NJ Dining: Green Door Cafe (CLOSED)

June 30, 2009

Green Door Cafe suffered a devastating fire on July 30, 2010. The owner plans to rebuild, but the restaurant is closed until further notice.

Green Door Cafe
1 Highwood Avenue, Tenafly NJ
(201) 567-8226

Green Door Cafe, Tenafly NJ by you.

Green Door Cafe’s Storefront in downtown Tenafly, NJ.

As a few of you may be aware, I am a resident of the sleepy hamlet of Tenafly, which is situated on the northeast side of Bergen County, adjoining the towns of Cresskill, Bergenfield and Englewood. Tenafly, while being a wonderful residential neighborhood, has a bit of an unfortunate reputation of being the town that eats restaurants.

One of the restaurants that recently got the axe was Blockheads, an outpost of a NYC-based burrito chain. So I was rather surprised this week as I was driving by its former location to find Green Door Cafe, a self described “Doorway to real food” which only serves “proteins which are antibiotic and hormone free or organic” and produce that is “organic or locally farmed seasonally. We restrict our purchases to foods raised naturally without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.”

I was expecting the place to be owned by a bunch of hippies wearing hemp clothing. What I wasn’t prepared for was being greeted by the former owner of Blockheads when I went in, Leon Bell. “Hey! Jason! The Off The Broiler Guy!”

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A 2009 Big Apple BBQ Block Party Montage

June 13, 2009

Website: http://www.bigapplebbq.com

Big Apple BBQ Block Party Montages by you.

The 2009 Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, held in New York City’s Madison Square Park, was a blast as ever. This year Rachel and I only went for a few hours on Saturday, but it was more than enough barbecue to last us for a while! You can still catch the second day on Sunday if these photos are making your mouth water (click for slideshow of full size hi-res photos).

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NJ Dining: Tenafly Farmers Market (2009)

June 7, 2009

Tenafly Farmers Market
Open June 7  thru November 21, Sundays 9am-2pm

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

Tenafly Farmers Market Collage by you.

The Tenafly Farmers Market had its grand opening June 7, 2009. The Market will run on Sundays 9am-2pm all through the summer and into November.

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NJ Dining: Ultimate Banh Mi Sandwiches at Mo Pho and Saigon R.

April 25, 2009

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

Saigon R.
58 W Palisade Ave, Englewood, NJ
(201) 871-4777

Related Article: Saigon R. and Mo’ Pho’

If you’ve been following the latest trends in the New York City dining scene, no doubt you’ve read and heard about the most recent Vietnamese sandwich craze — also known as the Banh Mi that’s sweeping the Metropolitan area. If you take trends at face value, you’ve probably also read the reports from Eater that the Banh Mi has “Run its course”.

The fact of the matter is, the Banh Mi is the right sandwich at the right time. And let’s face it, here in New Jersey, we’re a little slow on the uptake when following up on New York City trends. But I submit to you that when we set our mind to something, and when we get around to it, we do it better than anyone else.

The Making of the "Oink Mi" Ultimate Vietnamese Sandwich by you.

A few weeks ago — prior to the publication of the New York Times article which catapulted the Banh Mi into the front and center collective foodie consciousness — Chef KT Tran (of Mo Pho and Saigon R. fame) decided that she needed to add some new offerings to her menu, and I suggested Banh Mi, particularly as I knew KT could put her creative skills and 30 years of Vietnamese cooking expertise behind it. KT’ and her family have operated Vietnamese restaurants since the 1970’s in the New York Area, and we’ve been very lucky to have her in Northern New Jersey, where her bold Southeast Asian flavors are tailored to meet the tastes of a very diverse customer base.

The Making of the "Oink Mi" Ultimate Vietnamese Sandwich by you.

A typical store-bought Banh Mi from New York’s Chinatown. Usually these go for 2 or 3 dollars apeice. But there’s not much meat on this thing.

Fully aware of my past “Ultimate Sandwich” exploits with Chef Christine Nunn, at Picnic Caterers, Chef Tran knew she had to up the ante in over-thet-top sandwich insanity, particularly when competing with Nunn’s Rendevous at Burger Mountain, the Ultimate BLT and the Foie You.

We knew of one weapon in the Vietnamese culinary arsenal that could hold up to these giants: PORK. And lots of it.

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A Visit to D’Artagnan

April 18, 2009

D'Artagnan and Ariane Daguin, Newark NJ by you.

D’Artagnan is one of the most important suppliers of luxury proteins and ingredients to many of the nation’s top restaurants.

My chef friend Christine Nunn, of Picnic Caterers in Emerson, was recently invited over to visit the D’Artagnan facility in Newark. For those of you not familiar with D’Artagnan, it is the premier supplier of luxury ingredients to many of New York City’s top restaurants. What D’Artagnan is most famous for, however, is that it is one of the largest (if not the largest) distributors of domestically produced Foie Gras in the United States. Rachel and I decided to come along and take some photos, so we could show you what this very impressive operation is all about.

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NYC Dining: Abbondanza on Arthur Avenue (UPDATED!)

April 10, 2009

With today being Good Friday, I thought I would bring back one of my favorite posts, that being a pictorial tour of Arthur Avenue. The Belmont section of the Bronx comes alive during the Easter season, and you can still get your fill of Easter Pies and other great Italian-American foods there this weekend. Check it out on Saturday!

Related food post not to be missed: A Christobal Colom Arthur Avenue Mission

— Jason

The Belmont section of the Bronx is by far one of my favorite eating and food shopping destinations — as I tell many people, if you’re looking for the real Little Italy, it’s not in Manhattan, but on Arthur Avenue between 184th and 187th street. It’s a neighborhood frozen in time, where you can get imported delicacies from the old country as well as fantastic Italian-American eats which prominently feature them.

The very core of Belmont’s Italian shopping are the stores within and surrounding the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, where Mike’s Deli, Pete’s Meat, and a number of green grocers are located.

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Dave Grecco, the presiding capitan of Mike’s Deli.

And his dad, the legendary Mike Grecco, salumi purveyor to the rich, famous, the everyman, and everybody in-between.

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If you catch Dave in the middle of the day, he might be doing his stretching exercises (2004).

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Il Duce guards the cache of tuna cans.

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You need salamis?

Arthur Avenue is the REAL Little Italy of New York City. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for some more mouth-watering Italian-American delicacies.

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Introducing OTB Economic Stimulus Dinners

April 4, 2009

lastsupper by you.

The economy, as we all know, is hurting. Bad. Really bad.

In recent weeks, I’ve watched my co-workers and colleagues, my closest friends and several members of my family lose their jobs. And over the last several months I’ve seen favorite restaurants and food-related businesses starting to drop like flies. I dread every single time I have to log into the blog software in order to post a (CLOSED) update to a restaurant entry. Now it seems like I have to do it several times a month.

What is the solution? Our government is doing its best to try to stimulate the economy. And just about everyone is making sacrifices, no matter what your income level is.

Some people — like my former partner in eGullet, Steven Shaw — would suggest that we stop spending money, that we sit back and ride this thing out. That we all eat out of our cupboards for a week or a month, that we hide under our blankets and cuddle up for the big storm and then hope everything is all right at the end. I firmly believe this is the wrong thing for us to do, people.

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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

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Someone is stealing my food!

March 13, 2009

stealingmyfood by you.

This video (click on photo to view) produced by the law firm of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman is a must-view introduction to Intellectual Property and how it should be used, respected, and defended in the Food and Restaurant industry. If you’re a restaurateur, food writer or food blogger this is something you definitely need to watch.

Back in November of last year, I was invited by food writer and former NY Times dining critic Mimi Sheraton to a special seminar for food  industry and and writing professionals at the Harvard Club in New York City, which was entitled “Someone is Stealing My Food!”. It was a two-hour presentation on understanding Intellectual Property, a subject that many food bloggers and food writers and even businesspeople are ignorant of.

Most of the people who attended that event however were industry insiders, so in many respects it was very much preaching to the choir. However, I suggested to Mimi and the attorneys over at CLL that perhaps they should create a short, half hour “condensed” version of their seminar in Internet video form so that businesses and writers all over the country could benefit from their expertise. The video above is the fruit of their efforts.

The video stars Mimi and the cast of attorneys at CLL. Yeah, not exactly YouTube viral video material, but I suggest you watch it nonetheless. It could keep you out of a lawsuit, which nobody wants to be in these days.

If you write about food professionally or as an ameteur food blogger, or if you are connected to the food industry in any way, please watch the video above.

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NJ Dining: Bartolomeo (Englewood)

February 7, 2009

Bartolomeo Italian Gourmet and Prepared Foods
195 North Dean Street, Englewood NJ
(201) 567-7002

Click for Hi-Res Slide Show

Over the course of the last year, the Bartolomeo family had been building the 3600 square foot replacement to its former Palisades Park store — which now resides on Dean Street in Englewood. As many of you are aware, Englewood is home to Jerry’s Gourmet, another large Italian grocery store. I had been wondering what Carlo Bartolomeo was going to do to differentiate himself from the incumbent Italian mega-grocery, and now I know what it is — prepared foods.

Bartolomeo, Englewood NJ by you.

The new Bartolomeo location on 195 Dean Street in Englewood, just opposite the Englewood train station.

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