Left at the Fork

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Category: New Jersey (page 1 of 5)

Buck Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Blairstown NJ

REVIEW

We ordinarily restrict ourselves to the liquid refreshments at brewpubs. It’s not that we think brewpub food is bad, per se, it’s just that there’s usually more interesting things to eat elsewhere. We’re glad to have broken free from our usual habit at Buck Hill, however, as we were afforded the opportunity to indulge ourselves with the Fat Buck Fries. This poutine cousin tops fries with beer-braised brisket, cheddar and mozzarella, and beer gravy. Not only does it supply you with your minimum daily requirements for calories for the day, it’s also dizzily delicious.

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12 Farms, Hightstown NJ

REVIEW

We’re keeping our fingers crossed. Restaurants like this rarely open in our neck of the woods, and even more rarely do they stay open very long. Yet 12 Farms, the farm-to-table eatery in Hightstown, has been up and running for over four years and, as far as we can tell, is thriving. Yippee! Continue reading

Ice Cream on Grand, Englewood NJ

REVIEW

Ice Cream on Grand is one unique ice cream shop. All the ice cream is homemade, using fresh fruits and quality ingredients, but it has none of that preciosity you find in those urban ice cream sanctuaries found in city neighborhoods populated by 20-somethings. There are crowd-pleasing flavors and colors, like at Baskin-Robbins, but unlike BR, this ice cream is really, really good. Continue reading

Checking in at: Villa Barone, Robbinsville NJ

When Villa Barone is full, which is often, the place can be deafeningly loud. This evening we discovered a solution: try to secure a table in the corner of the room. With no diners on two of the four sides we found we could actually hear each other speak. This remains our go-to casual neighborhood Italian restaurant. Bonus: BYOB helps keep the prices down. Continue reading

PJ’s Pancake House and Tavern, Robbinsville NJ

REVIEW

PJ’s is one of those longtime Princeton breakfast institutions that seem to exist in just about every college town: not especially known as a haven for breakfast epicureans, but popular. They’ve been branching out lately, expanding to five restaurants in the area with the recently opened Robbinsville spot. They’re also trying to break out of their breakfast-only identity, with what they call a tavern menu and outdoor bistro-style seating. Judging from the Robbinsville  location, we’d have to say the tavern-like atmosphere kills the breakfast mood more than it helps the lunch/dinner vibe. Continue reading

Checking in at: Polish Water Ice, Seaside Heights NJ

Polish Water Ice’s specialty is water ice that’s made in and served from soft-serve machines. It’s a growing chain with two locations on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, where they aggressively offer free samples. The texture really is super-smooth for water ice. All the flavors are based on sweetened, neutral-tasting grape and/or apple juice, with stabilizers and preservatives. There’s no peach in the peach ice or cherry in the cherry ice – the flavors are all artificial. Continue reading

The Original Steaks, Seaside Heights NJ

REVIEW

Philadelphia cheesesteaks are traditionally served on long rolls. While it’s rare to encounter one on some other kind of bread, it’s not unheard of. One of the best cheesesteaks in the region is served on a round hard roll, just across the river in Camden’s Donkey’s Place. And here in Seaside Heights, the dueling cheesesteak joints known as The Original Steaks and Steaks Unlimited, across the street from one another, employ pizza bread as the absorbent vessel for the thinly sliced beef, goopy cheese, and well-cooked onions. Continue reading

Checking in at: Maruca’s, Seaside Heights NJ

We’ve loved Maruca’s plain slice for many years. With a little more-than-usual focused attention it became clearer to us that mild cheddar is part of the cheese mix. We don’t know that for a fact but our tongues are telling us. We hadn’t noticed this before (or was this slice atypical) but the crust, under the pie but not at the edge, had a croissant-like flakiness that was very appealing. Maruca’s, with no slow-fermented doughs or wood-fired ovens, is non-artisan pie at its best. Continue reading

Dentato’s Clam Bar, Seaside Heights NJ

REVIEW

There’s something about dining within view of the ocean that stimulates the appetite for some local shellfish. And at Dentato’s Clam Bar on the boardwalk, the shellfish is … well, we don’t have a clue. We’ve never sampled any, and anytime we’ve been there we’ve never seen anyone else sampling any either. We’ve HEARD of people eating clams at Dentato’s, and they may well be wonderful. But as long as they keep delivering one of the best Italian sausage sandwiches at the Jersey shore, those clams will just have to wait. Continue reading

Kohr’s Frozen Custard, The Original, Seaside Heights NJ

REVIEW

Kohr’s Frozen Custard, The Original… Kohr’s Frozen Custard Inc. … The Original Kohr Bros. Frozen Custard … those are just three of the many Kohr’s custard stands you’ll find up and down the east coast, mostly along boardwalks in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Are they the same company? Are they related in some way? Continue reading

Jersey Roll, Seaside Heights NJ

REVIEW

Pizza, cheesesteaks, frozen custard, Italian sausage sandwiches – that’s been our Jersey boardwalk menu for as long as we can remember. And that menu has served us well. Today, however, the honor roll will have to make room for a fifth member of the fat and salt brigade. The pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich at Jersey Roll, towards the north end of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, is not only worth saving precious boardwalk stomach real estate for, but can compete with any in the Garden State. Continue reading

Checking in at: Villa Barone, Robbinsville NJ

The place was absolutely mobbed Saturday night! Never seen it this busy. Villa Barone has a tendency to be a noisy restaurant — there’s no carpeting — but when it’s filled to the max, and there are people waiting for tables, it is absolutely deafening in here. They were running a bit behind — although we had a reservation we still had to wait almost half an hour for a table. We didn’t really care much about that — we’re pretty easygoing — and what can you do if folks linger? Continue reading

Dinner in the Vineyard, Wagonhouse Winery, South Harrison NJ

REVIEW

A very pleasant surprise! We really didn’t know what to expect from a dinner hosted by the South Jersey Wagonhouse Winery when we signed up, but certainly not one as enjoyable and accomplished as the one prepared by Chef James Malaby. Chef Malaby’s own restaurant is named blueplate (lower case theirs), which can be found about five minutes up the road from Wagonhouse in the community of Mullica Hill. Continue reading

Ernie’s Tavern, Robbinsville NJ

REVIEW

Most residents of current-day, rapidly growing Robbinsville have barely an inkling of what their town was like pre-1980. For one thing, it was called Washington until voters decided in 2007 that it is better to be unique Robbinsville than one of six Washingtons in New Jersey. But more significantly, this was a low-key little farming town of a couple of thousand residents with a handful of businesses to serve them. One of those businesses (since 1859!) is Ernie’s Tavern. Continue reading

Tony Luke’s Adds Cheesesteaks to Rowan Curriculum

Glassboro, NJ, home of Rowan University, is the latest town to receive a brand-new, shiny Tony Luke’s restaurant, and the students are thrilled. The sandwich shop is open until 3 a.m. on weekends, which sounds like a smart decision — we can’t think of a more appropriate 2 a.m. campus snack than a Pork Rabe Italian. Glassboro is something of a homecoming for Tony Luke himself, who raised his kids in this South Jersey college town.

America’s 32 or 33 Best Pizzerias

Thrillist does this once a year — compiles their rundown of America’s top pizzerias — and they’ve just released their fourth edition. The biggest news has to the absence of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana of New Haven, CT. They did include Sally’s Apizza, Pepe’s down-the-block and up-for-sale rival, on their list, where they note that Pepe’s was dropped because of their continued expansion and resulting inconsistency. Sally’s the only pizzeria in New Haven to make the cut? And only two from the entire state of Connecticut (the best pizza state in the U.S.)? Continue reading

Jersey City’s Best

New York City food hipsters may not take kindly to the idea that the trip across (or under) the Hudson River for something to eat is worthwhile (judging by the comments) but we, and gothamist, know better. Here they present some of the best of Jersey City, including two of our favorites: Eddie Cotto, Jr.’s full-flavored Puerto Rican-inspired dishes at ME Casa (see the LAF review) and the tropical frozen treats that taste so perfect on a hot summer day in the city, dished out by Torico Ice Cream (see the LAF review). Gothamist touts much more in the city, including pizza, Portuguese, and artisan beer and coffee. Check out the story and the city – you might be surprised.

Tony Luke’s Expanding Down East Coast

Gotta admit, when we first started making regular visits to Tony Luke’s in South Philly in the early ’90s, we never imagined it would ever expand to a second Philadelphia outlet much less become franchised up and down the east coast. The roast pork Italian and Uncle Mike sandwiches had us thoroughly seduced, as did the very scruffy, bare-bones location, alongside a barbed wire encircled “parking area” beneath rumbling Interstate 95 next door. Continue reading

Beef & Garlic, Spice & Smoke

We’ve long maintained that Harold’s New York Deli in Edison, NJ serves New York’s most consistently delicious pastrami. In the latest issue of Saveur, Laura Hoffman takes a closer look at the famed Jersey deli, and its owner Harold Jaffe. What strikes first-time visitors immediately are the comically large portions. What surprises most of those fressers is how the quality surpasses the size. The great pastrami is made and smoked in-house, the matzo balls are as light as they are enormous, and even the coleslaw is top-notch. Continue reading

America’s Top 21 Hot Dogs

A best hot dog list apparently is released on a daily basis. Why? Because people love ’em – hot dogs AND best lists. We read them not only to see what they have to say about our favorites (the yellow-relish-topped deep-fried rippers from Rutt’s Hut of Clifton, NJ appears on today’s list in question) but to pick up on the new, unfamiliar joints (Luscher’s of Dallas, TX, from a fancy-pants chef). You’ll also find coneys, Sonoran dogs, half-smokes, and dogs topped with SpaghettiOs on the list. Have at it!

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