Photo of the Day: June 12, 2017

A classic Italian Calabrese at Piero’s in Union Beach, New Jersey. Mozzarella, tomato, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, olives, and pepperoncini. January 2017.

Photo of the Day: June 7, 2017

Chicken Ravello. A simple dish consisting of thinly-sliced chicken breasts covered in Mozzarella and Marsala wine sauce. Garnished with roasted red peppers and asparagus. The ingredients manage to represent the tri colore of the Italian flag. Trattoria Rustica, Matawan, New Jersey.

Photo of the Day: June 1, 2017

Another one from the Menlo Park Diner in Edison, New Jersey. The French Canadians have nothing on us with this Jersey Diner Classic: “Disco Fries”. This one features both American cheese and Mozzarella, in addition to a heaping ladle of gravy. This is as beautifully done as you will see anywhere. Hey, you don’t go…

Restaurant Review: Sissy’s at the Harbor (Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

If I had to describe Sissy’s, I would say waterfront dining with diner prices. I cannot think of a more fitting and succinct way of telling you what they are about. Home-cooking, large portions, cheap prices, all with an excellent view of the Atlantic Highlands harbor and Sandy Hook, with New York City off in…

Photo of the Day: May 29, 2017

A beautiful Portobello mushroom with tomato, roasted red peppers, and smothered in Mozzarella. No better place to have such a sandwich than in the Mushroom Capital of the World. Hank’s Place. Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. January 2017.

Restaurant Review: Nonna’s Citi Cucina (Englishtown, NJ)

Any restaurant which starts you off with homemade bread this good is okay in my book. I had heard about Nonna’s for years. People rave about them, but that is mainly directed at their family-style dinners. It may be a misconception that family dinners are all that Nonna’s serves. They actually have a full ala carte…

Restaurant Review: Old Glory Kitchen + Spirits (Keyport, NJ)

Yes, the name of this restaurant has a plus-sign in the title. I guess the word “and” was not hipster enough. Anyway, as you read this review of Old Glory Kitchen + Spirits, you might get the feeling that I did not like the place. Actually, that was not the case. Will and I both enjoyed…

Takeout Joints: Pizza/Italian Volume 2

Following the first part of my “Takeout Joints” column, here are three more pizzerias and Italian restaurants in my area. They each offer something different, from a special crust to childhood memories, and finally some wild and wacky slices you will not find anywhere else. Esposito’s Pizza (Matawan) Three words: sesame seed crust. Without it, unfortunately,…

Hunter’s Casual Crusades: Mr. Pizza Slice (Red Bank, NJ)

I finished working a shift that started at 5 a.m. with a hockey game the night before that had me in bed at 2 that morning. Sleep deprived, my buddy texted me asking if I wanted to join him at some pizza place he recently posted about on social media. Uh oh. As we spoke,…

Takeout Joints: Pizza/Italian Volume 1

Like the previous Takeout Joints column which focused on Asian food, these restaurants are graded on slightly a different scale (4 stars = great). Unlike the others, though, the following Italian restaurants do have dining rooms. But they are still known for their takeout (Villa is the only one I’ve actually eaten in).

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…