07/11/14 8:00am
07/11/2014 8:00 AM

Industry leaders describe the brown leafy vegetable as salty, sweet, firm and gluten-free, although it can take on different textures depending on preparation techniques. In April, kelp grown by Bren Smith in Connecticut’s Long Island Sound waters was served at a White House dinner — a first, he said, for domestically cultivated kelp.  (more…)

05/07/14 3:00pm
05/07/2014 3:00 PM
Aspiring chef Danny Insogna, 18, of Southold took first place in this year's Long Island High School Culinary Competition, sponsored by Sysco. (Credit: Courtesy)

Aspiring chef Danny Insogna, 18, of Southold took first place in this year’s Long Island High School Culinary Competition, sponsored by Sysco. (Credit: Courtesy)

Aspiring chef Danny Insogna of Southold came back with a vengeance at this year’s Long Island High School Culinary Competition Tuesday afternoon — taking first place and a $4,000 Sysco sponsored scholarship to Suffolk County Community College’s culinary arts program.  (more…)

12/12/13 8:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Greenport Harbor Brewery owner Rich Vandenberg hands out tastings in front of the East End Seaport Maritime Museum during the second annual Greenport Shellabration Saturday

Greenport’s newfound reputation as a destination for foodies and oenophiles was underscored in a big way this past weekend via the second annual Shellabration promotion. The streets of the village were alive with hundreds of would-be gourmands.

And so, too, were restaurants and food shops bustling on what might otherwise have been a relatively quiet winter weekend.

The organizers (founder John Kramer, event chairman Joseph Pagano and Greenport Business Improvement District president Peter Clarke) and beneficiaries (the Greenport Rotary Club and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Southold Project in Aquaculture Training) deserve special thanks for making this year’s Shellabration even bigger and better than 2012’s inaugural event.

And hats off to the participating restaurants and vineyards for presenting the North Fork’s unique synergy of food and wine (and beer!) at its very best.

If we might offer one word of constructive advice, here’s hoping next year’s event succeeds in involving Greenport’s other businesses. Something as simple as offering discounts and/or special promotions to bearers of the Shellabration wristband could be a win-win for all concerned.

11/19/13 7:00am
11/19/2013 7:00 AM
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Pepi's Restaurant in Southold, seen here in Nov. 2013,  reopened its doors late last week.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Pepi’s Restaurant in Southold, seen here in Nov. 2013, reopened its doors late last week.

One year after extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy forced Pepi’s Restaurant to shut its doors, the Southold eatery is back in business.

Nick Gibinska, who has owned Pepi’s Restaurant for nearly 15 years with his wife, Pepi, said the Old Main Road restaurant reopened to the public Nov. 15.

“It feels good,” Mr. Gibinska said of the reopening. “The restaurant is very modern, very clean.”

For now, Mr. Gibinska said, Pepi’s is open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Monday and is available for holiday parties Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In Nov. 2012, shortly after tropical winds from Superstorm Sandy barreled across the Northeastern coastline, Ms. Gibinska told The Suffolk Times the restaurant had been “destroyed.”

“My deck is inside the restaurant,” she said at the time. “We’re trying to save what we can.”

Following the storm last fall, business was moved to the Red Rooster Bistro, which the couple also owns, on Depot Lane in Cutchogue.


11/10/13 5:14pm
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Scott Oliver serves chowder to Keri Ann Mahoney of Shelter Island outside Front Street Station.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Scott Oliver serves chowder to Keri Ann Mahoney of Shelter Island outside Front Street Station.

The Taste North Fork event had mixed weather for its second full day of activities showcasing local farmers, vintners, restaurants and businesses.

Greenport Village was crowded with hundreds of people enjoying demonstrations and tastings at the large tent in Mitchell Park and in many of the restaurants and shops.

10/14/13 3:42pm
10/14/2013 3:42 PM

Sannino Bella Vita Winery in Peconic has been ranked third on TripAdvisor’s list of America’s Top 10 Winery Tours.

TripAdvisor, one the world’s largest travel sites, said it ranked vineyard tours across the country based on a simple but important criteria: “The opportunity for wine aficionados and novice tasters alike to enjoy sensational sips while learning the vine-to-wine story behind delicious vintages.”

Sannino Bella Vita took the third spot behind two California vineyards, Pride Mountain Vineyards in St. Helena and Hendry Ranch Wines in Napa. The Peconic vineyard beat out six other Califorinia wineries and one Wisconsin vineyard that made the list.

And you can take the top-ranked tour yourself. From now through Oct. 27, Sannino Bella Vita is offering winemaking tours, given by owner and winemaker, Anthony Sannino, every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets are $25 and reservations are required. Call 631-734-8282 or email info@sanninovineyard.com.



09/22/13 8:00am
09/22/2013 8:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | North Fork Table & Inn owners Gerry Hayden and his wife, Claudia Fleming-Hayden, inside the Southold restaurant in a 2011 photo.

Local chefs and artisans will band together to help raise money for Gerry Hayden, the longtime executive chef and co-owner of Southold’s North Fork Table & Inn, who was diagnosed in 2011 with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“A Love Shared,” scheduled for Oct. 13 at 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue, will include a wine and amuse-bouche tasting followed by an intimate, family-style dinner prepared by noted North Fork chefs, including Lia Fallon of The Riverhead Project and Keith Luce, of Greenport’s The Square. Local shops and artisans — including Catapano Dairy Farm in Peconic and Southold’s A Taste of the North Fork — will provide hors d’oeuvres.

Event organizers hope to raise $75,000 to help provide quality-of-life care for Mr. Hayden, who is 48, and also to support ALS research.

“The event was sparked by an outpouring from the community around me, to help me with my quest to eradicate ALS permanently,” Mr. Hayden wrote in an e-mail. “It was my idea to start a farmers market at the restaurant and have only the farmers we use at the restaurant to share and promote the farm-to-table philosophy.”

Maria McBride, an event planner with Peconic Productions who is helping coordinate “A Love Shared,” said she began talking with Mr. Hayden earlier this year about putting together an event. “If Gerry can get up each day and face his health challenges with humor and grit, then we knew we could certainly create a memorable party to raise money to support Gerry’s fight with ALS,” she said.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a rapidly progressing, incurable and fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness that results in paralysis, according to the Stony Brook University School of Medicine website.

As the phrenic nerve to the diaphragm muscles fails, patients lose the ability to breathe without ventilator support.

Mr. Hayden, who has lost the use of his hands to the disease, said he plans to publish a memoir about how cooking and food have molded him. The book will also include recipes.

In the meantime, Mr. Hayden said, there are three things he’d like to raise awareness for, three things close to his heart: funding for ALS research, the North Fork’s artisan farming community and the tight-knit, talented community of Long Island chefs he belongs to.

“‘A Love Shared’ is my mantra now,” he said. “The phrase itself is how I would liked to be remembered.”

Tickets for “A Love Shared” cost $250 each; only 200 are available.

To purchase tickets or make a donation, visit aloveshared.com or leave a message with Peconic Productions at 631-862-5414.


09/07/13 6:00pm
09/07/2013 6:00 PM
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Downtown Riverhead restaurant Cliff's Rendezvous, which closed at the end of June due to damage from a kitchen fire, reopened its doors Sept. 7.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Downtown Riverhead restaurant Cliff’s Rendezvous, which closed at the end of June due to damage from a kitchen fire, reopened its doors Sept. 7.

A little more than two months after a small kitchen fire forced Cliff’s Rendezvous to close its doors, the downtown Riverhead restaurant reopened for business today with little fanfare but heaps of happy customers.

Christina Saunders, whose husband, Cliff Saunders, owns the casual bar and eatery, said Saturday afternoon she and her husband didn’t know until “the last minute” when the restaurant would be able to reopen.

“We had to make sure everything was in place,” she said. “We got all the permits and all the inspections done. Everybody gave us the green light, so as of yesterday we said, ‘That’s it! We can do it.’ We’ve been waiting a very long time.’ ”

A grease fire broke out at the popular restaurant June 25 when, Mr. Saunders said, one of the chefs in the kitchen left a pan of bacon unattended near the oven and boiler. Although it suffered minor damage, a small section of the restaurant’s roof near the chimney was charred as a result of the fire and carpeting in the lower dining room was damaged and needed to be replaced as well, Mr. Saunders said.

While Cliff’s Rendezvous was closed, Ms. Saunders said, she and the crew took time to give the restaurant a deep cleaning and make some repairs. Both the upper and lower dining room’s carpeted floors were replaced with ceramic tile that looks like hardwood flooring.

“We made good use of the time,” she said.

Lou Welsh, who has been the bartender at Cliff’s Rendezvous for the past 17 years, said between customers he was happy the restaurant had reopened.

“It’s been a long time,” he said.

To thank the firefighters who helped extinguish the fire, Ms. Saunders said the restaurant plans to host a dinner for the Riverhead Fire Department Monday evening.

“[The fire] was in the middle of that heat wave and some of the firefighters were in full uniform,” Ms. Saunders said. “We’ve been here a long time and they came out for us, and it’s nice to be able to say thank you.”


09/05/13 12:00pm
09/05/2013 12:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | There were plenty of wines available at the Harvest East End celebration Aug. 24 at McCall Wines in Cutchogue.

The fourth annual celebration of Long Island Wine Country, known as Harvest East End, raised close to $50,000 for its beneficiaries: East End Hospice, Group for the East End and the Peconic Land Trust, as well as the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation, according to a press release.

The event, organized by the Long Island Wine Council with support from Merliance, celebrated wine country’s 40th anniversary and brought more than 1,300 people to McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue Aug. 24.

It was the first time the event was held on the North Fork. Governor Andrew Cuomo attended the event and presented McCall Wines owner Russ McCall with a plaque for a “Winery of the Year” award, which he won at the 2013 New York Wine & Food Classic.


Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele also made an appearance.

Officials premiered a 30-second commercial promoting wine production in New York State. The spot is expected to run this fall throughout the region.

This year’s event surpassed last years fundraising total by close to $4,000, according to the release.

“There is a reason why so many of Long Island’s wines earn premium scores by our reviewers,” said Adam Strum, Editor & Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, which helped sponsor the event. “The wines of this region are distinct and delicious, elegant and eminently food-friendly. Long Island definitely is a wine region to watch.”


08/13/13 2:30pm

DAWN WATSON PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTHAMPTON PRESS| The scene at the 2012 Harvest East End. The event moves to Cutchogue for the first time this year.

We’re raffling off two tickets to Harvest East End and you have less than two days to enter the contest on northforker.com.

The event features 42 wineries and 34 restaurants helping to celebrate 40 years of Long Island winemaking. The event benefits East End Hospice, Group for the East End, The Peconic Land Trust and the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Foundation.

Harvest East End takes place Aug. 24 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at McCall Vineyards.


Click here to view the instructions and enter the raffle.