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5 things to do in NJ if you blew Valentine’s Day

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 2/15/18

Uh-oh. Did you forget Valentine’s Day? Did your bouquet delivery get lost in the mail? Did you mistake that box of chocolates for a midnight snack?

Even if your Valentine’s Day didn’t exactly go as planned, there are still lots of things you can do throughout Central Jersey to redeem yourself from this year’s holiday flop. Until next year, that is.

Courtesy of Island Spa

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Somerville welcomes 5 new eateries

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 2/13/18

The Somerset County seat has also become the seat of choice for the region’s foodies, with new eateries popping up constantly to coincide with the area’s rapid development.

Already, three new eateries have opened up in recency, with two more slated to open later this year. Kuay Tiew Noodles and MoreFresh Tiki Bar and the Salad House are now open for business, with Village Brewing and Grumpy Bobas well on their way.

As of Feb. 2, the Salad House, which specializes in fresh customized and signature salads, has also opened its doors at 58 W. Main St.

Courtesy of Fresh Tiki Bar

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5 places to get your Valentine’s Day chocolates

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 2/8/18

Roses, romantic meals and heartfelt gifts are nice, but everyone — whether single or married to the love of their life — knows that the best part of Valentine’s Day is the amazing chocolates that we finally have an excuse to indulge in.

No matter if you plan on enjoying some truffles on your living room couch on Feb. 14 or if you’re giving them to your sweetheart, finding amazing, quality chocolates is a must on Valentine’s Day.

To find out where you should pick up a box, check out the chocolate shops located throughout Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties.

Birnn Chocolates.

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AJA Asian Cuisine brings tapas to Asian eats

Tons of restaurants are launching small plate menus where diners either on-the-go or looking for a little sampling can try everything that an eatery has to offer.

Now that AJA Asian Cuisine and Lounge is open in Montgomery and New Brunswick, Asian eats have gone shareable, too, with dishes that fuse Asian flavors and those from other cultures such as berries duck breast draped over Asian pears and mixed with blueberry and cherry sauce ($15) and yuzu sake with sliced pepper salmon layered with mango, pine nut and coconut yuzu sauce ($15).

“If you focus on just one type of food, everyone will get tired of it,” said Edison resident Cindy Lim, manager of the Montgomery location since day one. “But here, we think that everyone should have the chance to try something new.”

Courtesy of AJA

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5 things to do with drink in hand in Central Jersey

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 2/1/18

Gone are the days when people looking to let loose can be found simply hanging around a bar. Instead, they reason, why not have a drink when you can also in the meanwhile create a beautiful painting, craft a piece of home décor or design a terrarium?

During the last few years, BYOB activities have exploded in popularity, with studios popping up in many Central Jersey towns. Making for a great way to catch up with friends and family or just unwind after a long week, These activities have made sipping a drink much more exciting.

Want to learn a new skill yourself while also enjoying a glass of wine? Check out some of these interesting BYOB activities that can be found throughout Central Jersey.

Gannett File Photo

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Classic Thyme Cooking School is Westfield man’s dream realized

Working for a car insurance company in 1989, David Martone, now the owner of Classic Thyme Cooking School in Westfield, used to dream about what he would do when he “grew up.”

At 31, the newly married new homeowner dreamed of following his culinary dreams but saw no way to do it with a wife and mortgage — until he fatefully met a pharmacist-turned-attorney.

“I was out to dinner with my friend, Rick DiDonato, and George Jurecky, an attorney we worked with at The Archers Ristorante, a very nice restaurant in Jersey City at the time,” he said. “I told them that I loved to cook and wished I had gone to culinary school, but how could I now that I was newly married and just bought a house?”

Jurecky laughed. He said that he had come to the United States from the Czech Republic as a pharmacist, and he finally decided to act on passion for law and go back to law school. Martone felt so inspired that within two weeks, he was registered at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

Courtesy of Classic Thyme Cooking School

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5 most outlandish NJ museums worth the drive

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 1/25/18

As a travel, entertainment and food writer, there’s nothing I love more than getting out and checking out new and exciting places in the hidden and misunderstood gem that is New Jersey.

However, I have a confession to make: None of those “new and exciting places” ever involve your typical museum. I can admit that I lack the patience, understanding and appreciation that is needed to visit a typical art or history museum and walk through its hallways, learning from a docent about each piece’s significance as I count down the minutes until lunch.

Through my travels, though, I have learned that there are many museums that do not fit this description, and instead, these dynamic and one-of-a-kind museums have me telling my like-minded friends, “You just have to see this.”

If you’re like me and want a museum experience without the museum bore — and you’re ready to escape the drab of winter with something new to do — then check out these New Jersey museums that are certainly worth the journey.

Photo by Jenna Intersimone

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Hunterdon B&Bs for Valentine’s Day getaway

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 1/22/18

Everyone deserves a little pampering on Valentine’s Day. However, most of us can’t afford to jet off to a romantic locale for Feb. 14.

With quaint and picturesque Hunterdon County towns such as Lambertville, Flemington and Frenchtown only a short drive — or backyard — away from most Central Jerseyans, there’s no need to break into your savings account in order to enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day.

If you’re looking for a getaway without the plane ride, then check out these Hunterdon County bed and breakfasts filled with ambiance, romance, relaxation and more.

Courtesy of the Main Street Manor

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5 throwback things to do in Central Jersey

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 1/18/18

It’s officially 2018, and with the new year, many of us are asking ourselves, “Where did the time go?”

You’re not alone. These days, it seems like our favorite “retro” activities — playing old arcade games, hanging out at the local pool hall and roller skating to our favorite tunes — are becoming cool again.

If you’re finding yourself feeling nostalgic about the past, then check out some of these retro — and most importantly, indoor — activities that you can do throughout Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties.

Gannett File Photo

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Rahway Restaurant Week brings ‘dinner and a show’ to city

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 1/15/18

As the home of the Union County Performing Arts Center, art galleries, dance studios and cultural programs, Rahway has become known as the Central Jersey hub of the arts, bringing in those with a creative spirit from all over the state.

However, no show is complete without a top-notch meal, and with Rahway Restaurant Week coming for the third year Monday, Jan. 22, to Friday, Jan. 26, when about 20 restaurants will offer a prix fixe menu of $40 or less, visitors will be able to sample meals at a bargain price.

“Not only do we have a thriving arts district, we also have amazing restaurants with great walkability from one another,” said Ann Marie Williams, managing director of the Rahway Arts and Business Partnership and Rahway resident for about 13 years. “People come for the destination and the restaurants have been a huge part of that. They want dinner and a show.”

Courtesy of Cubanu Restaurant

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