Sampling Del Frisco’s Grille for My B-Day. And Why You Should Go.

27 Sep

I was surrounded by steak sliders, sausage flatbreads, and melt-in-your-mouth pork bahn mi sandwiches for my birthday this year. It is…what I asked for, after all.

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This was not some kind of crazy meat-fueled-dream (though I would take one of those, any night), this was the opening party for Del Frisco’s Grille at 221 River Street in Hoboken! Who knew my 29th would pair so perfectly with passed appetizers and Prosecco? This girl.

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Del Frisco’s is set to be a classy, yet unpretentious hangout along the Hudson. The American bar & grill style menu is diverse and forgiving (lots of options for everyone, even vegetarians) with the offerings mentioned above + tempting sharing options including AMAZING mini crab cakes with lobster sauce and tuna tartare tacos.

Here’s a sneak peek at the lunch menu below (of which the dinner menu is similar). I must point out the veggie burger with soy glaze is really very good. That being said, I am already planning on coming back for YOU, Green Chili Cheeseburger.

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Another big winner of the night the “wall of wine”. My husband and I, as aspiring wine snobs, eyed a few reds from California, Italy, and even a Cotes du Rhone we can’t wait to come back and try. Great, visible selection. Look how excited he is!

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Del Frisco’s Grille opens Tuesday, September 29th. Lemme know what you think.

Rejoice. Hoboken Is Having a Restaurant Crawl!

6 Mar Hoboken Crawl (2)

As this icy tundra of a winter melts away…crepes, pizza, clams, and mozzarella are revealed beneath the ice. What am I trying to say? Hoboken is having a RESTAURANT CRAWL Sunday March, 29th 2015 and it’s sure to be delicious.

Hoboken Crawl (2)

Click the image above or this link to buy tickets ($20 if you buy in advance, $25 day of) to this self guided experience…and experience the wonders of Hoboken’s house-favorite dishes. I’ve heard Teak on the Hudson, Green Rock, Biggies Clams, Victor Hotel & Bar, Mills Tavern, Black Bear, Arthur’s Steak House, Tally Ho, Crepes & Things, 8th Street Tavern, and Maxwells are already geared up to be a part of the crawl.

More information is below. See ya there!


Who can participate in a Restaurant Crawl?  All can participate in a Restaurant Crawl. It is a fun filled Crawl that can be enjoyed by Singles, Couples, Families & Groups.

When does a Restaurant Crawl take place? The Crawl will take place on Sunday’s from 1-5pm with a mix & mingle from 5-7pm at a particular location. Participants who attend the mix & mingle will be entered into a drawing to win Restaurant Gift Certificates. Participate in the 50/50 benefiting a local charity.

Where can the tickets be purchased?  Physical tickets may be purchased, during business hours at participating locations. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 from Eventbrite at You cannot buy an electronic ticket on the day of the crawl. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event for $25 at participating locations.

Where does the Crawl start? Any restaurant the participant wishes to start.  This is a self-guided restaurant experience.

Where does it end? At the location of the mix & mingle at 5pm.

How do you get from one restaurant to the other? Participants crawl or transport themselves.

Do I have to tip the staff at each restaurant? Gratuities are customary and greatly appreciated.

Do I have to buy a drink or other food items at each restaurant? No. Restaurants are encouraged to offer drink specials, so please enjoy.

Who do I call with questions? Call your Crawl Coordinator’s Steven Palumbo 347 247 6808 or Ettore Mazzei, Nationwide Crawl Coordinator 718 720 0900

NJ’s Best Cocoa Secret – Sook Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

7 Feb photo-18

Sometimes life is fabulously sweet. Like when boxes of French chocolates from Sook Chocolate in Clifton, NJ arrive in your mailbox.

Oh my stars and garters. Are these the best chocolates I’ve ever had? Yes.

If you want to buy chocolates this Valentine’s Day (or Galentines Day)…put down the heart shaped swill from the drugstore. Order instead from this magical New Jersey chocolate factory (because I will even come find you and love you).


The chocolates arrive in cheery little boxes…just waiting to be ravaged.


But open the boxes! And take time to savor the contents within. I had a lovely conversation with the man behind this chocolate idea, Izzy, who works closely with chocolatiers Keum Sook (his talented wife and pastry chef) and Bertin Ventura (of the famous Payard in NYC) who make each precious bite by hand with the finest Valrhona Chocolate. Right here in your home state, guys!! Check it.


Take a small bite of the dark chocolate Muscadine Ganache, for instance. Rolled by hand with care and made with pralines and Grand Marnier. Then DIE. As Izzy put it perfectly, “you will walk around for the rest of your life wondering when you will have another”. And it’s true. Heavy stuff.


Then indulge in the Vanilla Truffle. Round and rugged on the outside. Soft and complex on the inside. There’s a slight hint of rum liquor. This was my favorite!


For those who love nuts, the Macadamia Givrettes and the Almond Givrettes are light, crunchy and sweet. They’re also addictive in the best way possible.


You really can’t make a bad choice here. You can order them on their website or pick them up from Sook’s storefront in Ridgewood, Sook Pastry. Now go. Treat yourself. Treat your Valentine. To NJ’s best kept cocoa secret.

The Glory of Cheese Curds and Sweet Potato Poutine

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Cheese curds. I was re-introduced to these versatile little nibbles on my trip to Upstate New York with the #NYSDairyTour2014 through the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council (read more about that fab trip here). Returning home, I was determined to give this Quebec classic a try. After searching high and low, my fiancé finally found cheese curds at the Essex Street Market in New York! 1,000 points for him because they are a must for poutine.


This, my Jersey natives, is the grandfather of “disco fries”. It generally involves fries (or pomme frites), cheese curds, and brown gravy. I decided to make Sweet Potato Poutine with Mushrooms, Spinach and Shallot Port Gravy. Sounds fancy. It’s easy. Observe and improvise as you will.

You’ll need:

3 sweet potatoes, cut into the shape of fries

1/2 pound cheese curds

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons white flour

16 oz beef broth

2 splashes port wine

1 shallot, chopped fine

2 handfuls fresh “baby bella” or white mushrooms

2 handfuls fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon French herbs or herbs de Provence

salt and pepper, to taste

First, admire your cheese curds. Try one! They’re a little tangier than fresh or packaged mozzarella but melt even better.


Next, place sliced sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet. Toss them in salt, pepper, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Don’t douse them in oil or they won’t be crispy! Bake them at 350 for about a half hour. Or until they’re nice and browned.

While this is happening, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a small pot. Add the shallot and sauté until it becomes translucent. Add 2 tablespoons of flour, whisking constantly, until it becomes a paste. Then, add a couple of splashes of port followed by beef broth…slowly…whisking the entire time. Salt and pepper to taste. I had to adjust the ratio of liquids to flour a bit to get it to the right gravy consistency. Just keep playing with it!


Once your gravy is done, quickly sauté the mushrooms and spinach in 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan with herbs de Provence. Now you are ready to build your poutine!


We were absurdly hungry by the time we started building our dishes into massive mountains of fries and cheese. We ate all of the above ingredients in one sitting. Just remember…this stuff is FILLING. Start with a layer of fries.


Then…an overly generous handful of cheese curds.


Next, the vegetables while they’re hot so that the curds melt.


Finally, cover all of it in your rich gravy.


This will go down as one of the most decadent dinners in my history. Well worth it and perfect for winter. See how the curds melt in a heavenly fashion and are even better than string cheese? A genius and SO underrated member of the dairy family.


Why Do I Christmas Shop? Thali & Taste of India in Jersey City.

16 Dec thali

Christmas shopping is difficult. Eating Indian food is not.

Indian is probably my very favorite cuisine. It’s spicy, rich, slightly sweet, a bit unctuous, and always very interesting. At the Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City there lies two little gems in a sprawling food court. Thali (vegetarian) and Taste of India. They are THE REASON WHY I CHRISTMAS SHOP THERE.


Each has a line of serve-your-own goodies. I’m not 100% sure what they all are…curries, rice, dal, fried vegetables, breads, sauces, and more. You can also order a dosa, naan, or kebabs (all of which I’ve done). It’s cost by weight and the food is fresh, friendly and filling after a miserable time trying to wade through the perfumed crowds at Macy’s.


Someone at The Village Voice even write about this place. See? People are crossing the river for it!

I’m ready to do my post-Christmas exchanges now, please.

Court Street Saturdays in Hoboken = NJ’s Best Wine Tasting Secret

7 Dec

I’ll start by saying…this post is almost 5 years too late. My fiancé Mike and I have been coming to Court Street Restaurant for about as long as I’ve lived in Hoboken. It’s solidified our love of wine, opened our eyes to new varieties and most importantly…helped us become true wine snobs (we like to think).

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Meghan is in charge of the Saturday wine tastings at Court Street and she’s fabulous. Tastings happen every other Saturday (except Summer months). With 10 hearty tastes you leave feeling HAPPY.

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At each session there’s a different region featured or wine merchant or vineyard. The last session featured French wines from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. Our representative, Lyle, went into some detail about each taste (and offered excellent trips about wine tasting in France). The above wine from Cassis made use feel like we were sipping on the warm French coast. Lovely.

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Here’s a happy guy with a glass of Gamay! And the same happy guy below at the “after-tasting”. Once the official tasting is over, they bring whatever’s left to the bar to finish up. Puff pastries are passed and it’s a par-tay. They also give out order forms so you can buy any of the wines at a decent price. A dangerous time to do so…but wonderful just the same (we stock up).

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If you’re interested in signing up for Court Street Wine Tasting emails – visit here.

A Lesson in Dairy…from Baby Cows to Cheesy Poutine Balls with the #NYSDairyTour2014

29 Nov

Egg nog. Creamy ‘taters. Milk & cookies for Santa. We use dairy like woah this season. So if I were diagnosed lactose-intolerant tomorrow I would die on the spot. But where does this dairy gloriousness come from?

My fab mama Wes and I recently learned…amazing places just a few hours away. Like the Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant and Patterson Dairy Farm we visited near Seneca Lake in Upstate New York on behalf of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. In fact! New York is one of the top 3 producers of dairy in the entire country. Pretty darn amazing.

Best moment of my life.

Best moment of my life.

Our journey began at the Cayuga Milk Plant…a brand new $101 million facility. Here, we felt like were about the assist in surgery – wearing scrubs, booties, and hair nets. But instead, we learned how milk components are separated into powders to boost the nutritional value of products.  It was one of the cleanest, high tech places I’ve been. What’s more amazing? It’s made up of about 30 dairy farms who have invested in the plant.

IMG_0566I wish we could have stayed at the plant longer. BUT! It was time to see one of those family farms and “the girls” at Patterson Dairy Farm.


“The girls” are pictured below. Ridiculously adorable and being milked. This 6th generation, 2,400 acre crop and dairy farm opened our eyes to new farming efficiencies as well as time-tested methods.


Jon and Julie Patterson (as well as their brilliant children) run the show. They are part of the group of dairy famers who have invested in and own the Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant. What I found most interesting is that they use the methane from the cows to completely power their farm. Talk about sustainable farming!


And of course Jon Deere tractors were there, ripe for the picture-taking. They have GPS-outfitted tractors to assist in the production of high quality crops for the girls’ feed. And believe me…what goes into this feed is more nutritious and complicated than I can type. #spoiledcows


Below you can see Wes and I admiring the baby cows (literally born yesterday)! A little wobbly and looked like they might throw up. We stuck our hands inside their mouth so they could suck on them like baby bottles. Because we do bizarre things.


To round out the day…we put that dairy to work…making cheesy fried “Inside Out Poutine Balls” at the New York Wine and Culinary Center. My fav part of the journey. Here we are listening to Chef Jeff, or “Cheffory”, discuss cheese curds.


We got to work. Wine in hand. The Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc (not pictured) was particularly splendid to sip while cooking.


Bottom line? Dairy’s journey from cow to plant to kitchen is an amazing one. Many hands, hearts, families, and incredibly talented minds in New York State get it to Christmas and Hanukkah and New Year’s tables…all over the world. Cheers, dairy. I’ll appreciate you a little more next time a chomp into a buttery appetizer.


Blog post to follow on how to make these poutine balls (in my own way). And to note: Most of these photos are thanks to Katie Becker Photography (I am nowhere near as good with a camera). Thanks Katie!