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Image Source: https://artscouncilofprinceton.org

The Arts Council of Princeton has partnered with Old Hights Brewing Company to bring a pop-up beer garden to downtown Princeton on September 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. Old Hights’ balanced, hand-crafted beers are derived from the finest, locally sourced ingredients. Sip brews from a custom handmade beer stein designed by Arts Council Executive Director Adam Welch. Music will be provided by the Sourland String Band.  more

The 2022 Surf & Turf Seafood Festival at Monmouth Park will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Presented by 107.1 The Boss, Thunder 106, and Kona Brewing, the Jersey Shore’s freshest seafood festival features lobster rolls, crab cakes, calamari, and more. Expect live music from 12 to 4 p.m. and lots of family friendly activities and entertainment. Participating food vendors include Cousins Maine Lobster, Four Boys Concessions, Kiersten’s Creations, Highway Ohana, Sherri’s Crab Cakes, Point Lobster, Green Dog Mobile, Playa Bowls, Star of the Sea Seafood, Sweetpepper Venezuelan Specialties, L’Acquario Seafood Italiano, and Wild Bill’s Old Fashioned Soda. more

(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

From the Casual to the Chic

By Wendy Greenberg

“There are few things so pleasant as a picnic eaten in perfect comfort.”
– W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge, 1943

When cookbook author Mary Abitanto eats al fresco, she appreciates both the landscape and the escape.

“A picnic to me is a chance to become grounded in the literal and figurative sense,” she says. “You become engulfed by the beauty of nature’s landscape and awaken your sense of smell (fragrant flowers, ocean breezes), sense of sound (birds chirping, ocean waves crashing), and taste (yummy picnic food).”

Abitanto calls it an “awe-inspiring backdrop that we cannot find anywhere else except in nature’s midst.”

Think Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass or The Picnic, or Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Eating outdoors enjoyed a renaissance during the pandemic as socializing moved mostly outside. Even now, shared outdoor meals remain a go-to social event, an experience that can be casual or upscale.

The modern picnic is accessible to all levels of merriment and communing, keeping in mind food safety and environmental responsibility, along with a great culinary experience, and a delightful view. (It has also become a popular Instagram opportunity.)

“Picnicking has become a popular trend,” says Suzette Louis-Jacques, a luxury picnic planner at La TAS Events in Somerset County. She said it started before the pandemic in the U.S. South and on the West Coast, and had been pivoting to the Northeast.

Louis-Jacques adds that “picnics are not for everyone,” so she discusses personal taste with the picnic-goer. “You want to plan it out,” she says.

Whether the emphasis is on the food or the mood, there are choices to be made: what food to bring, how complex a meal, and location. Additionally, we might think about how to reduce food waste, and, perhaps just for fun, step up our accoutrements: there are some pretty amazing backpacks that include glasses, utensils, blankets, and much more. more

Have you ever wondered about the history of Atlantic City, which was once a melting pot of newly arrived immigrants and even bootleggers during the prohibition era? 

On Saturday, July 23 at 2:30 p.m., Atlantic City Food Tours will be talking about all that and more during their walk through Ducktown, a district of Atlantic City that was heavily settled by Italian immigrants during the 20th century. Over the years, the neighborhood has gone through changes, but many of the historic culinary institutions have survived.  more

Hoboken native Brad Finkel never set out to enter the food business. In fact, back in the 1990s, he was more interested in touring the country with his musical group, trying to make an impact in the world as a working artist. 

However, when Finkel left Hudson County, he noticed that his fellow bandmates were homesick for fresh mozzarella, meats, homemade bread, and tomato sauce like the Italian Grandma’s made it. That meant nothing but the freshest ingredients and no additives like sugar. Nothing is dried and everything is bottled at the peak of freshness. In this way, Finkel sought to make his friends a little more comfortable.  more

Nestled midway between Manhattan and Philadelphia at 678 Cranberry Road in East Brunswick, Park Chateau Estate & Gardens is quickly becoming the noteworthy wedding venue in New Jersey.

Spanning 15 rolling and manicured acres, visitors will be struck first by the 17th century classical French architecture and garden designs. This setting provides the bride and groom with a range of locations to move their wedding party through; from the chapel to the outdoor gardens and sparkling ballroom, every site is picture perfect. more

Enjoy the ambience of Crossing Vineyards and Winery on Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m. while you are guided through a tasting of 10 wines. At the same time, guests will be able to feast on artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and more. After the tasting, stay a while at McAvoy’s Bar and order a glass of wine from your favorite selection. This is a great introductory class on wine and cheese pairings for anyone who has ever been interested in assembling their very own charcuterie boards for family gatherings, events, and holidays.  more

Picklelicious has been a regular vendor at the Princeton Farmers’ Market since the Market’s inception when it was just a few vendors on Hinds Plaza. Now located at the Dinky Train Station lot at 172 Alexander Street in Princeton, Picklelicious is a hands-down favorite and much-loved local product. 

Pickelicious founder Robyn Samra was raised on pickles and bagels. As a mother of two small children back in 1993, she sought to leave her waitressing job and start her own small business. The question was, what kind of business? Drawing on her Jewish heritage and love of pickles, she decided that she would invest her time and energy into producing pickles and selling them at local flea markets and farmers markets. more

A 30th anniversary is an impressive milestone for any business, but a restaurant? After two years of a worldwide pandemic, it’s even more extraordinary. That is why Stage Left Steak owners Mark Pascal and Francis Schott (best friends who met at Rutgers University in the early 1980s) will be throwing fabulous events all summer long. 

At Stage Left Steak, you can always expect great steaks and the finest cuts of meat dressed in a Neapolitan-Based, Brooklyn-influenced Italian cooking. Pare your steak with perfectly balanced wines and cocktails in the restaurant’s pleasant outdoor space.  more

Located at 15 Church Street in the bustling town of Montclair, Fresco Da Franco has attracted a lot of attention for its vibrant, party-like atmosphere combined with authentic Italian cuisine that is always fresh, and always made with love. 

Created by chef/owner Franco Porporino Jr., a first generation Italian American, Fresco Da Franco is a destination for brunch, lunch, and fine dining. The success of the place is owed a great deal to authentic cucina all nonna — delicious comfort food that it always satisfying and refined.  more

Photo Credit: Julia Child in her kitchen as photographed ©Lynn Gilbert, 1978, Cambridge, Mass. (wikipedia.org)

On Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m., Hopewell Theater presents never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and cutting-edge food cinematography that traces Julia Child’s 12-year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to becoming the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose — and her fame — at the age of 50 and took America along for the whole delicious journey.  more

On Sunday, May 15 from 4 to 6 p.m., the Arts Council of Princeton will host a traditional English High Tea courtesy of Samira Ghani, known for her popular Instagram blog Slice of Gourmet (https://www.instagram.com/sliceofgourmet/). 

Each elegant station will represent a country’s traditional beverage and assorted small bites. Guests will have the chance to sample English High Tea, Greek coffee, Arabic Mint Kava, and Pakastani Kashmiri. As a bonus, stations will include literature about the country’s beverage customs. Wear your best hat and come hungry!  more

Rock out to a good cause on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Airport Hangar, 41 Airpark Road in Princeton, in a benefit for Greenwood House. Live music will be accompanied by dinners prepared by award-winning chef Max Hansen and desserts from featured food trucks, Glazed & Confused Fresh Mini Donuts and Rita’s Italian Ice. Guests will also be able to eat, drink, and bid on auction items such as rock star-autographed guitars and world-class vacations.  more

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/peacepieworld/

Everyone has their favorite ice cream shop and ice cream flavor, but have you ever tried a Peace Pie? With locations in Cape May and Lambertville, .(among others), Peace Pie has established itself as a unique ice cream destination. 

According to founder and creator Jerry Klause, Peace Pie began Thanksgiving night 2010, over a delicious batch of pie filling and a forgotten pie crust. Klause baked the pie filling and two giant shortbread cookies, then combined it all in layers with vanilla ice cream. Thus, he served a Pecan Pie Lasagna for dessert and it was a hit with the whole crowd. The following summer, the Klause family decided to take their delicious idea and put it into action with the design and production of Peace Pie, an ice cream sandwich with a layer of pie filling! more

Heated rooftop igloos at Asbury Biergarten

By the time February rolls around in the Northeast, many residents may be experiencing a little bit of cabin fever. Thankfully, Valentine’s Day shines a bright spot on an otherwise wintery month with dating, dining, and travel options for you and your significant other.  more

Scarborough Fair Restaurant, located at 1414 Meetinghouse Road in Sea Girt, invites the community to a unique Maker’s Mark pairing dinner on Sunday, January 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. Door open at 3:30 p.m. The event will begin with a welcome cocktail and hors d’oeuvres followed by a four-course pairing dinner, and raffle prizes. Tickets are $110 per person and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/3ncKDpd.  more

Downtown’s premier food festival, Taste of the Seaport, will return for its 11th year on October 16 at Pier 16 and 17 in the Seaport District of Manhattan. 

Over 40 of the best restaurants in Lower New York City will come together to highlight one of the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods and its vibrant food and social scene. Culinary lovers are invited to explore a variety of food options that the Seaport and Financial Districts have to offer. Delicious dishes will be available for purchase from Eataly Downtown, Brooklyn Chop House, Industry Kitchen, Watermark Bar, Beatnic, Fresh Salt, Stout FiDi, Route 66 Smokehouse, and Mac Daddy’s, to name a few. Proceeds from the festival support enrichment programs for children at both Spruce Street School PS 397 and the Peck Slip School PS 343.  more

The company revives the centuries-old property through history, delectable cuisine, and style.

Landmark Hospitality announces the reopening of the Logan Inn in New Hope, Pa. Established in 1727 and steeped in tradition, the Logan Inn stands as the oldest operating inn in America. After two years of construction, Landmark Hospitality completed an expansion and renovation of the property, transforming it into a boutique hotel experience and curated entertainment for travelers and locals. The revitalized inn joins Landmark Hospitality’s diverse portfolio of adaptive reuse projects across the tri-state area.  more

The Food Network and Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF), presented by Capital One, will be held this year on October 14-17. The four-day annual event showcases the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs, culinary personalities, and America’s most beloved television chefs while raising critical funds to support New Yorkers affected by severe illness and food poverty. Proceeds will benefit Food Bank for New York City and God’s Love We Deliver.  more

Typically, the annual Long Beach Island (LBI) Chowderfest signifies the end of the summer season on the Jersey Shore. To extend the festivities this year, Chowderfest is becoming ChowderMonth, a month-long celebration of delicious chowders and seafood stews in Ocean County, New Jersey. Dine at participating restaurants from September 4 through October 2, then vote online for your favorite chowder dish and restaurant! 

To participate, first go to chowderfest.com to download a pass. You will instantly receive your pass via text and email. Your pass can also be saved to your home screen on your smartphone for easy, one-tap access. When you arrive at your destination, simply click “check in,” then allow GPS to validate your current location. The final step is to vote for your favorite chowder in Red, White, and Creative categories at any participating restaurant. Voting closes at 11:55 p.m. on October 2.  more