Wednesday, June 30, 2010

La Famiglia

I'm a cheater, a fraudster, a trickster. Never thought of myself that way but now I'm copping to it. This past weekend I cheated on La Sicilia. What kind of loyalty is that after I just posted about them twice? Jeez.

The thing is I'm a pasta girl. I simply can't resist it. Some people can't live with out cigarettes or coffee; I can't be without my rigatoni. So when my brother "D" mentioned that he heard through the grapevine that a little place in Bogota, NJ called La Famiglia had better meatballs than La Sicilia, I had to see if it was true. My mind immediately started churning with thoughts of tomato sauce, meatballs and pasta (BTW, that would probably be my last meal choice).

It was a tough competition and I can't really pick a winner. La Famiglia did have one of the best meatballs I have ever tasted in a restaurant. Tender, soft and breaking apart with the gentlest touch of a fork, these guys were delectable. They are the kind of meatballs I will dream about. They are the kind of meatballs I will be driving 20 miles out of my way to get. Frequently.

Oh and the pasta....good lord...the homemade, hand rolled cavatelli were out of this world. They were tossed in a fresh tomato sauce with basil that tasted like a little Italian grandmother just crushed the tomatoes. Really frickin' good. The restaurant is BYO too (which is great when your hubby has tons of wine at home!!).

Michael ordered a special of soft shell crabs in garlic and oil served over those same unbelievable cavatelli. Think he enjoyed it?

My family is so insane that once we told my brother we went to La Famiglia and how good it was, he insisted we go back with a group the following night so he could try it. As solid contributors to the insanity, we agreed.

I have never been to Rome but in my dreams the pasta there tastes just like La Famiglia's cavatelli. You should go there, "mangia", and see for yourself. One last thing - - - - please don't tell anyone I'm a turncoat.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Breakfast In; Breakfast Out

Sometimes weekend mornings are spent at home reading the Sunday paper and cooking up eggs with spicy potatoes on the side.

Sometimes they are spent going out for breakfast to places like Bluestone Coffee Co. in Montclair. It’s nice to get our hit of java and let someone else cook the eggs!

Read reviews of Bluestone Coffee here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Mistake!

Sorry folks - but I seem to have made an error by not including information about the wine we were drinking in my recent al fresco post. You see, my husband is a wine enthusiast and I promised him I would mention the delicious Chardonnay on my blog. Yep, bad wife. I forgot.

Pay attention all you vino lovers out there! The wine was a 2007 Kongsgaard Napa Chardonnay and totally deserves a huge shout out for its deliciousness. The first time we tried it we were at Cafe Matisse in Rutherford about four years ago. There was a whole lot of carrying on with phrases like "ohmygodthisisamaazzinngg!!!” being yelled as we sipped the liquid gold. I think it tastes like it has lime zest in it, all citrusy and whatnot. Granted those probably aren’t terms that Robert Parker would put in his tasting notes but that’s what I think!

Michael is on the winery’s mailing list to order it. I bet if you act fast, you can get on the list too! Try it if you have the chance. Cheers!

Midnight Madness

Guess who just ordered tickets for tomorrow's midnight show? I'm going into full on *Twi-Hard* mode and counting down the hours. Hey, have you ever taken the Twi-Hard Quiz? I did and scored a perfect 10 out of 10.....just saying.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dining Al Fresco

Is there anything better than summer? Anything better than dining al fresco? Maybe I'm just obsessed because in my last house I couldn't really do it. I could if I wanted to be on top of my neighbors with not one shrub for privacy!!! Arriverderci Parsippany.

We are so enjoying this summer season and our deck. The hubby put up these cool tiki torches to keep away the bugs and we spend lots and lots of evenings outside sippping wine, grilling up eats and simply enjoying our backyard.

The other night we were snacking on some wine and cheese before dinner. Michael also made an appetizer of insane roasted hot italian peppers. For the main meal we moved on to grilled artic char with garlic, butter and chives for me (EVOO and cilantro for the hubs). My guy is quite the grillmaster! I was responsible for making spinach pasta with kale for a side dish...a go-to recipe in our house.

I look forward to many more al fresco meals. In fact, one of my goals this week is to create a summer ipod playlist of these songs to enjoy with our next meal on the deck:

Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams
Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett
California Girls - Beach Boys
Mexico - James Taylor
Under the Boardwalk - The Drifters
Summertime - The Fresh Prince
Stay - Dave Matthews
Boys of Summer - Don Henley
Soak up the Sun - Sheryl Crow
Summer Girls - LFO
Cruel Summer - Bananarama
Fool in the Rain - Led Zepplin

I love wearing my flip flops just about everywhere, fireworks, crickets, grilled food, the beach, sunglasses as headbands, and eating plenty of drippy ice cream cones, juicy watermelon and freshly shucked corn. Did I mention that summer is my favorite season?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Just Like Momma Makes

Leave it to my mama to discover Momma’s Gourmet Kitchen in Paramus, NJ, a newly opened marketplace of sorts that sits right on Route 4 East directly in front of Bergen Town Center (a recently renovated awesome outlet mall that has killer stores and sales....but that’s a WHOLE different discussion for when I have more time).

My mother read about Momma’s Kitchen in one of the thousand newspapers she reads daily and we tried it a few weeks ago for lunch. I’m proud to report that we liked it so much we have gone back a few times since! They have everything from pizza (with fun unconventional toppings) to plenty of sandwich and salad choices. Their bakery case is clearly the star here. It is stocked with items like homemade Hostess type cupcakes (I die.), mini blueberry coconut tarts, chocolate mousse cake, and several cookies including espresso shortbread, rugalach and biscotti.

I usually order their shrimp salad, which is very tasty. I’m not positive but I think there is Old Bay seasoning in the creamy dressing. On our last visit, we shared a Cuban Pressed Sandwich and a Hostess cupcake.

They don’t have any tables in the vast space yet (township red tape, blah blah blah) but the manager said maybe by September. There is a counter where you can stand and eat and one small table out in back facing the parking lot.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that half the fun of visiting Momma’s for me means a stop at Bergen Town Center. Nevertheless, if you are in the Route 4 Paramus vicinity and hunger strikes, you'll find something to eat at this pizza shop, deli and bakery all rolled into one.

Premiere Party (Entourage)

Anyone who knows me knows about my TV addiction. It’s bad. Really bad (the DVR is constantly full). In my head I sometimes think of the cast of General Hospital, Glee, or the Top Chef contestants as my friends. Crazy? check.

So I figured I would start a Premiere Party feature on the blog when one of my shows is kicking off a new season. Granted I’m not really having a party (just like I’m not really hanging out with Rachel Berry) but sometimes its fun to cook stuff up in your mind.

So here goes what I would do were I entertaining for the premiere of Entourage - Season 7 this Sunday on HBO!

The first order of business would be to have plenty of Hollywood balloons inside and out so folks know where the party is:

I think Vince and the boys would approve of ice cold beers as the beverage of choice served up in buckets with the characters names (Ari, Drama, Turtle, E):

Mini pizzas would make great party food served on these California chic paper plates!

Since money is no object for this imaginary get together, I would hand out party favors of aviator shades to all the guests:

Last but not least I would love to channel Sloan's character in my party attire with something cool and breezy:

Oh yeah, and once we were all stupid drunk from playing the Entourage Drinking Game and shouting things like Let's Hug It Out B*tch, Llllloyd and VICTORYYYYYY DRAMA, we'd need plenty of these for snacking:

Ahhh, if only.

P.S. - Watch the Entourage Season 7 trailer here. The only thing I know about the upcoming season is that Vince cut his hair (GASP!!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doctor's Orders

Guess who went for a physical and found out they were very low in Vitamin D? Yep, lil' ol' me. Booooo.

I think I remember hearing somewhere that milk contains Vitamin D. So off I went to Le Baker's Dozen Bake Shoppe in Montclair. They make a vanilla cupcake that will stand up to the best of them. Sinfully delish. I figured what better way to get my milk alottment than to have it alongside a cupcake :-)

Grazie Mille!

Don't ya just love getting stuff in the mail? I want to jump up and down like a simpleton when I see the postal truck outside and hear the doorbell ring.

It happened yesterday as a matter of fact. This arrived:

with a note that said "Foodies Rule". Thanks Auntie!!!! XO

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Its in the Genes

In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, my love of food is in the genes. I blame my mom. My whole life she was such a superb cook, exceptional baker, and I guess you could say gourmand, that it would have been surprising if it didn’t rub off.

She will go very far out of her way to eat the good stuff and somehow always seems to know about quaint little bistros and hot spots in NY and NJ! She’s like a walking Zagat Guide.

So on a balmy summer afternoon when mom and I were going out to lunch she selected Anthony Davids in Hoboken. It was pleasing to find a little place that emits calm in the middle of a somewhat frantic city. As you round the corner of 10th and Bloomfield a quaint outdoor seating area greets you:

Anthony Davids is divided into two sections - a gourmet market with baked goods, prepared foods and artisanal cheeses up front and a charming dining room with white table cloths in the back. We opted to sit outside and enjoy the sidewalk tables since it was sunny.

The menu was stocked with omelets, frittatas, sandwiches and salads. Mom and I both opted for the Warm Goat Cheese Salad ($11.75) with field greens, toasted pignoli, roasted peppers, roasted tomato and a generous mound of fresh goat cheese. Also included on the plate were two pieces of grilled Hoboken bread. The entree was a perfect complete lunch.....some greens, some veggies, some protein from the cheese and some carbs from the crunchy bread. I appreciate when a restaurant offers beverages other than soda, so props to them on their refreshing homemade lemonade and iced tea. Side note - although I didn’t order them, I noticed homemade french fries on the menu in a variety of flavors like Salted, Chipotle, Gorgonzola, Spicy, or BBQ.

I sometimes measure the quality of a restaurant with a question to myself of “would I go back?” In this case the answer is a resounding yes. I can’t wait to visit Anthony Davids and Hoboken again! And next time I’m getting the fries....

Calling all Twi-hards!

Are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob? If you can even answer that question, then you need to set your DVR for tonite at 10pm to tape the Jimmy Kimmel Live Twighlight Special. Is it wrong that I'm a grown woman geeking out about this special?

Since this blog is food related I figured I'd let you in on a great snackable supper to eat while watching tonite (if you eat late). Trader Joes has these insanely good tarts by Maitre Pierre called Tarte d'Alsace. They are brimming with carmelized onions, ham and gooey Gruyere. Have some salad with your slice and voila you've got yourself a great quick TV dinner.

Top if off with some SanPellegrino Aranciata and you're all set to settle in with Mr. Pattinson, not that I'm "Robsessed" or anything....