An American Classic

The Doughnuts

I don’t know about you but I find it a little exhausting to keep up with all the “latest dessert craze” concoctions out there. First it was cupcakes, then it was macarons, then the Cronut, followed by the Frozen S’more, and then the Donnoli.  This morning I was watching a clip of Fox News at the gym and they were featuring Dominique Ansel’s latest creation: The Ice Cream Waffle. It’s ice cream molded into the shape of a waffle, with chunks of waffle mixed into the ice cream, then drenched in maple syrup. Although the dessert sounded amazing, I have no crazy intention to visit his bakery any time soon, nor any outrageous plan to line up for it, if it ever gets to that point.

I have a lot of respect for Dominique Ansel; he’s reinventing classics. And while we still need those who bring the creative playing field up a level,  we can’t forget those that have established a name on their own just by practicing their raft. You have to think of it this way, when it’s good, when it’s great, it will last a long time. It doesn’t matter how soon you have to try it, you’ll eventually get to try it. Trends will past, but classics will never die.

With that said, I would like to revisit an American classic. The doughnut. An underrated breakfast and dessert option all at the same time. Heck, you can even consider it lunch and dinner if they’re going to replace your hamburger buns. Hand me a box of Krispy Kreme and I’m all over it, who wouldn’t?  But I wanted to shed some light on a little bakery in my town called Montclair Bread Company. For quite some time I had only tried their handcrafted breads and sticky buns, since I was only able to stop by their store in the afternoon on weekdays. But their best days to go are Sundays, when their star-worthy doughnuts are available.  Also available in limited flavors on Friday and Saturday, the young lady behind the counter said that Sundays are still the best days to go for all of their “off-the-menu” flavors.

Fritter

I was scheduled to have family this past Sunday so I had figured: Why not purchase one of each of what they had to offer?  I had arrived at their store front literally 10 minutes after opening so anxious to get my hands on everything they had created that day. Little did I know that they were still making flavors when I had got there. I had initially ordered one of each like I had planned, which equated to 10 donuts, when someone behind closed doors came out and said, “Would you like an Apple Fritter?”  And while I had waited for my Apple Fritter to finish frying (she said it would take 5 minutes), the other lady behind the counter every two minutes would say, ” We also have this flavor called _______ , do you want it?” How does one really object to such an opportunity? My diet was out the window for the day the second I walked through their threshold. And since I would have help consuming these wonderful doughnuts, I didn’t think it would be too terrible to get them.

End result? These donuts were grade A!! The quality of ingredients were super noticeable. Nothing was overly sweet, which surprised me considering we were still in America. The flavors were spot on, and boy did they not skimp on the filling! My best tip for all my readers: definitely get the doughnuts will the filling that are permanently on the menu. They’ve practically perfected all of them.

Prime example: The Nutella doughnut. Look at all that Nutella! It’s straight from the jar!

Nutella

My favorite was the Powdered Jelly. The jelly wasn’t super sweet, not did the confectioner’s sugar get everywhere. The fact that they had packaged it next to the Peanut Crunch doughnut in my box, only made me pick up a piece of the Peanut and run it through the glob of jelly that was left at the bottom of the box. It was heavenly!

Jelly

Bacon, never gets old in my book. Maple Bacon on the other hand, I accept with open arms.

Maple Bacon

The off-the-menu flavors will make your eyes bulge. Check out this Blueberry Crumb, filled with blueberry.

Blueberry Crumb

Montclair Bread Company is located at 113 Walnut Street (Open 7am – 2pm on Sundays). For their weekly Sunday Doughnut menu, be sure to check out: http://sundaydoughnuts.blogspot.com/

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Other Coast Love

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For those not following my Instagram account, a week and a half ago Tyrone and I had gone to San Francisco for a long weekend. It may sound hard to believe since we’re big foodies, but neither of us have been to San Francisco prior to this trip. Both of us have been to California before, but not the northern part of the state.

San Francisco to be honest was not my first choice at the time we were booking the flight and hotels. Why? Blame my urge to put another stamp in my passport. I had my heart set on Panama since hotel and flight was close to $650. But when we had played around with dates and factored in Chase Sapphire points and Amex Starwood points, San Francisco was close to free. The move to pull the trigger was a no brainer obviously.

Having had already booked flights and hotel for SF, I had to really come to down from clouds and think about SF for moment. “The Yelp movement started in SF,” I told myself. SF was territory I have yet to step foot on; a goldmine that I have yet to untap.

Looking back on SF now that we’re back here on the East Coast, I can truly say that I absolutely loved the city, and almost put them in ranking right next to New York, and trust me, nothing has rivaled with my number one except, Paris. There’s so much character to San Francisco! I’ve been to my fair share of U.S. cities so far, and I honestly had no connections with any one of them; Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, New Orleans, St. Louis – Nothing!

I read this article this past called “10 Reasons why shouldn’t live in San Francisco” and having had read it; it’s all the same characteristics as New York City. The weirdos on Haight and Ashbury, the horrible public transportation. We have weirdos on the East Coast too. And have you seen the tri-state area hustle and bustle with snow on the ground?? The hatred on public transportation is the same everywhere!

I will put this out there. San Francisco has serious food. Almost to the point where I feel like they have more variety with better value than New York City. We weren’t breaking the bank to eat Michelin rated food, nor did I feel like the quality was being sacrificed for eat cheap food. The seafood out there was excellent!

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Breakfast out there was: impressive. We’re always in the hunt for the best breakfast/ brunch spots. Even if that means to travel 45 miles out. Plow restaurant was probably my favorite meal in SF. Key words: Lemon Ricotta.

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When the sun was out, the city just shined. I used to wonder why people on the East Coast traveled so much to California. Now I know why.

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For more pictures, visit my Flickr page.

 

 

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Flashback Sticky

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My flashback Friday goes to Flour Bakery’s infamous Sticky Buns. I was reading the latest issue of Travel & Leisure on “95 Places to Eat like A Local” and the sticky buns were the background picture of one of the spreads in the featured article. It was photographed beautifully, unlike my picture above. It was 2009 when I had my taste of these buns, hence why the picture quality sucks ( I took this photo with a Blackberry Bold). The photo immediately made my stomach growl! I still remember the day I tried them. They were glorious! I went a little overboard and bought four, like I was seriously going to eat them all. I had half of one that morning, shared the other half with Tyrone and ended up taking the three home back to Jersey that same day. They had sat on my Parents’ dining table at least a day, and when I went back to get another bite,  it was still soft and chewy and as amazing as it was the day before.

I’m going to give you a little back ground story on my method of madness. When I read about a place featured in a magazine, even like Travel & Leisure, I still cross reference the rating with Yelp. In my opinion, a featured food place or restaurant should be no less than 3.5 out of 5.0 stars on Yelp. But based on previous experiences, many times Yelp will think less of the featured restaurant. Flour bakery however, went against those statistics.

 

So when in Boston, eat sticky buns!!!

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Kamayan Night

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Can I just say: I am so happy that Jeepney has been a success in New York City!!!  For those who don’t know me personally: I am Filipino. I’m a first generation Filipino-American; both of my parents moved here in the early 1980’s before I was born. I grew up in traditional Filipino home – as traditional as it can get in America. Outside of pizza and fast food, I grew up eating a lot of Filipino food. And now that I live on my own, I too try to attempt to cook Filipino food. So when Filipino restaurants popup in the tri-state area, or in any area where Filipinos don’t make up a heaping bulk of the geographic population, I, like any Filipino am curious to see as how they market Filipino Food to a large city. A lot of my curiosity with Filipino restaurants and stores for that matter is just a list of issues, these being major ones:

1. Filipino food is not vegetarian friendly. There is no such thing as a traditional vegetarian dish, everything has meat in it, like Chop Suey and Pinkabet. It’s primarily vegetables, but the flavor comes from meat. You lose a lot of business by not have vegetarian options.

2. Filipino food has no real origin. Everything is either influenced by Spanish or Chinese , just like the country’s history. You would think would be an advantage to market to respective ethnicities, but why eat our version of Afritada when Spanish/ Hispanic people have similar dishes that taste better? (Just my personal opinion).

3. Filipino food is a little scary. If you’re familiar with traditional British style cooking and how every part of the animal is used in meat dishes,  its the same way for Filipino food. Stomach lining, intestines, blood, ears, liver, tongue, feet, you name it, we’ll cook it!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve tried Filipino outside the typical “Turo-Turo” or point-and-take at local Filipino stores. My past experiences with formal restaurants have been that they’ve never really lasted that long, the management sucked, or that the restaurant itself didn’t just serve strictly Filipino food, but Chinese or Asian food too.  But since the opening of Marharlika in the East Village and it’s sister restaurant, Jeepney, I feel our society today has gotten so much more diverse, more informed, more cultured than it ever was when I was growing up, that’s it’s just about time that the big city get some proper representation of our food, without trying to sacrifice identity. And both restaurants I feel are doing just that.

So here’s the skinny on Jeepney. Every Wednesday and Thursday nights they do “Kamayan” or eat with your hands night. Your dinner table is completely cover in banana leaves, and all your food is laid out in the middle of the table. No plates or utensils are given; you simply eat on the bananas leaves like a plate, and put food in your mouth with your hands. It sounds a little barbaric and messy to some, but it’s actually the best way to eat food ( especially seafood for all the little bones and shells). For the kamayan pros,  technique involved requires clumping the food between your fingers and shoveling into your mouth with kick of your thumb using your dominant hand. Kamayan has been the way for hundreds of years, before utensils were introduced, and still used on the regular today. And contrary to our neighbors, we are one of the few countries out of Asia/Southeast Asia who don’t use chopsticks.

I was finally able to score reservations at Jeepney for last Thursday night.  I was here with a few friends and in short, we had an awesome experience! I had made reservations exactly one month in advanced (that’s how busy they are). Reservation via email are a must! And if you try calling, they’ll tell you to email them. Two weeks before your actual reservation, management emails you an order menu for your kamayan spread. If you don’t return the order sheet by a certain date, your reservation is cancelled. This is what you get for $45/person:

One choice of rice.
Two choices of appetizers.
Three main entrees/dishes.
The entire spread includes Longanisa (Sweet pork sausage), Insalada (Tomato/Cucumber salad), and Halo Halo (in English known as “Mix Mix”) a shaved ice dessert with condensed and coconut milk topped with rice crispies, purple yam ice cream, Leche Flan, some jelly cococtions, and mung beans.

And this is what it looked like:

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ADOBO HIPON – or head-on prawns (shrimp) in a vinegar and soy sauce reduction – It was probably the best thing on the table last night. The shrimp heads were sooooo flavorful. And the rice underneath the hipon??! Soaking up all that greasy sauce goodness – it was SLAMMIN!

SILI CRAB – whole crab cooked in a pepper white wine sauce then chopped in half for presentational purposes.- My second favorite item on the spread that night. Sili crab is not always available so you do have to pick an alternative when you place in your order. Thank goodness we were able to get it!

DINUGUAN & PUTO – this is Tagalog “Puto,” not Spanish for a bitch: it’s rice flour, coconut milk cake cut into wedges so that you can eat it with your Dinuguan aka “Chocolate Meat” aka Pork cooked in vinegar with beef blood. I love the fact that they pork pieces are chunky and so tender , but I did however miss the traditional pig ear that’s commonly made in Dinuguan and the chopped pieces liver. (Crap, I hope I’m not scaring people).

PINAKBET – longs bean, bittermelon, squash, eggplant dish with pork belly – I love the fact that the bittermelon wasn’t contaminating the other vegetables, but i disliked how there was no strong fermented shrimp paste or bagaoong taste.

LUMPIA SHANGHAI – meat egg rolls – which surprisingly were crunchy and soft on the inside – definitely one of the better lumpia shanghai’s I’ve had. Filipino catering stores tend to butcher this appetizer all the time.

For drinks I had the HILDA KORONEL (made with sparkling wine) and the AYALA AVENUE. Both were awesome!! Below is a picture of the Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue drinks.

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Jeepney was accommodating, friendly, and informative. I could not have asked for better service.  The place is trendy and quickly attracts the younger demographics with it’s urban and pop culture edge. And what really hit home for me was that it smelled  like a Filipino home when walked into Jeepney. The fact that they offer Kamayan was probably the most brilliant way to approach Filipino food. Eating with your hands is done in Indian and Ethopian cultures too, so it’s not completely estrange, but definitely more fun when no plates are involved. The fact that they were playing 90’s early 2000’s R&B and Hip-Hop doesn’t get any better unless you’re a real Filipino house.

When has anyone presented Filipino food in such a way where both Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike can get delicious Filipino food without deterring from traditional roots and without it looking like a hideous turo-turo suburb store? When has Filipino food been marketed trendy, hip, and fresh? Jeepney and Maharlika in my opinion are on the money and it’s working, and you can’t be mad at that.

My fellow Filipinos may not agree with how certain things are made, (I personally thought that the Halo Halo dessert was a second thought and not really constructed as well as the Kamayan spread) but it’s damn good food, and people are dying to try it. Look, a lot Indian people disagreed when Slumdog Millionaire came out and it too was hit and was heck, it was nominated for like 10 Oscars! I’m sure it’s the same with their food or French people eating french food outside of France or Hawaiians eating Hawaiian food outside of Hawaii. So don’t take your  “Oh my mom can make that dish better than they can” attitude with you to this place and just appreciate the fact that it’s here, it’s teaching the city about our culture, and it’s successful.

Jeepney is located 201 1st Ave (1st Avenue and 13th Street), New York, NY 10003
For reservations, email: jeepneykamayan@gmail.com

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Prix Fixe at 90 Acres

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Continuing on with last weekend’s Birthday festivities, Tyrone and I made reservations roughly a month in advanced to a place called Ninety Acres in Natirar Park in Peapack- Gladstone (NJ) for the actual day of my birthday.

I had heard great things about Ninety Acres, mainly word of mouth from a co-worker, my doctor, and brides to be. They all had mentioned how great of a drive leading towards the property would be, the wonderful food, the excellent wine pairing pricing. If you think about it, New Jersey has yet to find its own place in the food world.  Where do Jerseyans go for amazing food? New York City. How can we compete what New York has to offer? How do we find our own identity? And with 127 reviews at 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Yelp, I felt like it was my duty as a Jerseyan and a Yelp Elite to go and experience Ninety Acres…and of course give my feedback!

So Friday early evening, in route to Ninety Acres, Yelp mobile app gave us this weird route, so if anyone in the future decides to go, plug in the address listed on their website into Google maps to ensure you get there safely and promptly. We on the other hand, got lost for 10 minutes in an upscale residential area around Natirar Park. But thankfully, we had no issues by the time we checked in. We mentioned our brief dilemma getting there and in turn they questioned positively to ensure they had the most up to date info about getting to the restaurant for others.

By the time we got to their front of the restaurant, valet service was there ready to open our doors and drive our car off somewhere with no added extra cost. The restaurant was like the pictures; Gastby American, beautiful brick face facade with modern windows. As you went through  entrance the two sets of double doors, I had noticed a sign on the door that said “Proper attire required.”

So up until that point, I had a set level of expectations. A beautiful estate, proper attire, valet, prix fixe, wine pairing; it was all a recipe of exceptional dining. But as soon as we were seated, and we as walked through the main dining hall, following the server who was going to escort us to our table, I had noticed immediately that there were three different dining experiences inside Ninety Acres. The Kitchen area, the main dining hall and the bar with the big screen TV.  The second our server had opened her mouth to explain how everything was about to unfold, I was immediately a little disappointed that my “Open Table” reservation didn’t give me an option for the “Bring Me Food” section of the dining hall versus the main hall. Here’s the 411: The Bring Me Food option of the restaurant is similar in approach as Eleven Madison Park: you are given a list ingredients to choose from, and based on what you choose, then does the chef create a dish for you based on what you have selected. Had I known that these were only done by phone request, I would have called instead of made an Open Table request.

We were seated just outside the “Bring Me Food” area and given the Prix Fixe menu to look over. While glancing over the menu, our server told us that she would be back shortly to bring over the a la carte menu. The Prix Fixe overall had an excellent variety; they something that I was immediately drawn to based on the two options per course. I wasn’t too thrilled about the wine pairing so we decided not to do it and just freestyle the drinks instead. It was $70 for Prix Fixe and $100 if you included wine or beer pairing.

Shortly after looking over the Prix Fixe, our main server comes over with the a la carte menu and to my dismay, it’s full of casual food! I wasn’t expecting such a n “ordinary”  a la carte menu, one with Fish & Chips and Gourmet Pizzas. I almost felt a little misled about Ninety Acres as I read more and more of the menu. Here’s a lovely estate, with all this PR about sustainable and local and organic food, having proper attire needed to dine at the restaurant, with reservations, and here they are serving pizza?!

And on top of the pizza, was our “West Jersey Bizzare” service. Our main server and one of the managers interchangeably pronounced PRIX FIXE as “Pre-fee” as they were tending to my table and the table next to us.  Our secondary server brought out the wrong drink order for my other half. And lastly the runner or expeditor, who brought us our dishes and briefly went over all the components, asked us after presenting every plate, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” A simple, “Enjoy” would have been sufficient enough to end your task.

I had to re-think Ninety Acres while sitting there after having placed our orders. This was West Jersey, maybe things are done different here?!? (That’s no real excuse). But at the same time, I felt that two-thirds of my experience was sub par with Metropolitan standards or quite frankly anyone’s standards. If Ninety Acres is supposed to be “top shelf” material in New Jersey, what am I to think when someone comes here and feels the same way I feel about this place?  Maybe three different reservations for three different types of dining? I’m not sure, but they internally need to figure that out.

Despite my expectations and the oddities, Ninety Acres did deliver some really good food. Was I totally amazed? Absolutely not. What I impressed? With the dishes at times, yes. Was I pleased with the overall experience? I would say, “almost”. There was no do doubt that the food and drinks were very good (not amazing), and the selection of liquor, both beer and wine supported their mission/objective as an establishment.

Here’s a thorough look at our meal:

To start we were given a break basket compiled of cheddar-herb crackers, french baguette and potato bread. The crackers were delicious, a refined “goldfish” cracker in flavor if you asked me. The baguette was ordinary and the potato bread, although fresh and fluffy, had nothing else to offer.

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For drinks to start with, Tyrone had a Brooklyn Pilsner and I had a Jersey Pine Barrens house cocktail (Top image). I highly recommend the cocktail. It was made with Pine infused gin, apple schnapps, simple syrup and Granny Smith apple juice. It was perfectly crafted.

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For our first course I had picked the “Scallop, Cauliflower, Capers, Raisins and & Mustards.” I wasn’t expecting the scallops to be raw and I thought that cauliflower came at the forefront more than the scallops throughout the whole dish. The raisins I thought were great contrast to the cauliflower and mustard seeds.

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Tyrone had ordered the “Natirar Egg, Foraged mushrooms, Bacon, Mizuna, Dumplings & Chicken Dashi.” It was definitely his kind of dish in flavor, although we both wondered why the “Natirar Egg” was just the yolk.

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For my second course, I chose the “Chatham Cod, Sunchokes, Watercress & Meyer Lemon.” Thoroughly enjoyed the grilled sunchokes and my cod was perfectly cooked.

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For Ty’s second course, he chose the “Salmon, Porcini, Salsify, Trevisano, Arugula, and Apple.” The trevisano were tasty!

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My third course was the “Carolina Squab, Beets, Black Trumpets, Cherries & Red Sorrel.” I had ordered the squab medium and it came it perfectly. I was drinking a Pinot Noir at the  time I had this meal, but Tyrone’s Bordeaux was much more suitable with my dish.

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For Tyrone’s third course he without hesitation picked the “Ribeye cap, Fingerlings, Pearl Onions, Black Olive, Arugula & Medjool Dates.”

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And for dessert, we both had the “Valrhona Dark Chocolate, Coconut & Almond.” The coconut ice cream was delightful! I didn’t really get a sense of dark chocolate which is why I compared it to a deconstructed Almond Joy.

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Ninety Acres is located at 2 Main St, Peapack- Gladstone, New Jersey 07977

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Ladurée SoHo

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Hi everyone! Sorry it’s been more than a week since I’ve posted a new entry. This past Friday was my birthday among other things, so my weekend was indeed BOOKED to have any sort of down time to put my thoughts together.

To kickoff the birthday weekend, last Thursday night, one of my bests and I went to Ladurée Soho for dinner. It’s the second latest opening of an additional Ladurée branch here in America (the very very latest being the one down in Miami). Unlike the Madison Avenue branch in NYC, SoHo has dining options all day! Prix Fixe brunch is available on the weekends for $49. Lunch, high tea, and dinner is also available daily and the best part of it all, is that they’re open to 11pm weekdays and midnight on weekends!

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For anyone who hasn’t been, this place is just whimsical. Pretty and ornate are just an understatement. Any girl at any age would immediately fall in love. The visit and experience on its own is just a mini trip to Paris, which helps crazy people like me who have the occasional Paris withdrawal.

Now the dining experience. In short, I had a wonderful dinner here! The staff here was very nice and very accommodating. We were originally seated in the middle section of the restaurant, the room with tufted royal blue chairs and benches. Before we had ordered anything, we had asked to be moved to the back to the tea room with the marble floor and grand chandelier. Easily we were able to do so.

Now, Ladurée’s menu is quite extensive. But after a few thorough flips of the pages, you’ll eventually realize that the menu is for all times of the day and not just strictly for dinner or lunch or whenever you’re thinking about dining there. A lengthy list of varietal teas and glaces (ice cream) are all on the menu too! Thoughts about dessert for bunch? Indeed est possible!

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So Antoinette and I had skipped the first course options and went straight for main entrees to make room for dessert.  She had the Scallops for the main entree section, and I had the Club Ladurée from the sandwich section. Both were equally delicious. Everything crafted to perfection. We were surprised to see our food come out quicker than we had anticipated, but nonetheless all very very good. The little hints of citron in my salad and the little granulars of salt on my pommes Pont Neuf were all pleasant finishing touches to my dish.

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Pictures don’t do these potatoes justice. It’s creamy black truffle mashed potatoes, fried. Very similar to a croquette. The black truffle was not overpowering at all. If they sold these in bags in the freezer section  just as they do tater tots, the world would automatically be a better place.

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This  Mille Feuille Praline was perfectly constructed. Just the right amount flakey-ness for every layer of hazelnut goodness. A structure that held on from first to last bite.

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My Pistachio/ Pistache Religieuse, a two tier puff pastry with creamy pistachio custard filling. There’s no artificial pistachio flavored anything in this royal masterpiece!

Bon Appetit!

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Breakfast you say??!

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I love breakfast. I’m talking LOVE breakfast. I could eat it for lunch and dinner if I could.  I think my love of breakfast comes from the fact that I am a HUGE morning person, and have been every since I was kid. Cereal, bagels, pancakes, bacon, omelettes, poptarts, oatmeal – you name it. B-R-E-A-K-F-A-S-T. Tyrone will probably say that I love it because it’s carbs, which is half true, but in all honesty, breakfast is just food you eat to start your day. So here they are; my favorite breakfast/brunch spots for the New Jersey Area in no special order.

Carver’s
Denville, NJ
$$/$$$$
Formally known as Doc’s Kitchen, Carver’s is your hole in the wall breakfast spot. And you can tell just from your first visit that this place wasn’t meant to cater to such volumes of people. Come here past 9am and already expect to wait for a table. When a restaurant like Carver’s says they made their bread in house, anticipate the fluffiest french toast you’ve ever had in your life. Why eat at IHOP when the prices here are just the same and the food is fresher!

Red Eye Cafe
Montclair, NJ
$$/$$$$
This holds the #2 spot on my list in Montclair. The coffee here is excellent! The lady who sits me next to me on the train drinks their coffee almost every morning like her day depends on it. Their breakfast dishes are all solid winners for variety, freshness, and fun. You can’t help but linger here just to read the newspaper or grab a book off their shelf. And if you can’t seem to order anything on the menu, just get the s’more cookie.

Original Pancake House
West Caldwell, NJ
$$/$$$$
As much as I dislike the tacky Country 90’s decor in this place, OPH has some intimidating breakfast dishes. Their selection of pancakes takes up 60% of their breakfast menu and covers everyone from your healthy nuts to your over-sized eaters. Hung over or just plain hungry? Try their Hungry-man special. And I bet you’ve never seen omelettes the size of new born babies! You will here! Come here after 10am on Saturday morning, and expect a little bit of a wait. Come here around 12pm on a Sunday, and you’ll get the after church crowd. OPH is group friendly, kid friendly, and family approved.

The Turning Point
Hoboken, NJ
$$/$$$$
It’s breakfast with a view! Located right along the Hudson River with a view of Manhattan, it’s the perfect way to start the day. The Turning Point has several branches within Jersey, but I honestly think this is the best one. It’s all about the service and the details. Sugar crystal stirrers for your tea are extra points in my book. Their healthy dishes personally, are still very yummy and satisfying without trying to be too sacrificial. They are definitely worth your dollar and whatever you spent to park in the area.

Le Peep
Edison, NJ
$$/$$$$
It’s not quite like your Turning Point view, but if you’re looking for really good breakfast other than Diner food and IHOP down the highway full of strip malls, this is your gem in the rough. I can’t say that they’re in my top list overall, but they are listed on top for the Middlesex County area. Their pancakes are high on my list. Light, fluffy and slightly underdone. And if you have a liking for English muffins, it seems to be their choice of bread instead of toast. Dishes are of excellent value. And the turnaround time from placing your order to arrival is pretty quick.

Le Salbuen
Montclair, NJ
$$/$$$$
You must be tired of hearing me rave about them, but trust me, they are THAT good. And I say this with a firm foot because people are blinded by Toast and Raymond’s in this town. Le Salbuen is in its own bracket. You will never have eggs the same away again until you’ve tried Le Salbuen. Rosemary in my eggs were a revelation for me. If you’re looking for rich and flavorful more than hearty and huge, this is your spot. Perfect for morning dates.

Quickfire Q & A’s:

BEST BAGELS: Bagel Pantry, South Plainfield
BEST SKILLETS: The Turning Point, Hoboken
BEST EGGS: Le Salbuen, Montclair
BEST BACON: Plum on Park, Montclair
BEST PANCAKES: The Stack, North Arlington

Happy eating everyone!

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