Wei Fun in East Hampton, New York, is sleek, chic, and very white. Despite the number of frosted glass tables that look available, we're asked to wait 20 minutes at the bar area where there are three HDTVs. One doesn't work. One shows sports. Maybe on the weekend it's a genuine scene, but tonight the atmosphere of coolness seems strained. We are with my longtime friend, Barrett Foa, who is currently playing a Nazi stormtrooper in The Lady in Question at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. This is not the first time in his career he's played a Nazi. In fact, it's the fourth.
Turns out Daufu with Pea Shoots, Soy Beans, Lily Bulbs, and Spicy Sichuan Sauce is basically tofu with vegetables and brown sauce.
"Which are the lily bulbs?" I ask our waitress.
"I don't know," she says. "Maybe the brown things?"
The meal is redeemed for me when Barrett pockets all our fortune cookies. "I'm going to put these on my ice cream," he says. Just as I wore a bikini all day under my autumnal outfit—the weather is soggy and in the fifties—we walk through the cool night to Scoop du Jour. I pay 50¢ to ride the mechanical horse. Barrett tops his ice cream cone with a piece of cookie, like a hat, and proceeds to use it like an edible spoon. There's an inherent similarity between fortune cookie and cone that makes for a pleasing symmetry.
Tuesday afternoon, J. and I walk in the rain down Wainscott Stone Road and cross Montauk Highway to the Seafood Shop, a freestanding shop with a driveway made of broken shells instead of gravel. They sell wonderfully fresh fish, soups, newspapers, bread, limes, corn, and potatoes, which is to say they sell everything you need. We buy a pint of their New England clam chowder—my favorite, anywhere.
Outside the seafood shop a strong chocolate smell wafts through the rain. What is there to do but follow it? We follow our noses into Levain Bakery and stand around taking deep breaths.
"This is better than the smell in Hershey, Pennsylvania," J. says.
A skinny, well-dressed woman stands in the middle of the store eating a baguette with butter and jam. In a daze she asks the guy at the counter, "Do you make these every day?"
He says he does and takes a tray of dark chocolate chocolate chip cookies out of the oven and slides them into a rack to cool. Swooning, we buy one.
At home we are civilized and eat the chowder at the table before consuming the cookie over the sink. Somehow, it's the quintessence of a dark chocolate bar, a brownie, and a cookie all at once. Unlike the slightly misleading scent of coffee, this tastes as good as it smells. Maybe I'll give up dessert entirely except to eat one of these a month. Apparently the original bakery is on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I've never been there. But that's going to change. In a world where these things are being baked there's just no reason for mediocre cookies.
I feel the same way later in the afternoon about The Bourne Ultimatum. It starts like a shot and ends with a satisfying conclusion and a bit of humor. The plot actually makes sense when I think about it afterward.
In an adult life full of micro greens, political documentaries, and literary fiction in translation, I sometimes forget how much I love a good cookie. I make a little wish that all cookies be as delicious as the one from Levain Bakery and all summer thrillers be as exciting as Bourne. And, while we're at it, may all bestselling books be as hard to put down as Rona Jaffe's 1958 hit The Best of Everything, which makes a superb beach book even if it's too cold out to truly read it at the beach.
Address: 203 Pantigo Road, East Hampton NY 11937
Scoop du Jour
Address: 35 Newtown Lane, East Hampton NY 11937
Address: 356 Montauk Highway, Wainscott NY 11975
Address: 354 Montauk Highway, Wainscott NY 11975
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.