Month: February 2017

Indoor rock climbing offers workout with rush

New Jersey may not be anywhere close to places like Wyoming or Utah where rock climbers have their pick of all sorts of interesting and challenging climbs, but those in the Garden State looking for a different sort of workout still don’t have to venture too far, thanks to local indoor rock climbing facilities — which are also ideal in chilly weather.

“Indoor rock climbing is a great one for the wintertime because it’s indoors, but you are still able to be active, which is also great for kids who are cooped up inside all day,” said Amity Warme, manager at Rockville Climbing Center in Trenton, who has been climbing for five years. “For climbers who are more advanced, it’s also a good way to stay in shape in the wintertime.”

Rockville Climbing Center, which pulls in about 1,000 visitors a week, 150 of whom are newcomers from as far as two hours away, offers a $5 harness rental fee and a flat-rate day pass for $16 per child and $18 per adult, which allows customers to come and go as they rock climb for as long as they want in a 24-hour period, besides some of their other pricing and specials.

Rock climbing is suitable for those of all ages. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Michael Fortunato)

Rock climbing is suitable for those of all ages. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Michael Fortunato)

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Celebrate Carnevale like Venetians with fine food and wine

Carnevale, a colorful, over-the-top “carnival” traditionally held in Venice, Italy, that ends on the day before Ash Wednesday, is known for its showy costumes, elaborate masks and decadent Italian food to let loose before the 40 days of Lent.

Jersey City may not have a lot in common with the “Floating City” besides its own canal-like neighbor of the Hudson River, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t celebrate the age-old tradition.

Pasta Dal Cuore, a fresh pasta factory and modern Italian eatery in Jersey City, will be hosting a five-course Venetian dinner alongside Cool Vines, a Jersey City unfussy wine shop, to celebrate Carnevale with festive masks, live classical music, fine Veneto wines and, of course, authentic Venetian food.

The dinner, which costs $95 per person and includes wine, the dinner, tax and tip, will take place on Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. and will seat about 40 people. Plenty of spots are still available and interested guests can reserve their spot by emailing events@coolvines.com or by calling 201-448-8657.

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A Central Jersey-style Mardi Gras at the Old Bay

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 2/15/17 

There’s a lot to love about Mardi Gras. Filled with fruity drinks, Cajun-Creole food, colorful beads, fun music and more, it’s a day to let loose that New Orleans has taken to new heights.

However, those living in Central Jersey don’t have to miss out on the festivities just because New Orleans is much further than a bead’s throw away from the Garden State.

The Old Bay Restaurant, a lively New Orleans-inspired hangout offering Southern fare, dozens of draft beers and live music at 61 Church St. in New Brunswick, is known for its annual Mardi Gras celebration featuring live entertainment, a Cajun-Creole buffet, burlesque dancers, giveaways and more.

“This is our Cinco de Mayo,” said Tommy Brennan, manager at the Old Bay for the past five years. “Everyone knows that on Fat Tuesday, you need to be here.”

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Tumulty’s Pub reopens with same Irish charm

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 2/14/17

Tumulty’s Pub, an iconic Irish pub in the heart of New Brunswick, has always been known for its Old World charm, complete with original wooden beams, iron chandelier fixtures and a train set chugging along the interior of the space.

Even though the pub has passed onto new ownership to Sheila and Richard Weber of East Brunswick, the friendly neighborhood restaurant and bar still possesses all of those things — as well as some modern upgrades.

The Webers, who also own the Brunswick Grove in East Brunswick, a wood-paneled game-day spot offering familiar American grub and craft draft beer, purchased Tumulty’s in August 2016 and closed the restaurant for three months for their floor-to-ceiling renovations before reopening Nov. 14.

“We were looking to expand, since we have owned the Brunswick Grove for 15 years, which has been the neighborhood bar where people go for family outings, team meetings and things like that since it opened in 1934,” said Sheila Weber, who visited the old Tumulty’s as a teenager. “We grew up around the area and we wanted to be part of what’s happening in New Brunswick with all of the revitalization.”

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Explore Jersey City’s budding food scene with Jersey Girls Food Tours

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 2/7/16

Jersey City, previously an overshadowed city reserved for commuters, is no longer just the underdog neighbor to bustling New York City and upscale Hoboken. These days, the cultural hub is known for housing a lively arts scene, a diverse community and all that a foodie could ever want.

That’s why Alessia Aron, a 2010 Rutgers University graduate, and Janis Borroto, both of Jersey City, took it upon themselves to launch Jersey Girls Food Tours in mid-2014 — they knew that they could showcase all that the culinary world of Jersey City had to offer while also giving tourgoers an inside look at the up-and-coming destination.

“You can easily go out to dinner tonight to get a taste of what a city has to offer, but for those who are looking for a different way to experience a city, this is the way to do it,” said Aron, who, with an Argentine, Italian and Israeli background, has always appreciated the cultural significance of food.

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Project P.U.B. is ready to serve in Somerville

Lately, Somerville residents have been wondering what’s been going on at the upper floors of 1 W. High St., where Tapastre, an intimate tapas bar featuring Mediterranean small plates, rotating craft drafts and patio seating, has established itself downstairs through the past 10 years as the go-to spot to grab a beer in the borough.

For about a year, Mike Proske, founder of Tapastre, has been working hard to open his new bar and restaurant, Project P.U.B., which takes the concept of pairing beer with food to a whole new level as a “pop-up brew pub,” which is also the eatery’s namesake.

Each month, Proske’s team will select one brewery — the first one being Founders Brewing Co. — and dedicate all of their taps to them as well as create a food menu with items cooked with the beer as well as those that can be paired with the beer.

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