Pluckemin Inn Hosts Two October Wine Events

by artfuldiner on October 12, 2019

in Uncategorized

plukemin2During the month of October, the Pluckemin Inn, 359 Route 202-206, Bedminster, New Jersey, will be hosting two major wine events…

The first event is the Domaine Drouhin Oregon Wine Tasting on Tuesday, October 15th, 2019, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. This walk-around wine tasting will give guests the opportunity to meet Ashley Bell, Director of Education and Sales for Domaine Drouhin Oregon. The tasting will be conducted in a casual format rather than a seated dinner, so guests may come and go as they please. There will also be an ample selection of hors d’oeuvres served through the evening and the Tavern will be open following the tasting as well.

The cost of the tasting is $75.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity) and will include hors d’oeuvres and one tasting pour of each of the wines. Additional wine may be ordered by the glass for those interested.

The lineup of wines will include RoseRock Chardonnay 2016… RoseRock Pinot Noir 2015… Domaine Drouhin Oregon “Arthur” Chardonnay 2016… Oregon Pinot Noir 2016… and Pinot Noir “Laurene” 2015. The wines tasted will also be available for purchase.

For more information, or to make a reservation, please call (908) 658-9292.


The second event is the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Dinner on Thursday, October 17, 2019,  7:00 p.m. The menu and Champagne pairings are noted immediately below…

Amuse: Barnegat Oyster, Herb Mignonette, Caviar; Champagne Pairing: Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label en Jeroboam

First Course: Maine Lobster Salad, Cauliflower, Hazelnuts, Watercress, Radish; Champagne Pairings: Veuve Clicquot 2008… Veuve Clicquot Blanc 2004 en Magnum

Second Course: Ricotta Gnocchi, Tomato, Pancetta, Parmigiano, Pesto Trapanese; Champagne Pairing: Veuve Clicquot Rosé 2008

Third Course: Griggstown Guinea Hen, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, Black Truffle, Maitake; Champagne Pairings: Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame 2006… Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2008

Cheese Cremeux de Bourgogne… VeuveClicquot La Grande Dame Rosé 2008

The cost of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne dinner is $175.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!



Best Foodie Cities in America

by artfuldiner on October 11, 2019

in Breaking News, Wining and Dining

With World Food Day just around the corner on October 16th, and restaurant prices rising 3.2% between July 2018 and July 2019, WalletHub, the personal-finance website, thought this might be the perfect time to release its report on 2019’s Best Foodie Cities in America.

To determine the best and cheapest local foodie scenes, WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 30 key metrics. The data set ranges from affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants to food festivals per capita to craft breweries and wineries per capita.

The Top 20 Foodie Cities in America are listed below…

1.Portland, OR

2.New York, NY

3.Miami, FL

4.San Francisco, CA

5.Los Angeles, CA

6.Las Vegas, NV

7.San Diego, CA

8.Seattle, WA

9.Chicago, IL

10.Austin, TX

11.Orlando, FL

12.Sacramento, CA

13.Tampa, FL

14.Atlanta, GA

15.Denver, CO

16.Charleston, SC

17.Washington, DC

18.Honolulu, HI

19.Philadelphia, PA

20.Oakland, CA

Philly finished in the top 20, not a bad showing. To view the full report, and the rankings of all 182 cities included within it, please click on

 Bon Appétit!



The Wines of Louis Latour

by artfuldiner on October 10, 2019

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Opinion, Wine

Louis Latour - WineryMaison Louis Latour is an important négociant-éléveur (A French wine merchant who buys grapes and vinifies them, or buys wines and blends them, bottles the result under his own label and ships them.) of red and white wines in Burgundy, France. Currently operated by the seventh Louis Latour, Louis-Fabrice Latour, the company has remained family-run since its foundation in 1797 and has built a reputation for tradition and innovation. This Domaine has the largest Grand Cru property (literally “great growth,” or the top tier of vineyards and their wines) in the Cote d’Or with a total of 28.63 hectares (71.58 acres).

Members of the Latour family have grown grapes since the 17th century in Aloxe-Corton. Over the years, they gained a 125-acre Domaine and built the Corton Grancey winery in 1834. This was built over five levels in order to make wines via gravity flow, and was the first of is kind in France. While majority of Louis Latour’s vineyard holdings are in Aloxe-Corton, the company also makes wines in several other grand cru and premier cru vineyards, including Le Montrachet and Romanée-Saint-Vivant.

The large range of wines produced at Louis Latour is made based on the terroir of each region and vineyard plot. The red wines are fermented in French oak vats before spending up to 12 months in barrel; while the Chardonnay ferments in stainless steel before getting transferred to oak barriques. In 1979, Louis Latour acquired holdings in the Ardèche River region in south-central France to produce Viognier and Chardonnay at a more accessible price point. The same was done with Pinot Noir in the Var region in southeast France.

Louis Latour is distributed to numerous countries throughout the world, and is one of the most easily recognized producers of Burgundy.

Louis Latour - CortonCorton-Charlemagne, a Grand Cru from the hill of Corton in the Côte de Beaune, is one Louis Latour’s flagship wines. This vineyard is extremely close to the famous “Clos Charlemagne,” which was the property of the Emperor Charlemagne until 775. The word “Corton” is a contraction of “Curtis Othonis,” which means “domain of Othon,” an emperor descended from Charlemagne.

Interestingly enough, it was the gravest crisis ever faced by a Burgundian vineyard that caused the birth of this wine…. The limestone rich soil at the top of the hillside had been ignored before the 7th generation of Louis Latour decided to plant Chardonnay instead of the Aligoté that had been killed by the Phylloxera, a deadly pest. The Latour family currently owns 25 acres of Corton-Charlemagne, which has since become one of most famous white wines of Burgundy.

Louis Latour - Chav MontChevalier Montrachet “Les Demoiselles” is another entry in Latour’s stable of Grand Cru wines. The name “Montrachet” is a derivation of the names “Mont Rachaz” (1252, “Mont Rachat” (1380), “the Montrachat” (1473). In old French “la râche” means “bald”; etymologically speaking, therefore, “Montrachet” means “bald mountain” because of its lack of vegetation. In the middle ages, the Lord of Puligny passed down a vineyard to his eldest son, the “Chevalier” (Knight), who left France to fight in the crusades, hence the name of the appellation “Chevalier-Montrachet.”

The terroir of “Chevalier-Montrachet” is of notable exception to the “bald” designation because its rich brown soils – usually reserved for the planting of Pinot Noir – have transformed Chardonnay into one of the greatest dry white wines in the world. The vineyard carries the name “Les Demoiselles” in homage to the daughters of an early 19th-century Beaune General, Adèle and Julie Voillot, the owners of the vineyard who both died without marrying.

The aforementioned Grand Cru wines, as you would expect, carry some pretty hefty price tags. Fortunately, Maison Louis Latour also offers a number of entry level wines of excellent quality…

Louis Latour -Pouilly Fuisse2017 Louis Latour Pouilly-Fuissé – Latour’s 2017 Pouilly-Fuissé stands out as one of the Winery’s best efforts in the Mâconnais, a wine region located in the south of the Burgundy. The district is best known as a source of good value white wine made from the Chardonnay grape, with Pouilly-Fuissé being a particularly sought-after wine.

The 2017 is an excellent vintage. Wine critic Wilfred Wong of bestowed 91 points and noted the wine as “flavorful and lasting.” It’s quite fragrant with a core of fruit and spices on the palate. It’s light, lithe and easy to drink. Wonderful as an aperitif or with a variety of foods. The price isn’t bad either. Currently on sale at $24.99 in Pennsylvania State Stores; as low as $17.99 online.

Louis Latour - Pinot Noir2017 Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir – Latour’s 2017 Bourgogne Pinot Noir is an interesting wine. I wasn’t too thrilled with it at first… but it tends to grow on you. Light-bodied with fresh raspberries much in evidence on the palate, it goes down nice and easy and is even better with a touch of chill. Food friendly to a fault, this is a wine that is eminently quaffable during any season of the year.

But the best part is undoubtedly the price point. Currently on sale in Pennsylvania for $19.99, I’ve seen it going online for a mere $14.99… And that’s a bargain, indeed.




Zorba’s Taverna

2230 Fairmount Avenue

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(215) 978-5990

Zorba's - ExteriorIf you happen to be paying a call at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and are in search of a good, reasonably priced restaurant in the immediate area, Zorba’s Taverna should fill the bill quite nicely. First reviewed in July 2014, this father-son BYOB is located in the shadow of Eastern Penitentiary with a handy paid parking facility just across the street. The diminutive eatery boasts two colorful dining rooms, an open kitchen, and some very, very good Greek cuisine.

Zorba's - Spring Salad SmallAs I mentioned in the first review, when it comes to the appetizers, all the usual suspects – stuffed grape leaves, potato purée, batter-dipped fried squid, baked feta and tomatoes – are present and accounted for. The so-called Greek Salad, however, is the acid test; and it was spectacular… as was the dressing, just the right combination of vinegar, herbs, and other seasonings. More recently, however, my dining partner and I decided to share the Spring Salad (pictured), a combo of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese – which we actually preferred to the traditional Greek salad. But, once again, it was the addictive Greek vinaigrette dressing that stole the show.

The first time around, my dining partner opted for the Shrimp Poseidon, crustaceans grilled over charcoal simply adorned with olive oil & lemon and garnished with wilted greens, tomato & cucumber. I, on the other hand, took the vegetarian route with a dish I have always enjoyed, the Imam Baldi. The presentation consists of eggplant stuffed with sautéed onions and tomatoes cooked in olive oil and topped with tomato sauce, herbs, and feta cheese.

Zorba's - Fisherman FeastIn actuality, these were our second choices… The first choice for both of us was the Fisherman’s Feast for two (pictured), which just happened to be unavailable on that particular evening. However, we did finally manage to order it during our most recent visit… and it was certainly worth waiting for. This extraordinary dish contains salmon, tilapia, rainbow trout filets, and two shrimps roasted over charcoal, as well as potatoes, rice, and a delicious array of slow-roasted vegetables teamed with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, lemon, and olive oil. A feast, indeed. An absolute must for seafood lovers.

Zorba's - BaklavaDessert-wise, Baklava (pictured) is still the name of the game. I have sampled many renditions of this iconic Greek sweet ending over the years, and Zorba’s version is benchmark in every respect.

 Bon Appétit!



Nicholas - Trimbach Wine DinnerOn Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a special five-course dinner paired with the sensational wines of Jean Trimbach of Ribeauvillé, Alsace, France. Mr. Trimbach will be present to share some interesting stories and lead in the tasting of five of the most interesting white wines in the world, including the extraordinary Clos Ste. Hune.

First Course: Roasted Sugar Pumpkin Soup, Cream Cheese Mousse, Graham Cracker Crumb; Wine Pairing: 2012 Alsace, Gewürztraminer, Seigneurs Ribeaupierre, Domaine Trimbach

Second Course: Smoked Cheddar Pierogi, Braised Red Cabbage, Dill Sour Crème, Caraway Toast; Wine Pairing: 2015 Alsace, Pinot Gris Reserve, Domaine Trimbach

Third Course: Panko Crusted Halibut, Bo Choy, Smoked Shallot Velouté, Mushroom Farfalle; Wine Pairing: 2008 Alsace, Riesling, Cuvée Frédéric Émile, Domaine Trimbach

Fourth Course: Ginger Honey Glazed Duck Breast, Honeynut Squash Purée, Cinnamon Cookie Crumb; Wine Pairing: 2014 Alsace, Clos Ste. Hune Grand Cru, Domaine Trimbach

Dessert: Vanilla Rice Pudding, Caramel Poached Pears, Candied Walnuts, Rum Vanilla Ice Cream; Wine Pairing: 2014 Alsace, Gewürztraminer, Vendange Tardive, Domaine Trimbach

The price of the Jean Trimbach Winemaker Dinner is $95.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). Reservations for this event are by phone only. For more information, or to reserve your place, please call (732) 345-9977.

 Bon Appétit!



Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

670 West Dekalb Pike

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

(610) 337-7823

Eddie V's - Interior 2And you thought dining at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse was an expensive proposition, right? Think again. There’s a new restaurant in town, and it has just raised the monetary bar – significantly. Welcome to Eddie V’s, the western suburbs’ new culinary hot spot and high rent district.

Just how high? In the “Shellfish to Share” department, that impressive-looking Shellfish Tower will set you back $70.00; the South African Lobster Pot, $89.00. The “Prime Seafood” begins at $33.00 for the Norwegian Salmon and peaks $89.00 for the Cold-Water Lobster Tails. And that 8-oz. Filet Mignon and South African Lobster Tail, a “Chef’s Classic,” will put an $87.00 dent in your wallet. Oh, by the way… should you elect to start things off with a Caviar Tasting – a trio of Siberian, Kaluga, and Ossetra – better prepare your AMEX for a $165.00 hit.

But even before you set eyes on the menu, you sense that the evening will not be for the faint of finance… The waterfall as you cross the threshold… the team of smiling faces behind the hostess desk just waiting to be of assistance… the crystal chandeliers… white-jacketed servers… the soft sounds of live jazz emanating from the bustling bar all conspire to put the fear of God into your pocketbook. The testosterone level in most bovine palaces is so thick you can cut it with a steak knife. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, on the other hand, speaks with a more luxuriously opulent accent.

But say what you will about the elegant dressed-to-impress ambiance, the important issue still remains: Does the quality of the restaurant’s cuisine justify its over-the-top tariffs? Well… yes and no… At least in my view.

First of all, there is absolutely no question that the seafood, which is flown in fresh daily, is at the very peak of good health; it is also impeccably prepared & attractively presented. And since Chef Greg Vassos, whose impressive curriculum vitae includes a stint at New York’s Le Bernadin, is the power-behind-the-stove, this certainly comes as no surprise.

Eddie V's - HalibutNot only are his piscatorial offerings prepared to perfection, they are also artfully paired with a variety of accoutrements that succeed in caressing rather than smothering the objects of their affection. Take his pictured Misoyaki Alaska Halibut ($40.00), for example. The filet is pan roasted to a snowy white countenance (rather than slightly translucent at the core), yet it remains marvelously moist and flaky. It then swims to table in a bewitchingly ethereal miso broth awash with sugar snap peas and shiitake mushrooms.

Eddie V's - Georges Bank ScallopsOf similar ilk is the rich and succulent Chilean Sea Bass ($47.00).  It is prepared Hong Kong-style, steamed, and then served up in an elegantly light soy broth. The American Red Snapper ($40.00), on the other hand, is pan seared and teamed with a charred heirloom tomato broth adorned with roasted corn and beech mushrooms… And the Norwegian Salmon ($33.00) finds a perfect match in a robust mustard & rye whiskey glaze and smattering of spinach and baby carrots. Equally recommendable is the presentation of pictured Georges Bank Scallops ($37.00). The bivalves are beautifully sautéed to a golden brown, delightfully meaty at the interior, and finished with citrus fruit, roasted almonds, and an irresistible brown butter sauce.

Eddie V's - Filet MignonMeatier matters are more straightforward. You have the Center-Cut Filet Mignon: 8-ounces ($42.00); 12-ounces ($49.00)… USDA Prime Bone-In New York Strip: 18-ounces ($53.00)… USDA Prime Bone-In Ribeye: 22-ounces ($55.00). Then of course, there are several spruced up versions… like the 18-oz. USDA Prime Bone-In New York Strip Au Poivre ($56.00), which sports a cracked black peppercorn Cognac sauce. But it was the pictured Bacon Wrapped Filets “Oscar” Style with King Crab ($56.00) that drew the oohs and aahs at our table. Grilled asparagus and a luscious Béarnaise filled in the blanks. Decadently rich about covers it.

The accompaniments also get high marks… The combo of Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Shallots ($12.00) is perfectly prepared – which is to say neither underdone nor cooked into a pale mush –  with the bacon and shallots contributing immensely in the taste and texture department… the Au Gratin Cheddar Potatoes ($11.00) are delightfully creamy and totally irresistible… ditto the Truffled Macaroni and Cheese ($13.00)… and over-the-top Butter Poached Lobster Mashed Potatoes ($18.00).

Eddie V's - Peach CobblerDesserts, which the menu notes are made fresh daily in Eddie V’s kitchen, are something of a mixed bag and, in my opinion, the restaurant’s weakest point. If you’re interested in a floor show, you might try the Bananas Foster Butter Cake ($13.00), which is flambéed tableside. On the other hand, if it’s sweetness you crave, there’s always either the Hot Chocolate Godiva Cake ($12.00) or the Dark Chocolate and Crushed Toffee S’Mores ($11.00)… But if you’re looking for something that’s kind of middle-of-the-road, as I was – not too showy, not too sweet – the Peach Cobbler (pictured) sounded just perfect. Unfortunately, the peach slices exhibited a rather strange texture and were absolutely flavorless… My advice dessert-wise is to keep it simple; stick with either the Fresh Seasonal Berries ($11.00) or the Sorbet and Ice Cream ($10.00), both served with the chef’s cookies.

Wine prices, as you would surmise, correspond to the cost of the cuisine; which means, of course, that a glass or bottle of vino will cost you dearly. Take the 2015 J.J. Vincent Bourgogne Blanc, for instance. This is a very nice French Chardonnay made from grapes grown in the Mâcon region. It is also listed as a “Best Buy” by Wine & Spirits magazine, as the average retail price is about $18.00 a bottle, although I’ve seen it on sale for as low as $14.00. Eddie V’s sells it for a whopping $18.00 per glass/$72.00 per bottle! One thing is certain… you don’t have to be a math major to realize you’re being royally ripped off.

Eddie V's - InteriorSpeaking of… If you order a steak at Eddie V’s, that is precisely what you get. One steak. Naked. Sitting on a plain white plate. Not only are the accompaniments served à la carte, but the sauces as well. So, if you want a sauce on that steak – Tarragon Béarnaise… Cognac Peppercorn Crème…Classic Hollandaise… or Blue Cheese Fondue – it will cost you $4.00 per. Talk about pushing the envelope.

But let’s do a bit of comparison shopping… Jean-Georges, from internationally acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, recently made its debut in the Comcast Technology Center at 1 North 19th Street in Philadelphia. While Mr. Vongerichten’s prices are not as elevated as those at his New York City flagship, as you would expect, they are still formidable. And yet… amazingly… Eddie V’s prices are comparable and, in numerous instances, even more expensive.  Totally mind-boggling.

Without doubt, when it comes to judging steakhouse restaurants, foodwise, Eddie V’s is clearly at the top of the heap. But… bear in mind that you are paying fine dining prices for chain steakhouse fare – as good as it may be – and atmosphere. And ambiance plays a rather important role here. When the main dining area is filled, which appears to be most of the time, it is pure bedlam. The decibel level may only be described as lethal.

By way of contrast, recently, our party of five lunched at the new Jean-Georges in Philadelphia. Apart from the cuisine, which is incomparable (I’ll be posting a complete review at a later date), the setting is spatially stunning; yet, at the same time, simply appointed and sedate. And because of the incredibly high ceiling, the noise level is minimal. Among other things, the restaurant also features spectacular views of the City of Brotherly Love from its 59th-floor location in the Four Seasons Hotel.  Eddie V’s, on the other hand, boasts a breathtaking view of the glass-enclosed kitchen.

Are comparisons of this nature an exercise in futility…? Perhaps. But when you consider that you may enjoy a fine dining experience at a restaurant the caliber of Jean-Georges for approximately the same amount you would spend at a chain steakhouse, it makes Eddie V’s prices appear all the more outrageous.

I know where I’d prefer to spend my money… On the other hand, it’s your call.

 Bon Appétit!



Nicholas in Main Dining RoomFrom Tuesday, October 22 – Saturday, October 26, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will be serving their annual white truffle menu.

The stars of this special five-course menu are the fresh white truffles flown in from Alba Italy. This is the most requested tasting menu of the year. Reservations are required, and the restaurant will be offering this special menu in the dining room only.

Amuse: Chilled White Truffle Vichyssoise

First Course: Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, Chicory Greens, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fresh White Truffle

Second Course: Hand-Rolled Tagliatelle, White Truffle Butter Sauce

Third Course: White Truffle Scented Arborio Rice Risotto, Parmesan Foam, Alba Truffle

Fourth Course: Crystal Valley Chicken Breast, Prosciutto di Parma, Yukon Gold Potato & Truffle Mousseline

Dessert Amuse: Olive Oil Ice Cream, Truffle Honey

Dessert: White Truffle Crème Brûlée

The price of the special white truffle menu is $195.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). Phone reservations only for this event: (732) 345-9977.

 Bon Appétit!



Bud & Marilyn’s

1234 Locust Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(215) 546-2220

Bud & Marilyn's - ExteriorBud & Marilyn’s is yet another entry in the Valerie Safran/Marcie Turney portfolio of highly successful 13th Street corridor eateries. And to say that this dynamic duo has been the driving force behind the transformation of sleepy 13th Street into one of the city’s most vibrant restaurant scenes would, indeed, be right on the money. The other eateries in the couple’s impressively diverse stable include Lolita (Nuevo Mex tacos), Jamonera (paella and tapas), Little Nonna’s (cheese-stuffed meatballs), and the highly-rated wood-fired Italian fare at Barbuzzo.

Bud & Marilyn's - InteriorBud & Marilyn’s, however – if you’ll pardon the continuing analogy – is a horse of a different color. The restaurant is unabashedly retro. Named after Ms. Turney’s grandparents, who ran a restaurant in Ripon, Wisconsin, the moment you cross the threshold, you feel like you’ve just stumbled into an out-of-control party in your uncle’s rec room. Vintage decor, clunky glassware, and an odd assortment of knickknacks all add to the pleasant illusion of another time and place… as do the updated riffs on a host of classic cocktails.

The food, on the other hand, is retro in name only. In some cases, items listed on the menu simply provide a springboard for the infusion of a host of upscale/updated ingredients; in others, all pretense of culinary reminiscence is simply laid aside – I mean, no one would ever accuse dishes like Seared Sea Scallops with pancetta and Miso Glazed Salmon of pressing too many nostalgic buttons.

Bud and Marilyn's - Falafel crusted cauliflowerThe restaurant itself is a kind of absurd contradiction… a culinary oxymoron, if you will. Bud & Marilyn’s clearly postures itself – as do its various reviewers – as a retro eatery… Yet its best dishes, in my experience, are those that are the least nostalgic… or, more to the point, those that are the least dependent upon the kitchen’s somewhat-less-than-successful attempts to make them au courant.  The above-mentioned Seared Sea Scallops and Miso Glazed Salmon being two very strong cases in point… ditto the Falafel Crusted Cauliflower (pictured). Embellished with serrano chili, cilantro, mint, toasted sesame seeds, splash of lemon, and a cooling cucumber raita, this delicious starter is as contemporary as it gets. It is also – unlike many other items in the restaurant’s repertoire – modestly portioned and marvelously light on the palate.

Bud and Marilyn's - Brick ChickenThe great majority of the dishes I’ve observed here are both heavy and heavy-handed. Heavy with regard to portion-size, preparation, and impact on one’s delicate peristalsis; and particularly heavy-handed with regard to presentation. Take the Grilled “Brick” Chicken (pictured), for example. I’m not one of those critics who believes that everything that proceeds out of the kitchen must resemble a work of art… but I do believe that any item of food ultimately placed before a diner should be at least semi-attractive. However, when this dish hit the table, my first thought was that it bore uncanny resemblance to the regurgitation of an endangered species. To paraphrase that old axiom: “The palate can only appreciate what the eye can endure.” And there are occasions at Bud & Marilyn’s when the eye must endure a great deal. Finesse, it should be noted, is not this restaurant’s strong suit.

Bud and Marilyn' - MeatloafAmong the spruced up retro entrées, the Fontina & Chard Stuffed Meatloaf has the most to recommend it. The hefty loaf is upgraded with Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors’ dry-aged beef and veal, a third-generation meat wholesaler based in North Bergen, New Jersey. The sautéed Swiss chard adds suppleness, the fontina a shot of oozy over-indulgence. The glaze is a ketchup concoction – just like mom used to make – that is caramelized in the oven. The meatloaf itself is a thing of beauty, dense but marvelously moist and beautifully seasoned.

Accompaniments, however, vary in quality… The royal trumpet mushroom gravy presented in a vintage gravy boat (When’s the last time you saw one of those?) is lusciously over-the-top. But Yukon Gold mashed potatoes are thin, watery, and lacking in flavor. And the carrots & peas look like they were dropped onto the plate from some undetermined height. Once again, the devil is in the details – and the kitchen doesn’t quite get it.

Bud and Marilyn's - Choc Peanut Butter Malted Milk Ball CakeDessert-wise, there are a number of ways to go… but nothing quite does the trick like a gargantuan wedge of sinfully decadent chocolate cake layered with peanut butter buttercream and embellished with chocolate ganache and mini-malt balls. If you’re a confirmed lover of chocolate/peanut butter combos, as I am, you will find this outrageously rich dessert simply impossible to resist. And don’t even think about tackling it by yourself, as my dining partner and I barely made a dent. This is a table-sharer if ever there was one… and simply not to be missed.

In many ways, dining at Bud & Marilyn’s is an incredibly frustrating experience. On some occasions, the kitchen acquits itself reasonably well; those irresistible Wisconsin Cheese Curds immediately come to mind, ditto the Warm Buttermilk Biscuits, and the aforementioned Seared Sea Scallops, Miso Glazed Salmon, and Fontina & Chard Stuffed Meatloaf. On the other hand, the kitchen’s current philosophy of presentation appears to be pile it on. The food is surprisingly heavy – on the eye and on the palate – and, in many cases, lacks both focus and finesse.

Bud & Marilyn’s offers diners an interesting culinary journey down memory lane… I just wish there were a few less bumps in the road.

 Bon Appétit!



NIcholas - Paul Hobbs Wine DinnerOn Thursday, October 3, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a special dinner paired with the extraordinary vintages of the Paul Hobbs Winery of Sebastopol, California.

Amuse: Celery Root & Smoked Apple Soup; Wine Pairing: 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Crossbarn, Paul Hobbs

First Course: Wagyu Beef Tartare, Kyoto Carrots, Bone Marrow Crumbs, Urfa Biber Chili; Wine Pairing: 2016 Russian River Chardonnay, Paul Hobbs

Second Course: Potato Pierogi, Red Cabbage, Caraway Toast, Dill Crème; Wine Pairing: 2017 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Crossbarn, Paul Hobbs

Third Course: Pan Roasted Golden Tile, Red Bliss Confit, Cauliflower, Raisin Purée; Wine Pairing: 2017 Carneros Pinot Noir, Hyde Vineyard, Paul Hobbs

Fourth Course: Braised Venison Osso Bucco, Fregula Pasta, Watercress, Huckleberry Game Jus; Wine Pairing: 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Paul Hobbs

Dessert: Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake, Salted Caramel, Coffee Crunch Ice Cream

The price of the Paul Hobbs Winemaker Dinner is $150.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make a reservation, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!



Main Line Restaurant WeekFrom Monday, September 16 – Sunday, September 22, 2019, the second annual Main Line Restaurant Week will showcase food and drink from more than 35 local restaurants.

Villanova University has partnered with the Bryn Mawr Business Association, the Wayne Business Association, and Main Line Today magazine to sponsor this second annual event.

Participating restaurants will offer a prix-fixe menu, specials, or a percentage discount to any patron who dines out throughout the week.

“We are looking forward to building on last year’s success and continuing to showcase all of the great restaurants we have right here in our backyards,” said Laura Wagoner, Assistant Director of Government & Community Relations at Villanova. “The partnership with these organizations shows how strong the Main Line community is through their overwhelming support for these local businesses.”

For an up-to-date list of participating restaurants and specials, please visit the restaurant week website here:

Bon Appétit!