Hamptons Epicure: Small Comforts Suffice

Dan Rattiner has written about Dan’s Papers headquarters’ move from Bridgehampton to Southampton from several angles. It was certainly a big change for him after 40 years in that old farmhouse.

For this epicure it was a big change because I’d established such deep roots in Bridgehampton’s retail culture. Before my two years at Dan’s I worked for a couple of years at the Bridgehampton Historical Society just down the road. I got to know just about all the locals.

Eve and her staff at St. Ann’s Thrift Shop were my Thursday lunch-hour confidants. Plus I’d see a lot of my friends at that thrift store like Librarian Julie Greene—there to snap up kids clothes—and Eliza Werner from Sage Street Antiques was often there to check out the scene. I bought just about every piece of kitchenalia I couldn’t identify.

About once a month I’d stop by the Book Bay in the Bridgehampton Community House for some used cookbooks.

The Southampton Hospital Thrift Store in Southampton is great—but it’s just not the same. So I was kinda sad on my first visit there. That is, until I met the resident, over-fed black and white kitty. He couldn’t be bothered with my attentions. Right on. Then I scored a pair of like-new Stubbs & Wooton velveteen slippers in my size for $12.50. Right on, ka-ching!

I also miss my little trips to Loaves & Fishes for foreign magazines and cooking do-dads. I’ve formulated a theory that you can never have too many French rolling pins or German knives.

I miss the nature walks I used to take in Bridgehampton, around our old block and then up to Panera in the Bridgehampton Commons. I MISS PANERA. I’m exploring my lunch options Southamptonwise. I vowed before we moved here to never eat of the fruits of the Burger King, and I foreswore McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. But that little deli inside Dunkin Donuts doesn’t count. (The staff here calls it “Dunkin’ Deli.”) So far I’ve tried the Cobb Salad Wrap and the Roasted Vegetables. They’ll do—the good thing is that it’s three blocks away. In Bridgehampton we could almost grab Citarella’s food through any open window—it was right next door. Now the built-in, six-block walk for lunch is deliciously fat-burning.

I tried to take a nature walk from the new office. I headed west and, while I thought I was walking through a wood, I ended up at P.C. Richard’s. But that was cool because we needed a flat-screen television at home.

I also intensely miss T. J. Maxx in Bridgehampton Commons. But now I stop there from time to time on my way home for whatever I need. Last week it was a new pair of black dress boots. Just shopping for what I actually need is a new experience, liberating.

Southampton has its share of suburban, boxy stores. I pop into the Rite Aid for the weekly newspapers. They always have stuff on hand that I didn’t know I needed. I scored a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg last week. It wasn’t nearly as good as I remember them being and it wasn’t a properly rounded egg shape. But it still felt sinful to eat it in two big bites…

I’ve made something of a switch to Waldbaum’s (from King Kullen) for groceries. I love that there are no bags for free. It’s a great excuse for walking out with your coat full of canned goods and fruits…(Note to self: Stop at T.J. Maxx for a new, bigger coat.)

Waldbaum’s has that bulk-food-but-in-rigid-plastic-containers section that rocks. Unfortunately there was a plastic jar of Beer Nuts Bar Mix there at eye level yesterday. Its label read, “A crazy crowd-pleasing mix of our Original Peanuts, Insane Grain, Pretzels, Sesame Stix & More!” They had me at “Insane.” I ate about half of it with a fruit smoothie for lunch. That was a culinary error. Yuck. After I’d finally stopped my automatic eating back at the office, I put the jar on David Rattiner’s desk so he would share in my pain. I also rubbed a whole bunch of hive’s coconut lip balm on my lips—the nice smell did distract me from the horror of what I had done. You win some, you lose some.

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