Friday, April 24, 2009

Curiosity: Satisfied

By Millicent K. Brody

I recently spent an entire Friday satisfying my curiosity, and loved every minute of it. There were places I wanted to go and things I wanted to experience, but they were NOT in Central Jersey.

Before heading to the Turnpike, I visited the new Whole Foods Market in Union. Although it did not have my favorite cranberry nut rolls, it did have a case full of delicious flagels (a Flagel is a flat bagel). Wandering over to the fruits and vegetables, I marveled at the lovely lemons, delicious apples, and various types of berries. Whole Foods may not be in your exact area, but it is definitely worth a trip.

Popping a couple of bags into the trunk, we headed to Jerry’s Market on South Dean Street in Englewood (pictured above). If you go, park your car and follow the trail of folks rushing to shop. From artisan cheeses to delicious candy to shelves of balsamic vinegar to wine from every region, bags of pasta that would easily serve twenty-five, and fruits from every corner of the world, Jerry’s has just about everything a foodie could want. If you’re not in the mood to cook, the shop also has a full counter of prepared meals for take out. I booked dinner reservations at my friend Carol’s house. We decided we’d each select our favorite dish and enjoy it at the dining room table at her Fort Lee apartment.

But you cannot leave Englewood, without a visit to Balthazar’s Bakery. It’s an absolute MUST! Known as an outlet, guests have the pleasure of watching a stream of bakers prepare all of your favorite desserts from behind a glass window. And although counter space is almost miniscule, you'll have serious problems making final choices. To start with, I selected a seven-grain loaf, sticky buns filled with colossal raisins, giant chocolate chunk cookies, and an apple galette (a free-form tart.) The good news is, I don't live in Englewood, for if I did, I'd surely be the size of an elephant.

From there, we headed to the Promenade at City Place Mall in Edgewater. We wanted to visit The Greek Taverna. We’d been to their Montclair location and were ready to enjoy another round of Garides Sta Karvouna, charcoal grilled jumbo shrimp with fresh herbs in a lemon olive oil sauce, and a gorgeous Greek Taverna salad filled with tomatoes and fresh feta cheese. After dinner, we strolled the mall, then treated ourselves to a dish of homemade coffee ice cream from Baumgart’s. We never left New Jersey, and we had the greatest day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

American Idol-Inspired Wine

By Maureen C. Petrosky

I used to be one of those people who didn’t stop reading a book until I finished; no matter how excruciatingly long it took. I would politely drink a glass of wine, even if it wasn’t really my cup of tea, and I would sit through every song of American Idol to make sure I was giving them each a fair assessment. With a huge sigh of relief I can happily say that is all over. I’ve realized life is just too short to read boring books, drink blasé wine, and expose my delicate ears to what Simon Cowell would laughingly call rubbish. So now I give a book to page 100 to draw me in, a bottle of wine gets half a glass -tops -before I select another, and sorry American Idol, but you get less than a minute ‘til I flip.

The point is, you shouldn’t endure anything other than sheer enjoyment, pleasure, and entertainment, for who knows what tomorrow may bring? I know one thing for sure: I don’t want my last glass of wine to be something I would have rather spit out. So here’s one definitely worth finishing:

Calera, 2006 Mills, Pinot Noir $48 I haven’t tasted a Pinot from Calera Vineyards that I didn’t love. The first one I tasted made me fall hard for Pinot and all these wines later I still remember that sip. These Pinots are cultivated in limestone soil, giving them that clean minerality that can cause an immediate Pinot addiction. This red is all glamor. Ruby red, silky smooth, rich in red fruit and with a sensual soft finish, this is one you won’t be worried about storing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shad Fest: Not Just About Fish

By Brianne Harrison

There aren’t too many towns (at least not in the mid-Atlantic region) that hold a whole two-day festival to celebrate one fish, but every year the picturesque town of Lambertville does just that when they hold the Shad Fest. This year’s to do is taking place April 25 and 26.

The Shad Fest has been a staple of the town’s calendar since 1981 and celebrates the annual return of the shad up the Delaware River. When the Fest was founded, the fish’s return was something of a miracle—pollution in the river decimated the Shad population, but tighter environmental laws and state and local initiatives cleaned up the Delaware and the Shad came back.

The Shad Fest is about more than just fish (although there’s plenty of it). Local chefs show off their skills, businesses throw open their doors, musicians play, and the streets become galleries, with local artists and artisans displaying their wares. This year, you can also grab a copy of the first-ever reprint of the 1982 Shad Fest Cookbook, featuring recipes from local chefs and residents. Take in one of the historic shad fishing demonstrations or bid on a poster by a local artist for the Sunday Shad Festival Scholarship Poster Auction. There will be rides, face painting, and sand art for kids as well as wine and beer tasting and cooking demonstrations for the parents.

Shad Fest will be held rain or shine in downtown Lambertville from 12:30 to 5:30

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spend a Weekend with Celebrity Cookbook Authors in Beautiful Spring Lake

By Pat Tanner

Actually, you can choose to spend the weekend or just make it a day trip when the Historic Inns of Spring Lake host their third annual Authors & Inns tour on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. On Sunday, each of 11 inns and bed & breakfasts in this pretty Jersey shore community will throw open their doors and play host to one chef, restaurateur, or culinary TV personality.

Among the celebrity authors are Suvir Saran of New York’s Devi Restaurant; Barbara Kafka, recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s lifetime achievement award; Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito of BakedNYC and whose cookbook was recently featured in O Magazine; and Jeff Nathan of the PBS series Jeff Nathan’s Family Suppers.

New Jersey will be represented by Patricia Mack, whom many remember fondly as food editor of The Record (she will share secrets from her 1999 book Tomatoes), and by Barbara Seelig Brown, the author of Stress Free Cooking and host of a cable TV show of the same name.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, ticket holders can take a self-guided tour of the 11 inns and visit with the celebrities, who will sign copies of their books. The $15 ticket price includes a keepsake tote bag and tour map.

For those who wish to make a weekend of it, guests staying at any of the inns over Friday and Saturday nights will receive complimentary Sunday tour tickets - and admission to a private event on Saturday. For that, only guests of the inns are invited to spend an hour with each of five authors while they present a recipe from their book. Participating authors are Suvir Saran, Patricia Mack, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, Belina Hulin (Pizza for a Party), and Hope Fox (Impress for Less).

For a complete list of authors, schedule of events, and participating inns visit