But first, a sad farewell to a pioneer of our state’s fine dining scene. In the early 1980s, Jim Filip’s Jersey Shore restaurant, Doris & Ed’s, helped us overcome our status as a fine dining backwater. He passed away on March 7th at the age of 75. Doris & Ed’s was the first in the Garden State to receive a James Beard Award – and that was just one of many accolades. The Highlands restaurant was renowned for its seafood and its perch on Sandy Hook Bay that afforded a spectacular view of the New York Skyline. The restaurant closed permanently after suffering damage from hurricanes Irene and Sandy.
Katie Parla’s “Tasting Rome” Wins Major Cookbook Award
The West Windsor native’s widely acclaimed Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, a lively guide to the vibrant Rome dining scene (with recipes), took home top honors in the travel category earlier this month at the conference of the International Association of Cooking Professionals (IACP). The award went to Parla and the book’s photographer, Kristina Gill. I wrote about Katie Parla’s Jersey roots in my profile here in the Winter 2017 issue of Edible Jersey.
Meet Pam Flory: Award-Winning School Garden Manager and Gardening Instructor at Princeton Day School
Speaking of Edible Jersey, here in the Spring 2017 issue is my profile of Pam Flory. (Clearly, that’s not her on the cover). She’s the energetic powerhouse who has broken new ground – literally and figuratively – in making her school’s garden a national model.
River Crossings: 3 Atmospheric Gems Just Across the Delaware in Pennsylvania
Thanks to the insistent prodding of a good friend, over the last few months I’ve enjoyed meals at these history-laden eateries that are long on both charm and first-rate fare. If you’re not familiar with them, I urge you to check them out.
Lumberville General Store
Lumberville General Store: It’s across the street from the Black Bass Inn, has the same owner, and, like the Inn, is in a historic stone structure (1770) that radiates charm. But that’s about all the two have in common. In keeping with its original roots, this cafe/deli/bakery maintains casualness and warmth, and its seemingly casual menu belies the kitchen’s care and expertise. At breakfast, for example, the sausage is housemade, the salmon smoked on premises, and the hash browns undergo sous vide in a multi-step process that results in the best I’ve encountered. Here are pics of our breakfast choices, each a mere $7.95.
Scotch Woodcock: Lumberville General Store
Smoked salmon, scrambled egg, and caper and herb cream cheese on a kaiser roll with hash browns
Hearty Start Biscuit
Lumberville Cafe breakfast sausage with two fried eggs on a buttermilk scallion biscuit with hash browns.
Bowman’s Tavern: The unchanged look of this comfortable spot is resolutely old-timey, but in a good, authentic way. Like the Lumberville General Store, it got new owners (here, in 2013), and an updated menu that utilizes fresh fare from area farms and creameries. The tab is gentle here, too. Among my favorites: a generous helping of big, tender, cornmeal-crusted oysters with tarragon aioli; roasted lamb sandwich with whipped goat cheese on ciabatta; and crab cake sandwich. (That last is something I adore but am rarely satisfied with.)
Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm: The house and grounds of this beautifully preserved farm were once owned by playwright George S. Kaufman, and is primarily a bed & breakfast. But its stunning dining rooms are open to the public and I particularly recommend the classic brunch served in the glass-encased conservatory on weekends. The setting and the service could not be more gracious, and a three-course $35 prix fixe meal includes a complimentary mimosa, fabulous bread and muffin basket, and coffee or tea. The menu boasts an array of choices – some traditional, some modern – for starter, entree, and dessert. Our happy picks included maple-glazed pork belly with grits and a poached egg and avocado and oven-roasted tomato toast with an egg (sunny side up), ricotta, and baby field greens.
(Visit the websites not only for complete menus, but for gorgeous pics.)