#SCBDReview: .@SpuntinoWineBar with Wine Boy

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Spuntino Wine Tapas Logo

 

Wine Boy and I were craving small plates and wine after a long day of working together, so we headed to Clifton, New Jersey. Right by the AMC Theater is an Italian Wine Bar and Tapas restaurant called Spuntino, known for its fabulous selection of Italian wines and small plates. The atmosphere was welcoming and I loved the decoration of wine racks surrounding the entire restaurant. The restaurant was divided into two main parts: the bar area and the rest of the restaurant with tables and booths.

Wine Boy and I had the nicest waitress: her name was Allison, so I highly recommend grabbing a table that is served by Allison. That night, Wine Boy and I shared truffle French fries made with truffle oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Italian herbs. After that, we shared spaghetti alla carbonara with bacon, peas, Pecorina Romano, and egg yolk. Finally, we had speck, which is smoked prosciutto, from the Aldo Adige region in Italy, served on grilled crostini.

Spuntino Food

He simply had a soda since he offered to be my designated driver, so I treated myself to a quartino of Moscato. The Moscato was a 2011 fruity, medium bodied white from Trentino, specifically Mezzocorona which is a commune in this northern Italian region. I’m absolutely in love with the wine list at Spuntino. All of the wines are Italian wines. Suffice to say I fell in love with the moscato. It was not super sweet, which I find to be a great thing if it’s only sweet enough. Instead, the moscato was fruity, and I could smell pears, apples, and other light fruits.

Spuntino Restaurant                            Spuntino Lights Spuntino Exterior

Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas also takes OpenTable reservation. I highly recommend going to Spuntino either on a date or with a group of friends and/or family so you can all share these small plates. You can also buy the wines by the bottle. There are over 150 Italian wines to try from nearly all of Italy’s 20 wine regions. Saluti, cin cin, e buon appetito!

 

Cheers!

XOXO

Kelly

@bobellerz

 

Main Website                   http://spuntinowinebar.com/

Spuntino’s Twitter          @SpuntinoWineBar

Images courtesy of YELP.

#SCBDExclusive: .@WhiteCastle is coming to East Brunswick, NJ!

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whitecastle

 

This Sunday, March 16th, White Castle will be opening it’s 30th New Jersey location in East Brunswick! This state-of-the-art White Castle, which includes two flat-screen TVs, a grab-n-go drink cooler and free Wi-Fi, is located at 645 Highway 18.

“We’re excited to add another new restaurant to the White Castle family,” said Lisa Ingram, president of White Castle and fourth generation family member. “We can’t wait for Cravers to join us in East Brunswick to share our famous Sliders, and we hope to initiate some new customers into Craver Nation.”

white-castle-sliders

East Brunswick’s new White Castle will be open 24/7 serving breakfast from midnight to 10:30 AM daily, along with their traditional lunch and dinner menu. For those Cravers that show up early, White Castle’s team members will be handing out free giveaways to the first 50 customers.

For more information about this and other White Castle locations, visit their website!

#SCBDReview: Cut & Ombre at September’s Spa & Hair Salon in Brick, NJ

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photo 4

This month I had the opportunity to get my hair done by Jessica Rossi at September’s Salon & Spa on Brick Boulevard in Brick, NJ. When I came in, I fell in love with the space right when I walked in. I was welcomed warmly and they offered to take my coat right away. So now let me tell you more about my wonderful experience….

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I was then taken to Jessica’s room, where she works her magic. We discussed what I wanted and after talking ideas I decided to a little cut and an ombre. I was a bit nervous because she was making part of my hair darker, which I’ve never done but she did not disappoint. Jessica has been a hairstylist for 10 years and even teaches at the new stylist at the salon about the field and the same at the local vocational school. You can definitely see her expertise in her work.

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It was a bit different for me at first but after awhile I became and am completely confident with my new look. Honestly it was just what I needed to liven up my image and I am so HAPPY with the way it turned out.

I was extremely impressed by everything at the salon. I felt like I could be myself, was comfortable, my stylist Jessica was also on point with what I needed. I loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone who lives by the shore. I know I’ll be back.

#SCBDEvent: 2014 .@ChoiceEats takes place March 25th in #NYC

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choiceats

 

The Village Voice’s seventh annual tasting event, “Choice Eats,” announces a fourth round of participating restaurants today, bringing the total up to 75 participants. The 18 newly added restaurants are: Black Tree, Buka, Chandni, Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, Doughnut Plant, Grandaisy Bakery, Jones Wood Foundry, Juliette Restaurant, Khe Yo, Kuma Inn, Liddabit Sweets, Mexico Lindo, Mooncake Foods, Mrs. Dorsey’s Kitchen, Ovenly, Peppa’s Jerk Chicken, Rosamunde Sausage Grill and Rubirosa.

Today’s newly announced restaurants will join previously announced restaurants: 606 R&D, Alobar, Ample Hills Creamery, Anella, Bear, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Bhatti Indian Grill, Bien Cuit, Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter, Brooklyn Kolache Co., Bunker, Butter & Scotch, Carlo’s Bakery, Coppelia, Devi, Dirt Candy, Edi and the Wolf, Egg, El Almacen, Fay Da Bakery, Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, Fonda, Indian Clove, Jimmy’s No. 43, John Brown Smokehouse, Kaia Wine Bar, La Newyorkina, Larb Ubol, Little Prince, Littleneck, Louro, Luke’s Lobster, Mables Smokehouse, Maima’s Liberian Bistro, Martha, Max, No. 7, Oda House, OddFellows Ice Cream Co., Ovelia Psistaria, Pete Zaaz, Queens Comfort, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Robicelli’s, SCRATCHbread, Sheep Station, Spicy Bampa, Swine, Tabata Noodle Restaurant, Telepan Local, The Kati Roll Company, The Meatball Shop, The Pines, Thistle Hill Tavern, Xe May Sandwich Shop, Yunnan Kitchen and Zenon Taverna.

“Choice Eats” will be accepting volunteer applications until March 7th to assist The Village Voice team on-site at the event. All volunteers will receive a free general admission ticket to The Village Voice‘s Third annual “Choice Streets” Food Truck Tasting Event to be held in May 2014 (specific date TBA). To apply, you must be 21 years or older and fill out this application, here: http://bit.ly/CEvolunteer.

VIP tickets for “Choice Eats” 2014 officially sold out in minutes since going on sale on January 29th and only a limited number of General Admission tickets are still available. Purchase tickets, here: www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 25th at Basketball City at Pier 36 located in Lower Manhattan from 7:00PM-10:00PM with a VIP-only hour from 6:00PM-7:00PM.

Brooklyn indie-rockers DIIV will DJ this year’s “Choice Eats” event. DIIV is the nom-de-plume of Z. Cole Smith, musical provocateur and front-man of an atmospheric and autumnally-charged new four-piece. The band is signed to Captured Tracks and has been hailed by Pitchfork, Stereogum and their likes for their dreamy, psychedelic style. DIIV have performed on the Late Show with David Letterman and at major music festivals including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and more.

“Choice Eats” is one of New York City’s most unique food events where 3,000 attendees sample food from over 60 of the most sought after restaurants across all the city’s boroughs from over 35 countries, all handpicked by The Village Voice’s food critics and previously featured in theFork In The Road blog.

Back by popular demand, “Choice Eats” will offer all ticketholders an array of dessert offerings in the “Choice Sweets” section of the event. Choice Sweets participants will be featured on the main floor, with a select few exclusive to the VIP lounge.

Typically held at the 69th Armory, this year’s “Choice Eats” will move to a new downtown location, Pier 36 @ Basketball City, the state of the art Lower Manhattan venue that will enable the event to grow its footprint plus expand the number of attendees, participating restaurants, demos and more. The venue regularly transforms its seven side-by-side basketball courts to an elegant event space for expos, corporate events and now for the Village Voice’s Seventh Annual “Choice Eats.”

Sponsors confirmed for Choice Eats 2014 include: Stella Artois, Great Brewers, Southern Wine & Spirits, Whole Foods Market, Disney NEWSIES on Broadway, Diamond Vision, Asahi Beer USA, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Blueprint Brands, Asahi Beer, Verizon FIOS, New York Health & Racquet Club, Pisco Portón, Abita Brewing Company, Alphabet City Brewing Company, Blue Point Brewing Company, Brewery

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Ommegang, Crabbies Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Lagunitas Brewing Company, MOA Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Singha Beer, Sixpoint Brewery, Smuttynose Brewing Company, Black Dirt Distillery, Catoctin Creek, Dulce Vida Organic Tequila, New Holland Brewing, Rogue Spirits, Suerte Tequila, Virginia Distillery Company, Woody Creek Distillers, SingleCut Beer, Four Roses Bourbon, Cabot Creamery and Hot 97.

 

For more information on “Choice Eats” please have a bite here:

www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats

https://www.facebook.com/voicechoiceeats

https://twitter.com/ChoiceEats

 

Event Details:

Choice Eats 7th Annual Tasting Event

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TICKETS: On Sale Now: http://www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats

VENUE: Basketball City | 299 South St. | New York, NY 10002

COST: $85 – VIP (SOLD OUT)

$60 – General Admission (STILL AVAILABLE)

6:00-7:00pm – VIP HOUR

7:00-10:00pm – EVENT

 

Getting There:

The event’s new venue, Basketball City, is conveniently located just north of the Manhattan bridge and steps away from F Train on the East Broadway Stop. It is also accessible by buses and the J, M line at Essex Street.

#SCBDReview: @Maxims22 in Easton, Pennsylvania

scbdreview

Maxims 22 Easton, PA:

My boyfriend’s family and I decided to go visit his brother at Lafayette in Easton, PA. It was also my boyfriend’s birthday, so we went out to a nice lunch at a fine French restaurant called Maxim’s 22. It is located in the main area in Easton. It is such a cute area with tons of little restaurants and some cute stores.

We started off with some water and bread. The bread was a mix of raisin, Italian, and a white loaf We sat in the corner at a large table. The atmosphere is absolutely adorable with booths and chairs to match the eccentric and beautiful decor. They have a huge bar filled with a list of wines and beers. They have a huge variety of both and a full wine bar.

pic 1 (2)Pic 2 (2)

pic 3 (2)Pic 4 (2)As drinks my boyfriend decided to celebrate and enjoy a Pumpkin Maple beer. It was sweet and pumpkin-y and very smooth. It was on the lighter side. It was a good choice for a beautiful fall day.

Pic 5 (1)My boyfriend and I started out with onion soup. This soup wasn’t too sweet like some are, it was a darker broth filled with onions and bread the size of croutons. It was so good, by it not being so sweet it allowed us to enjoy it more and eat more. Delish.


Pic 6 (1)

As an appetizer to share with the table we ordered the Brie. It was served in a puff pastry with a nut and fruit mix inside. It was served with a raspberry jam to put on the Brie. The pastry was sweet and added to the smooth Brie and fruit and nut mix. It was almost as sweet as a desert. Such a good appetizer, the mixture of it all together blended to form an amazing dish.

Pic 7 (1) Pic 8 (1)

My boyfriend father ordered the special soup of the day. It was a Potato based soup with clams and oysters. He shared, and it was outstanding. It was creamy but not a thick filling cream. The clams and oysters were fresh and tasted so delicious.

For the actual lunch, my boyfriend Rick got a French Dip with French Fries and I got a Cesar salad with chicken dressing on side. The dip was outstanding, there was something wrong with the dish that we realized half way through, and the waitress was wonderful in fixing it! She jumped to helping us and making it better. The salad and chicken was also outstanding, both these dishes I highly recommend and would get again in a heartbeat. 

Pic 9 (1) Pic 10

 His parents got a Salad with house vinaigrette (which is a Dijon- it is so good) and Mussels with sausage. I tasted both and the sausage was so good, I usually do not like sausage but these were tender and full of flavor. His brother got a Chicken Salad on croissant and French friends. He has had this before and finds it to be so full of taste. It is no dry and the croissant really makes it. Another neat thing is the ketchup they use, it is in a bottle and you use a spoon to scoop it out. This ketchup tasted almost fresh, and it added to the neat atmosphere.

Pic 11

Finally, we finished up with a complimentary carrot cake with a candle in it for Rick. This carrot cake was so good; it is homemade and was huge. It was moist and flavorful!

Pic 12

I would go here again, they were so nice and made sure we had a fabulous experience. The atmosphere is so neat and having it be in a cute town makes it that much better. Another perk is it is down the street from the Crayola Factory! Next trip out there I want a tour!

 

 

#SCBDEvent: .@KENandCOOK Oscar Screening Party

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The Academy Awards are the hottest event in Hollywood. It’s a night of glitz, glam, and all the fabulous celebrities you could ever imagine. Unfortunately, most of us commoners will never get to hit the red carpet and join in these festivities. Luck for you, there are other options for you to feel just a fabulous as the Oscar nominees themselves!

knc oscars

This Sunday, Ken & Cook Restaurant and Bar will be holding an Oscars viewing party for all of you movie-buffs and Hollywood wanna-be’s. Guests are asked to dress in their best black tie attire to walk the red carpet and view the show from a giant projector behind the bar. While you’re viewing, treat yourself to some Oscar-inspired cocktails along with Ken & Cook’s delicious dinner menu and get the VIP treatment! The party starts at 6 PM sharp, just in time for the Red Carpet Pre-Show. Space is limited, so if you want to RSVP, call the restaurant at 212-966-3058 or e-mail them at reservations@kenandcook.com

#SCBDReview: To Kill Time at Mockingbird Café?

scbdreview-3Contrary to popular belief, I do eat and review establishments in the New Jersey area; I’ve got to show NJ some loving after all! My fellow hotel & restaurant management friends from FDU and I decided to drive up to Basking Ridge from Madison to eat at a little, independent café called Mockingbird Café. Mockingbird is a cute and simple establishment off of South Finley Avenue, around the corner from Oak Street Elementary School. My friends and I sat on the street, enjoying the last few days of a warm fall season, looking at the surrounding town of Basking Ridge. I could not help but notice how American and patriotic I felt sitting there at Mockingbird Café, looking down the street to see

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a looming flag of the U.S.A.

-2

-1As we sat down at the café, I took one last in-depth observation of South Finley Avenue and accepted the feeling that I had been transported back three decades into the past. For lunch, I ordered their special panino of the day. It was made of various vegetables and came with a side of large fries. The fries were crisp and delicious. The vegetables were deliciously flavored. I loved how they gave me a tiny porcelain bowl of ketchup and another plastic cup full of coleslaw. I’m really big on coleslaw with my sandwiches. Their panino was clearly crafted with love. The waitresses were extremely contemporary and friendly, young women who gave my friends and I the utmost respect by referring to us as “sir” and “ma’am.”

-4My only concern was how slow the service was. Perhaps it was because we came at a weird post-lunch hour, a little bit after 2 PM, when their lunch kitchen closes at 3 PM. However, the waitresses, although extremely amicable and polite, seemed to forget to check on us at a decent pace. The restaurant was not busy when we went. There were only a handful of tables that were full. Then again, I am used to the unforgiving pace of midtown Manhattan! I will continue to have homemade lemonade and handcrafted paninis from Mockingbird Café; even if it means I have to slow down, in order to properly appreciate the wonderful town of Basking Ridge and their locals.

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#SCBDReview: Rocco’s Tuscany Bar & Grill – Madison’s Best Kept Secret

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photo 5

On Friday night, the Small Chick and I had a press dinner at Rocco’s Tuscany Bar and Grill in Madison, New Jersey. I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to get a hold of Rocco’s so easily and quickly considering we casually told him we were coming in a few hours before. Chef Gino was very excited to receive us. He was a breath of fresh air from many chefs in the industry who act unnecessarily superior to restaurant patrons who might not be foodies.

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The moment we entered Rocco’s, Chef Gino had a huge smile on his face at the host stand. He was the first to greet us at the last to bid us a farewell. The Small Chick and I both drank Vino Arancia, a cocktail mixed with St. Germain, Orangecello, and Riesling served over ice. The orange was extremely overwhelming, but it was strong and delicious nevertheless. Chef Gino also gave us roasted peppers that came fresh from the garden as an appetizer. The roasted peppers were, in fact, extremely fresh.

photo 3

The Small Chick had shells Florentine for her entrée while I had a deep dish pizza pie with cheese, mushrooms, and anchovies. Excuse me as I wipe my mouth with my nonexistent napkin. I’m drooling again at the thought of the food. After we attempted to conquer our massive entrees, we saved just enough room for coffee and dessert. The Small Chick had a cappuccino while I had a single espresso. We both had a cannolo stuffed with a sort of fruity cream. It was an interesting take on the traditional cannolo.

photo 4

My only concern with Rocco’s was the fact that the free bread was a bit stale. Otherwise, the restaurant was perfect. There are two parts of the restaurant. One side is the dining room with a bar where the Small Chick and I dined, and the other side is the more casual pizzeria. Rocco’s staff was wonderfully accommodating and left a lasting impression on us. We will be back soon per mangiare e bere. Grazie and cheers!

SCBD’s take on Rocco’s:
I loved our dinner at Rocco’s. I thought the dinner itself was great because the food was fresh and the portions were filling. I agree with Kelly that the staff was on point and welcoming, I’d definitely come back and try other cocktails they offer and other dishes they offer. I loved my shells, and am glad I tried them as they were a special that night. Thanks for inviting us in Chef Gino, we’ll definitely be back!

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CONTACT

ROCCO’S MAIN PAGE http://www.roccostuscanybarandgrill.com/

- Ask for Chef Gino and tell him that Sara from SCBD sent you ;) -

#SCBDFavorite: Hop-On, Hop-Off

scbdfavorite

0-1Dear SCBD Readers,

It is with great sadness and swallowing of pride that I must admit that I am not a true born and bred New Yorker, but rather a member of the bridge and tunnel crowd. My cousin, on the other hand, is a true born and bred New Yorker who only has to take the 1 train downtown to get where he needs to go in Manhattan. When I told my cousin that I’ve always wanted to take a Gray Line Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour, he, too, had to swallow his pride and go along with my silly antics. (Always thank the kindness and patience of family members, folks, they’re the only ones who will ever be this patient with you!)

0-3

My cousin and I went to the Gray Line flagship location on 777 (three sevens, I thought, must be good luck!) 8th Avenue between 47th and 48th Street. When we arrived several minutes ahead of the 8:30 A.M. required time to pick up our tickets, the company told us that we would not be able to board the bus until 9:15 A.M. Wanting to kill some time, I asked a company representative if he was aware of any nearby parks where we could spend about forty-five minutes just to sit and relax, since there was no sitting area in the flagship location. The representative told us that there was no place nearby that we could go to and return in time. I used my handy dandy iPhone and found that there was a park literally around the corner and down the block from the tour location. Of course, in the mind of the representative, maybe the park on 47th street between 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue was too far by his standards.

0-2

We finish up our cup of coffees in the park and return to the flagship location by around 9:10 AM. By this point, we already knew this tour was going to be just as cheesy as we predicted. We chose to do the four-hour-long Manhattan Experience Highlights tour which drove by the main Manhattan icons including the Empire State Building and an extremely classy CVS on the Upper West Side that the tour guide failed to properly point out. One of my favorite spots was the Cathedral of St. John the Divine near Morningside Heights and Colombia University. The bus stopped there for ten minutes for the tourist to go in and see the church, really quickly.

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Overall, after taking this tour, all I can say is that there is a good reason why you rarely, if ever see locals taking these tour buses in their own city. It is too frustrating, even for me as a member of the bridge and tunnel crowd, to watch as a tour guide gives the cutesy and squeaky clean history of Manhattan. My cousin and I exchanged knowing glances as the tour guide remarked that there were no slums in Manhattan as we drove through Harlem. The tour guide noted that while the African-American population was quite prevalent in Harlem, you would not be able to tell who was of a less affluent class since everyone dressed like they were all middle class. It was at this point that I decided to tune out the tour guide’s remarks and simply admire the dynamic and moving view of Manhattan from the top deck of the bus. Hop on, hop off.

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Links:

-          http://www.graylinenewyork.com/tourpage.php?item=HME Website where I booked the Gray Line $50 per person tour

-          http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/ramonapontepark/ Park where my cousin and I had a nice cup of coffee and watched children play

-          http://www.stjohndivine.org/ One of my favorite cathedrals in NYC which was highlighted on the tour

#SCBD Mom slow cooker beef barley soup recipe for those affected by Sandy

If you haven’t read the post yet, here’s a link, I am joining other food bloggers today, in light of the destruction of Sandy I am sharing a comfort food recipe passed onto me by my mother in support of those impacted worse than I by Superstorm Sandy. It’s a perfect soup for a cool fall or winter night!

Photo courtesy of recipe.com (I will be taking my own next time I make it!)

SCBD Mom Slow cooker Beef Barley soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of mushroom barley soup (Manischewitz or similar)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 envelopes beef bouillon
  • 1lb stew beef (or stir fry beef)

Instructions:

  • Put liner in crock-pot.
  • Put in 2 cups water, add all contents of soup mix.
  • Cut stew beef  into 1 inch pieces or smaller and brown meat sprinkled w onion powder and garlic powder.
  • When browned add to crock-pot and add 4 cups water and bouillon and stir.
  • Put on top and let cook for 8 hrs on low or 5 6 on high
  • When finished relax & enjoy!!!

Whether you are from the Northeast where you have personally suffered from Sandy or just want to share a recipe to those who may not have a home still, please join us #FBS4SANDY!!!

Lets get it trending today #FBS4SANDY, Thursday November 8th- share your comfort dishes in support of our friends in the Northeast that have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

& please don’t forget to donate to the Red Cross below and help those in need & affected by Superstorm Sandy:


Always remembering that #SandyUnites! #LetsComeTogether

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