This week's Weekend Picks is about ... picking, specifically near the plentiful farm stands on and near the North Fork. Autumn is a delightful time to visit and to stay in the area. As Halloween approaches, the pumpkin harvest alone could fill every SUV in Nassau and Suffolk. U-pick apples and fall vegetables are ready, too.
After a day in the field or at the stands, you'll need some refreshment. Here are three informal, easterly spots that should satisfy your appetite. They all welcome younger diners, too.
* The Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue has been around since Truman was president. The homey, old-fashioned style suits the season. The cooking takes in roast turkey, prime rib, chicken potpie, meat loaf, lobster salad, sauerbraten, bay scallops, much more. Good pies, too. And bring home a quart or two of the mashed turnips, one for now and another to freeze for Thanksgiving.
* The Hellenic Snack Bar in East Marion, cooking since 1976, is situated en route to the Orient ferry. Family oriented, easygoing, with straightforward good food. Try the moussaka and the pastitsio, whole porgy or fluke, any of the Greek spreads, stuffed grape leaves, grilled haloumi cheese. Sandwiches and burgers available. Baklava, kataifi, galaktoboureko for dessert.
* Spicy's in Riverhead is a veteran eatery, and looks it. By now, that's part of the charm. The popular joint is, well, beyond genteel. But it's a satisfying, casual stop for barbecued chicken, chicken wings, pork ribs, pulled pork, cornbread, with side orders of coleslaw, collard greens and fries. For dessert: sweet potato pie.