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Posts posted by rhubarbd

  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. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.


  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Senorita's in Bloomfield! It's more upscale than Los Tapatios - still casual and fun, to be sure, but more attractively decorated; newer, certainly; with beautiful bathrooms. The food is tasty and fresh and the margaritas are good. Plus service is very friendly. The block it's situated on is kinda decrepit ... but the restaurant feels even more welcoming as a result.

  13. Eric Eisenbud and Matt Applebaum, owners of Amazing Hot Dog, are saddened to announce that there was an unfortunate electrical fire at their recently opened restaurant early Saturday morning, February 25th.

    The restaurant - which opened on January 16th and is located at 148A Bloomfield Avenue in Verona - is temporarily closed. No other stores in the Brookdale Plaza strip mall were damaged, and thankfully no one was injured.

    Matt and Eric fully intend to rebuild and reopen Amazing Hot Dog within a 6-8 week period.

    -- Frank Diaz & Karen Schloss

    diaz * schloss communications

  14. Had a terrific evening @ Falai last week. They had just been reviewed in NY magazine - so we really didn't know what kind of scene we might encounter - but it was delightful and special and totally unpretentious.

    Everyone there was so accomodating and nice, i had to write about it here. The food was delicious and inventive - but the experience was made even better thanx to a dynamite service staff.

    Some examples: a sommelier/manager (Alberto, i believe) who walked us through the wine list and selected a terrific wine for us that no one had ever tried before. Right in our price range, too.

    Their panetteria had just opened across the street, and as we were leaving the restaurant, in walked the panetteria's new manager, a woman named Alisha. It was late but we asked her, are you still open? We want to check it out. She replied, i'm here for just a second; c'mon over after you're done here and i'll show you around.

    Well ... wow. She was not only gracious & friendly, but she pressed us to take extra loaves of bread home (as a gift!) and cut up pieces of a pineapple pastry (not a danish but you get the picture) and 2-3 other items for us to sample. She said, hey, it's late and we're closing anyhow; why should we waste this? Enjoy it, it's on the house. Needless to say, we stuck a lot of $$ in the tip jar.

    Hospitality like that is rare. We will definitely be back.

  15. My friend, Sherry Pincus, is a Montclair-based chef/caterer and her food is extraordinary. Contact me offline & i'll be happy to give you her info. Her hors d'oeuvre are amazing - i buy her veggie eggrolls and mushroom phyllo triangles and serve them for special dinners; people are just blown away. She has a terrific palate and is a real professional.

  16. After watching construction on the space for awhile - and (despite) reading lots of mixed comments on Baristanet.com - we headed here for an early dinner tonight. Anyone else been?

    The building is handsome and the restaurant itself is terrific looking. But for experienced restaurateurs ... i have to say, some of the lapses were rather surprising. I believe the folks behind it are also the owners of Aozora.

    Water had to be requested, as did plates. Though the dining room was pretty empty, there was only one person on the floor - and he was waiting on guests, answering phones, and disappearing into the kitchen. Throughout the meal, people got up from their tables to locate *him*.

    Food was only so-so. Duck is served with a coconut curry sauce, which was dark & murky looking and had an off-putting aftertaste. Dumplings were fresh and delicate - but overpowered by a mountain of peanut sauce. And the veggie spring roll - which was perfection - was accompanied by something that tasted exactly like chunky applesauce. Huh?

    Interestingly ... no breaks on the price while they work out the kinks - on us.

    When we asked for the check, my husband noticed that someone else's credit card was still in the little pocket of the check presenter. The solo FOH guy hadn't noticed he gave us someone else's bill - along with their credit card. SIGH.

  17. Great to hear such an encouraging report. Given that the owner is the former owner of Mexicali Rose, a lot of us have been skeptical about the new venture. MR was never a favorite of mine - the place was/is rushed and dirty - and the food lacks all the nuance and yes, excitement, of really fine Mexican fare. But Dominick is an incredibly engaging host - can't wait to check out the new place.

  18. Does the restaurant/chef have to be in North Bergen? I am a restaurant consultant - PR, marketing, etc. - who has worked with lots of terrific NJ chefs over the years. Happy to make some recommendations, but many are in Essex and other parts of the state. PM me anytime. Would also be helpful to know if there's a particular cuisine you and your party are interested in exploring ...

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