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Roots in Ridgewood: set to open


Update: We made our way over to Roots for a first look. Here are some details of the meal (click me!)

Update: Roots has opened, per The Booziest of all the Burbs.

A sign on Roots Steakhouse's door notes that it is planning on opening June 9.

I took a peak inside and see that they designed the front room just as I had wanted. A long bar on the left wall, almost from front to back, and a very sophisticated loungy vibe. I'm not sure what they did with the back rooms.


I spied a silly looking fellow with a handlebar moustache rocking this bold look at his ankles walking through the parking lot. I was hoping he was applying for a bartending job, as handlebar mustaches are a sure sign of a proper cocktail program. But he went into a coffee shop--which would have been my second guess.

So the opening is upon us. Buckle up for the Park West Tavern-Roots Steakhouse showdown, and don't get too used to the relatively easy parking that you've been enjoying in Ridgewood since Blend closed.

Roots Steakhouse : 17 Chestnut Street : Ridgewood, NJ


t:e was down: for a few days

My blogging platform, Typepad, which is generally wonderful, was under a DDoS attack for the past few days. This means that some douche(s) clogged the pipes to the extent that it brought Typepad and all of its customers to a halt. They, these douches, generally then ask for a ransom to stop their immoral and illegal(?) activities. If not illegal, then certainly dick-ish.

This is a thing that horrible people do, and by definition I don't like it. Frankly I'd like to meet these douches in person and ask them what their major malfunction is, before I elbow them in the throat. But that's likely not possible.

Typepad has been working hard to restore services and stabilize the whole mess.

I'll take this moment to note that if I were sincere insincere I'd say that I'm glad you're back to visit.

Either way, rest assured, I'll be talking about myself more in the upcoming days, perhaps even making up for lost time. Or not.

In general, be kind. I think that's a good idea overall. 

While you're processing all of that, process this, by the great Blitzen Trapper.


Valentine's Day: Thoughts on restaurant dining

Like most self-absorbed smug schmucks who consider themselves experienced eaters and restaurant-goers, I tend to turn up my nose at the excitement around Valentine's Day dining. The idea of feeling obligated to go to a restaurant on a specific night, along with all of those amateurs who clearly don't eat out very often, isn't very appealing. Add prix fixe menus, set seatings, and the pressures to have a “special” evening, and all I see is a stress-inducing night, one which keeps me safely behind my computer screen, hurling stones at those barbarians who decide to venture out and visit a restaurant.

Oh, and on top of that, it's always been my understanding that this night absolutely sucks for staff, and the restaurant basically phones it in, not trying to please one bit.  But is that really the case?

I figured some insight from people actually in the industry that I tend to blather on about might be helpful if I'm going to continue with this baseless theory. So, I asked a few owners and chefs what they think about Valentine's day dining. How they approach it at their restaurant. If they hate it like I assume they do. And I received some interesting feedback.

Continue reading "Valentine's Day: Thoughts on restaurant dining" »

The 17 Most Influential Burgers of All Time: Time

Dry aged burger salBurger at home with beef from Westwood Prime Meats in Westwood, NJ. With dry-aged bits.

Time magazine (that's still a thing, Time magazine?) released this list (click) of 17 of the most influential burgers of all time. White Castle is number one, for those who aren't going to read the list.

It's hard to argue with lists like these. Everyone has their opinion, and this isn't science. But to my mind, the omission of a dry-aged burger is a huge oversight.

While most of the country outside of fancy urban areas may never have had a dry-aged burger, New Yorkers have been chowing on them for quite some time.  Peter Luger's burger surely was the most popular (only?) dry-aged burger for a looooooong time. And it's quite a bargain, and quite a good burger. 

More recently, Minetta Tavern put, what up until that point was just another meat purveyor, on the map. Their Black Label Burger, made with meat from Pat La Frieda, made quite a splash when it was introduced. Hell, that burger helped to put Minetta itself on the map.

Dry-aged burgers are here to stay and popping up everywhere, no doubt due in no small part to Minetta's fine burger--and good ol' fashioned marketing. Maybe in a few years a list like this will mention Minetta. In the meantime, try one at home!

Let me indulge in a perhaps slightly more off-topic than on-topic tommy:rant, and wrap this up.

<tommy:rant>Suddenly, any shitty diner that happens to use La Frieda as a purveyor is proudly advertising that fact on their menu. As if the source of their meat is making their food taste better. Sure, La Frieda has and sells fantastic stuff. And they also sell regular stuff. Like the stuff that diners buy.

But ya know what? People are buying into the idea. They are actually going to diners and professing their love for these clearly unexceptional specimens, puffing out their chests when challenged and saying "but it's La Frieda meat." Yeah, OK.</tommy:rant>



New Neapolitan pizza: in Ridgewood?


UPDATE (5/29/14): S. Egidio is opening tonight, Thursday, per the Booziest of all the Burbs.

To say I'm curious about this place is certainly an understatement. #italymeetsridgewood? Sounds good to me.

There's very little info available on the internet about the restaurant. I stopped by yesterday but couldn't glean any intel other than the sign you see above. So many questions, so few answers. Is Rocco, the Glen Rock construction contractor at Action Home involved? Or is it another Rocco. How is an oven going to fit in that little place? Is the atmosphere going to be less upscale and more Brooklyn hip shabby chic (I kinda hope it's earthy and warm)? Is the meat going to be from exceptional producers and not from mediocre distributors? Are they going to be doing 70 second pies, or, 3 minute pies.

From a pizza perspective, I think they'll need to differentiate themselves from A Mano, which is right around the corner. A Mano really does focus on authentic Neapolitan-style pizza--which some people just don't understand or appreciate.  If there's a niche to be carved, it is going to be more of a Brooklyn-Neapolitan hybrid. A little less "wet," a little more crispy.

But I'm not paying the bills, so who cares what I think.

Either way, this will get interesting.

Update: A photo of the interior progress can be found here (click me).

17 North Broad Street : Ridgewood, NJ

The Monk Room in Newark: from the Porta people [CLOSED]

Porta octopus

Update: The Monk room closed at the end of September, 2015.

Update: my thoughts on a visit to The Monk Room here (click me).

Another update: Octopus is in the building!

Boozy Burbs got a hold of the menu for the soon-to-be-open Monk Room in Newark, the latest restaurant from the Porta people.

While we all sort of expected an abbreviated menu, certainly at launch, the internet was hoping that the fantastic octopus dish (which made the t:e Best dishes of 2013 list) would make an appearance in Newark. Apparently it hasn't, and North Jersey is crying "foul!!!"

C'mon, Porta people. We love your pizza, but let's get us some octopus up here. Newark and octopus go hand-in-hand!

Let's hope that the Monk Room's menu expands, with that octopus, and soon. And on top of that let's hope that the Monk Room's Jersey City restaurant (opening later in 2014) will have the octopus. Otherwise, Porta people, there will be pitchforks and torches, and we'll bring it, and bring it hard, North Jersey style. You dig?

The Monk Room : 20 Green Street : Newark, NJ
The Monk Room : 135 Newark Ave : Jersey City, NJ

Update: The Porta people responded in a tweet. Fingers crossed, although I know damn well that octopus takes more than a minute:


Velveeta shortage: alternatives to Velveeta

By now you've heard that Kraft is claiming that there could be a Velveeta shortage in the coming weeks. The timing couldn't be more perfect to put the brakes on your processed food-studded Super Bowl party.

So what is the uncaring and heedless host to do in light of the shortage of this staple? Well, I'll just tell ya.

To help you ensure that your party is the effortless and barbarous event that you had hoped, I am offering some assistance. We'll get through this, together.

Here it is. Just what you need, and just in time:  alternatives to Americas's favorite Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product:

Continue reading "Velveeta shortage: alternatives to Velveeta" »

Things food writers should: stop doing


2013 is winding down, and I thought I'd wrap it up on a positive note, helping those who are less fortunate: those who write about food, horribly.

While I can't make people more interesting than they are, I can, and will, point out a few things that food writers people who write about food should stop doing/writing/typing/thinking. This goes for everyone, including Yelpers, posters on the big food boards, and writers for traditional media outlets*.

In no particular order, please stop this:

Continue reading "Things food writers should: stop doing" »

BUCU in Paramus: has closed

BUCU's Facebook page confirms the closing of BUCU after a run of three years.

"It is certainly with a heavy heart I write this. Unfortunately after serving our customers for the past three years Bucu Paramus has closed. We enjoyed every single moment that we were there. We loved making the burgers, making the cupcakes and the donuts and serving our customers the best we possibly could. We will miss you all..! .... Thanks for the memories....!"

I was smitten with BUCU when I first visited a few years back. It was really one of the first of its ilke to open in the area: an independently owned burger (and cupcake) joint making a delicious roadside stand style burger. Hard to come by (but let's not forget Steve's in Garfield!)

There is no indication in the FB post as to what precipitated the closing. However, I have to think that the recent explosion of burger places around NJ and in the area could have been a contributing factor. Since or around the opening of BUCU, at the very least, Smashburger, Boom, and most recently, Shake Shack have all opened, some with multiple locations, adding to the already crowded market.

BUCU always seemed like a well-run operation to me. While many restaurants can't be bothered to keep their websites updated with hours and menus, the BUCU people, proving down to their final hour that they know how to run a business, offer their customers a message on their website.

We'll miss you, too.

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