jenna intersimone

5 throwback things to do in Central Jersey

Written for 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


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

Written for 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


5 Central Jersey gyms to kick-start New Year’s resolution

Written for on 1/8/18

Remember that time you said that this was the year you were going to get in shape, lose a few pounds and get cracking at the gym? Well guess what … it’s officially 2018 and it’s time to strap on your sneakers.

If drudging away on a treadmill has you wanting to head to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, no need to worry — there are tons of places in Central Jersey where you can get in a workout that won’t only burn off those holiday calories but will also be fun. Read on to find out where to get your 2018 New Year’s resolution on track, in the first installment of Central Jersey Go.

Courtesy of Studio Barre Somerville


Two Sevens of Princeton offers shareable Latin eats in casual digs

Written for on 1/8/18

The holidays may be over, but the spirit of giving and sharing is alive and well in Princeton with the addition of Two Sevens, a lively Latin eatery with a focus on sharing plates in an unpretentious and playful atmosphere, at 277 Witherspoon St.

The Fenwick Hospitality Group restaurant, which also operates Agricola, Cargot Brasserie and Dinky Bar, opened its doors Dec. 20 with a menu of dishes such as octopus tostada ($10), short ribs with fresh tortillas, rice and beans ($25), arepas with braised chicken, black beans and queso fresco ($9) and housemade tacos with meats such as marinated pork shoulder, fried oyster mushrooms and crispy white fish ($4 to $4.50).

Photo Courtesy of Two Sevens


Catherine Lombardi in New Brunswick channels grandma’s Italian cooking

Written for on 1/2/18

There’s a good chance that Catherine Lombardi, an upscale restaurant staple of New Brunswick nestled next to Stage Left, brings back some homey and tasty memories for Italian-American New Jerseyans.

Outfitted with warm red walls, cozy fireplaces, real family photos, couch seating and even a gaudy lamp in an intimate space, the 11-year-old restaurant — which can seat 100 people can serves about 650 people a week — may look a lot like your grandmother’s living room.

That’s because the eatery, which boasts comfort dishes such as veal parmigiana, wild boar and ricotta ravioli and long fusilli with walnut basil pesto cream, is channeled straight from the Brooklyn home of co-owner Mark Pascal’s grandmother, Catherine Lombardi. The family matriarch was known for her Neapolitan-style home cooking and coveted Sunday dinners.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Lombardi


RedBrick Pizza debuts in North Brunswick

Written for on 1/2/18

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Got a nasty pizza addiction that you just can’t kick?

Thanks to RedBrick Pizza Kitchen Café, known for its fire-roasted gourmet pizza with hand-crafted organic dough made fresh daily, organic red sauce and premium toppings, you can feel a little less guilty the next time you dig into a slice — or five.

The chain’s newest location as of Dec. 18 at 754 Shoppes Blvd., North Brunswick — and first and only New Jersey location — is operated by Shivam J. Patel & Saad K. Farooq, South Brunswick residents and Rutgers graduates who were looking for a healthy concept to bring to their hometown.

~Courtesy of RedBrick Pizza


Drone Zone NJ makes futuristic drone flying a reality

Written for on 12/16/17

Back when we used to dream about life in the future, we all thought we would be cruising in flying cars, living in space and flying our drones.

Now it’s nearly 2018, and yes, you can fly a drone — which is made easier thanks to Drone Zone NJ in Flemington, set to officially open on Jan. 15 in Liberty Village.

“People love to challenge themselves with speed, flips and turning with our drones,” said borough resident Diane Booher, the founder of Drone Zone N.J. “It’s a fun, lighthearted activity that people of all ages can enjoy.”

Courtesy of Drone Zone NJ


Kuay Tiew Noodles and More joins Somerville food scene as Thai go-to

For 17 years, Central Jerseyans have been heading to Origin Thai on Division Street for Thai-French fusion cuisine, but for those looking for Thai eats right from the ‘Land of Smiles,’ a new eatery has joined the foodie force that is Somerville.

Kuay Tiew Noodles and More was opened at 42 W. Main St., Somerville, next to the TD Bank, on Aug. 25 by Thana Sermsuwan and Chon Suthee, both of Raritan. The eatery is quickly gaining traction as the borough’s new go-to spot for tasty Thai noodles, soup and rice dishes.

Courtesy of Kuay Tiew Noodles and More


DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza of Raritan celebrates 100 years

Written by on 12/19/17

When Constantino DeLucia, an Italian immigrant, opened a bread bakery on First Avenue in Raritan in 1917, he probably wouldn’t have guessed that his brick bread oven would still be in use in 2017 by his great-grandson, Christian DeLucia.

However, three million pizzas later, the DeLucias are still cooking up pizza in that same oven in the site which became DeLucia’s Brick Over Pizza in the early 1950s, evolving to capitalize on America’s pizza craze.

“There’s not many places in this country that have been through four generations in 100 years,” said DeLucia, who lives in Raritan. “My great-grandfather would be ecstatic and very proud.”

Courtesy of DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza


Sister Cities Food and Shop Tours get New Hope visitors off beaten path

Written for on 12/11/17

LAMBERTVILLE – I’ve been to Lambertville and New Hope many times. However, virtually every single time, I end up wandering into the same shops, the same restaurants and the same bars.

Sisters Liz Horvath and Kat Pacelli, who founded Sister Cities Food and Shop Tours in August of this year, get that in an area so bustling, it can be easy to fall into this trap – which is one of the reasons why they started their tour company.


Photo by Jenna Intersimone