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Lunch Friday (tomorrow) near Lambertville/New Hope?

Marhaba for middle eastern.

http://www.marhabalambertville.com/

(and another +1 for Owowcow!)

Jul 30, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Seeking Pig Roast Catering, Central NJ, for a Backyard Wedding

Give Maddalenas Catering in Ringoes, NJ a call. They specialize in tented backyard wedding and other receptions in central NJ. Their food and service are wonderful. Ask to speak with the owner, Janet Maddalena. Janet told me they do a great pig roast for corporate events and weddings, and though I have not experienced their pig roast personally, I've seen other events they've catered and they really do a beautiful presentation of delicious food. They do all sorts of affairs, ranging from casual corporate picnics to very elegant weddings.
Two caveats - - because they bring their whole kitchen (and the tents, chairs, dishware, wait staff, etc. if you need all that) to the event (a) I believe they try to stick to jobs within an hour of their home base in Ringoes, NJ (you mention central NJ but not where) and (b) I believe they prefer events with a minimum of 75 guests.
Contact info:
Catering by Maddalena (a.k.a. Maddalena's Cheesecake & Catering)
415 Route 31 North, Ringoes
(609) 466-7510
Here is a link to their website. It's a bit focused on the Cheesecake side of the business, but I think the off-site catering is actually the bigger part of the business. http://www.maddalenascatering.com/

Jun 13, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey
1

Shake Shack in Bridgewater

Tried it today. Probably not the best idea to go to a new, popular burger restaurant during the height of the lunch rush on a beautiful day when lots of people are out and about. Line to order was out the door. However, they had lots of people taking orders (at least 4 or 5) so that line moved quickly. They seem to have plenty of staff behind the counter preparing the food too, but after placing my order and moving to the "pickup" end of the counter there was quite a backup of customers (about a dozen) waiting for their food. I'd guess that the wait was at least ten minutes - - possibly a bit longer - - I didn't actually clock it. I don't know if that will be typical or, as a new restaurant, they are still working out the kinks. Plus, as I said, it was extremely busy.
The space was previously a retail clothing store, so the eating area is pretty large, with plenty of tables. Every one was full when I got my food but given the number of tables there is lots of turnover and some seats opened up within a minute or two. There are also several picnic style tables in an outside eating area right in front of the restaurant.
Now, the important part - the food. I have not been to a Shake Shack before so can't compare it to other Shake Shack locations, but all in all, I don't see what the big fuss is about their burgers. I had a single shack burger, fries, and a small chocolate shake. That cost $14.50. A bit pricey for what you get. The burger was tasty, but not amazing, and I thought it was a bit on the small side. Also, it's very salty. The crinkle-cut fries look like what you might get on the boardwalk - - or from a bag of Ore-Ida fries in the freezer section of your grocer. The chocolate shake was the best part of the meal.
All in all, I think the burgers are far more flavorful at 25 Burgers, and you get a much larger burger. I'm not a fan of Five Guys personally, but if you like their burgers, it's probably a better value than Shake Shack. My colleague, who went to Shake Shack earlier in the week, said he'll continue going to Fuddruckers (a mile or two away) for his burger fix rather than returning to Shake Shack.
I do plan to go back to try one of their hot dogs (I've read good things about their dogs), and I'm sure sooner or later I'll have another burger there because of the location, but if I'm really in the mood for a great burger, I'll drive a couple of miles down the road to 25 Burgers.
Now, on an only barely related tangent, I noticed that right across from the brand new Bridgewater Shake Shack is another brand new restaurant called 1000 Degree Pizza. Has anyone tried it?

May 28, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey
1

New Indian Buffet/Restaurant in Flemington Blue Diamond Buffet?

Tried Blue Diamond last night with the family. It's great to now have an Indian restaurant in Hunterdon County, so we no longer have to drive to Bridgewater or Branchburg which were the closest places for Indian before Blue Diamond opened in Flemington. Blue Diamond is about on par with the Indian places we go to in Bridgewater (Bombay Spice) and Branchburg (Masala Art) meaning it's a solid choice for this area - - good but not great.

The service was very attentive. In addition to our waiter, the owner came over to our table to ask what we like, how we found the place, how we like our food prepared, etc.

They brought a basket of pappadum and three chutneys (tamarind, onion, and something with mint) while we looked over the menu, and refilled the basket several times without us having to ask for more.

The menu is fairly extensive, with the typical mix of chicken, lamb, vegetarian, rice dishes, tandoori dishes, etc. There were also a number of shrimp dishes and a section of "Indo-Chinese" dishes.

Since this was our first time at Blue Diamond, we ordered very standard dishes.

We started with a platter of mixed vegetarian pakodas (fritters made with chickpea flour) and a samosa. The pakodas were good - - light, freshly made, and not at all greasy. But they needed the chutney for added flavor. The samosa was definitely better than average - - very flavorful. I would not hesitate to get again, although will try some of the other appetizers the next time around.

We had one order of tandoori chicken, one chicken tikka masala, one butter chicken, and (if I recall correctly) Chicken Kadai. The tikka masala, tandoori chicken, and chicken Kadai (if that's what it was) were all between good and very good. The butter chicken was somewhat bland. In general, they need to ratchet up the heat (spice) a couple of notches on all their dishes. Although they asked whether we like our food mild, medium, or hot, and we ordered medium, all the dishes were very mild. Next time we will make it clear that we like a little bit more heat.

The naan was excellent - - lighter and fluffier than I've had at other places.

They portions were, perhaps, a drop smaller than I've had in other places, but still plenty to eat. They were very generous with the rice, refilling the sides of rice several times. I was wondering whether they would charge for the additional sides of rice, which I've seen done couple of times at other Indian restaurants, but there was no charge on the bill for the extra rice.

The room is very large, but unfortunately only three tables were filled on a Saturday night. We chatted with the owner and it sounds like they are having a bit of a rough time. Shortly after the restaurant opened last November, on Christmas Day they had a flood that caused a lot of damage. They were closed for over three months making repairs, and the owner thinks everyone assumed they had gone out of business.

My wife had a coupon for 15% off one entrée. The owner told us the coupon is not needed, and for the month of May they are taking 15% off everyone's entire dinner bill, not just the one entrée. (Of course, it might help their business if they advertised that special, instead of just the 15% off one entrée coupon).

Finally, note that although the name is "Blue Diamond Buffet", the buffet is now only offered at lunch time. They no longer offer the buffet at dinner time (which is fine by us).

May 17, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Where are the A-Frame IHOPs in NJ?

The IHOP in Union, 2500 Route 22, on the center median.

Natirar / Ninety Acres

Thanks. Rough idea of what dinner costs per person, not including wine, tip, etc.?

May 11, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Natirar / Ninety Acres

Wow. That sounds like a great time! This may not be the right crowd this time around but will keep the idea in mind for another event.

May 11, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Natirar / Ninety Acres

I am thinking of hosting a dinner at Ninety Acres/Natirar for about 10-14 people to celebrate a milestone birthday this summer. A few foodies in the family. I'm not sure how much dinner there would run, and the menu on their website does not show prices. Anyone, by any chance, know where I can find a menu with prices? I'd also be interested in hearing from CH'ers about any recent experiences there - would they recommend it for a special event, any dishes to try/avoid, etc. Thanks!

May 10, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Great dinner at ONE 53 in Rocky Hill

I note that at the bottom of their current Spring menu there is a line "Buy the Kitchen a six-pack. $10.00" I have not seen that before and thought it a bit curious. Does it literally mean what it says? (And I have no problem buying the kitchen a six-pack - - they work hard and don't get tips, but if all the diners do the same, they're having a hell of a party back there.)

http://s3.amazonaws.com/hoth.bizango/...

Apr 17, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Frelin

I suspect your post may renew the oft-debated question of what exactly is/isn't "Central Jersey." If Somerset fits within your definition, check out:

http://www.sophiesbistro.net/menu.htm

Apr 01, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Cape May in Winter...

A few years back (maybe 2011?) we spent a mid-winter weekend in Cape May and the B&B owner enthusiastically recommended The Black Duck on Sunset. Since we got to the B&B @ 6:00 p.m. on a Friday, he really pushed us to run over there right away to get there in time for the "early bird menu." We were reluctant at first because (a) early bird make me think senior citizen crowd, and (b) the B&B proprietor was so eager for us to get there we started wondering what he gets out of sending folks there. Turns out, however, to have been a great recommendation. The early bird special (which I'm guessing was available for guests seated by 7:00) is a prix fixe meal that was very nice and quite reasonable for 3 or 4 courses. I don't recall what we had but I remember that both my wife and I felt the food was quite good. Also, it was a perfect place for a chilly winter night; lively but not loud, and definitely not a senior citizen crowd. Although they were busy, they did not rush the meal and I remember thinking as we left that considering we had gotten there for the "early bird" meal, it was pretty late by the time we walked back to the B&B. I see they are still in business, open on the weekends in the winter, and still offer a prix fixe "early bird" menu. However, since I have not been there in years I can't vouch that it is still as good as I recall. Perhaps someone has been there more recently and can give a more up to date opinion. http://www.blackduckonsunset.com/

Feb 12, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Food Bar Overlooking Kitchen?

If it's with kids, the California Pizza Kitchen in Bridgewater Mall has great counter seating where you can watch all the action in the kitchen just a few feet in front of you, and they prepare far more than just pizza. I'm not sure if CPKs at other locations have the same set up since that is only one I've been to, and I remember being pleasantly suprised by the extensive menu and quality of the food.

Jan 25, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Some questions for my NJ friends about our home board...

Seems to me that the NJ board has held up well, relative to CH boards in other regions that I periodically check when travelling, and generally the NJ board seems pretty active. It may be just my impression, but the board seemed to have a bit of a lull in new posts over the last three months and then picked up in activity the last couple of weeks. (I have nothing to back that up other than my own sense - - perhaps the administrator knows from whatever statistics they keep.) In any event, I strongly disagree with the posters who suggest splitting the NJ into multiple boards, and if there is any real thought being given to that idea, here is my plea against it. First, there may not be frequent enough new posts to maintain two separate boards, and boards without regular new posts die out because there is little reason to keep checking in on them. I recognize there's a balance that needs to be struck, with a board covering enough territory to attract sufficient posters to keep the board active vs. covering such a large area that it does not have "relevance" and members lose interest for that reason. For me, at least, a board covering NJ is just the right size. In contrast, I travel to Connecticut and Cape Cod with some frequency, yet I've given up on the "Southern New England Board" because it covers way too much territory and I very rarely came across posts for restaurants in towns anywhere near the places I was visiting. Second, I simply enjoy reading about restaurants in towns in NJ that I might only rarely, if ever, get to. This is especially the case for ethnic or unusual places that may not exist in my neck of the woods. In addition to the vicarious pleasure from another poster's description of a good meal, I get an education about types of foods and preparations that I put to use when visiting restaurants serving the same type of food, even if not the same restaurant. Third, this state is small enough that sooner or later I find myself in far off corners that I don't ordinarily get to, and more than once I've come across a restaurant that I recall reading about on CH, sometimes years earlier. Most recently, this summer I was semi-lost in Sussex county. While wondering where the ___ I would find lunch up there, I drove by Salt Gastropub, a name I recalled from a post on CH a couple of years ago. But for that post, unlikely I would have stopped in and had a good meal there. It's worked the other way around too, where a restaurant becomes the reason for a trip out of my usual stomping grounds solely because I've learned about it from CH'ers. In a couple of weeks I'm taking my son to the Blue Bottle Café - - a good hour from my house - - because of posts I've read here.

Jan 23, 2015
Forklaw in New Jersey

Ryland Inn in the last year?

I'm considering the Ryland Inn for a special occasion family dinner. Has anyone been there in the last year or so, or better yet, since Craig Polignano became the executive chef in mid-2014? Other options under consideration are the Blue Bottle Cafe and At the Pass.

Dec 21, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Looking for Craft Beer Restaurant halfway between Stockton and Point Pleasant Beach

Not sure whether your request for a "craft beer restaurant" means you are looking for a restaurant that crafts its own beer (i.e. a brew pub), but if so, Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton is between Stockton and Point Pleasant, though closer to the person coming from Stockton. If by "craft beer restaurant" you mean a restaurant that serves fine beers, I leave it to others who live closer to that area to suggest their favorite locations, but again I suspect the Princeton area will have some good choices.

http://www.triumphbrewing.com/princeton/

Dec 18, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Historic Taverns in NJ

First time I went, probably close to ten years ago, I thought the food was mediocre at best and had no inclination to return. However, I was there twice in the last six months (due to location and because it was chosen by the people we were meeting) and both times the service was excellent and I felt the food was pretty decent. Perhaps it was because my expectations were low from the first visit, or perhaps the good beers and good company affected my palate, but based on the last two visits, I would not be reluctant to give it another try. It's not gourmet, but a decent place for a meal and a fresh beer or two with friends.

Sep 16, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Historic Taverns in NJ

linlinchan - since you don't get out to Hunterdon County, here's one for you in Morris County: Long Valley Pub & Brewery. Ate there a couple of weeks ago. Beautifully restored building, nice outdoor seating area if the weather is good, decent beers made on site, and decent food.

http://www.restaurantvillageatlongval...

Sep 15, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Is there a good diner in Egg Harbor area where I can kill a couple of hours on a Sunday morning

Understood. I would stay aware of the demand for the table and not overstay my welcome. The Sunday rush at a diner usually does not start quite that early - - maybe not until 10:00 or so. But your suggestion of taking it to Starbucks at that point is a good one.

Sep 13, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Is there a good diner in Egg Harbor area where I can kill a couple of hours on a Sunday morning

Is there a good diner in Egg Harbor area? I need to kill a few hours early Sunday morning (8:00 - 11:30) while waiting for my son to run a program at a school there. I figure a diner might let me sit for a while (so long as I order some food now and then) while I get some paperwork done. I'm from Hunterdon and have no idea what's good/bad in the Egg Harbor area. Any suggestions?

Sep 12, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Historic Taverns in NJ

We have so many historic inns and taverns in Hunterdon County that it's hard to remember let alone name them all. Many are excellent restaurants too. Just a few that come to mind, covering a range from Inns with higher end restaurants to local, historic bars (locations in parenthesis if not part of the establishment's name):

Glen Gardner Inn: http://www.glengardnerinn.com/

Fox and Hound Tavern (Lebanon Boro): http://www.foxandhoundtavern.com/

Pittstown Inn: http://www.pittstowninn.com/

Sergeantsville Inn: http://www.sergeantsvilleinn.com/abou...

Clinton House (but I definitely do not recommend the food): http://www.theclintonhouse.com/

Harvest Moon Inn (in Ringoes): http://www.harvestmooninn.info/

Mrs. Rileys Publik House (High Bridge)(local tavern/bar and sometimes rooming house since late 1800s) http://highbridge.org/businesses-and-...

The Stockton Inn: http://stocktoninn.com/

Lambertville House (historic hotel with bar): http://www.lambertvillehouse.com/acco...

National Hotel (Frenchtown)(historic bar room on first floor and the Rathskeller below): http://www.thenationalhotelnj.com/the...

Frenchtown Inn: http://www.frenchtowninn.com/history-...

The Ship Inn Restaurant & Brewery (in Milford): http://www.britishbrewpub.com/about-us-2

There are so many more but these came to mind first. I'm sure the other Hunterdon County CH'ers can suggest others.

Aug 18, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Wellfleet & Other Towns on the Cape

Wow. Capecodguy's posts are certainly a wealth of information. Exactly the kind of info I'm looking for.
As an aside, before posting my inquiry above, I ran searches for Cape Cod and Wellfleet, and almost nothing recent (i.e. from the last 2 years) came up. But following the link you posted, I see there certainly have been recent posts. Re-ran the same searches and now finding lots on Cape Cod including Wellfleet. Wonder if the latest update to CH has some glitches in the search feature.

Jul 28, 2014
Forklaw in Southern New England

Wellfleet & Other Towns on the Cape

Thanks. Are these all in Wellfleet?

Jul 28, 2014
Forklaw in Southern New England

Wellfleet & Other Towns on the Cape

Will be vacationing in Wellfleet mid-August. Looking for recommended places on the Cape. Although based in Wellfleet, we will be driving around lots of the Cape and eating out often (breakfast, lunch, dinner, basic meals and special occasion meals, American and Ethnic), I welcome all thoughts on any type of place you think worth a visit, especially in the mid-Cape area.

Jul 26, 2014
Forklaw in Southern New England

Suddenly Craving Biltong

Hmmm. Jonty Jones is $9.99 for 4 oz?? Braiitime is $25.00 per pound, which I'm already having trouble explaining to the wife ("it's not $25.00 for a pound of beef jerky. It's $25.00 for a pound of fine steak that's dried up, sliced, shriveled and just looks like beef jerky.") Is the Jonty Jones that much better than the Braiitime for $40.00 /pound?

Jul 01, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Suddenly Craving Biltong

Drongo - What did you think of the biltong from africanhut.com? That is one of the online vendors I was checking out. Have you tried any others? (I prefer the sliced to the "sticks" if you've tried both)

Jun 30, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Suddenly Craving Biltong

Thanks "Just Visiting." I had run a google search last night before posting to CH and came up with the same fb post from Braiiitime as you posted in your reply, however on my search it came up as a 2012 entry and none of the links worked. But on your post, the links work, and now I see Braiitime is in Keansburg NJ, and the Springbok Potjie Festival is an annual event in Middletown - - both worth a road trip from where I am in Hunterdon County to satisfy my jonesing for Biltong. Did not know there was a South Aftrican ex pat population in the Middletown area. Of course, if someone knows of a place making/selling Biltong closer to Hunterdon, I would not mind a shorter trip for a quick fix.

Jun 30, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Suddenly Craving Biltong

Does anyone know where I could find Biltong in New Jersey? It's a cured meat from South Africa, sort of like beef jerky, but it's much thicker, tastier, and spiced and cured differently than jerky (biltong is cured with vinegar and is air dried for several weeks, and not smoked). Have not had (or thought about it) it since I lived with a South African guy in college in the 1980's. Whenever he'd get a care package from home, we would finish off pounds of the stuff in a couple of hours. Totally addicting stuff. Woke up this morning, for some reason thought of biltong, but cannot find anywhere to get some. It can be ordered online, but I'd rather find it locally (meaning anywhere in NJ) .

Jun 29, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Best Cakes in Central NJ

Maddalena's Cheesecakes makes absolutely unbelievable cheesecakes (and non-cheesecake cakes), including special occasion cakes (e.g. wedding cheesecakes, etc.) Their bakery is in Ringoes, just south of Flemington, but their products are available in a number of specialty food markets such as the Stockton Market and some supermarkets in Hunterdon County. Their website lists the places you can get their products, but I assume for the freshest item - - or something custom made - - you want to go to their bakery. (Warning - the bakery in Ringoes does not look like much from the outside. . . on-site sales are not their primary business, but you're going there for the cakes, not the décor). The business is run by a delightful woman, Janet Maddalena, and her two sons. (They make a great apple pie too and have gluten free cheesecakes.)
http://www.maddalenascatering.com/che...

May 24, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Lox wings in Jersey ??

Your post brings back fond memories from my childhood, when my mother would get "fleagels" (aka lox wings) from the appetizing counter at Waldbaums Supermarket.
I see lox wings on the wholesale price list of Rachel's Springfield Smoked Fish Company, although they are not listed on their retail menu. It may be worth a call.
http://springfieldsmokedfish.com/whol...

May 19, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey

Nik's Wunderbar - Route 22 - Hunterdon County - Readington/Whitehouse Area

A German restaurant, Nik's Wunderbar, opened about 6 months ago at the location of the old Busher's Wunderbar. (After Busher's Wunderbar closed in the early 2000's, the building was repeatedly and extensively renovated by a succession of short-lived restaurants, most recently Max's 22.) Interesting that the spot has returned to it's German "roots." Has anyone been to Nik's Wunderbar? Food any good?

May 04, 2014
Forklaw in New Jersey