Friday, June 15, 2018

A Review of Almond

If you find yourself in Bridgehampton, Long Island, make sure to visit Almond.

The first night we posted up at the bar. I was with two family members and a dear friend. Hours went by. I mixed in water between drinks so my actions remained socially acceptable. I had been drinking a local IPA (made in nearby Greenport, if memory serves) until I switched to a pretty pink concoction featuring tequila. There was too much salt on the glass, so I ordered the next one without salt. Perfect. One more of those pink drinks would have put me over the edge.

The bartender was a young man who was friendly and attentive. He never got annoyed with us. We asked him where to go next and he suggested a dive bar, the very place he planned to visit when his shift ended. We never made it. We did the smart thing by crashing just after midnight.

While at the bar I spent a lot of time looking at a red wall. I love how Almond is set up. The dining room is good size, in the shape of a square, from anywhere in the dining room or anywhere at the bar you can see everyone and everything. It's comfortable. I didn't find anyone or any part of it snooty or buttoned up. It was come as you are casual or dress nice if you like, kind of like a lot of society these days. I wish I'd taken a picture of the red wall. Was it wallpaper?!?! I wasn't expecting to write about Almond so I didn't take field notes. I wish I had taken notes on my phone and some pictures. Some people say to be present and put down your device. For one night in my life I was something along the lines of present but damnit I should've been active with my phone. My memory isn't what it used to be.

My location at the bar was adjacent to the host(ess) stand. A pleasant young woman was hosting for most of the time we were there. I turned to her and made a reservation for the following night. I knew I had to get back for a sit down meal.

We kept our commitment and returned for dinner the next evening. I ordered the Korean style short ribs. They were delightful. They were served with rice and kimchi. I think my favorite part of the meal was the kimchi. I also ordered smoked carrots. For some reason I thought I should have carrots instead of fries. The carrots were fine but they weren't fries. Life is short. Order the fries.

My brother was going to order spaghetti with lobster. I encouraged him to do so. "That's the move, that's the move." But he opted for a special: ravioli stuffed with ground pork, I believe. Twenty-four hours in my adult life I removed my sociologist cap, so, as established, I didn't take notes. I tried his ravioli and they were delicious.

A highlight was when a man walked in with someone, his daughter perhaps, and both of them were wearing baseball/softball shirts with the restaurant's name on them. Where I'm from, youth sports teams are usually sponsored by little pizzerias or a small company that does electrical work, but I guess things are different in the Hamptons. It was then that I noticed some kid art affixed to a wall near the entrance/exit of the restaurant. I like a place that sponsors a team and has kid art.

For dessert we had ice cream and some awesome chocolate thing served in a small mason like jar. I think the technical name is Pots de Creme but that's not in my cultural capital wheelhouse. Again, the lesson here for ethnographers or real food writers is to take detailed notes.

When I go out to eat, I like to be comfortable. I don't like to be in a place that feels too fancy. This was my "just right" kind of place. You're allowed to get slightly rowdy at the bar, and you can show up the following night to have a quiet meal. The staff were all friendly and seemed to enjoy working there. It's the kind of place I'd like to be a regular. I'm not a regular at any place, and that kind of bums me out. Oh well. I hope to get back to Almond some day to do some drinking and eating. The end.

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