Partying on Fire Island

July 28th, 2013 § 0 comments

The Davis Park/Ocean Ridge section of eastern Fire Island (the long barrier beach south of Long Island,N.Y.) was battered by Hurricane Sandy but survives. Many years ago, HG/BSK had a house there perched atop a sand dune with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Great South Bay on the other. The duo plus daughter Lesley and SJ spent every weekend there from late March to early October (BSK and kids were there full time for July and August while HG steamed in New York). Those days were brought back to HG/BSK last night when they dove into some big bowls of BSK’s special linguini in white clam sauce. Weekends on Fire Island featured great food and drink, much appreciated by appetites sharpened by the sun and salt air. Here are some of the memorable dishes served up by HG/BSK’s Fire Island friends and neighbors: Gravlax with a pungent mustard and dill dressing (made by the late Willa Z.). Perfect sirloin steaks grilled in the oven by the late John A. who hated the barbecue with its unreliable levels of heat. The late Glenn F.’s Swedish smorgasbord with a dozen varieties of herring washed down with Aakavit and beer. The 20-dish rijstaffel prepared in a tiny kitchen by two guys whose names HG can’t recall. The Normandy-style steamed mussels prepared by a woman (name also forgotten) who had previously summered in France. The roast lamb that cooked all day over a wood and charcoal fire (supervised by a fellow with an Armenian background). Omelettes and Bloody Marys for brunch at a pretty blonde’s house. Spaghetti Carbonara at (the late) Veronika H.’s. The late Hobby Miller’s community fish fry with corn meal coated filets sizzling in hot oil. The best-of-all fish dishes prepared on the barbecue by the late Catalan sculptor Joan Junyer (friend and compatriot of Picasso) . He would toss whole fish on the barbecue for brief cooking. Then off the grill for a quick de-boning. The firm, juicy and slightly smoky filets got a pour of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Magic. (Sorry to describe so many people with the adjective “late” but time and fate are inexorable.) HG and BSK hosted many a great cocktail party on their rear deck with the sun setting over Long Island. With clams HG and BSK (sometimes with the help of SJ and Daughter Lesley) had just plucked from the Great South Bay, HG would prepare clams casino to nosh on while those who stayed for dinner had, naturally, BSK’s signature clams and linguini.

But, one of the most memorable Fire Island meals HG can recall took place in the bleak years before HG met BSK. A large group of Fire Islanders — very much under the influence of prodigious quantities of martinis and marijuana — mused that a meal of great Chinese food would really hit the spot. Good fortune. One of their number was a wealthy, young Chinese guy (tungsten, HG believes, was the source of his fortune). He called his office in New York City and gave some rapid orders in Cantonese. In 90 minutes, a seaplane landed in the Bay. Two Chinese gentlemen emerged carrying huge, metal tureens of duck, lobster, shrimp, fish, pork, beef, bean curd, noodles, vegetables, and more — all from Chinatown’s best restaurant. In moments, the hungry crowd was feasting on their dreams. HG realized then that there are some tangible benefits attached to wealth.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What's this?

You are currently reading Partying on Fire Island at HUNGRY GERALD.