I like variety in my meal.
If we go out to dinner, you’d better believe I’ll be sticking my fork across the table to sample whatever you are eating, even if I ordered the surf and turf. I need to make sure your dish isn’t better than mine.
That’s why the idea of wine and beer flights appeals to me. Why choose one when you can try them all? With the rise of small plates at restaurants like Noah’s in Greenport and Petulant Wino in Aquebogue (recently rated “excellent” by The New York Times”), it only makes sense to extend the tasting concept to food.
Last Saturday, my husband and I had a three-course meal at three different North Fork locations. Although no entrées were involved, we had a great time and certainly didn’t want for options.
Our first stop was at Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue for a pre-dinner apple cider tasting. What better way to celebrate summer’s unofficial end than with the juice of one of autumn’s first fruits? Of the five varieties we sampled, my favorite was the raspberry cider, though we wound up taking a growler of cinnamon home.
The next stop was several miles down the road, to try Noah’s flatbreads at Jamesport Vineyards. The vineyard was packed with wine lovers looking to enjoy their last bit of fun before the leaves change. We sat next to a nice couple but laughed to ourselves when they told us, “We’re from out here. We live in Holbrook.” What would a sixth-generation Greenporter say to that?
Chef Noah Schwartz of Noah’s in Greenport recently took over the winery’s wood-fired oven, upping the game on its offerings. We split a salumetto pie, which the menu described as “like pepperoni, but better” (it was) and I enjoyed my glass of Jamesport’s sauvignon blanc as the sun went down.
Our final stop was for appetizers at North Fork Tasting Room in Baiting Hollow. The two-year-old establishment, which is more bar than restaurant, offers local beer and wine by the taste, glass and bottle. And, of course, they offer plenty of tasty nibbles.
We shared crispy duck tacos and steak nachos and each had a half-pint of Crooked Ladder’s Gypsy Red. More and more menus now offer drinks by the half-glass, allowing patrons an opportunity to sample a greater number of local wines and craft brews, or simply enjoy a taste without the worry of becoming inebriated. We left the NoFoTaRo stuffed.
The next time you and your dinner companion are having trouble deciding where to eat, remember: You don’t really have to choose.