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Posts from February 2008

Blogging from the bar on an iPhone: at Crave: Fairfield, NJ

Update (July 2007):  Chef LoPinto has left Crave.  Expect dumbing down of the menu.

Beets and duck confit. Excellent dish. A study in balance. Housemade confit.

Update:  Monkfish and white beans. Classic LoPinto. Herbal. Just salty enough. Luscious. Near perfect.

2004 Benziger Merlot at 32 bucks. Sign me up and keep me signed up.

Dessert coming up.

Update:  the bathroom door signs are maddening.  Like taking a tinkle IQ test to pick the correct door.  Particularly confusing if you're a boy who likes to sit when he pees...or so I'm told.

Update:  The bar at Crave is the kind of place where an inordinate amount of people think vodka is interesting.

Update:  What happened, did the Internet go down?  Not one person has read this since I started.  Do you know how difficult it is to type all of this nonsense on an iPhone?  You ungrateful bastards. 

Update:  Chef LoPinto sent out too many desserts (and I paid for them in the interest of disclosure). I've acknowledged before that we know each other, for the record. He has a way with sweets as much as savory.

All done.

Crave Restaurant and Lounge : 168 Passaic Ave : Fairfield, NJ : 973.882.8700

Tom Sawyer Diner: Paramus, NJ: Lights were on

Update (03/05/2008):  t:e reader JohnS reports that the Tom Sawyer is now open.  So get over there and get that happy waitress special, 2 eggs over easy, turkey club, or whatever the hell it is that you eat at a diner.

I drove past the Tom Sawyer Diner, in Paramus, NJ, the other morning (by "other morning", I mean the week of 2/11/08) and noticed that the lights are on.  Not quite open for business at that point or today (2/20/2008), but they've got power, which is a good start.  It seems like just yesterday it was a hole in the ground in the middle of a small, cramped parking lot.

Tom_sawyer_diner_2 Warning:  Objects in picture are closeder than they appear

Continue reading "Tom Sawyer Diner: Paramus, NJ: Lights were on" »

The strangest thing I didn't necessarily eat last year

Brace yourselves.

On November 9th, 2007, I took these things:


Turned them into this stuff:


And made a few of these:


They were pretty good. Grinding your own hamburger meat is always preferable to buying that nasty stuff from the supermarket.  Although, given the chance, I just go to the Swiss Pork Store in Fair Lawn, NJ, and buy some of their freshly ground beef, which is simply the best.

Anyway, on November 17th, 2007, the kitchen started smelling prit-tee funky.  We searched high and low for the offending organic matter, which was clearly being consumed by micro organisms, which were in turn creating tiny but smelly micro organism farts and stuff.  We finally found the source of the odor:  the garbage disposal.

The people at Insinkerator claim that you can put just about anything down their disposals.  Who am I to question this.  However, when you put fat trimmings in there, and you kind of ignore them for several days, you apparently get this:

Continue reading "The strangest thing I didn't necessarily eat last year" »

Crave in Fairfield, NJ, is open [CLOSED]

Update:  Crave is officially open for business.  Their website is at

Update:  I had a quick and excellent meal at the bar, mentioned here.

Update (July 2008):  Chef LoPinto has left Crave.  Expect to see some changes in the menu and direction, for the worse I would think.

I know a lot of you are searching for information on Crave Restaurant and Lounge in Fairfield, NJ, Chef Anthony LoPinto's (late of Totowa's Earth, and a bunch of other restaurants over the last 15 or so years) latest venture, and I know that a lot of you already know that they're opening "soon."  But in case you don't, I'm here to say that Crave is opening in about a week or so.  Two maybe max?  Do I have any insider info?  Liddlebit. Nothing I can share, and posting this might be a betrayal of confidence, though I doubt it because the word is on the street.  And heck, I'm pretty excited and want others to be as well.  I can almost taste the Benziger now.

Today is Tuesday, 2/12/2008, and I'm guessing I'll see some of you there by next Saturday.  If it's not open by then I'll go down personally and pound on the door, incognito of course, demanding more insider info, and I'll apologize for getting your hopes up.  Otherwise, I will be  sitting at the bar, enjoying Chef LoPinto's cooking, because bar dining is almost always preferable. 

Don't say "hi' if you see me, however, because I don't like people.

Crave Restaurant and Lounge : 168 Passaic Ave : Fairfield, NJ : 973.882.8700

Red Robin: Why?


Here's a question for you:

What's the worst thing you can say on your way to lunch at Montclair's Little Saigon, where you're planning on having a big ol' hot bowl of pho and some of their wacky "egg rolls," wrapped in lettuce and dipped in nuoc cham.  The answer is, of course, "Hey, let's try Red Robin for the hell of it."

I clearly have to remind myself more often that the people on and and, and any other open forum where anyone can post anything, for the most part, don't know what they're talking about.  "Red Robin has a really good burger" I read somewhere.  Why did I believe that for even one second?  I suppose I really didn't.  But I was curious.  Once a seed gets planted in my head there's really no getting it out until it germinates.  I'm obsessive and compulsive.  Two wonderful traits.  So yeah, I had no choice but to stop at Clifton's Red Robin.

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Grand Sichuan in Jersey City? Can it be?

EDIT:  It's true alright.  Grand Sichuan is open at 342 Grove street in Jersey City.

I just read on chowhound that NYC's Grand Sichuan has opened a branch in Jersey City.   The post comes from a first-time poster, it references their website (which expired the other day), and sounds suspicious to me.  But hey, who cares!

Continue reading "Grand Sichuan in Jersey City? Can it be?" »

South City Prime: Little Falls, NJ and South City Grill: Rochelle Park, NJ [CLOSED]

Updated: 01/09/2009:  South City Prime is closing retooling, and will reopen as Fire & Oak.  Hopefully the good steaks and burgers will remain.

A tale of two South Cities?

Oh that was hacky.  Please accept my apology.

We rolled into South City Prime, on its first night (stupid, I know, but what the hell), with reasonably low expectations.  After all, we had no love for its sister restaurant, South City Grill, a restaurant at which we had a forgettable (regrettable?) meal 10 years ago.  More on that place later.  That, coupled with how unimpressed I was with the other new Little Falls steakhouse, Rare, and hell, I was figuring this was another gaudy big-money more-flash-than-flesh pick-up joint, posing as a steakhouse.

And I was wrong.  At least about the steak.

Continue reading "South City Prime: Little Falls, NJ and South City Grill: Rochelle Park, NJ [CLOSED]" »