Tag Archives: Jersey City restaurant

A Nearly 100% Food-free Post!

No Food Involved! Where to Clean or Fix Almost Anything

NJ Monthly cover Mar15

This is one you’ll want to print out and keep handy. For the March 2015 cover story the folks at  New Jersey Monthly scoured the state for top-notch pros who can fix everything from slate roofs to antique dolls. I was thrilled to contribute these Central NJ artiste-specialists, but there are many more categories & entries in the full story:

Princeton Violins, Kingston: Violin repair & restoration
New Jersey Barn Company, Ringoes: Historical barn restoration & design
Bregenzer Bros., Hopewell: Slate & copper roof restoration & design & chimney restoration
Cane and Able, Belford: Chair caning repair (732-462-3589)
Doll Dr. Kathleen & Michael’s Clocks, Marlboro: Doll & clock repair
Olek Lejbzon Co., Newark: Astonishing range of antique and modern home furnishings repair, conservation, and refinishing
Artisans of the Valley, Pennington: Master wood-crafting design & repair

A Rare Photo Essay

I freely admit that I don’t excel at photography. But I can’t help crowing about these time-lapse-style photos I took of the (zoomed) view of the lower Manhattan skyline at sunset during a recent dinner at Battello in Jersey City. I’ll report on the excellent meal at a later date, but for now feast on these beauties:

??????????????????????????????Battello near dark - CopyBattello after dark - Copy

Finally! A Food Item: Slow Food Central Jersey Farmers Market, Sunday March 1st

slow-food-markets

As I write this, more snow and a wintry mix are expected later in the day on Sunday, so take advantage of the 10 am to 2 pm time frame to stock up on locally grown and produced foods from these 15 premium vendors convening at Tre Piani restaurant in Forrestal Village:

Beechtree Farm, Birds & Bees Farm, Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse, Cherry Grove Farm, Chickadee Creek Farm, Davidson Exotic Mushrooms, Frank’s Pickled Peppers, Fulper Family Farmstead, Happy Wanderer Bakery, Jams by Kim, O Made Granola, Shibumi Farm, The Artisan Tree, Valley Shepherd Creamery, WoodsEdge Wools Farm.

Shibumi Farm Mushrooms

Shibumi Farm Mushrooms

For my personal shopping list I’m hoping to snag: Medieval levain bread & Jonathan’s cultured butter from Bobolink; Davidson’s portobello mushrooms; Fulper’s nigella seed mozzarella string cheese (I freely admit it: I am addicted); lion’s mane or any other exotic mushrooms from Shibumi; Valley Shepherd’s Nettlesome cheese; & eggs, fresh greens, and root veggies from Chickadee Creek or any farm that offers them. Wish me luck!

 

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

 

 

Meet Dan Richer of Razza; My Review of LP Steak; Montclair’s Food & Wine Fest; Switchel Goes Mainstream

“True Italian mentality says that your location dictates your ingredients.” – Dan Richer of Razza

Dan Richer of Razza

Dan Richer of Razza

For a veteran journalist I made a rookie mistake when I interviewed Dan Richer of Razza Pizza Artigianale, a James Beard Rising Star semi-finalist whose output made Thrillist’s list of tops in the US. That mistake? I fell so in love with my subject I completely blew the word allotment my editor had stipulated. See if you’re not captivated, too, here in the Summer 2014 issue of Edible Jersey (The story starts on page 42.)

Edible Jersey cover summer 14

Luke Palladino turns his hand to steak

Having attained accolades for his Italian fare at the Atlantic City area restaurants that bear his name, Palladino has turned his small Northfield location into a hipster steakhouse. Read my review here, in the June issue of New Jersey Monthly.

NJ Monthly June 2014

2014 Montclair Food & Wine Festival: Big names, big doings next weekend

Montclair Food Wine Festival logo

Each year this 3-day celebration gets bigger and better, helping to justify its claim that Montclair is NJ’s food capital. Here’s a snapshot of this year’s activities:

Saturday, May 31: The Grand Tasting takes over the Montclair Art Museum, with food from 30 area restaurants (including the Ryland Inn) and wines provided by Gary’s Wine & Marketplace.

Sunday, June 1: Seminars on pasta, NJ oysters & clams, Latin tapas, and foie gras. For that last, two experts – Ariane Daguin of D’Artagnan and Ariane Duarte of Culinariane – will debunk myths surrounding that beloved but controversial delicacy.

Monday, June 2: Gala Dinner at The Manor, with wines provided by Amanti Vino. Among the 6 accomplished chefs each doing a course is Floyd Cardoz, a Verona resident and winner of Top Chef Masters who first came to prominence at NYC’s Tabla. (Read my very personal interview with this talented chef and super-nice guy. We spoke in 2012, shortly before he started at Danny Meyer’s North End Grill, which he has since left. Click here to read the post.)

Chef Floyd Cardoz

Chef Floyd Cardoz

Get complete details and ticket information on next weekend’s festivities at montclairfoodandwinefestival.org.

Who knew? Switchel goes mainstream

I realized I was onto something when I encountered a switchel cocktail a couple of years ago at Jose Andres’ original incarnation of his America Eats Tavern. First, my post about it – complete with recipe – has accrued more hits on Dine With Pat than all posts save one (that one for orange soda bbq sauce, of all things). Then, in Wednesday’s NY Times dining section, Florence Fabricant spotlighted a switchel mixer made in Vermont. With or without alcohol, it makes a great summer cooler.

The Sorry State of Food TV; 2 NJ Slow Food Events; Craig Shelton’s New Gig; NJ & Beard Awards; Mistral Preview

This essay by Andy Greenwald on the state of Food TV is the best I’ve encountered. I was surprised to find myself agreeing with everything Greenwald writes – I thought I was the only one who felt this way! I was gratified in particular by this sentence about Emeril Lagasse‘s role as a Top Chef judge:

“Stripped of his catchphrases and his band, Emeril has revealed himself to be kind, patient and insightful, able to articulate the nuances of food we’ll never taste with expert, understated flair.”

Not only do I agree with that assessment as a viewer, but it reflects the conclusion I came to when Emeril was a guest on my radio show years ago. We did an entire hour show live from Marketfair mall in Princeton.

Pat & Emeril1

I expected lots of bam! and bluster, and instead I got a thoughtful, soft-spoken, gentle man who answered my questions with insight and modesty. It was only when a young boy in the audience shouted out, “Emeril, say Bam!” that he did – and talked about how great it was to have youngsters interested in cooking.

Slow Food Farmers Market (Central) & Expert Talk on GMOs (North)

Slow Food Central Snail

This Sunday, 2/24/13, will see the final Slow Food Central NJ winter farmers market of the season. This one is being held at Tre Piani restaurant in Forrestal Village along Route 1 in Princeton, from 11 am to 3 pm. There’ll be live music and you can sit down for food and drink at Tre Bar in between stocking up on meats, breads, mushrooms, cheeses, wines, baked goods, and sweets from these vendors:

Beech Tree Farm….Birds and Bees Farm…Bobolink Dairy and Bake House…Cherry Grove Farm…Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms…Donna and Company…Fulper Dairy Farm…Funni Bonz Barbecue Sauce…Happy Wanderer Bakery…Hopewell Valley Vineyards…Judith’s Desserts…Jammin’ Crepes…Pure Indian Foods Ghee…Rocky Brook Farm…Shibumi Exotic Mushrooms…Valley Shepherd Creamery and Woods Edge Wools Farm.

For information, phone 609.577.5113.

Slow Food SnailThen next Sunday, March 3rd, attend an afternoon meeting of Slow Food Northern NJ at the DeHart Community Center in Maplewood that starts at 1 pm with a tasting of local foods and includes talks on school gardens and the impact of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on our lives. Speaker for that will be Michael Hansen of Consumers Union, who will “describe what genetic engineering is, the lack of required safety testing, and why you should be concerned.” Click here for info and to purchase tickets ($8 for members; $10 for the public).

Craig Shelton, Consultant

Craig SheltonNew Jersey’s most well-known chef (check out the interview with him I posted here last December) is now consulting at Mediterra in Princeton. Laurent Chapuis, the proprietor of the Princeton Corkscrew wine shop just a few doors down, was impressed with a recent  lunch overseen by Shelton. If you know Monsieur Chapuis, you know he is one tough customer, so his praise bodes well for this match.

Mediterra’s general manager, Carmine DePasquale, says that Shelton will be at the restaurant four to five days a week, mainly during lunch service, for at least the next three months. He isn’t so much behind the stove tweaking dishes or changing the menu as he is, DePasquale says, “showing us a different hospitality factor, a new way of managing how guests perceive things.” He’s working hand-in-hand with Mediterra chef Terry Strong and his sous chefs, yes, but also servers and the management team as a whole. Shelton, DePasquale says, has set his task as observing, commenting on what’s being done correctly (or not), and addressing issues around hospitality and even marketing. “The beauty of Craig,” DePasquale says, “is that he holds himself up to the Relais and Chateaux guidelines, and it’s always good to strive for that with every single person who walks through our door.”

Congrats to 2013 James Beard Awards Semi-finalists Scott Anderson, Joey Baldino, and Thirty Acres

If you call yourself a New Jersey foodie, you’ve likely heard by now that the Garden State receive three nods on the first round of balloting announced this week. Both Scott Anderson of elements in Princeton and Vetri-alumnus Joey Baldino of Zeppoli (his Sicilian restaurant in Collingswood) are among 2o chefs vying to be one of 5 semi-finalists for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. Thirty Acres in Jersey City is one of 29 hopefuls for Best New Restaurant in the USA.

Thirty Acres, Jersey City

Thirty Acres, Jersey City

Five finalists in each category will be announced on March 18, and the ultimate sole winners on May 6.

Sneak Peak of Mistral Menu at elements, Princeton

Mistral-Logo

Speaking of elements, the projected opening of Mistral, the second (and more casual) restaurant by the same team, is now set for April. Those of us who can’t wait for its small plates of interpreted Mediterranean classics can get a smattering at elements between now and then. Prices start at $7 for fennel salad with lemon basil, red onion, and orange and run to $12 for bronzino with potato puree, black olive, and caramelized red onion.

In between are house-cured lomo (Spanish-style dry-cured pork tenderloin) with trumpet royale mushrooms, pimentos, and garlic; pressure-cooked octopus with “papas bravas” (their quotation marks), and caper aioli; and dark meat chicken with yuzu and soy honey glaze.

A New Review, Authentic Mexican & Free Burgers from ‘The Rach’

My review of Satis, the modern pan-European bistro in Jersey City’s Paulus Hook neighborhood, is in the June issue of New Jersey Monthly and online here.

The June edition of Monmouth Health & Life, just out, features my story on what makes a Mexican restaurant authentic. It includes my picks for 13 restaurants around the state where you can find the real deal (or as close to it as we come), as well as my very own recipe for Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Mojo. Click here for the story, then click to enlarge for easier reading.

Note to magazine editors: How about including a scantily clad, buff male as well as female on your future summer covers?

For you Rachael Ray fans, since my blog post about it last week, there has been an exciting addition to her visit to Barnes & Noble at MarketFair in Princeton coming up this Wednesday, June 6. This is from the latest press release:

“Flip Out” for Burgers and meet bestselling author and Food Network TV personality Rachael Ray, as she signs her latest cookbook, THE BOOK OF BURGER on Wednesday, June 6 at 6:00 pm at the Barnes & Noble, 3535 US Route 1 South in the MarketFair Mall, Princeton, NJ.  The Book of Burger Food Truck will make its first stop at the Princeton, NJ store. The first 500 people to purchase a book will receive a special slider straight from THE BOOK OF BURGER.  Wristband distribution on a first-come, first served basis begins no earlier than 4pm on June 6 with line formation following, while supplies last.  The purchase and receipt for at least one copy of THE BOOK OF BURGER in either a Barnes & Noble store or at www.bn.com required to be on the signing line.”