Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy 70th Anniversary John’s Meat Market!

By Millicent K. Brody

Located in Scotch Plains, John’s Meat Market has the distinction of being one of the oldest butcher shops in New Jersey. Currently owned by Vinnie and Nick Losavio, their father John began his thriving business seventy years ago.

At the age of 17, the late John Losavio began working at Morris' Meat Market in Plainfield. Using his trusty bicycle, he'd fill the basket, then pedal his way through the neighborhood. Not long afterwards, Morris Valenski, the owner of the butcher shop, invited John to head a new shop he was opening in Scotch Plains. Two years later, he offered Losavio a golden opportunity: he asked him to buy the business.

Armed with a lucky $50 bill from Valenski, John Losavio opened the doors to John's Meat Market on April 17, 1939.

Today, as always, customers at John’s Meat Market are treated to their favorite cuts of prime beef. From New York strip sirloin steaks, to veal chops on the bone, standing rib roasts, rack of lamb, filet mignons, and delivered-fresh poultry from Pennsylvania. You can also order a variety of side dishes. Try the spinach soufflĂ©, pasta e fagioli, turkey chili, lobster bisque, Italian wedding soup, and individual or family size servings of chicken pot pie.

“We’re ready for the barbecue season,” adds Nick. “Along with our burgers, try our fall-off-the bone spare ribs, house-prepared hot dogs, and kielbasa. We’re happy to offer recipes for whatever you’re planning to serve.”

“Nothing’s changed,” continues Vinnie Losavio. “We use the same purveyors as the famous Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn. Our beef comes from the Weichsel Beef Co.”

To celebrate their 70th anniversary, the staff at John’s Meat Market is inviting the public to join them for a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, April 18. The Clusters of Brooklyn, a 50’s band, will provide entertainment. While there, take advantage of special celebratory prices and fill your freezer.

Working alongside Vinnie and Nick, are Chef Vincent Jr., Charlie Bauman from the former J & M Market in Mountainside, Robert Ruiz from O’Connors Meat Market, Watchung, Stan Kaufman, from Joseph’s Meat Market North Plainfield, and Paul Sincavage from Balducci’s Market in New York City.

John’s Meat Market, 389 Park Ave., Scotch Plains: (908) 322-7126.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Cleaning

By Judith Garfield

Unlike Erma Bombeck, who once said: “I’m gonna clean this dump-just as soon as the kids are grown,” I’ve been cleaning and loving it since before the kids were born.

Being a loveless cook, one would suspect I also loathe housecleaning.

Au Contraire.

I love to clean. Sparkling counter tops and lustrous floors give me great satisfaction.
The same for Mr. Clean and his magic eraser. The discovery of penicillin was a very important event in the history of medicine. Likewise, the invention of the magic eraser.

What?!! You don’t know about the magic eraser?!! Trust me, this will change your life. I’m not entirely sure how it works –something about fine sanding- I don’t like to delve too deeply into these things.

Last year, while visiting my old friend N. in Manhattan, I realized how obsessed I had become.

“So, where should we go today, she asked? Moma, The Met, The Guggenheim?”

Sitting in her apartment all I could think about was getting my hands on a magic eraser so I could clean the smudge marks off her walls. N is a fabulous writer and professor, but house cleaning is not one of her fortes.

“Let’s do some shopping,” I suggested.

“Great.” Her eyes lit up. “Saks, Bendels, Bergdorf’s?”

I interrupted: “Uh, actually I was thinking more along the lines of the grocery.”

After I had my way with the magic eraser in her bathrooms, she canceled her appointment with the contractor, and her plans to renovate. She always says I saved her twenty thousand dollars. Now she’s happy to indulge me whenever I visit. I love to clean and she loves a clean house.

As far as my house goes, well, let’s just say I discontinued my gym membership after realizing that tackling the dust, the dirt, and the dead bugs that somehow find their way inside gave me the same workout…for free.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I enjoy the immediate gratification of spraying and wiping. Which brings me to Mrs. Meyers.

Her products are all natural, eco friendly, and come in a variety of wonderful fragrances. Her basil dishwashing soap makes my lack of a dishwasher almost enjoyable.

This week I plan to start my Spring-cleaning. Sweep the fireplaces, launder the curtains, and polish the floors. Oooohhhh!

And I haven’t even gotten to the porch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Saving the World One Glass at a Time

By Maureen C. Petrosky

This is not about one of the many popular wine related philanthropic events hosted throughout the year. It’s much more monumental than that. I have figured out a way we can all do our part to help save the human race, and, of course, it has to do with wine.

I’m not sure why it continues to shock me when seemingly normal people turn out to be totally psychotic. Between the lunatic mother who last week turned a darling day trip at Turtleback Zoo into her own “Mommy Dearest” moment or the guy who insisted on NOT making eye contact with me as we inched right next to each other for twenty minutes onto the Parkway- consciously choosing instead to run me off the road- I was bummed out at the declining state of humanity. While each encounter edged me closer to becoming a raving lunatic myself, instead I was stunned into silence, which in turn lead me to my “A- Ha!” moment.

Almost every day, each of us deal with seemingly erratic human beings and if in each scenario you feel your heart racing and your tongue about to unleash a lashing you choose instead to think of wine, then you can make a difference. While being chewed out by the crazy mom for tapping her child on the shoulder (he was standing on my foot by the way) I thought to myself, “They should sell wine at the zoo”. Then I thought, “Actually, I’ll enjoy a glass much more once I’m home.” This thought immediately put me into a Zen state. So next time you’re stuck on the Parkway (which I guarantee you will be in the near future) or someone cuts in front of you in line or maybe someone is just plain being mean at your expense, take a deep breath and think of which wine you will treat yourself with for taking the high road. That’s it. That is all you have to do to put a little more peace on this earth.

My World-Saving Wine- Well, that night at least-
Chateau D’Arvigny, Haut- Medoc, 2005- $16 This lovely red made me think of France instead of my aching feet. It’s perfect for transporting you to that happy place after a stressful day. Good structure, balanced tannins, and a peppery bite in the finish make for a serious sip with a bit of sass.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth Day In the Garden State

By Brianne Harrison

Earth Day is just around the corner (it falls on April 22 this year). Why not celebrate at some of the family-friendly events going on in and around New Jersey?

At the shore, the Mirth & Earth weekend kicks off on the 18th with the annual Doo Dah Parade (featuring 500 Basset hounds!). This year, the long-running parade will have a green theme. Sunday morning, the End to End Family Bike Tour marks the beginning of the Earth Day celebration. Participants will ride from one end of Ocean City to the other to support local high school programs (register for the bike tour online at The rest of the day will feature environmental exhibits, an entertainment show by the Philadelphia Zoo, games for children, music, food, boat tours, and exhibits from environmental organizations such as the Stockton marine Science Club, the Wetlands Institute, and the New Jersey Academy of Acquatic Sciences.

Up north, the Bronx Zoo is going a bit further by celebrating Earth month. For the month of April, will feature activities ranging from musical performances to eco-crafts to yoga sessions. On April 25, the zoo will host the Run for the Wild 5K run/walk. Funds raised during the event will go towards saving gorillas. Run for a good cause, then stick around for some of the family-friendly activities or the Earth Expo—a showcase of eco-friendly products.

If you can’t make it to the Bronx or Ocean City (or if 5K’s aren’t your cup of tea) there are other ways you can help the earth and environmental causes this year. To find out what you can do, visit

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lunch at Prune

By Pat Tanner

As noted in this space recently, Jersey girl Gabrielle Hamilton is among the nominees for this year’s James Beard award as best chef in NYC. A recent lunch at her Lower East Side restaurant, Prune, provided ample confirmation why she is a contender.

Her competitors for the award are ensconced at Gramercy Tavern, Picholine, WD-50, and The Modern. That’s pretty heady company for a what started out in 1999 as a quirky, unpretentious restaurant that seats about thirty but which Frank Bruni of The New York Times describes as “a small restaurant with a large footprint” because of how influential Hamilton’s robust, highly personal style has become.

How quirky is it? Before I share some examples, let me assure you that every morsel was superb. If you haven’t dined here, take my word for it that you will enjoy, e.g., the onion sandwich with fried chicken livers, or bacon and marmalade on pumpernickel toast. Another sandwich combines prepared oatmeal with peanut butter, brown sugar, and fried Trenton pork roll.

Hamilton hails from a talented culinary family. She is the daughter of Jim Hamilton of Lambertville’s Hamilton’s Grill Room, and her sister, Melissa, was an editor at Saveur magazine. Gabrielle, whose childhood nickname was Prune, writes occasionally for The New York Times and her first cookbook - “Blood, Bones and Butter” – will be published soon.

Not everything at Prune is as out-there as the oatmeal sandwich. Take the grilled tuna sandwich with aioli and arugula, above. Only half a sandwich is pictured because the other half was demolished in the time it took for me whisk out my camera. The same held true for a bowl of crispy-skin cod in saffron broth and a dessert of brandied, beer-battered cherries.

The dinner menu is even more exciting, and brunch is exceptional. Check them all out at: