jenna intersimone

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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Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Central Jersey

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 10/2/17

Although Central Jersey may be much more than a short drive away from Munich for the city’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, there’s no reason to hop a flight to enjoy authentic German beer, food and music because our region will be holding Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the month.

Whether you’re a full-blooded German or you just want to grab a bite of some bratwurst and schnitzel, check out these Oktoberfests happening right around the corner.

~Gannett file photo

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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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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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NJ’s culinary stars unite to benefit autistic adults

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 7/7/17

It’s no secret that New Jersey’s farms are some of the best — as every resident (and foodie) knows, we can get some truly mouthwatering produce, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, bread and more right here in the Garden State from farmers we know by first name.

Oasis Farms, operated by Oasis Therapeutic Life Centers, a public charity founded in 2007, is one of those such farms — with locations in Middletown, the properties are full of goats grazing, fields flush with vegetables and fruits, hens roaming, a wood-burning oven where pizzas and breads are baked and artwork and fine crafts on display.

The one difference between Oasis Farms and other Garden State farms is that throughout the spaces, visitors will notice students everywhere, tending to farm chores and practicing the life arts, since Oasis Farms houses 22 autistic adults who live and work on the 21 acres, as well as on an additional leased 20 acres, to help them excel at meaningful work and community interaction.

Oasis Farms is a working farm for autistic adults to live and work at. (Photo courtesy of Oasis Farms)

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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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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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