Month: December 2016

Same global beer selection in new bar at former World of Beer

Those wanting to take their brew-loving palettes global could always find the perfect international beer for the occasion when visiting World of Beer at 335 George St.

These days, you won’t see the familiar black and gold World of Beer emblem outside of the busy bar, but you will see something new — the sign for Hub City Brewhouse, which has replaced World of Beer with a new food menu, music and atmosphere but the same enormous international beer menu.

Hub City Brewhouse, owned by Will Mingo of Middlesex and managed by Ursula Cordero of New Brunswick, converted World of Beer into Hub City Brewhouse in September after much feedback from bar regulars.

“The World of Beer brand is very Florida-based and -centric and there were a lot of things put forth that weren’t the best fit for New Brunswick,” said Mingo, who also owned the New Brunswick World of Beer location since it opened about three years ago. “We wanted to become hyperlocalized and better service our community.”

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Lubrano’s celebrates 10 years of homemade pizza

For the past 10 years, Lubrano’s Pizzeria and Restaurant at 1830 Easton Ave. in the Somerset section of Franklin has gotten used to being Central Jerseyans go-to for fresh, homemade pizzas.

The family-run Italian eatery opened on Nov. 14, 2006. Its most popular pies include a spaghetti and meatball pie, a vegetable pie and the stuffed pizza special, which includes ricotta, mozzarella, sausage, ham, salami and prosciutto. Angie Lubrano, co-owner of Lubrano’s Pizzeria and Restaurant alongside Joe Lubrano, says that their secret to success is quite simple.

“It’s all about the ingredients. People think it’s about the water, but it’s much more than that,” she said. “This is the real deal. It isn’t little Caesar’s — it’s made from scratch with homemade sauce.”

Angie Lubrano said that the restaurant, which makes 200 pizzas a day, heavily focuses on the quality of their pizza, opting for more expensive and high-quality ingredients. “Cheese recently went up 21 cents a pound, but we aren’t going to go somewhere else to save,” she said. “We don’t take shortcuts.”

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Celebrate NYE like its 1920 at this Edison event

Written for MyCentralJersey.com 

These days, New Year’s Eve parties are usually reduced to overcrowded bars, obscene cover charges and mediocre meals. Gone is the era of upscale entertainment, encompassing ballrooms and fine dining for Dec. 31.

However, thanks to Kay and eLLe Productions, an event production company based in Hillsdale, that has changed in the past few years — most recently with their Gatsby Ball, a New Year’s Eve party at the Pines Manor in Edison that features a masquerade theme.

“My friends and I were looking for something to do for New Year’s about four years ago and we were sick of tired of standing in long lines and doing the same old thing,” said Karen Phillips, owner of Kay and eLLe Productions. “So, we planned a masquerade party, and ever since then, we have done one each year with a new theme.”

About 350 people are expected to attend the 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Gatsby Ball this year, with tickets ranging from $149 to $164 per person that include a five-hour open bar, live DJ playing Top 40 music with a mix of rock, club, dance, Latin and hip-hop, dinner from the Pines Manor, champagne toast, party favors, live broadcast of the Times Square ball drop, coat check, discounted hotel rates and shuttle service.

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What 4 local chefs are cooking up for the holidays

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 12/14/16

The holidays are for spending time with family and friends, giving to those we love, and sharing thanks for what we have received.

And for those with a constant appetite for all that’s salty, sweet, tangy and crispy, the holidays are also a time for one more thing — eating.

For the holiday season, Central Jersey restaurateurs are hard at work hand-picking staple dishes, ingredients and menus.

Ninety Acres, an upscale new American restaurant situated on the Natirar estate in Peapack-Gladstone, changes its menu each year to evolve with changing food trends.

Executive Chef David Felton said that he has noticed that people are looking for less fussy foods with big flavors, and his menu reflects that with a blend of luxury and approachability.

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Head to Flemington for holiday spirit

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 12/7/16

There’s one Hunterdon County borough that has all of the makings for a classic Christmas.

Flemington, which boasts a historic district, shops large and small and a full calendar of holiday events, pulls in tons of holiday visitors each year — and for good reason.

“The historic architecture makes you feel like you’re stepping back in time when you walk down the street,” said Patricia Millen, executive director of the Hunterdon County Historical Society. “This is such a pretty, charming town with a high concentration of 19th century buildings, plus, it’s very walkable and many of the homes and stores are decorated.”

Laura Cummins, director of membership and events of the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, said that she, too, feels like she is traveling back in time when she sees the simple yet classic holiday decorations, such as wreaths, lights or candlelit windows that adorn the historic Flemington homes.

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Union meadery leads modern mead movement

UNION (Union) – With craft breweries sprouting up throughout New Jersey and people itching to try the latest local beer, it’s no surprise that beer fanatics have been giving home brewing a try in their own basements.

Sergio Moutela of South Plainfield, founder of Melovino Meadery in the Vauxhall section of Union, started out as a homebrewer, too, until he decided that it was time to get a little more creative.

Moutela, who grew up making wine at home with his grandfather and went on to brew his own beer as an adult, stumbled across mead — a fermented beverage made from honey — online in 2011.

“I used to just know honey as the product that comes in bear-shaped bottles at the supermarket,” he said. “However, I soon found out that just like in the grape wine world, different varietals of honey can make completely different products.”

Most people know mead as what they see offered at renaissance fairs, but Moutela soon discovered that it was much more than that. He found that even though wine is also an archaic beverage, no one spoke about it in the way that they do of mead, and if people continued to do so and refer to it as the “drink of the Vikings,” it would continue to stay niche when it had the ingredients to become much more mainstream.

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