NJ Dining: White Manna (UPDATED)

March 5, 2010

Welcome, Anthony Bourdain:No Reservations viewers! I’ve added a number of shots to this post that I took during the filming of “Obsessed”. Enjoy.

White Manna
358 River St, Hackensack, NJ
(201) 342-0914

Fast food is not something I indulge in frequently, and when I do, I tend to prefer the classic Americana kind rather than the big chains. White Castle is an exception, just because of the uniqueness of the product.

If the hours are right, and the moons are properly aligned, and my stomach says “throw your best at me, you son of a bitch!” then I head over to my very favorite Jersey burger place of all — White Manna, on River Street in Hackensack.

 

White Manna as seen in daylight. Photo by “Daniel”, eG Forums

White Manna is a tiny little diner structure that can seat about maybe 15 people, tops. The story goes that the original was built in 1937 prior to the 1939 Worlds Fair exhibition in Flushing, NY, was then used at that event, and then later moved to New Jersey. The Hackensack location is not the original, it was built in 1946.

The “Original” location in Jersey City also serves hamburgers and was started by the original owner of both restaurants, however they are no longer related to each other.

All this historical stuff aside, it’s pretty much acknowledged by everyone who has been to both that the better burgers are at the Hackensack location.

When Tony Bourdain asked me where we should go eat when arranging our interview for No Reservations, I could only think of one place — the tiny little belly bomb joint which has over the last few years probably accrued more web traffic on this blog than any other.

There’s No Reservations at White Manna. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NJ Dining: Aleppo Restaurant (UPDATED)

February 26, 2010

Note: This article originally appeared as “Off the Broiler Economic Stimulus Dinner II”. With the recent review of this restaurant in the New York Times, we thought it would be appropriate to raise it to the foreground and update several photos.

Aleppo Restaurant
939 Main Street, Paterson NJ
(973) 977-2244

ESD II Collage by you.

For our second in our series of Economic Stimulus events, we enlisted former Bergen Record restaurant writer and fellow food blogger Victor Sasson to arrange a lunch for us at one of South Paterson’s best Syrian restaurants, Aleppo, after which we went shopping at some of the local bakeries and markets.

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NJ Dining: Huong Viet

February 15, 2010

Huong Viet
358 Passaic Avenue, Nutley NJ

When your favorite restaurants close, there is always a mourning period. Sometimes, you know that they are going to be gone forever, but in other cases, you get a glimmer of hope, hearing rumors that they may open again somewhere else.

One such restaurant was Little Saigon in Montclair, a Vietnamese favorite with a loyal clientele. Little Saigon had closed before, due to a fire in its original Nutley location on Franklin Avenue in 2003. The restaurant  re-opened in 2005 in a much larger Montclair space on Elm Street. In October of 2009, Little Saigon closed suddenly and without any warning.

But late last year we heard rumors that the owners were going to re-open, and re-open it did, in the original town where it all started, in Nutley. However, “Little Saigon” is no longer — it has returned to business, with the same owners, as Huong Viet on Passaic Avenue, in a much more manageable space than its previous location.

Huong Viet is the new Pho King of Nutley. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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The Secret Ingredient is… Nothing.

January 30, 2010

For those of you who landed on this page today expecting extensive photographic coverage of the culinary competition in which Chef Jesse Jones of Heart and Soul Catering was to compete against Adam Weiss of Esty Street, only to find there are no photos at all, I deeply apologize. Due to circumstances which were completely out of my control, I was unable to cover today’s cooking event.

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Ultimate Chef Bergen County 2010: Battle Pignoli

January 26, 2010

That’s right folks. It’s time again for your favorite culinary battle competition, Ultimate Chef Bergen County, sponsored by Chef Central in Paramus, New Jersey. For the second round,  Chef Adam Weiss of Esty Street in Park Ridge went up against  Chef Ike Koutrakous of Cooking in Your Kitchen.

This fight was a doozy, resulting in the closest competition that Chef Central had ever had to judge. Let’s get to it!

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Ultimate Chef Bergen County 2010: Battle Cranberry

January 16, 2010

That’s right folks. It’s time again for your favorite culinary battle competition, Ultimate Chef Bergen County, sponsored by Chef Central in Paramus, New Jersey. For the opening round, Chef John Marsh of Green Door Cafe in Tenafly went up against Chef Jesse Jones of Heart and Soul Catering.

Click Here to view High-Res Photo Slide Show.

The ensuing battle was a clash of titans, a 40 year veteran of the New York restaurant scene with a classic cooking style versus a Southern style, North Carolina down-home cook. As with with many of these TV-style competitions, the focus was on a “Secret Ingredient”. For the opening round this year, it was Cranberries.

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New Orleans Dining: COCHON Butcher

January 3, 2010

COCHON Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 588-7675

Web Site: http://www.cochonbutcher.com

Click Here for a Hi-Res Slide Show

Donald Link’s COCHON Butcher is half butcher shop, half re-invented deli with a Cajun and New Orleans twist.

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NJ Dining: Bennies

December 1, 2009

Note: with the recent review of Bennies in the New York Times, I decided to feature one of my favorite local restaurants. I’ve updated the post with a bunch of new photos from a recent meal.

Bennies Englewood
54 E Palisade Ave, Englewood, NJ
(201) 894-5700

Web Site: http://www.benniesofenglewood.com

When I’ve been eating hardcore pizza and hamburgers and meats for a couple of days, I crave refreshing Mediterranean cuisine that is dominated by vegetarian dishes. My favorite place to indulge in this is Bennies, a family-run Lebanese restaurant on Palisade Avenue in Englewood.

IMG_4634.JPG

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NYC Dining: Taverna Kyclades

September 28, 2009

Taverna Kyclades
33-07 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria NY
(718) 545-8666

Web Site: http://www.tavernakyclades.com

Kyclades Restaurant, Astoria NY by you.

Taverna Kyclades in Astoria, Queens has a nice outdoor dining area and specializes in fresh seafood cooked in Mediterranean/Greek style.

As I have written in my previous posts about Telly’s Taverna and Kabab Cafe, Astoria, Queens has now become my go-to place to eat lunch or dinner before heading out on a trip, given that LaGuardia has now become my preferred airport to travel from.

Astoria has many, many Greek restaurants, some of which are old established restaurants such as Telly’s Taverna, Uncle George’s (Papa Georgi) or Stamatis, and others are newer. One of the “newer” ones is Kyclades, a seafood specialist cafe which I had gotten a few nice recommendations about from Greek friends that really know their food.

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Meatopia VI: Oy With The Lamb Already

August 25, 2009

Every year, at the time during the late summer when the stars align in the shape of a medium rare hamburger, the foodie elite of the world converge on a single place, much as in ancient times when the Pagans converged on the Stone Henge to celebrate the solstice.

But instead of dancing around naked and eating questionable vittles around giant stone monoliths, we converge (mostly) clothed upon Water Taxi Beach to celebrate the birthday of one of our own, Citysearch.com food editor, notorious carnivore Feedbag food blogger Josh Ozersky, aka Mr. Cutlets, also known as the devourer of worlds.

Each year, it’s been a different themed creature that is sacrificed and prepared a multiple of ways in order to feed the hunger of the Beast from Brooklyn. This time, it was a whole flock of lamb.

Meatopia 2009: Lamb by you.

Here’s one of the cute little animals being cooked over hot coals on a rotating spit. Wanna see it on video? Yes, of course you do.

Meatopia 2009: Lamb by you.

The smell that was permeating Water Taxi Beach was absolutely seductive. With all this Lamb, shouldn’t we be celebrating the re-birth of our lord and savior?

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