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 - Barefootcontessa.com and suitableforconsumption.blogspot.com)

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!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Island-y Enjoyment

I absolutely adore restaurants that make me feel like I’m on vacation. After eating at Bahama Breeze recently, I think that is the precise reason I’m suddenly enamored.

Yes, yes..I know it is a giant chain Caribbean-themed restaurant that has its own beer ( Aruba Red). But sometimes chain restaurants are just plain old fun, right? (See examples here, here and here.)

Bahama Breeze is truly like a restaurant you stumbled across during your last visit to the beach. You know the place...with its bustling outdoor patio and the guitarist strumming tropical tunes, a mile-long bar that serves by-the-gallon tropical drinks with little umbrellas, and an atmosphere filled with people having good times?

The food is certainly not gourmet but it is pretty dang tasty. Our quesadilla appetizer was filled with steamed lobster, shrimp, spinach and cheese and served with tomato salsa and sour cream. Mass produced or not, it was yummy.

Dinners included pan-seared salmon with lemon butter sauce and Jamaican grilled chicken. All in all – two thumbs up.

Palm Trees? check. Bamboo? check. Silly tropical drinks? check. Wait staff in Hawaiin shirts? check. Good food? check.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fondness for France

I’m really not a sandwich girl at heart. I could usually take ‘em or leave ‘em. However, I do love all things French, so I can’t seem to stay away from a Croque Monsieur when it is offered on a menu.

Some say the Croque is a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich but I say not quite. What makes this sandwich so gosh darn special to me is the béchamel sauce. Leave it to the French - by the way - to douse an already delicious buttery sandwich in a thick sauce made of butter, flour and cream. Ahhh, that’s why I love those people.

I’ve had a hankering for this sandwich for a while now and am going to try making one at home. I know Ina’s recipe will probably be fool proof.

I think I’ll serve le Croque Monsieur just like it would be served at a French cafe...with cornichon (tiny gherkins) and Dijon mustard alongside. Maybe I’ll even get crazy and drink a glass of kir.

My weekend can’t come soon enough....

(Photo - delicecrepe.com)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lunch Affair

I've written about my deep feelings for A&S before. It is dangerously close to my current place of employment so I sometimes find myself heading in that direction for lunch.

My newest discovery is what A&S calls an "eggplant sandwich." There is no bread...just two razor thin egg battered peices of eggplant with fresh salty mozzarella sandwiched in between. They top it off with a spoonful of their homemade marinara and a basil leaf. Not only do they make an easy quick lunch, but the taste is sheer perfection.

I love you A&S.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Parlez-vous Français?

You don't need to speak French to eat the delectable food - I'm proof of that.

We recently visited one of my favorite French bistros in Montclair called Epernay. The service is very friendly, the atmosphere is quaint and the food is exteremely enjoyable. What more could you want, right?

Epernay is a BYOB with closely spaced tables in a small dining area. The tables are set with linen and topped with white paper, and French doors open to outdoor, sidewalk seating, during the warmer months. The food is well prepared with fresh ingredients and is reasonably priced.

Our party dined on entrees like steak au poivre with creamy horseradish sauce alongside crispy frites and Baramundi over herbed cous cous and tomatoes with garlicky green beans on the side. YUM! My husband's absolute fave is the Frisee Salad with Lardons and a warm poached egg - need I say more?

Oh and save room for dessert because the Chocolate Mousse is outrageous.

Sorry about the stock food photos below from Epernay's website. I'm a bad little blogger who was so hungry she forgot to photograph the FOOD! Sorry :-(