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 »


Menorah-rama

December 5, 2010

Last night, my wife and I were privileged to be invited to the home of Sid and Shuey Horowitz, a couple that has been collecting Chanukah Menorahs (Chanukiyot) for about 40 years. In the last 15 years or so, the couple has invited over 100 people to their home during Chanukah (Hanukkah, if you prefer the alternative transliteration) for a large party in which dozens of Menorahs are lit, and guests are encouraged to bring their own.

The entire operation is very well organized — the garage of the Bridgewater, NJ home is converted into a Menorah shrine, with fire-proof tables set up along the three walls.

Want to see all of these lit? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


NJ Dining: Mo’ Pho’ (UPDATED)

September 19, 2010

MoPho
212 Main St, Fort Lee, NJ
(201) 363-8886

Note: While Mo’ Pho’ in Fort Lee remains open, it’s Englewood sister restaurant, Saigon R. closed on August 30, 2010 and re-opened as Simply Vietnamese in nearby Tenafly. For more information on Simply Vietnamese, click here.

As summer comes to an end and the weather starts getting rainy and a bit chilly, I start getting that craving for Asian noodle soups again. There’s no question in my mind that my all time favorite type of noodle soup has to be Pho, the anise-flavored beef bone broth and the national dish of Vietnam.

Northern New Jersey has a couple of notable Vietnamese restaurants, but there is a special place in my heart for Mo Pho, the flagship restaurant owned and managed by Khan “K.T.” Tran, a talented female chef who is carrying out the culinary traditions of her mother, who once catered embassy functions for Southeast Asian dignitaries and heads of state for the Republic of Vietnam.

I’ve been to Mo Pho (and it’s sister restaurant that recently closed, Saigon R.) so many times and K.T. has become such a close friend that I have to admit I am probably unfairly biased towards her food. Overall, her cuisine is not the kind of hardcore (and less expensive) offal-centric, employing weird cuts of meat, Vietnamese street stall food or authentic in exacting detail like Nha Trang in Jersey City,  Huong Viet in Nutley or even Bloomfield’s Binh Duong — this is a more refined interpretation of Vietnamese food more suited to American customers.

Still, when I have a Pho craving, its K.T.’s that really does the trick for me. Her broth is simmered for an entire day and is far more intensely flavored with beef bones than any other I’ve had in the area, including Pho stalls I’ve visited in NYC. It’s not the super clear Pho broth you see at most places; its got a much darker color and is somewhat cloudier due to the residual gelatin, giving the soup a much more satisfying and comforting mouthfeel.

Mo’ Pho’ storefront on Main Street in Fort Lee. Mo Pho now has a new sister restaurant in Tenafly, Simply Vietnamese.

Mo’ Pho’s dining room.

Click the “Read the rest of this entry” link below to see all the food photos in this post.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


Blogroll: Spoon & Shutter

February 28, 2010

I’d like to welcome Spoon & Shutter to the New Jersey food blogging community.

While the paint is still drying on this new blog, which only started in February of 2010, its got some serious talent behind it, so you’ll want to pay attention — it’s run by Susan Leigh Sherrill and Ted Axelrod, the husband and wife team whose works you’ve seen in 201 Magazine. Sherrill works as Food and Entertainment Editor of 201, and Axelrod is a professional photographer who has freelanced a number of food spreads in 201 magazine and elsewhere.

Check it out at http://spoonandshutter.wordpress.com