Friday, October 30, 2009

Marzullo’s Restaurant and Cafe: The Place to Go When You Really Want to Eat

By Millicent K. Brody

For the longest time, we’ve been hearing about this great place in Montclair called Marzullo's. Coming from Westfield, where we’re actually steps away from the next restaurant, we seemed to come up with a dozen excuses, “Sure, we’ll get there. Someday soon. Maybe next month,” and on and on...until we decided to meet friends from around the area and just go.

It turned out to be a nice surprise. Of course, not really knowing where Grove Street was, we used our friendly GPS to guide us. Lo and behold, we reached our destination...a railroad track. But don’t despair. Just a few blocks down is a sprawling specialty shop/restaurant featuring pizza and huge portions of whatever it is you want to eat, plus specialty desserts.

We were there on a Saturday night, and loved Marzullo’s busy, bustling atmosphere. The place was jumping.

“It reminds me of my old neighborhood,” one of our friends commented after ordering the osso buco, ($23.95). “It’s like Brooklyn in the olden days. Imagine, being “Brooklynized” in New Jersey?”

Our other friend ordered the grilled salmon over tricolor salad with aged balsamic vinegar ($19.95). “The salmon was delicious,” she said.

I had my usual chicken parm, ($19.95), and my husband, Monty, enjoyed his veal parm, ($18.95).

The restaurant has been around for 27 years, according to Raffaele Marzullo who, with his brother and executive baker Mimmo, owns the restaurant, cafe, deli, sandwich shop, and catering establishment. Heading the kitchen is executive chef Andres Perez, who has been with the Marzullo’s since 2002.

“All of our dishes are prepared to order” he says. “Our seafood is delivered fresh daily We use a selection of private purveyors who deliver our meat, poultry, and dairy products. We are extremely particular about the quality of our food. It has to be the best.”

Do plan to visit during ‘Recession Relief Days’ on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. That’s when you’re able to take advantage of ‘Half-Price’ pasta dishes. Be assured that whichever dish strikes your fancy, you will have more than enough to eat for two or three meals. You might enjoy Fettuccini with Grilled Chicken and Mushrooms in an Alfredo sauce, ($16.95), Cavatelli with Ricotta cheese served with fresh tomato sauce, ($14.95), or Paglia e’ Fieno with asparagus, salmon, arugula, and diced tomatoes in a pink champagne sauce, ($18.95).

Milanese fans will enjoy a breaded veal cutlet with chopped greens, tomatoes, onions, and balsamic vinegar, served with a side of pasta, ($18.95). Veal Classico offers a choice of Marsala, Francaise, Piccata, or Parmigiana. Along with veal dishes there’s a full selection of chicken, steaks, chops, and seafood that include shrimp francaise, scampi, and marinara. All entrees are served with potatoes and vegetables and your choice of pasta or salad.

You can find a spot on the deli side of the restaurant, which is usually reserved for families with small children, take a seat in the main dining room, or arrange a party in their party room, which seats 60 people.

Wherever you choose to sit, do not leave without a slice of their special cheesecake, an assortment of their house-prepared biscotti, or a dish of their signature gelato.

Marzullo’s Restaurant and Cafe, 117 Grove St., Montclair
Call: 973.744.6663
Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday. 10 a.m. to midnight Friday.
9 a.m. to midnight Saturday. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
FYI: Reservations for 6 or more. Five course Dinner Special Thursday Nights, $24.95. For directions: Ample parking onsite. Handicap accessible.

Harry’s Bag—Helping Pets in Need

By Brianne Harrison

For many years, Harry, a rescue Scottie, was the unofficial greeter at his owner, Doreen Phillips’ Lambertville shop, No. 63. But after six happy years with Phillips, Harry passed away from cancer.

Not one to sit back and mourn, Phillips decided to honor Harry’s memory (and his habit of snooping in handbags searching for treats!) and founded Harry’s Bag. Harry’s Bag is a fund that provides funding for area pets in need of medical procedures their owners can’t afford.
“We have a lot of people in our community who own and love dogs but may not have the means to pay when unexpected health issues arise,” says Phillips. “When you experience the bond and love of an animal like we did with Harry, you can’t fathom all animals not having the same love and care.”

Harry’s Bag is starting to move beyond medicine—Phillips will be partnering with Picky Paws in Lambertville for Harnesses for Harry, providing harnesses for any dog who needs one.

What can you do? No. 63 is accepting good condition, resellable vintage bags as well as donations. One hundred percent of the profit from the sale of the bags goes to animals in need. Bags and donations can be sent to Number 63, 10 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ, 609.397.2121. The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11-6. If you know of anyone in the New Hope/Lambertville area who owns a dog who needs medical care or treatments and the owner is of limited means, contact the shop and speak with Phillips.

In other news…

Monmouth County SPCA has lots of cats—over 500, to be more precise—who are desperately in need of homes. In an effort to house these homeless felines, the shelter is offering deals: kittens up to four months of age are two for the price of one, and adult cats older than one year can be adopted for any donation. Potential adopters must meet the shelter’s criteria for adoption. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's to You

By Judith Garfield

It’s a fact: Americans fear public speaking more than…death.

According to the “The Book of Lists,” the fear of public speaking ranks number one in the minds of the majority of the people. Number two is death. Number three is probably, according to me, a combination of the two, fear of dying (metaphorically speaking) while talking in front of an audience.

As Jerry Seinfeld observes, most people would rather be the subject of a eulogy than deliver one. I concur.

This past year my two beautiful daughters have gotten married, and S. and I wanted to say a few words at the receptions. Needless to say, we were a little scared about making fools of ourselves. I think we pulled it off, and even made it sound spontaneous, but let me tell you, it took a lot of rehearsing to look unrehearsed.

My advice to you, if you are going to be toasting, is practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. And definitely try to memorize. No notes or papers to fumble with. There is nothing worse than watching someone struggling to find their place with a bunch of crumpled papers. My biggest tip is this: Keep it short and sweet. You will rarely hear someone say, “I wish that toast had lasted longer.” On the other hand, how many times have you thought, “I’m glad that’s over. It went on forever”?

A little humor is always good, but make sure it’s appropriate and that you are comfortable being funny. Or start with the disclaimer like S. did, “My wife has informed me that I am not funny, so I won’t even try.” It got a laugh and S. milked it with a dramatic pause, which was quite effective. He was also well prepared thanks to my insistence that we say our parts to each other every free moment.

You can take a few other steps to ease you fears. Try if you really are interested in becoming more comfortable in front of audiences. If you want some ideas for your speech, try where you can buy, for the low, low price of 19.95, a heartfelt, memorable wedding tribute to ------- and --------- (insert couple names here).

Fellow toasters, I hope that any toast you make is fresh, never stale, and perfectly done.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Wine

By Maureen C. Petrosky

The World Series doesn’t get any better than this for New Jersey. The throwdown between the Yanks and the Phils slated for tonight is sure to have this state buzzing from Mahwah to Cape May. The trash talk is alive and spreading like wildfire; the brazen folks sporting their red or blue have already begun polka dotting every single public place I frequent. Even if you don’t love baseball there’s no way you can’t be psyched up about this match… unless, like me, you have an affinity for both teams. In our house choosing which team to root for is like choosing between siblings. The fan fever is exhilarating for most sports enthusiasts but for me there’s a little anxiety over who to choose, not to mention the pressure from friends and family. I mean, seriously, some people are getting a little too Soprano about this!

As a child, my mother was the president of the Phillies, fan club so you can imagine the look I get if I even mention Yankees. As an adult I fell in love with New York and the Yankees comes with the territory (pay no attention to what those Mets fans say). So instead of stewing over which team to cheer for, I’ve decided to pop the cork on a couple of wines I think worthy of a spot at the World Series. In honor of the East Coast sweep I’ve decided to celebrate both teams with a little bubbly.

First, I picked up some Spanish Cava Frexeinet, the black bottle- it wooed me with its eerie presence (also a perfect pick for this weekend’s Halloween bash), then I added a Champagne I adore, Nicolas Feuillatte (a slight splurge seeing as how the world will be watching as the Northeast rocks the World Series), and of course some Schramsburg Brut Rose (I needed to feel a little feminine in the midst of all this testosterone). While baseball is not my forte I am sure my better half will insist we watch. Whether it’s Yanks or Phils who take it, I’m celebrating baseball with bubbles.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to be Fabulous

By Brianne Harrison

Those who weren’t able to get into the tents at Bryant Park can take heart: Downtown Millburn is hosting its own fashion week, and kicking it off with a fashion show at the Chanticleer this Thursday.

Featured in the show will be the latest styles from many of Millburn’s top fashion stops. Tickets run $60 each and include the show and a sit-down dinner. Proceeds from the event will be donated to three local charities: the American Red Cross, The Education Foundation of Millburn-Short Hills, and the First Aid Squad. For more information, call 973.379.2341.

For those who can’t make the show, fashion week will run October 30 through November 5. Participating Millburn retailers will offer special in-store events and promotions.

If you love both animals and fashion, you’re in luck! Devon Fine Jewelry is hosting their Jewelry Sale & Showcase to Benefit Pets October 29-31. Browse the selection of charms that can be custom-colored to match your pet’s markings and enter your pet in a photo gallery for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. Ten percent of the revenue from the event will be donated to the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Better World Café

By Pat Tanner

The folks at two area non-profits with missions to help the less fortunate of our neighbors have launched a delicious new joint venture: a community café serving seasonal local fare, where customers decide what price is fair and where those who cannot pay with money may exchange an hour of volunteer time for their meal.

A Better World Café is a collaboration between Elijah’s Promise and Who Is My Neighbor, and is the only the fifth so-called community cafe in the nation - and the first east of the Mississippi. Every Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. it serves a multi-cultural menu of simple, healthy soups, breads, salads, sandwiches, and desserts in an attractive Arts-and-Crafts style room in the Reformed Church of Highland Park, which is where Who Is My Neighbor is based.

The fresh, sustainable fare, all sourced from within a 50-mile radius, is made at Elijah’s Promise Culinary School in New Brunswick and transported daily to the café. The school provides intensive training for skilled employment in the food service industry. Workers from the school and (unpaid) volunteers staff the cafe.

Last month, Elijah’s Promise put together a tasting of some of the dishes now on the autumn menu – to universal rave reviews, including from this correspondent. Creamy butternut squash soup with horseradish cream…a creative and improbably delicious sandwich of roasted beets and goat cheese in whole-wheat pita…and pear strudel with caramel sauce went well beyond the promised “simple” fare.

Styrofoam, plastic, and paper plates and utensils are banned here, and only free-trade coffees and teas are served. The church room is intended to be the café’s temporary home. The goal is that demand will necessitate a facility of its own, as well as extended hours and, hence, the employment of more Elijah’s Promise graduates.

A Better World Café
The Quilt Room in the Reformed Church of Highland Park
19 South Second Ave.
Highland Park