Images Courtesy of The Asbury 

By Taylor Smith

Learn what makes the vibrant shore town of Asbury Park unique at The Asbury’s Winter Wonderland Weekend, December 7 and 8.

The Asbury is situated just two blocks from Asbury Park’s famous beach and boardwalk and is easily accessible from several NJ Transit lines. Designed with a nod to the shore town’s rock n’ roll past and proximity to the seaside, The Asbury offers upscale lodging, dining, multiple vibrant bars, live music in the lobby, and more. more

By Taylor Smith

November is still a fantastic time to find fresh fruits and vegetables at area farmers markets. Here are just a few to look for: more

By Taylor Smith

Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, is a passion project of Michael Beneduce Sr. and his son, Mike Beneduce Jr. As a family rooted in farming for multiple generations, the Beneduces have a distinct love and understanding of the Garden State’s soil. more

By Taylor Smith

This year’s Oktoberfest Celebration at Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten  (asburybiergarten.com) will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13. Beginning each day at noon, the tented biergarten celebration offers plenty of food, beer, live polka bands, and Oktoberfest fun. more

George and Lee White have made their home at the former Pennington Railroad Station for 13 years, becoming train buffs along the way.

Area Train Stations Reimagined

by Anne Levin | Photography by Charles R. Plohn

Thirteen years ago, Lee White and her 13-year-old daughter were taking a stroll near their house in Pennington when they noticed that the town’s former train station, a three-story, 1882 building with a curvy, mansard roof, was for sale. The sign on Railroad Place beckoned, and they peeked in. It was love at first sight.

“We both just adored it,” says White, a fourth-grade teacher at Toll Gate Grammar School. “I didn’t think my husband would agree. But when we brought him over, a train happened to go by while he was looking. Since the walls are 18 inches thick, we didn’t hear it. That impressed him.”

So did the former depot’s textbook-Victorian architecture and compelling history. The couple bought the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and moved in with their two children. They were the second private owners to occupy the old station, which had been purchased by another person a few years after service was discontinued in the late 1960s. Now nearing retirement age and ready for a home with less upkeep, the Whites recently put the building on the market. more

By Taylor Smith 

Ready to throw caution to the wind?

Diesel & Duke at 124 Nassau Street has taken over the previous 30 Burgers space with updated decor and a unique menu that is ideally suited to Princeton University students (and those with fearless palates).  more

By Taylor Smith 

Serving lunch, dinner, brunch, and cocktails in quaint New Hope, Pa., since 1978, Karla’s Restaurant at 5 West Mechanic Street features a European flair and an open-air setting that offers plenty of opportunities for people watching. Yelp reviewers repeatedly recommend both the outdoor seating and sunroom dining experiences. 

Tasty brunch offerings include a quiche du jour and house salad, Bananas Foster French Toast, multiple variations of Eggs Benedict, and a tantalizing lineup of omelettes (fresh herb and cream cheese, anyone?). more

Rat’s Restaurant

By Wendy Greenberg

A sure sign of summer is when tables and chairs are set outside at restaurants, frequently punctuated by colorful umbrellas and accompanied by succulent summer menus. Whether you prefer an awning, an old-fashioned porch, or are a purist who shuns any barrier to the elements, now is the time to take advantage of the many alfresco dining options in the area.

We love to celebrate the better weather by eating in — or near — the open air, even when clouds hang low. Patios are “great for people watching people, and people want to be seen too,” points out Carlo Momo of Mediterra in Princeton.

If Princeton is a walking town, it is also an alfresco town. The streetscape is bursting with small tables and chairs at establishments along Nassau Street from east of Harrison Street at Trattoria Procaccini to outside at the Blue Point Grill, EFES Mediterranean Grill, Café Vienna, and PJ’s Pancake House; around to Palmer Square’s Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar, Teresa Caffé, Mistral, Mediterra, and Yankee Doodle Tap Room; down to Jammin’ Crepes; and many places in between. The Princeton Shopping Center on North Harrison Street has its own alfresco scene with Nomad Pizza, Surf Taco, and more. 

The tables and chairs don’t fold up at borough boundaries. In Lawrenceville, alfresco dining is part of the Main Street scene at Acacia, Fedora Bistro Café, and more. Sometimes patio dining appears when you least expect it … driving on West Upper Ferry Road in Ewing, past the New Jersey State Patrol headquarters, the red and blue umbrellas of Blooming Grove Inn pepper the neighborhood landscape. And Labebe in North Brunswick features authentic Mediterranean cuisine in a lovely outdoor setting. more

By Taylor Smith

Tickets for the 2019 New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF), to be held October 10-13, are on sale now at https://nycwff.org.

Since its beginning, NYCWFF has raised over $12.5 million to help fight hunger. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the event benefit Food Bank for New York City and the No Kid Hungry Campaign to end childhood hunger in America and the five boroughs of New York City. Every year, NYCWFF raises nearly $1 million for these charities, effectively aiding in the quest to end the hunger gap in our country. more

By Taylor Smith 

Trish Pepe Lauden and Diane Aemisegeo are two moms who wanted to be able to craft a fresh, natural, non-syrupy or sugary cocktail at home. Both admittedly enjoy the challenge of cooking locally and seasonally, and wanted this to be reflected in at-home drink offerings. Tired of having to frequent the same restaurants for a health-conscious cocktail, the two women created ROOT, which uses all-natural, organic ingredients to formulate the perfect cocktail (or mocktail) for your next neighborhood barbeque.  more

By Taylor Smith

Tucked away in West Cape May, Beach Plum Farm is a 62-acre working farm that produces over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as chickens, eggs, and Berkshire hogs. Produce from Beach Plum Farms is used by a number of popular Cape May restaurants including Blue Pig Tavern, The Ebbitt Room, Louisa’s Cafe, the Boiler Room, and the Rusty Nail. The Farm is also home to a large market, farm kitchen, fine dining, and cottages. Visitors can easily spend an afternoon shopping, eating, and wandering the grounds, or even an entire weekend, to disconnect from the rushed pace of everyday life. Beach Plum also welcomes weddings and private events.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Yogurt — with branches in Spring Lake Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, Little Silver, and Long Branch — seems to scream summer at the Shore. 

Beginning in 1955, Hoffman’s Ice Cream operated as one of the first Carvel Ice Cream stores in New Jersey. When the franchise expired in 1976, the owners changed the name to Hoffman’s and grew a reputation of their own. The store’s original location was, and still is, in Point Pleasant Beach. more

By Taylor Smith 

Located at 33 Bridge Street in historic Frenchtown, Early Bird Espresso has grown into a beloved coffee stop, particularly among the cycling community. With long daily hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Early Bird is seemingly always open for a quick pick-me-up. Early Bird’s roaster, Counter Culture (a very chocolate-driven, nutty brew), is complemented by Trickling Springs Creamery, a premium organic and non-GMO dairy in Chambersburg, Pa. more

By Taylor Smith

Opening in late February 2019 at 2222 Hwy. 33 in Hamilton, Spoony Sweets (www.spoonysweets.com) will be the first cereal bar in New Jersey. more

The Jersey Shore’s original acai shop now has more than 50 locations nationwide

By Taylor Smith

With multiple locations in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Morris, Union, and Essex counties, Playa Bowls (https://playabowls.com) is now a big part of the New Jersey food scene.

If you’ve visited towns like Belmar, Red Bank, Asbury Park, Seaside, or Toms River during the summer months, chances are you’ve known about Playa Bowls for a long time. What originally started out as a food truck is now a popular staple in New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with 20 more locations planned in the near future. more

By Taylor Smith 

From stocking stuffers to wedding favors, try Whimsy & Spice for a memorable holiday treat.

Husband and wife duo Mark Sopchak and Jenna Park began their baking company Whimsy & Spice at the launch of the Brooklyn Flea in the spring of 2008. In the years since, Whimsy & Spice has grown, thrived, and expanded. A trained pastry chef influenced by the flavors of international travel, Sopchak handles the baking-side of the company’s operation, while Park manages the graphic design and marketing end, shooting much of the photography for the brand. Viewers will be struck by the New York design sensibility combined with unusual flavors. more

By Taylor Smith 

Looking for a holiday getaway? Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown and her husband, entrepreneur Steven Plofker, have opened a stately and fashionable 32-room inn in the New York City suburb of Montclair. A 35-minute train ride from Midtown Manhattan, The George is the perfect weekend destination for tri-state area residents. more

The Making of the Teresa Caffé Cookbook

By Anne Levin 

Food photography by Guy Ambrosino

Food styling by Paul Grimes

Whenever Raoul Momo or any of his four siblings go to Chile to visit their mother, Teresa, she asks them the same question: “What do you want to eat when you get here?”

For Momo, who with brothers Carlo and Anthony run Princeton restaurants Mediterra, Eno Terra, and their mother’s namesake, Teresa Caffé, along with Terra Momo Bread Company, it is probably Risotto Milanese with Ossobuco. “Oh my God,” he says, practically salivating at the thought. “But whatever she makes, it’s delicious. When we were growing up, she was cooking all the time. It was just part of our childhood.” more

PHOTO COURTESY OF MOTTAHEDEH

Fine china and sweet-smelling floral arrangements are essential to the menu. 

By Ilene Dube 

When it seems so much is wrong in the world, and the onslaught of daily news makes you want to shut it all down, it just might be the perfect time to throw a dinner party!

In preparation you might listen to podcasts of The Dinner Party Download, NPR’s “fast and funny hour of culture, food, and conversation: In every episode you’ll learn a joke; bone-up on an odd bit of history, and then wash it down with a themed cocktail recipe…” Hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam, in their new book, Brunch is Hell, tell “How to Save the World by Having a Dinner Party.”  more