Photo by Eric Fischl.

NORTH HAVEN - For the past few years, I have spent New Year’s Eve in the Hamptons, where everyone brings food or drink to a large communal gathering. Last year I hosted it at my house, and this year, we were fortunate to be hosted by April Gornik and Eric Fischl at their North Haven home – a fantastic place, made for entertaining, designed by Eric and architect Lee Skolnick.

April is an extremely talented cook, and her main contribution was a “brussels sprouts caesar salad,” a fantastic dish made of roasted and raw brussels sprouts, in a gorgeously thick caesar dressing with handmade croutons. Hands down, it was everyone’s favorite, but there were so many delicious things to choose from – including caviar and crème fraîche on brown bread; smoked salmon; icy cold local oysters; cheeses and pates; duck and wild mushroom quesadillas; seared tuna; vegetable tarts; and my humble entry to the feast – a very retro dish of sweet and sour cocktail meatballs, with a side of mini chicken and apple sausages.

 

 

Guests arrived throughout the evening, each with an offering that was added to the buffet table. Artists, actors, playwrights, gallerists, collectors made for one of the nicest and most convivial New Year’s Eves I celebrated in a long time (maybe it helped that I wasn’t cooking cassoulet for 40 this year). Sotheby’s Wine recommended a wonderful and affordable grand cru Chardonnay, R L Legras Blanc de Blanc, which is described as “a champagne you can drink all night.” And guess what – we did!