Missing Summer? Relive It With Oysters

It's a fact: Athena Calderone is a curator of all things gorgeous. Her breathtaking home decor, delicious recipes, and eye for style inspired her to create EyeSwoon, a hub for home and food inspiration. Now, It Girl Calderone will be taking us to New York's need-to-know spots and introducing us to the coolest people around.
The end of summer always summons a mix of emotions — including a yearning to soak up each and every last sun-filled moment with friends. It’s a time to recognize and honor the beautiful friendships and creative collaborations that have been born in this beach-y environment. And more than anything, these languid days are about sipping wine, nibbling on Mediterranean bites and seeking inspiration from friends at my favorite Montauk location, The Crow’s Nest.
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I really consider The Crow’s Nest to be perfection; it captures the ease of summer entertaining with a truly magical atmosphere. From the stunning property — where the sunsets over Lake Montauk are always incredible and the tall grasses are always dreamy — to the worldly décor of vintage Kuba cloth interspersed with whale bones – it’s easy to feel transported to a far away place, while still being able to dip your toes in a thriving social atmosphere. The perfect balance!
In fact, I have a standing 7 p.m. reservation every Friday night with my family and it’s over these nights that I’ve gotten to know and connect with owner Sean MacPherson, his awe-inspiring wife Rachelle Hruska and their son Maxwell. Rachelle (who is expecting baby #2) is the beauty behind the brilliant site Guest of a Guest and we have so much in common – from motherhood to blogging, to a love of entertaining in a low-key way, that I had to ask to her share some tips for hosting guests with simplicity and ease.
She’s a truly inspiring woman, smart, savvy and incredibly capable at balancing work, parenthood and the push and pull of social engagements with grace. While we feasted on our favorite summer-y Crow’s Nest snacks, Rachelle shared Chef Jeremy Blustein’s perfect, easy-to-create-at-home recipes, for long August lunches with friends.
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Crow's Nest is hands down my favorite spot in Montauk! I am obsessed with not only the delicious Mediterranean style food but also the design. The vintage Kuba Cloth that clads the walls & the lighting is worldly rustic perfection!
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Athena Calderone: Was there a specific holiday or moment that inspired the design and vision for Crows Nest?

Rachelle Hruska: "With the Crow’s Nest, we hoped to bring back elements of our favorite Mediterranean dining experiences to Montauk. We also wanted to make the restaurant an extension of our own living room, which is fairly small and private."

AC: Can you share the inspiration behind the swoon-worthy Mediterranean food at Crow's Nest?

RH: "We always seek out the simple beauty found at our favorite Mediterranean lunch spots which we have made a mental scrapbook of over our travels there. We have used these places as reference points for the Crow's Nest and our lives."
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
AC: Would you consider yourself a very social person?

RH: "Ironically, I’m actually more of a homebody than I think anyone might imagine. I rarely go out more than once a week, and prefer small dinners to larger gatherings. In the beginning, of course, it was always a hustle, and I went out a lot more than I do today. Part of what makes Guest of a Guest so wonderful (at least in my mind), is that we have had the opportunity to send dozens of individuals, all with unique perspectives of the world, out and about to share their version of the story with our readers."

AC: Tell me about how Guest of A Guest came to be?

RH: "Guest of a Guest started off as my own personal blog back in 2006. I was working in finance (as Ron Baron’s research assistant) and wrote an anonymous blog mostly about the downtown NYC scene. I was personally fascinated with it, having just moved from Nebraska a few years prior, and I had a couple friends help me with posts. We started breaking stories and getting covered in major outlets like the New York Times. Soon, my friend (and co-founder) Cameron Winklevoss encouraged me to quit my day job and my business school search and start doing GofG full-time. So, I decided to take his advice and leap into the unknown. It was the wild wild west back then online and it was so much fun."
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
For summer, the five things I couldn’t live without are Ice Cream from John’s in Montauk, Chilled Beaujolais, outdoor dinners, some good books, and sunscreen.
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
AC: Do you enjoy hosting guests on weekends in Montauk?

RH: "I do! Especially if they cook! I love having people in our kitchen cooking. My favorite nights start early with everyone in the kitchen helping out and end with loads of empty wine bottles on the table and no one wanting to leave."
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
AC: Favorite dish or dishes at Crow’s Nest?

RH: "I love the Mezze plate, the chicken kebobs and the whole fluke. All of the deserts! I’m a sucker for sugar."
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
The stunning views of Lake Montauk from Crow's Nest!
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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
AC: An ideal weekend at the beach is?

RH: "Spent with my family and the people I love doing whatever we feel like with no schedule."

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Photo: Winnie Au/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
A chilled bottle of wine and a melange of veggie plates — beets, kale, and dips — served with pita is really all you need for a summer afternoon with friends.
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