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  1. I did a column on this subject recently for SuzySaid.com. Here in Montclair, The Wood Pit on Bloomfield Avenue does BBQ + catering -- I've heard they're very good but I haven't been. www.thewoodpit.com. They're also expanding into the space next door after the 1st of the year. Also Ruthie's BBQ and Pizza on Chestnut Street. I think his pizza's the best around and BBQ aficionados say the same of his BBQ. www.ruthiesbbq.com Good luck!
  2. Would love some knowledgeable recommendations for two good restos -- one casual, one not so casual. Visiting an ailing relative but we're hoping for some great meals. Thanks!
  3. La Riviera in Clifton on Rte. 46 E. No ambiance, old school waitresses, generous portions, good red sauce. Yum!
  4. Montclair is definitely doing a Restaurant Week for the first time ever -- it's February 2-8, 2009. Something like 35 restaurants have signed on already, including Blu, Fascino, and CulinAriane. Also Church Street Kitchen, Osteria Giotto, Passione, and Egan & Sons. Here's a link to the website: http://www.gotomontclair.com/rest-week/restaurantweek.htm Still looking for more restaurants to sign on, and sponsors. So please spread the word!
  5. I am actually sitting here indulging in a box of Miss Nicky Mesiah's mixed toffee and i can't tell you how fabulous it is!! This is handmade, homemade candy of the highest order -- and the price is terrific. It is sold at Spice It Up on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, as JoRic mentioned, but check Nicky's website as well. My favorite is the almond toffee but she does a number of incredible varieties. I give boxes of her stuff all the time as gifts, and people go wild for it.
  6. Thanks for the feedback thus far. I was deliberately keeping geography broad because we'll be in DC during the day, overnighting in Vienna, VA -- and don't mind traveling for a good meal!
  7. Three best friends from high school are getting together this weekend to celebrate a major birthday ...! We are looking for a terrific restaurant for Saturday night dinner. Price is not a major concern, but delicious food and welcoming ambiance are. Have not been to the DC area for years. Contemporary American cuisine is great, so is anything Asian-influenced. Actually, no cuisine is off limits! Many thanks in advance.
  8. For an upcoming column for The North Jersey Media Group/Montclair Times, I'd be interested in hearing about some of your favorite places with the nicest gardens and/or patio spaces. Montclair, Nutley, Cedar Grove, Bloomfield etc. Or do you think al fresco dining is overrated? Thanks!
  9. What an interesting thread. My husband + i have a small food + beverage PR firm and i can share some of our experiences in this area. First of all -- Fat Guy and Maggiethecat are dead on: it's always a right move to be generous, and your generosity (believe me) will stand out and be appreciated ... since in our experience very few guests who come to media dinners leave tips -- or even offer to. That $20 or $30 under the glass (or pressed into a server's hand) is a welcome and authentic gesture. That being said, as an agency, we write into our client contracts that when we bring f+b media to the restaurant (or when we arrange for media to come as a result of a story pitch or personal/professional reaching out), the restaurant is responsible for paying their gratuities. I don't know what other agencies do, but that's our policy. When we bring or send media guests to a client, the last thing we want to feel is that the server or captain (who may not understand exactly what we do and how it gets done) thinks, damn, here come those freeloaders again ... and service reflects that attitude. After many meals over the years with the same media folk, they have come to know how we do business and are appreciative of it. Even when we say, not to worry, the servers will be taken care of ... some still reach into their pocket, which we notice and thank them for. Hey, there are times when we reach into our own pockets because the service has been so exemplary, it's made a deep impression on us ... and on our guests. Bottom line, talk to the person who is setting up your dinner -- whether it's an in-house PR/marketing person, an outside agency, whatever. Ask them what's protocol, and then take them at their word.
  10. A client (high-end food and wine marketplace w/multiple NJ locations) is seeking a gourmet manager to join their team -- they're also looking for gourmet buyers + prep chefs. For the gourmet manager position, their ideal candidate will oversee all aspects of retail foodstuff for the stores, which means prepared foods, charcuterie, cheeses, chocolates, desserts, etc. Serious prior experience in food retail management is required. They're also looking for cooks for their food prep/catering team. They must have at least 2 years professional experience as either chefs or caterers with kitchen management duties. If interested, please PM me and i'll tell you how to submit a resume. Thanks!
  11. I have a good friend who is a former pastry chef -- she does beautiful work which i think is also delicious. She leases space to cook in, so it's all on the up + up. Happy to make a referral -- she's based in Montclair, and she's a lovely person. In fact, she recently baked cheddar-thyme scones for a brunch i had, and they were terrific.
  12. I'm curious -- how many people out there are making restaurant reservations online rather than over the phone? I never do, but I've been reading that more + more people are. This is (potentially) for a story i'm working on ... so if you have anything interesting to share on the subject, i'd love to hear about it. Thanks in advance.
  13. Thanks, you guys! All terrific suggestions ...
  14. Looking for some group recommendations ... thanks in advance. Saturday lunch, three women celebrating a big-deal birthday! Anthos was our first choice, but they don't serve lunch on Saturdays. A Voce was #2 (i know, it's not midtown) -- but they too are closed. Price isn't a huge concern; we just want a really special, delicious meal/place to celebrate.
  15. I want to give a shout out to Gina's Panificio in Montclair on Walnut St. Gene, the baker/owner, is classically trained and is all about fresh (full fat!!) ingredients and great recipes. He does wonderful sweet stuff as well as savory. His palmiers and almond croissants are wonderful, as are his mini jalapeno corn muffins, which my husband and daughter are mad for. Check him out -- i'd like to know what others think.
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