Tag Archives: NOFA-NJ

Upcoming March Against Monsanto; Theater District Dining; Green Restaurant Nominations

Marching to Label GMO Foods

March Against Monsanto logo

This Saturday, October 12, thousands of people around the world are expected to march against ag-biotech giant Monsanto – including in Princeton where the focus will be on getting foods containing GMOs labeled. Organizers of the Princeton march, which kicks off at 2 pm at the Whole Earth Center, include that natural foods store, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ), Food & Water Watch of New Jersey, and GMO-Free NJ. Read about what the march will entail, as well as background info on the GMO debate, in my revealing interview with march organizer and NJ food activist Theresa Lam in the October 9 issue of US 1.

Mercato in NYC’s Theater District (& a Bonus Find)

When I am dining before or after a play or concert, I try to pick a place within walking distance. This past Sunday I needed a lunch spot near Playwrights Horizon, where I was going to see Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. (Yes, the Mr. Burns in the title refers to the Simpsons character. I had snatched tickets after reading this glowing review by Ben Brantley in The NY Times.)

Mercato roomMy choice was Mercato, an unpretentious, surprisingly authentic Italian spot on 39th Street between 8th & 9th Avenues. We enjoyed good-size pours of a Montepulciano ($9) and a Falanghina ($11), as well as excellent espresso. Here are highlights of what we ate in between.

The special app of tuna tartare, below, doesn’t come cheap ($16) but it’s uncharacteristically generous and beautifully accented with pomegranate seeds, capers, and slivers of yellow pepper:

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The best dish of the meal, hands down, was this pasta dish from the regular menu. The cavatelli-like pasta is actually Sardinian malloreddus, here enveloped by braised wild boar ragu ($18):

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To be honest, my choice – fettuccine with mushrooms – couldn’t compare. Since we still had time to kill before the performance, we strolled around the outdoor flea market I had spotted at the end of the block. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market is a real find! Among the treasures I snagged were a pair of vintage Trifari earrings, which I haggled down to $12. God, how I love New York!
Mercato on Urbanspoon

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

New Jersey Finalists Announced for Nature’s Plate Award:
Vote Now for Your Favorite Green Restaurant

Nature Conservancy logoIn a previous post I urged you to nominate your favorite ‘green’ restaurant for the Nature Conservancy’s national award. The eateries with the most nominations have entered the finalist voting round, which is open from now until October 15 at 5 pm EST. The finalists in New Jersey are:

Ninety Acres, Peapack
Eno Terra, Kingston
Local Urban Kitchen, Brielle
BluePlate, Mullica Hill

All of them embrace green practices like using sustainable seafood, free-range and grass-fed meat, organic produce, locally sourced food, and tap water (rather than bottled water). Vote for your favorite at www.nature.org/naturesplatenj.

To sweeten the deal, one voter will be chosen at random to receive a $100 gift certificate to the winning restaurant. The winning restaurant and lucky voter will be announced October 17.

All Good Stuff: Cardoon; Next Generation NJ Farmers; Sinskey Wine AND Food in NJ; Free Eats & Drink at Canal House

Do You Know Cardoon?

This hard-to-find member of the artichoke family (also called cardi or cardone) was a cherished part of my Italian-American childhood. Read how I found a local source for it – and recreated my father’s long-lost recipe – in my latest column in the Princeton Packet.

A Literal Grassroots Campaign

State fruit - Tomato

State fruit – Tomato (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People like you and me can put our money where our mouths are (literally) by contributing to a genius Kickstarter project of NOFA-NJ. The NOFA Beginning Farmer Incubator helps secure that down the line we will have more local, organic products than ever in our markets. Even a small contribution goes a long way toward making that happen!

Robert Sinskey Wines & Maria Sinskey at CulinAriane

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

You’re probably familiar with the acclaimed biodynamic wines of Robert Sinksey Vineyards, but unless you’ve visited the gorgeous Napa winery you may not know that his wife, Maria, is a terrific chef and cookbook author (The Vineyard Kitchen: Menus Inspired by the Seasons). So when Sharon Sevrens of Amanti Vino announced a five-course dinner in Montclair on November 7  by Ariane Duarte of CulinAriane featuring Sinskey wines and Maria as special guest, it’s no wonder it sold out within minutes.

Naturally, I wouldn’t be telling you this unless there was hope that you could sign up. Sharon, Ariane, and Maria have changed the original time to allow for a  second seating. The first is now scheduled for 6 pm; the second at 8:30. Since some guests switched to the latter, a few seats are up for grabs at both. For menu, prices, reservations, and other details, click here.

Open House Celebration at Canal House Cooking DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18 FROM NOON TO 4 PM

To celebrate the publication of what Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hersheimer are calling their Big Red Book, they are opening their gorgeous second-story studio along the canal in Lambertville on Sunday, November 4 from noon to 4 pm. “Come by for a nibble and a liquid refreshment,
and buy a signed copy (or a pile of them as holiday gifts),” the invitation reads. The book, just out, is Canal House Cooks Every Day. Its 250 new recipes and 130 photographs have garnered accolades from everyone from Lidia Bastianich and Christopher Kimball to Jamie Lee Curtis.

The Canal House is at 6 Coryell Street, Studio B. If you think you might be able to make it, rsvp to mail@thecanalhouse.com so they can have plenty of bubbles on ice. Tell them Pat sent you.

At My Favorite Farmers Market: BBQ, Chocolate, Meyer Lemon Lavender Marmalade

I’ve written bits and pieces about my favorite year-round farmers market in this space (hello, The Painted Truffle), but in my column in the February 1 issue of US 1, I give the lowdown on everything it has to offer, including the best bbq in the area (to eat in or take out) and exciting plans, expansions, and changes underway.

I’m talking, of course, about the continuously evolving Stockton Farm Market, which also has going for it that it is totally indoors, is open 3 days a week, and is located in a charming NJ river town.

Pictured above: the headlined marmalade, from Simple Living 101. Below are just a few of the mushrooms at the Chettie’s table – which also had fresh black truffles for sale the day I took this photo. 

And speaking of US 1, my cover story last week previewing NOFA-NJ’s winter conference drew 100 walk-in registrations according to the NOFA staff! Total attendance was around 525, their highest ever. If you were among the 100, thank you! Feel free to comment here on your experience.

NOFA-NJ’s Winter Conference: Not Just for Farmers Anymore

With a name like the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this non-profit has nothing to offer those of us who do not have organic farms.  But in my cover story in this week’s US 1, I tell you why you should consider attending their 2012 Winter Conference, which takes place at Princeton University this weekend.

In a nutshell: this Hillsborough-based organization’s broader mission is to reach out to stakeholders interested in, as their motto says, “healthy farms, healthy food, healthy land.” That includes us gardeners, home cooks, and consumers who care about making healthy food choices.

To see if it’s for you, read the story for a rundown of the conference’s two jammed-packed days of talks, panels, workshops, and sessions – not to mention a mixer at one of Princeton’s famed eating clubs.

Along the way, you’ll encounter interviews I conducted with three of the presenters, including Michele Jacobson of Monmouth County, whose book and talk by the same name is Just Because You’re an American Doesn’t Mean You Have to Eat Like One and with keynote speaker Shannon Hayes (pictured at right),  author of several books including The Grassfed Gourmet and Radical Homemakers. Hayes, who has been featured in The New York Times and on Northeast Public Radio, will be speaking on “The End of Consumerism,” which is the subject of her next book, due out in September.

A reminder: There’s still time to enter to win two cookbooks in the giveaway – my first! – that I announced in my previous post.