Tag Archives: Barry Sussman

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.

Fall Festival in Princeton (with recipes); Epicurean Palette Report

Witherspoon Grill’s Upcoming Harvest & Music Festival Hits Me Where I Live (literally and figuratively)

I like nothing better than when several local businesses and organizations team up for a family-friendly event that benefits a worthy area non-profit. If it also combines good food, drink, music, and fun activities in an outdoor setting during my favorite season and in my hometown, well so much the better.

These elements and more will come together on Sunday, Oct. 13, at this all-day festival to be held on Hinds Community Plaza – downtown Princeton’s popular gathering spot adjacent to the library on Witherspoon Street. A portion of the day’s proceeds will benefit the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. Get the details in my Princeton Packet column, right here.

And here are the associated recipes for crab cakes, uber-restorative “green monster” juice, and chocolate crepes with chocolate chip ricotta filling (restorative in their own way).

WITHERSPOON GRILL’S CRAB CAKES

1 pound crabmeat
1 tablespoon chopped green onions or scallions
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon Creole mustard (such as Zatarain’s)
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs

In a large bowl, mix together onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, mustard, Creole mustard and Old Bay seasoning. Carefully fold in (by hand) the crab meat, until thoroughly combined. Add bread crumbs and gently mix until fully incorporated. Form into 4 or 5 patties. Broil or pan-sear until golden brown.
Makes 4 to 5 patties.

TICO’S EATERY & JUICE BAR “GREEN MONSTER JUICE”

3 large leaves organic kale
3 handfuls organic baby spinach
4 stalks celery
1 small organic cucumber
1 inch organic ginger
1 medium lemon, rind removed
1 medium granny smith apple

Put all ingredients through a juicer or a press.
Makes 1 serving.

BUTTON’S CREPERIE CHOCOLATE CREPES WITH CHOCOLATE CHIP RICOTTA FILLING

For the filling:
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
2/3 cup of semisweet mini chocolate chips
For the chocolate crepes:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
Semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling

  1. For the crepe: In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine all the crepe ingredients and process for 10 to 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and process again for another 5 seconds. Transfer the mix to a medium size bowl, cover, and chill for 1 hour.
  2. For the filling: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer set at high to beat the heavy cream and sugar until a soft peak forms. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the ricotta cheese until well blended. Using a spatula, add the chocolate chips. Cover and chill.
  3. To assemble: Heat a crepe pan or small skillet over medium-high heat and lightly butter or grease. Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter while tilting to coat the bottom evenly. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the crepe is slightly browned, and then begin to gently pull the edge of the crepe away from the pan. Flip to cook the other side for 15 to 30 seconds. Transfer the crepe to a plate and continue making crepes one at a time.
  4. For each crepe, scoop 1/4 cup of the ricotta filling down the middle and fold. Top with powdered sugar and a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips. (Serving suggestion: Feel free to add fresh fruit on top.)
    Makes 4 to 6 large crepes.

Epicurean Palette 2013

Well this is certainly a first for me. While I thoroughly enjoyed eating my way through this, the 13th annual food and wine event at Grounds for Sculpture this past Sunday, it turns out that of the many photos I took, not one of them is of food! Below are some of the, um, other delights I relished.

Here’s Jeffrey Karlovitch of The Lost Distillery, who divides his time between Scotland and NJ:

Lost Distillery

Lost Distillery

The Lost Distillery states it mission thus: “In the last century, almost one hundred of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries have been closed or destroyed. This accounts for nearly half of all distilleries that have ever existed in Scotland. Global economic downturn, over-production, world wars and prohibition have all contributed to the loss of so many distilleries. As a result of all of these factors, many unique and venerable brands have been lost to the world. Until Now.” Yep, they buy up old casks of single malts and blend them (with the help of a Scotch ‘archivist’) to approximate what they may have tasted like. Here are its first 2 whiskies, Auchnagie and Stratheden:

Lost Distillery Scotches

Lost Distillery Scotches

The photo below of the Peacock Inn table was almost about the food, although once owner Barry Sussman (in pinstripes) told me that chef Manuel Perez (center) and pastry chef Cindy Lukens (left) were recently married, it became all about the love.

Peacock Inn Crew

Peacock Inn Crew

When I saw that the folks at The Ship Inn in Milford had created a brew using Tassot Apiaries honey, I had to try the ESB (extra special bitter). It did not disappoint:

Ship Inn Killer Bee Bitter

Ship Inn Killer Bee Bitter

If you’ve ever roamed Ground For Sculpture’s 42 lush acres while viewing its 270 contemporary sculptures, you’ve undoubtedly encountered one of its flock of wandering mascots:

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But this year there were other colorful additions. Namely, live artists working throughout the park, like GFS sculptor Michael Gyampo (at the rear, in white shirt):

Michael Gyampo at work

Michael Gyampo at work

Can you spot the non-living (sculptural) revelers among the living ones enjoying music at the gazebo?

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Here they are, on the left:

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And just to keep things interesting, there were 2 beautiful young women who dressed up as the park’s sculptures, just for the hell of it. Here’s one in her finery:

??????????When I told her that I was delighted that the folks at GFS had come up with this idea, she told me that she (and her friend, not pictured) were simply guests, not affiliated with the park, and that they had designed and sewn their costumes on their own. I thought they were putting me on, so didn’t get their names. If this is you, please contact me so I can give you credit!