The Highs and Lows of East End Dining

I’ve long said I could happily travel across the country stopping only at Chipotle Mexican Grills and Panera Breads for meals. Okay, I haven’t actually said that—because it would be such a tedious thing to say—my point is that we Americans no longer—blessedly—have to rely on McBurgerQueens to survive long trips. I couldn’t be happier lunching on husband-delivered Panera fare every Tuesday, when our staff has no time to go out…or could I?

Not along ago I ate at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton. Despite the fact that it was a business lunch, I ordered the always-messy French Onion Soup. It’s so cheesy-good. Then I had what I always have at Pierre’s for lunch—the Salade de Tomate a la Mangue et Avocat. Obviously Pierre has access to the best tomatoes, avocados and mangos available. The next day I was passing through Bridgehampton on an errand and popped into Panera to pick up lunch. I ordered my usual “Pick Two”—half a Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich and soup. I chose their French Onion. Wow, it was not as good as I remembered it. In marked contrast to Pierre’s authentic stock, Panera’s was stridently salty and I just don’t think that it was made by roasting, and then simmering, beef bones for two days. You get what you pay for.

A couple weeks ago my husband and I attended the grand opening of the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. It was quite the gala—full of happy, loud people, many dancing. The music was great but the passed hors d’oeuvres didn’t a meal make so we slipped out for Tex-Mex at Blue Agave just down the street. We stuffed ourselves with freshly-made soft tacos and chips and went back to the party. Fabulous.

Last week I was in Riverhead to interview the CEO of the Cauliflower Association in “Polish Town U.S.A.” All of our talk about cauliflower and potatoes and horseradish made me hungry so I popped over to Funcho’s Fajita Grill for lunch. The best Tex-Mex I’ve ever had. Possibly any decent Tex-Mex consumed when I’m hungry is “the best Tex-Mex I’ve ever had” in the moment. Though there’s something about Funcho’s chips and guac. The combination. They’re both salty and kinda understated. They demand to be eaten in glorious volume…

In case you haven’t heard, it’s Girl Scout Cookie Season. If you ordered ahead you should have received your special delivery by now. If your freezer is full, you’re a far stronger person than I am. The length of the “season” has expanded but, still, these little babies are not available year-round. In desperation I once made my own D-Si-Dos. Do-Si-Dos consist of peanut butter filling sandwiched between crunchy oatmeal cookies. I found a recipe on the web. My “Dosies” were very good, but not quite as crispy and not nearly as salty the      real deal.

This Do-Si-Do Devotee married a Samoa Lover. Samoas are a hedonistic concoction of vanilla cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and laced with chocolate stripes.

I really screwed up this season.

I guess I must have been involved with a Thin Mint Fanatic years ago. I’d ordered one box of Do-Si-Dos and one box of Thin Mints from the Girl Scout Dad in our office. That’s two servings each. Just enough to live. What a ghastly moment it was when I presented Husband with “his box” (no doubt there were Do-Si-Do crumbs on my face at the time). The horror.

He ate all the Thin Mints over the next day but his little heart was broken.

Girl Scout Dad wasn’t able to rustle up any Samoas. Selflessly, Dan’s Papers Marketing and Event Manager Ellen Dioguardi GAVE me a box of Samoas to save my marriage. They were from her husband’s “litter” of seven boxes of Thin Mints—she’s strictly a Thin Minter.

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