Frog and Peach - Beer vs. Wine RematchOn Friday, December 5, 2014, 7:00 p.m., the Frog and the Peach, 29 Dennis Street at Hiram Square, New Brunswick, New Jersey, will stage a rematch of “Beer vs. Wine,” pairing one wine and one beer with each of five courses. Which pairs better? Diners are invited to join the Judges’ Table.

“Beer vs. Wine Rematch” Menu…

First Course: Chilled Langoustine: White Soy, Charred Pineapple, Macadamia Purée; Wine Pairing: Chante Cigale Châteauneuf de Pape, Rhône, France, 2013; Beer Pairing: Troegs “Blizzard of Hops,” PA

Second Course: Crispy Salsify: Bayonne Ham, Sage, Truffle Foam; Wine Pairing: Benjamin Leroux Auxey-Duresses, Burgundy, France, 2012; Beer Pairing: Yards “Thomas Jefferson Ale,” PA

Third Course: Roast Duck à la Parisienne: Duck Egg, Pickled Tongue, Foie Gras Mousseline; Wine Pairing: Hermanos Peciña Rioja Grand Reserva, Spain, 2001; Beer Pairing: Saison Dupont, Belgium

Fourth Course: Valley Shepherd Caraway Gouda: Mustard Seed Caviar, Crostini; Wine Pairing: Valdespino Olorso 20-year “Don Gonzalo” Sherry, Spain; Beer Pairing: Chimay Blue Cap “Grande Reserve,” Belgium

Dessert: Apple Tarte Tatin: Ginger Ice Cream; Wine Pairing: Blandy’s 5-Year-Old Malmsey Madeira, Portugal; Beer Pairing: Allagash “Curieux,” ME

Beer Pairings: Jared Ruocco; Wine Pairings: Jim Mullen; The Chefs: Bruce Lefebvre, Mike Fortino, Joe Erdely, Brian Dymnioski

The cost of the “Beer vs. Wine: The Rematch” is $115.00 per person, all-inclusive. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 846-3216.

Bon Appétit!



Pietro's Radnor - InteriorOn Tuesday, November 18, 2014, Pietro’s Pizzeria & Birreria, a casually elegant indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar specializing in authentic, artisanal oven pizzas and craft beers, made its debut at 236 North Radnor-Chester Road in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

Pietro’s Radnor, is the third location opened by brothers Pete & Nick Pashalis and Pete’s brother-in-law John Lois. Joining two other outposts in Center City, Philadelphia, it will be an inviting new addition to the area’s thriving dining scene.

The look and feel of Pietro’s mimics the old-fashioned comfort of family-owned Italian restaurants, with black-and-white photos of Italy and an expansive floor plan that includes plush booth seating. The 150-seat restaurant features whitewashed brick walls, painted pressed tin ceilings, and a seasonal outdoor beer garden with picnic benches for friendly communal seating.

Pietro’s menu will include: Build Your Own Pizzas: The Classic Margarita Pie topped with crushed tomato sauce, handmade mozzarella and basil, with topping options that range from fresh ricotta and crispy pancetta to roasted eggplant with sun-dried tomatoes

Artisanal Pizzas: like the Tommy, topped with capicola ham, aged provolone cheese, crushed red hot peppers, and tomato sauce; and the Ella, topped with baby kale, pine nuts, tomato sauce, spicy pesto, and mozzarella

Small Plates: such as Fried Smoked Mozzarella with marinara dipping sauce; and Stuffed Meatballs, freshly ground beef and veal meatballs stuffed with smoked mozzarella

Salads: such as Siciliano, mixed greens with mozzarella, roasted peppers, olives, capers, anchovies, carrots, grape tomatoes, and artichokes in house dressing; and Pietro’s Famous Caesar, romaine lettuce with croutons and shaved parmesan cheese in their house-made Caesar dressing

Pastas: Fettuccine Carbonara with red onions, cream, pea, mushrooms, parmesan cheese, and pork pancetta; and Linguini Cielo with chicken breast and shrimp, sautéed with onions and garlic in a creamy tomato sauce

Classics: such as Chicken Parmesan served with spaghetti; and Filet Medallions in balsamic cream sauce with mushrooms, fried onions, and polenta parmesan. There will also be a gluten-free Penne Pasta option.

Dishes will range in price from $8.00 – $28.00.

Pietro’s will serve a wide variety of domestic beers, on draught and in bottles, with a serious focus on the Philadelphia craft beer scene. The restaurant will also feature a diverse list of white, red, and sparkling wines, along with five signature craft cocktails, including the Main Line Spritzer: Prosecco, Aperol, and Club Soda.

Pietro’s Radnor and both Pietro’s in Center City join the proprietors’ other restaurants, including Estia in Philadelphia and Estia Greek Taverna in Radnor and nearby Marlton, New Jersey. Located in the same plaza as Estia Greek Taverna, the new Pietro’s Pizzeria & Birreria is a marvelous addition to the area dining scene and marks a significant evolution of the popular pizzas-and-salad concept into a hospitable bistro and beer bar.

Pietro’s will be open seven (7) days a week starting with dinner, with lunch/brunch to be added at a later date. For more information, please call (484) 367-7072 or visit

Bon Appétit!



Palermo's Cafe & Bakery - Little FerryOn Saturday, November 29, 2014, the owners of Palermo Bakery in Ridgefield Park & Union will open two concepts called Palermo Café & the Cake Lounge, two separate food establishments located at 389-399 Liberty Street in Little Ferry, New Jersey.

Already an institution to those NJ residents who are die-hard fans of Palermo’s cakes and Pastries (not to mention their famous wedding cakes), the latest addition in Little Ferry will serve artisan pizzas and panini, beer, wine & liquor, specialty coffee & gelato and, of course, their gourmet desserts, cookies and pastries in a warm and inviting Italian café setting. The café will open daily at 6:30 a.m.

Basically the two floor structure will house an all-day café (breakfast, pastries, sandwiches, wood-fired pizza) on the first floor and an Italian restaurant and lounge on the second floor. The grand opening for the first floor will take place on November 29; the Cake Lounge opening will follow in December.

To celebrate the occasion of the grand opening, Palermo’s will be giving away raffle prizes throughout the day and also will be giving customers a 10% discount on all purchases at the new location.

For more information about the grand opening, please call (201) 336-9818.

Bon Appétit!



East 12th Osteria - New YorkIf you’re contemplating dining in the Big Apple this Thanksgiving, East 12th Osteria, 197 First Avenue at East 12th Street, New York, NY, will be offering diners a delectable Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings, plus Northern Italian harvest-inspired dishes among the choices on the prix fixe menu.

Thanksgiving Day Menu…

Chef’s Amuse

First Course (Choice of) – Red Beet Tartare: Broiled Tomino Cheese, Frisée, Renette Apple Dressing… Prosciutto, Burrata and Figs… Mediterranean Seafood Salad: Citrus Segments and Dressing… Mantua Pumpkin Mezzelune: Gorgonzola Spuma, Toasted Almonds, Sage & Crispy Speck… Truffled Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

Main Course (Choice of) – Roasted Turkey: Stuffing and Gravy… Norwegian Salmon: Potato Fondant, Green Onion Essence… Red Angus Steak: Bone Marrow & Sorana Beans

Dolci (Choice of) – Mantua Pumpkin Pie with Pandan Ice Cream… Chef’s Northern Italian Apple Strudel with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream

The cost of the Thanksgiving Day prix fixe is $45.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). Reservations will be accepted for 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (212) 432-1112 or visit

Bon Appétit!



Colors Restaurant - New York CityFor all those out there who may be in search of gluten-free dining, on Thursday, November 27, 2014, 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Colors Restaurant, 417 Lafayette Street, New York, NY, a 100% gluten-free restaurant, has created a special three-course Thanksgiving Day menu that combines seasonal ingredients with personality, and a unique culinary style.

STARTERS (Choice of) – Roasted Kabocho Squash Soup: Candied Walnuts, Thyme Madeira Poached Pear… Roasted Beet Salad: Goat Cheese, Kale, Candied Pecans, Simple Vinaigrette… Pork & Bacon Meatballs: Tomato Puttanesca, Parmesan… Crispy Pork Belly: Sweet Potato Purée

MAIN COURSES (Choice of) – Traditional Turkey Dinner: Dark & Light Meat, Turkey Jus, Potato Purée, Sage & Apricot Stuffing, Cranberry Compote, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon… Braised Short Ribs: Roasted Potatoes, Braised Collards, Braisage JusSeared Salmon: Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pistachio, Squash Purée, Spiced Mustard Cream… Wild Mushroom Risotto: Parmesan

DESSERTS (Choice of) – Chocolate Cupcake: Dark Chocolate Glaze, Mascarpone… Apples & Cream: Angel Food Cake, Lime Chantilly, Thyme… Ice Cream Sundae: Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, Candied Nuts, Chocolate Sauce

The cost of the special Thanksgiving Day menu is $55.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (212) 777-8443.

Bon Appétit!



Thanksgiving5On Thursday, November 27, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., the Strip House Restaurant in the Westminster Hotel, 550 West Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Livingston, New Jersey, will be serving a special Thanksgiving Day menu in addition to their regular à la carte dinner menu.

The special Thanksgiving Day menu is noted below…

Crispy Fried Oysters: Preserved Lemon, Remoulade, Frisée, Pickled Root Vegetables ($15.00)

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup: Crispy Red Beets ($11.00)

Roasted Fresh Turkey: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Candied Parsnips, Brown Rice Sourdough Stuffing, Smashed Red Bliss Potatoes, Cranberry-Crabapple Compote ($33.00)

Brûléed Pumpkin Pie: Double Butter Ice Cream ($9.00)

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (973) 548-0050.

Bon Appétit!



Hamilton Russell VineyardsHamilton Russell Vineyards is located in the cool maritime Walker Bay wine appellation in the beautiful Hemel en Aarde Valley just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The winery specializes in producing terroir driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – “Wines from South African soil with a Burgundian soul” – that are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the best in the New World.

Founder Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the underdeveloped 170 hectare property in 1975, not really knowing what grape varieties would ripen properly in this extreme spot a scant 3 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean, which was sourced by a constant wind and with a host of uncompromising soils.

Anthony Hamilton Russell, Tim’s son, took over in 1991 and has made Hamilton Russell Vineyards what it is today: a producer of world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. He registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an Estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. He narrowed the range of grape varieties to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay only. He also stopped filtering the wine and began farming organically and fermenting with native yeasts, all of which has added a new level of intensity to the wines.

Anthony works with winemaker Hannes Storm in the cellar and viticulturist Johan Montgomery in the vineyard. Along with organic farming, low yields is another of the guiding principles at Hamilton Russell. Chardonnay is barrel fermented in a temperature controlled wine cellar. Pinot Noir is fermented with skins in open fermenters at warm temperature. As a principle, Hannes Storm makes the wine from each vineyard block separately, so that the particular style of each parcel is kept absolutely intact; blending takes place later, according to Hannes & Anthony’s vision.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards produces 15,000 cases of Pinot Noir and 20,000 cases of Chardonnay each year. The aforementioned small yields and intense worldwide demand keep these elegant, highly individual Estate grown wines in very short supply.

Wine of the Month - December 2014-12013 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay, $30.00 (Approximate Price) – The 2013 Chardonnay from Hamilton Russell possesses the elegance, acidity, and balance that is reminiscent of a great white Burgundy… but it also exhibits the concentrated ripe juicy fruit of a New World Chardonnay. It is, quite literally, the best of both worlds. As wine critic Stephen Tanzer notes, it “Conveys a powerful impression of intensity without weight.” And that statement, I believe, is the key to this extraordinary wine.

There is some nutty, toasty oak here… but it is subtle, refined, understated, and backed by both the aforementioned crisp acidity and a strong vein of fresh minerality. The wine is rich and concentrated… yet, at the same time, bright and refreshing. There’s a taste of citrusy lime at the outset, but this soon opens up to a nice roundness and intensity at mid palate that continues through the long, lingering finish.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate bestowed 92 points (100-point scale) on the 2013 Chardonnay; the Wine Spectator, 93 points. As a matter of fact, the Spectator has rated each of Hamilton Russell’s last twelve vintages of Chardonnay at 90 points or higher. And that certainly is a testimony to this Winery’s incredible consistency. Another plus is that this wine should cellar well and age gracefully. According to the critics, it will open up beautifully in the years to come and be at the top of its game through 2019.

I’m sure that to some wine lovers out there $30.00 per bottle may seem rather steep for a Chardonnay – even if it does remind you of a first-rate white Burgundy. But everything is relative – unless, of course, you happen to have a relative in the business… So please bear this in mind… Top-of-the-line white Burgundies from top producers can set you back $500.00 per bottle or more… and older vintages can run into the thousands.

Given the obvious quality of the 2013 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay, and the fact that it should be thoroughly enjoyable through the next five years, are reasons enough to strike while the iron is hot…

Wine of the Month - December 2014-22012 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir, $40.00 (Average Price) – Hamilton Russell Winery’s Pinot Noir is arguably South Africa’s finest. This is, of course, a matter of debate and of personal taste. What is absolutely certain, however, is that HR’s Pinot Noir is one of South Africa’s most consistent, high quality representations of this grape variety. The Wine Spectator, for example, recently bestowed a whopping 93 points (100-point scale), upon the 2012 vintage, describing it as “Alluring, with gorgeous toasted spice and cherry confiture aromas, backed by silky red currant, damson plum and cherry fruit flavors.”

Well… I’m not sure that your average wine lover really gives a damn about all those flowery descriptors. What he/she does care about is that the 2012 is beautifully bold, ripe, and aromatic… and it is also beguilingly complex and silky smooth on the palate. This wine, like HR’s 2013 Chardonnay noted above, is subtly Burgundian rather than forwardly New World in style.

The 2012 Pinot Noir is dry, medium- to full-bodied and, as one critic described it, “fantastically persistent.” In other words, it is not a “statement wine”; it doesn’t grab you right out of the box. Rather, it slowly wins you over with layer upon layer of class, elegance, and gently evolving nuances. Thanks to its ethereal tannins and sleek acidity, this is a wine that can be marvelously enjoyable at the present moment or cellared through to 2020. Marvelous at any time of the year, the 2012 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir will add a particularly warm and wonderful touch to your holiday table.

At an average price of $40.00 per bottle this vintage is not an inexpensive proposition. However, if you are a lover of Pinot Noir – as I am – it is most assuredly one of those “must have” wines. I have seen it on sale for as low as $28.00 or as inflated as $47.00. Total Wine is offering it for $39.99 (and don’t worry if you can’t obtain the 2012; the 2009 & 2010 are also highly rated). Your best bet is to google the 2012 vintage and see what come up.

Cheers & Happy Holidays!



Mercersburg Inn - InteriorOn Thursday, November 27, 2014, the Mercersburg Inn, 405 South Main Street, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, will be serving a four-course Thanksgiving dinner from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. that will be open to the public.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu…

Appetizer: Baked Brie en Croute with Pistachios & Raspberry Coulis

Soup or Salad (Choice of): Classic Caesar Salad… Roasted Winter Squash Bisque garnished with Crème Fraiche

Entrée: Golden Roasted turkey with Sage Dressing, Turkey Gravy, Whipped Potatoes, Sweet Potato Purée, Haricots Verts Amandine, Cranberry Sauce

Dessert: Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

The Thanksgiving Day menu is priced at $38.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). No substitutions. The Inn’s regular à la carte menu will also be available. For children 10 and under, a child’s portion entrée and dessert are priced at $18.00.

In addition, if guests who wish to spend the night and book a superior or extravagant room on Thanksgiving, they will enjoy a complimentary dinner for 2. Guests who stay on Thursday, will also receive 50% off their room rate should they decide to stay on Friday night as well.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (717) 328-5231.

Bon Appétit!



De Novo European Pub - Demetri MalkiCulinary Director/Proprietor Demetri Malki, who transformed the former Upper Montclair Train Station into De Novo European Pub, an inviting space perfect for a quick drink or well-priced meal, has recently expanded his regular menu, introduced happy hour specials, and launched lunch service.

Mr. Malki gained a loyal following with his previous ventures in Montclair, Table 8 and D’metri’s. De Novo is his largest and most ambitious venture to date.

“So many of my former customers (who I now refer to as family) followed me here,” shares Mr. Malki. “I’m grateful for their continuous and loyal support. Owning a restaurant that serves as a warm gathering place for the community has been my dream for a long time.”

Under Mr. Malki’s culinary direction, De Novo’s eclectic contemporary pub menu focuses on quality and value: A cocktail & quick bite after getting off the train… A place for the family to enjoy a meal… A night out with friends… A venue for celebration or business event.

From small plates and signature flatbreads to homemade pastas, seasonal entrées, and an exciting catering menu, De Novo is designed to meet the needs – and culinary pleasures of its varied clientele.

Whether seated at the bar or a communal table, guests can now also enjoy happy hour specials every Monday through Friday, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Highlights include beer in bottles and cans for $3.00; drafts for $4.00; house wines for $5.00; an assortment of cocktails for $6.00; and pitchers of sangria for $20.00. Happy hour menu favorites include BBQ ribs, hot wings, and flatbreads for $8.00… De Novo’s bar is open daily until 1:30 a.m.

De Novo is now also open for lunch. The kitchen will be serving Monday through Thursday from 12:00 noon – 10:00 p.m. and Friday & Saturday from 12:00 noon – 1:00 a.m. On Sunday’s, the kitchen is open from 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

De Novo European Pub is located at 275 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Free parking spaces are reserved for De Novo customers only in the lot at the intersection of Bellevue and North Mountain Avenues.

For more information, please consult the De Novo’s website,, or call (973) 893-5008.

Bon Appétit!



Al Paris, ChefLe Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive! This is the proclamation heard globally on the third Thursday of each November, kicking off one of the animated rituals in the wine world. To celebrate the annual French wine release, Paris Bistro’s Chef Al Paris and Sommelier Wendy Wolf have collaborated to create a three-course Burgundian dinner on this coming Thursday, November 20, with three wines chosen to illustrate the diversity of the Gamay grape.

Guests who choose the wine flight will begin with the 2014 Nouveau from the small, renowned family-owned Domaine du Vissoux. Winemaker Pierre-Marie Chermette does

not chaptalize (add sugar) his wines and uses only native yeasts in the fermentation. The wines are served in the finest restaurants and bistros of Paris.

The second wine, Quartz et Sable’s 2013 Beaujolais Villages, is a wonderful example of wine from the region, which, is biodynamic, organic, unfiltered, unfined, has no added sulfites or yeast, and is perfectly delicious.

The fine wine is Fleurie, Domaine du Quatre Vents, 2011. This wine demonstrates what a little aging can do for the Gamay grape. There is structure and complexity beyond what one might expect.

The Burgundian Menu is noted below…

Appetizer (Choice of): Escargot à la Bourguignon, Burgundy Mushrooms, Fava Beans, Broad Egg Noodles…Moules à la Moutard, Fennel, Dijon-Thyme Cream… Asparagus with Truffled Egg, Soft Scrambled, Fresh Truffle, Puff Pastry; Wine Pairing: Nouveau Beaujolais, Domaine du Vissoux, 2014

Main Course (Choice of): Coq au Vin, Mushroom, Pearl Onion, Bacon Lardon… Boeuf Bourguignon, Classic French Beef Stew… Burgundian Fish Stew, Bass, Trout, Monkfish, Garlic, Onion, White Wine, Toasts; Wine Pairing: Beaujolais Villages, Quartz et Sable, 2013

Dessert (Choice of): Monk’s “Epoisses” Cheese & Grape Tart, Burgundy Syrup, Almond Financier… Burgundy Poached Pear, Sweet Cream Profiterole, Cassis; Wine Pairing: Fleurie, Domaine des Quatres Vents, 2011

The cost of the 3-course Burgundian menu is $39.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity); $60.00 per person with the wine pairings. Guests can enjoy the Burgundian menu, plus the regular bistro menu on Friday & Saturday, November 21 & 22. Wine flights will also be offered.

Paris Bistro is located at 8229 Germantown Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. To make reservations, please visit or call (215) 242-6200.

Bon Appétit!