Labor Day Loves

I always find myself dreading Labor Day.  It's like the last hurrah - the unofficial end of summer.  Whomp, Whomp! This year, instead of moping about the imminent winter weather, and the busy Fall season, let's savor the last of what summer in city has to offer - Hurricane Hermine or not... 

The city is is always spectacular during holiday weekends. Most everyone is out of the city, traffic is non-existent, and UBER is giving rides away (50% off all rides through Labor Day Monday, and $5 UBER pool rides all throughout Brooklyn--Holler!!). 

So, what to do this weekend? Go to the U.S. Open.  A short ride on the 7 train gets you to Arthur Ashe stadium where a full day of good tennis, food and drink awaits. The main matches are not dependent on the weather as this is the first year the stadium has a retractable roof. 

Look I'm In Queens! Entrance to the Open and Arthur Ashe Stadium is in the background.

I found the perfect balance of "Luxe-Americana" (yes, I'm coining that term) with an official Pat La Freida hot dog and glass of Moet Brut Imperial.  

My #MoetMoment at The Open. 

I also love partaking of the last of the outdoor busy summer offerings.  Grab some oysters and a great drink at Grand Banks.  This is a super cute hangout on the Hudson River that is always busy, and now with the city so quiet, it is much easier to grab some seats at the bar.  

My all time favorite outdoor resto is  Barbuto.  Boy, does Chef Jonathan Waxman know how to roast a chicken. Every table is great at this open air eatery with large garage doors that make you feel as though you are dining outside. Take that Hurricane Hermine! 

 

As a New Yorker, I love roof-topping.  Le Bain and Top of the Standard have some of the best views of the city's sunset. It's a little scene-y but it gives me a good reason to grab some friends and make our own party over a bottle of Champs. 

Although I am always one for a getaway, sometimes staying in the city over a long weekend is even better.  Enjoy!

<3 Love, Camille... 

PS: If you are jones-ing for some good BBQ this Labor Day, I have some spots for you...Pig Beach, The Smoke Joint, and Fette Sau. Also, you can never go wrong with Danny Meyer's Blue Smoke

PPS: As usual, all photo credit is yours truly :) 

Cam's Kitchen

Dinner at my house is the best.  There is nothing more that I love than going to my local shop seeing what looks fresh and delicious and coming up with what's for dinner. 

Recently I was in the mood for pasta, which is rare for me as I do my best to stay away from gluten and those pesky simple carbohydrates, but sometimes a girl needs a noodle. So after going to my very charming local market (The Greene Grape Provisions), I decided on gluten free (quinoa and rice) spaghetti, lump crab, homemade puttanesca sauce, and I threw in a few large gulf shrimp for good measure. 

I got home cracked open a bottle of Mersault (a delicious white Burgundy), turned on Nina Simone, and got to work.  Nina gets me every time with 'Who am I?'...

I'm not one for recipes as I usually throw in a little bit of this and little bit of that, but this would be my best attempt: 

Cam's Kitchen in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

One package gluten free spaghetti (the regular stuff will work fine too)
1 jar jumbo lump crab meat (12 oz)
6-8 large gulf shrimp peeled and de-veined. (tip: leave tails on as they add flavor)
1 small bunch of fresh tarragon
1 small bunch fresh chives (reserve ¼ for garnish)
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce (tip: you can cheat and nix the capers, and olives and just buy a good puttanesca sauce)
1 tsp capers
1 cup kalamata olives (sliced in half)
1 tsp chili flake (I like it HOT!)
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 medium size shallot finely chopped
2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp sea salt
1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp butter
A couple of shakes of Old Bay
1 bottle good white wine for drinking and you are welcome to add a glug or two around the pan

Spaghetti with Lump Crab, Gulf Shrimp, Capers and Olives

• Fill a large pot with water and salt and heat covered on high. Chop your garlic, shallots, chives, olives and tarragon if you haven’t already
• In a large skillet heat olive oil (enough to cover the pan); half the garlic, shallots, and chili flake on medium heat
• Once shallots are translucent add shrimp and zest one lemon into pan—a little salt and pepper doesn’t hurt either…
• When shrimp start to turn pink and curl, flip to the other side and squeeze juice of ½ lemon
• After 2 min take the shrimp out of pan and let cool on separate plate. Save those bad boys for later
• Once water starts to boil add pasta and a dash olive oil and stir. Let cook according to package uncovered
• In the same large skillet remove any crispy shallots/garlic and add a little more olive oil (eyeball it--about 1 tbsp) and 1 tbsp butter
• Add crab, Old Bay, chives, 1 tsp tarragon, capers and olives. Let cook in medium to low heat for 3 minutes while stirring
• Add tomato sauce and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 4-6 minutes and add a ¼ cup of pasta water to skillet (this will help sauce bind to pasta once combined) This is also the point where you add the wine if you wish…let simmer another 7-8 minutes to burn off the alcohol
• Drain cooked pasta and add to crab sauce in skillet add cooked shrimp as well. Cover and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Garnish with left over chives, et VOILA!

<3 Love, Camille...

North Forking Daah-ling

This summer I fell in love with the North Fork. 

504 and my delicious glass of Cab Franc...

Mc Call Vineyards--Cab Franc vines to the right, burgers straight ahead! 

Driving out east, as the smog, tension and anxiety of New York City wanes, you check your phone less and start paying more attention to the quiet two lane road that leads to a relaxing, delicious salvation.

I was lucky enough to get an invite from my friend Brewster McCall who (no big deal) happens to own a vineyard.  His charming little guest house on his family’s alfalfa pasture is the perfect weekend pied-a-terre boasting three bedrooms, a full kitchen, and the most amazing maple tree.  The house is just down the main road from the vineyard and we were able to meet up with Brewster for the vineyard’s weekly Friday burger night.  The experience was super cute as the North Fork Table & Inn’s food truck serves the McCall Ranch’s Charolais beef raised on the vineyard. These McCall’s know how to do it right, and not only were they named the best New York vineyard in 2013, the property is sustainably wind powered and was the first to do so on the North Fork.  After getting an up close and personal tour of the ranch, I fell in love with cow number 504 who because he was nursed by hand is approachable, friendly, and dare I say it, lovable.  I had a brief City Slickers moment, and wanted to bring 504 home with me and name him Norman.  He’s a cow after my own heart going straight for my wine glass, a sip of the 2013 Cab Franc, and a lil' nuzzle.  More on 504 in the next blog if I ever decide to become a vegetarian…

We also stopped at Breeze Hill Farms and met Amy Dawn the proprietor who told us all about her haunted farmhouse as we snacked on freshly made hot apple cider doughnuts.  I repeat…HOT APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUTS.  These suckers were pulled right out of the fryer, and a quick toss of cinnamon and sugar made these the best doughnuts I've ever tasted. She told us how she grew up playing in the orchard trees on the property and lives completely off the land.  She and her team run the farm stand and take turns restocking produce and pulling hot pies out of the oven. After making fast friends, she invited us back to Breeze Hill for a farm-to-table meal she would personally prepare. Not for nothing, Im totally taking her up on this offer, as she fishes in a kayak on her private beach for her dinner and barters amazing homemade babaganoush with mushrooms on her farm.  

Claudios Clam Bar is the spot for steamers and a cold beer...

A fifteen minute drive from our little guest house brought us to the charming town of Greenport.  Here we had a quick snack at Basso  where the cheese, and paper thin charcuterie is straight out of Italy.  They also offer a tasty and authentic anti pasta of sun dried tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and roasted red peppers. Greenport is where you can catch the Shelter Island Ferry.  Before or after you hop on the boat, there is Claudioswith the best waterfront real estate, and happens to be the oldest family owned restaurant in the U.S. *Insider Tip: go to the clam bar as it is right on the water and plays live music--also not as fancy as the mother resto. 

A little ways down the pier is Little Creek Oyster Bar. It is a true standout in Greenport as it's a charming seaside shack where you get the privilege of shucking your own oysters.  After a quick tutorial by our server, we were left with a glove, a knife, and our own technique.  It was tough at first, but once we got the hang of it, they were the most delicious oysters I ever had.  The gratification of cracking one open makes it 10 times tastier than any oyster bar in the city. 

Awww Shucks! WE WENT IN! 

I have to say that my North Fork visit is what I imagined summer on Long Island to be.  The sunflower fields and local farms stands peppering the North Road are nostalgic, and the amount of affordable farm fresh produce is overwhelming. It's farm and wine country where the vibe is laid back and carefree. Unlike its sister to the south, there is no scene, pretension, or all white party to attend.  Don't get me wrong, the Hamptons are fabulous especially if you have a house, a pool and good friends to create your own party. However the North Fork has vineyards and nice people with farms wanting to cook for you.  Im just saying, that while everyone's worried about getting into the hottest restaurant of the summer that transforms into a night club at 9pm, Ill take a glass of Cab Franc and a cow any day.

<3 Love, Camille...

PS...Check out these other spots that we visited and were highly recommended: Wednesday's Table, North Fork Coffee Roasters, American Beech, Sparkling Pointe

PPS...All photo credit goes to your truly :)