Food Rescue US Hosts Benefit to End Food Insecurity in Fairfield County at Abigail Kirsch at The Loading Dock

Screen Shot Food Rescue US

Food Rescue US Hosts Annual Food for All Event on April 25, 6:30PM Benefit to End Food Insecurity in Fairfield County at Abigail Kirsch at The Loading Dock The Best of Local Restaurants and Bars Featured at This Popular Eating and Strolling Event.

Last year I was introduced to an amazing charitable organization, Food Rescue US, a technology-fueled, direct-transfer food rescue organization dedicated to ending American food insecurity. I was surprised to know just how many Americans are "food insecure" and those who are might surprise you, as they did me. I was also quite surprised to learn how many food insecure families live in our otherwise wealthy suburbs. Food Rescue US is able to help these families by directly transferring fresh, usable food that would have otherwise been thrown away from grocers, restaurants, and other food industry sources to food insecure families throughout the U.S. 

With a former client of mine, B.GOOD Fairfield, I experienced first-hand, the joy of being able to "rescue" this amazing food and deliver it to those in need.  This food consists of items that may no longer be sold due to store expiration dates, yet is fresh, vibrantly colorful and incredibly nutritious. Among the items that would otherwise be tossed are freshly baked breads, seafood, fish, meat, poultry, and some of the most gorgeous produce you've ever seen. Food is delivered from restaurants, grocers, bakeries, caterers and other food-service organizations and delivered to soup-kitchens, food-pantries and other hunger relief organizations who serve food-insecure individuals and families. The best part about this is that anyone can help as long as they have access to a car and about 30 minutes a week to spare.
(To learn more about getting involved click HERE.)

Food Rescue US is thrilled, once again, to present their signature fundraising event, Food for All. The event highlights the Food Rescue US goals for the coming year and pays gratitude to all of the volunteers and supporters who share the desire to end food insecurity in our community. Food for All has become one of the area's most popular strolling and eating events featuring some of the the hottest local restaurants and artisans.

Every dollar raised will provide meals to 20 people in need!

An exclusive Cocktail Hour will take place from 5:30pm-6:30pm. Tickets for this are $250 and include access to private pre-event cocktails and food presented by Chef Bill Taibe of Kawa Ni, Jessup Hall and Whelk.  These tickets will also cover the general admissions event.
General Admission tickets are $125, and all can be purchased HERE

Food Rescue US Co-Founder Kevin Mullins said, “Now in its 8th year Food For All has become an event the community really anticipates. First of all because the food and drinks are so amazing and secondly, people love finding out about all the best new restaurants in Fairfield County and this event has become a place to discover. But most importantly this event has funded an absolute revolution for innovation as it relates to feeding hungry people. This year we hope to raise the funds necessary to rescue and deliver 3 million meals.”

And guess what?!?!? I have TWO TICKETS to GIVE AWAY! Value $250.00. Simply leave a comment here or on my Instagram page and tell me why you want to attend this fabulous event

Event Details: 6:30-9 PM Abigail Kirsch at The Loading Dock
375 Fairfield Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902
Tickets: $125

Featured Restaurants:

Abigail Kirsch
Amis
Bar Zepoli
Beach House
Bobby Q’s
Flinders Lane
Harlan House
Kawa Ni
Knot Norms Catering
Match Burger Lobster
My Myx Kitchen
Roger Sherman Inn
Saltwater Sono
Taproot
The Spread
Village Social

Food Rescue US is grateful for the generous sponsorship of this year's event: Northern Trust, Whole Foods, main media sponsor Serendipity, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, Nestle Waters, Bank of Ireland, CTbites and The Elizabeth and Joseph Massoud Family Foundation.

 

Warm Cinnamon Sugar Mini Donut Muffins

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Baked, not fried! These warm, buttery, cinnamon sugar donut mini muffins don't pretend to be healthy, but kids (and grownups) love them and they're the perfect antidote to a cold, wintry morning. These delicious little treats are super easy to make and bake up in practically no time. Leftovers also make a great after-school snack. Expecting guests for the weekend? Set a plate or bowl of these delicious little bites by the coffee maker for them to help themselves to.

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FOR THE MUFFINS:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I always eyeball and add a tad more than suggested)
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Butter, melted and slightly cooled

FOR THE COATING:
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar*
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon*
5 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
* Again I eyeball these measurements as well - I prefer to use a little more cinnamon. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin tin and set aside.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
3. In a small bowl beat the egg, then whisk together the milk, vanilla extract, and melted butter. 
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until well blended.
5. Spoon batter into muffin cups about 1/2 - 3/4 of the way full.  
Bake in preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes for mini muffins and 25 -27 minutes for regular sized muffins.  
Let muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan or they'll fall apart.

For the topping:  
In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon and sugar.  
Melt butter in a saucepan and remove from heat. Dip the muffins into the butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on your serving dish of choice. 

Cranberry Almond Monkey Bread

 Cranberry Almond Monkey Bread - A festive New Year's Day Breakfast

Cranberry Almond Monkey Bread - A festive New Year's Day Breakfast

I wanted to make my kids something special for Christmas breakfast but I didn't want to spend hours in the kitchen that morning or the night before. I wanted something that was fun, informal and yet festive.  The idea of monkey bread came to mind suddenly and we hadn't had it in years. In the past I've made it with raisins, but this year I decided to make it a bit more festive with almonds and cranberries.

Our result was a delicious success! We had made so much in fact, that there was plenty enough leftover for our New Year's Morning breakfast. (I Simply transferred the remainders to a glass pie dish in which I will quickly re-bake and serve them. This recipe is simple enough to feed the family and yet special enough to serve guests at a Sunday brunch.

While one could make the dough from scratch if one was so inclined, I have great success using Pillsbury™ Grands!™ - and this recipe has been adapted from the Pillsbury site.  

Serves 8
Prep 15 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (16.3 oz each) of Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated Original biscuits
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 large plastic Zip-Lock type bag

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 12-cup tube pan. In large plastic Zip-Lock type bag, add the granulated sugar and cinnamon and shake well in the bag, then add the almonds and the cranberries.

Separate the 16 biscuits from both cans, cutting each into about 6 pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball, then and add them to the sugar mixture in the bag. When each ball has been added, seal the bag tightly and shake well ensuring that each piece is well covered.  

In small saucepan add the brown sugar, butter and almond extract. Stir well as the butter begins to melt, incorporating the sugar into the mixture. When the butter and sugar have blended together, removed from heat and set aside. 

Pour out the dough, sugar, nuts and cranberries into the tube pan, arranging so that the pan is evenly covered, then pour the warm butter mixture over the dough balls, as evenly as possible. 

Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and none of the balls seem doughy in the center. Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.  Turn over, upside, down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm. (As you'll notice above mine doesn't have the hole in the middle from the tube pan. It was still pretty warm when I tried to flip it over onto the plate and the center collapsed! I still think it looked pretty and it tasted delicious! 

 

Westport's Best Kept Secret :: Hummock Island Oyster Tours

 Hummock Island Oyster Tours, Westport, CT. All images property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House

Hummock Island Oyster Tours, Westport, CT. All images property of Jessica Gordon Ryan and The Entertaining House

About a week or so ago I had the privilege of joining a group of 8 led by Jeff Northrop Senior and Junior for a newly created Oyster Farm Tour on the family-owned Hummock Island in Westport, Connecticut. An oyster lover myself, I couldn't pass up this opportunity. I've only recently come to truly appreciate just how delicious those are in our own backyard.

We gathered in front of Elvira's, a small deli, where we met Jeff Sr. who took us over to the island.  The adventure began when we climbed into the boat. The ride itself, less than 10 minutes, set the tone for the rest of the evening to come. It was one that was both informative and yet casual and relaxing.

 Hummock Island Oyster Tours - Jeff Northrup, Sr.

Hummock Island Oyster Tours - Jeff Northrup, Sr.

 Scenic boat ride to Hummock Island on Oyster Tour

Scenic boat ride to Hummock Island on Oyster Tour

As we motored across Sherwood Mill Pond we learned a little bit about the surrounding waters. We saw the oyster cages all lined up and learned that each cage houses roughly 1000 oysters. These farmed bivalves feed off of the algae which occurs naturally in the pond waters. Oysters get the nutrients from the algae by filtering the water through their gills. Because of this, and because there are so many oysters in the Mill Pond, the water is significantly cleaner than even the Long Island Sound.  For more on what oysters eat hop on over to In a Half Shell, a wonderful website dedicated entirely to oysters.

 Scenic boat ride to Hummock Island on Oyster Tour

Scenic boat ride to Hummock Island on Oyster Tour

 Oyster cages in the salty ponds of 

Oyster cages in the salty ponds of 

Once we got to Hummock Island guests settled into Adirondack chairs on the porch while Jeff Senior told us of the history of oystering in Connecticut and how the company came to be. It all began 1741 when the pond was awarded as a grant from the British King and a hundred or so years later a house was erected on the tiny island which would serve as a residence for the “oyster guard” who kept watch over the surrounding waters. The farm is still family run by Jeff Northrop Sr. and was most recently joined by son Jeff Jr. who left a career in finance to help his father with the business. 

Westport-based Hummock Island Oyster Company has long been known for their outstanding oysters and their clients are indeed impressive ones with distribution in New York, Boston and Pennsylvania. Upscale local restaurants such as The Whelk and Pearl at Longshore get their oysters from Hummock Island. The highly acclaimed Blue Hill Farm relies on Hummock Island exclusively.

While "dad" took on the role of historian, "son" was shucking away on the other end of the porch, halving the oysters for us to taste. Jeff Jr. Showed us how to properly shuck an oyster and walked us through the tasting. There were no accoutrements - no lemon, mignonette or cocktail sauce - to top them off with and so what one tastes is the natural salinity of the water in which they live and the briny, sweetness of the meats themselves.

 Hummock Island Oyster Tours - Jeff Northrop, Jr.

Hummock Island Oyster Tours - Jeff Northrop, Jr.

 Guests enjoy themselves on the porch as Jeff Sr. discusses the intricacies of oyster farming

Guests enjoy themselves on the porch as Jeff Sr. discusses the intricacies of oyster farming

 Our Oyster Tour's Youngest guest - along for the ride. (Hummock Island Oyster Tours)

Our Oyster Tour's Youngest guest - along for the ride. (Hummock Island Oyster Tours)

The experience is family friendly and exciting for adults and children of all ages. In fact, children are encouraged to attend, and those under 12 are free with a paying adult. 

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 Jeff Jr shows guests how to properly shuck an oyster. (Hummock Island Oyster Tour)

Jeff Jr shows guests how to properly shuck an oyster. (Hummock Island Oyster Tour)

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Oysters

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I wondered after eating what seemed to be an endless amount, whether one could eat too many of these delicious bivalves. And then I decided that the answer was no! In fact, the nutritional benefits are many. A single serving has about 5 grams of protein and about 2 grams of carbohydrates. They're also high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B-12, as well as zinc and iron.

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Oyster cages and tumblers help to sort oysters, separating them by size, eliminating those too small and helping to distribute nutrients. This ensures that the best possible products are being delivered to restaurants and distributors. Thanks to modern technology, their farming process is smarter and more sustainable, something which is of great importance to the Northrop family.

 Closeup of a Hummock Island Oyster

Closeup of a Hummock Island Oyster

Unlike many other oyster farms, no additives are added to Hummock Island oyster cages. Their tidal gates allow for over 2.5 million cubic meters of fresh, nutrient-rich water to enter the pond where shallow waters create the perfect environment for cultivating firm white meats, beautiful shell formation, and an intimate merroir.

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While we were there 2 blue crabs and several small fish found themselves among the oysters in a cage and Jeff Jr released them back into the pond. It was amusing to watch them scamper off the deck sideways directly towards the water. They needed no help with directions! 

I recently spoke with Jeff Jr. and asked about the inspiration behind these newly-created tours. "We wanted to be able to offer the community something completely different; to provide an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience that's engaging, informative and fun. We also want to be able to share this indescribably special place that's right in everyone's backyard."

Having had the incredible opportunity to visit Hummock Island myself I can attest to the fact that the experience truly is one that is magical and unforgettable.

Artists and photographers take note! The setting on Hummock Island, especially at sunset is pure magic. We caught the most spectacular lighting as light and shadows shifted over the course of the evening. In addition to delicious oysters, you'll be inspired to paint or take pictures! See below.

 The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT 

The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT 

 The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT

The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT

Hummock Island Oyster Farm Tour Takeaways and Tips

 The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT

The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT

Tour Schedule (Approx an hour and a half):

  • Our time was leisurely and unrushed as we toured the small island, learned the lores of the oyster business and the house on the island. The tour was informative and entertaining.
  • Parking is indeed a challenge.
    Those from Westport can find limited on-street parking (with proof of residency) and those from surrounding areas and out of town can temporarily park at the site of the former Positano Restaurant. You'll meet at Elvira's, a small deli. There you can load up on water and snacks and use the bathrooms as there are none on the island. You'll walk across the street to Tide Gates at Old Mill where you'll hop on a boat which will take you over to Sherwood Mill Pond to Hummock Island. During the busy summer months consider using Uber or having someone drop you off.
     
  • Arrive a few minutes early.
    Because parking is a challenge and because you don't want to keep everyone waiting.
     
  • In case of inclement weather a rain date will be offered.
  • Dress comfortably and sensibly and for the weather.
    In the spring and fall evenings can get chilly. Wear sweaters and bring jackets. Sunglasses are a good idea.
     
  • Wear boots or shoes that can get wet. 
     
  • Bring your own snacks to enjoy with the oysters.
    Crackers and cheese, wine and champagne are popular choices.
     
  • Make sure your phones are fully charge.
    You WILL want to take pictures
     
  • Photographers, bring your cameras and any additional lenses you may want. 
     
  • Artists, brings your sketchbooks, pens and pencils 

For more information and to book your own tour visit their website here, http://www.hummockisland.com/

 The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT

The views from Hummock Island at Sunset. Westport, CT

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Thank you Northrops, for an absolutely wonderful and unforgettable experience! 

Mediterranean Heirloom Tomato Salad

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It's Thursday which means it's Farmer's Market day, which means I can load up on all my wonderful heirloom tomatoes and fresh peppers, cukes and all the other deliciousness that I can find there including meats, cheeses, breads, pastas, honeys, jams... Our farmer's markets are impressive and the more popular they become, the more impressive they get. If I could get nothing tomorrow but tomatoes, I would be a happy camper. I have been eating tomatoes every which way lately. The cherry and grape-sized varieties are my favorites these days for I can easily pop them into my mouth or simply halve them to start the base of a really good salad. And even though locally-grown lettuces are abundant, I have lately been opting to have my salads without, focusing almost exclusively on the tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh peppers that abound. Sometimes I'll toss in some fresh beets for a touch of sweetness and offset it with some goat cheese for softness, or some gorgonzola for a bit more of a bite. My variation of a Greek, or Mediterranean salad is pretty much my go-to. Add a slice of crusty bread and we have a fabulous lunch made in no time flat!

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There's no right or wrong way to make this, and I usually just eyeball amounts depending on what I have. Here's a list of ingredients with estimated amounts. Feel free to alter as you wish - using more or less of those ingredients you prefer. Amounts below are for 1 individual serving. You can double, triple, quadruple as you wish!

INGREDIENTS:
6-8 small cherry, grape or other smaller sized tomatoes - I prefer to use a medley of red, yellow and green
1/2 small pickling cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 slices of jalapeño, chopped OR
1 tbs sliced green onion
1 small, or 1/4-1/2 sweet pepper, such as red, orange or multi-colored
6 Greek or Kalamata olives thinly sliced
Optional: 1/4 cup beets cut into bite sized pieces
1-2 tbs crumbled goat cheese
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A dash of dried oregano
Drizzle of olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
As you prep your veggies toss them into a bowl, add the cheese, olive oil and spices and toss well. May eat immediately or set aside until ready to serve.

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Shishito Peppers :: From the Farmer's Market to your Table

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I had my first blistered shishito pepper about five years ago. I was in the UK and they were presented to me alongside numerous other tapas. I had never had one before and passed for fear they might be too hot. I like heat and I seem to be adding jalapeños to lots of things these days, but in miniscule amounts. I mean, I would never dare to simply bite into one whole. I was assured that for the most part these were mild peppers, though every so often a rare spicy one emerges from the bunch, which seems to make eating these little green treats even more fun.

These little Japanese peppers, part of the Capsaicin family, are mild with a slight peppery flavor, not unlike a traditional green pepper although its long, slender shape isn't dissimilar to the jalapeño. They traditionally grow in the summer months and you'll find them in abundance at your local farmer's market.

Craving something salty and wanting to be relatively healthy (trying to keep away from the potato chips) I decided that I would try my hand at blistering them. I found a recipe from the New York Times and saw that all I needed in addition to the peppers was olive oil and salt. Since I didn't have three pounds I just decided to wing it on my own. After all, blistering a few peppers wasn't exactly brain science. I had purchased a quart but since I had given about half of them to a friend I wasn't sure just how many I had, my guess was roughly a pint.

Over a large cast iron skillet (my latest favorite cooking tool) I added about a tablespoon of olive oil and brought the temperature up. As the oil started to smoke slightly I added the peppers to the pan and turned the heat down slightly. They all fit in perfectly. I let them blister for about 10 minutes or so, turning them a couple of times so that all the sides would get a nice deep, char. When they were done I placed them onto a plate and sprinkled them generously with salt. I used a Sea Salt but think I would have prefered a Himalayan or a Maldon. Even a lemon salt for a zesty kick. 

I popped on into my mouth and took a bite. It was divine - mild and peppery with a nice smokiness  from the char. I took another bite, pulled off the stem, placed it on my plate and went in for another. I repeated these steps until there was not one pepper left!

Ingredients:
1 pint - 1 quart of shishito peppers
1-2 Tbs of good olive oil
Coarse salt, as needed
A large (12 inch) skillet

Directions:
Heat the oil in the pan until it gets hot - it might start to smoke.
Add the peppers into the pan, aligning them so that they all fit. (If they don't remove half)
Keep them in the pan for about 10 minutes or so until they start to char and blister, turning a couple of times.
Remove from pan when ready.
Arrange on a plate.
Add salt, coarse salt is best.
Eat! 

Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing

 Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

Looking for recipes that would allow me to take full advantage of all the wonderful tomatoes found at the farmer's market this time of year brought me back to the mid 1990s and my favorite restaurant in Italy.

My grandmother had just renovated a villa in the hills of Umbria in a wonderful medieval town of Citta della Pieve in Perugia. The old Villa Rosetta is steeped in history, purported to have been named after King Emanuel 2nd's lover, Rosa. And although he was married it is said that Rosa was his one true love. She gave him 2 children, Vittoria and Emanuel. I had heard rumors of an underground tunnel leading from Villa Rosetta to the King's home in Rome. So naturally, I tried looking for it and had no luck. This Umbrian home that was named after the King's true love would, centuries later,  become a German command post in the Second World War.  How fitting then, that a former American Navy Pilot who also happened to be a German and a Jew would end up living at the home with his wife (who also happened to have German and Jewish ancestry).

This husband and wife were my grandparents. My grandmother bought this home as a present to herself for her 70th Birthday. After teaching herself Italian she began the massive renovations to make the home liveable. (Because this was to be a summer home, she spared herself the expense of modernizing it with heat!) Her renovations included restoring all of the home's frescoed ceilings, installing a swimming pool, tennis court and the most magnificent gardens that yielded the most divine bounty.

We typically took lunch at home, on the terrace, poolside if the weather allowed. Lunches were always the same, and we dined on salad daily with items meticulously grown and handpicked from her own gardens. The only thing that would vary was the bread picked up at the local bakery. For dinner we went out almost every night. When we stayed in town, there were two restaurants she favored and everyone knew and greeted Signor and Signora Bachmann by name. But it was Trattoria Bruno Coppetta (Bruno's) that completely stole our hearts, captivated our tastebuds and is permanently etched in my own memory. Although I haven't been in 20 years I can remember with the utmost clarity the many wonderful dishes I ate... We were fed handsomely and one dish was better than the next. It was at Bruno's where I would enjoy many of my "firsts" which would hold the standard to which today's dishes are measured. To know really good food one must have experienced it from the source. New York Times Restaurant and Food Critic Patricia Brooks shared that thought with me over lunch one day a few weeks ago in New Canaan. And so Bruno's still holds the gold standard.

 Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

It was at Bruno's that I would have my first Panzanella -- a Tuscan bread salad that is out of this world. A good panzanella will be abundant with freshly picked, perfectly ripened tomatoes. For my own, I used just a small amount of bread for taste and texture. (I am trying desperately to watch my carbs.) It is suggested and encouraged to use a day old crusty bread that will absorb the juices and not get soggy. You really need a hearty bread for this dish; the type I refer to as Crunch and Chew. One that has a solid crust and a dense dough. A fresh bread that's mostly airy dough and less crust will feel heavy and soggy and that's not what we are after here. The salad is best when made ahead of time allowing the tomatoes to marinate in the dressing, with the bread tossed in just prior to serving. 

Now there are, of course, varied ways to make this salad, but the key ingredients are always tomatoes and bread. You could add onion, and cucumber if you wish but I didn't. I kept it to the tomatoes and the bread, but I used assorted heirloom tomatoes and peppers to create a depth of color and punctuated the flavors by tossing in a few capers and a couple of olives that I had chopped into small pieces. I created a very simple dressing by adding 1 anchovy to a little bit of olive oil. Don't be afraid of the anchovy! Its saltiness lends itself perfectly to the tomatoes and crusty bread. If you choose not to add it simply add more coarse salt be it sea salt, Himalayan salt or Maldon.

 Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

Panzanella 

Serves *2 - 4

*2 cups of freshly picked tomatoes, either red, heirloom or a mix
1 bell pepper
1 scant tsp capers
1 tbs capers
6-8 olives thinly sliced
2 - 3 slices of bread with the crustiest pieces possible!
1 1/2 tsp. Olive oil
1 anchovy
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp lemon juice (from lemon)
* Depending on what, if anything, you're serving with this.

Directions:

Into a large bowl I added bite sized pieces of heirloom tomatoes - green, yellow and red for their varied colors, a sweet multi-colored pepper, a few capers, sliced olives and let them bask in their own juices. A quick twist of the salt and pepper grinders...  I let them sit while I prepared the dressing.

Next I added about a teaspoon (give or take) of olive oil to a ramekin and started working the anchovy into the oil using a small whisk. The anchovy will break down and start to dissolve in the oil. As it started to do so I added a couple squeezes of lemon and some freshly ground pepper.

I then added some bread and cut the ends off of a really crusty and chewy loaf of bread into bite-sized pieces and mixed them in with the tomato and pepper mixture.

Add the dressing and toss well just prior to serving to ensure that there's just enough to coat everything without rendering the bread completely soggy and mushy. Once the dressing has been added, serve immediately!

 Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

Farmer's Market Panzanella with Lemon Anchovy Dressing. Recipe and Images via The Entertaining House

Although it looks like I may have used a lot of bread, it's really not a lot. Don't worry about the bread abosrbing too much flavor (or not enough) there'll be plenty of natural juices from the tomatoes and the dressing to dredge the bread through. 

Buon Appetito!

Note to Local Friends: Tomatoes were purchase at The Westport Farmer's Market as was the bread which is from Wave Hill

A few Favorite Places, Spaces and Things (A Condensed Guide of Sorts)

 The Bedford Post Inn, Bedford NY

The Bedford Post Inn, Bedford NY

FAVORITE RESTAURANTS

New York:
Sant Ambroeus, Felidia, Bemelmans Bar (cocktails at the Carlyle), The King Cole (Bar at the St. Regis - home of the original Bloody Mary), The Modern, Balthazar, The Press Lounge (Rooftop Bar), The Standard (Rooftop Bar), BG at Bergdorf Goodman, Bedford Post Inn (Bedford, NY), The Inn at Pound Ridge (Pound Ridge, NY)
 

Connecticut (Fairfield County):
Match (South Norwalk), Barcelona (South Norwalk and Fairfield), Rive Bistro (Westport), The Whelk (Westport), Southend (New Canaan), Le Penguin (Westport), Pearl at Longshore (Westport),  Artisan at The Delamar, especially outside in Summer (Southport), The Schoolhouse (Cannondale), Southend (New Canaan) 

Rhode Island:
The Verandah Raw Bar at Ocean House (Westerly), The Inn at Castle Hill (Newport), Fluke Wine Bar (Newport), Belle's Cafe (Newport), The Midtown Oyster Bar (Newport), FiSH (Jamestown), Dewolf Tavern (Bristol) The Black Pearl (Newport), Clark Cooke House (Newport)

 

 Castle Hill Inn - Newport, Rhode Island

Castle Hill Inn - Newport, Rhode Island

FAVORITE LOCALish DESTINATIONS

Westerly, Watch Hill, Narragansett, Jamestown, Newport (RI)
Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Ocean Park (ME)
Amaganset, Stony Brook, Shelter Island (Long Island) 
Boston
 

 Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

(ON MY TRAVEL MUST SEE LIST)

Cuba, Barcelona, Greece, Sonoma County, Seattle, Venice, The Amalfi Coast, Croatia, the Maldives, Africa (Safari), Reykjavik (Hot springs), Bali.... for now! 

 Oysters on the half shell

Oysters on the half shell

FAVORITE FOODS

Caccio e Pepe (which I don't eat often but I adore), Oysters, Grilled Octopus, Lobster Roll in the summertime (hot or cold), Sushi, freshly picked tomatoes - especially heirloom, ice cream (unfortunately!), fresh fruit in the summertime, stovetop popcorn made with white truffle oil and either maldon or himalayan salt and a glass of rosé.

 Metropolitan, Whit Stillman 

Metropolitan, Whit Stillman 

FAVORITE MOVIES

Sabrina (the original), Before Sunset, Before Sunrise, Metropolitan, Love Actually, When Harry Met Sally, Dead Poets Society, 

FAVORITE BOOKS

The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger), any book written by Ruth Reichl, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith), Bonfire of the Vanities (Tom Wolfe), The World According to Garp, Cider House Rules (both John Irving), Gift from the Sea (Anne Morrow Lindbergh), Still Alice (Lisa Genova), My Life in France (Julia Child), Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert), Tender is the Night (F.Scott Fitzgerald), and of the ee cummings poetry books

 Freshly brewed coffee

Freshly brewed coffee

FAVORITE SMELLS

Freshly mowed grass, the ocean, freshly brewed coffee, the rain on the pavement on a hot day, apple pie baking in the oven, Votivo White Ocean Sands and Nest Bamboo candles, lilacs, lilies, gardenia...

FAVORITE SONGS

Clocks (Coldplay), Speed of Sound (Coldplay), Fix You (Coldplay) Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen), Glitter in the Air (Pink), All the Right Moves (One Republic), Sign of the Times (Harry Styles), El Cerrito Place (Kenny Chesney), Landslide (Fleetwood Mac), Heroes (David Bowie)

 A few Favorite Places, Spaces and Things (A Condensed Guide of Sorts) Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan

A few Favorite Places, Spaces and Things (A Condensed Guide of Sorts) Image via Jessica Gordon Ryan

MY (FAVORITE) CAMERA

My phone... because I have it with me I never miss a "Kodak moment," but I have an older model Canon EOS Rebel that I use both for work and to capture my favorite images. I'll upgrade the body at some point, but rely on the lenses, the kit 18-55 mm as well as a 75 - 300 mm for city and landscape images and the kit lens and a 50 mm lens that I use for a lot of my food photography. I truly believe that if you have an eye for images you really don't need a super high end camera. Practice makes perfect!

 A few Favorite Places, Spaces and Things (A Condensed Guide of Sorts) Image via Playbuzz

A few Favorite Places, Spaces and Things (A Condensed Guide of Sorts) Image via Playbuzz

FAVORITE SHOPPING

MY STYLE

My style is unapologetically,  unmistakably my own. It starts from the classics. The classics, after all never fade from style. From there I add on to accessorize or emphasize - to create a bit of an edge. I add on to express my mood - Am I feeling particularly wild? Or am I feeling more demure? Do I want to sit back and assess a situation, or do I want to make a statement? I don't really spend much on myself these days, a busy single mom with three kids and a budding business, and I don't have the desire (or the inclination) to scour shelves and racks. I firmly believe that style can be achieved within a minimal budget. I have pieces that I've had for 10, even 20 years. They always look current, alway fresh - and very much me. These are the foundations, the building blocks of my wardrobe and I can create around them. Truth of the matter is that I am complimented often, stopped in grocery stores and on the streets where someone asks about a pair of shoes, pants or sunglasses. Instead of a mere thank you I always give away my trade secrets and people are usually generally shocked to learn where the item may have originated from. With everyday brands borrowing ideas from luxury brands, style is always achievable and luckily for us these days, always affordable. 

My go to places for affordable style:
Banana Republic has the most amazing sales racks!
The Gap has only jeans I will wear. And because they're super affordable I can buy more!
Anthropologie and Free People better reflect my Bohemian side which I love to mix with the classics.
I never discount consignment shops. (Pun intended!)
I'm a true (and devoted) Marshall's and TJMaxx addict.
I also love the boutique shops that dot the streets of my town and the surrounding ones where I can find unique pieces that I won't see on the streets. I like to be individual! 

Elements of My Style - The Classic components

A Little black dress
A great fitting pair of jeans (in numerous styles and colors)
A tailored jacket (blazer) - black, off white, navy, tan - in classic colors
Kitten heel mules or slingbacks in assorted colors that work well with jeans and said little black dress
A little white dress
A few good cashmere sweaters, cardigans and crew necks
Pearl earrings
Diamond Studs
Pearl choker
A well fitted white Tshirt (to wear w jeans and sweaters or jackets)
A well fitted white blouse

Elements of My Style - The Bohemian components

Espadrille wedges, both mules and lace-up
Simple A-line dresses, linen and cotton, both above and below the knee
A little (white) blouse, loose fitting
Beaded anything, especially necklaces and bracelets
Tunics, both dresses and tops
A carefree attitude! 

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

One of the many joys of summer is the opportunity to eat outdoors. For those of us who live in climates that do not allow for this year-long, there's something particularly wonderful about dining en plein air, whether it means grabbing an outdoor table at your favorite local restaurant or setting your own outside your home.

Whether your home is lake-front or ocean-front, whether you have a yard, terrace, porch or balcony, no matter how large or small your space is, there's nothing as magical as dining under the stars or setting sun. Below are some images and ideas to inspire.

 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

One day I'll have a pool in my backyard. In all honesty I want one less for swimming and sunning, and more for entertaining. I will have poolside dinner and cocktail parties all summer long. Some will be formal, others casual. Whether you invite your guests to jump in or not, is entirely up to you. Keep it as simple or make it formal - organize a sit-down dinner, or have a casual barbeque-style affair. It's less about what's being served and more about the gathering of friends.

 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

Ideas for a poolside (or any outdoor) dinner party

  • Pot luck: assign everyone a dish to bring, from salads to entrees and desserts
  • Set up a salad and sandwich bar
  • Set up a burger and hot dog bar
  • Host a barbeque
  • Hire a caterer, whether formal or informal, and let someone else do the work
  • Have pizzas delivered - Order unique pies that people might not usually order
  • Have a taco party
  • Have a clambake or lobster boil
  • Hire a food truck
 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

While I do love the beach I tend not to frequent it as much during the daytime as I used to. In fact, my favorite time there is at the end of the day, whether I'm setting up something casual for two with a bottle of wine and some bread and cheese or gathering the masses together. When dining at the beach casual is best. Sand does tend to get into food, bugs do happen. Our local beaches have a no alcohol policy, but no one questions what's in plastic cups. We keep our bottles of wine chilled and hidden from view. Barbecuing on one of the provided grills sounds lovely but ends up being an unnecessary production - involves a lot more organization, more to pack and more to clean. Save the BBQ for home. We happen to live in an area where UberEATS is available and popular. They deliver to most beaches and you can order from anywhere. This is best for smaller parties. Pizza delivery is also fun, but I still think an informal picnic is the way to go. Above images: Lauren Nelson    

 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

Ideas for an informal beach or lakeside picnic

  • Charcuterie, cheese and fruit platter
  • Sliced baguette (or other good crusty bread)
  • (pre) Grilled chicken, steak or shrimp, sliced as necessary
  • (pre assembled) Sandwiches
  • Roasted or grilled vegetables

Salads of all types including:

  • Antipasta
  • Tomato and corn
  • Greek salad
  • Salad Nicoise (pre-tossed)
  • Chicken salad
  • Watermelon and Feta salad
  • Potato salad
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Pasta salad (macaroni salad)

Desserts including

  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Freshly cut up fruit
  • Cup cakes
  • Anything that's easily transportable and served
 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

An afternoon garden (or terrace) party with the girls can be simple and uncomplicated. Plan a light menu, salad, finger sandwiches, fresh fruit. Serve lemonade or a sparkling sangria. I love to make finger sandwiches using a thin sandwich bread. Two slices of bread, when cut into triangles, makes 2-4 depending on the size. I prefer them smaller so that I can have a variety. Image below Dear Pearl Flowers

Finger sandwich ideas

  • Watercress
  • Cucumber
  • Radish
  • Tuna
  • Egg salad
  • Chicken salad (thinly cut)
  • Smoked ham (thinly sliced) with brie
  • Apple or pear (thinly sliced) with brie
  • Smoked salmon and Boursin
 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

Or maybe you live in the city and hosting an outdoor party isn't really an option. (Though I always thought it would be fun to gather a group of friends together in Central Park and set up a long table somewhere in the park!) Most apartments don't have balconies or terraces, if you do, you're lucky! Perhaps there's a roof you're allowed to use. Rooftop dining is becoming quite popular these days. This does require a certain amount of thought and planning so that unnecessary trips aren't made. While breaking out the China is a lovely thought, you may want to stick with a lighter weight melamine or even disposable plates. Keep your meals on the simple side. Take out, in this instance is perfect. A table cloth, fresh flowers, music, mood lighting and good wine will perfect your evening. Below image, Ciao Newport Beach

 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

Terraces and patios are always a good idea! And since they tend to be located within close proximity to the kitchen or dining area transporting items such as plates, stemware, bottles and food is relatively simple. A simple bar cart is a great option for extra storage, and for placing dirty items when you're done with them. What to serve? Check out the options listed above.

 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

How to dress your outside table

Tablecloths are optional and may not be suitable for a windy day. That said there are clips that can be purchased to keep tablecloths anchored for such a situation. I prefer my outdoor dining areas to be slightly more casual. Top sheets make great covers - from florals to stripes in a multitude of patterns. They're easily washed and dried and you likely already have an assortment. For something a bit heavier woven blankets (machine washable only) will also work. I'm a HUGE HomeGoods fan and these can all be purchased there affordably.
Mix and match different place settings, vases, pitchers and glassware, if you don't have enough of one set or pattern. Another place to look for extras are second hand shops and stores like Goodwill. Or invest in a nice set of melamine plates and plastic goblets, from retailers like Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel that will stand the test of time.

 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

Decorating your outside table

  • I always like to work with elements from nature.
  • Large branches in vases or glass pitchers, painted if you wish. These can be used over and over
  • Large scallop and quahog shells can be washed and used to hold candles or even used as dishes to serve salt and pepper, or used as place cards
  • Freshly-cut plantings, plants or store-bought flowers are always a good idea - Stick to a color theme if you wish or just mix it up
  • A small terra cotta pot makes a lovely place setting
  • A small herb container makes a lovely place setting
  • An assortment of white candles can look positively magical
  • A large bowl of fresh fruit or vegetables such as in-season tomatoes and peppers make a lovely centerpiece 
  • Let your meal be your centerpiece
 The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

The Ultimate Guide to Dining Al Fresco

And lastly, and I love this idea.... gather the neighbors together and have a long, communal table. See if it's possible to close off your street - you're likely to need your town's permission - Invite everyone participate and contribute.  It might be easier to assign dishes, or else create a master list of items needed and have people sign up. Who knows, you might even start a neighborhood dining tradition. And I can't think of a better way to meet the neighbors you don't know or know well! (Above Image Grit Magazine)

Summer is too short a season to eat indoors!

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem

To New Englanders, and those south in the Metro New York area, there's something almost mystical about the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  Known for its iconic yellow façade, the luxury majestically watches over the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The resort is as revered today as it was in 1868, when it welcomed its first guests, quickly becoming the premier summer destination for generations of Americans who had the means the means for luxury travel.

In 2003, after 135 years of welcoming guests, the hotel closed its doors. Damage from the salty air and harsh New England winters had taken its toll on the Victorian building. It wouldn't remain closed for long, however, as the following year, plans were drawn up to recreate the original hotel as accurately as possible. Over 5,000 items were carefully salvaged from the original structure, giving the new one the character and charm of yesteryear. Ocean House now features 49 rooms, 15 suites, an on-site spa, several dining options, and a number of luxe amenities. It is once again a sought-after New England destination.

Ocean House has long been on my personal wish list and last month I was able to see that wish come true. On behalf of Yankee Magazine I booked a room so that I could research and write Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island | The Perfect Spot for a Seaside Lunch for the magazine's digital publication. I soon learned that one doesn't to have the deep pockets of a Vanderbilt or Astor to visit the luxury resort. The numerous restaurants on property are open to the public as well as their guests. (Click on the link above to read the article.)  

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem

Although it felt like summer in much of the country, May 31st was a chilly, drizzly and overcast day in Rhode Island. Not unusual weather for these parts, but disappointing for those of us who had come to the premiere resort looking forward to spending some time basking in the sun. Luckily for us we would soon learned that the hotel offers much to keep their guests busy during inclement weather. 

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. (The sun rises at Ocean House)

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. (The sun rises at Ocean House)

As we checked in we were treated to a glass of Prosecco and we had no inclination of turning it town. Waiting for the concierge to return with our room keys I couldn't help but notice the trompe l'oeil of a five dollar bill on the floor. (I made a note to ask when she returned. Naturally, I forgot and wouldn't learn the answer until later that afternoon.) Once we received our keys we proceeded up to our room. We could not help but notice the collection of cartoons by the French artist Sem, and paused to look at them carefully on the way to our room. 
Our room was bright and spacious with a fabulous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Even on a dreary day the scene was magnificent, breathtakingly calm as a light rain misted onto our balcony and gentle waves rode in on an ocean as grey as the sky. 

Our initial plan was to drop off our bags, clean up and head back downstairs for a late lunch. We were scheduled for a 4:00 PM tour of the hotel, so a late, leisurely lunch was the perfect plan. We weren't expecting the gorgeous cheese, charcuterie and fruit platter that greeted us, on the counter over the fridge that was stocked with waters and soft drinks for us to help ourselves to at no additional cost. On the shelves above were glass jars (like you'd find at an old fashioned penny candy store) filled with malted milk balls, goldfish crackers and assorted nuts. 

We each grabbed a plate and helped ourselves to the generous assortment which perfectly complemented the Prosecco we had brought up from downstairs. Satisfied and bellies full we headed back down for our tour, and as we waited in the lobby I couldn't help but notice another small trompe l'oeil painted on the floor... We learned that this all had to do with Mortimer Mouse. 

Mortimer Mouse is a fictitious character who resides in the Ocean House. Written and illustrated by Ardith Schneider, the children's book incorporates the hotel's history into a lively story. The animal characters have been drawn, scanned and superimposed on actual photographs of the unique architectural elements of the Ocean House Hotel which include the old elevator, the fireplace and the Palladian window. Throughout the book the mice romp through the hotel rooms taking care not to be chomped up by the encroaching excavators. As the story concludes Mortimer and Max are seen amongst the rubble of the demolished hotel. They pick themselves up and seek refuge in the chapel across the street where they will watch the new Ocean House emerge from a cavernous foundation hole. Adapting to a big change in their life, they explore the chapel and anticipate the new hotel. To play off of the book, a local artist, painted a dozen wonderful images that are scattered throughout the hotel. A treasure map of these fun finds is at the concierge. This grown-up child delighted in this perfect rainy day activity as we toured the hotel. For more child-friendly experiences at Ocean House and Nearby, click here.

Art and Cooking at Ocean House

After we learned about Mortimer Mouse we toured more of the hotel including the Center for Culinary Arts where cooking lessons and tastings are offered in a state of the art Gaggenau outfitted kitchen with a most impressive wine cellar. The day we were there we could smell the freshly baked breads in the ovens from the last class. The cellar was lined with wonderful illustrations of the late Ludwig Bemelmans (many recognize his work from the wonderful Madeline books) each more delightful than the next. In fact, Ocean House boasts an impressive collection of his works from New York City as well as Paris. Read more about it here. In fact, the hotel features a wide variety of art in various mediums, using hallways and salons as galleries. I recommend strolling through the hotel to view the spectacular art on display. For those interested in the vast collection, I highly suggest you ask for a tour.

Classes and Activities at Ocean House

The hotel publishes a beautiful newsletter for its guests, Ocean House Waves, which highlights the monthly and daily events - from wine tasting, to souflé-making, to spa and fitness class offerings. There are many activities geared towards families and children, most of which are at no additional cost to hotel guests. A link to the most recent newsletter can be viewed when clicking this link

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem

Health and Fitness at Ocean House

The hotel boasts a 5-star spa with full offerings and featuring locally sourced beauty products. For the health and sport enthusiast there are a multitude of recreational activities to choose from including tennis, croquet, squash, paddle boarding, surfing, shuffleboard and of course swimming. The hotel also has a state of the art fully equipped gym with the most technically-advanced equipment. Classes, both group and private are available, and schedules are printed out for each hotel guest. For those wanting to work out with instruction a state of the art machine is on hand that offers video instruction for a multitude of of classes from yoga to Barre to Spinning. So you'll be able to eat and drink to your heart's content.... You are on vacation, after all!

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. Image courtesy Ocean House (Oysters Rockefeller)

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. Image courtesy Ocean House (Oysters Rockefeller)

Food and Dining at Ocean House

As a member of the Relais & Châteaux luxury property group, Ocean House prides itself on its fine dining experience . The good news is that you needn't be a guest of the hotel to enjoy them. Nearly all of the hotel’s excellent on-site dining options (including those at its nearby sister property, the Weekapaug Inn) offer the perfect seaside lunch experience for summer, thus making Ocean House a perfect road trip destination for New Englanders. In a recent digital publication for Yankee Magazine, newengland.com, I featured the many and varied restaurants at Ocean House. Click here to read about them all. 

Ocean House's Secret Garden

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. A peek inside the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. A peek inside the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden

I was excited to check out the newly established Secret Garden created in partnership with Veuve Clicquot. Located "secretly" behind The Bistro Bar & Lounge, on an intimately-sized deck outfitted with wicker furniture, white cushions and dressed up in what I like to refer to as Veuve Orange, the Secret Garden has sweeping views of the hotel property and the ocean beyond. 

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. A peek inside the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. A peek inside the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden

The "garden" is open to guests and locals alike and features appetizer-sized treats which include lobster rolls and assorted mini hot dogs dressed in various toppings. The newest Champagne, Riche, (pronounced Rich) designed to be enjoyed on ice is served here - one of the very few places on the East Coast to offer the new label. Riche is somewhat sweeter and was designed specifically to be enjoyed on ice. Served in what are referred to as Swimming Pools, large rounded goblets, these cocktails come with an assortment of garnishes, from citrus to spicy. Click here for the menu.

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. A peek inside the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. A peek inside the Veuve Cliquot Secret Garden

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. 

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. 

The Beach at Ocean House

Beyond the Secret Garden and at the bottom of the hill the beach extends for as far as the eye can see. To the left (as you stand facing the hotel) is the property of none other than Ms. Taylor Swift herself. (For those generations much younger than I, there's even a geotag for your social media posts.) The beach is the only area that is reserved for hotel guests only. 

Beach chairs dressed in the iconic Ocean House yellow are neatly lined up, waiting to greet guests as they arrive. Cabanas are available for use as well, and after a recent partnership with Lilly Pulitzer, are now dressed up in the brand's signature summer prints. (You'll be remiss to notice the waitresses in the Secret Garden dressed in Lilly as well.)

The beach offers paddle and surf lessons, and for those who prefer to comb the sands looking for sea glass.... I can assure you that you won't come up empty handed - especially if you're there early in the morning. For hungry beach goers there's Dune Cottage located in a shady pergola right on the private beach. The restaurant offers a casual elegance with simple, yet sophisticated Mediterranean–inspired menu. An outdoor kitchen offers fresh, brick-oven pizzas, salads, sandwiches and grilled skewers. For more click here

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. 

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem. 

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem - Image courtesy of  Ocean House

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem - Image courtesy of  Ocean House

 Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem - Image courtesy of Ocean House

Ocean House, Rhode Island :: A New England Gem - Image courtesy of Ocean House

Accommodations and Service

As one expects when one stays at any 5-Star hotel, specifically a Relais & Chateaux property, service is nothing less than impeccable. The staff were friendly, courteous and always at the ready to help, offer advice, information or suggestions.

It might have been the charcuterie and cheese platter that initially grabbed our attention, but as with everything else at Ocean House, our room was warm and welcoming as well. With French doors that opened to our own private balcony, perfect for enjoying that early morning coffee. If you're not one to wake early, you may want to consider just once - the sunrises are nothing less than breathtaking. More impressive to me than the bedroom, was the bathroom. Outfitted with the deepest tub I have ever seen, I thought who needs a spa when you have this? It felt like a personal swimming pool. I emptied my sachet of bath salts and soaked until every worry disappeared. Might I go so far as to say that the shower might have been the best hotel shower I have yet to experience? I might! (And I've stayed at my fair share of luxury hotels.) I don't think it was so much the water pressure and the hot water (I like it very very hot) massaging my back, but what was underfoot. Smooth river rocks inlaid at the bottom of the shower offered the most healing of touches. I could have stood there all day. I should not overlook the full sized bottles of Molton Brown shower products, another small but perfect touch. 

At Ocean House one cannot help but notice the incredible, careful attention to detail which is evident everywhere you turn.... from the hallways, to the dining areas to the accommodations, dining and activities. 

In short, Ocean House epitomizes the quality and service expected at the world's top resorts. It is not without reason that the hotel has earned so many awards and top accolades by the most prestigious travel sites and publications. Whether you're visiting for the day or a few days, Ocean House will offer an experience that will be savored and forever etched in your memory.