Blue Morel - Renovated InteriorBlue Morel Restaurant and Wine Bar in the Westin Governor Morris Hotel, 2 Whippany Road, Morristown, New Jersey, has undergone a major renovation that further marries the handsome décor to the restaurant’s thoughtful, accessible New American fare.

The space has been remade in flattering shades of earthy gray, brown, copper, and green offset by crisp white moldings. Gone are the white tablecloths and high-backed chairs… Now in place is a curvy seating in a pop of olive, which represents the bounty of the earth; inviting loveseats, and pillowy lounge seating at the bar.

The dining room tables also received a handcrafted upgrade as well: faux leather placemats on warm wood tables, homey vintage-feel glassware, and modern-rustic custom ceramic bowls commissioned from local artisan Keiko Inouye. “We found our guests wanted more of a relaxed feel in the dining room and people love eating at the bar, so we listened to them,” notes Chef Thomas Ciszak, VP of Food and Beverage for Island Hospitality Group, who conceptualized and oversees Blue Morel.

To complement the new décor, Executive Chef Dennis Matthews has noted the new spring menu highlights… New dishes include Curry Carrot Soup with crispy carrot chips, herb oil & carrot tops; White Asparagus Panna Cotta & Rhubarb; and Sushi Grade Tuna with fiddlehead ferns, young leeks, English peas, mussel Mousseline & Mangalista lardo. For dessert, think elegantly whimsy: Pina Colada “Edible Soup” (coconut ice cream, pineapple sauce, passionfruit yogurt, coconut bubbles and a colorful Macaron Tree.

Blue Morel Restaurant and Wine Bar is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (973) 451-2619.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Nicholas in Main Dining RoomOn Thursday, June 27, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a special dinner that was inspired by the delivery of wild ramps from the restaurant’s local forager.

Amuse: Chilled Jersey Asparagus Soup, Lemon Oil, Chives

First Course: Cured Fluke, Jersey Strawberries, Elderflower Syrup, Green Almonds

Second Course: House Cured Pork Belly, Sumac, Textures of Rhubarb

Third Course: Duck Egg Ravioli, Local Wild Ramp Pasta, House Made Ricotta

Dessert: Local New Jersey Sweet Corn Cake, Buttermilk Sweet Corn NJ Ice Cream, Bacon Caramel, Kettle Corn Crunch

The cost of the spring vegetable & forage dinner is $90.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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PluckeminOn Friday, June 21, 2019, 7:00 p.m., the Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, New Jersey, will host the third in its June series of “meet the winemaker” dinners as Pinto Naravane, founder/partner of Washington State’s Rasa Winery, will lead participants through a selection of his award-winning wines.

Amuse: Squash Blossom; Wine Pairing: 2017 The Composer Riesling

First Course: Sockeye Salmon, Farro, Zucchini, Basil; Wine Pairing: 2017 Occam’s Razor Red Blend

Second Course: Rigatoni, Mushroom Ragu, Pancetta, Aged Provolone; Wine Pairing: 2017 QED Axiom of Choice Cabernet Franc

Third Course: Grilled Short Ribs, Polenta, Eggplant, Roasted Peppers, Tomato; Wine Pairing: 2012 Plus One Cabernet Sauvignon

Cheese: Cascadia Creamy; Wine Pairing: 2014 Veritas Sequitur Syrah

The price of the Rasa Winery wine dinner is $125.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Davio's KOP - Interior, BarOn Thursday, June 27, 2019, 6:30 p.m., Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, 200 Main Street, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will host a special four-course dinner paired with the extraordinary wines of Merriam Vineyards of Healdsburg, California. The special guest of the evening will be winemaker Peter Merriam.

Benevenuto: Wellfleet Oysters, Maine Uni, Yuzu Mignonette… Flint Hill Farm Crispy Cheese Bites, Calabrian Chili Aioli… Chilled Wild Jumbo Shrimp, Louis Dressing; Wine Pairing: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Danielle, Russian River Valley

Farinaceo: Lobster Tortelloni, White Asparagus, Pink Peppercorn, Lemon Butter; Wine Pairing: 2016 Cuvée Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Piatto del Giorno: Wagyu Rib Eye, Purple Potato Fonduta, Morels, Truffle Béarnaise; Wine Pairing: 2014 Estate Windacre Cabernet, Russian River Valley

Dolci: Dark Chocolate Charlotte, Gianduja Custard… Assorted Truffles; Wine Pairing: 2017 Estate Late Harvest Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon, Russian River Valley

The price of the Merriam Vineyards wine dinner is $100.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call Davio’s at (610) 337-4810.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Pluckemin Inn - InteriorOn Monday, June 17, 2019, 7:00 p.m., the Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, New Jersey, will host a special dinner featuring the wines of Winemaker Helena Lindstrom from Biserno Bolgheri.

Her wines have been receiving top scores in the Super-Tuscan category, with the 2015 receiving a 98-point rating in the Wine Advocate. Ms. Lindstrom will lead participants through a selection of her wines, which will be paired with a delicious Tuscan-inspired menu created by Executive Chef Kevin LaFemina.

Amuse – Stuffed Mussel: Cotechino, Sourdough; Wine Pairing: 2017 Camp al Mare Vermentino di Bolgheri

First Course – Quail: Preparation To Be Determined; Wine Pairing: 2017 Camp di Sasso Insolglio del Cinghali

Second Course – Garganelli: Prosciutto, Zucchini, Pine Nuts, Pecorino; Wine Pairing: 2016 Biserno il Pino

Third Course – Grilled Pork: Porchetta, Yukon Potato, Pepperonata, Rosemary; Wine Pairing: 2015 & 2012 Biserno Biserno

Dessert – Rice Pudding: Coconut, Mango, Lime

Coffee

 The price of the Biserno Bolgheri wine dinner is $125.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Crystal Springs - Chef's GardenThe Chef’s Garden at Crystal Springs Resort, the resort’s beautiful outdoor restaurant in a working garden, is now open for the season.

One of New Jersey’s most unique dining experiences, the Chef’s Garden is set in a lush acre of organic gardens that grow herbs, lettuces, fruit, vegetables, and more for the restaurant (and its four-star sister, Restaurant Latour). All the cooking is done over open fire, grills, wood-fired ovens and smokers (no gas is used) – while guests enjoy stunning mountain views.

Crystal Springs’ Executive Chef Aishling Stevens’ new lunch and dinner menus for the season showcase the bounty of local farms from the surrounding Skylands and Black Dirt Region, as well as the garden.

Summer appetizers highlight vegetables and seafood: Charred Eggplant & White Bean Hummus with tomatoes, parsley, grilled flatbread; U-Peel Shrimp with nori aioli and pepper cocktail sauce; Hearth Roasted Cauliflower with white gazpacho, roasted grapes, and mint; Summer Fish Ceviche with sea salt, nasturtium, and marigold; Kebabs of Eggplant with feta and arugula; Octopus with couscous and romesco; and Lamb with parsley salad and yogurt.

Entrées offer Whole Fish slow roasted tomatoes, chimichurri, polenta; Fire-Roasted Bone-In Rib Steak for two; Roasted Lobster with smoked clams, lemon butter; Smoked ½ pound of meat with choice of: Mangalitsa Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Jerk Chicken or Merguez Lamb served with house pickles, slaw, and cornbread.

Cesar Reyes, Director of Restaurants at Crystal Springs, crafts cocktails that take full advantage of herbs and vegetables from the surrounding garden. Garden Refresher mixes Absolut Elix, lemon, mint, and cucumber; Tiki Mule pairs Avuá Cachaça with The Bitter Truth pimento dram, pineapple, and ginger beer; Green Thumb blends Zacapa Solera 23 Rum, elderflower, celery juice, and matcha tea powder; Summer Smash incorporates Bacardi Rum, mixed berries, ginger root, and lime; Smoky Sunset cools down Montelobos Joven Mezcal with heirloom carrot purée, agave, and smoked sea salt; and fruity Cantaloupe Cooler balances Patron Reposado Select Tequila with agave, cantaloupe, lemon.

The Chef’s Garden is located at the Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort, 3 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, New Jersey. The restaurant is open every weekend, Friday – Sunday until late September, weather permitting. Reservations at not accepted. The restaurant is first come, first served.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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plukemin2On Friday, June 14, 2019, 7:00 p.m., the Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, New Jersey, will host a sumptuous dinner paired with the wines of the Jean Edwards Cellars, Sonoma, California. John and Karen Trosi, the winery’s owners/founders, will lead diners through their wines, all perfectly paired with the menu created by the Inn’s Executive Chef Kevin LaFemina.

Amuse: Asparagus Salad: Baccala, Lemon Aioli, Ramps; Wine Pairing: 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

First Course: Swordfish: Spring Vegetable Ragout, Gremolata, Pistachios; Wine Pairing: 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Second Course: Rigatoni: Short Rib, Broccoli Rabe, Black Olive, Pecorino; Wine Pairing: 2015 Stagecoach Cabernet

Third Course: Veal Cheeks: Creamed Kale, Morels, Cipollini, Tomato Confit; Wine Pairing: 2015 Rutherford Cabernet

Cheese: Valley Shepard Creamy Califon Tomme; Wine Pairing: 2015 Napa Valley Malbec

The price of the Jean Edwards Winery dinner is $125.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Creed's - InteriorOn Wednesday evening, June 19, 2019, Creed’s Seafood & Steaks, 499 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will host a special four-course Taste of Spain wine dinner.

Cocktail – Aigua de Valencia: Valencian Water is a cocktail made from a base of Cava or Champagne, Orange Juice, Vodka and Gin

First Course – Jumbo Lump Crabmeat-Avocado Caprese Salad: Vine Ripe Tomato Carpaccio, Fresh Basil Leaves, Mozzarella Cheese, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Drizzle, Micro Arugula; Wine Pairing: Pazo Dai Bruxas Albariño

Second Course – Rosemary-Garlic Marinated Lamb Chops: Grilled and topped with Gremolada, Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad; Wine Pairing: Raza Rioja

Third Course – Pan-Seared Frenched Venison Rack Chop: Celery Root-Potato Purée, Garlic Butter Poached Asparagus, Lingonberry Gastrique; Wine Pairing: Real Compania De Vinos Grenache

Fourth Course – Callebaut Dark Chocolate & Grand Marnier Mousse: Whipped Cream, Fresh Mint

The price of the Taste of Spain wine dinner is $75.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). Seating is limited. For more information, or to make reservations, please call Creed’s at (610) 265-2550.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Choc-O-Pain French Bakery & CafeOn Thursday, June 2, 2019, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Choc.O.Pain French Bakery & Café in the Judson Tea Building, 1500 Hudson Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, will host an art opening reception featuring the artwork of artist, Hélène McGuire, a former Hoboken resident. The event will kick-off a three-month exhibition of the artist’s work at the Choc.O.Pain location.

The popular artist will be presenting a collection of her fine art photography works entitled The Paris Exhibit, a series that came naturally after 15-years living away from her native city of Paris.

Choc.O.Pain will be offering light refreshments and bubbly/wine.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Wines from Tornatore

by artfuldiner on May 22, 2019

in Artful Diner Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Wine

Tornatore - VineyardThis family-owned winery is located in the village of Castiglione di Sicilia, on the northeastern slopes of Mt. Etna, Europe’s biggest and most active volcano. And while the family is relatively new to winemaking, they have been growing grapes for more than 150 years. “My first commercial vintage was 2012,” notes founder Francesco Tornatore. “However, it was my great-grandfather who was the first in our family to plant vines here in 1865.”

Mt. Etna is an exceptional terroir. Situated in northeastern Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and Italy’s fourth largest wine producing region, there is abundant warmth and sunshine… There is also a dramatic cooling effect, courtesy of the sea breezes and high elevation, that preserves acidity, enhances structure, and brings complexity to the Tornatore wines. The region’s volcanic soils are both fertile and well-drained and, therefore, ideally suited to viticulture.

Many types of grapes thrive on Mt. Etna’s slopes; but it is the native white Carricante and red Nerello Mascalese that produce the region’s most significant wines (including the two noted directly below). And Tornatore relies almost exclusively on these two varietals for their single vineyard and regional blends.

Tornatore - Etna Bianco 2017Tornatore Etna Bianco 2017: In the glass, this wine is a beautiful light straw color with subtle green reflections.  The nose perceives hints of stone fruit and herbs, while the palate revels in the bright acidity of lemon, lime, and grapefruit that moves on to a long and slightly salty finish (a characteristic of the Carricante grape). The Wine Enthusiast bestowed 90 points (100-point scale). If you’re tired of that same old boring, over-oaked Chardonnay, the 2017 Etna Bianco makes a uniquely delicious and desirable alternative. Highly recommended.

Tornatore - Etna Rosso 2016Tornatore Etna Rosso 2016: This light and lively red wine gives off marvelous whiffs of roses and red berries tinged with subtle herbal notes. The palate is ethereally elegant and alive with hints of strawberry, smooth-as-silk tannins, and a crisp, bright acidity. This delicious, well-balanced wine – which recently received 93 points and an “Editors’ Choice” designation from the Wine Enthusiast – is the perfect complement to any meal.

Both of these wines are available through Pennsylvania State Stores and are priced at $24.99 per bottle (somewhat less if purchased from sources online).

Cheers!

TAD

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