Moroccan Food at a Friend’s House

“You’re not really going to review my cooking, are you?” my friend Walter asked as I pulled out my camera and aimed it at the table. No, not a review, per se, but I did still want to blog about the experience. I met Walter through the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society last year. He wanted to…

Another History of Liquor Lecture

On March 2nd, I will be giving a lecture on the history of liquor at Brookdale Community College for the third time. To my happiness, it has been very well received so far, even calls for a sequel. I try to cover as much as I can. Such an extensive topic can not be condensed into…

The Westfield Trader Joe’s is Reopening!

It was a date that lived in infamy. During a snowstorm in January of this past year, the Trader Joe’s in Westfield, New Jersey suffered structural damage. The roof collapsed and the walls caved in. No one was harmed, but it was still a real tragedy. TJ’s, as they are affectionately known as, is my…

The Recipe Book: The Sangria You’re Having this Thanksgiving

You need to have this on Thanksgiving. Trust me. Before I begin, I just want to say I am not taking credit or claiming ownership of this recipe. There are hundreds of similar ones online. I read through a few and made a some tweaks until I got what I felt would be the most enjoyable….

Product Review: St. Elder Liqueur is Exactly the Same as St. Germain

Who doesn’t love St. Germain? The succulently sweet Elderflower liqueur that comes in the beautiful art-deco bottle. It’s a mainstay on most bars because of its versatility. You can make a martini using it with either gin or vodka. Numerous wine cocktails also call for it, and a drink my friend Lynn makes (she introduced…

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Scotch

From the trendy food store that brought us the glory of “Three-Buck Chuck” (Charles Shaw wine for $2.99) and so many other tasty and organic goodies comes their very own blend of scotch-whisky. This store has long been famous for their wine selection and wonderfully creative food items, which covers such a wide variety and…

Product Review: Cherry Kijafa

It might be the best liquor you’ve never heard of. I was in a liquor store a few months ago, just browsing, and saw a bottle of something called Cherry Kijafa. It was from Finland (this picture shows Denmark) and only $15, so I figured why not? Sure enough, this stuff wasn’t just good, it…

Restaurant Review: Front Street Trattoria (Red Bank, NJ)

You feel like you’re in another world as you enter the building and walk down a few short steps to the dining area. You can sit either in a back room, or preferably, the main spot, which is a strip of tables right alongside where the cooking is done. The narrowness of the space adds…

Restaurant Review: Trattoria Rustica (Matawan, NJ)

Chicken Ravello I worked here when I was in high school and have been eating here since well before that. Trattoria Rustica is one of those rare places that provides you with both quality and quantity. Meals are enormous, and come served with a slab of home-baked foccacia bread. Most entrees are also served with…

Restaurant Review: Portuguese Manor (Perth Amboy, NJ)

There are some people that may call Portuguese Manor in Perth Amboy dated. Some may complain that the decor and menu has not changed in at least 12 years (that’s just how long my family and I have been eating there; they have been in existence much longer). But with that reluctance to change comes…