This weekend is Dan’s Taste of Summer, when, for two nights, thousands of people who love food assemble under a giant tent at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton to enjoy the tastes of more than 40 restaurants and the offerings of 13 local vineyards.
It’s in its fourth year now. But before I tell you all about it and all the celebrities and chefs and winemakers and entertainers who will be there for you, let me tell you of several things we had hoped to do that have not panned out.
We are not, for example, on Friday afternoon, going to be putting lines of crumbs (with thyme and other spices) along all the highways and byways from Westhampton to Montauk to lead you to Sayre Park, in spite of rumors to that effect. That plan was nixed by the Hamptons Planning Board. And, in retrospect, that was a good thing, too.
Also nixed were two other plans. We were planning on sending up helicopters from East Hampton Airport on Friday afternoon to parachute wine bottles onto the community with notes attached to describe the weekend. The plan was even turned down after we agreed to send the helicopters up at 2 a.m. when everyone is asleep so as not to bop people on the head with them as they landed (which had been one of the objections of the board).
The other project dropped, this time after protests from environmentalists, was our plan to parachute box lunches from twin-engine Cessnas onto the community late on Saturday morning so they could have an early lunch before coming out for the evening up at Sayre.
Having those rumors out of the way, I will now tell you what you WILL enjoy on Dan’s Taste of Summer Weekend.
Friday evening begins at 8 p.m. when the gates open to ticketholders for Dan’s GrillHampton, presented by Café Bustelo and Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. This is a competition as well as a tasting event. It pits eight chefs from eight great restaurants in New York City against eight chefs from eight great restaurants in the Hamptons in a grill-off called “NYC vs. Hamptons.” The event is hosted by Restaurant: Impossible star Robert Irvine. Guests get to taste everything the chefs are grilling and cast their votes for their favorite dish of the night, and another round of judging is done by six gastronomes (I am one of these judges). The winners of the People’s Choice and the Judges’ Choice—as well as who won between Team NYC or Team Hamptons—are announced after we secretly report our findings later in the night. The party then continues until 11 p.m. with music by the Nancy Atlas Project.
The city chefs are Michael DeFonzo from P.J. Clarke’s and Clarke’s Standard, Gabe Thompson from Epicurean Group, Harold Moore from Commerce, Ben Zwicker from T Bar NYC, Elizabeth Karmel from Hill Country Barbeque, Paul Denamiel from Le Rivage, Julian Medina from Toloache and David Standridge from Market Table.
The boys from the country are Billy Oliva of Delmonico’s Southampton, Peter Ambrose from Peter Ambrose Event Catering, Victor Tapia of The Palm, Tom Schaudel of A Mano, Chris Cariello of 1 North Steakhouse, Emanouil Aslanoglou of Old Stove Pub, Arthur Wolf of Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More, and David Hersh of Rumba. Tickets to Dan’s GrillHampton were still available as of press time.
That is not quite the case for Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, which is our Saturday night event. Total capacity for the tent is 1,600, and all VIP tickets for this event are gone. But I understand that as of this writing there are still tickets left for general admission.
At Dan’s Taste of Two Forks—presented by Farrell Building Company and hosted by Katie Lee and Geoffrey Zakarian, who costar on Food Network’s The Kitchen—the people assemble outside the tent and then at a certain moment, 6:30 p.m., the first group of VIP attendees are let loose to come inside to begin eating and drinking from the offerings of more than 40 different restaurants and 13 wineries, followed by general admission at 7:30. You can eat and drink in any order you want. You could have dessert first, then drinks, then the main course, then an appetizer at the end. Where else can you do things that way? Only here. And you can have more from one table and less from another. It’s up to you. You pays your money and you take your choice. It all ends at 10 p.m.
Here is the list of the 41 restaurants that will serve you: 668 The Gigshack; 75 Main; Bay Kitchen Bar; The Bell & Anchor; Citarella; The Coast; Deli Counter Fine Foods & Catering/Andy Mosolino’s Pizza; Delmonico’s of Southampton; Desserts That Matter; Doppio Artisan Bistro; First and South; Fresno; The Frisky Oyster; Georgica; Gosman’s;, Gourmet Sorbet; Grana Trattoria Antica; Harbor Bistro; Harlow East; The Inn Spot on the Bay; Jedediah Hawkins Inn; The Living Room; Lynn’s Hula Hut; Mercado; Navy Beach; Nick & Toni’s; The North Fork Table & Inn; Old Mill Inn; Osteria Salina; Page; Pellegrino’s Pizza Bar & Restaurant; Red Stixs; theRiverheadProject; Sartori Cheese; The Seawater Grill at Gurney’s Montauk; Shuckers Lobster & Clam Bar; Sienna, Cuisine by Donatella; Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More; South Edison, Crave Fishbar, Bo’s Kitchen and Bar Room; Southampton Social Club; Stone Creek Inn; Topping Rose House; Touch of Venice; Westlake Fish House
Here are the 13 wineries who will pour for you: Bedell Cellars, Castello di Borghese, Jamesport Vineyards, Jason’s Vineyards, Lieb Cellars, Macari Vineyards & Winery, Martha Clara Vineyards, One Woman Wines & Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Raphael, Suhru Wines, Waters Crest Winery and Wölffer Estate Vineyard.
And here are the food purveyors who will make their offerings available to you: Amagansett Sea Salt, Anke’s Fit Bakery, Goodwater Farms, Hampton Coffee Company and Joe & Liza’s Ice Cream.
To get more information and to see the full list of sponsors for both events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com. And by the way, there is plenty of parking.