jenna intersimone

Hometown favorite Lory’s Lakeside gets a face lift

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 8/9/17

Visitors to Lory’s Lakeside, a warm, family-friendly restaurant featuring an “anytime menu” of American favorites, may relish in its lakefront charm – but will also be surprised to know the restaurant that once stood in its place offered zero lakefront views.

“I was looking for a restaurant to buy and I found this unbelievable property – an acre and a half on a lake that had been an eatery for 50 years,” said Todd Lory, owner and chef at Lory’s Lakeside, who also resides on the property. “When I walked into the restaurant formerly called Whalebones, though, I realized they were doing everything wrong – you couldn’t even see the lake.”

Lory scooped up the property 22 years ago and immediately changed and added items to the menu, renovated the interior, revamped the exterior, accentuated the lakefront views and also added bar-friendly elements such as a pool table.

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Go back in time in Flemington with walking tour

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 7/25/17

Flemington, a borough which has a historic district that can boast that 60 percent of its buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, is a haven for history buffs.

And now, with the next Flemington Walking Tour set for Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 6:30 p.m., anyone with an interest in learning more about the history of the borough can do so with a $5 suggested donation.

“Flemington is special because of its historic district and on the tour, one can see the changes in styles and building techniques over the span of hundreds of years,” said Patricia Millen, executive director of the Hunterdon County Historical Society, which is hosting the tour.

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Passion and tradition reign at this hidden Italian eatery

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 6/28/17

If you sample the traditional Neapolitan-style Italian fare prepared by Joseph Gramaglia, head chef of Saly G’s Restaurant and Tavern, you’re bound to guess he has spent years in a culinary institute, training with top chefs and mentors.

And you wouldn’t be 100 percent wrong. Gramaglia, who is also the owner of the elegant Italian eatery at 169 Washington Valley Road in Warren tucked behind a strip mall, has been studying for years — alongside his mother and grandmother as he pored over cookbooks and cooking television.

“I read cookbooks seven days a week. I watch cooking shows every day of the week,” Gramaglia said. “I taught myself how to do this. I didn’t go to school for this — it’s straight passion.”

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See Princeton by foot with this new guide

PRINCETON – Most Central Jerseyans who love a scenic day trip have headed to picturesque Princeton, where there are tons of eclectic shops, acclaimed restaurants and historic sites.

However, with the new book “Discovering Princeton: A Photographic Guide with Five Walking Tours,” published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. and written and photographed by Princeton residents Wiebke Martens and Jennifer Jang, those who want to spend some time wandering the cozy municipality can do so with some guidance.

“There are lots of books on Princeton that focus on just the university or architecture or just the natural walks around the town, but none that were walking tour guides,” said Jang. “This is one of Princeton’s greatest assets — people come just to walk the downtown, so we thought ‘Let’s help them.’”

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No need for Napa — check out these 5 local wineries

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 6/6/17

Those not from the Garden State may think that our nickname couldn’t be further from the truth, but New Jersey residents are well aware — our state is full of rolling hills, picturesque landscapes and beautiful greenery.

New Jersey has also quickly become known among locals for its popular wineries situated on this scenery, with wineries spanning from Sussex to Cape May counties. This is especially true for Central Jersey, where the backdrops of our counties make for a Napa-esque locale for wineries.

To find out what wineries you can head this weekend for a local wine with a stunning view, read on.

Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes is nestled in the rolling hills of southwestern Hunterdon County. (Photo: ~File)

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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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Enlist these East Brunswick experts to plan your cruise vacation

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 5/9/17

EAST BRUNSWICK – With summer almost here, those who love to hop on to their “instant vacation” — a cruise — are already scouring the internet for the best deals, newest ships and coolest amenities.

However, with the new Expedia CruiseShipCenter that is set to open at 285-291 Route 18 South, East Brunswick, in about two to three months, vacationers who love to set sail will be able to enlist a local expert to help them plan their trip.

“You don’t get individualized service when you try booking a cruise on your own, and booking one isn’t like booking a hotel room,” said Brook Smith, founder of the new location, East Brunswick resident and travel agent for the past 17 years. “There are a lot of questions you need to answer pertaining to dining times, types of rooms, dietary needs and more, so having an expert to speak with beforehand is very beneficial.”

~File photo

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Designers deck out historic estate with modern twist for Mansion in May

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 4/30/17

Just a few months ago, Alnwick Hall, known today as The Abbey, was an empty, yet notable, 20,000-square-foot home, a rare survivor from the early 20th century’s ‘Millionaire’s Row’ of estates, on a portion of Madison Avenue between Morristown and Madison.

Since its elegant heyday as a palatial home, The Abbey at 355 Madison Ave. has served as a bank, medical offices and church administration offices.

Now, thanks to 64 top designers from around the region, The Abbey has been restored to a grand estate setting for this year’s Mansion in May, a fundraiser for Morristown Medical Center. The designers have enhanced and beautified its 41 spaces and gardens with their personal twists and modern spins, while retaining the mansion’s original charm.

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My 5 top international eateries in Central Jersey

When people ask me what I do for a living, I’m always pretty psyched to tell them that I write about local travel and food in my Tuesday column and our Wednesday Table section.

Immediately, they usually have quite a few questions.

“How do you find restaurants to review?”

“What if a restaurant turns out to be bad?”

Every time, I launch into my usual speech — I don’t review anything. I only write about restaurants that I like in the first place, but as a journalist, I was trained that no one cares about your opinion. So in my food/restaurant stories, which often sneak into my travel column as well as my Table stories, I never critique the restaurant.

Pork barbeque combo by chef Homer Reyes at La Parilla de Manila, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in Colonia, NJ. (Photo: Jason Towlen/Staff Photographer)

Pork barbeque combo by chef Homer Reyes at La Parilla de Manila, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in Colonia, NJ.
(Photo: Jason Towlen/Staff Photographer)

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