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 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
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
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
Gotta agree with the name of the blog: New Jersey Isn’t Boring! (exclamation point theirs). They paid a visit to our local favorite Daphne’s Diner in Robbinsville and proclaimed it “a great diner experience with excellent food.” We always take houseguests to Daphne’s for breakfast (Cap’n Crunch French toast, anyone?). It seems dinner can, as well, be recommended. Have a look.
Hoagies and heroes: regional terms for the same food item, yet so very different. The Philadelphia hoagie is served on a long roll, just like a hero, but the distinguishing feature is the lettuce/tomato/onion garnish, along with some combination of oil and/or vinegar and/or Italian spices. Lettuce/tomato/onion is so integral to a hoagie that it’s practically the definition. If you order a cheesesteak hoagie, it means you want your cheesesteak topped with LTO. If you want a hoagie without one of the three vegetables you have to specify that explicitly, i.e., Italian hoagie no onion. Continue reading
Start with one of America’s finest pizza makers: De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies on Hudson Street in Trenton, NJ. Add a selection of salads and a bathroom (there was none on Hudson). What do you get? The finest pizzeria in New Jersey, and one of the top ten in America, De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies in Robbinsville, NJ. Yes, Robbinsville may be the suburbs, and the new restaurant sure is spacious and modern, but the pizzas that emerge from those ovens are identical to the ones formerly served on Hudson Street. Continue reading
Our late breakfast at Daphne’s on Saturday was such a hit with our houseguests that we returned on Sunday, again for breakfast and even later. C’mon isn’t that one of the great things about America? Breakfast all day! Continue reading
We rolled into Daphne’s well into lunchtime but, of course, this is a diner, and breakfast is served all day. Both the breakfast and lunch menus arrived with long specials menus, where Daphne really stretches beyond the bounds of typical diner cuisine. Unlike at most diners, it’s OK to explore the outer regions here. Continue reading
New Year’s Eve Eve – why is this restaurant so packed? These must be the people (like us) whose plans involve staying home or hosting on New Year’s Eve. Continue reading
Breakfast at “our diner” on the way to the tree farm for our Christmas tree. Interesting mix of gospel and soul playing loudly on the sound system this Sunday. Continue reading
A pre-Thanksgiving, escape-the-kitchen meal found Villa Barone in top form. Our waiter was superb. Continue reading
Dining in Central New Jersey generally offers a choice of Italian, Italian, and… oh, yes, Italian. There are plenty of take-out Chinese restaurants, many mediocre pizzerias, and a light sprinkling of other cuisines but the Italian offerings are overwhelming. So why is it next to impossible to find a decent Italian restaurant around here, especially since Trenton’s Chambersburg district lost its Little Italy identity? We don’t have the answer to that question but there’s no denying that, hard as we’ve tried, we have not found an Italian restaurant around here to call our own, something not very expensive or formal, but with solidly good food. Until we dined at Villa Barone. Continue reading
Our new favorite local diner! Especially after the sale of Mastoris in Bordentown a couple of years ago Daphne’s, open since October of 2011, has become our go-to breakfast out spot. Actually, we should say Daphne’s reopened in 2011, because this spot was once occupied by Daphne Wilczynski, up until 2005. Then Daphne closed the diner to focus on catering, and the old diner alternated between vacancy, a brief run as the Italian restaurant Diamond’s, and another brief episode as Fernando’s.