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Everything posted by BrianYarvin

  1. If you head south from Metuchen on Route 27, you'll find a remarkable strip of Asian stuff including several good Vietnamese pho shops, a great dim sum restaurant called Wonder Seafood, the China Bowl - for Cantonese noodles and rice plates, the much improved Asian Food Center supermarket, and a Middle-Eastern coffee house I have yet to try. If you go a few miles farther into Highland Park, another universe of Glatt Kosher and Shanghai Style Chinese opens up to you. And I forgot...there are two great Sichuan places right near Metuchen. The Dragon Palace on the corner of Wood Avenue and Oak Tree Road right by the Payless Shoes store and Sichuan Spring on Route 27 on the Edison/Highland Park border. Good luck!
  2. Alison: Thanks for the details, I've always thought this was the best cheese store in Central NJ, BTW... if lapasterie (or any other reader) is enough of a cheese fan to seeking out this sort of quality, he also should visit Valley Shepard in Long Valley. Valley Shepard This is one of America's top artisanal sheep cheese producers and a fantastic experience for anybody who loves great cheeses. Long time egullet readers should think of this place as a Bobolink Dairy for sheep.
  3. What about the Summit Cheese Shop across from the train station? I've always thought this was a terrific store run by a great guy.
  4. China Bowl and Wonder are both Cantonese, but the similarity stops there. Wonder is a "white tablecloth" fine dining restaurant with dim sum service in the mornings and banquet dishes later on and China Bowl is a noodle shop of the sort that Hong Kong office workers might hit during their meal break. Both are worthwhile for completely different reasons. BTW...my own recs: At Wonder - weekend dim sum service At China Bowl - squid with black bean sauce over rice
  5. Rachel: There's still a nice Vietnamese grocery on Route 27 here in Edison. (there used to be a big community here and in Plainfield, but not much is left of it) It's right across the street from the Asian Food Center and National Wholesale Liquidators, just south of the corner of Plainfield Avenue and in the same strip mall as the wonderful Igloo Tea House. Didn't there used to be a Thai grocery in Kearny?
  6. Robert: Peaches are still a major crop in NJ and there are terrific roadside markets for them all over the state. Here are some of my favorites: Peaceful Valley Orchards in Pittstown http://www.peacefulvalleyorchards.com/index.html Terhune Orchards near Princeton http://www.terhuneorchards.com/default.htm Melick's Town Farm in Oldwick http://www.melickstownfarm.com/ I hope this helps.
  7. Cirilo: Besides Dynasty, which are your other favorites? Are there any dim sum places you like that aren't on the list?
  8. Rosie: They are really recipes that I as much transcribed as created. How about Pat Tanner's favorite? I read this on her show a couple of weeks ago. **** Quail Marinated in Beer Makes 8 Quail - 4 main dish servings Quail are little birds with big flavor. True fans will just throw some salt and pepper on them and throw them on the grill, but a marinade like this one will give the birds a bit of depth and add some interest. Marinade 12 ounces (one can or bottle) ale 1 cup cider vinegar 1 cup soy sauce 1 teaspoon dried thyme 3 bay leaves 2 tablespoons peppercorns 2 whole dried chiles or 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes Combine these ingredients in a glass or plastic bowl 8 Quail, butterflied 2 tablespoons olive oil for the baking sheet salt and pepper to taste Rinse and dry the quail. Immerse them in the marinade for at least 2 hours and put them in the refrigerator. When you're ready to start cooking, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, pat the birds dry and lay them out on a well-oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and bake them for 40 minutes. Let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. **** If you can, get your quails from the Griggstown Quail Farm. link to the farm BTW...for those of you down south, I'll be on the Ed Hitzel show next Saturday morning talking about the book and farming in New Jersey.
  9. Rosie: The book is on Amazon com. I still haven't seen a copy myself at Borders but other people have reported buying them there. I'm delighted to see that you recognize Jonathan; it's his cows on the cover! However, with a copy of the book and a bit of effort you could have fifteen or twenty farmer friends! (some of the people I interveiwed don't sell retail or have stands) As for where the recipes came from - I based them on dishes the farmers described to me during our meetings.
  10. Hi Everybody. Since it's getting to be farm stand season around here, I've asked Rosie for permission to plug my new book; Farms and Foods of the Garden State: A New Jersey Cookbook. It's got profiles of 30 NJ farms and a hundred (mostly easy) recipes to go with them. Check it out at Farms and Foods dot com, the books' web page and get out there and buy local!
  11. Kush: Three or four more? Okay.... Edison Great Shanghai on Route 1, especially for casseroles and stewed dishes. China Bowl on 27 in the same strip mall as National Wholesale Liquidators for Hong Kong style noodle soups and congee - very, very popular on weekend afternoons. Wonder Seafood Restaurant on 27 south of the post office and north of Plainfield Ave. for Cantonese style banquet dishes and dim sum service. South Plainfield Food court inside the Hong Kong Supermarket at the corner of Oak Tree Road and Park Avenue (about 2 miles down Oak Tree from the Indian Strip in Woodbridge). Visit the Taiwan-style noodle stall (look for the map of Taiwan) and the bread and dumpling place right next to it. The noodle stall closest to the front door has something called "hand cut noodles" - worth it if you can take the time to watch the guy cut them. Highland Park Shanghai Park on 27 in town. Go on a weekend evening when you can watch the chef make soup dumplings in front of you. Kids seem to especially like this. I think this is more than four and I'm just warming up.
  12. Randi: That would be me; I'm a big fan of the food at the Dragon Palace. Their (Chinese langauge only) Sichuan menu is one of the best in the state. I'm an even bigger fan of King's Village on Route 27 (they've just done the very big job of translating more of their Chinese menu into English) at the other end of Edison for noodles and Dumplings. 1-9 Seafood on Route 1-9 in Avenel has very good dim sum too. I could think of three or four others too; there's lots of great Chinese food around here.
  13. Rebecca: I suggest you start your exploring at Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck. It's not too far from you and has one of the best produce departments you'll ever see. They also have very good (and sometimes great) baked goods. You should also check out the fresh fish places in Point Pleasant. It's not far from you and pretty much the closest place to the big city where you can buy fish that just came off commercial boats. Delicious Orchards And try both of these: Spike's Fish Market 415 Broadway at Channel Drive, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 732.295.9400 Co-op Seafood 57 Channel Drive, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 732.899.2211 Remember also that in the time it takes you to drive to Manhattan, you can reach equally excellent - but far less touristed - ethnic neighborhoods in NJ.
  14. I walk or drive by it at least a couple of times a day but have only eaten the pizza. There's just so much to eat around here that I can't get to all of it.
  15. Linda: I live in Edison and don't know it. What's the address?
  16. Could you give us a bit more detail? The name of the paste in the language of the cuisine you need it for could be more helpful than you might think - for example. The recipe helps too. Off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure that the Hungarian shop in New Brunswick (somebody here can help me with the name!) has it so other Eastern European places farther north might have it too. I understand how tough this is! I'm having trouble finding quality fresh hazelnuts...
  17. Rosie: Are you looking for a serious, contemporary Cantonese restaurant that close to Springfield or just something else?
  18. Tommy: I think you're expectations are way to high in the New Jersey Italian quality arena - and maybe in the buffet arena too. No matter what the owners might claim, buffets are almost never about quality, instead variety and surprise rule the day. Am I expecting excellent Italian food at this buffet? Of course not! What serious student of New Jersey cuisine would? But I suspect there will be a lesson in it somewhere. Buffets are great teachers for those students who are willing to open their eyes. So...where is this place and when are we going?
  19. Tommy: Glad to hear that you see it my way! I want to go to an Italian Buffet precisely because I can't imagine what they'd serve. Indeed, the whole point - I might even call it "excitement" - of going to buffets is discovering their oddities. Chinese places with garlic bread, "mini" versions of Indian classics (I had mini-uttapams at lunch yesterday) and who knows what else are the main attraction of these places. When are we going?
  20. Curlz: This is what I had feared! Down here in Edison, there are Indian buffets and Chinese buffets and even a Chinese buffet that has a strange pizza and garlic bread section where you see huge tables crowded with Chinese people eating things like stewed tripe in ginger sauce, lotus leaves stuffed with peanuts and sticky rice, and red-cooked pigs knuckles with a heaping pile of garlic bread and pizza slices on the side. But an Italian buffet? Like I say, count me in!
  21. Jason: Nothing is wrong with Barilla! In fact, it's quite good. It's just that some of the more artisanal brands like Setaro do what Barilla does, but a bit better. To me, Setaro has a great taste and a different sort of surface.
  22. I think your best shot would be at Bieler's at the PA Dutch Farmers Market in the Kingston Mall on Route 27, a bit north of Princeton. This is where the competitors I talked to at the NJ State Barbecue Championship got their meats. Call them at 609-683-5260. They're open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only.
  23. Gary: I'm going to have to both add a bit to Jason's comment and side with him. For soup dumplings that fit your description, you really would do better in New Jersey than in NYC - both major centers of Chinese food activity here (along Route 46 near the GW Bridge and on Route 27 North of New Brunswick) have major Shanghai orientations. Surely, if soup dumplings are the only goal, Shanghai Park in Highland Park, NJ - where they aren't even made until after you order them and Shanghai dialect is the only language spoken - would be a stop. So would Jason's fave, China 46; a fine restaurant with a strong Shanghai slant to its cooking. The only problem is getting here. Yes, those of us who live in New Jersey have no problem getting in our cars and heading wherever the good stuff is, but is it worth it for a person who also regularly visits Shanghai and San Francisco and only has a few days in the Big Apple? My answer would have to be "no."
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