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Everything posted by Casey

  1. Lou: My brother sometimes does deadbeat dads busts--next time he's enjoying an espresso martini at your bar, maybe he can help to plan a "deadbeat diners" bust! Casey
  2. Following an intimate family wedding in the chapel of St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, we celebrated the marriage of my sister-in-law at the Light Horse Tavern. I had read mixed reviews on the place, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised! The space is stunning, with brick and wood, arches and fireplaces, and wrought iron and tin ceilings. We had the balcony of the restaurant to ourselves (26 of us), which was very nice. They had a special Valentine's Day prix fixe menu for $55pp, which consisted of assorted canapes (walnut and goat cheese tartlettes and smoked salmon with creme fraiche on toast points) and champagne with raspberries followed by three courses. I had a roasted eggplant ravioli with chunks of fresh mozzarella and roasted tomatoes, salmon in a citrus sauce with fresh spinach, and a strawberry feutilette (sp?), which was a wonderfully light heart shaped pastry with roasted or sauteed strawberries and vanilla ice cream. My husband had a sliced duck over wilted greens appetizer, roast loin of pork over black beans and chili peppers, and a semisweet chocolate mousse cake in an oreo crust with semisweet chocolate gelato. Everything was excellent with the exception of the coffee, which was weak (but espresso and capuccino were very good). This was a very nice way to spend Valentine's Day--good food, good wine and the nicest group of friends and family to be brought together by the new couple. I would return to the restaurant for a "regular" dinner next time we're in the area. Next weekend, we're finally going to American Grill (last time, as Lou predicted, the snow kept us away). So keep your fingers crossed for no snow on Saturday! Casey
  3. I will be attending an immediate-family only wedding in Jersey City (my husband's sister, who decided she couldn't take the stress and chaos of a big wedding!). The 20+ of us have reserved the upper level of Light Horse Tavern for a celebratory dinner afterwards. Casey
  4. Lou, I'm cheating on my "no dinner until the dissertation is done" rule, and we're finally heading up for dinner tomorrow night with friends! Looks like we're part of a trend! Casey
  5. Culinary Renaissance is indeed closed (before I moved here). Metuchen Inn is still around, but I don't think its worth any visit. I've given it three tries over the past five years, and found it ordinary and overpriced (and in need of renovation). I would also agree that Cafe Abracci is in need of renovation, though I've always had excellent meals there (maybe it was an off night!). What I do enjoy about living here from a food standpoint is that for a very small town, there are a lot of choices for different tastes and willingness to spend, and is a stone's throw from other wonderful options in Edison and New Brunswick (not to mention Mie Thai in Woodbridge!). No offense taken fitz! I just didn't want anyone to think all Metuchenites spend their time at the Cornerstone! Frankly, I have never even been there, though they recently went through a big renovation that looks beautiful (though I hear the menu has changed, its nothing to write home about). A new "french/continental" restaurant just opened across the street from it called "Clousseau's"--while I cringe at the name choice, and I hear they are still working the bugs out, it may have "some" promise and I will check it out in a month or two. I am most excited about visiting a restaurant elsewhere this weekend for the first time--I am finally making the trip to Lou's place, having dinner with friends at American Grill on Sunday! Casey
  6. I don't know when you were last in Metuchen, fitz, but I don't know of anyone who lives here (I do) who thinks of the Cornerstone as a big night out. I love Dans on Main and Cafe Abracci, which is a little off the beaten path. Sawadee Thai is also pretty good, though not on the level of the other two. Casey
  7. Thanks guys! My hubby smokes (I don't) and I like my drinks with dinner (he doesn't) so we may try the bar thing in the future. Yes, Lou, I received the gift certificate in time, and my Mom was thrilled beyond belief (after hearing so much about your place from my brother). Hubby and I are planning to finally visit your restaurant early in the new year--my incentive is I'm not going out for any more "nice" dinners until my dissertation is complete (a quasi New Years resolution that I hope will give me added incentive). I am determine to get there in the first quarter of the year! So, everyone keep the great posts coming--I'm living vicariously through all of you for a while! Casey
  8. Staying home for a quiet night with the hubby--plan to pick up some fabulous things at Wegmans to prepare! Casey
  9. Lou, just out of curiousity, what attracts you to eating at the bar in a restaurant instead of the dining room? Particularly when you're not alone (I always think of the bar as the place to eat when I'm dining alone, but have never thought to sit their with my SO) Casey
  10. Casey

    Corso 98

    Corso does a great job with large groups, which require a different pace and type of service than 2 or 4 people. We had our staff holiday dinner there last year (17 people) and they did an outstanding job! Casey
  11. Steve, I did see the tuna, and that will surely be on my list for the next trip later this week! Wonderful posts on this topic, by the way.... Another thing I like is being able to peruse their sale circular electronically on the website and select items for my shopping "list." I can then print it out sorted by aisle numbers for the store I shop in! Can also create weekly lists of items I always buy and save, adding different items I need/want each week. Its funny, I have lived in NJ most of my life, and the Shop Rites, etc. were fine until those four years in Ithaca--coming back to NJ was a major adjustment for me in the food shopping area without a Wegmans, and now I am oh-so content. I guess its good that these little things make me happy! Casey
  12. Didn't realize we had so many former Ithaca residents here! That's where I was first introduced to Wegmans as well. By the way, my Wegmans ready to cook dinner last night was wonderful. Coconut crusted halibut for me, Fresh lump crab cakes for the husband, side dish of roasted butternut squash with onion. And fabulous crusty bread from their bakery to finish it off! Casey
  13. Actually, silly me, I was trying to SHOP (spent $200 on a very full cart in fact)! But I couldn't physically get to may things due to those "window shopping." I shopped at Wegman's for years when I lived in Ithaca, so for me this was about my ability to finally shop where I love to do so. Never again will I bother to grace the aisles of ShopRite, Stop & Shop or A&P, which are my other choices in the area. I blame myself as much as the window shoppers--I should have known it would be a madhouse today, and waited until tomorrow night after work. Casey
  14. Just came back from the new Woodbridge Wegmans. Quick summary--outstanding store, from what I could see. Big mistake going on opening day. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but why do people feel the need to bring their ENTIRE family (up to six people in many cases!) to the grocery store?! It was MOBBED. They had a shuttle bus running in the parking lot for goodness sake! I'm going to post a better summary when I return during the week, hopefully to less crowds! I was very impressed with the marketplace area (butcher, seafood, patisserie, cheese shoppe, etc.) and as a pesco-vegetarian, I loved the natural/organic foods section! Picked up some very nice things for dinner tonight too! Casey
  15. Randi, definitely report back once you get to Abbraci and tell us how you liked it. I'd also be curious to hear how your visit to Metuchen Inn goes. We went there twice when we first moved in about two years ago, and were not impressed. Dan's on the other hand is a favorite which we frequent quite often. Casey
  16. I am working with my sister to plan her wedding, which will take place at a large private home in Morris County, NJ. Can anyone recommend a good caterer in the area? Casey
  17. If you can fit into Abracci, I would definitely go there over LouCas. While the food at LouCas is very good (especially the seafood), I find the space very crowded and very loud, and the service more like a diner than a nice restaurant. On the other hand, the service at Abracci is equally attentive and unobtrusive, the food excellent, and the atmosphere much better! One of my favorite places as well. Casey
  18. Casey

    Il Forno

    Rosie: Did you get a chance to peek at the lunch menu? I'm taking a new colleague from MSU out to lunch Thursday and it would be nice to try something new. Casey
  19. Casey


    Finally got the opportunity to visit Fascino, as I took three members of my staff out to thank them for their work over several rough months. It was wonderful, and everything we hoped it would be. As we visited early (5pm) during the week, we were able to take advantage of the prix fixe menu. We began the meal with an amuse of olive tapenade on homemade crostini, and perfect crusty bread with olive oil. We moved on with organic garden salads with a wonderfully fragrant citrus vinagrette and the special ravioli of the day which I won't do justice to in my description, but it was roast chicken, spinach, and other ingredients I cannot remember in an au jus sauce. For entrees, we had the olive crusted salmon with artichokes, orrechiete with shrimp and artichokes, and rigatoni with wonderful sausage. For dessert, we had the seasonal crostata, which was served today with roasted apples and drizzled with caramel, topped with creme fraiche or vanilla gelato, and the three varieties (in shot glasses!) of panne cotta--one white chocolate port, one almond and one caramel. The space is relaxing and beautiful, and the service was attentive yet unobtrusive. I noticed no problems with the a/c, even on this humid night, and was very comfortable. We sat in a booth and felt we were adequately spaced from others in the space. I will surely be returning again! Casey
  20. Casey


    Are they open on Mondays by any chance? I'm looking for someplace new to take my staff for our end-of-year dinner (I work at Montclair State, so our "year" ended in May), but our schedules only allow us to go on Monday or Wednesday.... Casey
  21. Had a wonderful dinner at Blue Sky's closing last night. They had a special limited closing night menu, and David was indeed cooking in the kitchen. The menus were signed by David and Sherri, and our friends who got married there kept them. At the end of the meal, Sherri was nice enough to give them their water glasses (which have the Blue Sky logo and stars on them) to keep. We signed the email and memory book, and started planning a weekend trip to Maine once their new place opens! In our group of four, we started with lobster and crab "BLTs", mixed baby greens with almonds, dried cranberries and warm goat cheese, and a special New England Clam Chowder with large chunks of potatoes and other vegetable and finished with open clams on top. For entrees, two had the special braised lamb shank simmered for five hours in a wine and tomato sauce and served with garlic smashed potatoes and haricot verts. One had the 20oz strip steak frites, and I had grill prawns and diver scallops in a heavenly sauce with haricots verts, grilled asparagus and roasted tomatoes and onions (it came with an asparagus risotto, but I'm doing a modified Atkins and was being as good as I could!). Dessert was their bread pudding, creme brullet and strawberry shortcake with good coffee and cappucino. With good friends living in Montclair, and me working in the town, I will definitely miss this place. Our server said the new place isn't opening until September, and they've offered to hire the entire wait staff which is nice. By the way, we drove past Corso, which I believe was supposed to open Friday, and they still have the blinds drawn and the plywood door with the sign up--not sure when they're planning to reopen now. Casey
  22. We are going for dinner tomorrow night with our good friends who were married there. I am sure it will be a good, but sad, meal! Casey
  23. Lou: Excellent espresso martinis (as the designated driver for the Fathers, I took a few sips of my brother's!). At least you know the boys are reliable customers! Now you just have to convince him we should all come back with the spouses for a nice dinner--he says this is "his place" and not one to bring his wife. I may have to make the drive up from the Edison area with other friends to try your fabulous cuisine! Casey
  24. Lou: I may stop by to bring my brother (a great Dad) for one of your espresso martinis after we barbecue--he is addicted to them! Casey
  25. This is a sad day indeed--two of my closest friends had their entire wedding (ceremony and reception) at Blue Sky, and it was the best wedding I have ever attended. Needless to say, its a special place to them and they are very disappointed. I have a feeling the four of us will be visiting the restaurant several times in the coming weeks.... Casey
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