Food & Drink

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Ribs are all fired up. Photo from Jonathan Levine/Smoke Shack Blues

By Steve Mosco

Thousands of years ago, mankind crawled out of its primordial origins, stood upright and decided to quit choking down chunks of raw flesh. These prehistoric freethinkers put meat to heat, creating a ritual that continues to compel the carnivore spirit in an endless quest for the slow-smoked supernatural.

The ritual is barbecue and it goes well beyond hot dogs and hamburgers hastily seared on a dirty backyard grill. It is a culinary style reserved for the meticulously obsessive chef, as cooking times can range from several hours to more than half a day and doneness is measured in burnt ends and smoke rings.

“Smoking is such 
an important 
cooking technique. 
In barbecue, it might be the most important.” — Eric Rifkin, Bobbique in Patchogue

Meat, time, heat and smoke; there are no secrets in barbecue, just obsession.

And the obsession is heating up on Long Island. A decade or so in the past, the number of barbecue joints on the Island could be counted on one sauce-stained hand. Now, slabs of brisket, piles of pork, racks of ribs and links of sausage are readily available in napkin-destroying glory in a growing number of eateries.

To travel the Island seeking out these restaurants is to explore the diverse nature of barbecue itself.

Barbecue is a fundamental element in America’s cooking culture; it is the only truly American cuisine, and like everything else purely American, its form is contingent on its regional influences.

There’s Memphis-style pit barbecue, which is high on the hog in rib and pulled form, served in a tangy, thin tomato-based sauce. The Carolinas offer two distinct forms of ‘cue, with North giving us spice and vinegar basted pork and the South opting a sauce that is more mustard based. Kansas City style cooks its meats super slow and super low over hickory wood, served with a thick and sweet molasses sauce. In Texas, meat is king, as dinosaur-sized beef ribs are served alongside a heaping portion of brisket and sauce is usually an afterthought.

St. Louis Spare Ribs
Ingredients: 4-5 pounds pork back “spare” ribs; Your favorite dry rub; Mustard; Your favorite barbecue sauce; Wood chunks or chips for added smoke (optional)
Directions: To start, choose some fresh pork spare ribs. Preheat your grill to 225-250 F. Wash and dry ribs, then trim and remove the membrane. Now rub in mustard on all sides. Lightly apply dry rub seasoning to both sides of the slab. Let stand for 15-30 minutes. Allow ribs to come to room temperature just before placing on the grill. Place a water or basting pan on the grill or within the coals for added moisture (optional). Barbecue at 225-250 F opposite coals with closed grill lid for 3-4 hours. Mop the ribs several times. To keep from overcooking, remove the racks when they pull apart easily, with meat still attached to the bone. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Barbecue on Long Island is trending toward an amalgamation of styles, with professionally trained chefs taming fire to give the public what it wants.

Bobbique in Patchogue (70 W. Main St.) specializes in Memphis-style pit barbecue. For chef Eric Rifkin, it all started with an inspirational trip to Memphis, Tennessee. With a menu that includes such staples as St. Louis-style ribs, brisket and pulled pork, as well as barbecued salmon and shrimp, Rifkin’s slow-cooking technique utilizes an authentic, soulful southern charm that acts as a great equalizer at mealtime.

“Barbecue is a communal experience,” says Rifkin. “People come together, roll up their sleeves, feel, touch the meat. It’s become a comfort thing. It’s a ‘talk to the table next to you’ kind of meal.”

Rifkin is a classically trained chef with an impressive resume. In transferring his refined talents to the decidedly less polished cooking style of the pit, Rifkin developed his own art of smoke, one of barbecue’s essential elements.

“Smoking is such an important cooking technique. In barbecue, it might be the most important,” he says. “The smoke imparts flavor into cuts of meat that were at one time less desirable. The right kind of smoke used the correct way changes everything.”

Another chef blurring the lines between barbecue boundaries is Jonathan Levine, whose restaurant Smoke Shack Blues opens in Port Jefferson this September. A chef with an origin story that includes fancy cuisine of the French-Italian lineage, Levine’s career trajectory was altered by traveling through the Carolinas and Texas during a family vacation.

It was during that trip he experienced the powerful effects of low-temp cooking combined with smoke. The science of low and slow with smoke melts the fat within, and that translucent succulence bastes the meat from the inside while the outer bark encases the juices until it’s ready for the cutting board.

“Everything is kept inside the meat,” says Levine. “The same cut of meat that is unremarkable cooked one way is made incredible when cooked in true barbecue style. All of those juices rendering inside for 14 hours or so makes for a completely different eating experience.”

Levine recently gave locals a taste of what to expect from his forthcoming restaurant at multiple events at Benner’s Farm in East Setauket. He offered pork shoulder for Western Carolina style pulled pork, smoked barbecue chicken, pork ribs and even tins of his own barbecue dry rub.

“It’s so easy for a chef to toss his meat in a sauce,” he says. “But with a dry rub, there is really nowhere to hide. It is all about the meat.”

Molasses BBQ Chicken
Ingredients for glaze: Cider vinegar — 1⁄4 cup (4 tablespoons); Brown mustard — 1⁄2 cup (8 tablespoons); Molasses — 1 cup (16 tablespoons); Salt — 4 teaspoons; Fresh black pepper — 2 teaspoons
Other Ingredients: Chicken — 6 pounds; Salt — to taste; Pepper — to taste
Directions: Preheat grill. In a pan pour in cider vinegar, add mustard and mix. Add in the molasses, mix well, season with salt and pepper. Place the pan on hot coals and allow to simmer. Place the chicken pieces over indirect heat on grill and season with salt and pepper. Cover and grill at 350 F and cook for about 1 hour. After 20 minutes of cooking, brush the chicken with the glaze after every 15 minutes. When about to be done, sear over direct heat for few minutes.

The nature of Long Island’s cross-cultural barbecue style has even influenced a man who didn’t require an illuminating trip to America’s smoked-meat meccas. Lloyd Adams is a Texan through and through. A marriage brought him to Long Island in 1995 and by 2003 he started Laura’s BBQ Shack, a traveling Texas-style barbecue smoker that rolls into events like a traveling carnival of meat.

After a few years of struggling to find a foothold in the Island’s barbecue scene, Adams’ big break came at an event hosted by the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce. Long before many of the Island’s barbecue restaurants were even a gleam in a chef’s eye, Adams was schooling locals on true barbecue.

“I spent a lot of time explaining it as a cooking method,” says Adams. “I had to explain that the meat might be pink, but it is not raw. That pink you see is from the authentic smoke and the low-temperature cooking.”

But as barbecue continues to marinate and mature on the Island, people are becoming savvier; they are learning to embrace those pink smoke rings and burnt ends, according to Adams.

“People are much more educated about barbecue these days,” he says. “People aren’t going for it multiple times a week like they might Chinese or Italian, but it is growing.”

The ever-evolving Long Island barbecue scene will likely continue to expand to new flavor territories as each new generation cuts through the smoke and slides up to flames. Even in Adams’ own enterprise, the Texas-strong style has morphed to include much more pork than is usually found on slabs in the Lone Star state.

That’s merely one example of the ever-changing story of barbecue culture. And on Long Island, this quintessentially American style of making meat better will continue to raise its flavor profile.

“Whether you are cooking beef or pork or using one style or another, it is important to take pride in your barbecue and always be your own worst critic,” says Adams. “People here are willing to listen and to learn and I suppose that’s a good sign.”

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“I made a mental note to watch which bottle became empty soonest, sometimes a more telling evaluation system than any other.” — Gerald Asher, “On Wine,” 1982

By Bob Lipinski

As an author and professional taster, I generally sample and evaluate more than 50 alcoholic beverages — wine, spirits, beer, and sake — per week. And no, I don’t need an assistant. Some are good, some are very good to excellent; while others are, how do I say it, not very good. I prefer to talk about the beverage rather than assign it an arbitrary number rating.

For many, the wines of France evoke pictures of lush vineyards filled with ripe grapes, huge fermentation tanks and rows of barrels filled with some of the world’s finest wines. France’s reputation as a great wine-producing country is solidly based on centuries of winemaking experience and the country’s climate and soil, which are ideal for growing the world’s great wine grapes. France is divided into six major wine-producing regions. They are Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, the Loire Valley, and the Rhône Valley.

Here are my French wine picks:

2010 Frédéric Mallo Riesling, Réserve Spéciale, Alsace, France. Pale yellow color with a fresh aroma of stone fruit, citrus, pears, and red apples. Medium-bodied with a good balance and flavors of apples, cantaloupe and peach nectar. Serve it chilled with softshell crabs, raw clams or oysters, or just a dish of spaghetti with white clam sauce.

2010 Domaine Charles Baur Riesling, Grand Cru Brand, Alsace, France. Bright golden-colored with a lush, full bouquet of honey, apricot jam, dried fruit and nectarines. Full in the mouth with citrus, Granny Smith apples, and some minerality. I would pair with smoked salmon, smoked cheddar and Gouda, or some honey-cured ham.

2014 Grange des Dames, Ventoux, Rhône, France. A blend of grenache, carignan, and cinsaut grapes. Salmon-colored with an explosive, fruity, spicy bouquet; quite floral. Light-bodied, grapy and somewhat citrusy. Flavors of Red Delicious apple with an aftertaste of red cherries. Serve it with lobster, crab, or shrimp salad. It would be perfect with paella or jambalaya.

2013 Château d’Aquéria, Tavel, Rhône, France. A blend of grenache, syrah, cinsaut, and clairette grapes. Rich, deep rosé color, from brief skin contact with the grape juice. Red berry aromas, including cranberry and raspberry. Medium-bodied with flavors of musk melon, peaches, and red cherries. It drinks like a red wine, so don’t over-chill. Match this wine with grilled sausages, eggplant, and zucchini. Wonderful for light, red-sauced foods.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “Italian Wine Notes” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple,” available on Amazon.com. He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits, and food, in addition to sales, time management, and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or at bob@hibs-usa.com.

Musican Bryan Gallo performs for winery-goers. Photo by Chris Mellides

By Chris Mellides

Beyond a gravel-strewn parking lot, a weathervane perched atop a rustic old potato barn stands tall and shines in the warmth of the weekend sun at Clovis Point winery and vineyard.

The neatly trimmed lawn below is home to a number of red tables and chairs that are occupied by families whose children play on the green grass beside the expansive grapevines that stretch for yards.

With the sunlight gleaming on high, I wipe the sweat from my forehead and casually pull down the brim of my hat to allow my eyes to adjust to the brightness of the outdoors. A gray oak barrel once used to age red wine now serves as a makeshift table and a temporary resting place for my camera equipment.

I pull a barstool close to the aged barrel and wait patiently to meet Kelly Bruer, Clovis Point’s general manager, for a chat and a tour of the facilities.

Kelly Bruer, Clovis Point’s general manager. Photo by Chris Mellides
Kelly Bruer, Clovis Point’s general manager. Photo by Chris Mellides

Bruer makes his way from the tasting room nestled inside the 150-year-old building. As I stand to face him, he greets me with a smile and a firm handshake. He asks me if I’m a wine enthusiast, but to his surprise, I tell him that I’d much rather prefer a stout beer or a frothy IPA.

“Sit down, sit down. Be relaxed, it’s a winery,” says Bruer. “Do you want some wine?”

“No, thank you, but I appreciate the offer.”

“Are you sure?” he asks. “I’ve got a nice, light wine that’s good to introduce beer drinkers to.”

After some more convincing I finally accept, and Bruer arranges for a glass of white wine to be brought to the table. At first sip, the effervescent blend tastes crisp with clean fruity notes, rounding out an overall full-bodied flavor.

“The wine that you’re having there is fermented and then it goes to the bottle and it rests a bit; it’s kind of a seasonal wine and we do it every year,” says Bruer. “It’s crisp and it’s light and it’s chardonnay, and if I didn’t tell you it was chardonnay you probably wouldn’t know it.”

A high-ranking vineyard and winery located on the North Fork of Long Island, Clovis Point first opened its tasting room in 2007. Much of the walls and beams of the tasting room and surrounding property remain unchanged since the 1920s and were preserved during the eventual repurposing of the structure.

Long Island’s long, warm summers and cooling breezes permeating from the neighboring Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean make for the perfect maritime climate. And the glacial soils unique to the East End have allowed vineyards like Clovis Point and the other 56 Long Island winemakers to be the largest producers of European grapes in the Northeast, according to the Official Website of the Long Island Wine Council, www.liwines.com.

“It can be a difficult balance for the musician and I do respect that, because I know it’s not just a matter of walking in the door and putting a guitar over your shoulder…these guys practice and
put time into it and that’s an important part for people to realize.” — Kelly Bruer, Clovis Point’s general manager

While the well-versed general manager of Clovis Point has held many titles in the past, including working as a journalist, a sous chef and a commercial lender, he admits to having always been drawn to the North Fork and its vineyards.

“I grew up here on the North Fork, and when I was 12 years old I started working at vineyards over the course of a few summers,” said Bruer. “I never thought I’d come back, but it’s exciting. I wake up in the morning and come to work, and I work in a beautiful vineyard.”

When he took the job as general manager in January of 2011, Bruer was thrust into taking on multiple roles, including a position in operations and in event planning.

Sharing similar responsibilities is Alicia Ekeler, the tasting room director at Lieb Cellars, another North Fork winery with a tasting room located on the estate. Like Bruer, the duties she undertakes can be tiring, but Ekeler believes those duties are rife with their own rewards.

“Three days of my workweek are spent planning all the tasting room events, managing the ongoing music schedule, staffing and scheduling,” says Ekeler. “On the weekends, I am in the tasting room making sure everything is operating smoothly and that our guests are leaving happy.”

And when her guests leave happy, Ekeler is happy. She says that she’s been in this role for just more than a year, but that she’s been with Lieb Cellars for almost two.

The crowd lines up at the counter of Clovis Point winery and vineyard. Photo by Chris Mellides
The crowd lines up at the counter of Clovis Point winery and vineyard. Photo by Chris Mellides

Something else that Bruer and Ekeler share  outside of their study of the culinary arts is their enthusiasm towards working with local musicians and affording them the opportunity to perform at their respective vineyards.

When selecting artists to feature at Clovis Point’s tasting room events, Bruer says that while originality and playing skill are important, it is vital for scheduled performers to understand that their live music should only add to the warm atmosphere rather than become the main focus of the day’s event.

“Explaining the wine and introducing people to the wine, that’s the more important thing,” says Bruer. “It can be a difficult balance for the musician and I do respect that, because I know it’s not just a matter of walking in the door and putting a guitar over your shoulder … these guys practice and put time into it and that’s an important part for people to realize.”

No stranger to Long Island’s winery scene, local musician Bryan Gallo shuffles into Clovis Point’s tasting room patio and examines his playing space. While sipping wine from a tulip-shaped glass he turns to face his audience.

Donned in black horn-rimmed glasses and a plaid button-down shirt, Gallo cheerily greets the crowd at Clovis Point. The Suffolk County native has performed at the vineyard several times over the last three years, so for many of the vineyard’s guests, this wasn’t the first time they’ve been introduced to Gallo and his music.
After tuning his jet-black acoustic guitar, he begins to play original song selections from his 2014 full-length album titled “Party Guest.” Gallo’s playing style combines alternative country-rock with wistful pop music elements.

As he strums his guitar, he’ll occasionally pepper in a bluesy harmonica to accent some of his songs. A sheet music stand faces Gallo and just beyond it are CD copies of his first major album release, along with a mailing list and tip jar that rest on the floor by his feet.

Friends and family joined together to share in Sunday’s performance at Clovis Point. Among those in attendance were vineyard club member and Setauket resident Steven Krinsky.

“We’ve been members of Clovis Point for the past seven or eight years, and we love the wine, we love the owners, and we love the staff. It’s a perfect trifecta,” says Krinsky. “The live music just adds another dimension [and] I think Bryan’s music goes perfectly with the wine and the whole experience of being at a vineyard.”

“It’s a very artistic feel in that you have the chance to spread your wings and do what you need to do and the people at the wineries are incredibly responsive to it.” — Bryan Gallo, Musician

At Lieb Cellars, live performances were first introduced in the winter of 2012 with the launching of the Friday Night Music Series. The series sticks to a rotating schedule featuring local musicians preforming a range of diverse genres from folk rock to opera sung in duet, according to Ekeler.

“We launched it as something for locals to do in the off-season; a chance for them to enjoy the space when it is not bursting at the seams as it tends to be in the high season,” says Ekeler. “We really try to explore different genres so that there is something for everyone every month, and it does not get repetitive.”

Like Clovis Point, Lieb Cellars receives many requests from musicians who are interested in performing at the winery, but those that are booked to play are often chosen because their playing styles are quieter and more relaxed to better suit the tasting room atmosphere.

For active musicians like Gallo, wineries are the perfect venue to learn how to engage with different kinds of audiences, while maintaining authenticity as an artist and receiving deserved compensation for live performances.

“I’ll always reach out to the wineries. Whether the [guests] plan on me being here or not, I feel like it’s always a really good synergistic relationship,” says Gallo. “People have picked up albums of mine because they’re interested, and they ask me ‘Well, when are you playing at Clovis again, or when are you playing at any of the wineries again?’ There’s a relationship there that just works.”

The unique relationship struck between musicians and the vineyards that embrace them is one that remains strong, and one that Gallo believes will endure well into the future.

“We don’t live in a small place, [Long Island] is a hundred plus miles back and forth from either end, so you can play a show out east and go out west the next day and you’re covering brand new ground,” says Gallo. “But out here, it’s just good. It’s a very artistic feel in that you have the chance to spread your wings and do what you need to do and the people at the wineries are incredibly responsive to it.”

Camp counselors and young campers yank on a rope in a tug-of-war exhibition at Benner’s Farm. Photo by Michaela Pawluk

By Susan Risoli

Benner’s Farm doesn’t slow down for the summer.

Dave Benner gives some of the farm guests a ride across the property. Photo by Susan Risoli
Dave Benner gives some of the farm guests a ride across the property. Photo by Susan Risoli

Since 1751, this working farm in Setauket has been an oasis for anyone who cares about a way of life that surprises as much as it teaches. Bob and Jean Benner bought the 15-acre property in 1977. They still run the place, but now their sons Dave, Sam and Ben handle much of the outdoor work, while daughter Kirsten, who used to teach in the farm’s community education program, now lives in New England.

The Benners host a summer camp for children, toddlers to teens, including a full-day showing of how to care for the animals and the gardens. Times Beacon Record Newspapers spent a day at the farm for a firsthand look at life as a Benner.

7:50 a.m. The Benners and their staff of counselors are getting ready for the campers. Some of the children have seen farm animals up close.

“They have backyard chickens and such,” Bob Benner says.

Most, however, have never been at a place like this, and Benner calls it “amazing, to see how quickly they warm up to it.” Today, the children will do farm chores and help feed the animals.

Pancake the chicken and her baby, Waffle, go by. This chicken has flown the coop, preferring to hang out with the cow. She’s actively raising her chick.

This is unusual behavior, Benner says, as modern chickens have been bred to spend more time laying eggs for profit and less time nurturing babies.

Pancake walks briskly, clucking constantly to Waffle, who runs on teeny legs to keep up.

“She’s showing the chick how to eat and how to be,” Benner says.

There are always some chickens that forsake the safety of the coop for an independent life in the open, says Benner. And when they do, “they have to live by their wits.”

8:30 a.m. The lambs are getting antsy.

“Their stomachs are talkin’,” says Sam Benner.

Camp counselors and young campers yank on a rope in a tug-of-war exhibition at Benner’s Farm. Photo by Michaela Pawluk
Camp counselors and young campers yank on a rope in a tug-of-war exhibition at Benner’s Farm. Photo by Michaela Pawluk

One runs to the fence and makes a tentative baa. Soon, three others follow. Now the group is singing a loud, indignant chorus of appeal for their breakfast. Benner tells them they have to wait until the campers get there.

Farm life is satisfying, says Dave Benner, but the hours are long. When it’s time for “spring baby-watch,” he says, “any time the animals go into labor, we have to be there to help ‘em, for as long as it takes.”

Each animal has a distinct personality. Take Shrek, the little pig born in April. “Shrek is a handful,” Benner says, looking over at the piglet that, in the span of about a minute, has pushed his nose through the fence, run around his pen, rooted in the dirt and enthusiastically munched a snack.

10 a.m. The campers are here. Some are gathering hay from the barn. The littlest ones sit on counselor Michaela Pawluk’s lap, as she teaches them how to milk Zoe the goat. The milk is used to feed baby animals, Pawluk says, or is made into cheese.

Other kids wield rakes and shovels. Counselor Nick Mancuso is helping them make a feng shui-themed rock garden.

All the children have a multitude of questions. Nine-year-old Teppei says the animals “are funny sometimes. The chickens look like they’re playing running bases, because they’re running back and forth.” Teppei says he was surprised “at how big cows can get, at a really small human age.” He drew that conclusion after meeting Minnie, the Benners’ massive two-year-old cow.

2:30 p.m. Afternoon on the farm is a time for noticing — the feel of the strong sun, the sound of water rushing out of a garden hose into the goats’ drinking basin, the fragrance of oregano as a breeze blows across the herb garden.

Grown goats and sheep are out of the barn, grazing on the grass. Their babies rest in the shade, leaning on each other with their eyes closed. Minnie the cow is like a big puppy, licking the arms of any human she can reach, her soulful brown eyes trusting and calm.

7 p.m. Campers are long gone, and grown-ups are gathering on the farm for an outdoor bluegrass concert in the pasture. The sheep are starting to hunker down in groups.

Minnie and Shrek are beside themselves with joy as people gather to admire them. But soon, even they will settle down for the night. Tomorrow will be another busy day.

Restaurant is first in village to attempt rooftop dining

Skipper's wants to create outdoor rooftop dining. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Skipper’s Pub of Northport Village has set its sights on the sky with plans to create rooftop dining at its Main Street eatery — but the proposal saw a bit of grounding by village zoning officials and residents on Wednesday.

Representatives of the restaurant came before the Northport Village Zoning Board of Appeals at a public hearing with hopes of gaining area and parking variances to create a 109-seat seasonal rooftop dining area atop Skipper’s. The plan raised eyebrows and exclamations from ZBA chairman Andrew Cangemi, who questioned whether the ZBA even had jurisdiction over the proposal and brought to light parking issues with the plan.

This is the first time a restaurant has attempted to gain approvals for rooftop dining in Northport Village.

“What we’re doing is a little different than a couple of tables and chairs, Mr. Chairman,” Chris Modelewski, the attorney for the applicant said.

Skipper’s needs a variance from the code for about 37 parking spots, as they want to build a 2,750 square foot rooftop deck. The deck would add 33 additional seats to its eatery and plans to remove a number of sidewalk dining seats and tables.

A view of what a proposed outdoor rooftop dining space would look like at Skipper's Pub in Northport. Photo by Rohma Abbas
A view of what a proposed outdoor rooftop dining space would look like at Skipper’s Pub in Northport. Photo by Rohma Abbas

The plan also includes adding a bar and bar stools, a stairway and fencing to the roof.

Officials and residents at the hearing questioned where those spots would come from, in a village that is already strapped for parking spots during the busy summer months.

Another issue Cangemi raised was whether the ZBA should even be reviewing the application. Modelewksi said the rooftop dining complies with the village’s outdoor dining code, which allows restaurants to create sidewalk dining for a $50 annual permit fee. Those applications don’t require ZBA variances, Cangemi said, according to the code.

“Why are you here?” he asked.

Modelewski said he needed variances for parking and other issues, and that he wanted to secure them in case the law changed in the future. Cangemi replied that the applicant basically wanted the ZBA to assume a legislative role and “play village board.”

“Chris, I hear what you’re saying, but it seems like you’re asking this board for cover.”

The representatives delved into the details of the application. When pressed on parking figures — Cangemi asked where the applicant would create 37 additional spots — Modelewski said he reasoned many of the individuals who come out to eat at night are out-of-town visitors who arrive by boats and moor up to the neighboring marinas and village dock, therefore not requiring parking. Representatives also mentioned there are available spots open to the public at Woodbine Marina.

About 10 residents weighed in on the proposal at Wednesday night’s hearing. Those who critiqued the plan did so on the parking issues. One person who spoke in favor of the plan noted that the village is home to a number of large-scale events like the farmers’ market and the Great Cow Harbor 10K Race, and people manage to find parking at those events.

Former Northport Village Trustee Tom Kehoe also made an appearance and spoke on the application. The original author of the outdoor dining legislation, Kehoe said it was initially drafted years ago when vacancies and inactivity were a common sight in Northport. Officials then were looking for ways to stimulate activity in the downtown.

He said everyone has had a hand in “the Renaissance of Northport,” turning it into a destination.

“Sometimes you just have to be careful what you wish for.”

Cangemi said the public hearing would be held open until Sept. 16 for any additional comments to be entered into the record.

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Charity shouldn’t be seasonal. Donate money or food during the summer, when some children who rely on school lunch programs need it the most. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Every fall and winter, good-hearted Long Islanders far and wide reach into their pockets to donate goods and food in the spirit of the holidays.

It’s so easy to imagine life without a jacket or a warm Thanksgiving dinner when it’s November or December. You won’t have to look hard to find numerous coat drives and food drives around that time of the year. And that’s a great thing. But it’s not enough.

Summer hunger pangs exist right in our own backyard. And they are growing Island-wide — particularly among children who rely on school lunch programs but don’t have access to that food during the summer.

Island Harvest food bank, a hunger relief organization based in Mineola, reported earlier this month that it expanded its summer-food service program. Last summer, they served 103,000 meals to 3,500 kids at 49 sites throughout the Island. This year, they anticipate dishing out more than 175,000 meals to about 4,000 children at 55 sites.

Those are some eye-opening statistics, especially when you consider what we already know about hunger on Long Island. A 2010 national study prepared for Island Harvest and another nonprofit, Long Island Cares, claims 283,700 people on Long Island receive emergency food each year. Of that group, 39 percent are under 18 years old.

For many of us who are fortunate, summer is our kick-back-and-relax season — a chance for us to embark on those sun-soaked vacations and long weekend trips or just leave work early on Fridays. But there are some who can’t afford to get away, and constantly struggle to make ends meet.

We urge our fellow Long Islanders to channel the holiday spirit this summer. Pitch in by donating money, your time or food. Grab a cardboard box your local deli may not need and bring it to the office — get your co-workers in on it — and collect some food. Donate the box to your local food pantry.

Charity shouldn’t be seasonal. It’s time we step up to the plate all year long.

Get healthier before the season ends

By Lisa Steuer

Summer is in full swing. Ideally, you would have started working toward your summer body a few weeks or even months ago. But if you still have some progress to make, here are some last minute steps to get in better shape before summer ends.

Increase water intake. Leave a full 24 to 32-oz water bottle by your bed every night, and when you wake up in the morning, immediately drink that as you get ready. During the night your body hasn’t taken in much liquid, so it’s thirsty in the morning. Drinking water immediately in the morning gets your systems running and can aid in fat loss. You’ll also find that it’s very energizing. In addition, increase your water intake throughout the day, aiming for a gallon. Stay away from soda and other sugar-laden beverages.

Drinking water immediately in the morning gets your systems running and can aid in fat loss.

Eat a healthy breakfast. This can set you up for eating healthy the rest of the day. Try Greek yogurt with fruit, an omelet with veggies, or throw some fruit, natural peanut butter and almond milk in the blender for a delicious smoothie you can take on the go.

Prepare your lunches for the week every Sunday. Being prepared is one of the most important keys to success when it comes to health and weight loss. An example of a meal you can easily make in bulk: 4 oz. of lean ground turkey or chicken, one-fourth cup of quinoa, and one cup of veggies like broccoli. Bake the broccoli in the oven while making the quinoa and meat on the stove, and before you know it you’ve got a week’s worth of healthy lunches.

Replace your morning coffee with green tea with lemon at least a few times a week. While black coffee is healthy, the cream and sugar that often accompanies coffee is full of calories. Green tea has zero calories, contains antioxidants and has been shown to aid in fat loss.

Order smart at restaurants. It’s not as difficult as one may think, especially because many restaurants now have healthier menu sections. As a basic rule, look for words on the menu like grilled, baked or broiled and stay away from anything fried or breaded.  If possible, view the menu online before you go so that you’re prepared.

Increase cardio activity. Try to do something at least five days a week. Schedule a run every morning or a walk every evening. Go for a bike ride or swim laps. Sign up for a new and different fitness class each week. Just get out and get moving!

Have fun experimenting with new recipes. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Experimenting with new recipes can help keep you motivated. Try out healthy swaps— for instance, more often than not, you won’t even notice the difference when you swap out sour cream for Greek yogurt. Check out fitnessrxwomen.com for some great ideas.

Green tea has zero calories, contains antioxidants and has been shown to aid in fat loss.

Be active during downtime. While at home watching TV, do some crunches, planks, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc. Do some squats while you’re heating something up in the microwave. Get creative!

Cut down on sugar, alcohol and sodium. It’s OK to have a treat once a week or so, but you may find that when you cut out sugar and alcohol, you’ll feel much better anyway. When a sweet craving strikes, try a small piece of dark chocolate or a chocolate protein shake. And while we do need some sodium in our diet, too much will lead to bloating.

Track your food intake with a food log or app like My Fitness Pal. You may be surprised at how much you’re actually consuming without realizing it.

Sign up for a 5K that occurs in the fall. It will keep you on track this summer and help motivate you to stay active. Even if you’ve never done a 5K before, it’s a great way to challenge yourself. You’ll feel amazing when you cross that finish line after all your hard work!

Lisa Steuer is the managing editor of FitnessRx for Women and FitnessRx for Men magazines. For more fitness tips, training videos, healthy recipes and print-and-go workouts that you can take with you to the gym, visit www.fitnessrxformen.com and www.fitnessrxwomen.com.

File photo by Michael Ruiz

Emma Clark Library will keep its summer tradition alive as it hosts the third annual food drive for the entire month of July. Run by the Teen Services Department, volunteers will be collecting toiletries and nonperishable food items to be donated to various food pantries throughout the community.

The teens will help publicize the drive, sort the food and deliver it to the food pantries, a spokeswoman for the library said in an emailed statement.

Donations are very much appreciated, and anyone is welcome to bring in a contribution. Some suggestions for food items include cereal, peanut butter, jelly, canned fruits and vegetables, rice, beans, tuna fish, juice, pasta and pasta sauce.

The food pantries can also use diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream, disposable razors, shampoo and conditioner.

Donation boxes will be located at the library, in the lobby to the left of the circulation desk, through July 31.

Last year, a total of 135 bags of food were collected, and the library said its teens hope to surpass that number this year with even more bags.

If you have any questions about the food drive or would like to become a teen volunteer, you may contact Nanette Feder, teen services librarian, at (631) 941-4080 ext. 116 or email her at teens@emmaclark.org.

A farmers market is sprouting up on the Three Village Historical Society grounds, offering fresh options for North Shore natives. File photo

It’s fresh in every sense of the word.

Healthy, fresh foods sold by local vendors are available on the grounds adjacent to the Three Village Historical Society in East Setauket every Friday afternoon from 4-7 p.m. The East Setauket Farmers Market started nearly five weeks ago by Melissa Dunstatter, founder of Sweet Melissa Dips & Gourmet Catering of Rocky Point. Dunstatter also runs farmers markets in Port Jefferson and Sayville, and said she’s been a vendor for eight years and running farmers markets for about five.

The East Setauket Farmers Market started when a group of students from the Three Village school district chapter of the National Junior Honor Society wanted to do a fundraiser for a noble cause. What was supposed to be a one-day event back on May 16 to benefit a foundation called Hope for Javier, a nonprofit organization created to fund research for the disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has turned into a weekly occurrence.

“The location is really, really nice,” Dunstatter said in a phone interview this week. The success of the May 16 event, coupled with a void left by the departure of Ann Marie’s Farm Stand to Port Jefferson Station, made the site attractive for Dunstatter to set up shop from June all the way through October.

Some of the products from local vendors available at the farmers market include dips from Dunstatter’s company, fresh produce, olive oil, eggs, pickles, jams, beef jerky, fresh bread and much more. The Dip Lady, as Dunstatter is known, also has a kids day planned for sometime in August that will feature face painting, among other family friendly activities.

Dunstatter also mentioned plans for the site by the historical society headquarters that include some of the North Fork wineries, a pig roast, and a tomato and garlic festival, all at dates still to be determined later in the summer.

“So far it seems to be pretty successful,” president of the historical society John Yantz said. He mentioned the fresh baked breads from a vendor who travels east from Brooklyn every Friday as his favorite item to bring home from the market. “The stuff they have is very unique and very health conscious,” Yantz said of the overall selection at the market.

Dunstatter mentioned health consciousness as an important theme for the market as well. “My whole goal is to help families eat better,” she said. Providing local vendors with an opportunity to sell their products without the burden of sky-rocketing rents is another pleasant side effect of the market, according to Dunstatter. She said she plans to expand west into Nassau County at some point, which is an area devoid of quality farmers markets, she said.

“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” Dunstatter said about the challenges of opening and running a farmers market, especially this one that she said was set up in about a week. “I always say I want to start a reality TV show with all of these farmers markets,” she added with a smile.

The East Setauket Farmers Market is held at 93 North Country Road in Setauket. For more information visit the farmers market Facebook page.

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By Bob Lipinski

A storybook region dotted with picturesque villages in France, Alsace occupies a narrow strip of land between Strasbourg and Mulhouse. It is no more than four miles wide and about 40 miles long, with a total area of approximately 40,000 acres. It is nestled between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River, just east of Champagne and Burgundy. Alsace is divided into two sections — the Bas-Rhin in the north and Haut-Rhin in the south.

Alsace produces one-fifth of all of France’s white wines entitled to the AOC designation. Because it is located so far north, there is generally insufficient sunshine for the red grapes to ripen fully. Therefore, better than 90 percent of all wines are white.

Some of the better-known wines of Alsace are Riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot blanc, sylvaner, pinot noir, pinot gris, muscat à petit grains, chasselas, and Klevener de Heiligenstein. The wines range from very dry, through semisweet and even sweet. There is also a fabulous dry sparkling wine called crémant d’Alsace.

I recently attended an Alsatian wine press event featuring the wines of Hugel et Fils and Domaine François Baur, which are perfect for hot summertime weather. Below are the wines that I tasted and highly recommend:

2013 Hugel Gentil, a blend of primarily gewürztraminer paired with varying amounts of pinot gris, Riesling, muscat and sylvaner.
2013 Hugel Riesling.
2008 Hugel Riesling Jubilee.
2012 Hugel Gewürztraminer.
2013 Hugel Pinot Blanc Cuvée Les Amours.
NV Domaine François Baur Crémant d’Alsace, made from a blend of Riesling, pinot blanc, pinot gris, and chardonnay grapes, while pinot noir is used for the rosé version.
2013 Domaine François Baur Pinot Blanc Herrenweg.
2012 Domaine François Baur Riesling Herrenweg.
2007 Domaine François Baur Gewürztraminer Grand Cru– Brand.
2013 Domaine François Baur Pinot Gris Herrenweg.
2010 Domaine François Baur Gewürztraminer Herrenweg.
2013 Domaine François Baur Pinot Noir Schlittweg.

When searching for cheeses to pair with these wines stay with the soft, mild style, and definitely not too salty. Two cheeses that I like from Alsace that are worth searching for are:

Lingot d’Or (lan-GOH dohr) A brick-shaped, cow’s milk cheese, which is quite similar to Munster.

Munster (MUHN-stuhr). A semisoft to firm, cow’s milk cheese with a somewhat edible, ivory or orange to red exterior; creamy white to buttery yellow interior with small holes; cylindrical, rectangular, and wheel-shaped.

It has a pungent smell sometimes of mushrooms; complex, strong and tangy flavor; slightly salty, nutty taste; sometimes flavored with aniseed, caraway, or cumin seeds. The word Munster means monastery and it was the Benedictine monks, who came from Ireland, in the Munster valley of the Vosges Mountains who introduced cheese-making to this area as early as the seventh century.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “Italian Wine Notes” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple,” available on Amazon.com. He conducts training seminars on wine & cheese, sales, time management and leadership. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or at bob@hibs-usa.com.

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