’ll keep adding your name for every $25 you spend (so if you purchase two $25 or one $50 gift certificate, you’ll get two entries; spend $100 and get four entries, and so on). Winners will be notified the week of December 16th (just in time to share with friends and family). Their gift certificates never expire, are transferable—they make great gifts—and can be spent on food and drink all year long. And if you want to support them at a Patron level ($500+) you’ll be invited to special events and receive extra benefits in 2014!  Visit for Some holiday cheer: 43 East 7th St. btw 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Phone: 212.982.3006. Website: jimmysno43.com

  6. Farm 2 Kitchen Long Island: Is focused on being the easiest and most convenient way for fresh, local products from Long Island's farmers & artisans to end up in your home. Simply sign-up for free and order at your leisure when you want to receive your farm fresh, artisanal groceries. They serve all 5 boroughs of New York City and Long Island and offer a full range of produce from conventional to 100% hormone, antibiotic pesticide & GMO free products. Besides giving yourself the gift of a free subscription for groceries you can order corporate & personal gift baskets for the holidays. They deliver to offices and homes across Long Island & NYC. Phone 631.223.8854 
  7.  Farmigo: Is a People Powered Farmers Market. So what is that exactly? They connect communities of people (workplaces, community centers, schools and other locations), directly to multiple local farms, providing a personalized online marketplace for local, fresh-from-harvest food as well as dairy, pastured eggs, cheese, fish and meat. Members in each food community shop at their dedicated Farmigo farmers market online, pick and choose their preferred items, and then have their orders delivered weekly to their food community site—Farmigo Champions—within 48 hours of harvest. They currently work with over 300 farms in 25 states across the United States. In the tri-state area they are in Long Island, Brooklyn, Harlem and North Jersey. The difference between this and a door-to-door delivery is the community aspect. They recreate farmers market communities where people come together with food as the connection— at the weekly community pick ups— run by Farmigo Champions. Members come together to chat about all things food and to simply connect about life. They are actively building Farmigo Communities across California and New York and are seeking individuals who are interested. This holiday season and for the days to come give the gift of Farmigo to your family and community.  
  8. Edible Communities Publication: Edible Publications is in 80 distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada. They connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds. Locally, in the tri-state area we have Edible East End, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Manhattan and the newest publication on the block, Edible Long Island where they are running a special Edible subscription of 2-for-1. Check out their 80 Edible Publications to subscribe to a local or favorite edible region near you.
  9. Ms. Michelle’s Urban Gourmet: When I met Michelle and Christopher it was at the Great Chef’s Dinner and they were one week away from being married. They are a dedicated Gluten Free Organic Bakery Café serving natural, healthy, organic, locally sourced, 100% gluten and soy free, all the time! For the past 3 years they have been growing leaps and bounds and are looking to relocate to a new space and a new grown up name, Ms. Michelle’s Gourmand. It is no surprise as their pastries, pies, cakes, smoothies, breads, tarts, wedding cakes and savory menu are absolutely delicious and would satisfy any gluten fanatic. This holiday season have Ms. Michelle’s cater your next gluten free party from sweet to savory or consider donating to their kick-starter campaign for their newly expanded space (you might get a treat in the offering).  Visit: 572 Middle Road Bayport, NY 11705,  Times: Tuesday - Saturday: 8am - 6pm Sunday 8am - 3pm Phone: 631.472.2524, Visit them on Facebook.
  10. North Shore Animal League: Adopting an animal is one of the greatest gifts of all. When Chris and I adopted our girl Trixie it was one of the best moments of our lives. December 5 through Saturday, December 7, over 70 participating Americana Manhasset and Wheatley Plaza stores will donate 25% of designated pre-tax purchases to the participating organization(s) of the customer’s choice. Purchases are not automatically eligible; you must register for a complimentary CHAMPION CARD. Simply designate North Shore Animal League America as your charity of choice and present your CHAMPION CARD when making purchases during the event. 25% will be automatically calculated and submitted to North Shore Animal League America. For more information visit championsforcharity.org or call 800.818.6767. To adopt or make a donation. If you are not in the tri-state area consider contacting your local animal shelter as there are so many animals who need a loving home. 

Mashing Up An All Natural Food Supplement For Dogs

While I was washing my dog Trixie with the Shampoo Bar for Dogs, by the Southampton Soap Company, I realized that I needed to get on my own soapbox and share with you a recipe for an all natural food supplement that I developed for my dog Trixie. "What are we feeding our four-legged friends? Shouldn't the same amount of concern to our own health and nourishment be given to our furry family members?"

In March of 2008, my husband Chris and I adopted our dog Trixie from a high-kill shelter in Kentucky. Rescuers and volunteers from states as far away as New Jersey were working together to save these animals. Trixie was placed on a flatbed truck with a group of other lucky dogs and transported to their foster families in hopes to find a forever home. It was a rainy Saturday, March 8th to be exact, and I remember the drive from New York City to Atco, New Jersey where Trixie was being cared for. I grew up with: cats, dogs, birds, fish and even snakes, but it never occurred to me the responsibility we were about to undertake. The closer we got to our destination the more I thought about becoming a parent to this furry fellow; I guess this is how someone would feel when adopting a child. The list of concerning items were rambling off in my head, particularly “What should we be feeding her?”

Left: Rainy Saturday, March 8th, 2008 we adopted Trixie. Middle: Driving back to New York City. Right: First time at the dog run and first family photo

As we pulled up to the house the barking was most alarming. Chris said, “I hope that is not Pixie [now Trixie as we renamed her] howling on the top of her lungs.” When we walked into the home there was a family meeting their new dog for the first time, and three dogs in the backyard who were insistently barking. As I looked more closely across the room into the kitchen area, I finally saw Trixie, who was wiggling and yelping her way out of the crate to meet us. Thankfully, Trixie was not the barker, but she was and still is the jumper; any opportunity to give you a sloppy kiss she will. Before we drove back to New York City, I was given a bag of low-grade kibble that was being fed to Trixie (foster families do the best they can to provide shelter and food for animal rescues so this is not a judgment on their heroic and thankful efforts) and it was noted that we should find a better diet for her.

Since then, with a little bit of trial and error, Trixie’s diet has evolved. My formula has been to use organic, pasture-raised, all natural products whenever possible, just as I would do for myself. In fact, one thing a veterinarian and a nutritionist would agree on is a balanced and wholesome diet that is not filled with chemicals and words you cannot pronounce.

For the first few years, Trixie had bouts of gastroenteritis; an irritation of the stomach and intestines, usually resulting in diarrhea and vomiting. For us folks who live in New York City we are required to pick up our dogs poop; a law that I feel is a blessing in disguise, to closely analyze how our dogs are feeling.

Depending on who is walking Trixie the conversation between my husband and I go like this, “Chris, how did Trixie’s poop look?” “Perfect”, says Chris. When you become dog parents, it all comes down to analyzing dog poop.

I don’t know about you but Trixie inhales her food. I said to myself, “If she is swallowing un-chewed food I am sure she is not getting the proper health benefits, which is causing havoc in her digestive system." Three years ago, I started to experiment; making a vegetarian based puree, called DOGMASH™ for optimal nutrient absorption. This is not a meal replacement but a supplement that is added to Trixie's food; her digestive tract has improved considerably, not to mention a shiny coat.

All natural wholesome foods contribute to a healthy life for us humans and for our four-legged friends. Next time you are shopping for dog food, take a look at the ingredients; if you cannot pronounce half the words you may want to leave it on the shelf.

The recipe below is one of a few DOGMASH lines I am developing. Here is a list of dog friendly foods for you to experiment with. 



  1. 1 bunch of organic parsley, roughly chopped

  2. ½ cup of Bob’s Red Mill organic brown flaxseed meal

  3. 3 large organic carrots, chopped in chunks

  4. 1 large head of organic broccoli, chopped in chunks and fibrous stalks peeled.

  5. 1 organic apple cored, chopped in chunks with skin


  1. In a food processor or blender place the parsley, flaxseed meal, apple and broccoli stalks. Pulse until the consistency is smooth and green.

  2. In a medium pot steam the broccoli heads and carrots until just tender. Do not over steam.

  3. Let the steamed carrots and broccoli cool for 5 minutes; then place with the green mixture and pulse until it is puréed.

    note: If the mash looks dry add some of the steamed water; 1 tablespoon at a time. The consistency should look slightly wet.

  4. Yields 4–6 cups. Refrigerate for up to 5 days and freeze for future use; up to 1 month.

    note: I mix 1 heaping tablespoon of DOGMASH™ with Trixie’s food in the morning and once again at night.