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Our Food Resources


BrianYarvin
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Wow, I've been dipping into the raging debate about New Yorkers and New Jersey food resources. There are some serious opinions there!

But it's a thread meant for New Yorkers - or maybe Manhattanites - and we New Jersey folk really need to ask ourselves the similar questions.

So...how many of us visit other parts of the state for gastronomic reasons? What are our favorite destinations?

I love Main Street in Patterson with its Turkish and Arabic shops and restaurants. I also like cruising down Route 27 with all its Chinese stuff. But I almost never go to the South American places in Plainfield, just a few miles from my home.

Where are you going? Where should I go?

Brian Yarvin

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My girlfriend and I go to Mitsuwa regularly, once every couple of weeks, for Asian ingredients, Japanese speciality stuff (It's worth it for inexpensive tofu) and lunch. We go to Han Ah Rheum as well for seafood; it's where I go to buy paella ingredients. South Paterson is also our go-to as well for all the Middle Eastern food and ingredients.

I also love going for cheap as hell, but delicious, lunch stuff at Top Quality Food Market in Parsippany. I don't touch the meat or fish, but everything else is pretty decent.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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I love Main Street in Patterson with its Turkish and Arabic shops and restaurants. I also like cruising down Route 27 with all its Chinese stuff. But I almost never go to the South American places in Plainfield, just a few miles from my home.

Brian, I'm a fairly new New Jersey resident, so I'm still finding out about all the places.

Where on Rt 27 are all the Chinese stuff?

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Laksa:

The Chinese "stuff" begins in Edison and gets a bit closer to Princeton each year. Here in Edison, worthwhile restaurants include Wonder Seafood for dim sum, King's Village for Tianjin snacks and meals, and Shanghai Park in Highland Park for Shanghai Cuisine.

There are also great grocery stores; Asian Food Center in Edison and The Great Wall Supermarket in (I think??) Kendal Park.

There's also plenty of good Indian, a cluster of Mexican stuff in New Brunswick, and a smattering of African just South of there.

Brian Yarvin

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First thought: Il plan routes to/through central NJ just to hit Wegmans! :wub:

When I'm out in Morris County, I often stop at:

Raul's Empanadas (they freeze well, too!),

Saffron, for their great buffet

Denville Dairy (a few days ago I had their heavenly PUMPKIN ice cream, in fact)...

I can't lie; sometimes I plan a trip for gastronomic reasons, as Brian suggested, but more often than not, I plan a gastronomic stop because of a trip to do something else!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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I've been working out of a Doctor's office in Cliffside Park for the past month, and I kept passing this storefront with a big sign that says Lahmajun. I decided to go in on Friday and see what they had to offer. It's not much of a shopping experience- you talk to the shopkeeper through a window (kind of like a bank teller), and you can't look at the merch before you buy. Also they sell their lahmajun by the dozen ($11.50 for beef, but they also have chicken and veg). On the other hand, I cannot speak highly enough of the lahmajun. I made some lentil soup last night and put a few in the oven, and it made a great, cheap, and quick meal. They would make great hors d'oeuvres for a party, or can just be heated up for a fast snack.

The place is called Middle East Lahmajun and it's at 355 Anderson Ave in Fairview.

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For the uninitiated (er...ME!), can you tell us what lahmajun are, Emily? Thanks!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Sorry! Lahmajun are meat pies of Turkish or Armenian origin. Here's what wikipedia has to say about them (with a good picture): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahmajun

When I was in elementary school, I had an Armenian friend who was embarrassed about her lahmajun lunches. Of course I was always willing to trade her my PB & J. Finding this place really brought back good memories.

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When I was in elementary school, I had an Armenian friend who was embarrassed about her lahmajun lunches.  Of course I was always willing to trade her my PB & J.  Finding this place really brought back good memories.

Thanks, Emily! This is exactly why I asked you to tell us what they are, rather than hit Google. :smile: Sounds like you had some great school lunches!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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I stick pretty close to home, for better or worse, but that other thread has renewed my resolve to get down to Edison / Oak Tree Rd for my birthday dinner which is coming right up. I was once an excellent cook of Indian food, perhaps this will re-inspire me.

Anyway this is a fairly recent (this year) discovery for me & I thought I'd share it here: the chain of "Farmers Market" stores, which I did not know was a chain until just a couple of weeks ago when my local one gave me a coupon with all of their locations printed on back.

As I've noted elsewhere, the name "Farmers Market" can be a bit misleading, in that you'll find relatively little Jersey produce in these stores, even in season. What you will find is a whopping selection of fruits & vegetables from all over this country & South America, with exceptional freshness & prices that seem around 20% less than any supermarket I've ever found. Their buyers know their stuff.

I've been buying my citrus there all year, & everything else produce-wise when the Jersey greenmarkets aren't running. It's always worth the short extra drive for me. If you like to cook, or just eat fresh fruit, & aren't obsessed with the Whole Foods / organic thing, these places are great. They're like Corrado's w/o all the groceries (though they also have a nice selection of nuts, dried fruits & breads, as well as dairy items).

Here's the info on the back of the card:

17 Farmers Market / E. Rutherford

46 Farmers Market / Totowa

Rt 9 Farmers Market / Freehold

206 Farmers Market / Hillsborough

7 Farmers Market / Belleville

New Bridge Farmers Market / Bergenfield

(There are also phone #s for each but I lack the patience to type them out.)

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I stick pretty close to home, for better or worse, but that other thread has renewed my resolve to get down to Edison / Oak Tree Rd for my birthday dinner which is coming right up.  I was once an excellent cook of Indian food, perhaps this will re-inspire me.

Anyway this is a fairly recent (this year) discovery for me & I thought I'd share it here: the chain of "Farmers Market" stores, which I did not know was a chain until just a couple of weeks ago when my local one gave me a coupon with all of their locations printed on back.

As I've noted elsewhere, the name "Farmers Market" can be a bit misleading, in that you'll find relatively little Jersey produce in these stores, even in season.  What you will find is a whopping selection of fruits & vegetables from all over this country & South America, with exceptional freshness & prices that seem around 20% less than any supermarket I've ever found.  Their buyers know their stuff.

I've been buying my citrus there all year, & everything else produce-wise when the Jersey greenmarkets aren't running.  It's always worth the short extra drive for me.  If you like to cook, or just eat fresh fruit, & aren't obsessed with the Whole Foods / organic thing, these places are great.  They're like Corrado's w/o all the groceries (though they also have a nice selection of nuts, dried fruits & breads, as well as dairy items).

Here's the info on the back of the card:

17 Farmers Market / E. Rutherford

46 Farmers Market / Totowa

Rt 9 Farmers Market / Freehold

206 Farmers Market / Hillsborough

7 Farmers Market / Belleville

New Bridge Farmers Market / Bergenfield

(There are also phone #s for each but I lack the patience to type them out.)

This is the best place to purchase herbs. ..thyme, rosemary, sage, cilantro, tarragon. They are very fresh and very inexpensive..

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Sorry!  Lahmajun are meat pies of Turkish or Armenian origin.  Here's what wikipedia has to say about them (with a good picture):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahmajun

When I was in elementary school, I had an Armenian friend who was embarrassed about her lahmajun lunches.  Of course I was always willing to trade her my PB & J.  Finding this place really brought back good memories.

From Andrea Strong's weekly email:

ilili

...Ilili comes to us from chef-owner Phillipe Massoud, who’s family owned the Coral Beach Hotel in Beirut when he was growing up, and who honed his skills at Chez Josephine as GM and his chef skills at Burj al Hamam in Lebanon, Noura and Diwan in Paris, the Don Carolos Hotel in Marbella, Spain, and most recently at Neyla in Washington, DC. (Random trivia—he is cousins with Kareem, Ursula and Charlie Massoud, the owners of Paumanok Vineyards, one of my favorites out in the North Fork.)

Anyway, for ilili, which means “tell me” in colloquial Lebanese, Phillipe’s vision was to bring a bit of Old Lebanon to New York City with a menu of both traditional and modern plates. You’ll find the familiar—hummus ($8), tabbouleh ($10), baba gannouj ($9), lahmajeen—Lebanese “pizza” served on pita and topped with chopped lamb, tomato and onion ($8), falafel flecked with green fava beans ($10), and Chicken shish ($18), alongside grape leaves stuffed with rice, tomato and pickled mackerel ($12), duck schwarma with pomegranate molasses, figs and green onion ($15), lamb ($26) and Waygu beef kebab ($82, yes), charcoal roasted lamb chops with cardamom, piquillo peppers and garlic ($26), and whole branzino with leeks coucous and desert truffles ($36). To match up with the menu, the wine list calls on favorites from Lebanon and the Mediterranean. ilili is located at 236 5th Avenue, between 27th and 28th Streets, 212-683-2929, ililinyc.com.

And thanks to Emily G, I knew what I was reading about! :smile:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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No clue--it's very new, but everything I've read so far says it's worth the trip! I definitely want to go the next time I'm in that neighborhood.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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