Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Break

Gotta get ready for Santa! Hope your holiday is super bright. XO

Friday, December 17, 2010


I've done many cupcakes posts (see here, here, here, and here!) but I've never done one on the queen of all cupcakes - MAGNOLIA. In my opnion, Magnolia Bakery gets it just right with a slightly savory cake and tons of buttery, sweet, soft icing in pretty pastel colors like purple:

Two bites of pure perfection.

P.S. This article claims they are soon to open in Short Hills Mall! I'm dying. I think I just felt my waistline expand by like 2 inches.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


In case you missed this article in The New York Post recently, I thought I'd link to it so you can read about just how amazing and perfect Mr. Ripert is (as if we didn't know THAT already). Look what he whipped up when challenged to cook a holiday meal using just what’s available at the local bodega with a $50 budget! My heart just skipped a beat.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Dressing Dependency

I have a minor pub obsession (see here and here). There is something I just love about the simplicity of the food I guess. A couple of visits to Poor Herbie’s in Madison recently reminded me of how the restaurant’s old-fashioned mahogany bar makes you feel like you are at “Cheers” and Ted Danson might show up any minute. Love that.

Typical pub fare of hamburgers and cheeseburgers, cold sandwiches, and hot wings are all offered on the menu. The 100% reason that Michael and I drive all the way there though is the salad dressing. It is addicting. Seriously, I might need a twelve step for THIS particular salad dressing (good thing they sell it to take home).

It has this really delicious onion-y taste and for the life of us, we can’t tell you what else is in there, but we can tell you if you eat it once you will want it again and again. Guaranteed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Edible Gifts

The other night we were watching this episode of Unique Eats when I heard the loud screeeech of car brakes in my mind as a food item appeared on my tv screen I had never seen. Hold everything...why haven't I heard of cucpakes in a jar????

Apparently this shop in California specializes in them. There is a whole menu of flavors that sound delectable.

(Photo courtesy of Yummy Cupcakes)

I thought I would share since they'd make a great gift this time of year. Who wouldn't want tons of icing with flavorful cake all jammed into a tiny cute little jar complete with spoon? I personally could not think of a better gift.

(Photo courtesy of Disneyweddingblog)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rated Excellent

If you like Italian food and ginormous portions, I'm sure you have been to (or at least heard of) E&V Restaurant in Paterson. The place is an institution that has been around forev-ah. Seriously, I used to go as a kid with my dad and brothers a long long time ago.

I was all set to write my review and then I saw the statements below from various people on the web:

"The atmosphere is unpretentious and the place looks incredibly average, however, the food is anything but. The portions are abundant and perfectly prepared. Bar none, some of the best Northern Italian cuisine in the area. A Sopranos-like left over from a bygone era in Paterson's Hillside section"

"There are thousands of Italian restaurants in North Jersey, but none beat E & V. Whenever you go there, the line is out the door, that's how good it is. Excellent food at a great price and portions so big you'll bring home tomorrow's lunch too"

"You know a good restaurant when every time you arrive there are people standing outside waiting to be seated. E & V offers delicious Italian cuisine, at a very reasonable price. You can usually make two meals out of it too"

Yep, true. All true. Case in point - two people ate all of these mushrooms! The shrimp scampi sauce was so delicious Michael had to stop me from drinking it. And the garlic and oil pasta bowl was almost empty even after eating everything else.

P.S. - Some things you need to know before you go: (1) alcohol is now served, but you can still BYO; (2) parking lot gets full quickly because it is tiny; (3) CASH is king baby. No credit cards are accepted

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shrimp Tricks

Do you know what these two dishes of sauce signify?

You probably guessed it...they are the first thing that is put in front of you when you sit down to a HIBACHI meal :-)

A recent visit to Kiku (Paramus location) made us feel like grown up children as we watched the chef toss shrimp in the air and make volcanoes out of onions! I mean, who doesn't love food that is cooked AND choreographed? Chefs performed the full blown Benihana-style experience with all the schtick and it couldn't have been more fun...or the food more delicious.

Hibachi fried rice is my absolute fave:

Main meal of shrimp, noodles and veggies:

We also gobbled up the complimentary soup and salad starters. Yum. Major scores for good entertainment and even better food.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Old Friends

I’m uber excited about the new season of Top Chef All-Stars that started Wednesday night. I feel like all my old friends are back with these cheftestants. Seeing people like Blais, Asprinio, Tiffani (shout out to season 1 fans) and Ms. “Hooty-Hoo” herself return to my TV screen was worth the wait. The season is going to rock!

The all star cast is ripe with memorable personalities, superior knife-skills, AND my main man Bourdain is back as a guest judge! Can you see me smiling????

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New In Town

Move over Panera, there’s a new game in town (which I couldn’t be more excited about).

Corner Bakery opened in the Promenade Shops at Clifton recently and we’ve made a few journeys there already. They offer a full sit-down breakfast menu with yummy options like French toast, scrambled eggs and bacon. Lunch includes fresh sandwiches, soups, salads and pastas. You can order any item at any time of breakfast for that.

Love me a free sample. Correction. Free DELICIOUS sample.

I like this new guy known as Corner Bakery. It conjures up notions of authenticity and fresh ingredients served in a fantastic atmosphere.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hole Lotta Love

I was recently reading this article about doughnuts. It talked about how "the humble doughnut has always had a special place in the hearts and stomachs of Americans" and I KNOW my stomach agrees.

Needless to say, the article left me wanting to taste these beauties ASAP:

The Doughnut Plant's Creme Brulee Yeast Doughnut is described as having a rich vanilla-bean custard interior and a burnt-sugar shellacked exterior making it a crackly, chewy delight, with a hint of salt to offset the sweetness. Ummmm, sign me up!!!

Bouchon Bakery's Boston Creme Doughnut has a dense interior and is stuffed with vanilla cream, coated in dark chocolate icing and topped with crunchy dark chocolate-covered "pearls." Oh, how I love thee Mr. Keller. I'll take a box of these please:

BTW, Bouchon serves lunch too (I talked about it here.)

Monday, November 29, 2010


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was certainly enjoyable but I was a bit sidetracked over the weekend with a serious head/chest cold. Booooo.

One thing that did make all my congestion feel a bit better - a trip to the new Irish Pub in Parsippany called Blackthorn.

A crock full of hot onion soup made with Irish stout was just what I needed. Paired with a light and yummy salad, the meal was like chicken soup for my soul (or should I say onion soup for my soul?!) Well, you get my point :-)

It should be noted that we started with nachos that contained the most sweet and delicious chili meat I think I've ever tasted. And the american cheese sauce that they were drenched in didn't hurt either.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

...and in case you need some last minute turkey carving tips, the folks at Butterball have you covered!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Third Time Around

When I first started blogging, I talked about the one and only Jon Bon Jovi dining right next to me in Rumson - remember? The restaurant was Undici.

Even before you arrive at this high-end Italian restaurant, you may feel a twinge of envy for the residents of its hometown. As dusk falls on the evening, Rumson is total bliss - a borough of broad lawns, shade-tree canopies, gabled mansions, graceful parks and gentle slopes that look down to the town’s two rivers, the Navesink and the Shrewsbury. Gorgeousness.

Rather than go on and on about the sheer delight I feel in this restaurant or when eating their food, I'll just post the food porn photos from the meal.

Appetizers of mussels and super light mozzarella in carrozza:

Entrees of roast chicken and Papalina pasta with cremini mushrooms, Prosciutto di Parma, sweet peas and crema Parmigiano:

Almond Torte dessert:

Sure I probably gained 5 pounds from the meal, but honestly, who cares when the food is THIS good!?!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tiny Jewel

They say that good things come in small packages...and that's certainly true of the enchanting jewel-box located in the very heart of Maplewood Village called Lorena's.

Lorena's is a little French restaurant and I do mean little (the restaurant seats just 30or so) with uber delicious food. A recent visit with our friends A&D was ridiculously fun and the food was beyond fantastic. Check out this main course of perfectly roasted juicy chicken with tender and buttery baby vegetables:

Wish I was eating this whole meal again tonite (Le sighhhhh).

P.S. - I didn't photograph Michael's appetizer of scottish salmon tartare with sake, wasabi, creme fraiche and fried wonton chips. If you go, you must ORDER IT. It was perfection on a plate.

Friday, November 19, 2010

We All Scream for Ice Cream

Remember my infatuation with Food Trucks (here and here)?

It continues each and every time I desire ice cream. I don't want to go to the local supermarket to purchase a container from the freezer case. Boooooring. What I want is a drippy ice cream cone straight from the Van Leeuwuen truck in New York City.

I hear Van Leeuwen is the real deal in ice cream. A pure custard base simply derived from three primary sources: cow, cane sugar, and chickens. Hormone-free milk and untampered eggs pay off in the form of delicious flavor varieties like Giandujia, Red Currant, and Peppermint and Chip.

I’m also TOTALLY obsessed with everything from their vintage looking logo, to their truck in the prettiest shade of pale yellow, to the charming interior of their Brooklyn store (Google it), and the sheer adorableness of the founders themselves (see photo).

Thursday, November 18, 2010


It doesn't get much better in retail than Neiman Marcus, right? The store warms my soul. Really. So much beauty in one place should be illegal.

Just when I thought things couldn't get ANY BETTER at NM, they started handing out free coffee. FREE delicious coffee!

When I perused their most recent holiday entertaining catalog, my eyes and stomach wound up hurting from wanting every single thing on the pages!

Lemon Poppy Biscotti

I love when something happens spur of the moment. Like last week when we ran into our neighbors at a Montclair restauruant, which prompted an immediate coffee date so we could all catch up!

Michael had a lemon poppyseed biscotti with his coffee that night and loved it so much, he asked if I could duplicate it. I tried using a variation of this recipe.

Pretty good, although next time I think I'll add lemon extract in addition to the zest for even more lemon flavor!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Sometimes you just can't resist these little burgers:

If only we could have stopped at just one.

What can I say? You know I love burgers (evidence here, here and most recently, here!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Liquor with Breakfast

You know the restaurant that you KNOW is there? The one you drive by a billion times, hear about constantly, and keep telling yourself to try but somehow never get there?!

That was the case with me and Toast in Montclair. I was conscious of it but kept passing it by. Turns out that was a HUGE mistake. A recent weekday lunch of an omelet with crab, asparagus, and outstanding homemade hollandaise was fantastic and will keep me going back:

The cozy two story building that used to be home to Top Notch Restaurant has been turned into a quaint space with an adorable theme of “peace, love and pancakes” (you can buy a T-shirt with the slogan too!) A quick glance at the weekend breakfast menu and I made a mental note to go back for a breakfast of grilled cinnamon buns with a large mimosa. Apparently, guests bring in champagne and this is one of the only BYO breakfast restaurants in the state!

Liquor with breakfast? What more could you want?!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coffee, Reinvented

A few months back, the hubs and I were watching this episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate when we almost booked plane tickets to San Francisco for a coffee drink. Yep, you heard right - coffee almost made us travel thousands of miles. KYOTO ICED COFFEE to be exact.

We watched in awe as someone went on and on about coffee that gets its inspiration from Japan. Two liters of water are poured into huge globes sitting atop five Kyoto slow-drippers. The water filters through at a rate of one drop every two seconds, splattering onto a cloth that disperses the liquid into a container filled with single-origin, natural-process coffee (meaning the beans are dried without removing the surrounding cherry fruit) for 12 to 20 hours, before being refrigerated. The long-dripping system leaves the coffee with an intense smoky flavor and bite and it’s intended to be enjoyed black over ice. Plus, they said it is served undiluted, so it has a MAJOR caffeine kick.

Great, we loooovvvvee caffeine (past evidence is here). Finally realizing we couldn't travel to San Fran for java though, Michael researched and found that someone in New York had the stuff! He went to Caffetteria in Soho earlier this week and tried out Kyoto. His verdict? Smooth, smokey and certainly a different kind of delicious!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chocolate Birthday Wishes

In honor of my dear mother and her birthday, I figured I would post a fabulous chocolate cake recipe. After all, there is nothing she loves more than homemade chocolate layer cake. This Beatty's Chocolate Cake looks heavenly. If it were set down in front of her, I bet she could eat the whole thing by herself!

(Photos - and

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Better Burger

Elevation Burger, if you haven’t heard of it, is special for many reasons:

1. You’re only served freshly ground, organic, free-range beef that comes from grass-fed cows.
2. No corn, no antibiotics, no hormones, no chemicals – just good, honest, healthy beef.
3. The prices are beyond reasonable for such a quality product.
4. The hand-cut, cooked to order olive oil fries are delicious.

I could really taste the difference with the grass fed beef. The burger was somehow “lighter” than other burgers I’ve eaten and the pure beef flavor really came through. The list of burger toppings is impressive as any or all of the following are included for free on every burger: ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, caramelized onions, mustard, mayo, raw onions, Elevation Sauce, balsamic mustard, and hot pepper relish. Oh and for the carb-conscious - you can skip the bun and order your burger wrapped in a large lettuce leaf.

Elevation Burger really figured out how to elevate the whole burger experience. I give anyone who makes me feel less guilty about eating a burger and fries some MAJOR PROPS!