Tag Archives: Alchemist & Barrister

New Supper Club Series; Fish Buying Conundrum; Restaurant News

SUPPER CLUB @ REFURBISHED CEDAR GARDENS TO HOLD BEARD HOUSE-STYLE DINNERS

The family behind Buy-Rite Wines & Liquor recently purchased and renovated the venerable Cedar Gardens in Hamilton, and they are mounting ongoing guest-chef dinners in one of the smaller, more intimate rooms. The first is happening this Thursday, May 12th, with guest chefs from Trenton Social, which suffered a devastating fire very recently. Check out the menu below, especially the first course which is an homage to pork roll/Taylor ham. Since time is of the essence – reservations are requested by noon on Monday, May 9th – I’m posting the press release just as I received it.

Cedar Gardens

Cedar Gardens

Trenton Social Brings ‘Road Show’ to Buy-Rite’s Supper Club at Cedar Gardens  

HAMILTON – Trenton Social’s owner T.C. Nelson, his chef Byron DeLeon and their staff will headline a special wine dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening, May 12, at Buy-Rite’s new Supper Club at Cedar Gardens, here.
Last Sunday morning, a car crashed into Trenton Social, causing extensive damage and temporarily shuttering the popular restaurant.  That hasn’t stopped Nelson and DeLeon’s culinary creativity, however.
With the acclaimed Loire Valley winemaker Clement Berthier coming to the area for one night, Nelson and the Buy-Rite team behind the Supper Club knocked heads and came up with a plan to both show support for the Trenton Social community and welcome, in proper style, one of the great vintners in France.
Nelson and DeLeon will present a four-course menu to pair with five of Berthier’s wines. The price, including all food, wines, taxes and tip, is $80 per person. The dinner is open to the public; seating is limited and reservations are required.

The Loire Meets the Delaware; Berthier Wines, Trenton Social Cuisine

1st course: Pork Roll Tribute: Pork Roll Spring Roll; Pork Roll ‘Nita
2015 Clement et Florian Berthier Sancerre Rose

2nd course: Crab Mousse with Caviar and English Cucumber
2014 Clement et Florian Berthier Coteaux du Giennois Blanc
2014 Clement et Florian Berthier Pouilly Fume

3rd course: Blackened Salmon with Mango-Roasted Red Pepper-Cucumber Salsa; Truffled-Sea Salt Fries and Seasonal Vegetables
2014 Clement et Florian Berthier Coteaux du Giennois Rouge
2014 Clement et Florian Berthier Coteaux du Giennois L’Inedit

4th course: Key Lime Tart

The Supper Club is located within the Buy-Rite/Cedar Gardens facility at 661 Route 33 in Hamilton.,Reservations must be made by noon Monday, May 9. To reserve, please call 609-931-9463 and ask for Chris, or visit www.squareup.com/store/cedargardensupperclub and link to Supper Club events.

BUYING FISH & SEAFOOD: SLIPPERY AS AN EEL

Saidur Rehman, McCaffrey's Lead Seafood Dept. Manager

Saidur Rehman, McCaffrey’s Lead Seafood Dept. Manager

I confess my personal struggles and report on others’ recommendations here, in the May issue of The Princeton Echo.

MORE RENOVATIONS AT THE ALCHEMIST & BARRISTER; HOAGIE HAVEN BOTTLES A CULT SAUCE; McCAFFREY’S MARKETS GROWS TO 6 STORES

Food for Thought logoThere are now 76 beer taps at the A&B in Princeton, plus improved open-air dining in its beloved rear pub. Hoagie Haven has its own cult followers (among them, Jon Stewart), and so does one of its proprietary sauces, now available bottled, online and in stores. Family-owned McCaffrey’s is expanding from 4 to 6 stores in central NJ & nearby PA. Get the details here, in my “Food for Thought” column in May’s Princeton Echo.

March: An Entire Month for Doing Good While Dining Out

With culinary fundraisers of every stripe happening all over the state this month, you and I have no excuse not to participate. If attending a gala isn’t your thing, there are many other fun and meaningful ways to support everything from cooking school scholarships to tackling a disease so rare it affects only 600 Americans – including a Princeton teen. Here’s the rundown.

(Update: It’s too late for this deal, but you can always contribute to the cause) February 28: Turning Point Restaurants’ Fundraiser for the Kortney Rose Foundation 

Turning Point fundraiserWhat: From 8 am to 3 pm, donate a minimum of $25 to the Kortney Rose Foundation at any of the 11 restaurants in this privately owned group of casual breakfast, brunch, & lunch restaurants and receive a Turning Point gift card good for two entrees to be used anytime in the future.
Where: Brick, Cherry Hill, Hoboken, Holmdel, Little Silver, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlton, Princeton, Sea Girt, Westfield
Why: Named in memory of a 9-year old Oceanport girl who died from a brain tumor in 2006, this foundation has donated more than $1,200,000 to the pediatric brain tumor research program at CHOP.
For more info: theturningpoint.biz; thekortneyrosefoundation.org

March 5 thru 13: Hopewell Valley Restaurant Week

Hopewell Valley Restaurant Week 2016What: Take advantage of specially priced 2- and 3-course menus at 21 popular eateries, including a $25 3-course special in the bar at super-hot Brick Farm Tavern. Plus similar deals at, for example, Blue Bottle and Brothers Moon – and that doesn’t even cover the “B’s” on the list!
Where: Hopewell Borough & Township and Pennington
Why:
While enjoying your special restaurant week deals, you can leave a donation in envelopes for FISH, Hopewell Valley’s own meals on wheels program that’s subsidized and includes meals made by Pennington Quality Market.
For more info: eatinhopewell.com; hopewelltwsp.org/FISH.pdf

March 14 thru 20: Caffe Galleria in Lambertville Honoring the Memory of Founder Dawn Raia

Dawn Raia, Caffe Galleria, Lambertville

Dawn Raia, Caffe Galleria, Lambertville

What: 10% of all checks during this week will be donated to 3 organizations: Animal Alliance, Fisherman’s Mark, & Lambertville Animal Welfare
Where:
Caffe Galleria
Why:
Ms. Raia, a beloved local figure, passed away from cancer 2 years ago. This is a tribute to her spirit and the causes dear to her heart.
For more info:
caffegalleria.com; animalalliancenj.org, fishermansmark.org, lambertvilleanimalwelfare.org

March 14: 3rd Annual Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JOCEF) Gala

JOCEF CHEFSWhat: “Recipe for Success” Gala featuring tastings from 25+ Shore eateries, among them Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Mumfords Culinary Center, & Sickle’s Market. Auction items include vacations, dinner for 8 at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, and a $400 voucher for cocktails and limo service
Where:
Navesink Country Club, Red Bank
Why:
Funds raised are used for scholarships for students of the Culinary Education Center, a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District. JOCEF was established in memory of Joseph Romanowski, chef/owner of acclaimed and fondly remembered restaurants Joe & Maggie’s and Bay Avenue Trattoria. In its first 2 years, the fund awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships.
For tickets, which start at $105, & more info:
culinaryjoe.org

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration & Long Beard Contest

Alchemist and Barrister Saint Paddys DayWhat: Irish fare, bagpiper, music and step dancing, plus the 36th edition of the for-charity beard contest. Prizes for the longest, handsomest, ugliest, and most innovative beards. 
Where:
Alchemist & Barrister, Princeton
Why:
This year’s party will benefit Derek’s Dreams, named for Derek DeGregorio, a Princeton High senior who suffers from ataxia telangiectasia, to expand research on this very rare disease.
For more info: Fare & Irish libations available all day. Starting at 5 pm, a $5 entrance fee for the other festivities. The A&B has set up a GoFundMe page for direct contributions to Derek’s Dreams: gofundme.com/theaandb. Restaurant: theaandb.com

March 24: Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala

What: Tastings from about 40 Shore-area restaurants, a dessert “extravaganza,” dancing to live music, a 50/50 raffle, etc.
Where:
Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, Atlantic City
Why:
This annual event has raised $3 million since 1984 for student scholarships at the Academy of Culinary Arts, Atlantic Cape
For more info:
Tickets, $225 per person, can be ordered via atlantic.edu/gala

Meet the Culinary Legends of Cape May and the Barrister behind the Alchemist & Barrister’s 4 Decades

The First Ladies of the Chalfonte

Edible Jersey spring 2015It is with a tinge of sadness that I share the link to my latest work. Recently, for the spring 2015 issue of Edible Jersey I interviewed sisters Dorothy Burton & Lucille Thompson, both in their late eighties. They have been in charge of the kitchen at Cape May’s venerable Chalfonte Hotel for decades, having followed their mother and grandmother before them.

The sisters, who arrived at the hotel at the tender ages of 9 and 7, became famous for their skillet-fried chicken and crab croquettes. Interviewing these warm and indomitable women and recording their story was my honor and privilege.

Dot Burton. Lucille Thompson & the skillet that Ms. Burton wielded to make her famous fried chicken

Dot Burton. Lucille Thompson & the skillet that Ms. Burton wielded to make her famous fried chicken

Just as the magazine hit newsstands, I learned that Dorothy (“Dot”) Burton died on February 24th. The latest word from the Chalfonte is that “Lucille will be back this summer,” as will Dot’s daughter, Tina Bowser, who has worked alongside her mother and aunt for several years.

My story begins on page 46.

Meet Frank Armenante of Princeton’s Perennially Popular Alchemist & Barrister

3-11 Cover & Front (1-7).inddWhen I was assigned to interview the lawyer who in 1974 bought the old King’s Court bar-restaurant with his cousin-chemist (aka alchemist), I expected a buttoned-up, old-school Princeton type. What I encountered, to my delight, was a bit different. Read his take on the A&B’s past, present, and future here, in the March 11 issue of U.S. 1.

Happy Anniversary Alchemist & Barrister (w/recipes) and Zone 7; My Meal @ Razza in JC

PRINCETON’S ALCHEMIST AND BARRISTER TURNS 40

Alchemist & Barrister

Alchemist & Barrister

When it comes to restaurant longevity, I think in dog years: a ratio of 7 to 1. At that rate, this casual pub and restaurant on Witherspoon Street would be turning 280 this year. Like many a grande dame, the A&B is having some work done as she enters her fifth decade, including a new exterior (current one shown above), new windows, a set of French doors that will open onto the restaurant’s alleyway entrance, and an additional bar that will bring the number of beer taps to 50.

Arthur Kukoda, Alchemist & Barrister

Arthur Kukoda, Alchemist & Barrister

A linchpin of the A&B’s success for at least the last 26 years has been executive chef/co-owner Arthur Kukoda. He has consistently traversed that tricky culinary fine line between the traditional and the of-the-moment. The current menu includes both classics – shepherd’s pie and chicken pot pie, to name two – and modern American fusion dishes like poutine with short ribs and ginger-sesame fried calamari. This summer Kukoda’s daughter Melissa will join the A&B team as social media director.

Below are 2 recipes that exemplify this chef’s style. With outdoor grilling season upon us, his mango barbecue chicken (shown above) brings this backyard favorite to new heights. The chicken can be split in half or quartered.

"Fantastic Five" Salad, Alchemist & Barrister

“Fantastic Five” Salad, Alchemist & Barrister

The five-grain salad gives nods to three trends: ancient grains, gluten free, and vegetarian/vegan. (A&B customers can opt to add chicken or shrimp.) The restaurant uses its own grain mix consisting of equal parts quinoa, millet, kaniwa, amaranth, and teff. Kaniwa is a relative of quinoa and similar in its nutty taste. Both are technically seeds, by the way.

A&B bar guru Jason Wilkins has kindly volunteered the craft beer pairing suggestions.

 

A & B’s MANGO BBQ CHICKEN
(Suggested craft beer: Brooklyn Summer Ale or Wells Banana Bread Beer)

1 chicken, boned-out with exception of wing drumettes (Ask butcher to split chicken and debone the rib cage and thigh and leg bones)
For the marinade:
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 cup vegetable oil (Kukoda uses a blend of canola and olive oils)
For the mango barbecue sauce:
1 large onion, diced small
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 poblano pepper, diced small
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (e.g., canola, olive, or a blend of the two)
12 ounces mango nectar or frozen mango chunks (defrosted)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup rum
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
24 ounces ketchup

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients. Pour over deboned chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Make the mango barbecue sauce: In a large saucepan, saute the onion, ginger, garlic, and poblano pepper in 4 tablespoons vegetable oil until soft. Add mango, cider vinegar, lime juice, rum, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. Combine well, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow sauce to cool, and puree in blender or food processor.
  3. When ready to grill, set aside at least half a cup of the bbq sauce for serving. Remove chicken from the marinade and grill as usual. Toward the later stages of grilling, brush the chicken with the sauce, being careful not to have the chicken over the open flame so sauce does not burn. Serve the reserved sauce with the cooked chicken.
    Serves 4.

A & B’s “FANTASTIC FIVE” GRAIN SALAD
(Suggested craft beers: If adding chicken, pair with Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale or a bottle of Hacker Pschorr Weisse. With shrimp, pair with 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer.)

2 pounds cooked mixed grains (from 1 pound of uncooked), preferably a mix of equal parts quinoa, millet, kaniwa, amaranth, and teff, or use quinoa alone
1/4 cup blanched broccoli florettes
1/4 cup sliced radish
1/4 cup grated carrots
1 cup grilled fresh pineapple rings, diced and separated
Toasted almonds, for garnish
For the grilled pineapple-tamari vinaigrette:
1 shallot, diced
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
1 cup vegetable oil (preferably a blend of canola and olive oil)
1/2 cup grilled pineapple (from above)

  1. Make the vinaigrette: Combine shallot, rice vinegar, and tamari in a bowl. Whisk in the oil. Fold in 1/2 cup grilled diced pineapple. (Save the other 1/2 cup to add to the salad.)
  2. Combine in a bowl the cooked grain(s), broccoli, radish, carrot, and remaining diced pineapple. Pour in the vinaigrette and toss well. Sprinkle salad with toasted almonds.
    Serves 4.

(The above is excerpted from the May 27, 2014 issue of The Princeton Packet)

Happy Anniversary, Zone 7!

Zone7_Logo_Color-250x300Straight from proprietor/visionary Mikey Azzara of this farm-to-restaurant distribution service comes this notice: “In May of 2008, Zone 7 made its first delivery of Muth Organic Strawberries to The Bent Spoon in Princeton, NJ.  Every year around this time, we like to reflect on our past and look ahead to what the upcoming season will bring.  As we enter Year 7, we want to give thanks for all of your support.” To see how Zone 7 got its start, check out this video: The Story of Zone 7.

My Dinner @ Razza

Razza board

A couple of posts ago I linked to my interview with Dan Richer of Razza Pizza Artigianale that’s in the Summer 2014 issue of Edible Jersey. What I didn’t report on was the terrific meal I enjoyed after the interview concluded. Here are some of the highlights.

Bread at Razza

Bread at Razza

Richer is a man obsessed with fermentation. The wild yeast culture he started more than four years ago forms the basis of both his pizza dough and the loaves of bread that emanate from his wood-fired oven. He pairs the bread with the handmade cultured butter he makes from the cream of grass-fed Lancaster County cows. Bread & butter costs $4 here – and patrons are happy to pony up. The table setting reflects the rustic-industrial look of the space.

Razza bread and butter

Razza bread and butter

Razza’s meatballs ($9) are loose and tender. My husband paid them the highest compliment when he remarked that they reminded him of my own mother’s. They’re made with chunks of day-old Razza bread soaked in buttermilk that’s left over from churning that housemade butter. The tomato sauce is fresh and bright tasting, with a great tomato tang.

Razza meatballs

Razza meatballs

Below is a detail of the Margherita pizza ($15). Note the big, crusty edge, which is full of flavor yet light in texture and has just the right balance of tender/chewy/crisp. It may look like there’s a lot of cheese (handmade fresh mozz), but actually it’s just a thin layer. Richer considers the dough the main event, and all toppings merely condiments. He’s right.

Razza Margherita pizza

Razza Margherita pizza

We also wolfed down the beet salad ($10), which stands miles above the countless other versions out there with its tender red and gold fire-roasted beets, crunchy heirloom watermelon radishes, gorgeous nasturtiums and dollop of rich Lancaster Valley yogurt. And don’t pass up the hazelnut panna cotta if it’s a dessert-of-the-day. You’ll also want to check out the abbreviated but smart list of cocktails, Italian wines, and craft beers from both Italy and the region (NJ, NY, and PA).

Dan Richer of Razza

Dan Richer of Razza