Food and Fare

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

Is Hillsborough next foodie town?

Although it lacks the publicity and downtown appeal that Central Jersey foodie towns such as New Brunswick and Somerville possess, Hillsborough, which has welcomed six new restaurants this year, is slowly catching up to its neighbors.

“For Hillsborough, restaurants are spread throughout town, so some people may not think of Hillsborough as a place to go out to eat,” said David Kois, business advocate for Hillsborough Township. “But, we are seeing more restaurants locate here that are attracting people from outside of town to check Hillsborough out.”

Today in Hillsborough, there are 14 American, 17 Italian, nine Asian, three Indian, two Mexican, one Caribbean and one Middle Eastern restaurants, totaling 47. According to Kois, the increase in the variety of cuisine available in the township is because of the changing population and changing food tastes of consumers as people watch and read about food from around the world.

Courtesy of the Falafel House

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Cake Boss, Canal House of Frenchtown featured in new America the Great Cookbook

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 11/7/17

As every foodie knows, America is a lot more than hot dogs and milkshakes — the real American food scene includes homemade comfort food from the South, fresh produce from the garden, tasty ethnic desserts brought to the United States from all over the world, and everything in between.

The newly published “America the Great Cookbook” seeks to capture this diversity by featuring an intimate glimpse into the lives of more than 100 food personalities, ranging from the mega-famous to the baker down the street.

The $40 book, published by Weldon Owen, seeks to eliminate the lines between the five regions of America and instead, showcases what makes up the various pieces of the nation’s food “pie.”

And this pie is also getting a serving of help. The publisher is donating $20,000 to No Kid Hungry, which provides meals to needy children.

Courtesy of America the Great Cookbook

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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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