Fine Dining in Point Pleasant; Big Doings @ Great Road Farm; Join Me @ Salsa Slam 2015

Fine-Dining in Point Pleasant Beach

There comes a time when even the most devoted sun worshiper or boardwalk fan relishes a chef-made meal in a civilized, air-conditioned setting. In the High Summer issue of Edible Jersey I profile three possibilities:

Edible Jersey high summer 2015Daniel’s BistroThe Picard family resurrected their popular restaurant after it and their home were devastated by Superstorm Sandy
Poached Pear. This first solo restaurant of Scott Giordano (last of Whispers in Spring Lake) was just this week named among the top 25 restaurants in the state by New Jersey Monthly
Shipwreck Point. Readers of NJ Monthly designated it the best steakhouse in South Jersey

Great Road Farm: Big Plans Underway for the Farm that Feeds Agricola

Tomlinson Family. Photo courtesy US 1 Newspaper

Tomlinson Family. Photo courtesy US 1 Newspaper

I sat down with Farmer Steve Tomlinson and Jim Nawn, owner of both Great Road Farm in Skillman farm and Agricola, the Princeton restaurant it supplies, to talk about their latest plans and accomplishments. Foremost among them is the Food Barn project, well underway, that will feature its own kitchen and chef and will be the site of on-farm dinners, demos, and other events. I spill the beans here in the July 8 issue of US 1.

Judging Salsa (the Condiment) in Princeton

As I have for the past three years, I will be on the panel of judges in the Princeton Library‘s annual fun event, which crowns the local eatery with the best salsa. There’s a People’s Choice winner, too, so come on down this Wednesday night to sample the salsas and vote for your favorite. While you’re there, stop by the judge’s table to say hello – and not just to me, but to the star judge: Gab Carbone of the Bent Spoon, who won the first Salsa Slam.

Salsa Slam 2015 Flyer

This Food Writer Got Invited to the United Nations!

Most people tell me they envy me my job because I get paid to eat. And I still pinch myself that I do. But the truth is, that’s not the best part. I feel most privileged when I receive unanticipated – and often undeserved – invitations to important, exciting world events. (One early example: being the guest of Slow Food at the Salone del Gusto in Torino, Italy back in 2000 because at that time I had written more stories about Slow Food than anyone in the US.)

United Nations Secretariat Building, Wikipedia

United Nations Secretariat Building, Wikipedia

On July 8th I was honored to be an invited guest to a conference at the United Nations. The subject: Developing local, sustainable entrepreneurial enterprises in developing countries, including among women, the poor, and the vulnerable. (To use the official terminology: I was invited to “a side event on the margins of the ECOCSOC High-level Political Forum.”) Moderators were the UN ambassador-representatives from the Netherlands and Armenia.

His Excellency UN Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakakanyan of the Republic of Armenia (in glasses)

His Excellency UN Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan of the Republic of Armenia (in glasses)

I was there as press, having received the invitation from one of the meeting’s organizers and key speakers, Sylvia Tirakian. Before I try (feebly) to summarize the proceedings, allow me to gush about being AN INVITED GUEST TO THE UNITED NATIONS!

Outside the United Nations' Conference Building

Outside the United Nations Conference Building

Like any tourist, I took pics of the surroundings. The sculpture above is in the courtyard leading into the Conference Building where the event took place. Last time I had been to the UN was a class trip in 8th grade. I refuse to say how many decades ago that was. (Let’s just say it was post-Dag Hammarskjold.) Here’s a view of my space in the conference room, complete with headphones, mic, and multi-language board. (Cue Audrey Hepburn in Charade):

My space at the conference

My space at the conference

On to serious business.

Sylvia Tirakian (second from right)

Sylvia Tirakian (second from right)

I had met Ms. Tirakian through her business, Harvest Song Ventures, which sells artisan preserves made from fruit grown in her native Armenia. Her apricot preserves – all natural, made in small batches from hand-harvested fruit (processed, I believe, in Carlstadt, NJ) – won an award at the Fancy Food Show in 2006.  More importantly, her business allows small farms in the Ararat valley to thrive, post-Soviet Union.

Representatives from various UN initiatives spoke of the many impressive public-private sustainable partnerships underway in countries like Liberia, Malawi, South Africa, Laos, and Cambodia. But it was Ms. Tirakian who electrified the room, which was full to brimming, when she shared her “in the trenches” experiences. Born in Soviet Armenia, her family emigrated to Beirut in the 1970s. That was the first time she encountered marketing of any kind. “Laughing Cow cheese was the first advertisement I ever saw,” she said, confessing to a soft spot even now for that product. She went on to earn a degree in engineering and enjoyed a successful career in the corporate world. “If you had told me I would be making fruit jams in Armenia I would have said you were crazy!” she shared. But she considers her entrepreneurial role in helping farmers and traditional artisans thrive “the best form of diplomacy.”

This sentiment was echoed by another Armenian speaker, Vahe Keushguerian of Karas Wines. Just this year Karas began exporting wines, some of which are made with indigenous grapes such as Kangun and Voskehat.

But it must be said that women stole the spotlight.  Two among those in the audience who raised important issues were:

Nora Armani (linkedin)

Nora Armani (linkedin)

Nora Armani, award-winning actress and the founding artistic director of New York’s Socially Relevant Film Festival. Born in Giza, Egypt of Armenian parents, she was educated and trained as an actor in England. She urged the officials on the panel to go beyond lofty goals and deal at the very basic level with issues particular to each environment, among them embedded civic corruption.

Maria Bernardis, Greekalicious

Maria Bernardis, Greekalicious

Maria Bernardis, an award-winning cookbook author and founder of Greekalicious. Ms. Benardis’ Greek family emigrated to Australia, where she grew up while spending summers with grandparents on the Greek island of Psara. Ms. Bernardis recently relocated to New York. A former Aussie tax specialist, she urged the group to develop strategies for dealing with tax problems encountered by small business entrepreneurs in the targeted countries.

The session was inspiring on many levels, and I am honored to have sat in on it. If you’d like to learn more, the entire proceedings were captured on this UN Web TV video.

 

Drink It In: NJ’s Newest Brewery; Mistral Bar’s Mixologist; Rome’s (Literal) Food as Fashion Exhibition

Conclave Brewing Opens in Hunterdon County

Carl Alfaro of Conclave Brewing

Carl Alfaro of Conclave Brewing

My story at njmonthly.com  has the scoop on the brews (espresso milk stout; farmhouse ale, e.g.) and the buds (Carl Alfaro; Tim Bouton) behind Conclave, which opens its tap room on July 11 in Raritan Township/Flemington.

Jamie Dodge Mixes Up Magic at Mistral Bar

Jamie Dodge, courtesy Elements Princeton

Jamie Dodge, courtesy Elements Princeton

This longtime favorite behind the bar at Elements in Princeton has moved over to its newest sibling, Mistral Bar, which opened in June. The Witherspoon Street bar is adjacent to Mistral the restaurant and downstairs from the soon-to-reopen Elements. I interviewed Dodge about his plans and potions for the July issue of The Princeton Echo. Here’s the story:

It’s two weeks into the June opening of Mistral Bar and bar manager/master mixologist Jamie Dodge is playing with flowers. Not just any flowers, and not as garnishes for the inventive craft cocktails he gained a following for when he was behind the bar at Elements, sibling restaurant to Mistral before it closed for relocation. And decidedly not as table decoration. No, he is playing with ten garbage bags full of black locust tree blossoms, which he has personally collected. (They are said to taste like fresh sweet peas and, like peas, are available only for a short time each spring.) “I made black locust syrup three weeks ago and can’t wait to play around with it,” he says, excitement palpable in his voice. “It may go into one of the kambuchas I’m currently making.”

Dodge, 31, is known for incorporating hyper-seasonal ingredients into the infusions, tonics, tinctures, and bitters he concocts that find their way into his creations. This bigger stage – the old Elements bar seated 10, this space 38 – has earned him some perks: a freezer for such things as large ice cubes (“I don’t have to go downstairs!”), a dishwasher, extra storage space, two mirror-image work stations, and a self-proclaimed “beautiful” bar back. He characterizes his opening menu of nine specialty cocktails as streamlined. “The first couple of weeks I wanted to ease into things,” he explains. “It was kind of an interesting way to introduce folks to a new bar. The focus was on getting the bar itself up and running.”

Dodge has already tweaked that menu, but one cocktail that remains is the Damn Son, which he characterizes as “very refreshing and on the lighter side – citrusy and spicy.” It’s concocted of Averell Damson Plum gin, Velvet Falernum (“notes of clove”), fresh lime juice, and Tiki bitters, which has primary flavors of cinnamon and allspice. Another is the Gibstress, comprising Hayman’s Old Tom gin into which Dodge has infused saffron, Dolin Blanc vermouth, and housemade chamomile bitters. Instead of a cocktail onion as garnish, he uses pickled ramp bulb. “I went out and gathered bulbs in the spring and pickled enough of them to use as my version of a cocktail onion the rest of the year,” he says. He likes to instruct guests to first take a sip of the cocktail, then bite into the bulb, then take another sip. “They’re totally different experiences – totally different flavor profiles,” says this cocktail wonk.

Mistral Bar has its own 672-square-foot-space adjacent to Mistral, and is downstairs from the new Elements, which is scheduled to open within weeks. The flattened-by-the-Mistral-wind tree sculpture has been moved over from the restaurant and fits well with the beautiful bar top – a highly polished slab of dark, dramatically grained wood. The natural stone, wood ceiling beams, and muted colors that characterize Mistral’s rustic-modern vibe are carried over here.

Dodge is also in charge of the bar’s selection of craft beers (NJ & PA are well represented), which are available on draft, bottled, and in cans, while Element’s wine director, Carl Rohrbach, has curated a short but interesting wine list. Those who dine at the u-shaped bar’s 16 seats or at the hi-tops and regular tables surrounding it, which accommodate another 22, can choose from a menu of a dozen bar bites – some of which Mistral’s chef, Ben Nerenhausen, has created for the bar alone – and a selection of some of Mistral’s small plates and other specialties, including the Mistral burger.

Dodge no longer has duties at Elements per se. Says that restaurant’s executive chef, Scott Anderson, “What I hope for every one of Elements’ guests is that they come in, get a drink downstairs to try what Jamie has to offer, and then move upstairs and sit down to a tasting menu and see the vision I’ve been building. Other than that, there’s no overlap. I mean, we’re one company and I would like to think that everybody has the same vision and ideas, but they’re different experiences. What I find fascinating is watching each person’s creative process. And it all works together.” Anderson says he purposely “does not get in the way” of Dodge or Nerenhausen and has enjoyed “watching Jamie grow over the years.”

What does Jamie Dodge drink in his free time? “Personally I love gin,” he says. “My favorite right now is Barr Hill from Vermont and my favorite gin drinks are martinis and Negronis. I also like rye, and I’m a big beer guy.” And in the dead heat of summer, he might opt for something as simple as a glass of rose or “even a margarita.”

Fashion Made of Food

italyamonews.com

italyamonews.com

My thanks to Mary Ann Fusco for bringing to my attention an exhibition at Mercati di Traiano in Rome through November 1 that examines how food has served as muse to fashion designers. You don’t need to understand English to admire, as Mary Ann advises, the spaghetti necklace and licorice root and bread dresses depicted in this story in Italyamonews.

All-Princeton Post: Scott Anderson Dishes on the New Elements; Manuel Perez Departs The Peacock Inn; Aurelio’s Opens on Leigh Ave.

Everything You Wanted to Know about the Re-launching of Elements

Turns out that since its closing last year to relocate to a new space on Witherspoon Street, every aspect of the Elements experience has been examined, reconsidered, and altered – if not radically transformed. I sat down with chef/owner Scott Anderson and got the who, what, where, why, when, and how of the new Elements, which is expected to debut within weeks. Here’s my 2,500-word report, in the July issue of The Princeton Echo.

Scott Anderson, The Princeton Echo, July 2015

Scott Anderson, The Princeton Echo, July 2015

Change of Chef at The Peacock Inn

Manuel Perez, who had been executive chef since the Peacock Inn’s own relaunch five years ago, has departed. Barry Sussman, the owner, is expected to announce his replacement at any moment. Here are the details, as I reported them in my Food for Thought column in that same issue of The Echo:

Manuel Perez Representing the Peacock Inn at Epicurean Palate, 2012

Manuel Perez Representing the Peacock Inn at Epicurean Palate, 2012

“Owner Barry Sussman announced in mid-June that Perez, who had been executive chef since 2010, when the inn and restaurant’s dramatic, multi-million dollar renovation debuted, was leaving to become chef de cuisine at Bouley restaurant in New York. Perez had worked for famed chef David Bouley early in his career, eventually moving to NJ to work at Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank and then moving over to the Peacock. Departing with Perez is his wife, Cynthia, who was the restaurant’s pastry chef. At press time Sussman was close to naming a replacement. He told New Jersey Monthly that chefs from two-star Michelin restaurants were in the running. Stay tuned.”
Update: Sam Byrne, formerly of Cross & Orange in Asbury Park, has been tapped for this position.

Aurelio’s Cocina Latina Opens on Leigh Avenue

Aurelio's Princeton

Aurelio’s Princeton

Rocio Lopez hails from Oaxaca; her husband, Marco Gonzalez, from Guatemala. The menu of their cheerful, lemon-yellow cafe reflects both homelands. In truth, I wish the menu had more Guatemalan dishes, because the standout dish on a recent lunch was housemade pupusas with chicharron and cabbage slaw.  Aurelio’s took over the quarters of what had been Tortuga’s Mexican Village, before that restaurant moved directly across the street. Tortuga’s is a longtime favorite of Princetonians. Lopez says she’s not worried, though.

Sweet flowers at Aurelio's, Princeton

Sweet flowers at Aurelio’s, Princeton

More details are here, in my July Food for Thought column in The Echo, along with tidbits about two new Central NJ farmers markets that have out-of-the-ordinary missions and unique rosters of farms. And, oh yes: I divulge my favorite source for fennel pollen.

Agricola’s New Chef; Savory Squid Guts in Berkeley; New Offerings at Central NJ Farmers Markets

Meet Executive Chef Crawford Koeniger of Agricola

Crawford Koeniger, Agricola Princeton

Crawford Koeniger, Agricola Princeton. mercerspace.com

As you likely know by now, that Princeton restaurant’s opening chef, Josh Thomsen, has decamped to Florida. Rising up in the kitchen to take his place is Crawford Koeniger, whom I chatted with as we strolled Great Road Farm, which supplies much of the raw materials for his kitchen. Here’s my profile, in the June issue of The Princeton Echo.

Ippuku: Not Your Usual Sushi Joint

There are many excellent restaurants in downtown Berkeley (CA), but none more exciting than Ippuku, an izakaya renowned for its uncommon but authentic small plate offerings and large selection of shochu – Japan’s clear, distilled spirit. On a recent visit I found even its familiar dishes, such as skewers of grilled chicken breast, uncommonly good. Here are some highlights.

Favas with black sesame, Ippuku

Favas with black sesame, Ippuku

After a freebie of a wedge of raw cabbage with excellent miso mayo – you peel off one leaf at a time and dip it into the creamy sauce – we dug into the above favas. Fresh, perfectly prepared, with a deep umami hit. We couldn’t stop eating them. They, and everything that followed, matched perfectly with 2 shochus (the one shown above is Kura No Shikon) that our excellent server guided us to. Both were made from sweet potatoes (other bases can be barley, rice, or buckwheat), and both seemed to me to be akin to vodka, only much softer and more mellow. Mine also had a slight smokiness that brought to mind peaty Scotch.

I apologize in advance for the photo that follows, for 2 reasons. 1. It’s not the best pic I’ve ever taken and 2. It’s of squid sashimi in salted, fermented squid guts. But I am compelled to include it because this is one of the best and certainly most intriguing things I’ve eaten in a long time. Keep in mind these words of wisdom from Anthony Bourdain: ““Always entertain the possibility that something, no matter how squiggly and scary looking, might just be good.”

Squid sashimi in salted squid guts. Ippuku, Berkeley

Squid sashimi in salted squid guts. Ippuku, Berkeley

“It tastes like the ocean,” was my guest’s rapt reaction.  I enjoyed the contrast between the pleasantly chewy strands of squid sashimi and the rich, salty, silky sauce-like substance.

Ippuku's chicken skewers

Ippuku’s chicken skewers

Not your everyday yakitori. Here, it’s chef’s choice of chicken parts that can include cartilage, tail, and skin. Ours had gizzard (most tender I’ve ever had), wings (my guest’s fave), breast, thigh, and neck (my fave). We also enjoyed a skewer of beef tongue and grilled, split salted horse mackerel.

Tofu pouch stuffed with local megumi natto, Ippuku, Berkeley

Tofu pouch stuffed with natto, Ippuku, Berkeley

Another showstopper is an uncommon tofu dish: Local, organic Megumi natto (fermented soy beans) in a tofu pouch. Salty, pleasantly bitter, with a stringy cheese-like funk. The textural contrast between the slightly sticky (some might say slimy, but in a good way) beans and the grilled pouch (think: dry omelet exterior) is masterful.

Ippuku is the brainchild of Christian Geideman, who learned these techniques in Japan. The space, a mash-up of Japanese roadhouse and modern industrial, matches the food and includes semi-enclosed tatami rooms as well as booths. A $6 per person table charge is assessed in lieu of tip, and the drinks list includes craft beer and sake in addition to shochu.

Farmers Market Updates: Griggstown, West Windsor, Princeton

lillipies at Central NJ farmers markets

lillipies at Central NJ farmers markets

Kielbasa, breakfast sandwiches, & panini are among the new offerings at this season’s batch of farmers markets. Get the delicious particulars, here, in my June Food For Thought column in the Princeton Echo.

 

Outstanding Italian Eats at the Shore & in San Francisco

I’ve had so many memorable meals in recent weeks – all around NJ, in NYC, and in the Bay Area – that it’s going to take several posts just to get caught up. I’m starting with 2 Italians: a real find at the Jersey Shore, and the San Francisco restaurant by James Beard award-winning chef Michael Tusk (of Quince fame) that inspired the design of Agricola in Princeton.

But first, your moment of zen:

Rib Tickler in vintage coupe, Chez Tanner

Rib Tickler in vintage coupe, Chez Tanner

This photo of a Rib Tickler cocktail was taken by my daughter Alice at my Memorial Day weekend cookout. My son-in-law-to-be, Ryan (via my other daughter, Elizabeth), is an excellent mixologist and expertly produced a pitcherful for me from this recipe on tastingtable.com.

Ingredients for Rib Tickler cocktails

Ingredients for Rib Tickler cocktails

I was attracted to it because it used something I hadn’t encountered before: Suze, which I found at CoolVines in Princeton. The cocktail was gorgeous, yes, but also delicious and a big hit.

NJ Monthly cover june15On to the restaurants. First up is Mossuto’s Market & Cafe in Wall Township. Surely you’re heading down the Shore this summer. If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Belmar and Brielle, I strongly recommend you stop in for a terrific Italian meal (at minimum, a wood-fire pizza and Peroni) and/or to stock your Shore pantry with top-notch Italian comestibles from the market portion of this family-run restaurant, deli, butcher shop, & bakery. Here’s my review, in the June issue of New Jersey Monthly.

On to the City by the Bay.

Cotogna SF window

Cotogna SF window

With only 1 day in San Francisco on my latest trip to visit my daughter in Berkeley, CA, I chose Cotogna, the Northern Italian restaurant in the financial district that’s joined at the hip with sibling Quince. (Cotogna means “quince” in Italian.) Of particular interest was that Jim Nawn, owner of Agricola, had named Cotogna as an inspiration for the design of his Princeton popular eatery. To be exact, the window on Witherspoon Street that shows the cooks hard at work and a suspended wood-slat ceiling. Here’s Cotogna’s ceiling:

Wood slat ceiling at Cotogna, SF

Wood slat ceiling at Cotogna, SF

To be honest, I expected a fine rustic Italian lunch. But I didn’t expect the fireworks Cotogna delivered, nor that it is apparently a power lunch spot. Maybe it’s the bargain $28 3-course fixed price, or the wine list with all glasses at $12 and all bottles at $50. (I had an excellent Niklas lagrein from Alto Adige.) No matter, a decidedly stylish group of diners of all age groups turned up, some clearly on business, some purely social.

Pictorial highlights:

Calypso cocktail & arugula salad with stone fruit & almonds, CotognaSF

Calypso cocktail & arugula salad with stone fruit & almonds, CotognaSF

Cotogna country loaf, more than worth the $6 tab

Cotogna country loaf, more than worth the $6 tab

Super-rich agnolotti stuffed with sugo of 3 meats (1 of which is lamb): Cotogna, SF

Super-rich agnolotti with sugo of 3 meats (1 of which is rabbit): CotognaSF

Buttermilk budino with berries, Cotogna SF

Budino with berries, CotognaSF

Next post: an izakaya in Berkeley that serves anything but your run of the mill sushi, sashimi, and yakatori. Squid in salted squid guts, anyone?

Taiwanese Cuisine in Morristown; Ryan DePersio & Battello Profiled in Edible Jersey

Lin’s Palace, where those in the know ask for the Taiwanese menu

NJ Monthly cover may15This modest storefront (its name notwithstanding) has been dishing up de rigueur Chinese restaurant dishes, as well as sushi, on Speedwell Avenue for decades. But the smart money requests the separate Taiwanese menu. Mr. Lin’s wife, Alice – the head cook – reproduces the specialties of the island that is their birthplace, which for some reason are woefully underrepresented ’round these parts. Get ready for housemade Taiwanese sausage with a touch of sweetness, oyster omelet, shrimp spring rolls, and – if you dare – stinky tofu. My report in the May issue of New Jersey Monthly.

Fascino Chef DePersio Dishes on His Newest Restaurant

Edible Jersey cover summer 2015He made his “Italian without borders” chops with Fascino in Montclair. He rescued fine-dining at NJPAC. Now he’s taken on the red-hot Jersey City dining scene with Battello on the Newport Marina, his largest space yet. My interview on the who, what, why, and how here in the Summer 2015 issue of Edible Jersey (starting on page 40).

Ramen @Ajihei; Bar Food @Witherspoon Grill; Vegetarian in Frenchtown; Pierogies in Milford

Princeton’s Venerable Sushi Restaurant Adds Ramen

Koji Kitamura’s Ajihei has been known for two things since it opened on Chambers Street 15 years ago: exceptional sushi and quirky dining rules. Both remain – but the menu is full of changes, including the addition of three types of ramen. My interview with Mr. Kitamura in the May 2015 issue of the Princeton Echo.

Courtesy Princeton EchoKaoru Kitamura, Courtesy Princeton Echo

Witherspoon Grill Introduces New Bar Menu

Cocktail Hour Menu at Witherspoon Grill

Cocktail Hour Menu at Witherspoon Grill

In that same issue of the Echo, my Food for Thought column included this tasty tidbit:

“They’re labeling it ‘Cocktail Hour,’ singular, but the newly introduced food and drink offerings at the bar at Witherspoon Grill in Princeton can be had not just one, but three hours each weekday – from 3 to 6 pm. Chef Christian Graciano has developed a set of 6 enticing small plate options that range from $3 to $6. Here’s the lineup of flavor-forward noshes:

Duck fat potato with black garlic sour cream
Lamb lollipops with blackberry mint jam, mint yogurt, and feta
Shrimp ceviche corn tacos
Thick Nueske bacon with maple chipotle syrup
Infused-cheese spreads (pesto goat cheese and sun-dried tomato cream cheese) with French baguette
Warm pub pretzel with 2 whole grain mustards, 1 flavored with Irish whiskey & another with stout

Shrimp Ceviche Taco (gluten free), Witherspoon GrillShrimp Ceviche Taco (gluten free), Witherspoon Grill

To wash them down in style (but with a similar eye to budget-consciousness), drink specials include select draft beers for $3; select wines by the glass for $4; and select cocktails for $5. These last include mojitos and sangrias.”

To introduce the new offerings, the folks at Witherspoon Grill hosted a group of us food bloggers, and you can read my colleagues’ comments on Twitter at #eatwellprinceton.

Pulp Vegetarian Cafe & Juice Bar Opens in Frenchtown; Maria’s Homemade Pierogies Opens in Milford

Black Bean Burger, Pulp Vegetarian Cafe, Frenchtown

Black Bean Burger, Pulp, Frenchtown

I recently dined at both Pulp and Maria’s, in the company of two food-writing buddies: Susan Sprague Yeske (Trenton Times, etc.) and Faith Bahadurian (Princeton Packet,etc.). Here’s Faith’s excellent report on our outing, from her blog, NJSpice.

Menu, Maria's Homemade Pierogies, Milford

Menu, Maria’s Homemade Pierogies, Milford

 

This just may be my favorite assignment ever

Second graders in Mr. Pinner’s class at the Wicoff School in West Windsor write restaurant reviews. Hilarity and perspicacity ensue. My report here.

Cover

Fast-Casual with Flair

For the US 1 2015 Spring Dining Issue I asked owners of independent eateries across the Princeton area why they chose to go the fast-casual route.

US 1 Spring Dining 2015 002Their answers are as varied as their offerings, which range from Asian soul food to tapas. Among those profiled:

CrisPanino, Ewing
Infini-T Cafe, Princeton
Jammin’ Crepes, Princeton
Roots Asian Kitchen, West Windsor
The Taco Truck, Princeton
WildFlour Bakery-Cafe, Lawrenceville