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Everything posted by whitetrufflechick

  1. Hi David, Was that you in back the corner with your little boys? I think we exited just as you were walking them up front to what I was guessing was the 'little boys' room - quite the juggling act with baby carrier, backpack and hand holding of the 3 yo! Very impressive. It must have been as when we were passing by the windows outside, we noticed the A Mano appetizer being placed on your empty table awaiting your return. And yes, we certainly had different experiences. Then again, if we all had the same experiences everywhere we went, there would be no need for eg. Funny you mention the smokiness of the crust and a the crispness. We really got none of that at all. One of my comments while eating was that it seemed like the dough had been handled too much, making it tough to chew. When we got there about 5:30, we were the only table in the place. Maybe the oven wasn't hot enough, maybe the pizza gods just didn't smile down on the pizza at that moment. Whatever the reason, different experiences. I agree that Brooklyn is definitely different, but to call it a 'Jersey-style' makes it sound like its a typical Cousin Vinny's pizza parlor that happen's to be cooked in a brick-oven. The house-made mozz, the fresh basil and made from scratch sauce (never mind the crust that manages to be both crispy and chewy at the same time) is, to me, what differentiates it from the type of Jersey-style place I'd have delivered on a Friday night for a bunch of teens.
  2. Full report and info not only from Tommy, but a number of comments from someone affiliated with A mano as well.
  3. I will, MJP. The photos on Tommy's site are exactly what the pizzas looked like that night. Picture perfect.
  4. sorry, about that. My take-home menu had no address or phone- A mano is located at the Franklin Ave end of Chestnut Street in Ridgewood. A call to 411 tells me that they have no phone number listed... may be too new.
  5. Walking into Ridgewood's newest pizza endeavor, my first impression was that I was walking into a chain restaurant. The snazzy room with its oversized black and white prints isn't what gave me that impression, nor was it the picture perfect dessert/gelato display case right inside the front door. What gave me the impression that I might have walked into a chain was the 'uniform' of every staff member in the place, including the pizza maker/owner: tan khakis, a white t, a red apron and the dreaded red neckerchief. Seeing staff dressed like this distracts from the effort put into the dining decor to appear somewhat sophisticated, with the newly finished wood floors, deep red walls and soaring ceilings. We were quickly seated in this empty dining room and handed the one page 'preview' menu, as they have only been open a few days. Our appetizer was the 'A Mano' - the chef's assorted specialites. An assortment of vegetable spreads including an eggplant caponata, a red pepper/almond mix and an assortment of vegetable spreads (including a decent tuna artichoke blend) served with foccacia points was good. A mano offers a variety of 13 pizzas and 4 salads. We decided to go with 2 pizzas - he ordered the Mano - Bufala Mozz, Prosciuto di Parma, arugula, cherry tomatoes, shaved gran cru and extra virgin olive oil. I ordered the Regina Margherita - Buff Mozz, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and basil. I noticed artichokes on one of the offered pizzas and asked if they could be added to mine. Stumbling over her words and looking uncomfortable, the young waitress said she could ask but didn't know if I could be accomodated. Huh? She said in the past he wouldn't want to make this pizza with artichokes but perhaps she could convince him tonite since it wasn't busy. Huh?? She went over to the pizza making area and conversation ensued and she reluctantly returned and told me I could not have my (what amounts to) plain pizza with artichokes. Huh??? Now, immediately in hushed tones my guy and I discussed what this could possibly indicate. Was the chef THAT into his food and ingredients that no changes were allowed to upset the delicate balance of what was going to be extraordinary pizza? Would this fly in Ridgewood where 'made to order' is usually the order of the day (dressing on the side, make it with no butter please, double pepperoni, hold the sauce). Is pizza man just a cocky SOB in which case, "Hey Buddy, I'm outta here..." We didn't have to wait long to have some of our concerns addressed as within moments, pizza man appeared at our table and introduced himself as "Robert, the owner." Robert explained to me that artichokes weren't to be put on my pizza but if I wanted to remove the mushroom, ham and olives from the Pizza Capriciosa (Fresh Mozz, Tom, Artichokes, Mushrooms, Ham, Basil) he would gladly accomodate me. He felt the Bufula Mozz wouldn't be right with the artichokes.I told him I really wanted to try the Bufala mozz and that I'd just go with the plain margherita. Holy Crap, this pizza is going to be INCREDIBLE with this much passion and attention to detail. Sadly, my expectations were not met. When the pizzas were set before us, they looked lovely. One bite after another, we were hoping for and looking for that something special that would set these pizza apart from the others. That taste never came. We finished our pizzas, left and that was it. Nothing thrilling tastewise. The crust was soggy in the center, a bit undercooked and unable to hold its own weight without collapsing. Almost dissolving at the middle, it was very chewy at the crust. Too chewy. For my rare pizza splurge, I'll stick with Brooklyn's fresh ingredients and tasty brick oven crust. And please, don't hold the artichokes. Side Note: We were told by the waitress that the owner had/has two restaurants in Pittsburgh and this is his first NJ endeavor. Jerry's, opening in the not too distant future next door, is in partnership with with A mano and Jerry's provides many of A mano's ingredients.
  6. to add to the list: Ginger & Spice in Ramsey (in a strip mall on Rte. 17)
  7. Congrats on the babe! What fun. Made another trip last week with 4 friends. Everything was terrific with one question. Those nachos. Absolutely delicious but not really in a nacho sort of way. No chips. Well, not NO chips, but maybe 4 (yes, actually 4) smooshy things that looked like chips under a kickass pile of chili and cheese and everything else. We all dug in with our forks and knives, but were left wondering if it was a mistake (one guess was that the kitchen ran out of chips and, with all the extra wonderfulness on the plate, was hoping we wouldn't notice OR they were supposed to be that way and so be it, they were good but really should be called Crunchless Nachos or some such thing. No worries though - we'll be back. :-) WTC
  8. At $4.99 the Costco roasted chicken gives you the best bang for your buck. For a couple of dollars more, the Kosher roasted chicken at Shop Rite is a nice alternative without having to deal with the Costco crowd. ← A slight veer off topic, but I've always wished that Costco would create an express lane for 10 items of less or whatever, just for such "I only want this chicken" occasions.
  9. I remember Luchow's and being taken there wearing a velvet Christmas dress and staring up at what seemed to be the biggest Christmas tree in the world. I think I was three. Also remember being taken to a Czechoslovakian restaurant called The Praha on New Years Eve around the same age.
  10. From what I remember, there was also a Linda's Chicken for awhile in Westwood, up in Bergen County. This must have been at least 10 years ago.
  11. Since I see this thread has been bumped up, I thought I'd add that last week I made it over to the Porter House on the border of Montvale and Pearl River. Never really been impressed with it before, I have to say that they have a great outdoor seating area with naturalized stone wall surrounding it and a large outdoor fireplace (albeit gas burning). Add to this some well-spaced tables and outdoor heating units, and it made for a very nice early fall evening outdoor experience. Have to add that the bar food was a pleasant surprise as well. Irish Nachos which are very good homemade potato chips with a nice amount of melted cheddar (not overloaded) and the cheese steaks that we enjoyed made the evening excellent all around.
  12. Made it over to Bailey's last night to see what was brewing with Fink's new menu/new place. Seems that the lower restaurant is not opened but the new menu has been rolled out. Bailey's basically took their menu and merged it with Finks. The menu appears to be the original BIG Bailey's double sided, laminated sheet menu, but on closer inspection I was thrilled to find it filled with all the old Fink specialties - including the barbereuban and the barbecuban. We had both. They were great - along with a side of the corn souffle. The menu is a nice balance between Fink's and Baileys. You can get the great smoked meats or you can go for what looked like really good pizza. We were there about 7 on a weeknight and the place was absolutely packed. Ended up waiting over an hour for our meals from the time we ordered, but the apologetic attitude of the waitress along with a round of free drinks and one of the sandwiches 'on the house' more than made up for it. The staff was so very busy that we really didn't get a chance to ask about what was going on downstairs. With the merged menu, I can't imagine Fink having a second complete menu down there as well. Anyone have any updates as to what's going on?
  13. assuming this is not the Washington Township in Bergen County?
  14. We spoke with the owners last week during our last lunch there and they told us they were actively seeking another location but hadn't been able to find a suitable one in that area yet. Here's keeping fingers and toes crossed.
  15. Funny, as a former teen diner rat from the 80's, I had never heard of disco fries either. My daughter and her friends speak of them as if they've always been in existence here in northern NJ. Upon closer inspection, I see them listed as disco fries on diner menu's (as opposed to just being teen-speak) Of course, the only thing better than disco fries are the mozz stick, chicken finger & disco fries WRAP they're selling at one nearby diner.
  16. She explained to me how nachos & fries with cheese sauce were disgusting but "disco" fries were acceptable. Disco fries = diner fries with mozz & brown gravy.
  17. Yes, we were wearing bright yellow vests. I asked the guide if they had a special one that said "My mom is making me do this," on the back. That didn't go over well.
  18. oh yes, a joy. She was carrying around a massive backpack with her with her life's possessions inside. When I suggested she NOT take it while riding the Segway around and leave it in the locked van they provided, you would have thought I'd asked her to leave her first born on the side of a mountain. Did I mention I didn't get to have any Whiz?
  19. Well, lets see. Began our trip with a Segway tour and a giant sort of cold and soggy pretzel in front of the Museum of Art. Walked back to the hotel and tried to come up with someplace for dinner. I nixed the Chili's idea and showed her this thread. I made the mistake of showing her this thread and she got crazy angry that I referred to her as trying nothing new. Apparantly, she TRIES new things... just doesn't LIKE new things.... We went over the options offered on this thread and she found a crepe place mentioned in one of the Philly mags that are placed in hotel rooms. She LOVES crepes (as long as they are either filled with cheese and chicken OR stuffed with sugar). Anyway, did a little research online and here and we ended up at La Creperie on Sansome St. It was a small, French cafe with crepes. She was happy with her chicken and cheese, I had a salmon & creme fraiche and all was well with the world for the moment. The next morning, we went to Reading Terminal for bfast. The Amish weren't there (they are not there Mon & Tues). She ended up having a chocolate chip muffin, but did end up purchasing a really nifty "I Love Bacon" t-shirt with a pig and a farmer in a happy embrace. That was definitely a highlight of the trip for her. We proceeded to South Street (by way of a trolley tour) where she insisted that she wasn't hungry and didn't want a cheesesteak no matter what. I ended up buying her a couple of things on the condition that she try a cheesesteak (see note above: trying OK, Liking not guaranteed). We went to Jims and I bought one with the intention of giving her a small piece. As soon as we walked in another cheesesteak issue reared it ugly head. She apparantly hates Whiz... I am a Whiz girl myself. I caved and we went upstairs with our PLAIN American cheese cheesesteak. No onions, no peppers, no nothin'. And no Whiz. All to get her to eat a lousy bite. Anyway, I gave her her half and after salting, salting, salting it, she declared it a success and gobbled the whole thing down leaving me with the other half. Said she didn't realize how hungry she was and NO she didn't want to split another with me. Sigh. Couldn't have had a Whiz anyways. With that, we walked around side streets to Old City, decided we had both had enough of Philly for the moment and cut our trip short and drove the 2 hours home, thus preventing either of us from having to face another dining event: dinner. The good news is, on the way home she told me she was completely enamored with the city and had a number of colleges that she was interested in interviewing at. And please, oh please, mom, can we go back to Philly in a few weeks. ARGH. Food recap: Cold wet pretzel. A crepe. A muffin. 1/2 a cheesesteak, no whiz. I can't wait to go back to Philly with a grown up.
  20. Printing out all your suggestions... great ones, at that! Would love to try to introduce her to new fare, but alas, had a traumatizing Dim Sum experience where she ended up merely peeling a piece of bacon off a bacon-wrapped scallop and that was the extent of what ended up as her meal. Reading Terminal Market is a must-do and we'll be trekking to some of the other places suggested. Funny, when she hangs around with Korean kids she knows, she ends up trying all sorts of Korean foods, including Tofu and soup with a raw egg dropped into it. Ahhh, what a little peer pressure will do.
  21. Going to be taking a mini-vacation in Philly this weekend with my 17-year old, chicken finger loving, sushi hating, try nothing new daughter. She's never been and I'll be sure to get her a cheesesteak , but how about some other suggestions for places to grab a lunch/dinner.
  22. Had it on the 4th It was fabulous, though the overloaded tins of barbeque, beans, mac & cheese, peach cobbler, etc. sort of collapsed under their own weight on the way home. Bonus was finding a full jar of sauce in the bag -- more than enough for the meal and many others to come. Overall there were probably 10-12 aluminum trays of goodness that arrived piping hot.
  23. Varka in Ramsey has lovely outdoor seating on their patio under oversized blue umbrellas.
  24. Made it to Bailey's last night. Had the pulled pork sandwich and he had the ribs. Long story short, we can't wait for the full menu to be up and running. A couple of specials written on a sheet of paper just isn't enough! :-) Went to bed with hair smelling like a smokehouse. Nice added extra.
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