Friday, March 14, 2008

Food Finds: The Flaky Tart

By Pat Tanner

I can’t say what I adore most about this bakery-plus that opened in Atlantic Highlands last August, but the cheeky name ranks right up there. There is nothing flaky about proprietor Marie Jackson, who followed up a business degree with learning to cook at the NY Restaurant School, but she does have a magical way with tarts, as well as all her sweet and savory gems, from macaroons to mac and cheese.

This is how good the latter is: most days it comes out of the oven around 11 a.m. and is gone by 11:30. Her croissants have been rightly deemed as good as any in Paris, yet they vie in popularity with her cinnamon rolls, pecan sticky buns, and scones, which have a perfect balance of heft and airiness. (The ginger-pear scone is a revelation.)

While perched at the sunny counter at her cute little shop, I and a friend sampled as much as we could manage and took home a passel of goodies, failing to find anything less than stellar. Selections change daily, but among the typical offerings are ham and gruyere croissants, lemon meringue tartlets, pain au chocolat, raspberry sandbars, blueberry muffins, and mini carrot-cake cupcakes.

Prices are lower than in my neighborhood - and probably yours. A goodly serving of homemade beef chili comes with cheddar, crème fraiche, and a buttered baguette – all for $6.

The Flaky Tart

145 First Avenue

Atlantic Highlands


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Beat: Book Signings at Bookends!

By Kimberly Baldwin

Bookends is a small bookstore in Ridgewood offering an impressive roster of author discussions and signings. Here is a sampling of their busy (and star-studded!) April line-up:

The former slugging outfielder with the Oakland A's and controversial author, Jose Canseco, will be on hand to sign his latest blockbuster, Vindicated, on Tuesday, April 1 at 3:30 p.m.

Hollywood icon Julie Andrews will sign Home: A Memoir Of My Early Years also on Tuesday, April 1 at 7 p.m. Take note: This is a ticketed "first come, first served" event.

Gene Wilder, star of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein, will be signing The Woman Who Wouldn't, on Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m.

Linda Francis Lee, former Texas Junior Leaguer, debutante, and author of the wickedly funny, The Devil in the Junior League, will discuss and sign her newest release, The Ex-Debutante, on Thursday, April 3 at 7 p.m.

The mother and daughter New York Times bestselling dynamic duo, Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, will discuss and sign their latest thrillers: Where Are You Now? and Zapped.

Bookends is located at 232 E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood. For more information, call 201.445.0726 or visit them online at

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fashion Forward: Make a Statement with a Cocktail Ring

By Courtney Jones

Once regarded as a novelty item, the cocktail ring is now updated, revamped, and high-fashion. Recently seen adorned on the hands of many of fashion's elite, it is destined to become a must-have for this summer. They can be worn with nearly anything, and matching the ring to your outfit isn't necessary. Cocktail rings easily transform your look from casual to dressy by adding drama and glamour to any outfit. Available in more styles and prices than you have fingers to put them on, there ís a dazzling jewel to fit every taste and budget. Whether you choose a subtle or stand-out ring, this chunky trinket is sure to make you sparkle from miles away.

Magpie Jewlrey's turquoise/amber cluster ring ($168) is meant to stand out. This statement-making bauble is not for the faint of heart.

Amrita's elegant sterling silver and gold oval-shaped ring ($225, shown above) has a beautiful black onyx stone in its center.

This gorgeous Roberto Cavalli ring ($200) has a large pink glass stone with elegant detailing along its band.

If you're looking for understated elegance, try Monica Vinader's incredibly simple ring ($250). It has over-sized aqua chalcedony with a simple gold-plated border.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New and Noteworthy: Sal Lauretta for Men

By Kathy Shaskan and Kimberly Baldwin

Sal Lauretta For Men, a high end clothing shop in Midland Park, has started carrying the "Whatever it Takes" line of t-shirts. The aim of the organization is to raise a minimum of $3 million over three years to fund charitable projects in developing countries, contribute to the protection of the environment, and other charitable causes. These products, designed by celebrities, statesmen, artists and more, have raised over 1 million dollars so far. Above: the design by Giorgio Armani.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Monday Muse: Film Shorts to Benefit Hunterdon Museum of Art

By Kimberly Baldwin

Nicole Cattell is a 2003 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2004 NYFA Fellow, and an award-winning documentary producer/director. Named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the "25 New Faces in Independent Film," she will be appearing at the Hunterdon Museum of Art for an evening of documentary shorts to benefit the museum's education programs and exhibitions.

Two of her films will be screened: Come Unto Me, a portrait of one artist who created a massive outdoor artscape in the heart of Detroit's blighted East Side, which received an Emmy and three Best Documentary awards at Sundance, and Revolucion: Five Visions. This film reframes the Cuban revolution through the art of photography, focusing on the personal stories of five Cuban photographers whose lives and work span nearly five decades of revolution in Cuba.

VIP reservation is $50 per person and includes a pre-screening reception with Ms. Cattell at 6 p.m., the film screenings at 7:30 p.m., and then a Q & A session with the documentarian. Call the museum at 908.735.8415 ext. 10 to RSVP, preferably by March 21.