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Posts from March 2006

Silver Oak Bistro: Ridgewood, NJ

Sob_signPulled_pork2_2 Edit [20081005]:  Chef Gary is no longer with Silver Oak Bistro.

Edit: [200903]:  Silver Oak has closed.

BBQ seems to be popping up everywhere.  NYC has at least 12 BBQ places.  North Jersey has seen at least 2 come and go within a few years.  And there are others that have been around for a while (Hot Rod's in Wharton and The Mason Jar in Mahwah for example) , and new places opening up (most notably Front Street Smoke House in Elizabeth).  But there's one BBQ restaurant that's flying under the radar, and that's probably because it's not necessarily a BBQ restaurant.  That restaurant is The Silver Oak Bistro in Ridgewood, and their BBQ is super.

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Drink as much wine as you possibly can

Img_0663 There's simply no better way to learn about wine, and more importantly, to learn about your taste in wine and define and refine that taste, than drinking a bunch of wine.  Rather than drinking a lot of one wine, I try to drink a little bit of as many wines as I can (this adds up to "a lot" of wine, of course).

And how do you do that without going broke?  Simple:  you go to one of the many wine tastings and wine events that are happening all over NJ, NYC, and wherever you live, every week.

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China 46: Ridgefield, NJ (Closed)

Update (09/10/2007):  China 46 has closed for good.China46

China 46 opened in 2001. we discovered it the day after Christmas of that year.  Since then, I've probably eaten about 150 meals there.  Let's just say I like China 46.

From my first meal there on 12/26/2001 in the afternoon, all alone in the dining room, to my most recent meal there tonight, China 46 stuns, amazes, and provides what is definitely the most satisfying food that I've ever had.  And it does it over and over and over.  I can't say that about any other restaurant.  And with their specialty of Shanghai style cooking, it's really one-of-a-kind (essentially) in NJ, and quite frankly it's better than any of the Shanghai places in NYC.

Tonight's spur-of-the-moment meal was so perfect, so wonderful, that we were left wondering why we don't have meals here every other night.  I honestly think we wouldn't tire of it.

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Taste of Thai - Ridgewood, NJ [CLOSED]



UPDATE 3/2012:  Taste of Thai has closed.

Taste of Thai is one of the two thai restaurants to recently open in ridgewood.  in addition to Kailash and Malee, Ridge Thai has recently opened as well. 

After a few visits to each Ridge Thai and Taste of Thai, i'm convinced that neither is as good as Malee, even considering Malee's painfully limited menu.

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Left-over steak? (yeah, it happens)

SteaksandwichLeft-over steak sandwich

After about 14 ounces of anything, I get bored.  and that goes for steak, too.  So, when I find myself eating a big dry-aged piece of beef for dinner, I don't force myself to finish it, because I know great things will be happening for lunch the next day.

One of my favorite uses for leftover steaks is the classic thai beef salad, often called yum nuea (the spelling varies).  It consists of sliced steak over greens, with an acidic, sweet, salty dressing made from fish sauce and lime juice, thinly sliced shallots or red onion, definitely some ground toasted rice and some herbs like mint and cilantro. But that's not important right now.  It's more important in the summer, but not right now.

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Oceanos: Fair Lawn, NJ: first impressions

Oceanos_sign_1 For months now, I've been going out of my way to drive past what was soon to be a new restaurant in Fairlawn:  Oceanos.  Peter's Whale, which closed on that site last year, was never one of my favorites, although it was certainly a favorite with a lot of people.  So i wasn't that upset to see it dark.  In a few months the sign for Oceanos showed up, and I started getting excited.  The sign, you see, is very sexy.  I have gone as far as to proclaim that this will be my new favorite restaurant, even before trying it.  Very wishful thinking.  The doors opened for the first time this week on wednesday.  It was my duty to check out my new favorite restaurant by thursday, which I did. 

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per se: New York

Per_se_menu2_1A few months ago we had the pleasure of dining at the French Laundry in Napa.  It was certainly one of the most expensive and memorable meals that i've even been a part of.  And it remained so until a few days ago, when i had by far the most expensive meal of my life (time will tell if it was "memorable"), complete with piles of shaved truffles and a piece of foie gras that, judging from its size when presented to the table, must have come from a pterodactyl.  This meal, of course, was at per se, Thomas Keller's other restaurant (the only "other" of importance i'd think).

People all over the internet wax poetic about their meals here, complete with photos of all of their courses in some cases (the food is beautiful), photos of themselves (not always necessary, but thanks), photos of the flatware, and claims of keller's genius.  So what can I say about per se that hasn't already been said by practically everyone who has been lucky enough to get a reservation (and let's face it, for some people half the story is the fact that they got the reservation).   Oh wait, i got one:  the truffle was tasteless.  There, i said it.  per se is not perfect.   

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The Mason Jar: Mahwah, NJ

Mason_jar_signI've been lamenting the fact that northern NJ is sorely lacking for decent bars with decent "pub grub".  I mean, is it too much to ask for a restaurant with a clean bar where I can order a good burger and a decent glass of red wine?  And maybe, just maybe, the bartender can make a decent martini?

Sooooooo, I've been on a mission for the past 6 months to find such a place.  And the results have been dismal.  I've been to chain restaurants, Irish pubs, old restaurants, new restaurants, a restaurant that looked like it should serve a burger and didn't.  I've been everywhere.  And they are all pretty bad.

However, one place stands out above all others.   The Mason Jar in Mahwah is that place.   

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