Category Archives: new jersey

Down the Coast

Before I launch into my weekend I wanted to point you to a new site addition – the “What’s Cooking” item on the right. This is pulling from a Twitter page which I can use to make quick updates without getting into a whole blog entry.

The Memorial Day weekend found me in New Jersey. We first shot over to New York City where we visited Loreley for beer and pretzels and Pasticceria Bruno for dessert and cannolis to go.

Berry tart from Pasticceria Bruno
Berry tart from Pasticceria Bruno. Photo by Jeremy May

Back in New Jersey we poked into an Indian grocery store in Parsippany called Subzi Mandi, where I picked up rosewater and some jars of spicy condiments and marveled at the unusual produce like Luffa (aka Chinese Okra).

Lobster
Lobster and corn, eaten outside at my parents’ house

Later my family made lobsters using my dad’s new method – a turkey fryer (filled with water, of course). It’s a great way to cook a lot of lobster while keeping the mess and smell out of the kitchen. I love eating steamed lobsters at home. Not only are they much more expensive in restaurants, but they definitely don’t taste as good if you can’t make a mess.  Hope you all had a great weekend too!

In Search of the Holey Grail

Millions of ex-New Yorkers are scattered across the globe. It seems that there is one thing they miss most about the city. It’s not the constant activity or multiculturalism, it’s not the skyscrapers or the theater. It’s the perfect bagel.

Growing up a short drive from “the city” in northern New Jersey, I mistakenly thought bagels were a luxury that everyone enjoyed. My trips elsewhere in the country were short enough that I didn’t notice their absence; during my college years in the central part of the state they were readily available. But when I moved up the coast to Rhode Island, I started missing my weekend ritual of driving home from the bagel store with a fresh bag, still hot from the oven, in my lap. I eventually found some stores that claimed to have bagels, but they were actually day-old, chalky and the consistency of sandwich bread.

A Bagel from Bagels4u in Short Hills, NJ
A delicious bagel from Bagels4u in Short Hills, NJ

Rhode Island’s lack of good bagels led me to wonder why they were so easy to find in the New York area.

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Christmas Eve Chinese Banquet

My family has an unusual Christmas Eve tradition. Every year, we eat a 12-course Chinese banquet with our neighbors. Between both our families, more than a dozen of us easily fill the restaurant’s large round tables. The courses are brought out one or two at a time and placed on a large lazy susan in the middle of the table, allowing us to help ourselves to a bite without having to leave our seats. Tea flows endlessly, stomachs are filled, and we eventually leave to cruise for Christmas lights.

Christmas Eve Chinese Banquet
Appetizer plate with jellyfish and cold cuts. Photo by Jeremy May.

Here’s what was on our menu this year. Our neighbors order in Chinese so I don’t know the exact names of the dishes, but I’ve tried my best to be descriptive.

  1. An appetizer plate of jellyfish and cold cuts
  2. Bean curd filled with greens and mushrooms
  3. Shrimp with peanuts and mushrooms
  4. Bamboo membrane
  5. Soup with dried scallops and mushrooms
  6. Lobster, broken up and sauteed
  7. Crispy chicken
  8. Beef and broccoli
  9. Noodles with mushrooms and Chinese broccoli
  10. Fried rice with shrimp
  11. Melons
  12. Sweet red bean soup

If you want to see more of the food, check out Jeremy’s photos. And if you want to experience it first-hand, the restaurant we went to for the last two years has been Majestic Restaurant (Map Marker 29 Route 23 S, Wayne, NJ), which also offers buffet-style dining.