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

Sunset Sips & Sounds at Terhune Orchards Vineyards and Winery (Photo Courtesy of Terhune Orchards)

By Laurie Pellichero

Summer is just around the corner, along with a plethora of events in town and all around. Here is just a sampling of activities to enjoy as the weather heats up…

CONCERTS AND SHOWS

The Arts Council of Princeton (www.artscouncilofprinceton.org) and Princeton Shopping Center (www.princtonshoppingcenter.com) present the 35th annual Summer in the Courtyard Concert Series, featuring the best in local and regional jazz, folk, world, rock, and blues. Concerts are every Thursday, 6 to 8pm, from June 21 through August 23 at the Princeton Shopping Center. Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair! Acts include The Dirk Quinn Band on June 21, Blawenburg Band on June 28, DCFusion on July 12, BRIZ and the Revival on July 26, Grace Little Band on August 2, Eco Del Sur on August 9, and the Octavia Blues Band on August 16. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be held inside the Arts Council’s Pop-Up Studio, next to Metropolis Spa & Salon at the Princeton Shopping Center. more

A wedding in front of The Nine Muses by Carlos Dorrien at Grounds For Sculpture (Courtesy of Grounds For Sculpture).

Unique Wedding Venues for Your Special Day

By Laurie Pellichero

When it comes to choosing the perfect wedding venue, one size definitely does not fit all. Fortunately, whether you want an intimate ceremony at a vineyard, farm, or the shore, or a large-scale celebration in an elegant ballroom, New Jersey is home to many unique spots that are sure to provide just the right fit for your special day. more

The Holidays at Drumthwacket

Jack Frost is in the air, and the “most wonderful time of the year” is about to begin…

Mark your calendar for these festive events that celebrate the season:

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Photo Credit: Sur La Table 

Get ready for Thanksgiving with these festive food items!

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Mercer County Italian American Festival

By Laurie Pellichero 

The leaves will soon be falling, the air is crisp…it’s time for fall festivals!

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

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Photo Credit: Asbury Park Distilling Co.

Craft Distilleries are Booming in New Jersey 

By Laurie Pellichero

From Jersey City to Cape May, craft distilleries have been quickly popping up and producing local spirits throughout the state. While craft beers and breweries have grown quite ubiquitous in New Jersey, it’s been in just the past few years that these small batch distilleries, which now number 16 and counting, have been able to produce and promote their wares.

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