Food and Fare

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

Millennials are rocking the N.J. foodie world

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 10/3/17

When was the last time you walked into a chain restaurant?

How about the last time you called an eatery to voice your feedback?

Or the last time you ordered a standard dish like chicken fingers or meatloaf?

If you’re a millennial — someone roughly between the ages of 20 and 40 — there’s a good chance you won’t be able to answer any of these questions. That’s because today’s typical millennial foodie doesn’t have a lot in common with older generations.

“Millennials are different because they’ve grown up accustomed to expecting better,” said Erika Desimone, director of marketing at Capital Craft in Green Brook, a modern gastropub with an ever-evolving menu. “They are not a generation of kids who grew up on chicken fingers and fries; they have long been familiar with locally grown produce, organic meats and dairy, and they aren’t afraid to try exotic flavors and cooking styles.”

~Courtesy of Barca City Cafe and Bar

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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.”

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Simply Jerk is Monroe culinary diamond in the rough

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 8/21/17

If you are one of the many people that call Monroe your home — at least from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at one of the township’s many corporate complexes — you’re probably aware that the local dining options are a bit lacking.

However, Simply Jerk Jamaican Grill, a quaint counter-serve eatery that can seat about 30 people in its colorful, tropical digs, is known as a roadside diamond in the rough with its authentic Jamaican cuisine run by the White family.

“It’s kind of a cultural wasteland here, and for many people, this is their first time having Jamaican food in the States,” said Rahsheid White, vice president of marketing and business development at Simply Jerk who lives in Howell and is son of owner Newell White and executive chef Eleith White, who live in Millstone.

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New Fanwood Grille revives the retro luncheonette

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 8/16/17

FANWOOD – John Mooney, a 20-year Fanwood resident, recently stumbled upon a 1979 article where the Courier News declared the Fanwood Corner Store as the heartbeat of the community.

He believes it — as a kid, he always appreciated a spin on a retro luncheonette counter seats.

“I always thought it was a shame that the Fanwood Corner Store had this lunch counter but it was never in operation,” said the restaurant public relations consultant, who also owns TapInto.com Scotch Plains-Fanwood. “When the Corner Store went out of business, I said to Paul Watterson, who owns Nick’s Pizza in Fanwood, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if someone opened a grill here?’ And he said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

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