NJ Dining: Montclair Lunch Hot Spots, Aozora

May 15, 2012

Around 11:30 am the signs begin to appear on Montclair sidewalks: Lunch Special! Up and down Bloomfield Avenue, along Valley Road, on Church Street, and throughout Watchung Plaza the chalked blackboards reveal the reasonably priced lunch offerings at local restaurants!  (Read: Good eats on the cheap.)

Trust me: take advantage. Lunch specials are the equivalent of gastronomic gold – a midday score.

Hot From The Kettle places Aozora Modern Sushi Cuisine among the best lunch hot spots in Montclair.  Click through to read more!


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!


NJ Dining: Chengdu 1 (UPDATED October 2009)

April 4, 2009

Click for Hi-Res Slide Show!

Chengdu 1
89 Pompton Ave (Pilgrim Shopping Plaza)
Cedar Grove NJ, 973-239-7726

I think that by now people realize that I love really spicy food. One of my favorite spicy cuisines is true Sichuan-syle Chinese food, which is characterized by its use of red fire oil (vegetable oil that is infused with red chile pepper essence) and the face-numbing Sichuan Peppercorn, also known as hua jiao (meaning flower pepper, as it resembles a tiny flower) or fagara.

While there are many restaurants in the greater New York metropolitan area with “Szechuan” in the name, the sad reality is that there are very, very few restaurants serving actual regional Sichuan cuisine, New York City included. There are  a few such restaurants  remaining in Manhattan, most notably being the midtown and uptown branches of Wu Liang Ye. Spicy and Tasty in Flushing, Queens is another good example. The much-loved Grand Sichuan International Midtown closed in April of ’07 but some of its sister (and inferior) branches remain.

So when it came to my attention (by way of an excellent post by Melissa Rayworth on the Montclair food blog Barista) that we in fact had the genuine article right here in Northern New Jersey, I knew we had to go.

Chengdu 1 is right down the road from Montclair State University on Pompton Ave, in the Pilgrim Shopping Plaza next to Clearview Cinema

Can you take the heat? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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