Food and Fare

Reviews and features of restaurants, bars, dishes and more.

Foodie’s dream tour coming to Natirar

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 6/20/17

PEAPACK-GLADSTONE – Natirar, a 500-acre property once owned by a former king of Morocco, is a not-so-hidden gem of Somerset County.

The area includes Ninety Acres, an award-winning restaurant, a gala event venue, a farm, a cooking school and lush green space in Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster.

And now, with the upcoming Epicurean Adventure at Ninety Acres at Natirar, which will feature a tour of the Farm at Natirar, an interactive cooking demo and tasting at the Ninety Acres Cooking School and a specially prepared lunch in the main dining room, visitors can see all that the property has to offer in one visit.

“Anyone who is interested in wellness, nature and sustainability would enjoy this kind of event,” said Michelle Mitterer, director of sales and marketing at Natirar. “We like to connect our visitors with the origin of food and educate them on the process behind the art of cooking.”

The front entrance of Ninety Acres, Natirar’s highly-acclaimed destination restaurant complex. ~ Courtesy of Alicia Savoly

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6 sizzling steak restaurants to take dad this Father’s Day

On summer evenings, we can usually count on seeing a devoted dad or two slaving away at the grill, meticulously cooking up some steaks, ribs, chicken or just some burgers and hot dogs.

With Father’s Day right around the corner on June 18, it’s time to bring dad indoors and let someone else do the grilling for him — by taking him to one of the many steakhouses in Central Jersey.

Throughout the region, there are tons of eateries specializing in juicy steak, with every cut from tenderloin to a T-bone. Read on to find out where you can take your dear dad out for his special day this weekend.

The wasabi-crusted filet mignon from Arirang. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Arirang)

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New N. Plainfield sports bar features fresh, quality fare

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 5/27/17

With a reputation for unhealthy, processed foods and dingy surroundings, families and couples tend to steer clear of sports bars.

However, Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar, which will hold its grand opening at 1250 Route 22 East in North Plainfield on Sunday at 11 a.m., is paving the way to show that sports bars don’t need to sacrifice their food quality to make way for those looking for a cold beer.

Arooga’s conscientious food options make it so that the bar and grill isn’t just for those looking to watch the game — it’s for everyone, including families looking to bring the kids or couples out for date night.

That’s because visitors to Arooga’s can eat assured that their meal isn’t prepared by factory workers. All of their menu items are house-made and feature antibiotic-free and cage-free chicken and eggs paired with five award-winning sauces as well as 75 gluten-free items — with price tags ranging from $8.99 to $17.99.

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Foodies dine countywide at Taste of Somerset

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 5/23/17

Somerset County certainly has its fair share of foodies – and they came out in flocks to check out all that the local culinary world has to offer at the 25th annual Taste of Somerset.

Held at the Palace at Somerset Park in the Somerset section of Franklin on Monday, May 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the event benefited benefits the PeopleCare Center, a 33-year-old Bridgewater-based non-profit organization which provides a physical plant to house non-profit agencies and organizations at below-market cost.

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Local hidden gems: 5 interesting items from your farmers’ market

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 5/17/17

Everyone loves their local farmers’ market — from fresh produce, to locally grown meat to quality dairy products, the grub you can find at a farmers’ market simply cannot compare to what’s on the shelves at the grocery store.

However, another upside to shopping at a local farmers’ market is that besides the typical goodies you would find like fruits and vegetables, you can also to shop for interesting, artisan items such as pickles, hot sauce, jams, specialty breads and more. Read on to find out what quirky items you can find at your farmers’ market this spring.

Boston Cream Pie doughnuts from Curiosity Doughnuts. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Curiosity Doughnuts)

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A spot for upscale dining or a cold brew at Capital Craft

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 5/2/17

When you walk into Capital Craft, a rustic-chic tavern that opened in January of 2016 at 171 Route 22 in Green Brook, you’re not just going to find craft beer fanatics enjoying a coal-fired pizza and a local beer.

You’re also not just going to find couples alongside the virtual fireplace enjoying fine dining entrees, such as the red wine-braised short ribs or the pan-roasted chicken.

Instead, you’re going to find both.

That’s because Capital Craft, which prides itself on having a seasonal, upscale-casual menu as well as a rotating craft beer selection, is constantly evolving as the local watering hole of Green Brook and the surrounding area.

“There’s not many places that are doing casual food really well,” said Wayne Mascola, Capital Craft chef. “But here, you can come in and get a pizza or burger with a beer, or you can get a bottle of wine and have a seafood dinner.”

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99 Ranch brings Asian cooking to NJ homes

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 4/11/17

In Central Jersey, those with Asian and non-Asian backgrounds have the blessing of being surrounded by delectable Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipino restaurants they can flock to anytime they have a craving for sushi, dumplings or spring rolls.

However, thanks to specialty food markets such as 99 Ranch, an Asian supermarket chain that opened its first New Jersey location at the Wick Shopping Plaza at 561 Route 1 in Edison in January, those with a constant craving for Asian dishes have new choices for their favorite meals.

The largest Asian supermarket chain in the United States with 49 locations since its establishment in 1984 in Westminster, California — also known as Little Saigon — with many more on the way, 99 Ranch expanded to Edison because of its large Asian population, said Virginia Tan, marketing manager for 99 Ranch.

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Sample the best of the region at Taste of Middlesex

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 3/27/16 

It’s no secret that Middlesex County is host to tons of amazing eateries, sporting cuisine from every corner of the world, each with their own spin on the restaurant industry.

Taste of Middlesex, which will take place on Monday, March 27 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., will give attendants the chance to try them all.

The 20th annual event hosted by the Edison Chamber of Commerce and the Pines Manor is offering tickets for $50 per person and $55 at the door, which allows attendants an all-you-can-eat pass for all of the participating restaurants. Since there are alcohol vendors participating, only adults 21 and over may attend.

Taste of Middlesex, which will take place on Monday, March 27 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., will give attendants the chance to try them all. (Gannett file photo)

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Rahway resident’s baking creations bring him to Food Network win

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 3/22/17

When Anthony Damiano, a lifelong Rahway resident and full-time bartender, tuned in to watch “Cake Boss” on television through the years, he never expected that the cake sculpting and baking skills that he learned through the show would one day bring him straight to the Boss himself.

“A few years ago, I made a cake for a friend who was expecting a baby after I had learned some things from Cake Boss and she asked me where I bought the cake from,” Damiano said. “At that moment, I knew that this was an area I could excel in.”

After years of creating edible art centerpieces shaped like the Eiffel Tower, bouquets, Christmas mantles, Thanksgiving turkeys and more as gifts for friends and family and for fun, Damiano came across a posting on Facebook for a casting call for a new show called “Bakers vs Fakers” on the Food Network. He applied and sent in some photos of his creations, and soon went through more rounds of interviews and even a baking competition before being cast.

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5 signature Irish dishes in Central Jersey

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and with every green beer that New Jerseyans will be raising to celebrate their genuine (or pseudo) Irish heritage on March 17, they will also be keeping their palates happy in another way — with some scrumptious Irish dishes.

Here in Central Jersey, we have a multitude of Irish pubs to help you get your fix of corned beef, cabbage and more, even if it’s just to bide some time before your next Guinness. Check out some of these favorite Irish dishes that can be found on the menus of local Irish pubs on St. Patrick’s Day and everyday.

Guinness chicken from Hailey’s Harp and Pub. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Hailey’s Harp and Pub)

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