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Via Veneto, Brick, NJ

The tables were less occupied than usual at this familiar and normally bustling Italian restaurant on a Saturday evening. Nevertheless, our party of 6 enjoyed attentive service, and comforting, delicious meals. One of the appetizers, Broccoli Rabe and Sausage, was found to be a little overcooked (broccoli) by one, but I felt it to be just right. Isn't that the way with a few Italians at the same table? We all have our own way that seems to remind us of what mom used to make, and to each, his own. A couple of the entrees stood out: Veal Bracciola over Rigatoni and the Loin Lamb Chops with Broccoli Rabe (a theme here with us tonight apparently). Not only was the bracciola perfectly fork tender, but the gravy (sauce) on the rigatoni was perfectly complimentary--sweet but not too sweet. The lamb was cooked to the desired medium rare, and once again, the broccoli was delicious. A few desserts were ordered that stood out: Cannolli and Italian Cheesecake. Now, I'm a dessert chef--self-trained--but I've owned a dessert cafe'. I've gotten great reviews for my efforts, so I'm picky when it comes to dessert. I must say, that the cannolli shell was light and crisp tender; the filling was not even close to the typical thick and sweet one that we are typically used to receiving with this dessert. I found it to be very good. The Italian cheesecake had a rich flavor without being heavy, and also rated high with me. All in all, a good experience at Via Veneto.

Jan 10, 2009
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

CIAO BABY In Brick NJ

You too, Tapas52--a happy and healthy 2009. River Market is on my list of places to try.

Jan 02, 2009
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

CIAO BABY In Brick NJ

Tapas--you're so right about those booths! They still swallow you up--I'm only 5' 4", so I feel like Edith Ann. We were disappointed in our service and meal last night. Too many things went wrong, but we enjoyed each other's company. The manager was very apologetic and gave us a tray of complimentary desserts as well as requesting that we come again--asking to speak to him personally when we make a reservation. But......we're not sure we'll give it another go.

Jan 01, 2009
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

CIAO BABY In Brick NJ

We've been going to Ciao Baby regularly--however, they changed ownership/management about a year ago. The food is still very good, but a few things, namely, the Cutting Board appetizer, was changed to something far less appealing and tasty. The old Cutting Board had loads of roasted peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, olives, cheeses, and prosciutto served on a pizza peel. Supposedly for two, but more than enough for 4. Most of the entree's are the same, and it's a good place to enjoy friends, food, and yes--a bottle or two of BYOB wine. Nona's Chicken Soup--special--was fantastic. We're going tonight for NYE for an early dinner.

Dec 31, 2008
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

Need a strufoli or struffoli recipe

Strufoli on the left; cranberry biscotti on the right that I made for a Christmas party.

Dec 16, 2008
pjat50 in Home Cooking

Basil and Rye

Wow. This sounds great. I love the smell and the flavor of basil. Add it to rye, and what's not to like?

Dec 16, 2008
pjat50 in Recipes

Redstone American Grill

My pleasure. Give Redstone a try....you might be surprised.

Dec 12, 2008
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

Redstone American Grill

Actually, Redstone opened a year or so after the Promenade opened--P.F. Chang was an original restaurant. I reserve such accolades as "outstanding" and "superb" for those special establishments that are "one-of-a-kind" and unique. Great food can come in any location....granted, chain restaurants are typically so-so. But, yes, Redstone has great comfort food....just right for my soul.

Dec 12, 2008
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

Redstone American Grill

While shopping in Marlton, my friends and I discovered this great restaurant. The atmosphere is rustic and cozy....the food feeds the body and soul. Their Rotisserie Chicken Chopped Salad was more than enough for this Italian with a huge appetite. I love their burger with the applewood smoked bacon, and when I'm not being a carnivore, their grilled salmon does the trick. http://www.redstonegrill.com/

Dec 11, 2008
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

Pistachio Shortbread

I made pistachio shortbread for my dessert cafe', and the patrons loved them.

Dec 11, 2008
pjat50 in Recipes

RIVERMARKET Toms River is open for dinner now...

I absolutely will--always looking for new places to dine. Ciao Baby in Brick used to be one of our favorites--we loved the Cutting Board appetizer, but the new owner now uses a meager few cheeses, salamis, etc., and I think the food has lost a little something. I hear different views, but Basil T's in Toms River never disappoints.

Dec 05, 2008
pjat50 in New Jersey

What did I do wrong? regarding soup...

Yes...once you've whisked the flour into the butter, making the roux, keep whisking over low heat for about 2 minutes. Then, gradually add some of the liquid while continuing to whisk, creating a thick "sauce." Then, add the remaining liquid to the roux. This will give you the desired result. It'll thicken the soup, but leave out the flour-y taste. Hope this helps.

Nov 30, 2008
pjat50 in Home Cooking

When to Sift Flour

As mom taught me when I was a little girl, never scoop flour out of the container using the measuring cup needed, since you will end up with a denser amount. Lightly spoon the flour into desired measuring cup; then level off using the flat side of a knife. This will ensure that you're not packing the flour into the cup.

Nov 30, 2008
pjat50 in Features

Southwinds Grille

For anyone visiting or living at the Jersey Shore, check out Southwinds Grille at the end of East Lacey Road in Lacey Twp., NJ. Go past Captain's Inn (which has horrible food, in my humble opinion), and drive all the way down to this restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed; the food is consistently excellent; drinks are great; wait staff efficient and friendly. In the summer, they have seating outdoors and either a band or a DJ.

Nov 29, 2008
pjat50 in Mid-Atlantic

RIVERMARKET Toms River is open for dinner now...

Have not heard of this place...checked out the link; sounds good.

Nov 29, 2008
pjat50 in New Jersey