It looked like all the beds were going to be filled at my uncles’ house for Christmas so I gave myself a holiday present and booked three nights at the 1770 House in in East Hampton, New York. It's a charming inn that really does date back to 1770, actually 1663, with a handful of cozy rooms, a jewel box bar in the basement, and a restaurant that's packed nightly.
The restaurant at 1770 House is the place to sample contemporary dishes featuring local meat, fish, and cheese from the East End. A native of Eastern Long Island, Michael Rozzi is the chef at the 1770 House. Nightly, he turns out a great selection of dishes featuring ingredients that are sourced from the many Suffolk County farms that make eastern Long Island a food and wine destination.
The tavern, tucked into the basement, is a bar and casual restaurant. We have used the tavern as the meeting spot for friends and family before venturing out for outings or meals. There we’ve discovered not just great local wines but simply great wines. On another trip, the bartender suggested a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon of Charles Smith Wines from Walla Walla, Washington. Never would we have expected the bartender to introduce us to great wines from the left coast with the same enthusiasm that he had for selections from local wineries like Channing Daughters.
For three days during Christmas, I've started each day with morning coffee, muffins and bagels in the dinning room at the 1770 House. The inn is always subdued and relaxed but since this is Christmas week, the inn is extra quiet and I'm the only guest in the dinning room.
The dining room sports a few elegant flourishes like the hearth, which dominates the room, white columns dividing the room into sections, and crown molding that adds a touch of formality. Despite this finery, the dining room is special because it’s just a really cozy and inviting spot. The ceiling is original timber and the dining tables, each slightly different, are all of a colonial design.
I sat at the same table each morning, a large table for four with a view of the hearth and the dining room. There I would take my coffee, savor the quiet of the morning that stands in bold contrast to the excitement of the season and all the activity at my uncles' house with cousins arriving, meals being prepared, presents being wrapped, and dogs barking. It's Christmas after all!
Each morning, I told myself I would only have coffee, knowing the treats and wonderful Christmas meals that awaited me with my uncles and cousins but each morning I gave into temptation. The breakfast buffet was limited but of such high quality and so artfully displayed. It was simple, local, unpretentious fare --- hard cooked eggs, delightful cornmeal blueberry muffins, New York bagels, smoked salmon, the very best capers, juicy tomato, and crisp red onion.
It's the holidays after all and now it's time to join my uncles and cousins.