Valentine's Day at Le Chef
Le Chef on Jobs Lane in Southampton has been one of our favorite restaurants for years. I remember going there to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions growing up. And now it has become a special place for Sean and me. We love to go have dinner at the bar and chat with the bartender and whoever else is there.
Three years ago on the anniversary of our first date Sean and I went to Race Lane in East Hampton, where we had had our first date six years earlier. He had planned to talk to my dad earlier in the week to ask for my hand in marriage, but unfortunately my dad was stuck in Washington D.C. and wasn’t getting home until later that night. We had a lovely meal at Race Lane, sitting at the bar watching a Yankee game. I vividly remember thinking to myself that this was all I needed in life. Little did I know that things were about to get even better. After dinner we headed back to Southampton, and Sean made up an a reasonable excuse to stop at my parents house. My dad finally arrived home and Sean was able to sneak a few minutes with both my parents to ask their permission. We still had another stop to make though, coincidentally my cousin had also gotten engaged that same week and they were celebrating at my aunt's house. This is when I started to notice Sean’s odd behavior, he never took off his jacket, and he was in a rush to leave the minute we got there. This was very unlike him, he is typically very social and usually I’m the one that wants to leave a party first. After leaving my aunt’s house Sean suggested we continue our anniversary celebration with dessert at Le Chef, I wasn’t terribly hungry but I can never refuse their delicious homemade gluten free cheesecake and Sean knew that. At this point Sean was speeding to get there, I remember telling him to slow down but he said he was just worried they were gonna close. So the drive that would normally take us two minutes took us about a minute and a half. We parked out front and began walking toward the front door, suddenly Sean stopped and got down on one knee. I was in complete shock, but I was also happier than I had ever been. It was an absolute perfect moment. After I recovered my shock we went into Le Chef where everyone at the bar had been watching us through the window. Our little Le Chef family were the first to congratulate us, popping open a bottle of champagne almost instantly. We were already regulars at the restaurant, but now that it was also our engagement spot it became even more special to us.
I was very excited when Sean told me he made a reservation at Le Chef for Valentine’s Day this year, and I was even more excited when he said he reserved two seats at the bar rather than a table. Sometimes we really prefer sitting at a table just the two of us, but I love the cozy bar, set in the front corner of the restaurant. I like that the bartender knows I’m allergic to gluten and always makes sure my food is safe. I like that when we sit down she gives me a club soda with a lime, and gives Sean a Stoli O and 7 up. And yes she does this because we’re regulars, but it’s also just that kind of place. They remember you even if you’ve only been there one time before, they make you feel like you’re their best customer. As a former Disney Castmember customer service goes a long way with me, but the thing about Le Chef is they have the food to back it up. Not only is their food delicious and fresh all the time, but they are also more than willing to adapt things for my allergy or for just a preference. Sean’s favorite dish, Chicken Cordon Blue, has been off the menu for about a year now yet they still always make it for him if he asks. They’ve made me GF Chicken Marsala, Chicken Francaise, Vegetable Risotto that is also no longer on the menu, and they have never once acted as if any of this is an inconvenience. They without a doubt have the best soups in Southampton. Their soup du jour is always vegetarian and gluten free, and their French Onion can be gluten free without the bread I believe.
We walked in on Valentine’s Day and were greeted warmly by the hostess and the bartender. The bartender who had not been there when Sean made the reservation had obviously taken the time to look at the reservation list because she knew we were coming. The hostess then presented me with a red rose and gave each of us their menu for the evening which was printed on pale pink paper. Looking up at the ceiling there were red, pink, and white balloons everywhere. This was not the place to come if you were trying to avoid Valentine’s Day, lucky for us it only made the evening more special. Being that it was crowded and they had clearly created a limited menu for the evening neither Sean or I even tried to order anything that wasn’t on there. Most nights they have a pre-fix available along with their a la carte menu, This particular evening they were just doing the pre-fix, however it had more options than their usual menu. I think they typically have four entrees available and this menu had eight. The pre-fix also included an appetizer and dessert. We both opted for the soup du jour, Vegetable Lentil which is one of my favorites, as our appetizer. For the entree Sean decided on the Smoked Pork Chop which he said was outstanding and I had the Steak and Pomme Frites which isn’t something I normally order from their but it really hit the spot. After dinner we were both too full for dessert so we decided to get it to go, this what we do almost every time we go there. No surprise I got the cheesecake and Sean got the crepes and they were just a delicious eating them at home on the couch as they are at the restaurant.
I really can not recommend this restaurant enough and I look forward to celebrating special occasions there for many years to come.
A few things have happened over the last two weeks that have contributed to my lack of posting.
This blog has done exactly what I would hoped it would do, it has absolutely reignited my fiction writing. Pages have poured out of me the last couple of weeks and I feel like I’m making tremendous progress on my novel.
My internet went down. I spent a half hour on the phone with an optimum robot (I’m not being fresh, I literally was not talking to a human being.) trouble shooting my connection only to be taken back to the beginning when nothing they suggested worked.
I got the flu!!!!!
Finally feeling better this weekend I was desperate to get out of the house, although I was feeling my usual winter blues and was yearning for warm weather. Sean asked me last night what I wanted to do for dinner and my response was:
“I want to go somewhere warm on the beach and watch the sunset.”
Being that we are not yet billionaires and had to work today, we couldn’t exactly fly to a warm climate for dinner. But Sean had a great idea and we went to Rumba in Hampton Bays for dinner. For those of you that don’t live around here or are not familiar with Rumba it’s a great little waterfront restaurant that has a Caribbean island theme. We walked in and we were able to pretend we were on vacation for a couple of hours.
The decor is exactly what you would expect from this type of restaurant. They have a long board as a table, the lights hanging from the bar look like giant conch shells, and there is a long plantation fan that stretches from one end of the dining room to the other. There is even a TV on the wall that plays a loop of an island beach scene, which sounds cheesy but it was actually perfect!
We decided to sit at the bar, being that both of us are pretty outgoing we always love the opportunity to chat with the bartender and get to know the place a little. We especially love to do this when we are on vacation, but we often do this here at home also. And last night we were glad we made this choice because Kelly the bartender gave us great menu recommendations and was super attentive to my gluten allergy.
The food and drinks also kept with the island theme, I’m not a drinker but Sean got some sort of very summery looking cocktail and was very pleased with the selection. My favorite thing about the menu is they have either a little G or GF next to the menu items that would be available to me. Over the years more and more restaurants are labeling their menu items in this way, but this was the first time I saw two different icons on the same menu. I read the little key at the bottom and I was really pleased by their explanation. The G represented any menu item that could be altered to be gluten free, while the GF represented any menu item that was already gluten free. This made ordering so much easier.
We decided on the double dip (guacamole and pimento cheese dip with corn chips) as an appetizer, and Sean got an order of the ribs. The ribs were labeled as G but I didn’t ask them do anything different because I wasn’t planning on having any. For dinner I was tempted to get the Ahi Tuna Salad that was labeled GF, but after being sick I wasn’t really ready for raw fish yet. So instead I ordered the Island Burger with no bun, as did sean, and it was delicious. It is a burger with a slice of grilled pineapple and a gf island glaze topped with pineapple aioli sauce. You can have any of their delicious sides many of which are GF but naturally I chose french fries.
Although we had a great experience and I was pleased at my menu options, there were a couple things I would change. They have tacos on the menu, tacos I loved before I found out I couldn't eat gluten. But they use corn tortillas that have flour in them which I thought was kind of weird. Kelly did explain that the owners met some woman on a trip to California who makes her own tortillas and loved her so they've been buying from her ever since. Now as charming as a story as it was I still thought “what's the point of corn tortillas if they’re not gluten free.” However, I can't really complain because like I said there really were a lot of options for me.
So it wasn't the warm beach that I was dreaming of, however it was a great alternative, and we really enjoyed our little staycation! Can't wait for our next night on the island!
After starting my morning with an amazing Pure Barre workout, Sean and I decided to go out for brunch. Now I know that New Year's Day is holiday but I was under the impression that it was one of the holidays that restaurants stayed open for. This however did not seem to be the case, after trying a few of our favorites with no success we ended up at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor. This was not our first time dining at BC but the two previous times we had stuck to either the lunch or dinner menu. Today I was all about breakfast, although I was tempted by the Cove Salad I had last time and thoroughly enjoyed.
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