You may know the Hamptons, but do you know its deepest, darkest secrets? Read on for five hidden foodie gems you can only find in the Hamptons.
1. The Pizza at the Hayground School Farmer’s Market
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In Bridgehampton, on Friday afternoons in summer (the farmer’s market opens at 3) lies one of the tastiest and least-known culinary treats of the ever-ephemeral Hamptons season. Students from the progressive Hayground School run the Hayground Pizza Stand, where hungry patrons line up to order their pies. Pizzas are made-to-order and diners must wait as the pies are cooked, but there’s plenty to see at the Farmer’s Market in the 15 minutes the portable oven takes to produce charred, chewy, perfect pies. Pizzas are on the small side, and a margarita will set you back $20, so bring lots of dough—Hayground Pizza is cash-only. Order an extra and eat it while it’s still hot, as the most devoted pizza lovers do: In your car.
The Hayground School’s Farmer’s Market, 151 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton, open Fridays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.
2. The Ham, Butter, and Cornichon Sandwich at Carissa’s Bakery
Carissa Waechter opened her East Hampton bakery space in June of this year, and she’s already making a deep impression when it comes to sweets. But despite the quality of her pain au chocolat, sourdough, and meringue pie, I’m there for the ham sandwich. Yes, that’s right: Carissa makes the best grab-n-go sandwich in town. She uses her homemade bread, along with high-quality butter, fatty country ham, and sliced cornichon, all an homage to the traditional French sandwich. There is perfection in its simplicity, in a sandwich with few ingredients, all the finest of their kind. I’ll bet, like me, you can’t eat just one.
Carissa’s Bakery, 68 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, open Thursday through Monday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
3. The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie at Gosman’s Fish Market
I’m not going to fuel the fire between the oatmeal raisin cookie and the chocolate chip, because everyone knows that chocolate chip is the king of cookies. That being said, if you are actually in the mood for a life-changing oatmeal raisin cookie—and sometimes I really am—get thee to Gosman’s before the market closes for the season. Cookies are bigger than a fist and smaller than a basketball. They’re soft, spiced, and studded with an abundance of toothsome raisins. Think the Little Debbie oatmeal cream sandwiches on steroids (and without the nuisance of cream). Basically, you need this in your Montauk life. A cookie might even convert you to oatmeal raisin for life.
Gosman’s Gourmet Fish Market, 484 West Lake Drive, Montauk, open daily 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in season.
4. The Ceviche at Serene Green
This sweet, comprehensive farmer’s market right off Sag Harbor’s Noyac Road sells everything from Iacono Farms eggs to local corn. I come, however, for the fresh fish, sold in ice-packed industrial white coolers outside the stand. Serene Green sells whatever’s fresh and local, and on any given afternoon you might find soft shell crab, scallop, fluke, lobster, tuna, or striped bass. For my money, the ceviche is the best bet. Made with whatever white fish is running (often fluke, in the heat of midsummer), the ceviche is, by turns, a little spicy and a lot bright. Pick up some organic tortilla chips and dinner’s mostly made.
Serene Green Farm Stand and Seafood Market, 3980 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor, open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through December.
5. The Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Dip at Round Swamp Farm
I’ve never met a crab cake I didn’t like, but some are definitely better than others. I’m going to go ahead and say that the large, crab-heavy ones available at Springs’ Round Swamp Farm are the best on this side of the Canal. Round Swamp is a National Bicentennial Farm, meaning it has been owned continuously by the same family for 200 years or more. And while I doubt that the 12th generation Lester/Snyder Family was making crab cakes by hand in the early 1800s, anything is possible. Round Swamp is a homey, low-ceilinged affair, and you’ll find far more than you need on any given day. But I say skip the pies and head directly for the crab cakes, which are the perfect takeout item. Then again, if you’re anything like me, you’ll eat yours in the parking lot and toss the evidence.
Round Swamp Farm, 184 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.