Terry Casey: “There Are Big Changes Happening in Montauk”

I don’t do The Hamptons. Although I have great friends that love the prospect of driving hours in a car through the cultural desert of Long Island to hang with people I strive to avoid in Manhattan while eating $50-a-pound potato salad, the idea has never appealed to me. I have done it and done it right, but I do remember spending a year there one night . I did design Dune at one point but never actually graced it with my divine presence. During the winter months, my clan treks out to Montauk to huddle around fireplaces and beachcomb. The water, the light, and the lack of crowds made me a believer years ago. I’ll be there come the cold. Apparently they have built this wondrous place called The Montauk Beach House and I have been told it’s a game-changer. My pal Paul Sevigny DJd there recently. When I was considering a story about Bastille Day and looking through my online emails and evites, I saw a big name pop out at me: Paul Oakenfold, one of the top DJs in the world. He’s doing a gig at The Montauk Beach House this Saturday, July 14th at 3pm. Take a look at the pics – it’s gorgeous. My pal Terry Casey is booking the joint and DJing as well. He called me about playing there come August so I asked him what the heck is going on.

What the heck are you doing out there? Who have you had already and who’s coming up and who’s coming to this place and …tell me all about it!
I GOT ASKED BY EVENT SOCIETY (RENE AND FRANCOIS) TO BOOK AND PRODUCE A MUSIC SERIES AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE WITH A GOOD FRIEND: MATT THOMAS. HE’S A BRIT AND WANTS GOOD MUSIC AND IS VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE. OWNER CHRIS JONES ALSO DESIGNED NIKKI BEACH, AND MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE FEELS LIKE A MIAMI HOTEL SO IT’S A NEW CONCEPT IN MONTAUK…RENE MANAGES OPERATIONS AND DOES IT WELL AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE; HE’S  THE OWNER OF EVENT SOCIETY. IT EXCITED ME TO DO AS I’VE BEEN GOING OUT TO MONTAUK FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS – I FEEL MORE AT HOME THERE THEN IN THE HAMPTONS. I USED TO DJ IN HAMPTONS CLUBS AND FEEL LIKE I SOLD MY SOUL. I STILL DO A FEW WILD HOUSE PARTIES IN THE HAMPTONS, BUT THAT’S VERY DIFFERENT TO THE CLUBS…THE CLUBS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE NOT MY THING. MONTAUK IS MORE LAID-BACK AND LOT OF SURFER CULTURE …THERE ARE  BIG CHANGES HAPPENING IN MONTAUK; PLACES LIKE SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S HAVE SET THE PACE…LOTS OF FRIEND HAVE MOVED TO MONTAUK AS THEY PREFER IT.

WE DID A SOFT OPENING WITH PAUL SEVIGNY LAST WEEK AND HE PLAYED A LOT OF GOOD ROCK, SOUL, FUNK ..HE ROCKED THE PLACE….A GREAT DJ AND REAL RECORD COLLECTOR PLAYS VINYL AND LOTS OF IT. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HIM OFF THE DECKS. I GAVE UP AT 4AM, HAHA. I PLAY ROCK AND ELECTRONIC SO IT’S NOT ALL ONE STYLE …AND THE MUSIC SERIES WILL MIX UP BANDS AND DJS…ALL SUMMER…

FOR THE DAYTIME BY THE POOLS, WE HAVE DJS LIKE BRIDGET MARIE AND SARAH RUA. THEY PLAY MORE HOUSE, AFROBEAT, SOULFUL VIBES.I’ve rarely enjoyed the music out east during the summer.. you told me Montauk is different… tell me why that is.
MONTAUK IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU FEEL AWAY FROM NYC. THE HAMPTONS FEELS LIKE AN EXTENSION OF PEOPLE’S BAD BEHAVIOUR IN NYC…PEOPLE ARE STILL RUSHING AROUND…YOUR SUPPOSED TO BE CHILLING OUT…ON VACATION.

I GO TO PLACES LIKE BANZAI BURGER AND FEEL LIKE I’M AT THE BEACH OR IN THE CARRIBEAN.  BANZAI IS ALEX DUFFY AND STEVE KASUBA’S NEW PLACE OUT EAST. THE FOOD THERE ROCKS…I GOTO SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S. THEY’RE ALL GREAT PLACES AND ALL VERY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER.

Are the townies coming or is it a hipper visitor, vacationer, weekender?
ALEX DUFFY LIVES IN MIAMI AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM MIAMI, NEW YORK, AND OUTSIDE THE US COMING IN. AND, OF COURSE, THERE ARE LOCALS.  ON WEEKENDS A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SICK OF THE EVENTS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE COMING TO MONTAUK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT…IT’S THE SAME REASON PEOPLE IN MANHATTAN GO TO WBURG …THEY’RE OVER MANHATTAN AND ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LESS CHEESEY.

At the end of the summer, will you try to continue this series in a NY venue? How would you describe the state of NYC clubland?
I’VE BEEN APPROACHED TO DO MORE EVENTS IN NYC AND MIAMI AND I HAVE PROJECTS IN MUSIC IN THE WORKS. I LIKE THAT THERE’S MORE CLUBS BOOKING MUSIC ACTS AND LESS MODEL PROMOTERS …BUT NYC NEEDS MORE BALANCED MUSIC AND SOCIAL CLUBS. I WISH THE FESTIVALS WOULD BOOK MORE LOCAL DJS…WE ARE BOOKING TALENTED LOCALS LIKE JESSE MARCO ,CHAINSMOKERS, DJ VIKAS, JULIO SANTO DOMINGO, KRIS GRAHAM, LIQUID TODD, SHORTY, AND MANY MORE..THESE GUYS ARE LOCALS AND TRAVEL THE WORLD.

Paul Oakenfold. Like …how do you swing a name like that?
PAUL OAKENFOLD AND YOUNG EMPIRES (LIVE) …YES, ME AND MATT HAVE CALLED A LOT OF FRIENDS TO GET PEOPLE TO PLAY ALL SUMMER FOR SMALL FEES IN A 200-400 PEOPLE VENUE BY THE POOL….WE HAVE A LOT OF ACTS COMING LIVE AND DJING….I DONT WANNA SAY WHO, AS EVENTS ARE INVITE- ONLY..  BUT EXPECT MORE HUGE ACTS. 

Confession: Why I like Being Paddled

I like being paddled. I never really thought I’d say this before. Is this wrong? Twisted? I’m not sure. But I do know, at the behest of a friend who strongly recommended it, I got paddled. And since then, I’ve been hooked. I’ve been getting paddled every morning since—and I’m that much happier for it.

My paddle is rounded, actually—with furry bristles, which makes it unique in its function. And it’s not as large as most paddles—probably no more than a foot long. I call it “My Goody” because it just makes me feel good. In fact, when I bought it, it said on the case that it’s 30 times more effective than other paddles. Whatever that means. The skin-to-paddle impact, initially, feels very rough. Your flesh just kind of tingles under its motion, and that tingling reverberates all throughout your body, making it definitely one of the more pleasurable ways to start the day.

For those of you who have never experimented with a paddle before, the best time to use it is right after a shower, when you’re really wet all over, and it’s freezing out and you’re thinking, “If I go outside like this, I’m actually going to drench my clothes.” Which is always pretty embarrassing, and hypothermic, really. Oddly enough, it manages to soak up all the wetness, which is really hard to explain (is it scientific? magic? a miracle?) but whatever it is, it manages to do it in a matter of minutes. And by the end of your session of aggressive paddling, you’re not wet anymore.

I try to explain my want for paddling to my friends, but when I show them “My Goody,” they scoff. Their eyes widen. They say things like, “Bonnie, that is the strangest looking thing ever” and “What is happening to you?” So I’ve started hiding it. Which is really a shame, because why should I feel ashamed of something that makes me feel good? And who cares if it looks weird. Elmo looks weird, but people love him nonetheless. So do earmuffs. People wear them.

Anyway, I’m standing by what I said before: I like being paddled. And no, I don’t care what people say or how “My Goody” looks, because life is too short and too long to worry about such things. So I’m going to let it go and just enjoy my paddle. My mornings with it. The happiness it brings me. And thank the heavens that the Goody QuikStyle Paddle Hair Brush exists. It’s like a towel and brush in one. So long, hair dryer.

Want your own “Goody?” Get yours here, and follow Bonnie on Twitter.

New York’s Top Bars For A Summer Escape

Everyone needs a summer escape in the winter, whether it’s a trip to Aruba or a night in your apartment in a bikini with the heat on full-blast. But when you can’t leave the city and you have to get out of your apartment, then head to one of these top bars for that retreat. Stocked with everything from surfboards, frozen margaritas, fireplaces, bocce courts, and Hamptons décor, things are bound to get toasty and steamy – and sunburn-free. So hot, in fact, you might feel tempted to strip off all your clothes and run around naked screaming “I’M FREE I’M FREE AND SIZZLING HOT” Please know that I second that emotion and you have my blessing. Introducing: New York’s Top Bars For A Summer Escape.

Follow Bonnie Gleicher on Twitter

Industry Insiders: John Murcko, Park City’s Reigning Chef

Chef John Murcko was named “Best Chef in Utah of 2011” by Salt Lake Magazine. Let me say that again: He’s not just the best chef in Park City, the pristine ski town known for its upper-class residents and proximity to one of the biggest indie film festivals in the world, but in the whole irregular hexagon that is the state of Utah. He oversees two dozen or so spots in Park City, and his award-winning philosophy is to simply care about the environment and insist upon knowing not only where all of his organic, mountain-grown ingredients come from, but knowing the people who bring him that food. A life dedicated to the industry affords him those types of relationships.

Story goes you were interested in becoming a chef very early in life. When most parents were watching their boys disappear over the hills on bikes and skateboards, your dad was signing a waiver so you could wash dishes in a restaurant at the age of 14. On your request. Can you tell us more about being born in Michigan, and how you were able to find your passion so early in life?
I grew up in a town called Holly, Michigan. My father was in advertising and PR, and he had to travel to places like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. He started taking us kids separately on trips. Dad was what I call a passionate diner, and he sought out great restaurants. When I was about 10, he took me to Manhattan and we ate at Tavern on the Green – in the garden room. I vividly remember him introducing me to artichokes there, and how to peel off the leaf to get at the meat. On another trip, we went to The Russian Tea Room. The maitre d’ had to loan me a coat to wear. I consider that a turning point in my interest in restaurants – I thought that maitre d’ was the ultimate guy I wanted to grow up to be like.
 
We also spent a lot of time at a house we had on Mackinac Island (in northern Michigan); this was our sanctuary as a family. We also became members of the Grand Hotel, which has operated since 1887. I loved eating at this historic hotel, watching the synchronized service in a dining room of 300 people. I was enchanted. Both my Dad, and a passionate Grandma, thought I should start in the bottom of the business. So my first job was washing dishes at a place called Little Bob’s – a family restaurant that was in business for nearly 50 years. It was just a little family restaurant with a buffet, but he obviously knew how to run a restaurant.  (Little Bob’s closed in 1994.)
 
After the dish-washing gig, and waaaay before you were named Best Chef in Utah by Salt Lake Magazine in 2011, there must have been other paths you considered. What greener grass almost pulled you in a different direction, or what kept you moving forward in a straighter line than most? To prepare you for where you are today, what has your professional background been like?
My brother always said, “If you want to be great at what you do, play with people better than you.” So early in my career, I moved a lot. I moved every six months to a year to a different restaurant, looking for the next mentor to learn from. Then, in my 20s, I came to Park City and I met someone I stayed with for 16 years. That was (legendary Park City restaurateur) Bill White.
 
Other paths? There are two I almost considered; when I came to Park City, I thought I wanted to get out of hot kitchens and be a pastry chef instead. I thought it offered better balance; I would no longer have to depend on a team and could be individually responsible for myself. I did that for a little while, but there’s nothing quite like cooking. Second, through the fault of budget and timeline, prior to the opening of a Park City restaurant (Grappa), I was also the lead carpenter. I really liked it, and found that I had some natural abilities. I liked the similarity of outcome that you get with cooking – you could go back and see the results of your labor. I also liked that you could have your nights free and not be cooking until 2am.
 
In the end, however, the things that frustrated me most when I was younger have become the greatest joys of cooking for me. At first, like many chefs, I wanted to do everything myself and control everything. (No one can touch my sauce!) But now, I love being a great mentor and watching young people progress (from sous chef to executive chef, etc.). It makes everything better, you get more done, the quality goes up when you become a great leader, teacher, and mentor – not just a chef.
 
Partnered with the Toronto-based Talisker Corporation, you oversee two dozen different dining venues in Park City. How exactly did that come about, and how is that even possible to manage?
Talisker had a vision for food and beverage and flew in chefs from all over, but they couldn’t find someone who they felt understood the company culture. Dana Keele, human resources director for Canyons, said she knew someone right here in Park City and reached out to me through my wife, Kelli. After 16 years at Bill White, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. Over the course of several interviews, they determined I was the person who understood their company culture of integrity and quality.  
 
An average day must always be above average; can you walk us through your upcoming week? What are some of the more interesting responsibilities?
(laughing) Right now we’re preparing for some really exciting events for the Sundance Film Festival, while making menu and system adjustments on our flagship restaurant, The Farm. During Sundance, our restaurants are packed, we’re catering private parties and events, and we have a ton of VIP functions. For example, we’ll create comprehensive dining “experiences” in our yurts, which are beautifully appointed, private circular tents. On top of all that, this year, Talisker is catering Artist at the Table, the $1,500/plate Sundance Festival Kickoff dinner that accompanies the Opening Night Premiere film. Worth magazine named it one of the 10 hottest tickets for all events last year. It’s an incredible opportunity to showcase what we do for hundreds of interesting people including Mr. (Robert) Redford himself. So, January is always an exciting time – we’re incorporating enhancements based on the holiday season and making sure everything is fine-tuned for Sundance, President’s Day weekend, and the rest of the ski season. Plus, right now I’m hosting “Chef Tryouts” – I’m bringing in chefs to cook for me as I’m always looking for chefs who can complement and add to what we do.
 
Standing in the open kitchen of The Farm, one of Talisker’s flagship restaurants that focuses on ingredients sourced within 200 miles away of Park City, you have the perfect view of skiers and boarders descending the slopes. In fact, Ski Beach is just a snowball’s throw away. How do you not turn off your burners and grab your skis? If that’s not the biggest challenge of your job, then what is?
Any successful chef finds as much joy from cooking as anything else. It’s not a job – it’s a passion that I truly love. There are times when I work 100-hour weeks, but I also make time for my family. I moved to the mountains to spend time with my family, and spring and fall, in particular, there are literally countless springs and falls to hike and bike to in the Park City area. I still ski as much as I can, but we have an expression among chefs, “Speed of the chiefs, speed of the tribe.” Right now, the chief and the tribe are both speeding!
 
Can you tell us about the recently-opened Bistro at Canyons? It’s the first restaurant of its kind in the U.S. serving modern American kosher cuisine, including Friday Sabbath dinner throughout the winter season.
To produce food under any sort of guidelines, does not mean quality has to suffer. I think kosher dining has suffered from a lack of attention and passion. Now, with people exploring dairy-free diets more often, we’re proving we can deliver world-class dining experiences under that guideline. And the quality of all the ingredients, from chicken to meat to produce, is second-to-none. We’re making exceptional, very healthy food. Dishes like the Beef Cheek Gnocchi or the Mustard Crusted Wild Salmon are exquisite! Additionally, the clientele is so appreciative and supportive that we are going the extra mile to serve them. The dining room is spectacular. With 85 seats, we’re able to provide the attention to detail that guests have come to expect of our brand.
 
Do you have any funny or interesting mountain anecdotes that occurred in the line of duty that you can share? Guests-gone-wild incidents, that kind of thing?
Most are unprintable (laughing). I will say I’ve gotten very creative in using several-carat diamonds as garnishes to entrees in order to help with wedding proposals.
 
What is the secret to your success? What advice would you give someone who is interested in doing what you do?
One of our secrets is that while this is a town built for tourism, we can’t forget that we’re a community. Every guest is our most important one – but we go out of our way to make sure our locals feel that way all year long.  
 
Since you’re overseeing these two dozen restaurants, your immediate future must be booked solid. Is that the case, or is there something exciting on the horizon for winter/spring and beyond?
Whats on the horizon? Refinement. We’re constantly looking at how we can be better. Summer is more and more of a time for Talisker and Canyons to shine, with more guests hiking, biking, and fishing every year. We’re looking at some exciting ways for our guests to enjoy our beautiful weather – and our great food – long after the snow has melted. Plus, I want to enter and win a National BBQ Cook Off!

Winter in the Hamptons: A Getaway From the Crowds

Ah, serenity in the Hamptons. With celebrities and Upper East Side coteries hibernating in their penthouses and luxury in-home gyms, this venerated coastal stretch of hamlets and villages is all yours, at a third of the price. Winter discounts, special menus, and wait-free services open up to you; the towns acquire the holiday warmth and charm of It’s a Wonderful Life; and without the leaf-covered trees, those multi-million dollar, vacant mansions are suddenly visible from the street. So, go ahead; dine on farm-to-fork fare without a wait, cozy up to the B & B’s wood-burning fireplaces, party in the pubs, and peer into a 1,000-square-foot kitchen or two. For the season, the Hamptons is your playground and you are just one lucky kid. 

Eat: 

Fresno: Fresh Montauk fish, farm poultry, and local winter produce epitomize the three-course, $30 menu at this cozy and airy dining destination. You won’t notice the charming skylights and outdoor pergola as you sit, blissfully enamored by your orecchiette with local butternut squash and sweet sausage, or your mussels with shallots, garlic, and thyme in white wine broth, or your white bean and roasted garlic hummus. Oh! And the warm chocolate cake with nutella-fluff center and hazelnut gelato. I almost forgot.

The Tuscan House: If you can’t make it to Tuscany this year, just come to the Hamptons (Did I just say that?). Homemade, shoelace-thick pastas are coupled with local oceanic, poultry, and produce delights and follow such appetizers as crème-filled mozzarella burrata with grilled figs on crostini, and roasted butternut squash pasta with sage butter sauce. With such a following, chef/owner Billy has started inviting a handful of patrons to accompany him on a winter gastronomic trip to Italy. Ah, la vita è bella. Wear sweatpants.

North Fork Table's Beet Salad

North Fork Table: Rated by Zagat as the top restaurant in the Hamptons (scored a 29!), you can happily evade the crowds this winter while still feasting on the same locally-grown, organic produce and fresh seafood that the summer folk waited 60 more minutes for. Set in celebrity-free, bucolic North Fork, much of the restaurant’s ingredients come straight from the neighboring farms, wineries, fields, and waters. Feast on Atlantic sea scallops, duck confit strudel, grass-fed beef, and desserts from former Gramercy Tavern pastry chef Claudia Fleming. Three-course, $68 prix fixe menu available. Want it at noon and night? Grab a midday lobster roll and one of Claudia’s cookies at the Lunch Truck out back. 

La Plage: Another Zagat favorite, this unassuming creative little French-American spot sits right on the Wading River’s beachy shore and serves fish, produce, and poultry that is brought in fresh every day, still kicking. The menu changes daily, so this is certainly a “just-wing-it-you’ll -love-it” place. Signature dishes include their melt-in-your-mouth duck leg confit with risotto, caramelized sea scallops with gnocchi, and Black Angus filet mignon with buttery Yukon gold potato puree. Stop in for their three-course, $25 prix fixe lunch (which includes a glass of wine) and check out their Mother’s Day special menu. BlackBook tested, Mom approved. 

Buckley’s Inn Between: Sick of the frou-frou nonsense? Just got to have a burger, greasy fingers, and a juice-stained napkin? Stop into this family-friendly Irish pub and restaurant and salivate as you attempt to choose from 14 different kinds of burgers, all under $10 (fries, coleslaw, and pickle included). With homemade chicken pot pie, barbecued Buckley wings, and the fanciest option on the menu being the “Zinfandel Vinaigrette” salad dressing, you’ll find this spot as refreshing as the crisp Long Island air.
 
Sleep:
 
Mill House Inn:  A weekend at this luxury B&B is a study in the art of a good breakfast. You’ll wake up to such unusual offerings as whole-grain pancakes with ricotta, lemon, and dried cherry; lobster frittata with five onion marmalade; and eggnog brioche French toast. And the detail! Every room has a fireplace, marble and glass shower for your 40-minute I’m-on-vacation wash-ups, and mini-sailboat-stocked shelves. Child-friendly and dog-friendly – so friendly that it offers canine treats. Classic Rooms start as low as $225. Extraordinary Suites, equipped with a mini-bar, start at $495. For more discounted deals, see here. Woof. 
 
inside The Baker House of 1650
 
The Baker House 1650: Leave your horse, carriage, and city cynicism at the gate at this historic English cottage-French manor B &B. Built in 1648 and renovated in 2005, the House is full of surprises; flat-screen TVs, Bose radios, and in-room whirlpools supplement the outdoor terraces, 200-year-old wisteria, and wood-burning fireplaces. Breakfast on lemon pancakes before a wood-burning fireplace, or receive your meal in your room and fuzzy robe, delivered with your morning paper. Oh- and there’s a state-of-the-art spa facility, complete with a lap pool, sauna, steam shower, and spa tub. Why leave? Prices start at $247 with 10 percent off until March. Au revoir, stress.  
 
The 1770 House:  An inn with a basement tavern with a fireplace? Sign me up! Built in 1663 and operating as an inn since- you guessed it  – 1770, this tiny B & B features six rooms, most  with fireplaces, and all equipped with flat-screen TVs, plush duvet covers and linens, and snacks by Dean & DeLuca to nibble in bed after your nightcap. Make crumbs, go crazy. Prices start at $295.
 
Be Merry:
 
Stephen Talkhouse:  Take a seat at this normally standing-room-only intimate live music club. Known to attract musicians like Billy Joel and Paul McCartney for impromptu jams, Talkhouse’s covers range from $5 to $100 depending on the act, which varies from local stars to international chart-toppers. Hip, wild, and unpretentious since 1970.
 
Rowdy Hall: According to Hamptons lore, this English pub/ French bistro got its name from church-going locals who would pass the still-rowdy guests on Sunday mornings, declaring the place a “Rowdy Hall.” Proudly, it remains so today. Packed with a wood-burning fireplace, an extensive seasonal and British-inspired beer menu, and a post-drinking indulgent menu, you’ll make friends with your fellow revelers in no time.
 
Naturopathica: Adored by Liv Tyler, Meg Ryan, Julianne Moore, and potentially you! What a line-up. This holistic spa offers a 20 percent discount on their skin care products during the holidays, and a special discount on facials and massages that varies monthly. Scrub off itchy dry skin with their “Moisture Drench Facial,” and glow in the snow.  
 
Gurney's Inn's Spa
 
Gurney’s Inn:  Do you like to look at the ocean while you’re soaking in the nation’s only indoor heated seawater pool? No? Then don’t go here, since this newly renovated and venerated inn and spa sits right on the water, guaranteeing ocean views with every mud wrap and ocean radiance treatment. Purchase a $30 day pass for access to the heated seawater pool, bubbling Roman baths, sauna, and steam room. Algae and seawater treatments (locally sourced, of course), facials, and massages also offered. Channel the holiday spirit with the candy cane-inspired peppermint thermalism body treatment. Soak it up, live it up.
 
East Hampton Trails Preservation Society:  Put that chocolate cake with nutella-fluff center and homemade cannelloni behind you with a free hike. Three-to-seven-mile rambles along the coasts, ponds, and bluffs are offered on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and monthly 10+ miles cater to superhuman vacationers. For a good chance of a seal-sighting, take a walk along the Montauk rocks in January or February.  
 
Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum: So you’ll have to take another trek outside for this obligatory landmark visit, but this could be your only chance to see New York’s oldest lighthouse, especially without the background cries of a gaggle of snobby, 5-year-old kids hankering for a cookie and fresh juice smoothie.  With a 110-foot climbable tower that overlooks the rocky coastline, get that camera ready, flash a smile, and make this trip impossible to forget.