Favorite Hamptons Pit Stops

Long time no see! I know it’s been a minute, but I won't get into a litany of excuses for this procrastination. I’m glad to be back here writing about the spots I’ve visited so far this summer, so without further ado, enjoy!

Because I live so close, I try to head out to Montauk and the Hamptons as much as I can during the summer. Whether it’s for a weekend or just a day trip, I’ve learned that half the fun really is getting there, and some of my favorite road trip memories have been on Montauk Highway, either speeding down the empty road if we’re lucky, or more often than not, stuck in miles and miles of stop and go traffic. I usually stay and hang out the most in Montauk, but there are a couple of pit stops I love making along the way.

On one of my most recent trips out east, my friend Shelby and I were determined to stop at Wolffer Estate Vineyard for a glass of wine and a bite to eat. I’ve fallen in love with their rosé, but have never actually gotten to see the vineyard. You can imagine the deep, dark hole of despair my heart sunk into when we found out it was closed for a wedding that day. Boo.

Photo  [via]

Photo [via]

Luckily, Wolffer has a small shop and eatery right off Rt. 27 simply called “The Wine Stand”, and it turned out to be exactly what we wanted. As you walk up to their small shop right up against the vines, you pass the Rosé Drive Thru outside - their “adult” take on a lemonade stand. It’s ADORABLE, but you actually can’t buy anything from them out there. Instead, you have racks upon racks of wine, cider, and even their new rosé gin to choose from inside.

After picking up a bottle of their rosé table wine to bring home, we ordered two glasses of their new Dry Rosé Cider and sat out on their patio next to the vineyard. Of course, it was only 1 PM so I ended up leaving with a nasty sunburn, but all in all, so worth it.

It really is a great place to relax and get the whole “Wolffer experience” without going up the road to the main estate itself. Quick tip - summer weddings are BIG at Wolffer, so if you plan on doing a tour or visiting their tasting room, definitely call ahead and check if it’s even open.

If you’re a seafood lover like me, our next stop is something of a pilgrimage: The Lobster Roll in Amagansett. Recognizable by its gigantic “LUNCH” sign nestled atop the tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere, some say it’s where the dish by the same name was pioneered.

The iconic restaurant is a casual eatery with some seating indoors, a covered outdoor area, and an open patio in the back. While some places in the Hamptons and Montauk have become posh - and dare I say pretentious at times - this holds onto the same cozy, no-frills feel that I remember from visits out east when I was a little kid.

There are paper menus, plastic cups, dogs sitting at the patio table next to you, and the smell of the most delicious, fresh local fare wafting from the kitchen behind you. I usually get a lobster roll when I come here, but I decided to change it up and get the fried oyster po'boy which did not disappoint.

To say this place is beloved wouldn’t even really scratch the surface, and it is, in my opinion, a national treasure. Also in case you were wondering, they serve lobster rolls both hot and cold here - the cold is a traditional lobster salad with mayo, veggies and seasonings, and the hot is simply steamed lobster with melted butter drizzled on. Both are incredible, so, you know, go at least twice. Okay I think I’m done fangirling now.

This is more of a no-brainer for any drive through the country, but I really wanted to give farm stands an honorable mention before wrapping up my favorite Hamptons/Montauk pit stops. I love the way they can sneak up on you, and most often have different products every single day - you know, actual farm fresh food (what a concept right???). Aside from great fruits and veggies, I’ve scored some delicious jams, honey, plants and pies depending on the time of year and location. My favorite by far is definitely Bhumi Farms in Amagansett.

Photo  [via]

Photo [via]

Not only is it arguably the most instagram-able stand ever (I mean just LOOK AT IT), but they always have a wide variety of produce and the most gorgeous sunflowers! I’m also a big believer in supporting small businesses, and visiting family farms and farm stands like this is a great way to do that.

The road out to Montauk has so many great things to see whether they’re scenic, historical, or just fun, and I love exploring more every time I drive out there. Which ones did I miss, and which ones are your favorites? Let me know, I’d love to do a Part II!

Meet Me at Serendipity

Ah yes, Serendipity. Nothing says star-crossed love and rom com magic quite like a gigantic goblet of a frozen concoction with 14 different types of chocolate, ready to send you into a diabetic coma. I’m of course talking about the legendary Serendipity 3 on NYC’s Upper East Side and their equally iconic menu staple, the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.

If you didn’t get my quippy reference in that first line (shame on you), then allow me to explain. Once upon a time (2001), there was a movie that was the epitome of everything most people hate about romantic comedies.

A clandestine meeting of two very unavailable people in a department store at Christmastime sparks an unlikely love story complete with two gorgeous stars du jour, John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, implausibly good jobs/nice NYC apartments, obscure literary references, predictable character arcs, a cosmic misunderstanding and - you guessed it - a short resolution and a happy ending. It’s ridiculously cheesy and has every rom com trope you could possibly think of, but you better believe I watch it EVERY time it’s on one of the movie channels…

Anyway, a major plot point centers around the time they spend together towards the beginning of the movie at Serendipity 3, a cafe who’s been pretty well known since its beginning in 1954. Marilyn Monroe and Jackie O were known to frequently visit and enjoy their different extravagant desserts, but it was the 2001 movie that thrust it moreso into popular culture, attracting visitors from everywhere, looking to have the same experience as Jonathan and Sara.

I hadn’t been to Serendipity 3 in a few years, because I’ve only ever gone when people were visiting New York, so I figured it would be the perfect experience to write about here. Because I didn’t have my own clandestine department store meeting with a handsome stranger, I dragged my friend Liz along to help me eat dessert (and split the bill). Such a trooper!

We came for a late lunch around 4:00 and surprisingly only waited around 10 minutes for a table, which is unheard of as far as I’ve seen. I’ve heard of people waiting up to 3 hours for a table there, which, in my opinion, is just dumb.

Fun Fact: Serendipity has also been featured on numerous food and travel shows since 2007 for introducing the Guinness World Record holding "Golden Opulence Sundae" that will only set you back a meager $1000. 

I won’t spend a ton of time on the lunch itself, because honestly it was nothing super crazy. I knew that I couldn’t just drink a milkshake for lunch, so I got their BLT, because most of their other entrees and sandwiches were just a little too pricey to eat two days before payday (money was tight that day, folks).

It was definitely good, but I was there for the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. Oh baby. I’ve only had it once before, so I was excited to rediscover their iconic dessert. After lunch, Liz and I immediately regretted getting our own separate entrees because we barely had room for dessert. But we pulled through…#fortheblog.

Lucy Baker at Serious Eats once described the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate as “the love child of a milkshake and a slushy” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. We paid $11 for a fishbowl sized chalice of chocolate that could’ve easily been split with another person or two, so we were definitely satisfied.

Serendipity 3 is one of those places you might, at first mention, roll your eyes at, but there’s absolutely something to it. The inside is cozy and quirky, filled with vintage tchotchkes and Tiffany lamps that set it apart from the other restaurants in that area of the city that boast a more subdued, sophisticated, or refined kind of look. It's homey.

The wait and the crowds may be unbearable for some, but I would be lying if I said I’d never go back for one of those ridiculous, amazing, gut-busting Frrrozen Hot Chocolates.

The Not So Little Italy

To brush up on my knowledge of Little Italy before I embarked on my latest mission, I just thumbed through some travel articles and Youtube videos before writing this to get a good sense of what people’s initial impression of the neighborhood would be. It was a mix of visitors running excitedly for a cannoli at Ferrara’s and people in their 60’s and 70’s wistfully lamenting their former stomping grounds.

It was clear that Little Italy has become a place to simply pass through - sure you could sit at one of the streetside cafes, have and espresso, do as the Italians do, but the atmosphere is more comparable to the pedestrian plaza at Herald Square. A once expansive neighborhood has boiled down to, primarily, Mulberry St. between Spring and Canal, a mere 6 blocks in Lower Manhattan near the 6 train.


I joined these hordes of people late one Thursday afternoon to take some photos and sit down for some, ahem, “authentic Italian food”. Around Spring and Mulberry is where it all really begins, and where you routinely witness people narrowly escape death as they try to get the perfect shot of the “Welcome to Little Italy” sign spanning the width of the street.

In this tiny area, the competition to get people to eat at your restaurant is fierce, simply because there are dozens to choose from. Seriously. I was walking with a friend down Mulberry, not planning on sitting down anywhere quite yet, and were descended upon by at least five or six different hosts, all toting pretty much the same thing - happy hour, homemade pasta, fresh sauce, yadda yadda.

They were extremely deliberate in their pursuits, and while I’ve gotten used to shooing people away on the street, I can easily see how an out-of-towner could be roped into sitting down for a $28 plate of penne vodka (which is ludicrous).

I think that was the one thing that really ruined the atmosphere for me. I was happy to take in all that Little Italy had, to stroll through souvenir shops and look at the weird things for sale, to stop in for a pastry at one of their many bakeries, and just explore.

But often with looks of desperation in their eyes, the restaurant hosts and store owners started to resemble auctioneers, frantically screaming at anyone to come in the door and give them business not because they had something spectacular to offer, but because they just had something to offer.

Seeing as I’m doing the whole “tourist” thing, I decided to sit down and try the food at the place that gave me their best spiel. The lucky winner was Caffe Napoli - the guy outside was nice and didn’t curse at me in Italian when I hesitated. My friend and I decided to split a plate of gnocchi pomodoro that we were promised was fresh (it wasn’t). Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible at all - in fact the sauce was homemade and pretty delicious. But it was exactly what I feared about the gimmicks and the facades of many of these “authentic” Italian eateries.

For anyone who says Little Italy has lost all its identity as an Italian cultural center, I can tell you from experience that is absolutely not true. A lot of the same establishments still exist, so do the same markets where you can buy fresh mozzarella and olive oil from the counter,  and the same pastry shops that serve up incredible cannolis and Neapolitans.

What’s changed is the major transition from being a simple neighborhood, an alcove where Italian-Americans lived together and functioned as its own little center of commerce within itself, to a cut and dry tourist destination.

If you’re from New York City, or any of the surrounding suburbs like Long Island or New Jersey, Italian food is NOT a commodity. Most of us know where to get a great dish like linguine with clam sauce, and know exactly how to pronounce words like “gnocchi” and “calamari”.

Little Italy, however, is not for these people. It has it’s purpose, and kind of saddens me to say that it’s not the authentic, tradition filled experience you’ll often see in shows, in articles, and in the retellings of people that knew Little Italy in years past. I was met with the cultural dilution that I sort of expected, but was disappointed nonetheless. I can’t really say it wasn’t worth the trip, because it really is an interesting little microcosm just blocks away from SoHo - but my advice to anyone visiting is to adjust your expectations, and appreciate it for what it once was in spite of what it is today.


For my first post, I decided to begin right here in New York City on what seems like the endless quest for the perfect slice of “New York pizza”. It’s not only a popular conversation among visitors of this great city, but often becomes a heated debate between those of us who have our homegrown favorites. Me, I’m a Russ’s pizza girl myself (this tiny Greenpoint spot), but we’ll save local favorites for a different post.

For now, I wanted to dive into what I found to be a dizzying number of supposedly “essential New York slices”. Having my usual spots, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t even been to a couple of these, which made for an interesting experience. I was, in all honesty, skeptical and wanted to see which ones really lived up to their popularity and write-ups in seemingly every NYC food blog.

Prince St. Pizza

After employing the company and appetites of my two friends to help me on this pizza quest, our first stop was the legendary Prince St. Pizza, on none other than Prince St. in SoHo. Upon turning the corner off of Mott St., we were met with an unnervingly large crowd outside of the pizza place. Had I underestimated how popular this place was? Is this like the pizza equivalent of the cronut?

But alas, the agitated mob of onlookers, paparazzi, and weary pizza consumers surrounded - wait for it - KIM KARDASHIAN AND HER TV CREW. Yes. I have never before been to Prince St. Pizza, and the random Monday afternoon that I chose to pop in, I ran into an uber celeb. Bummer.

I can’t really begin to quantify how little my interest in Kim Kardashian paled in comparison to my interest in this supposedly legendary pizza, so I was happy that after five minutes of waiting, the crowds dispersed, and we waited on a line of only two people to get our margherita slices.

I’m happy to report that they were absolutely worth the chaos, and I 100% understand why Kim K. and her posse decided to stop by. While a bit steep at $4.25 for one slice, I was definitely satisfied and would absolutely come back to try some of their other slices.


Ray’s Pizza

If you’re like me, you might have seen the movie Elf once or twice (or several hundred times). Among many quintessential New York spots mentioned in the movie, the Famous Original Ray’s Pizza was one of them. In one scene, Santa recalls, “there are, like, thirty Ray’s Pizza’s, but the original is on 11th.”

If you’re not familiar with the almost “urban legend” quality of the story behind Ray’s, I’ll fill you in real quick, without getting too history-nerd on you. The first and only TRUE Ray’s Pizza opened up in 1959 and quickly expanded. Basically one “Ray” after another started opening up their own Ray’s Pizza shops, riding the coattails of Rosolino Mangano, who some credit with building the “Ray” brand to what it is today (you can read more about it here).

We were saddened to learn that the true, original Ray’s Pizza did in fact shut down in 2011, leaving behind litany of imposters citywide in its wake. This, of course, does not stop people from seeking them out, no matter what neighborhood they’re in, to try one of Ray’s Famous Original Slices (RIP). So we took the scientific approach and just picked a random one near Times Square.

I wish I could say that I was as pleasantly surprised as I was with Prince St., but for $3.00 for a plain slice I was underwhelmed. My friend and I walked a few blocks up from the Times Square B stop past the buskers and the sirens and the ever present chaos of Times Square in hopes of finding solace in the warm embrace of a hot slice.


Yeah this wasn’t where we were gonna find it.

The cheese itself was dried out like it’d been reheated multiple times throughout the day, and the speciality slices looked even older. Now pizza is pizza...so I ate it. I really wanted to like it, but I’m sad to say that if it’s a “New York slice” you’re looking for....look elsewhere. This is one “must-see” whose heyday has long since passed.



Proudly in operation for over 100 years, Lombardi’s claim to fame is that they were America’s first pizzeria. Located on Spring St. just around the corner from Prince Street Pizza, this is definitely not your typical NYC slice. Unlike the other spots on this list, this is a sit down restaurant that serves their pizza family style in either 12” or 18” pies.

Like any famous NYC establishment, this was evident and capitalized upon from the moment we walked in and got seated. The first thing I saw at the door were t-shirts for sale with the phrase “I ate at Lombardi’s” on the back and noticeably more families of tourists than at the other pizza places I visited that week. The barrage of merchandise met us at the table as well, conveniently on the menu next to the beer (talk about point of sale marketing).

I split a small margherita pie with one person which was more than enough food for the both of us, and honestly I have nothing bad to say. Of the margherita pizzas I’ve had it was tasty, but not the best I’ve had by far. I'm no food critic, bit it definitely could’ve used more cheese, and would average you $12+ which puts it in a different category than other casual pizza places.

Because of its proximity to Prince St. pizza alone, I’d almost say skip it if you had to choose, but, I’m a sucker for history. So while I probably won’t be jumping to return there anytime soon, I’m happy I got to see why this place is such an iconic NYC dining spot.


Artichoke Basille

Ah, Artichoke. You just get me. Their slices are the size of your head and covered in a garlicky, cheesy, artichoke alfredo sauce - what more could your drunk self ask for? (Or sober, not judging). As far as “New York pizza” goes, this one’s a lot different. While they do have a great, margherita slice, what they’re really known for is their previously mentioned “artichoke slice” that’s, in all fairness, inspired a lot of controversy.

Pizza purists will argue that it’s just a “trendy” food like ramen burgers or cronuts and I get it - it’s not for everyone. For all intents and purposes, it’s pizza-shaped but not really pizza. HOWEVER...while you may need to unbutton your jeans to survive the Artichoke experience like I do, it is so, so delicious, that I really couldn’t tell you not to go and try it out. It’s something that you really can’t get outside of their nine NYC locations and that exclusivity is about as “New York” as it gets.

While this trip wasn’t as special or research motivated as the last two since I'm an Artichoke veteran at this point, the fun thing is never knowing what to expect as you turn the corner check your wallet for any lingering dollar bills. Being that it’s busiest late at night, I decided to go after a night out with a friend of mine around 11:30 PM. We got lucky, as it was a Tuesday, so there was no one in line.

With minimal seating and a kitschy “A Christmas Story” leg lamp glowing in the window, it certainly looked the part of a typical NYC pizza place. At this point, I started to regret how much money I’d spent on pizza that week, because delicious as it may be, that last slice was $5.00. The margherita, for reference, wasn’t much more affordable at $4.75, but nonetheless I am #TeamArtichoke and it absolutely deserves its title as a NYC slice.