The Halloween Bar-B-Q Mitzvah

November 1, 2009

The Bar and Bat-Mitzvah. If you’re Jewish, or have Jewish friends with kids, then you’ve probably been to one or even had one. Maybe even several or too many to count. And you know what most of them are like. Large, wedding-like catered affairs usually held at a catering hall, with standard chafing dish food. For entertainment, everyone dresses up in suits and dances the hora.

You’re supposed to attend and hold them because you have an obligation. Not necessarily to have a good time. For the most part, Bar Mitzvahs are a requirement for Jewish parents because every other parent is having a Bar Mitzvah for their children, at great expense. You can’t NOT have one if you have children 13 years of age.  If you’ve been invited to a Bar Mitzvah and you happen to be close family or friends, and you live fairly close by — within several hours drive — you pretty much HAVE to go.  That is the unwritten rule of Bar Mitzvah etiquette.

This last weekend I went to a Bar-Mitzvah in which I actually had a good time and I didn’t feel like it was a sense of obligation at all. Why? Because it broke every single rule in the Bar Mitzvah book.

For starters, the family holding it decided that instead of outsourcing the entire thing to a catering hall and spend God knows how much money in the process, they would cook virtually all of the food they would serve themselves. Second, they held it on Halloween, and encouraged everyone to come in COSTUME. Third, the parents doing the cooking are accomplished competition BARBECUE chefs and judges. Combine that, and you get …

The Jordan Keiles Halloween Bar-B-Q-Mitzvah!

The Bar Mitzvah boy, Jordan, upper left, inspects his cocktail party spread. The star of the cocktail spread in my opinion were the Apple wood smoked Salami and Bologna, which I thought was genius. Shown also are sushi rolls and Asian pasta salad. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Ready for an unconventional Bar-Mitzvah? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NYC Dining: Taverna Kyclades

September 28, 2009

Taverna Kyclades
33-07 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria NY
(718) 545-8666

Web Site:

Kyclades Restaurant, Astoria NY by you.

Taverna Kyclades in Astoria, Queens has a nice outdoor dining area and specializes in fresh seafood cooked in Mediterranean/Greek style.

As I have written in my previous posts about Telly’s Taverna and Kabab Cafe, Astoria, Queens has now become my go-to place to eat lunch or dinner before heading out on a trip, given that LaGuardia has now become my preferred airport to travel from.

Astoria has many, many Greek restaurants, some of which are old established restaurants such as Telly’s Taverna, Uncle George’s (Papa Georgi) or Stamatis, and others are newer. One of the “newer” ones is Kyclades, a seafood specialist cafe which I had gotten a few nice recommendations about from Greek friends that really know their food.

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OTB Economic Stimulus Outing with Victor Sasson, Saturday September 26, 2009

September 14, 2009


South Paterson Collage by you.

For our second event in our series of OTB Economic Stimuli, I’ve enlisted former Bergen Record restaurant writer and fellow food blogger Victor Sasson to bring us on a tour of the “Little Damascus/Little Ramallah/Little Arabia” section of South Paterson, NJ. On Saturday, September 26th, we will meet and have lunch at 12 noon at a local Middle Eastern restaurant in Paterson and then go on a shopping tour of the local area which will include markets and local bakeries.

When: Saturday, September 26, 2009, 12 Noon

Where: Aleppo Restaurant, 939 Main Street (at Thomas), Paterson NJ

Estimated Cost: Approx $30.00 per person for Lunch

What we will be doing: Eating great Middle Eastern food and Shopping with Victor Sasson

For those of you who have already reserved a spot: Due to maintenance issues at the original restaurant, please note Victor Sasson has changed the venue for this event. He has arranged for a classic Syrian meal of small plates called maza, followed by several entrees, such as stuffed vegetables, kibbe with cherries and a mixed grill, for Saturday at Aleppo Restaurant, 939 Main St. (Thomas Street) in Paterson; 1-973-977-2244. There will be some parking on the side street, Thomas Street, but others won’t have a problem.

The meal will be $30 per person, including tip and tax. The appetizers will be on the table at 12:15. Please allow yourself plenty of time to find parking. :)

We expect that we will only be able to accommodate about a dozen people total, so please reserve on our facebook page or contact rperlow AT if you would like to attend.

NYC Dining: Telly’s Taverna

July 26, 2009

Telly’s Taverna
2813 23rd Ave, Astoria, NY 11105-2707
(718) 728-9056

Web Site:

Telly's Taverna, Astoria NY by you.

Telly’s Taverna, one of the oldest operating Greek restaurants in Astoria.

As I mentioned in my previous post about Ali’s Kabab Cafe, Astoria is starting to get more of my restaurant business as LaGuardia has become a more frequent departure and arrival destination for my business travel. Traditionally Astoria has been one of the largest Greek communities in the United States. Considering that I love Mediterranean and Greek food, that happens to be a fortuitous combination.

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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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NJ Dining: Fire & Oak at Westin Newport

June 27, 2009

Fire & Oak Restaurant / Westin Newport
485 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City NJ 07310
(201) 610-9610

Web Site:

Fire Oak Restaurant, Westin Hotel, Jersey City NJ by you.

South City Restaurant Group’s latest, Fire & Oak restaurant at the brand-new Jersey City Westin Newport.

Rachel and I were recently invited to dine at a press luncheon for Fire & Oak restaurant, a brand new casual dining restaurant attached to the recently opened Westin Newport hotel in Jersey City, which is conveniently located near the Jersey City PATH and only a block and a half away from the Port Imperial Ferry to Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.

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New York Dining: Fire + Ice

May 31, 2009

Fire + Ice
Level 4, Palisades Center Mall, West Nyack NY

Web Site:

I usually go out of my way to avoid mall food — this goes without saying in that I go out of my way to avoid malls in general, because I hate the entire experience of having to fight for parking spaces and then schlepping around and being exposed to screaming kids and families that look and behave more like throwbacks to their Cro-Magnon ancestors rather than modern humans.

More often than not, the food in most shopping malls is more expensive than what you can get at a regular local restaurant or diner and of considerably less quality. I also hate the gimmicky-ness of most mall restaurants.

But sometimes it’s unavoidable that you have to eat in a mall, particularly if it’s a timing issue, such as when you want to go see a movie, which are increasingly becoming attached to large shopping complexes.

Recently I had a chance to eat at Fire + Ice, one of the newest additions to the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, which sports an AMC theater multiplex as well as a SONY IMAX.  While I wouldn’t call Fire & Ice a destination dining location, if you’re going to be heading out to a movie, it’s not only one of the most reasonably priced venues at the mall but it can also be a relatively healthy place to eat, as well as an entertaining experience.

Fire & Ice, Palisades Center Mall, Nyack NY by you.

Get your pan-cultural Teppanyaki here. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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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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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: Daruma (UPDATED)

July 18, 2006

45 N Dean St, Englewood, NJ
(201) 567-9600

The restaurant mecca of Englewood is home to a number of sushi dens, including the much-beloved and frequently-packed Wild Ginger. But for my money, if I’m not heading out to the super-authentic Japanese-run Sakura Bana in Ridgewood, or eating at some of my favorite sushi places in NYC, I like to dine at Daruma, which opened in late 2004.

Sushi Bar (2006)

Foyer dining area (2006)

Main Dining Room (2006)

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