NJ Dining: Interview with Chef David Burke

July 12, 2012

Hot From The Kettle’s, Elizabeth Palmer recently interviewed renown chef, David Burke:

Does the name David Burke ring a bell? It should. He’s everywhere in the culinary world. Burke has competed on both Iron Chef and Top Chef, won countless awards and accolades, and has amassed quite the collection of restaurants that he owns and operates, from Las Vegas to Chicago to NYC to our very own New Jersey. Oh, and he writes cookbooks and dabbles in culinary gastronomy as well, branding GourmetPops (ready to serve cocktail lollipops) and Flavorsprays to enhance your cooking with less fat and more flavor. 

I had the opportunity to speak with Chef Burke a few weeks ago about his time as a private chef in Norway, cooking for Prince Charles and Julia Child; his train ride travels around Europe, and his most memorable meal ever.

Read the rest of Elizabeth Starnes’ interview with David Burke on the Chef’s Table.


New Jersey: So long, but not goodbye.

June 11, 2012

Some of you may or may not already be aware that Rachel and I have sold our home here in Bergen County. We are closing at the end of the month and are moving to South Florida.

This is a bit of a bittersweet ending since moving from New York State to New Jersey in 1992 and calling the greater NYC metro area home for over 40 years.

My job will not change — I’ll still be doing a lot of travel for my primary employer and will continue my computer industry writing at ZDNet.

While I am sure it will bring me back to the area fairly often, it will no longer be possible for me to continue my food and restaurant coverage in Northern New Jersey on a reliable basis.

I’m going to continue food writing on the site, but it will have a Florida focus on the restaurant side and more emphasis on the cooking (outdoor grilling, etc.) and the other restaurant coverage will be travel-related depending on where I go.

However, I have no intention of leaving New Jersey in the lurch. You’ve probably already noticed that there has been a significant amount of new restaurant coverage being supplied by Melody Kettle and her writers from the Montclair-based Hot From the Kettle blog.

Melody and I are now the best of friends and I can assure you that she will be covering all the major centers of Northern New Jersey restaurant activity on Off The Broiler, including Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Essex counties.  She has an incredible passion for food and an unbridled amount of energy, and I know she will do a fine job.

What I hope to accomplish is to allow OTB to have a mix of New Jersey and Florida coverage. Many people who live in New Jersey travel to Florida frequently, live there part time or are even considering moving there permanently, so I think it will be a good mix.

There are other changes which I am planning for the blog later in the year which will greatly increase the scope of what we do, and I will keep you updated as they occur.

To everyone who has been following me here since February 2006 — and to all the New Jersey restaurants that have enriched my life (and my stomach) for the past five and half years, I bid you so long, but not goodbye.

And to South Florida: Prepare for a wild ride.


NJ Dining: Tabboule Fine Lebanese Cuisine

June 7, 2012

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to join Jason and Rachel Perlow at Tabboule Fine Lebanese Cuisine in Ridgewood, NJ.  Tabboule offers fine Lebanese cuisine in a casual, comfortable setting.  Parking for the restaurant is easy and plentiful, as the restaurant is located in the Kings Shopping Center on N. Maple Ave.

We began our mid-day marathon eating session with traditional Lebanese Za’atar Chips.  Rich with spices of thyme, sesame and sumac, these crunchy, golden triangles are very savory and very addictive!  Red Lentil soup accompanied the chips.  Rachel had the fabulous idea to sprinkle some crumbled Za’atar chips on the soup.  It was perfect; like Saltines in chicken noodle soup – only much better!

Read more about Tabboule on Hot From The Kettle!


NJ Dining: VB3 in Jersey City & Muscle Maker Opens in Montclair

May 30, 2012

Hot From The Kettle contributor, Elizabeth Palmer Starnes, recently had the pleasure of dining at the newly opened VB3 in Jersey City.  Elizabeth, “tried the arugula and baby artichoke salad, with shaved caciocavallo cheese and lemon juice, and the scallop crudo, zingy with tangy grapefruit and basil.”  She also enjoyed “the Raviolo di Ouvo (homemade oversized ravioli with an egg cooked inside) swathed in luxurious truffle oil and Parmigianino cheese, and laced with springy fava beans and morels.”

Read all about the tasting on Hot From The Kettle!

In Montclair, Muscle Maker Grill opened it’s new location in the former site of Mexicali Rose. According to HFTK writer, John Lee, at Muscle Maker “everything  is either grilled, or sautéed.  There is no fryer to be found! There’s also a huge compliment of salads, juices, and protein shakes. But the most important thing about the menu is that everything is filling, satisfying, and leaves guests wondering why they never realized healthy food could taste so darn good.”

Click to read more about Muscle Maker Grill and check out John Lee’s slide show.


NJ Dining: Chef Patrick Pierre-Jerome Returns to Montclair

April 30, 2012

Church Street has long been called  “the gem” of Montclair; blossoms, boutiques, benches, and great breakfast! But one thing seemed to be missing. Restaurant enthusiasts have often lamented – albeit secretly -the absence of a world class chef on this picturesque, pedestrian friendly street.  Gastronomes can now rejoice over the arrival of acclaimed chef, Patrick Pierre-Jerome.

I had the opportunity to sample a few of Chef Pierre’s new dishes.  Read all about the tasting on  Hot From The Kettle!


Introducing new OTB contributor Melody Kettle

April 30, 2012

Those of you who follow Off The Broiler and Northern New Jersey food blogging may already be familiar with Melody Kettle, who writes the Hot From the Kettle food blog.

Melody, who is known for her extensive video, photographic and written coverage of restaurants in the Montclair, NJ area on Baristanet, Patch.com and on her own personal blog will be contributing significant content on Off The Broiler, with restaurant coverage from all over Northern New Jersey.

Please welcome her and give her a big OTB hug.


NJ Dining: Empanada Mania

April 29, 2012

Empanada Mania
62 S. Washington Ave., Bergenfield NJ
(201)322-2150

Web Site: https://www.facebook.com/EmpanadaMania

Empanadas. The glorious deep fried pastry pocket filled with juicy Latino goodness. We’ve shown you the magic art of how they are made. And we’ve also shown you Empanada-themed restaurants. 

Finally, the empanada craze has reached Northeast Bergen county: Bergenfield.

Also Read:

Empanada Mania is a small shop owned by Galo Grijalva, a long-time resident of Bergenfield. The store makes every single empanada from scratch, deep fried to order from fresh ingredients. The menu is specialized to the empanadas, plus ceviches and chili which are served only on Fridays.

Empanada Mania storefront on Washington Avenue in Bergenfield.

Are you ready for some fresh fried empanadas? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below.

Read the rest of this entry »


NJ Dining: Daryl

April 15, 2012

Daryl Restaurant
302 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ. 08901
(732) 253 7780

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

Local New Jersey food blogger Melody Kettle recently did a great write up of all of the restaurants of Zod Arifai, the Albanian-born rock n’ roller turned rogue self-taught chef whose establishments have been getting tons of critical acclaim.

In Late February I was invited with a group of other food writers/bloggers to dine at Daryl, the wine bar in New Brunswick where Zod has taken over as Executive Chef.

I have dined in the past at Zod’s other restaurant, Blu in Montclair. Many of my peers are of the opinion that it is one of the most creative and best fine dining establishments in all of Northern New Jersey.

While I agree that the quality and creativity is definitely there, as is Zod’s technical skill, Blu just isn’t my speed. I think there’s just too much going on with the food, as if the place is Zod’s mad scientist laboratory.

I’ve had some major and heated arguments with folks about the place, and I’ve been accused of being closed minded.

While I do enjoy modern cuisine interpretations, ranging from the deconstructivist to molecular gastronomy, I personally tend to prefer cuisine that is more straightforward and which isn’t trying to break the light speed barrier or re-invent the wheel.

Blu is more of the second type, so stylistically it doesn’t tend to resonate with me as well. This is more of a personal preference thing, and not a reflection of the quality of the restaurant.

So I was actually relieved when I found Daryl to be more down to earth in concept — small plates, pastas, meat and fish to compliment the restaurant’s wine list and beverage program. And it also is conveniently located very close to the State Theatre, so if you are going to see a show there, it’s an ideal dining venue.

Daryl’s main dining room.

Daryl is a modern, but earthy restaurant which will please foodies and wine enthusiasts alike. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


NJ Dining: Everything you wanted to know about Nowruz as a foodie

March 23, 2012

The Vernal Equinox marks the start of Nowruz — an ancient festival celebrated by people of Persian descent. While many modern-day Persians are muslims, the festival is really a purely Persian/Iranian one rather than a religious one, and it has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years.

That makes Nowruz one of the oldest celebrated festivals in all of  modern civilization. In fact, the Jewish festival of Purim as well as several others may be based on Nowruz. Nowruz is also celebrated by Zoroastrians, the Bahá’í Faith and various other religions and cultures.

Officially, Nowruz marks the beginning of the new year in the Iranian calendarHowever, the main takeway for foodies is that this is one of the best times of the year to sample Persian cuisine.

I’ve written about Persian food a bit on Off The Broiler in the past, although I consider myself fairly new to it. The ingredients and flavors are exotic and very different from other cuisines in that part of the world, so it’s a real treat when you can find restaurants that do serve it.

Also Read:

This year, the center for all Nowruz activity was held on March 18 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Seacaucus, New Jersey.

The festival was held in the main ballroom, and boy was it buzzing with activity. There were merchants galore, the place was utterly stuffed with people, the room was pulsating with throbbing Iranian disco music, and there was at least four restaurants and catering businesses represented serving all sorts of Persian food.

The smells, the sounds and the atmosphere were intense.

Ready for some food fit for a Persian king? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more

Read the rest of this entry »


NJ Dining: Candlewyck Diner

February 26, 2012

Candlewyck Diner
179 Paterson Ave, East Rutherford, NJ 07073
(201) 933-4446

Web Site: www.candlewyckdiner.com

See the complete photo gallery (50) on Flickr

Let’s do a bit of foodie word association. If I say “Jersey” the next word should be… Diner.

At a classic Jersey diner, you would expect to see folks like this.

And table scenes like this.

and food like… this.

And for 42 years, that’s exactly the kind of stuff that the Candlewyck Diner in East Rutherford served. That is, until the owners decided to give the place a total makeover, and raise the bar on Jersey Diner food.

For more great Jersey diner fare, click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below.

Read the rest of this entry »