Saturday, September 21, 2013

coastal cheap & chic #7: the hamptons on $20 or less

It must be five o'clock somewhere...
Well, in fact it almost is for those of us who leave east of the East River. After a few very busy weeks with my wonderfully rewarding, not-very-day-job-esque day job, it's time to get back in the zone.

Pond, courtesy of Town of Smithtown. 
Pumpkin Ale, courtesy of the very helpful folks at Lake Ronkonkoma Beverage Company.
And now, I am equipped to tackle the latest edition of Coastal Cheap & Chic...

I should preface this post by saying my husband and I make frugality a game as much as possible. Presented with a Wednesday to myself a few weeks back, I decided a post-Labor Day trip to the Hamptons was in store. Not only would it be quiet, but I could satiate my window shopping curiosity at a few of those cute places without traumatizing perennial good sport, Mr. Cardinal. Win-win.

My rule was to keep it at $20 for the day, food included. (I went over 40 cents, but then I refuse to tip like Rachel Ray.)

After a lovely, leisurely drive out East, I ended up stopping in Easthampton and working my way back west. 

Stop número uno was Citarella, gourmet foodmart transplant from NYC. As I impractically rifled through the extensive selection of pate and cheese, it occurred to me that 1) I should finally have breakfast and 2) I should bring back something for Mr. Cardinal. For $7, I was able to do just that. I picked up a multigrain, sourdough and dinner roll for later, and a coffee and cinnamon puff muffin for breakfast. The muffin had a dense, moist butteriness and was encased in a generous coating of cinnamon and sugar. The Citarella house blend coffee was pleasantly strong, with a pervasive nuttiness. I sat in their cafe area plotting my day of frugality, while much to my amusement the neighboring coffee drinkers strategized their childrens' positioning for Yale. ;-)

After breakfast (or perhaps what really qualified as brunch)  I made my way around all the area shops of interest. One place in particular piqued my curiosity--- a quirky Christian Celle offering called clic which featured a variety of artisanal homewares, textiles, women's and children's clothing. I scored an adorable eco-friendly bag for eight dollars. 

Heading, west I arrived at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, which on Wednesdays does not charge admission. There I could relish in viewing a very fine collection of Jackson Pollock and his contemporaries, as well as number of artists with whom I was not familiar (Fairfield Porter being a new favorite). The new museum, which borders on Duckwalk Vineyards, is quite industrial and contemporary (and I'm guessing, subject to a certain amount of aesthetic criticism). That being said I think the minimalist quality of the building itself and its organic treatment of diffuse light really served the paintings well. While certainly no art or architecture critic, I was really filled with joy having had the opportunity to experience these works in this particular space.


Afterward, I popped by the museum's little café and treated myself to cold cantaloupe soup infused with thyme (about $4 including tax and tip). It was so lovely to sit on the patio and appreciate the building's expansiveness from the outside as well.

Taking everything in, it felt like a true epitaph to summer on Long Island...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

credit where credit is due.

Today the first round of restaurant reviews are going to the Nesconset Post Office, to be delivered to each location I've featured on Coastal Village Girl. Trying to put more good vibes out into the Long Islandverse and acknowledge these restaurants directly! :-)

I made a business card on white cardstock, template courtesy of Beautiful Dawn Designs. This was a wonderful, free alternative, and the style matches the clean aesthetic I adore. Thanks, Beautiful Dawn Designs, for making this lovely freebie available!

My desk. Yes, if you haven't guessed already, my newest obsession is journaling tags (made for scrapbooking, but I use 'em for journaling.)

Some long overdue reviews on the way, plus a Coastal Cheap and Chic featurette about enjoying the Hamptons on $20 or less! Enjoy this beautiful autumnal weather, L.I.!

Friday, September 6, 2013

for a happy, healthy option, just say cheese ...cake.

The Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

When people think of The Cheesecake Factory, what frequently comes to mind are obscenely large portions which will incur a caloric wrath, devastating one for weeks to come.  Happily, I can share with you today that there are a wide breadth of healthy and flavorful options on Cheesecake's menu--- ones that won't break the bank (or your gut.)

Jay Cardinal and I made a trip to our local Lake Grove Cheesecake Factory last week. Located in the open courtyard area of the Smith Haven Mall, the place was hopping even at 9pm when we arrived. Service was prompt and friendly, nonetheless, and we were treated to a very nice meal.

The secret for health conscious consumers is to stick to the Skinnylicilous (tm) menu. The food on this menu is in no way Spartan, and the portions are generous. I ordered the Seared Tuna Tatake Salad, which featured a "Fresh Ahi Lightly Seared and Served Rare with Avocado, Tomato and Mixed Greens Tossed with Wasabi Vinaigrette". The sear was perfect, and there was a nice heat on the crust outlining the Ahi. DH had the Santorini Farro Salad, "A Fresh Light Combination of Farro, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Beets, Red Onion, Feta Cheese and Tzatziki, Tossed with Vinaigrette" and also really enjoyed it, following with the Mexican Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos.

Naturally, I did make some caloric splurges, albeit judicious ones, in the form of an Asian Pear Martini, a tasty drink which fulfilled my monthly girly beverage quota, and a slice of Chocolate Raspberry Truffle cheesecake, which was so rich that I got it to go and savored it over the course of three days. 

Those last details aside, it's entirely possible to be satiated at Cheesecake, whatever your dietary convictions are.

Monday, September 2, 2013

old bethpage village.

Old Bethpage Village had long been on my staycation list. What a delight a few weeks ago when we manage to take a trip out there! After crossing through the visitor center, one felt like they were entering into an entirely different world. eighteenth and nineteenth century historic homes from various areas of Nassau County were relocated here, and in the entire period town (complete with costumed villagers!) awaited us. The "villagers" shared with us history of the homes and the families that originally lived there as well as the lifestyle--- candle and hat making, farming, etc.

Does anyone know why barns are always painted red? Tried asking a former friend from Iowa years ago, and even she didn't know. But they sure look quaint like this!

Beautiful old Protestant church, encased in a lush meadow.

This sprawling garden seemed so inviting. I wanted to go beyond the picket fence but dared not to.

How cute is this pub sign?

Farmland, complete with scarecrow (!)

Look at the smile on this guy...

Don't you want to throw on that hat, grab that basket, and go pick berries?

I loved the simplicity of the furniture and the built-in cabinets.

The General Store. The walls were lined with heavy duty cabinetry, and each cabinet contained a single "department" within the store. A mid-nineteenth century Lord and Taylor...

The  "music department" of the General Store

Until next adventure, Long Island! What fond memories do you have of Old Bethpage Village?