Week 47: The Hamptons Montauk Escape and Pastrami Burgers

It's tough to write about the Hamptons; some readers will undoubtedly assume, without hesitation, that you're either a pretentious douche or you're somehow connected to the Kardashians, and therefore a pretentious douche. The Hamptons are the epitome of summer getaway for affluent New Yorkers, a rocky, beach-laden extension of the city, littered with designer dress stores and overpriced bed and breakfasts, where the upper crust consume thirty dollar mimosas and glibly mutter over the plight of the "common folk."

But if you venture all the way to the tip, to the end of that very, very Long Island, in the late Autumn, as I did, you arrive at a destination known as Montauk. Formally an American military base and fishing town, it is now a rustic escape for weary New Yorkers. The key to Montauk's beauty is that it, unlike the rest of the Hamptons, remains undeveloped and inconvenient. There are no chains, save for a 7-Eleven, its downtown is a sparse strip dotted with a few restaurants and bars, and miles upon miles of protected, beautiful land.

There are serene, walking sand dunes that move three feet each year, slowly overtaking the surrounding forests and leaving them a graveyard of trees. The oldest light house in New York stands in Montauk, at the edge of a massive rock staircase. It faces the water, where one can look out and observe as seals poke their slippery heads out and greet onlookers. And there is dope clam chowder, creamy and delicious, that is best eaten while watching the sunset along the pier with friends. 

Montauk is a beautiful locale, and a necessary escape from the chaotic mess that this glorious city can be. 

Sandwich 47: Umami Burger

The West Coast chain, Umami Burger, made its way to New York about a year ago, and with it came a range of responses - some critics bashed it, others adored it. Having frequented this burger haven, I find myself, more than anything, fascinated by its originality.

Based around the concept of "umami," the elusive fifth taste (the other four being sweet, salty, sour, and bitter), this stamped-bun joint features some of the more creative burgers I've seen, among them the 5 Spice Duck Burger, The Royale (covered in truffle cheese and braised short rib), and, I'm not joking, a Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger (seriously, what the hell is that?). Perhaps the most alluring feature of this chain is that each location has burgers exclusive to their individual restaurant.

In my most recent excursion, I experienced the joy of the pastrami burger, served only at Hudson Eats in Wall Street. Covered in a diced dill pickle, caramelized onions, and a dirty brown mustard made in house, this ground pastrami creation is a savory ride and earns points for merging two sandwich worlds (the classic burger and the NYC deli specialty) in such glorious harmony.

Combined with decadent truffle fries and craft beer, it's like McDonald's for drunken grown ups with disposable income. Worth at least a single visit, for the sheer spectacle alone, Umami Burger is a hub of flavory creativity.