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Posts posted by ghostrider

  1. Not doing anything fancy, but lots of simple cooking & eating - boiling the corn, sauteeing the snap peas & so on. :biggrin:

    The "bread & butter" corn (hadn't heard it described thus before, but that's what the farmers call it at my Rutherford market - mixed yellow & white kernels) that I bought on Weds seems to be at season's peak - certainly the best so far, hard to imagine it any sweeter.

    Blackberries, just wash 'em & put 'em in a bowl with some Breyer's vanilla.

    Last week, bought a Persian melon - none around this week, don't know if their season may be over. Wondrous eating.

  2. Been to Corrado's a # of times, probably around 10 at this point. It's a good neighborhood-style place. Food ranges from good to occasionally a home run, their homemade ravioli are always excellent when they show up as a special. They also seem to have a particularly good hand with anything involving mushrooms.

    Reggia Bistro has better bread, but Corrado has better (and unlimited!) olive oil for dipping. You make the call.

  3. That Jerry's restaurant must be in East Rutherford, Paterson Ave. doesn't run through Rutherford.

    I know Paisano's only from its pizza, which is OK but not up to the level of Cafe New York's. It might well be a good bet for calamari. A likely better overall choice for Italian food in Rutherford is the newly opened Reggia Bistro, read about it right here. I don't recall whether calamari is on the menu though.

    I think you've done the best possible followup by posting your experiences here. If you're really angry, call them up & tell them why you'll never return, otherwise let them twist in the wind.

  4. Blueberry Hill, on the loop, serves highly competent hamburgers and bar food (and is owned by Chuck Berry).

    Sorry, must set the record straight. Chuck Berry plays a monthly gig with his son at Blueberry Hill but does not own the place. It's owned by my former high school - I was about to say classmate but he was 1 year ahead of me, so I guess it's schoolmate - Joe Edwards, always has been. Joe almost single-handedly revitalized The Loop by opening Blueberry Hill.

    It's a fun place (the bar & the neighborhood).

    Somewhere nearby on Delmar is a great little Thai place - I think it's called Thai Country Kitchen, been close on 2 years now since I've been there.

  5. I can't speak to it in general, but it reminds me of a scary story I heard recently: was having lunch with my editor recently in her neighborhood, i.e. the general environs of the newly trendy Meat Packing District in New York; she spoke feelingly about the fact that a local bakery (sorry, name escapes me) had just shut down, after 70+ years in business, because the Atkins craze had killed their bread trade.

    Lisa, I think you must be talking about Zito & Sons.

    I felt both revolted and guilty when they closed-- I never bought bread there.

    I'd say that in New York City the neighborhood bakery is likely suffering, but there are a number of large scale artisanal bakers who are doing well. (And when I say artisanal here I only mean they make good bread in old-fashioned ways.) Places like Sullivan St. Bakery, Amy's Bread, Uprising in Brooklyn-- or for pastry/choclolates someone like Jacques Torres-- there seems to be a small number dominating the field, and their goods are being sold in more and more places.

    OMG. I was afraid that she might be talking about Zito's & I didn't want to contemplate that it might be gone so I didn't ask.

    We lived in the far West Village for 20 years. Walking down Bleecker to get a loaf from Zito's was a ritual & such a wonderful one.

    I'd only gotten back there maybe 3 times in the 14 years since we moved to NJ, I was rarely in the neighborhood during their open hours.

    I can't tell you how appalled & disgusted I'm feeling right now.

  6. (Btw, the best baked beans I've ever had were stewed with bacon and pineapple--and from St. Louis).

    Where was that? Still planning a StL trip sometime this year.

    Reminds me of a dish we used to make in my starving post-college pre-employment NYC phase - hot dogs, pineapple & baked beams. Cheap & satisfying.

  7. Yes "Tony of the Romans" needs to cut the PA a notch or two.  Tho I gotta admit I got a little choked up when he did Jersey Girl.

    Then you'll enjoy the fact that WE were hysterical over his rendition of "The River"-played in an uptempo double-time!! I said "Hey, everyone! It's summer! Let's go down to the river!" Killed us. :laugh:

    Haha, that IS a hoot! I'd have been hysterical right along with you guys.

    Pizza - agree with phaelon, Cafe New York. They're the ones who are closed for July. I raved about them a few pages back on the Pizza thread - the fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced onions that get cooked thru, nicely charred crust....

  8. I think that they've been open for approximately 2 weeks - I overheard one of the waiters telling one of the customers that, it fits with my observations.

    Yes "Tony of the Romans" needs to cut the PA a notch or two. Tho I gotta admit I got a little choked up when he did Jersey Girl. He's there Fri & Sat only.

    Yes this is the former Medina space. That was a brave attempt but I think doomed at that location. I liked the dishes we had at Medina but due to the price tag only got there twice.

    La Reggia Bistro is reasonable indeed, our bill came to $30 before tip! Tho we didn't have the appetite for appetizers.

    P.S. Curlz, so you're in Lyndhurst? Have you ever tried Foschino's Brick Oven Pizza on Ridge Rd? Was wondering how they stack up, particularly since my local pizza joint is on vacation for the month & I may need a replacement.

  9. Italian-American grocery stores I ween. :biggrin:

    But in France and Italy, I've found that the grocer actually picks out good produce for you, generally speaking. I think it's partly simple good faith, and partly that they want repeat business and can get it even from tourists who go once a day for 2 weeks or something.

    I still remember the fruit vendor in Venice from whom I bought 4 peaches. He selected 4 at differing stages of ripeness, so that I had a perfectly ripe peach every day. Simple genius.

    I'm not sure how he grokked that I wasn't making a pie, I guess somehow it was obvious that I wasn't a native. :laugh:

  10. Ghostrider -

    It may be because I live in a region that is pretty much free of a regional accent (eh, I guess we suffer slightly from the south philly effect) but I definately hear accents in people my age and younger from different areas of the country. Long Island, Midwest, extreme New England, all seem to come across.

    That's encouraging.

    I must admit that I get carried away with my crankiness sometimes. But after a wedding in Maryland a few weeks ago & hearing all the kids down there with the same accent as these girls on the train from far north Jersey, & hearing it spoken all over NYC, I was particularly conscious of it.

  11. THis may be off topic - I can try to stretch & bring it in because the conversation I overheard involved Zagat's & the term "pizzaholic", which is all loathsome - but I was listening to 2 teen girls plotting their day in NYC on the train to Hoboken yesterday, and it occurred to me that there's an entire generation growing up in this country with exactly the same accent.

    It doesn't seem to matter whether they're from Jersey or Maryland or Maine or Missouri, they all have what I think of as a nasal Valley Girl accent. I'm not sure if it really is Valley Girl but I have that impression.

    Regional accents, perhaps outside of the deep South, seem to be dead.

    Is this all due to TV & movies just further homogenizing our culture?

    Anyway if that's too far off topic, I'll say it again - "pizzaholic" is "yucky"! :raz:

  12. I’ve been on a ten-year quest for a pasta amatriciana that might approximate the sublime spaghetti amatriciana I had at a Venice trattoria. I’ve tried at least a dozen renditions of this dish in New York City and New Jersey, none has even come close. Most have been variations on bacon in red sauce. There was a place on 24th or 25th Street in Chelsea, just west of Broadway, the critics raved about their version of the dish because it was made with hog jowls. I tried it, to me it was a lot of hog jowls overpowering a fairly mundane red sauce; not a bad way to eat hog jowls if that’s your thing, but it had little to do with what I think an amatriciana dish is supposed to be.

    Last night my quest was rewarded, thanks to Chef Enzo at La Reggia Bistro. I’d been anxious to try this newly-opened place since I’d spotted rigatoni amatriciana on their posted menu while strolling by last week & noted that they use pancetta, not bacon, in the sauce.

    It’s a big, deep room, rustic ambience, plenty of well spaced tables. There was a good Saturday night crowd there when we arrived around 9:00. “Tony of the Romans” was playing an acoustic guitar to electronic accompaniment & singing a variety of hits from the last 40 years. I asked the hostess for a table towards the back, just to be a little further from Tony’s PA so that Sheila & I could converse. She pointed out that the table I’d chosen was just one row from the smoking area, at the very back of the room. I was impressed by her thoughtfulness, but I couldn’t detect a hint of smoke and said it was fine; which it proved to be, their ventilation system is excellent.

    A young server immediately came over with a bread basket and choice of olive oils for dipping – a simple rosemary-infused oil, or rosemary with hot peppers. I received a generous dollop of the plain oil on the dipping plate. The bread was fresh with a crunchy, richly flavored crust.

    We ordered. I explained my low-salt diet to the waiter, who was very warm and welcoming, and said he’d be sure to tell the kitchen. I knew that I was in for a dose of salt anyway from the pancetta, I just didn’t want any more.

    The noise level got on my nerves at first, but ir proved to be just below the threshold after which you can’t really converse, so it didn’t bother me for long. Then the evening almost tanked while we were waiting for our salad. Mr. Fishface and his French trollop walked in and were seated two tables away from us. Well maybe she was his wife, I could judge only by the reek. What is it with some people who have to send an olfactory broadcast to everyone within a 10-yard radius that says, “I’m here, I’m tasteless, get used to it!” I just don’t get it. Is it deliberate arrogance, is it sheer stupidity? (Note: this is an equal-opportunity rant, I’ve encountered plenty of men who are just as bad with the cologne as this woman was with her perfume. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a judicious use of fragrance, sometimes I downright enjoy it, it’s the overkill approach that raises my hackles.) I began hoping that some clouds of smoke would waft over from the smoking area, they would have smelled better, but they never did.

    Our insalata organica arrived and we shared it. Field greens, chopped red onion, tomato both sliced and chopped., light balsamic vinaigrette. This was one well dressed salad. I don’t mean swimming, I mean dressed. Several cuts above your usual mesclun salad; it boded well.

    We finished the salad, the table was cleared and de-crumbed. We chatted for a bit. Then we were appalled to see that the Fishfaces were being served their entrees, although they’d arrived well after we did, and each had had a salad as well. I was beginning to make mental notes about newly-opened places and growing pains and all that. Happily, our dishes arrived less than a minute later. Not a problem.

    I looked at the rigatoni amatriciana and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was made with fresh chopped plum tomatoes. The first time in 10 years that I’ve found the dish made with fresh tomatoes; that’s key in taking this dish to the next level. I now had a strong feeling that the chef really knew his stuff. The sauce had a healthy portion of a good-quality pancetta, a nice dose of onion (to my personal taste, it could have used a bit more onion, but that’s a minor quibble, I like more onion in my food than many folks do), and a subtle heat at the bottom of it all from some diced peperoncino. The oil that had been rendered from the pancetta blended nicely with the ollive oil and the tomato and onion juices, making the sauce rich and properly oily but not greasy. The rigatoni was cooked to a perfect al dente. A beautiful rendition of this classic preparation.

    Sheila had the cannelloni stuffed with ground veal, spinach and cheese. I had a couple of bites, it was well made and perfectly cooked. There was a hearty portion of veal in the stuffing, and the spinach was still bright green, crunchy and flavorful.

    The waiter stopped by to ask how everything was, and specifically whether my pasta was too salty, which it wasn’t. I always appreciate that extra thoughtfulness.

    Toward the end of the meal, Chef Enzo came out and strolled around the room, introducing himself, chatting with the customers and inquiring about the food. I told him that this was the best preparation of amatriciana I’d had outside Italy and that I had tried it in a dozen different places. He smiled and replied that he could tell from that comment that I have a good sense of taste and know how food should be made. OK so we had a bit of a mutual admiration society going for a moment. Ultimately it stems from the quality of the food.

    We didn’t have room for dessert. But we’ll be back. Chicken scarpariello, another favorite of mine, is next on the list. This is a place that I would drive some miles to dine at, I feel exceedingly fortunate that it’s right in my town, less than a mile away.

    Oh yes, La Reggia Bistro already has an established branch ad the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel in Secaucus. It’s not clear to me whether Chef Enzo runs both kitchens.

    Salads $5 - $6. Lots of appetizers. Pastas $10 - $12. Entrees $14-$26 (I think that’s about right, I didn’t really focus on those prices). They also have a selection of foccacia plates at $7. And it’s Rutherford so you know it’s BYO.

    La Reggia Bistro, 15 Park Ave., first block up from the station traffic circle. Tel 201-672-0060. Fax 201-672-0665.

  13. Not even in the same ballpark as Taste of Asia formerly in Montclair.

    That's exactly the formerly somewhat local place I was referring to. Durn I loved that place.

    Looks like they reopened in South Orange according to Rosie's listings. That doesn't help me much.

    Thanks to all for your perspectives! I might try Satay sometime if I'm passing through Hoboken at the right time. It's got one advantage, it's near the train station, which is usually how I'm traveling to/from Hoboken.

  14. This one isn't directly food related, but it does crop up on the International boards...

    Native speakers of English describing foreign cities by their non-English names. 'Milano'. 'Venezia'. 'Roma'. To me it always looks like a misguided attempt to appear either a) sophisticated or b) culturally sensitive. Why use the Italian names for these cities in English?

    I'm not sure that I see anything wrong with that. A lot of Americans don't know that Italian (for example) cities have their own Italian names. What's wrong with trying to spread a little knowledge of the world?

    Granted, using the Italian names in the wrong context may cause one to appear a pretentious twit, but "always" misguided?

  15. Burnt popcorn.

    It's the reason I can't abide movie theatre popcorn & view microwave popcorn with sheer horror. That stuff just ain't right.

    I've had the same dedicated popping pan for over 30 years now. It's got a remarkable patina of brown fading to black on the inside. I gave up trying to scour it clean after the first 2 years or so & simply bought a new pan for all other cooking uses.

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