Anthony David's - Chef's Counter TastingsAnthony David’s, 953 Bloomfield Avenue, Hoboken, New Jersey, continues its Monday night chef’s counter tastings with a culinary tour of the regions of Italy.

Each Monday evening at 7:00 p.m., through May 4, 2015, Chef/Proprietor Anthony Pino and Chef de Cuisine Justin Antiorio will personally prepare and serve a seasonal 5-course dinner to ten guests.

Each dinner will explore a culinary region of Italy with delicious off-market specials and the finest of market-fresh ingredients.

Upcoming Monday Night Tastings:

March 9 – Piedmont

March 16 – Lombardy

March 23 – Vento

March 30 – Emilia-Romagna


April 13 – Umbria

April 20 – Campania

April 27 – Basilicata

May 4 – Calabria

*No tasting on April 6

This is a really neat idea… Chef’s counter tastings are a fun and relaxed way to enjoy an evening with friends and observe Hoboken’s leading chef up-close and personal. Why not make it a dinner party with ten friends!

The cost is $100.00 per person (including tax & gratuity). Reservations fill up quickly – guests should email for seats.

Bon Appétit!



Farmer’s Daughter Bar & Restaurant

1401 Morris Road

Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

(215) 616-8300

Tucked away in a highly unlikely location – in the bowels of the Normandy Farm Hotel-Conference Center – the Farmer’s Daughter adds a homey touch to a facility that is commonly (and somewhat derogatorily) known as a “wedding factory.”

The eatery, though, originally Coleman Restaurant, a vehicle for celebrity chef Jim Coleman, host of the popular WHYY show A Chef’s Table, got off to a rather rocky start.  Like many celebrity chefs, Mr. Coleman did most of his cooking in absentia; and proceeded to depart his kitchen, as well as his gig with WHYY, in 2010.

A year later, the restaurant was reincarnated as the Farmer’s Daughter, with Texas native Chef Corey Fair as the power-behind-the-stove… But a scant two weeks after the debut, Mr. Fair performed a spirited “exit stage left,” leaving the kitchen in the hands of sous chef Mtele “Abu” Abubakar, with whom he had worked for several years.

Farmer's Daughter - InteriorMr. Abubakar’s hands, however, despite all the confusion, have proved quite capable. Still in his early thirties, the Kenyan native and Culinary Institute of America graduate is a seasoned veteran of kitchens in England, Dubai, Romania, and Northern California. And there is no question that his strong artistic sense adds a decided touch of class to the restaurant’s local-farm-to-table emphasis, which is attractively carried over onto the rustic reclaimed wood décor.

Aforementioned kudos notwithstanding, there are certain eateries that are better suited for lunch rather than dinner encounters – and, in my opinion, the Farmer’s Daughter is certainly one of them. Since it’s not what I would consider a “destination restaurant,” I wouldn’t be all that anxious to make a special pilgrimage for an evening meal… Lunch, on the other hand, is a different story; and several spur-of-the-moment sojourns here have proved to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Farmer's Daughter  - Rolls & Olive OilThe kitchen prides itself on utilizing locally sourced ingredients whenever possible… a pledge that also extends to the various breads, which are baked daily on the premises. And the moment those ciabatta rolls hit the table – buttressed by herb-infused olive oil –  you know that all will be well.

If you’re into greenery, the menu offers a number of possibilities. The ubiquitous wedge – iceberg, diced tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese crumbles, and creamy blue cheese dressing – is, of course, present and accounted for. And it’s quite good… But there are certainly more interesting options.

Farmer's Daughter - Asparagus SaladThe spiraled beet salad, for example, is comprised of roasted carrots, walnuts, feta cheese, and an exotic ginger-peanut vinaigrette. And the Asian variation incorporates orange segments, fried wontons, and water chestnuts with romaine lettuce and sesame dressing. Top marks, however, undoubtedly go to the grilled asparagus salad companioned by arugula and finished with a fabulous shallot vinaigrette and butter fried egg.

At lunch, however, it’s the sandwiches that take center stage, and rightly so. Whether served up with the crispy addictive house-made chips, beer battered fries, or sweet potato fries, they are first-class all the way.

Farmer's Daughter - Short Rib Grilled CheeseAnd topping the list is the irresistible short rib grilled cheese. Short ribs are all the rage of late; and the kitchen takes full advantage of their meaty magic. The ribs are shredded and teamed with zippy horseradish cheese on ciabatta bread. Caramelized onions add sweetness; peppadew peppers a splash of color. This is a great combo of ingredients; and sure to please those with hearty appetites.

By the way, the peppadew, a type of piquante pepper, is a portmanteau of “pepper” and “dew.” It has often been described as a cross between a pepper and tomato, because of its resemblance to the cherry tomato in both color and size. The taste is sweet and tangy with just a touch of heat.

The French dip, another variation on the beef theme, is equally recommended. In reality, this is strictly an American dish. The only things French about it are the fact that its ingredients – shaved beef, provolone cheese, and horseradish – are occasionally piled between crusty layers of a baguette (although here it is a steak roll), and that it is served au jus, “with (its own) juice,” for dipping. The Farmer’s Daughter’s version also adds a ramekin of red cabbage slaw; and, in lieu of fries, we opted for those addictive house-made chips.

Farmer's Daughter - Fish & ChipsIf you’d care to broaden your horizons, the fish & chips provides an excellent diversion. The cod filets are beer battered and are served with first-rate fries, coleslaw, and tartar sauce. The first time the dish hit the table, the fish itself was perfectly prepared, but the batter a bit on the soggy side. However, once it emerged from a second go-round in the kitchen, the crust was at its crispy, crunchy best. Definitely worth a try.

Farmer's Daughter - Bronzino… As is the branzino (Mediterranean sea bass). As you note from the photo, the filet is served skin side up, both to add a bit of color and also to keep it from cooling off at the speed of light… So turn it over (carefully) and check out the pristine white flesh; marvelously moist, succulent & beguilingly sweet on the palate, it is an absolutely delicious winner in every respect.

My only quibble is that the fish’s natural flavor is completely eclipsed by a barley-chorizo pilaf drowned in an off-puttingly unctuous bacon-citrus vinaigrette. This is one culinary marriage that surely wasn’t made in heaven… The chef really needs to do a bit of rethinking here.

Farmer's Daughter - BarAs noted above, the Farmer’s Daughter is a good spot for lunch, which is served Monday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (brunch on Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.). However, even if you arrive too late for lunch in the main dining room, the spacious bar/lounge serves many of the same items found on the luncheon menu from 2:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Bon Appétit!



Kinch, David ChefOn Friday, March 20 – Sunday, March 22, 2015, a celebration of the world’s best wines and top chefs from around the United States, will take place at the seventh annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at the Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ. This year, the Festival welcomes James Beard Award-winning Chef David Kinch of the Michelin 2-star Manresa as the guest of honor. Once again, the Festival will benefit the mission and programs of the James Beard Foundation.

The Festival’s weekend events are designed to allow food and wine lovers to meet and mingle with chefs, winemakers, and fellow food & wine aficionados. Weekend highlights include dinner in Restaurant Latour prepared by Chef Kinch and the Latour team; a wine cellar dinner with featured winemaker Larry Stone of Quintessa and Crystal Springs Executive Chef John Greeley; the Grand Tasting, featuring 30 restaurants and over 100 wines, as well as winemaker seminars, cocktail tastings, and a new chef competition. Michelin-starred chefs from New York, including Carlo Mirachi (Blanca & Roberta’s, Bryce Shuman (Betony), and Brooks Headley (Del Posto), will anchor the VIP Grand Tasting.

A complete schedule of events is noted below…

Friday, March 20: Opening Night Festivities:

7:00 p.m. Champagne Reception: Guests will meet Chef David Kinch and enjoy Krug Champagne and hors d’oeuvres from Manresa and Restaurant Latour ($50.00, included in Restaurant Latour dinner).

8:00 p.m. Dinner at Restaurant Latour, prepared by Chef David Kinch and the Restaurant Latour team, paired with wines from cult California winery, the Prisoner Wine Company ($295.00).

8:00 p.m. Wine Cellar Dinner with Executive Chef John Greeley and Larry Stone, Estates Director of Quintessa and Huneeus Wines. To be held in the stunning, award-winning Crystal Springs Wine Cellar ($195.00).


Saturday, March 21, Events:

11:00 a.m. Coffee Seminar: Artisanal organic coffee from Coffee Afficionado, New Jersey coffee roaster, paired with chocolates ($30.00)

11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Marketplace Lunch with local New Jersey wines and products served ($40.00).

12:00 p.m. David Kinch Meet & Greet/Book Signing: Chef Kinch will recount his career and talk about the rebuilding of Manresa, which was damaged by a fire last year and recently reopened. He will be signing copies of his new cookbook, Manresa: An Edible Reflection and serve light bites paired with wine ($50.00).

1:00 p.m. Exploring Napa’s Oldest Vines: Winemaker Jennifer Beloz offers an inside look as to how she works with Napa’s oldest farming families in selecting grapes from vines dating back to the early 20th century when creating her award-winning cult wines, which will be tasted: The Prisoner, Cuttings, Saldo, and Blindfold ($45.00).

2:00 p.m. Garden State Chef Throwdown: Three chefs compete to see who can make the best dish during the event – the audience crowns the winner. Participating chefs: Francesco Palmieri of The Orange Squirrel (Montclair); Mike Carrino of Pig & Prince (Montclair); and John Greeley of Crystal Springs Resort ($50.00).

2:00 p.m. Secrets of the Crystal Springs Wine Cellar: A look inside Crystal Springs’ famous 135,000 bottle wine collection, holder of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award since 2006, with Wine Director Robby Younes. A tasting of rare and highly rated wines from the cellar for connoisseurs ($150.00).

3:00 p.m. New Jersey Craft Distilling: Participants are invited to meet the state’s newest craft distillers, Jersey Artisan Distilling, and experience samples right from barrels currently aging their rum, Busted Barrel. Guests will also enjoy Busted Barrel rum cocktails made with syrups by Jersey’s own Blue Jay Syrups ($40.00).

3:00 p.m. Digging into Quintessa: James Beard Award-winner Larry stone will lead an exploration of the Quintessa vineyard through a tasting of barrel samples and wines from diverse vineyard blocks ($65.00).

4:00 p.m. Macaroon Happy Hour: Macaroons from local Garden State macaroon baker Dana’s Bakery. Paired with sparkling and still wines from around the world ($40.00).

4:00 pm. Ardbeg Haar: A truly unique experience to sample Ardbeg single malt scotch, both neat and inhalted to replicate the Ardbeg Haar – haar refers to the blanket of fog that appears on Islay where Ardbeg is produced ($40.00).

6:30/7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. The Grand Tasting is the Festival’s signature event, featuring more than 100 wines from over thirty wines and 25 top restaurants from New York City and New Jersey ($150.00; VIP $275.00; VIP admission 6:30 p.m.)

Highlights of the Grand Tasting…

The VIP Experience: An outstanding collection of wines and spirits, tastings from Michelin-starred chefs David Kinch, Carlo Mirachi (Blanca & Roberta’s, NYC), Brooks Headley (Del Posto, NYC), Bryce Shuman (Betony, NYC), and Restaurant Latour

Restaurant Participants: Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, the Ryland Inn, Elements, Ninety Acres, Escape, Agricola, Mistral, Terre á Terre, Maritime Parc, Strip House, the Orange Squirrel, Osteria Morini, Pig & Prince, Morris Tap & Grill, Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern, Axia Taverna, Crystal Tavern, VB3, and more

A wide range of wineries and Champagne houses from around the world

Live Entertainment by the thirsty-two piece David Aaron Orchestra

An exciting silent auction benefitting the James Beard Foundation

10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Meet the Chefs and Winemakers After Party with open bars, DJ, buffets and more ($150.00).


Sunday, March 22, Events

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Champagne Brunch: A lavish, decadent brunch buffet accompanied by Champagne ($50.00)

Tickets for the 2015 New Jersey Wine & Food Festival are on sale at Resort reservations may be made by calling (855) 391-7454.

Bon Appétit!



Latour - Chef Anthony BuccoOn Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 p.m., Restaurant Latour at the Crystal Springs Resort, 1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, New Jersey, will hold its first ever wine dinner.

Under new Executive Chef Anthony Bucco, the restaurant will feature the boutique wines of California’s PlumpJack and its sister properties, CADE and the Odette Estate. Guest Scot Gaffney from PlumpJack will be on hand to discuss the wines.

Established in 1995, PlumpJack, Winery sits in the heart of Napa Valley’s renowned Oakville region, surrounded by a 42-acre estate vineyard highly regarded for the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mr. Bucco notes: “PlumpJack is an iconic California producer. Their boutique wines have garnered some extraordinary ratings. The menu selection will be sensitive to the integrity of each pairing. Specific ingredients were chosen to mirror the philosophy of Restaurant Latour. We are excited to showcase the synergy between the depth of our wine cellar and our ability to amplify experiences with our seasonal awareness and advanced techniques.”

PlumpJack Dinner at Restaurant Latour…

Passed Canapes: Uni, Polenta, Grapes… Quail Egg, Caviar… Avocado, Pistachio, Chilli… Wagyu Beef Tartare; Wine Pairing: 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, CADE, Napa

First Course: Turbot, Apple & Vanilla; Wine Pairing: 2013 Chardonnay, PlumpJack Reserve, Napa

Second Course: Porcelet, Wild Cherry & Celery; Wine Pairing: 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, CADE, Howell Mountain

Main Course: Short Rib of Beef, Cocoa & Endive; Wine Pairing: 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Odette Estate, Stag’s Leap District

Dessert: Toffee & Yogurt; Wine Pairing: 2012 Merlot, PlumpJack, Napa

Tickets for the PlumpJack wine dinner at $129.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (855) 420-9098.

Bon Appétit!



Frog and Peach - Overhead ViewOn Friday, March 13, 2015, the Frog and the Peach, 29 Dennis Street at Hiram Square, New Brunswick, New Jersey, will host a special wine dinner featuring the extraordinary vintages of Italy’s Casanova di Neri Winery. The special guest of the evening will be Giovanni Neri, grandson of the estate’s founder.

Casanova di Neri is among the finest of all Brunellos. Three labels of Brunello are produced by the winery, reflecting the three specific terroirs within Montalcino in which they hold vineyards. The wines have earned a devoted following and rave reviews from the press. In 2006, the Tenuta Nuova was named Wine of the Year by the Wine Spectator, and the 2001 Brunello Cerretalto was awarded 100 points. The 2006 Brunello Cerretalto was awared 100 points by wine critic James Suckling.

The menu and wine pairings are noted below…

First Course: Cold Smoked Duck Breast, Sweet & Sour Cabbage, Chestnut Purée; Wine Pairing: Rosso di Casanova di Neri, Sant’Antimo, 2012

Second Course: Rosemary Risotto with Pancetta and Grilled Treviso; Wine Pairing: Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino White Label, 2009

Main Course: Dry-Aged Flank Steak, Crispy Sweetbreads, Cipollini Onion Agrodolce, Parsley Pesto; Wine Pairings: Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova, 2009; Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto, 2009

Dessert: Pecorino Foglie di Noci; Wine Pairing: Casanova di Neri Pietradonice, Toscana, 2010

Petit Fours

The cost of the Casanova di Neri wine dinner is $125.00 per person, all inclusive. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 846-3216.

Bon Appétit!



Wine 3On Friday, February 27, 2015, 7:00 p.m., as part of its 10th anniversary wine dinner series, the Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, New Jersey, will host a four course dinner paired with some of the best wines from Paso Robles in California’s Central Coast region.

Amuse: Fennel Salad, Olive, Pine Nut & Orange; Wine Pairing: 2011 R.P.F. Wines, The Newsman

First Course: Wild Shrimp, Piperade, Broccoli & Rosemary; Wine Pairings: 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc; 2011 Ranchero Cellars Viognier, La Vista Vineyard

Second Course: Duck Confit, Butter Beans, Smoked Pancetta & Black Kale; Wine Pairings: 2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rouge; 2009 Epoch Estate Wines Blend

Third Course: Niman Ranch Lamb, Winter Vegetables, Teleggio & Garlic Soubise; Wine Pairings: 2009 Turley Pesenti; 2013 Kunin “Paso Robles” Zinfandel

Cheese Course: To Be Announced

The cost of the Paso Robles wine dinner is $115.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!



Giglio, AnthonyOn Thursday, March 12, 2015, 7:30 p.m., wine writer and personality Anthony Giglio will host “A Taste of Northern Italy” five-course wine dinner at Sátis Bistro, Café and Wine Bar, 212 Washington Street, Jersey City, New Jersey.

Anthony Giglio is a wine and spirits writer, educator, and raconteur who has written for numerous publications. He has also appeared on NBC’s Today Show, Food Network, CNBC, and FOX Business News.

“Taste of Northern Italy” Menu and Wine Pairings…

First Course: Lightly Breaded Wild Brook Trout, Arugula, Anchovy & Lemon Caper Vinaigrette; Wine Pairing: Ceretto 2013 Biange Langhe Arneis, Piedmont, Italy

Second Course: Soft-Cooked Egg Ravioli, Crisp Speck, Parmigiano Broth; Wine Pairing: Abbazia di Novacella 2013 Kerner, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

Third Course: Pan-Roasted Monkfish, Smoked Mussels, Walnuts & Roasted Tomato; Wine Pairing: Lo Triolet 2013 Gamay, Valle d’Aoste, Italy

Fourth Course: Baked Venetian Casserole of Roasted Squab, Baby Vegetable & Focaccia, Parmigiano Reggiano and Foie Gras; Wine Pairing: Bastianich 2011 Vespa Rosso, Friuli, Italy

Fifth Course: Chilled Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding, Hazelnut Graham, Toasted Almond Vanilla Bean Custard; Wine Pairing: Sottimano 2013 Matè Brachetto, Piedmont, Italy

The cost of the “Taste of Northern Italy” wine dinner is $125.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (201) 435-5151.

Bon Appétit!



Wine Dinner 2This coming Friday, February 20, 2015, 7:00 p.m., as part of its 10th anniversary wine dinner series, the Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, New Jersey, will host a four-course dinner paired with some of the best wines of the Santa Cruz, California, wine region.

Amuse: Lobster Bisque, Ginger & Coconut; Wine Pairing: 2011 Domaine Eden Chardonnay

First Course: Salmon Confit, Avocado, Tomato, Basil & Pistachio; Wine Pairing: 2006 Varner Chardonnay, Spring Ridge Vineyard, Bee Block

Second Course: Spaghetti, Mushroom, Fontina Cream & Marjoram; Wine Pairing: 2011 Neely Pinot Noir, Spring Ridge Vineyard, Hidden Block

Third Course: Grilled Sirloin, Cipollini, Fingerling, Spinach & Parmesan; Wine Pairings: 2011 Kathryn Kennedy Cabernet Sauvignon, Small Lot; 2011 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Cheese Course: To Be Announced; Wine Pairing: 2012 Big Basin “Homestead” Mouvedre/Grenach/Syrah, Santa Cruz

The Cost of the Santa Cruz wine dinner is $115.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!



Frog and Peach - Overhead ViewThe Frog and the Peach, 29 Dennis Street at Hiram Square, New Brunswick, New Jersey, recently unveiled its new five-course winter tasting game menu, which also features two wine pairing options.

Rabbit and Foie Gras Terrine: Shallot Confit, Mache, Late Harvest Riesling Vinaigrette; Wine Pairing A: Benito Ferrara Greco di Tufo, Campania, Italy, 2012; Wine Pairing B: J-M Brocard, Chablis 1er Cru, Vau de Vey, Burgundy, France, 2011

Venison Carpaccio “Au Poive”: Shaved Pear, Baby Mustard Greens, Cashews, Garlic-Asiago Emulsion; Wine Pairing A: Calabretta Cala Cala Rosso, Etna, Italy, NV; Wine Pairing B: Crozes-Hermitage, E. Guigal, France, 2009

Pan-Roasted Griggstown Pheasant: Ragout of Chanterelle Mushroom, Pearl Onion and Black Périgord Truffle, Armagnac Sauce; Wine Pairing A: Boisson Côtes du Rhône, France, 2011; Wine Pairing B: Clendenen Family Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, “Le Bon Climat” California, 2008

Braised Wild Boar Shoulder: Kale & White Bean Tortellini, Verdolaga, Ancho Chili Braising Jus; Wine Pairing A: “Core” Montevetrano, Aglianico, Campania, Italy, 2012; Wine Pairing B: Rocco Giovanni Barolo “Ravera di Monforte,” Italy, 2009

Solebury Orchards Apple Tart: Local Buttermilk Ice Cream; Wine Pairing A: Oremus Late Harvest Tokaji, Hungary, 2011; Wine Pairing B: Alois Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvée, Burgenland, Austria, 2011

The cost of the five-course game dinner menu is $64.00 per person without wine; an additional $45.00 per person with wine pairing A; $70.00 additional per person with wine pairing B (plus tax & gratuity).

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 846-3216.

Bon Appétit!



Valentine's Day at HomeLove is in the air at the Gladstone Tavern, 273 Main Street, Gladstone, New Jersey. On Valentine’s weekend, Friday, February 13 – Saturday, February 14, the restaurant will be serving up a special romantic menu.

LOVE POTION: Amour: Prosecco, Aperol, Red Hibiscus Syrup… Corazon: Partida Anejo, Salerno Liquor, Blood Orange, Red Hot Cinnamon Syrup… Passion Cosmo: Tito’s Vodka, Grand Mariner, Passion Fruit, Lime… Veuve Clicquot Champagne: Reims, France

FIRST COURSE: Velvet Crab Bisque: Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Red Amaranthe, Brandy Kiss… Artichoke Heart Salad: Based California Artichoke, Haricots Verts, Heirloom Radish, Micro Greens, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette… Ravioli Heart: Creamy Goat Cheese Filling, Pink Tomato, Fennel & Leek “Vodka” Sauce… French Kiss Oysters “Both Ways (New Brunswick, Canada): Six Raw/Six Crispy, Champagne Mignonette, Pink Peppercorn Tartar

MAIN COURSE: Crispy Red Snapper: Ginger-Dashi, Pink Baby Beet, Baby Carrot, Snow Pea, Shiitake… Butter-Poached Maine Lobster: Wilted Arugula, Tomato Fondue, Saffron Fettuccine… Grilled Filet Mignon: Black Truffle Butter, Port Wine Reduction, Jumbo Asparagus, Potato Croquette

DESSERT: Raspberry-Passion Fruit Tart: Fresh Raspberry, Passion Fruit Custard, Almond Cookie Crust, Spicy Coconut Sauce… Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake: Chocolate Dipped Strawberry, Blood Orange Crème Anglaise

In addition to the special menu, lovers will also enjoy live music, courtesy of the Byron Smith Duo on Friday evening and the Lucas Lasagna Trio on Saturday evening.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 234-9055.

Bon Appétit!