News and media

Pub 199, Mt. Arlington: destroyed by fire

Update: 5/2013 Pub 199 has reopened.

Pub 199 was destroyed in a fire yesterday. Completely.

Seeing a fourfold spike in the t:e site stats yesterday, due to queries on Pub 199, sent me looking for info. I was sorry to see this news.

It should be noted that searches for Pub 199 have historically made up a very good sized piece of the traffic that hits t:e.  I'm not sure what that means, but it certainly suggests that people want to know about this interesting restaurant.

I'll miss the joint, and that wacky atmosphere.  Let's hope it comes back around.

Doins in Ridgewood: Wa Lobster Pot, Lisa's Turkish, that place that has waffles

Wa lobster pot
Wa Lobster Pot in Ridgewood.  Wa?

Lisa's Turkish Kitchen, which has now added "Mediterranean" to their name, has successfully converted the previously horrendous space at 28 Oak Street into a lovely looking restaurant.  Not sure if the bathroom situation at that location has improved.

Something called Wa Lobster Pot is opening in the space that Lisa's previously inhabited.  I'm not sure what a Wa Lobster Pot is, but we'll see.

Park West Tavern continues to pump out excellent burgers and "sliders" (mini-burgers, actually), along with some other very acceptable, and often excellent, food.  Their website continues to pump out annoying and unecessary music.  Hey Park West Tavern, I'm listening to my own music while looking at your website.  Don't need yours.  Thanks, though.

The place called Raymond's, which I've read on the internet "OMG they have the BEST waffles," in addition to other food with is apparently "to die for," is open, and is, aesthically speaking, a wonderful addition to downtown Ridgewood.  I'm confident that most items are "cooked to perfection" and "SOOOOOOOO freakin good," and the "establishment" serves food that "my hubby loved," but I haven't made my way over there to be sure.

That is all.


Napa Valley Grille in Paramus: Closed

Napa Valley Grille, in Paramus's Garden State Plaza, closed its doors yesterday, apparently very suddenly, and presumably for good. 

The chain, which is going through some downsizing, is down to just two restaurants, according to its website

I happened to pop into Napa Valley Grille this past Saturday.  And I wasn't going to go back, because it was just a mess.

I can't say anything about the food, because we left before ordering.

I can say that the staff seemed to be preoccupied with themselves, rather than making sure their guests were happy.  A cocktail listed on the menu as having El Jimador (a 100% agave tequila) was about to be ruined with some crappy mixto, until I noticed called it off.  The bartender said that they were out of El Jimador, and then the other bartender interjected "just use Cuervo."

No, don't "just use Cuervo".  It's crap, and I don't want it. 

"We never have El Jimador.  I should probably tell the manager to take it off the menu."

Yeah, probably.

Neither seemed to understand the difference between these tequilas, nor did they care to.

Let's hope whoever buys that liquor license has sense enough to train their staff. 

New Jersey: Food bank


Deborah Smith over at has organized another "blog burst" to raise awareness of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.  

Here is the official website:

I'm not here to preach or suggest to which organizations you should donate your money.  But it couldn't be easier to grab one of those little tickets (you see above) at the checkout counter of any of our many participating food stores when you're picking up supplies for your family and friends, and have the cashier scan it.

Read more about JerseyBites' efforts and the participating blogs over at the JerseyBites blog.

And if you don't care much for food banks, maybe a couple of bucks to the ASPCAToys for Tots, or your favorite charity, or even just being a pleasant human being for a day, will add some nice to karma our section of the planet. 



Skinnygirl: Margarita


The poor margarita.  Once a near-perfect drink, in the family of cocktails known as "the sour" (not, you'll note, "the sweet"), blessed with a balance of natural sweetness, mouth puckering sour, and agave flavors, the margarita has become almost a joke in the hands of bartenders and regular folk across the land (and I suspect across other lands as well).  

You see, there was a time when a margarita would be enjoyed in a coupe, or cocktail glass (stemware which is now generally referred to as a "martini glass"), 3, maybe 5 ounces at a time. But I'm guessing most people, when thinking "margarita,"  picture a huge pint glass of a neon green, overly-sweet, vaguely tequila-y slushie, more fitting for a frat party or Bourbon street than for a restaurant or serious contemplation.  And that's the problem:  people don't know any better.  We've been brain-washed!

I've already noted here on this blog that a margarita's success is based almost solely on the use of quality ingredients, used in a proportion which you find appealing.  Those ingredients include:

Continue reading "Skinnygirl: Margarita" »

Skinnygirl margarita: sold out

Edit:  Click here for the taste test/review.

A sign of the end of civilization as we know it.  People are gobbling this stuff up.  Draining bottles of it into their naive gullets.  Few having any clue of what a proper margarita should taste like, much less how easy one is to make.

Skinnygirl margarita2

A sign by the door of Harding Liquors in Ridgewood, NJ

Continue reading "Skinnygirl margarita: sold out" »

Stirrings: Simple Syrup

There's a discussion on on where to find simple syrup...made by Stirrings.

At first I thought I must have misread the post; surely Stirrings isn't bottling sugar water and selling it as "simple syrup" (and if they were, surely no one is foolish enough to buy it).  Bottling and selling sugar water (or more accurately, corn syrup water) is nothing new of course, but at least you get the satisfaction of a clever name like "Coke" or "Grenadine" with other sugar water products.  However, a quick jump to the Stirrings website confirmed my fears:  they are selling simple syrup.  At 5 bucks for 12 ounces!

Brilliant stuff.  

My first inclination was to ask the posters on Chowhound what advantage they see in using this product, rather than making simple syrup on their own.  However, the moderators (and quite frankly the posters to a large extent) at Chowhound do not appreciate questions and open discourse, and my question would have ultimately gone unanswered in any satisfactory way, and then removed.

That's OK though, because it seems that the folks at Stirrings knew people might be questioning the rationale behind such a ridiculous product, so they do offer an explanation:

Continue reading "Stirrings: Simple Syrup" »

Best of Bergen Restaurants: 2010

201 Magazine recently published their yearly readers poll of the Best of Bergen 2010, online here (click).  It doesn't seem to be online yet, but I'll update this post once it is.

Since I haven't done a "best of" in a while, I figured I'd list their winners, and then provide the real (my) answers. 

Continue reading "Best of Bergen Restaurants: 2010" »

Cici's Pizza Buffet: commercial

I'm slack-jawed.  I just saw something on TV, and had to rewind it.  Twice.  To try to figure out why I wasn't getting the joke.  I came to find out that it wasn't a joke at all.   This is really a commercial for Cici's Pizza, a chain which specializes in a spongy, rubbery, doughy product, which I can only assume is supposed to be reminiscent of pizza.

They've managed to make unappetizing food seem even more unappealing than it already is.  This, is a masterpiece.

Assuming you actually want to eat something notable in New Jersey, check out New Jersey Monthly's recent article on pizza.  You can find it here (click).