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Zion National Park - any suggestions?

When I lived in LA, I spent 4 years in a row going to Zion between Christmas and New Year's. A great time to be there, because because the place is basically deserted and we had it all to ourselves.

I loved eating at Oscar's (Mexican), and the Spotted Dog Cafe, at Flanigan's Inn, was very nice. I was not impressed with the Bit and Spur. Again, don't apply big city values to this small town.

By the way, an awesome place to stay is at Flanigan's Villa's, across from the Flanigan Inn. The one bedroom place is luxuriously appointed, with a gourmet kitchen, oversized spa tub, and it is walking distance to the park entrance.

Feb 08, 2010
jkamien in Mountain States

Artisan Kitchen Lebanon NJ

Jul 04, 2008
jkamien in Mid-Atlantic

anyone been to artisan kitchen in lebanon central jersey?

My wife and I enjoyed a lovely dinner there last night. Don't let the strip mall location put you off of this fine dining gem on Route 22 in Lebanon, NJ. The dining room is all warm earth tones with subdued lighting. With the shades on the windows, one enters the room and is transported to an elegant cocoon of culinary delight.

In my opinion, the extras provided by Artisan Kitchen easily justify the somewhat expensive prices. For example, warm rolls are accompanied by not one, but three spreads. On our night, these were white bean, fresh sweet butter with a special crystals of salt sprinkled on top of the ramekin, and first press spanish olive oil. Preceding my appetizer was an amuse bouche of tomato foam gazpacho with watermelon. Although this particular dish left me cold (no pun intended), the thought was appreciated. Another amuse bouche followed of a single small short rib ravioli in an exquisite sauce that was truly lip smackingly good. I ordered the "Foie Gras Torchon/bing cherry/cocoa/pistachio/brioche toast" for my appy. I had to look 'torchon' up here (http://www.rakko.org/cuisine/foie_gra...) afterwards, because I was unfamiliar with the 'torchon' preparation and was accustomed to only pate and seared. However, the chef's preparation was spot on according to this description and delicious. The blend of sauces was subtle, as I didn't really detect any cocoa notes.

My entree, "Suckling Pig/farro piccolo/cherries/spiced endive", was divine. The thing I love about suckling pig is the crispy skin, and this did not disappoint. An almost translucent, golden skin, with a tasty thin layer of fat, concealed the tender pork meat beneath. I cleaned my plate and was very satisfied. My companion ate the "California Guinea Hen/ maitake/white polenta/savoy cabbage fondue" and also found it delicious, although she commented that the dark meat, rolled into small cylinders, was a little salty.

For dessert, we enjoyed a chocolate something (it is not on their web menu, and I can't remember its name). With a double espresso, I enjoyed it heartily, but I warn you right now that I'm a chocoholic. I didn't realize when I ordered that two chocolate truffles were also on their way with compliments of the chef, or I may have skipped dessert in homage to my waistline.

We chatted at length with the owner, Angela, after our dinner and discovered that the restaurant is a family affair of sorts, with all of the chefs, etc., friends from high school or college or very close to each other in one way or another. The interior decor, which again, I found very pleasing, was all home-made, with Angela doing the painting herself, and the kitchen staff chipping in to make the banquettes, etc.

I hope all the 'hounds out there support this new place. We in the Clinton/Tewksbury/Whitehouse/Raritan area really deserve fine dining establishments like this one. Without strong support from our community, I fear it may not last in its location in the Lebanon Plaza. I really hope the Artisan Kitchen will be around a long time so I can proudly take visitors there and prove that although I live in the boondocks, we also have fine restaurants here among the deer, foxes, cows and horses.

Jul 04, 2008
jkamien in New Jersey

Splash Seafood Restaurant, Long Valley, NJ

Has anyone tried Splash Restaurant in Long Valley, NJ yet? They just opened within the past 2 or 3 weeks, I think.

Quiet place to meet in NJ between GWB and Lincoln tunnel

I need to meet my folks someplace not too far from the George Washington Bridge for coffee at around 3PM on a Sunday afternoon. They are coming over from Manhattan and will be driving back to Massachusetts afterwards, so I don't want them to have to go too far out of their way. I am coming from Hunterdon Country (an hour west on I78) so someplace south of the bridge would be good.

We just really need a pleasant, quiet place to talk and share a cup of coffee. Doesn't have to be gourmet or anything, but a nice atmosphere with perhaps a view of something other than a wall would be great.

Thanks in advance!

Butcher in Central NJ?

Have you tried Chester Meats in Chester? I bet Lou and the boys would get you anything you want!

Jun 03, 2007
jkamien in Mid-Atlantic