NJ Dining: Honey

April 6, 2011

Honey Mediterranean Gourmet & Market
1150 Teaneck Road, Teaneck NJ
(201) 530-5083

Restaurants sometimes have good reasons for calling themselves something they are not. In the case of Honey in Teaneck, it’s because that marketing is often more effective than full-monty disclosure. Which is very, very sad, because I think Honey is one of the most interesting ethnic restaurants to open in our area in a very long time.

Why the deception? Honey’s cuisine is Persian — which originates from the country that in the modern day is called Iran.

While the restaurant bills itself as Mediterranean, modern day Iran is nowhere near the Mediterranean Sea. Iran borders the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and cuisine-wise bears only a passing resemblance to most Mediterranean food.

Sure, Persia once controlled the territory which is now modern day Turkey, which does border the Mediterranean, but that was between 550 and 330 BCE , when the Achaemenid Empire controlled most of the civilized world.

The history of Persia is complex and one of the most fascinating in ancient history. Its cuisine is unique, delicious, and exotic. And in this part of Northern New Jersey we’ve had the unfortunate situation of previous Persian restaurants failing, such as Shiraz in Edgewater.

Up until Honey’s opening, we’ve only had access to Afghani food at the very excellent  Teaneck Kebab HousePamir in Morristown and Kabab Paradise in Lake Hiawatha. While sharing a similar cultural history as well as a similar language with Iran, Afghan food is very different in terms of their cuisine. Aside from Honey, Negeen in Summit is one of the few other legit Persian restaurants in the area.

[Editor’s Note: Shahrzad in Edgewater, which took over Shiraz’s space, also opened in June of 2010, after this post was originally written]

Like other Muslims residing in this country Iranian-Americans are often the unfortunate recipients of bad behavior and harassment from ignorant people who vandalize restaurants and businesses as a result of misdirected anger and hatred.

Because of this Persian cuisine in this part of the country frequently goes unappreciated. Los Angeles by comparison has a thriving Persian community, but in New Jersey not so much.

Teaneck just got its Persian on. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Dumpling Orgy at King’s Village (UPDATED)

February 20, 2011

King’s Village
1639 NJ Hwy 27, Edison NJ
(732) 339-9858

Once again, our intrepid group of foodies headed down to Edison for some serious gut-busting dumplin’ eating at King’s Village, a Beijing-style (Mandarin) restaurant in Edison.

Every February, in celebration of the Chinese New Year, the owners host a month-long “Dumpling Fest” which for a whole $16.95 per person, they feed you jiaozi of all different types until you plead for mercy or explode, whichever comes first.

Sounds great, right? So let’s get on with the gluttony.

Are you ready for some DUMPLINGS? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Latin Extravaganza at the Connors

May 17, 2010

Parties sometimes come together without much of a reason. Our friend Sandi Levitsky-Connor, who we’ve profiled recently with her Jedi-master empanada making skills, decided to have a mega cooking and eating session at her house and invite a couple of friends over. As it was also my wife’s birthday that week, it also became an occasion for eating cake, which needs no excuses at all.

Sandi, who is a fantastic cook, and loves all sorts of cuisines, decided to make this party Latin themed. Dishes from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Trinidad, Peru, Honduras and Spain were prepared, with the assistance of our friends Eric Eisenbud and Efrain Raices from NJ Les Marmitons.

Green plantains. When you see this on a table, you know what’s coming.

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The Last Supper with David

May 8, 2010

New York Times’ David Corcoran, who’s wonderful restaurant reviews have graced the “Old Gray Lady’s” NJ Metro/Dining section for 10 years.

My foray into food blogging has almost certainly had much to do with my respect and admiration for the newspaper writers, who’s level of reviewing standards I could never even try to emulate with any degree of success.

The print newspaper and magazine staff restaurant writer is a dying breed, one who’s role has had to change with the times, if not for the challenges that newspapers and  other periodicals must now face in competition with the food blogs and other new media outlets.

That being said, I am sad to see this occur, even if I am a willing participant and advocate in this change of focus towards the Web.

Perhaps one of my saddest moments in this realization was a happy occasion — having a wonderful Chinese dinner with a newspaper restaurant reviewer that I call a friend and mentor, who had told me that this meal would be his final review.

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Food Porn for a Cause

April 28, 2010

by Rachel Nash Perlow

A little while ago, one of OTB’s friends in BBQ, Rob Wheaton, asked us to come and check out a catering gig he was doing. It was a fundraiser for his church’s mission for Habitat for Humanity.  A group from the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township (NJ) is heading to South Dakota this summer to help make improvements at the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation. The theme for the dinner was Native American foods, and it featured buffalo and salmon, as well as “fry bread.”

The Green Village Fire Department generously donated their building to host the event. What a bucolic setting. This is the view out the kitchen door.

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Ariane Daguin’s Volcanic Adventure

April 20, 2010

OTB friend Ariane Daguin, proprietor of D’Artagnan, best known as the premium duck,  foie gras and high-end luxury produce supplier to the top restaurants in New York City and all over the country, recently experienced an adventure as a result of the Icelandic volcano eruption, being stranded in France and having to go through a 27-hour ordeal to get home. Here is her story.


27 Hours Later: My Trip from Paris to New York

Having just spent two weeks in France on publicity tour to support my new book “D’Artagnan à New York”, I was anxious to get home and back to business. But the volcano in Iceland had other plans for me. My Sunday afternoon flight from Paris to Newark was not to be.

Outside my hotel in Paris I saw a familiar figure looking up at the hotel. Maybe Frederic Fekkai was thinking that he would have to check in and wait for days until the next flight home. We laughed about running into each other under these odd circumstances and then we joined forces. Sharing a large taxi to hold our huge amount of luggage, we headed hopefully to Orly airport. We were greeted by an eerily empty terminal and screens filled with the word “canceled.” No flights to the United States.

Tugging all our luggage, we were happy to find that Open Skies (the airline I was flying with) had chartered three buses to ferry about 150 of us stranded travelers to Toulouse Airport! We were caught up in the spirit of adventure, and helped ourselves to the rudimentary sandwiches that Open Skies was kind enough to provide.

The overnight seven hour drive from Paris to Toulouse had the air of a refugee boat, and we were not certain that we would even get flights out of Toulouse. But it was worth the chance. So there I am with Frederic, and look up to see Yannick Noah, a famous pop star and ex tennis world champion, on the other side of me! To say I was in good company would be an understatement.

As our bus pulled into Toulouse airport at 7:00 a.m. we saw TV crews all over the place, waiting to film the only people flying out of France that day. We were making the news!

The Toulouse airport had just opened a new international terminal, and I think we were the first to use it. After waiting six anxious hours in the terminal, wondering if we would be cleared for takeoff, we finally boarded a plane. Then we waited another hour on the plane while the aviation authorities signed off on the flight.

When our plane finally departed, we flew far south to avoid any chance of volcanic ash choking our engines. So I did not see the plume of smoke that is causing all the trouble. I bet that would have been a magnificent sight.

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Picnic a Les Marmitons

April 19, 2010

by Rachel Nash Perlow

Chef Christine Nunn of Picnic, The Restaurant (opening June 2010), was the special guest chef at the New Jersey chapter of Les Marmitons Spring event.

We feel a bit of a Yenta’s pride in this as another OTB friend Eric Eisenbud, and former President of the chapter, was the event organizer, responsible for procuring the guest chef and provisions. For those who don’t know, Les Marmitons is a gastronomic and social club of gentlemen who share a common interest in fine food, wine and the culinary arts.


Chef Christine Nunn discusses the menu with current NJ chapter President, Efrain Raices (right), and John Howlet (left), a past president of the NJ chapter and the current Vice President of Les Marmitons International.

Click here for a slide show of all of Jason’s photos of the event.

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