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Everything posted by BrianYarvin

  1. Yes indeed. The travel time from midtown to Flushing and midtown to Metropark is about the same, but the cost of traveling to New Jersey MUCH higher. For me, Main Street in Patterson and Oak Tree Road in Iselin/Edison are really just New York neighborhoods that happen not to be in New York.
  2. I think that this is an important question. Since the New York area is growing rapidly and its territory doesn't expand, we may just be seeing the natural growth of the region. (With public transit lagging far behind...)
  3. Curlz: Any idea how this place compares to the Lebanese restaurants on Main Street in Patterson? (Besides being twice the price of course...)
  4. By Otto, I'm referring to pseudonym of the chef famously profiled by John McPhee in the New Yorker in the late 1970s. With his loving 25,000 word portrait of Otto, McPhee set off a near riot in the food community. The search for Otto was relentless, and he was finally outed by Mimi Sheraton and Frank Prial. Incidentally, they thought the food sucked, but then again the stories told were that the reclusive Otto sabotaged their meals to avoid good publicity. Otto was assumed to be in New Jersey because McPhee lived in Princeton, but turned out to be a couple of thousand feet over the border in Milford, Pennsylvania. His name was Alan Lieb. The New Yorker piece by McPhee is not, as far as I know, available online. It is, however, in McPhee's anthology, "Giving Good Weight." It is well worth reading -- I'd say it's one of the best pieces of English-language food writing ever. Here's a story from Time magazine, written at the time, about the whole brouhaha. ← The Story of Otto! While I have always believed John McPhee's essay to be the finest piece of restaurant writing I ever read, I didn't find it until the mid-eighties and had no idea that it caused this sort of stir. In my search for more information, I discovered that Mimi Sheraton told the tale from her point of veiw in a book she wrote not long ago called "Eating My Words." For me, Otto was truly a hero, doing what he loved because he loved it with a happy family at his side. Reading about how the press demolished him was sad indeed. These days, the "Otto" types I search for make dosas, pierogies, or bowls of Pho, not haute cuisine, but after reading this story, I fear what will happen when you Manhattanites visit my favorite haunts.
  5. Here's my opinion: 1 - What's the best NNJ Chinese now that China 46 is on hiatus? Grand Shanghai on Route 1 in Edison is my vote. A serious Shanghai style place similar in scope and aspiration to China 46. 6 - What's the best Italian market? Piccolo Gastronomia Italiana 484 Bergen Blvd, Ridgefield This place is fantastic and hardly ever mentioned on the web.
  6. I've been reading this guy's reviews for years. He's the nastiest critic that ever existed. Who is he? What makes him so mad? Oh...and since this is the New York board, I'll included this link that leads to his other reviews.
  7. Dianabanana: Oak Tree Road is pretty incredible! Check out this link: Oak Tree Road Don't forget to read the hilarious/angry restaurant reviews.
  8. Laksa: The Chinese "stuff" begins in Edison and gets a bit closer to Princeton each year. Here in Edison, worthwhile restaurants include Wonder Seafood for dim sum, King's Village for Tianjin snacks and meals, and Shanghai Park in Highland Park for Shanghai Cuisine. There are also great grocery stores; Asian Food Center in Edison and The Great Wall Supermarket in (I think??) Kendal Park. There's also plenty of good Indian, a cluster of Mexican stuff in New Brunswick, and a smattering of African just South of there.
  9. Wow, I've been dipping into the raging debate about New Yorkers and New Jersey food resources. There are some serious opinions there! But it's a thread meant for New Yorkers - or maybe Manhattanites - and we New Jersey folk really need to ask ourselves the similar questions. So...how many of us visit other parts of the state for gastronomic reasons? What are our favorite destinations? I love Main Street in Patterson with its Turkish and Arabic shops and restaurants. I also like cruising down Route 27 with all its Chinese stuff. But I almost never go to the South American places in Plainfield, just a few miles from my home. Where are you going? Where should I go?
  10. Hey Brian, I do have a request. .. No matter how you go, you'll have to walk at least a few yards on a sidewalk-less street. Take the train to Metropark. From the ticket office and facing the parking lot, turn right and then turn right again at Wood Avenue. Walk through the underpass, cross Route 27, and keep walking up Wood. The left side of the street has a foot path the whole way to the strip mall even though some of it is just dirt. A few hundred yards up, you'll hit a strip mall with a huge parking lot. To get to Moksha and Mogul, bear left, cut across the parking lot, pass the Dragon Palace and continue left on Oak Tree Road. It's about five more minutes to the Pathmark mall with the two restaurants. You can also turn right at the Metropark Station. Cross the Garden State Parkway, and walk up to Green Street. Turn left at Green, go under the tracks and the street name will change to Oak Tree Road. Walk up one more block to the thick of the Indian stores and the much-discussed (In NJ anyway...) Chowpatty Restaurant. Both are about fifteen minutes at a normal pace. On weekends, you can just follow the crowds of Indian shoppers too.
  11. Have you seen the parking lot outside Moghul on a weekend night? Those people aren't stopping by after shopping. That's an Indian-American destination-dining mob scene you're seeing there, drawing from all over the region. Fat Guy: I'm just very dubious when it comes to convincing New Yorkers that there is something worthwhile here. I believe you though. Indeed, as a professional food writer and photographer, I could think of few better places to live. Despite my hesitation, my location in the thick of things would also make me a perfect host for those people who did want to come out. So...if anybody is interested in visiting these areas, I'd be happy to provide the local knowledge and lead the way.
  12. Foodies in Los Angeles think nothing of driving all over their massive metropolitan area for a good meal. Yet foodies in New York City rarely venture to nearby restaurants in Northern New Jersey -- many of which are significantly closer to Manhattan than Totonno's or Nathan's. Fat Guy: There are big differences between the food cultures of New York and New Jersey that could discourage people from making the trip. First and foremost, the ethnic food culture of New York City revolves around restaurants, you go there for a meal. And while you can get some great meals in New Jersey, what makes the trip worth it is the grocery markets. Immigrants or otherwise, people here (I live in Edison) cook at home far more than they did when they lived in the city and ethnic communities are geared for this. Indeed, while there are some very interesting regional Indian places on Oak Tree Road, the people that dine there have visited first to buy groceries and household goods, and then stop off for a meal. The story is repeated over and over again. The Great Wall Supermarket - one of the best Chinese grocers in the State, isn't even in what a New Yorker would call a Chinese neighborhood. In Ironbound, okay restaurants mingle with great stores. If you're a serious home cook, with a pantry large enough to stock ingredients, a trip to New Jersey is in order. But for dining by itself, I'd be hard pressed convince anybody to visit anything beyond Ironbound, Oak Tree Road, or Mitsuwa.
  13. The current Trader Joe's circular says that they'll be getting Turkeys in the NJ stores on November 9th. I don't know what brand they'll be though.
  14. Hi: How about central New Jersey? Valley Sheperd in Long Valley for cheese. Peaceful Valley Orchards in Pittstown for produce. Griggstown Quail Farm for poultry. Muskie Trout Hatchery in Asbury for fresh trout. Buffalo from the Readington River Buffalo Company. And herbs from Well Sweep Herb Farm in Port Murray.
  15. I cooked up my first batch yesterday with peas I bought from a British shop in Manhattan and they were really great. While eating, I took your advice and splashed some malt vinegar on them. Thanks for the tip. BTW...both malt vinegar and mint sauce are easily found in the British section of my local supermarket (which is mostly sauces, jams, and cookies), it's those dried peas that have thrown me.
  16. Hi Again! Thank you for your comments everybody. While I cannot speak for the whole of England, it's my understanding that mushy peas are supposed to be made from marrowfat peas. In fact, the dried peas sold for this purpose in British markets are labeled "Marrowfat Peas." And thank you too for the expat goods links. This is where I've been finding them and will probably continue to do so.
  17. Hi Everybody: I've been searching for a good source for dried marrowfat peas and have come up with all too little; tiny boxes in British shops and tiny-er sacks in fancy Italian groceries. Does anybody here know of anything better in the U.S.? Perhaps a supplier of exotic and unusual beans? (Okay...our British members must be rolling in the aisles seeing the main ingredient of mushy peas being described as "exotic," but that's what it's come to.)
  18. Glad to hear it! I should be in Metuchen tomorrow and will get an address or two. ...but around here, it's fairly common to spot non-chain coffee shops.
  19. Must it be a chain? If so, Panera Bread has free wifi and food. Around here (in Edison and Metuchen) there are at least 4 indie coffee shops with free internet. Certainly it must be fairly common in the rest of the state too. I've never seen the combo of wifi and wine anyplace though.
  20. In my experience, this is the absolute truth. AND the rendering process leaves the most delicious craklings; again, none of that off "supermarket pork" flavor.
  21. The Asian Food Center store on Route 27 in Edison has it in the frozen meats case. I've bought it, rendered it, and baked with it more than once.
  22. Randi: It's a favorite of mine - a thick soup with little pieces of pancake. But...did you go? What did you have?
  23. Oh no, then I won't have a clue what to order. I need to learn Chinese! ←
  24. Okay...I'm not from anywhere near there, but I've heard through the grapevine that the best places to eat down there are hole-in-the-wall Mexican places that were started to serve farm workers. For better insight; visit some of the local wineries and ask them - they seem to know the turf pretty well. ...and when you find that perfect cantina, don't forget to report it here!
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