Tag Archives: Undici Restaurant

Undici Taverna; National Acclaim for 2 NJ Towns

Before I get to the terrific Sicilian meal I had recently at Undici in Rumson and before I name the two small towns that were tagged among the 20 best in the U.S. by Smithsonian Magazine, here’s the best photo I’ve seen of the space shuttle Discovery being flown to DC earlier this week:

This was the view outside my daughter Alice’s office in Northern Virginia, taken by her co-worker Jordan on his cell phone. Imagine looking up from your desk and seeing this out your window!

Smithsonian Magazine Names 20 Best Small Towns in the U.S.

Albert Einstein House, Princeton, NJ

Albert Einstein House, Princeton, NJ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congratulations to Princeton and Red Bank, both of which rank in Smithsonian Magazine‘s list of the 20 best small towns in the U.S. Here’s an excerpt on the criteria they used:

“…high concentrations of museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries and other cultural assets common to big cities. But we focused on towns with populations less than 25,000, so travelers could experience what might be called enlightened good times in an unhurried, charming setting. We also tried to select towns ranging across the lower 48.”

Old train station building, Red Bank, NJ, USA

Old train station building, Red Bank, NJ, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow. Even though they were looking for a nice geographic spread, tiny New Jersey still managed to come in with two winners. The only other states to accomplish that feat were Florida (Naples & Key West) and California (Mill Valley & Laguna Beach). Go us!
Sicilian Dinner at Undici
As mentioned in a previous post, I had signed up for the dinner hosted by Sickles Market of Little Silver that was to preview that store’s excursion with 12 people to Sicily this coming October. Before the dinner, only 10 spaces were left to sign up for the trip; after it, well, I have no idea. The Taste of Sicily menu was superb. This marked my first visit to Undici, a Rumson hotspot, and the rustic decor reminds me very much of Basil T’s in Red Bank – not surprising since one of the owners is involved with both.

Undici is highly regarded for its authentic Sicilian pies, which sport crisp crusts from baking in the 800-degree brick oven. We enjoyed samples of five from the menu – originali, margherita, filetti, bianco, and arugula e prosciutto. All were superb, with the last two among the best versions I’ve had. The pizzas were served with two Sicilian wines from Undici’s list. Both had an amazingly velvety mouth feel. The white was the Firriato Chiaramonte Bianco 2010, which is 100% Ansonica, the grape customarily used to make Marsala. The red was the Feudo Maccari Maharis 2007, a blend of nero d’Avola, cab, and syrah. This and the arugula/prosciutto pizza were a match made in heaven.

April Events & Mo Rocca Defends NJ

It’s not just the weather that’s heating up ’round these parts. Here are two fun events you might want to hook into:

Princyclopedia 2012

Every year the Cotsen Children’s Library on the Princeton University campus brings to life for one day a beloved book with hands-on projects, activities, live shows, and demonstrations. It’s free, it’s as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids of all ages, and this year the book is one of my all time favorites: Robin Hood. (That’s Princyclopedia creator Dana Sheridan pictured at left.)

Think falconry, longbow archery, and battle-ax and sword play, mead tasting, knights, castles, and other delights. (Every year, The Bent Spoon brings a theme-related ice cream flavor. Wonder what this year’s will be.) It’s on Saturday, April 14 from 10 am to 3 pm at Dillon Gym on the University campus. Details and logistics here. Plus, I’ll write about it in greater detail in the 4/11/12 issue of US 1, so I’ll post a link when that’s available. This year, in the spirit of Robin, there’s a food drive component, which makes me like Princyclopedia even more.

Sickles Market Goes to Sicily. Literally. 

Bob & Leslie Sickles of the award-winning market in Little Silver were so entranced by a buying trip to Sicily last year that they’ve organized a food-buyer’s insider tour for 12 people this coming October. To see if you would like to be one of them, they’re offering a taste of what to expect at a Sicilian evening at Undici restaurant in Rumson on Monday, April 16, at 7 pm. Cost is $35. For reservations, contact Kirsty Dougherty at 908.512.0600 or kdougherty@sicklesmarket.com.

Mo Rocca Refuses to Trash the Garden State

"Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" recept...

"Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" reception at Octavia Books, Uptown New Orleans. Mo Rocca. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always liked Mo Rocca, but never more so than when my daughter Elizabeth told me how he came to the defense of our state on last week’s NPR quiz show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! You can imagine the jokes and snide remarks offered by the other panelists when he was asked to name the surprising area in which NJ was recently named to be Number One in the nation. He steadfastly refused to join in – and wound up extolling many of our good points, as well as coming up with the right answer! Which, if you haven’t heard, is quite surprising. Here’s the link to the audio. (The NJ bit starts about 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the segment.)