Month: September 2017

Not your average joe: How today’s coffee has evolved

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 9/26/17

To our parents and grandparents, coffee meant one thing — a steaming cup o’ joe.

To today’s Central Jersey java aficionados, a cup of coffee can mean many things — varying brewing techniques, farming practices, milk mechanics, flavors and much more.

This is reflected in the growing number of local coffee shops which have sprung in popularity in recent years due to changing coffee trends. And we’re not just talking about Starbucks here. These days, people don’t just want to grab a cup of coffee and go — they want a community experience with a hot cup with a traceable background.

Hidden Grounds is in the process of developing two additional locations. ~Courtesy of Hidden Grounds

(more…)

6 things to do on a fall day in Hunterdon County

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 9/25/17

As the leaves change colors and the air cools from the humid, summer weather, there’s no better place to experience the fall season than in Hunterdon County, which is nestled on the banks of the Delaware River and surrounded by rolling hills, locally owned shops and historic eateries.

If summer has you missing long weekends away, then head to Hunterdon County and check out some of these fun activities in this varied spot.

No need to head to the city for a five-star meal — Lambertville Station Restaurant features locally grown and sourced ingredients served in a restored 19th-century train station overlooking the Delaware River. (Courtesy of Lambertville Station)

(more…)

New Jersey Eats: Top 10 Central Jersey restaurants

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 9/13/17

Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties are known for their incredible mix of countryside, metropolitan living, diversity and vitality, and this is ever-reflected in the cuisine of the region.

Here in Central Jersey, you can find everything from five-star formal American dining to ethnic fare with a modern twist and everything in between.

(more…)

Stax Pancake Factory brings organic breakfast to Branchburg

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 9/18/17

Although everyone can appreciate a stack of French toast and bacon from their local diner on a Saturday morning, the truth is obvious – there’s no way that every item on a 20-page menu can be fresh and made-to-order.

That’s why Nikolaos Renieris, founder of Nik’s Restaurant Group which owns local favorites such as Nik’s Raritan Pub, Nik’s Wunderbar and Biergarten of Whitehouse Station and Outpost Barbeque in Bridgewater decided to add a breakfast joint to their 20-year-old family-run business.

Courtesy of Stax Pancake Factory and Bar

(more…)

New Jersey Eats: Top 10 Morris restaurants

Written for DailyRecord.com on 7/13/17

From Mount Olive to Mountain Lakes, Morris County has it all when it comes to dining – the region is known for its fine dining eateries featuring pre-fixe menus with exotic dishes to hometown pub hangouts with some of the best pizza and burgers to be found.

When it comes to determining the top eateries, the answers are simple – these restaurants always have full parking lots and patrons with full stomachs.

Courtesy of Jockey Hollow

(more…)

Rare wines from around the world offered at Bernards Inn tasting

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 9/18/17

The Bernards Inn, a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant, is known for its extensive wine collection — with more than 1,500 varieties in its cellar, the ever-changing wine list is a must-see for any Central Jersey wine lover.

Now, once again, the semiannual Around the World Tasting will allow these wine lovers to try more than 100 wines from some of the most celebrated wine regions in the world encompassed on the award-winning wine list, which has brought home wine awards year after year.

Courtesy of Bernards Inn

(more…)

Where to go apple picking in Central Jersey

Now that autumn is nearly here, it’s time to head to Central Jersey farms to pick just the right Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or McIntosh apples right from the orchard.

Throughout Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Morris and Mercer counties, there are a multitude of farms that offer apple picking through the season, accompanied by fresh apple cider, wagon rides, petting zoos, fall décor shopping and more.

Here are five destinations that offer everything you need to make your own apple pie or apple crisp, or just pick up some apples to snack on.

The family-run Melick’s Town Farm has 25,000 apple trees and 120 orchards spread over 650 acres. The farm, which has two locations that offer apple picking, is the largest apple grower in the state. (Courtesy of Melick’s Town Farm)

(more…)

NJ’s culinary stars unite to benefit autistic adults

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 7/7/17

It’s no secret that New Jersey’s farms are some of the best — as every resident (and foodie) knows, we can get some truly mouthwatering produce, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, bread and more right here in the Garden State from farmers we know by first name.

Oasis Farms, operated by Oasis Therapeutic Life Centers, a public charity founded in 2007, is one of those such farms — with locations in Middletown, the properties are full of goats grazing, fields flush with vegetables and fruits, hens roaming, a wood-burning oven where pizzas and breads are baked and artwork and fine crafts on display.

The one difference between Oasis Farms and other Garden State farms is that throughout the spaces, visitors will notice students everywhere, tending to farm chores and practicing the life arts, since Oasis Farms houses 22 autistic adults who live and work on the 21 acres, as well as on an additional leased 20 acres, to help them excel at meaningful work and community interaction.

Oasis Farms is a working farm for autistic adults to live and work at. (Photo courtesy of Oasis Farms)

(more…)

Tea rooms offer trip back to Victorian era

These days, many of us are used to enjoying our tea after rushing out the door with it in the morning and then sipping on it as we sit in typical bumper-to-bumper New Jersey traffic.

However, thanks to local tea rooms, some tea drinkers are now taking their tea to Victorian digs where they can sample homemade teas in an elegant, refined environment.

“Visiting a tea room is an experience,” said Kathleen Hippeli, owner of One Steep at a Thyme, an intimate Jamesburg tea shop that offers a two-hour tea service by reservation only four days a week at two seatings per day. “You come in and enjoy the ambiance of a Victorian home, have a seven-course tea service over two hours and enjoy a simpler way of being social.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(more…)