Port Jefferson

Spring Is Here

Now…let’s hope it stays around. It looks like we are in luck, judging by the weather reports for the week, with temps reaching the high 50’s and 60’s almost every day. After last week’s rain, I am elated by this development.

The weekend didn’t disappoint, either. Sunday was too perfect a day to waste, so I took full advantage of it. I went to breakfast with a friend, found my way to a Farmer’s Market in Port Jefferson, NY (where I caught up with two of my favorite people—Linda and Madeline from Chocology), and even took a few minutes to relax and listen to the sound of the water lapping against the shore.

If the weekend is any indication, I’d say we’re in for a good week…at least weather wise.

Here’s a quick recap:

Dessert

{Irresistible treats at a work event in New York City}

Motto

{My new motto courtesy of @thetaylorhouse}

Gym Selfie

{Gym Selfie}

Port Jefferson, NY

{A perfect spring day in Port Jefferson}

Chocology Unlimited

{A sweet gift from Chocology. Check out my Instagram to see what’s inside!}

Where Did My Weekend Go?

I swear, it was Friday like five seconds ago. Wasn’t it? In another installment of, “where did my weekend go?” I got to spend some time in Port Jefferson, New York, enjoy a sweet crêpe from Sweet ‘n’ Savory, hang with my one of my favorite local business owners (thanks for the fudge, Chocology!), and all while doing some shopping (I scooped up the softest plaid shirt from the Gap — on sale). So, yeah, that’s where my weekend went. It may have been over in the blink of an eye, but at least I had fun. Hope your Monday is off to a good start!

Here’s a quick recap:

Roast Coffee and Tea

{Starting my day with coffee from Roast!}

Art Gallery at the Art League of Long Island

{A stroll through the impressive art gallery at the Art League of Long Island}

Annual Shopping Crawl in Port Jefferson, New York

{Gearing up for the shopping crawl in Port Jefferson with a selfie}

Sweet Crepe from Sweet n Savory

{A Nutella, strawberry, and broken Reese’s peanut butter cup crêpe from Sweet ‘n’ Savory}

Lucky Brand Booties from DSW

{Ending the weekend with a stop at DSW and a new pair of Lucky Brand booties}

The Best of the Brunch

If there is one thing I love about weekends, it is that skipping breakfast and heading straight to brunch is perfectly acceptable. Personally, I could forgo lunch and dinner and be perfectly content eating waffles, pancakes, and crêpes all day. So when I have the time for a leisurely Sunday you can be sure that a good brunch is on the menu. Last weekend I took my grandmother to brunch for her birthday. It was starting to feel like spring in these parts so I thought a nice morning in Port Jefferson would be enjoyable. We went to the Fifth Season, where I’ve had brunch and dinner before, and snagged a table with water views.

Here are my recommendations for brunch if you should find yourself on Long Island:

Sweet n Savory - Port Jefferson, NY

Sweet ‘n’ Savory: I’ve posted about this place in Port Jefferson before, but it really is one of my favorite little spots to grab a sweet treat. The sassy decor will certainly keep your mind off the calories you are consuming, but hey, you only live once! Order one of their sweet crêpes–my personal favorites are the Cinnabon, cannoli and broken Oreo crêpes. And yes, they are as decadent as they sound, so I would advise you to go hungry. This is a great spot for an informal brunch. It’s a small space, so seating can be a bit tight during breakfast hours. If you happen to go when the weather is nice they have a patio out front – a great vantage point for people watching.

The Fifth Season - Port Jefferson, NY

{Snickerdoodle Pancakes – Fifth Season}

Fifth Season: For a fancier brunch experience, head across the street to the Fifth Season. Go upstairs if you can, and overlook the harbor. This spacious restaurant is the ideal brunch spot and offers both an à la carte and prix fixed menu. The prix fixed comes with a first and a second course (and a complimentary drink!), plenty of food for brunch, while their regular menu has a nice mix of both breakfast and lunch fares. Make a reservation if you are heading to Port Jefferson in the busy season (basically anytime the weather is nice). After brunch, stroll through the Village and enjoy some shops off the beaten path.

Cooperage Inn: Looking to make a day out of brunch? Then the Cooperage Inn is a great choice. Nestled on the East End of Long Island, this quaint restaurant has a buffet that could keep you satisfied all day. With more options than you could ever eat, this place offers a buffet style brunch with everything from eggs benedict to pancakes to a carving station and much more. It’s a great spot to hit if your day later includes a wine tasting, antique shopping, or just trekking around Baiting Hollow. The brunch (which was voted “Best Brunch” by Dan’s Paper) costs $26.95 per person and is worth every penny.

Rothmann’s Steakhouse: When I was growing up this was one of my favorite places to go for Sunday brunch. The building dates back to the 1820’s, although it did not become Rothmann’s until 1907 when Charles and Franziska Rothmann purchased it and opened their doors. Franziska initially did all of the cooking at the restaurant, and it became so well known for its food and ambience that President Theodore Roosevelt would ride over on horseback for a meal. Later, it was nicknamed “The House of Eats.” Today, this restaurant, which was once owned by the famous composer Burt Bacharach in the 1970’s, is still known for its food and historic charm. Located in East Norwich, it’s a great option for a formal affair, and brunch is a real treat. My family would always go for holidays and special occasions and I remember the buffet being truly spectacular. While it’s not cheap (brunch will set you back $49.95 per person), this is definitely a great place to savor food with friends and family.

Monday Musings

Winter is slowly creeping up on us. Last week was freezing and felt more like mid-December than November (although we managed to escape the snow that blanketed upstate New York!). It was the perfect time to unpack the sweater dresses and zip up the riding boots if you have been holding out.

Sunset in Port Jefferson

{A cold sunset in Port Jefferson, New York}

Fall Pumpkin

{The last of the fall pumpkins}

Starbucks Holiday Cup

{Red lip meets red Starbucks cup}

White Sangria

{White Sangria}

Skull Bottles

{Kah Blanco Tequila – Del Fuego Tex Mex Restaurant}

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

{Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter filled chocolate cupcakes}

Happy Monday!

Long Island Restaurant Week – The Fifth Season

Long Island Restaurant Week - The Fifth Season

November has finally arrived! There is so much to love about this month – my birthday is in the middle of it, there are beautiful colors on the trees, a soft chill begins to appear in the air, and of course let’s not forget the week of fine dining happening right now. I’m taking the guesswork out of where to eat if you should find yourself on Long Island (or if you live here). It’s a hard job going to restaurants and trying new dishes, but someone has to give you the skinny on where to dine! Whom am I kidding? Does anyone else notice that the food tastes infinitely better when you go out to eat?

After a long, hard Monday (we’ve all been there, am I right?), a nice dinner out was just what I needed. Fortunately, I spent some time over the weekend sampling the participating restaurants’ menus online so I had an idea of which places I wanted to hit this week. The Fifth Season in Port Jefferson, New York had the perfect menu for a Monday night dinner – it offered plenty of appetizers and entrées and provided a delicious dessert (the latter part is always a deal-breaker for me when deciding on which restaurants to visit during Restaurant Week).

I had been to the Fifth Season once before. About a year ago I took my grandmother there for brunch for her birthday. We both enjoyed the meal, and in the heart of Port Jefferson Village, overlooking the harbor, who wouldn’t love the view? So it was without hesitation that I decided to visit them for dinner. Their Restaurant Week menu included a Caesar salad, Merlot braised calamari, and duck confit strudel, amongst other mouth-watering appetizer choices. But the American Kobe beef burger had me sold.

I opted for the Caesar salad as my appetizer. It was a nice-sized portion and I enjoyed the flavoring from the lemon garlic dressing. For my entrée I was drooling over the Kobe beef burger. And I was not disappointed. I have to say this may have been the best burger I have ever had at a restaurant (I still love you, Shake Shack!). The Brioche bun and house-cut fries only enhanced the taste of this burger. Even knowing dessert was on its way, I couldn’t resist devouring my entrée.

Long Island Restaurant Week - The Fifth Season

And let’s talk about dessert. Not only was the flourless chocolate cake delicious (it was also gluten free), but the restaurant staff went out of their way to present it specially for me and include birthday wishes! The housemade pumpkin seed granola and chipotle crème anglaise were a terrific complement to the sweet cake.

Long Island Restaurant Week - The Fifth Season

Overall, the Fifth Season has earned its way to one of the top spots on my list. The food, ambiance, and service were excellent and I can’t thank them enough for extending birthday wishes and making an ordinary Monday night dinner feel really special!

Serenity at the Spa

OPI Fall Colors

It’s not often that I take a weekend (okay, more like a day) to unwind and unplug, but after a particularly busy week it was nice to have one day to myself. On the agenda for Saturday was a mani/pedi at Danfords Hotel and Marina’s Blue Sapphire Spa. The day would have gone off without a hitch had I remembered that Port Jefferson was hosting a Dragon Boat Race and the already bustling town would have an even more treacherous parking situation. After a futile attempt to park in one of the municipal lots, which resulted in a broken passenger’s side window (An explanation: as I electronically rolled the window down to ask a woman if she was getting out of her spot, I heard the car’s window slide down and then shatter into the bottom of the door. When I tried to roll the window up a horrible crunching noise ensued.), I returned to Danfords and opted to have a valet park it. Since I had a broken window, I figured that would be the safest option.

I tried to compose myself before entering the spa, but I could feel the tension from the events of the last 15 minutes replaying in my mind. Fortunately, as I opened the door to the spa, I was greeted by a friendly face who checked me in and offered me a cup of coffee as I waited for my appointment. I have been to Danfords plenty of times before for dinners and overnight stays, but this was my first time at the spa. The blue walls and calming music slowly began to make my hectic morning a distant memory. I eased into a cozy couch with my coffee and waited to be called for my appointment. The stillness inside made it easy to forget the crowds of people at the harbor front watching the Dragon Boat Race going on mere yards away.

Once I was called for my appointment I felt relaxed and ready to enjoy an afternoon at the spa. I opted for a classic manicure and pedicure and brought two polish colors that I have been wanting to try for a while. My friend Cathy picked a plum OPI color as a gift for my birthday last year; it’s the perfect fall color. I decided to go with OPI In The Cable Car-Pool Lane on my toes and another new color for me, OPI Taupe-Less Beach, on my nails. I was pleased with both colors and think they complement each other nicely.

OPI Taupe-Less Beach

OPI In The Cable Car-Pool Lane

Overall, I had a relaxing afternoon at The Blue Sapphire Spa and enjoyed being pampered. The staff was very professional and the spa itself was a beautiful place to get treated to some rest and relaxation. Of course, no trip to Port Jefferson would be deemed a success without a stop at Sweet ‘n’ Savory, located conveniently across the street from Danfords!

September’s Surprise

West Neck Beach

Just when I thought my beach days were over for 2014, September delivers two beautiful, sunny days for me to enjoy! I am happy to report that I took full advantage of both days – spending time in the sun, catching up with a friend, and remembering how much fun it is to get caught in the rain at the beach.

This weekend was exactly what I needed to prepare for a busy upcoming week. I’ve always found a day at the beach to be calming, and this weekend was no exception. On Saturday, the humidity broke by mid-afternoon, but it still felt more like August than September. Although the beach was not as crowded as usual, plenty of people came out to soak up the sun. The water was warm, but the small waves in the bay were indicative of a storm brewing. I used the time to take some of my last photos of West Neck Beach for the season.

West Neck Beach 2

West Neck Beach 3

West Neck Beach 4

Around 4 p.m., the sky changed from a light blue to pink, and then grey. The once sunny, hot day turned dark and cool in a matter of minutes. It has been many years since I’ve gotten caught in a storm at the beach, but as the first rain drops fell I was reminded of running for cover under the boardwalk in Long Beach as a child. The rain lasted mere minutes, but it was enough to send people fleeing to their cars. By the time I collected my belongings, the beach was empty. The sky began to return to its beautiful summer glory, but I was ready to say goodbye to West Neck.

West Neck Beach 5

West Neck Beach 6

Sunday was equally beautiful, although cooler. It was the perfect day to get in one last stand-up paddle boarding session in Port Jefferson harbor. Despite all the activities going on in Port Jeff, the water was calm and quiet. The perfect way to spend a morning. After paddle boarding (if you’ve been paying attention, you might know what’s coming!) brunch at Sweet ‘n’ Savory was next. I had worked up an appetite and only a cannoli crêpe would suffice!

Happy Monday!

Colorful in Cobalt

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What’s better than spending the first official day of summer by the harbor, listening to live music and having crêpes for dinner with a good friend? It’s hard to beat that, of course, except over the weekend my new H&M dress made its debut! The cool blue (one of my favorite colors!) was the perfect combination for a lazy summer afternoon spent by the water. I was drawn to this dress in the store, as it displayed the much appreciated element of versatility and was an acceptable length: suitable for a day at the office with a light sweater, or a trip to the East end of Long Island.

I paired the dress with C Wonder gold sandals and a C Wonder tote bag, which has quickly become my go-to summer bag. I love that it’s lightweight, comes in an array of colors, is easy to clean, and can hold everything I require for a day on the town.

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Dress: H&M| Sandals & Tote: C Wonder| Sunglasses: Coach| Nails: OPI on Collins Ave

For more of my musings, follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @livinginsteil

Need a Laugh?

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Now that the weather has finally decided to cooperate and actually feel like June, it has been more enjoyable to make weekend plans that involve the great outdoors. This weekend I decided to step out of my realm of normal activities to stop in at a comedy show in Port Jefferson, NY. I have only been to a comedy club once before, but I found the experience enjoyable enough to keep it on my list of things to do again.

If you have been following my blog, you may have noticed that visits to Port Jefferson are a frequently recurring theme. I absolutely love this historic village on the water. It is one of the best places to enjoy a leisurely day of shopping, grab a crêpe for brunch, or just get lost wandering the cute side streets nestled off the beaten path.

First up for the night was dinner at Pasta Pasta. Although earlier than most normal dinners for me (around 5 p.m.), it was nice to eat in a quiet restaurant and have a table by the window, overlooking the restaurant next door with an outdoor seating area, which made for some good people-watching.

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For my appetizer I ordered the calamari. It was cooked well and had just the right amount of General Tao’s sauce drizzled on it for some added flavor. Next up for my entrée was the marinated flat iron steak cooked medium rare. This too was well prepared and very tender. The pièce de résistance was the chocolate brownie with blackberry ice cream for dessert.

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After dinner, finding myself with some time before the comedy show began, I walked around the harbor admiring the yachts. It was such a perfect night – the air had the warmth of summer, people were out and about, and the sun was just beginning to set.

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Next up on the agenda for the evening – a good laugh! The comedy show at Theatre Three began around 8 p.m. I made sure to try and snag a table in the back that was obscured from the comedians’ view (anyone who watched the Sex and the City episode with Miranda at the comedy club will understand my decision).

Our host for the evening was Maria Walsh, a.k.a., The Naughty Mommy. She was beyond hysterical with some really great one-liners. And yes, she did pick on the people in the front row–almost relentlessly! Feeling somewhat vindicated with my decision to sit farther back, I relaxed and enjoyed the three comedians of the evening. Although I can’t say that they had the most amazing material I’ve ever heard, they certainly were entertaining and it was good to just sit and laugh!

Happy Monday!