Restaurant Review: Hailey’s Harp and Pub (Metuchen, NJ)

Metuchen is a great food town. There are cafes, pizzerias, a fantastic ice cream shop, restaurants of every nationality you can think of, and then there’s Hailey’s Harp and Pub. Of course the food has to be good, but when it comes to pubs, the first thing I’m looking for is actually the atmosphere. Does…

Photo of the Day: May 11, 2017

The complex simplicity of a gin martini. Cafe Bella Vita, Staten Island, New York. A place I have been visiting my entire life (literally, my christening party was there). It’s about time I reviewed this place. July 2016.

I was All Set to Rip These Two Cheap Spirits…

A 750 ML bottle of Jacquin’s Royale 100 Proof Vodka and a liter of London Tower Gin came to a total of $15. I found them at a liquor store in the “Made in Pennsylvania” aisle two weeks ago. I had never seen either of these two items before. The only awareness of Jacquin’s I had…

Travel Guide PA: Booze Notes on this Current Trip

Years ago, my friend Jeff said the only two things more expensive in Pennsylvania are gas and alcohol. So far, he’s been right. I always visit the liquor stores just to see if they have anything I cannot find in New Jersey, but more often than not, I walk out empty-handed. For example, Johnnie Walker…

Cocktail Recipe: The Last Word

Like Absinthe, Chartreuse is one of those more mysterious spirits. It is produced in France, using a recipe more than 400 years old. That recipe is known by only two Carthusian monks at a time. They prepare the blend of 130 herbs which are steeped in alcohol. The product is either green or yellow Chartreuse,…

Drinking History: 10 Years Ago Today, Absinthe Re-Legalized in the USA

Happy Absinthe Day! 10 years ago today, absinthe was re-legalized in the United States after being banned for nearly 100 years. Less than a week removed from my History of Liquor course at Brookdale, I feel inclined to mention how needless the ban was in the first place. How hysteria, propaganda, and ignorance led to the…

This Warm Weather is Messing with My Drinking Habits

Winters are for whiskey. That’s always been the case for me. The cold, dark, and sometimes harsh months require a strong drink with complex flavors. No cocktails for me. When it’s freezing outside, I’ll take a good bourbon or Scotch neat. But what about when it’s February…and 70 degrees out? As I sit here and…

Restaurant Review: Piero’s (Union Beach, NJ)

Piero’s is one of those places I have driven past almost every day for many years. I live less than 10 minutes away, but until two weeks ago, had never been there. We went for my mom’s birthday. My parents had been there once before and wanted to come back. The chef/owner used to be…

Travel Guide PA: La Verona (Kennett Square)

We had New Year’s Eve dinner at La Verona. Our culinary exploits had taken us everywhere except for Italian food, so it was about time. The interior of the restaurant is beautiful. We sat in the bar area. Gradually, the place started to fill up as it got later and later, and people wanted to…

Christmas 2016 Product Review: Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin

I admit it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a “different” kind of gin to play around with or to get the gin lover in your life for Christmas, then Opihr might be the one. What we have here is a London dry gin that looks for a flavor profile which is more oriental…

The Recipe Book: A Sangria that Takes a Walk on the Dry Side

When making a sangria, it is so easy to totally go overboard on the sugar. Between the wine of your choice, additional liqueurs, fruit juices, and sometimes even more sugar itself, we sometimes forget that good sangria and wine cocktails don’t have to put you to the edge of a diabetic coma. So let’s try…

Out of State: A Simple Restaurant Ash Tray and the Past Coming Alive

I was helping a friend at an estate sale this weekend. In all the rooms of “stuff” which had been organized, one tiny item fell by the wayside. It was in the kitchen, nearly buried under newspaper which we were using to wrap glassware. It was an ashtray. A cute, little ashtray reading L’Omelette French…