Sunday, August 29, 2010

Antique Bakery - Hoboken, NJ

We couldn’t leave Hoboken without bread today. For as long as I have lived in New Jersey, I have always heard that the best bread for hoagies, and the best loaves of Italian bread come from Hoboken. Well, we’ll just have to see for ourselves. With that said, Zelda did a little Google search on the iPad to see where some of the good bakeries were, and the one that kept coming up was The Antique Bakery. We rolled up in front of this one on Willow Street, and were lucky enough to find parking even. Standing outside was the an older gentleman who happened to work in the store. He was probably in his 70’s or 80’s, and he didn’t move fast in the least. But at his age, why should he really?

The place was small and narrow. To the left was a deli style counter, and on the wall behind it were shelves full of various breads. Anything from big round panellas to baguettes, to smaller rolls, to torpedo rolls, etc. There were quite a few different kinds. On top of the counter were all kinds of stuffed breads, from pepperoni and cheese, to broccoli, to focaccia, garlic bread, etc. We ended up picking up a loaf of the garlic bread, a pepperoni bread, some sub type rolls for cheese steaks, and a good old loaf of Italian bread.

Needless to say, the Italian bread that we had last night with dinner was delicious. The crust on the outside is flakey and crunchy, while the inside was nice and soft. It was delicious with some olive oil and dried herbs. The pepperoni bread left a little to be desired when eaten fresh out of the wrapper, however, this really comes alive with just a light toast in the toaster oven. This seems to be more of an egg based bread, having that yellow color, and the very dense dough. The cheese and the pepperoni were very nice, and it wasn’t all that greasy.

I was really curious to see what I could find out about this bakery, and it’s history. In doing my research however, I was very surprised to see that they place has only been around for 14 years. I thought for certain there would be a great Cinderella story about the gentleman who was working there, and about his great great great grandfather who had originally started the business. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

I did however find out some interesting information, and that is the simple fact that they do all of their baking via coal oven. No fancy convection ovens here, just down and dirty coal. I will say that whatever their method, it works as the bread was delicious! Some comments I found online and interesting are here: “May be the best bread I've had. I think the only piece of electrical equipment in the store is the cash register.” This quote definitely is referring to the coal. And a final comment I saw: “This place is amazing. Buy your bread here. The old gentleman who serves you is worth the price of admission; he carries himself with an air of dignity that you can't imagine coming from today's grocery stores.”

At the end of the day, all I can say is that it was definitely worth the $11 and change, and it was some darn tasty bread! I’m really looking forward to the rolls tomorrow for some cheese steaks! Cheers!

Antique Bakery
122 Willow Avenue
Hoboken, NJ 07030-3670
Phone: (201)714-9323

Friday, August 27, 2010

2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills - Sta. Rita Hills

Sometimes you just crave massive, in your face, high octane pinot noir, and on many of those occasions, one of Adam Lee's Siduri's will fill this void! We've been enjoying Adam's wines for years now, and I always try to have a 1/2 case to a case on hand for our enjoyment, and for our friends to enjoy. Like Kosta Browne or Loring, these wines are always crowd pleasers!

Popped, errrrr, unscrewed and poured tonight at Manon in Lambertville, and it showed that gorgeous ruby color in the glass. On the nose, nice black cherry with hints of cola and raspberry, with a subtle spice an strawberry.

On the palate, more black cherry and hints of cola, with some nice red fruits of raspberry and strawberry. This has definitely integrated a bit, and some of the alcohol has blown off from the last time we've had it. The finish is much smoother now, and everything seems to have melded together well. This is drinking nicely right now, and I don’t see any reason to hold these any longer. 91 point worthy and absolutely delicious! Cheers!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2006 Sanford Pinot Noir

Tonight I needed something to make a pinot noir sauce for salmon from the latest issue of Wine Spectator, and this old reliable fit the bill. Like always when cooking, I wanted to use something that we would definitely drink, and quite honest, using a bottle like this is easier than going to the store and getting a cheap bottle! That said, ½ went into a sauce pan to reduce with some thyme and fresh bay leaf for about 45 minutes before a few tablespoons of butter was added to it. Needless to say, the sauce was jammy and gorgeous!
This however left a half bottle that needed to be consumed. God knows that we weren’t going to let one of our favorite pinot noir go to waste! This was basically popped open and thrown back into the cellar for about an hour, and served at cellar temperature. Gorgeous ruby color in the glass, and typical Santa Rita Hills nose of black cherry, cola, strawberry, spice, and some nice earthiness to it. On the palate, as always the cherry and cola are the stars here, and this wine has continued to develop since we last had it almost a year ago. Although this wine is still very young by my means, it is nice and smooth, with little to no alcohol, and very fine tannins. What is there to say other than the fact that once again this was a delicious bottle worth of 90 points. Cheers!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2005 Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanée

Picked this up in the PALCB Store located in Garces Trading Co in Philly, and I have to say that as much as a lot of people are upset with the fact that the state store is operating out of a restaurant, I think it is a great thing. Best thing about Garces is that it is BYO as well. The PALCB store however has a nice, climate controlled cellar, and prices are at regular retail, with no markups. That said, I picked this Burgundy off the rack to enjoy with our dinner outside on the street.

Popped and poured at our table, and sure, I knew it was going to be young, but one of the nice things about eating out is that sometimes you can source some decent bottles, and this was one of them. Nice ruby color in the glass, thinning towards the rim. You could really see the translucent ring in the Schott Zwiesel glass, and you could tell this wine needs more bottle time. On the nose, nice cherry fruit is the shining star, with some raspberry, strawberry and earthy spice. Still a bit of alcohol on the nose, but this bottles was popped a good 5 to 10 years too early.

On the palate, there was a much better fruit profile than I was expecting given the youth here. Nice medium body in the mouth, with some cherry and vanilla that I attribute to the oak. Minor spice and some floral hints as well round out the palate. Subtle tannins on the finish, and a bit of sourness round out the finish here. All in all, a decent Burg a step above entry level, but this could definitely use some more time in the bottle. If you have them, I suggest holding onto them for 5-10 years. 90 points. Cheers!

Friday, August 20, 2010

2007 Trader Joe's Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve

This seemed to fit the bill for a Friday night…until we decided to order Chinese takeout at least. LOL! Definitely wasn’t the best pairing, but we’re not big into pairing anyway, and this was all about checking to see if this was a decent QPR at $12. This was another ’07 cab I picked up at Trader Joe’s in Princeton. Picked a few bottles of this up just to see how it was. Worse case, it can always be used for cooking.

Popped and poured, with a nice deep dark color in the glass. The nose wasn't all that complex, but it did have a nice nose of blackberry and other dark fruits, as well as some sweet oak and spice.

On the palate, this was a decent new world cab for the money, and definitely good enough to cook with. Nice jammy dark fruits and some sweet vanilla. Definitely a new world cab, but a very pleasurable quaffer. Chewy tannins on the finish, and alcohol that is pretty well integrated. This isn't bad in the least for $12, and I'd buy more for a week night drinker. 86 points. Cheers!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2007 Stonehedge Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

I'm really not too sure what some of the CellarTracker/Grape Stories folks are complaining about here, but at $12, this constitutes as one heck of a good QPR in my book. Picked this up at Trader Joe's in Princeton just out of curiosity, and figured if anything, it would make a good cooking wine at worst.

2007 Napa Valley for around $12 is worth a whirl in my book. Popped this open about two hours before we headed to Delorenzo's Tomato Pies in Robbinsville, and left it in the cellar. Poured when we got to the restaurant, and the first thing you'll notice is the dark, purple, inky color in the glass.

On the nose, nice blackberry and raspberry, and other jammy red and black fruits. Subtle nuances of spice, and just a bit of sweet vanilla oak round out the nose, with just a touch of alcohol. On the palate, the first thing you'll notice is that the wine is a bit thin, and seemed to get thinner as the wine warmed up to room temp.

On the palate, plenty of sweet jammy fruit, and subtle hints of spice and vanilla. Nothing really stands out here, but what do you expect at this price point? Some bits of raspberry and black cherry, with some currants, but that is about it. The tannins are smooth, and the finish is short, but I wasn't expecting much here. Again, at the price, it's a heck of a bargain, and a bit on the fruit forward side. 84 points...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Palisade Vineyard

I will say that neither of us are really big fans of petite sirah, but this sounded like the thing to pop.  We don't pick up much petite sirah at all, but when we do, it is from Carlisle.  Sure, we popped this one a few years too early, but sometimes a littlevinfantcide can be fun...especially where there are more bottles sleeping in the cellar.

Pop and poured, this showed a dark inky purple lip and tongue staining color in the glass.  On the nose, the blackberry and other black fruits dominte with some hints of spice and chocolate.

On the palate, this wine has many years ahead of it, and is drinking super young.  But even so, the fruit is there, and this is a tasty fruit forward wine.  Tons of dark berries, but nothing really seems to stand out...some blackberry, blueberry, and boysenberry, along with some toasted oak.  Nice subtle acidity, and surprisingly, the tannins were integrated nice as well given the age.  Smooth finish made this a pleasure to dirnk.  90 points.

Emery's Berry Patch - New Egypt, NJ

I can't tell you how many times we've seen the sign for Emery's while driving home on the backroads from Long Beach Island, NJ, but today, we finally took a few minutes to stop on the way home after a few festivities down the shore.

Emery's is located about a quarter mile off of Route 539 in what is considered New Egypt, NJ.  You pull into the gravel parking lot, an see the little farm styled hut on the right hand side, and when you walk in, all you see is gourmet goodness!

Emery's not only sells pies, they also sell frozen blueberries, muffins, turnovers, strudels, jams, dips, mixes, local honey, etc.  They have a whole plethora of delicious food items, and today, we left with a blueberry crumb pie, pecan pie, and some golden corn nuggets, which were absolutely delicious.

Although we haven't cut into the pies yet, I will be sure to report back as soon as we do.  What I can say, is that if you are in the area, stop in and give it a look.  It's worth the trip, and I am sure you'll find something that will have your tastebuds watering!  Cheers!

346 Long Swamp Rd.

New Egypt, NJ 08533
(609) 758-8514

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marcello's Restaurant - Bordentown, NJ

I can't believe that in all the years we have been going to Marcello's in Bordentown, we have never taken the time to write about there here on the blog.  If there is one place to go in Bordentown to sit outsde and dine under the starts, Marcello's is that place!  With a gorgeous night upon us, Marcello's fit the bill, so we took a ride over for some dining on the deck.

Upon arriving, it was good to see both the deck and the bar packed.  Not a signle table was open outside, and not a single stool not occupied at the bar.  Seems like we weren't the only ones who wanted to dine outside tonight!

Much more to come shortly!

206 Farnsworth Avenue
Bordentown, NJ
Phone:  609.298.8360

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rossi's Tavern - Trenton, NJ

It has been several months since I have had the opportunity to get back to Rossi’s Tavern, so when one of my fellow Air Force members asked where he could get the best burger in NJ, I had to bring up Rossi’s.  When Rossi’s popped into my head, I couldn’t possibly let him go by himself.  After all, he is here on temporary duty assignment from Minneapolis, and what kind of fellow Airmen would I be sending him into Trenton by himself?

That said, I picked him up at his hotel, and off to Rossi’s we went.  We arrived around 6:30, and there were a few open seats at the bar.  I grabbed two stools over on the corner of the bar where I usually sit, and Bob was behind the bar.  A couple of beers were ordered and we received menu’s.  Without looking, I already knew what I would be ordering.  Their classic burger, topped with Swiss cheese, fried onion, and of course bacon, medium of course, with a side of homemade chips.  Louie ordered a cheddar burger medium well with fries.

Even with a packed house, the kitchen was turning food out pretty quick.  Not even 10 minutes went by and we had our burgers, and as usual, they came out hot, large, and in charge!  Both of our burgers were cooked to temperature, and booth oozing juicy goodness.  As always, the meat was very nice, not overly seasoned, and just downright tasty.  The buns were fresh with a nice crust on the top, but light and fluffy in the middle.  My bacon and onion had great flavor, and the Swiss cheese was as good as any.

What can I say other than the fact that it was yet another great meal.  Even Louie said that it was by far the best burger he has had in NJ, and trust me when I say that we know how to do burgers in NJ!  What a treat!  Cheers!  -F. Scott

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mud City Crab House - Manahawkin, NJ

It is a gorgeous Sunday for a top down cruise down the shore for some crabs!  That said, Zelda and I hopped in the car and headed down to Long Beach Island, and Mud City Crab House for some fresh seafood.  We pulled up and got a good parking spot out front, overlooking the sea grass surrounding an outdoor patio, adorned with big red market umbrellas.

Upon walking in, we were immediately seated, and the restaurant was a little more than 3 quarters full.  All kinds of crab and fish décor covered the walls, and it looked like a classic crab house.  Our server came over quick and took our drink orders since we didn’t BYO today, and explained how the different crab on the menu worked.  We both started with some soup, Zelda ordering the seafood bisque, while I wanted to try the New England clam chowder.  Both soups were rich, delicious, and very flavorful.  The bisque was nice and thick, and from the bit that I got, it had a nice clam and large piece of shrimp in it.  The base was thick and buttery, and a pleasure.  The clam chowder was nice and thin with good spices.  The first bite I took had an over abundance of thyme flavors, but the following spoon full’s were perfect.  Nice large chunks of clams and potatoes filled the bowl, and it was just darn good “chowda!”

For entrees, Zelda went for the Dungeness platter, flown in from the upper northwest, while I opted for the Blue Crab, served garlic style.  These are smaller blues, cleaned and halved, and slow cooked in the house garlic sauce.  A nice cluster of Dungeness crab legs came out, still on the joints, and these were sweet and succulent, steamed to perfection.  Zelda opted for slaw and fries on the side, and this came with a nice helping of extremely clear, melted butter.  These were great.

My blue came out, almost looking as though it was covered in a buttery, garlic gravy.  6 ½ small blue crabs, split in half, with nice fresh meat inside them.  Next time around, I think I would order the Maryland style with the Old Bay, as the garlic sauce was almost overwhelming, and took away from the taste of the fresh crab.  There was plenty of meat in these, and seeing as they were steamed alive, you can’t get them much fresher.  The claws were very tasty as well, and the crab meat just had such good flavors.  All though it was a lot of work to crack these open and get the meat out, it was worth every second!

All in all, we had a great meal and great service.  The tab came to $57 and change, which is pretty reasonable considering the fact that you are down the shore, and for the amount of food you got.  I know that I left stuffed!   What is there to say other than fresh seafood and a nice drive with the top down!  Cheers!  -F. Scott

1185 East Bay Avenue
Manahawkin, NJ  08050
Phone:  (609)978-3660

Saturday, August 7, 2010

2003 Fiddlehead Cellars Pinot Noirs Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix

This was once again the Fiddlehead that we have come to know and love.  Popped and poured tonight after a ½ bottle of ‘07 Sineann Oregon, this showed a gorgeous dark ruby color in the glass.  Great, mature nose showing all kinds of red fruits:  black cherry, plum, raspberry, and just a whole medley of both red and dark fruits.  Round that out with some nice spice and that Santa Rita Hills soil that we love and you have a winner.  On the palate, this is what I love about the Santa Rita Hills AVA.  There is something about the wines from this area that is just awesome. 

More huge cherry on the palate, with subtle hints of cola, followed by some strawberry and more raspberry.  Plenty of backbone left in this wine tells me that it will last easily another 5 years, and who knows, maybe even longer under proper storage conditions before the fruit disappears.  This is mature pinot at its finest at this price point.  Great medium length finish, with integrated tannins and alcohol made this a pure joy!  92 points!  Cheers!

2007 Sineann Pinot Noir Oregon

Picked these up today locally as I saw them in 1/2 bottle format, and was intrigued when I read on the label that it was "finished with a glass enclosure."  I was a bit curious about the glass stopper, so I picked up the last two bottles they had.  Opened one up a few hours later, and sure enough, there is a glass enclosure under the plastic, with some sort of rubber gasket to help it stayed sealed I am guessing.  Nice idea, but who knows how long these will really hold on the bottle, and how the wine will age because of it. 

Popped and poured and a nice light ruby color in the glass.  Nice cherry and raspberry jam on the nose, with subtle earth and spice.  I really don't think this had an Oregon nose, but I am not complaining.  On the palate, some more cherry, strawberry, and raspberry dominated the palate, with again some earthiness, and spices.  Nice finish with well integrated tannins made this an easy daily drinker.  Decent pinot for the money, and a decent QPR.  Followed this with an '03 Fiddlehead 728 pinot noir, and this made for a good "appetizer" leading up to that bottle.  88 points.  Cheers!

Marhaba - Lambertville, NJ

After a day of kayaking, I was starving, and in need of a little sustenance in my tummy.  On such a gorgeous day, I decided to take a drive out to Lambertville, as I had a gyro craving, so I headed straight to Marhaba.  I arrived about a quarter to 4, and there were maybe 3 other tables or so seated.  I was greeted and told to pick a table, so I grabbed an open two top on the right hand side of the restaurant.

Browsed the menu for about 30 seconds, and ordered the gyro with no lettuce, as well as a side of rice.  I’ve never understood the whole lettuce thing on gyro’s, and am assuming it is an East Coast thing as it was never an option back in Chicago.  Odd!  My server brought a Coca Cola over seconds later, and I took a few minutes to browse some recipes on my iPad.  About 6 minutes went by and my gyro came out, wrapped in foil, and packed with meat!  Nice, thinly sliced tomato and chunks of cucumber topped my sandwich, as well as some tzatziki sauce.

The first thing I noticed was the fresh, made in house pita, that was very thin, and grilled to give it a nice little crunch.  The meat was shaved thick, and had great flavors.  This is a combination of beef and lamb, and just tasted really nice on its own.  The tzatziki wasn’t traditional by any means, and seemed to lack that nice cucumber and dill flavor.  This was more of a garlic and spice type sauce, and I assume they wanted the cucumber flavor to come from the fresh, thin sliced cucumbers on the sandwich.  The sauce was nice, but I prefer a good, originally inspired sauce.  The side of rice was OK, with nice color and spice, but the carrots and pea’s seemed a bit overcooked and mushy.  Would have preferred fries on the side, but this wasn’t an option.

All in all, nice flavors, and it’s always good to have a decent gyro, which is hard to find around here.  The ambiance was nice, and the service was great.  The food came out fast, and what else could you ask for?  This is a good BYO, and a nice resource to have in Lambertville for some good Mediterranean inspired cuisine.  Will definitely be back in the future.  Cheers!  -F. Scott

South Union Street
Lambertville, NJ
Phone: (609)387-7777

Friday, August 6, 2010

2006 Stefania Cabernet Sauvignon Uvas Creek

Popped and poured yet another Stefania gem tonight after going to our good friends mother wake.  RIP Judy, you’ll be missed!  Popped and poured on the bistro tonight, showing a nice deep garnet color.

On the nose, for the first time, the alcohol was very prevalent, which I haven’t experience with these wine nearly as much in the past.  Nice deep dark currants on the nose, with more dark fruits, hints of mint, and mocha.  On the palate, the dark fruits were the shining star here, and the alcohol was very nicely integrated despite its presence on the nose.  Secondary hints of herb, spice, and vanilla rounded out the palate, and the finish was smooth and succulent.  This wine has many years ahead of it, and we really have to try to stay away from these wines as we’ve already burned through a half case.  This wine will definitely get better, and I look forward to it with another 3-5 years in the bottle.  92 points.  Cheers

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2007 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County

We all know that ’07 was a great vintage for the Napa Valley, and with Sonoma being so close, you have to assume that the wines are great there as well.  Year in year out, Louis Martini is making decent, affordable daily drinkers that are good QPR’s.  This bottle is yet another example of that, and at $12, it’s a good bargain.  I picked up a few of these at the Class 6 on McGuire Air Force Base, NJ, and they are just good sipper on the bistro.

Popped and poured this tonight at cellar temperature (55 degrees), and this had a nice dark purple, grapey color in the Riedel.  Immediately, the nose showed much better than previous bottles(last bottle I rated 82 points).  Note that this would definitely benefit from a few hours in the decanter, and better yet, another 5 years in the bottle.  Lots of dark fruits on the palate of raspberry jam and strawberry, with hints of oak, mocha, and currants.  Subtle herb and spice round out the palate, with the slightest hint of cinnamon.

On the palate, this makes for a nice daily drinker.  More jammy dark fruits of boysenberry, blackberry, black cherry, and raspberry, with some nice vanilla and chocolate tons.  There is definitely some acidity and tannin on the finish, and this will mellow out with some more bottle time.  All in all, with a few years in the bottle this will become a much better wine, but for around $10, what do you want?  85 points!  Cheers!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

NV Bonny Doon Vineyard Raspberry Framboise

Let me say that there is nothing complex about this dessert wine in the least, but for non-wine drinkers, this is always a crowd pleaser.  We used to serve tons of this stuff years ago, but we’ve found that we really don’t care for it all that much anymore, so we’ve had bottles sitting in the fridge for years.  That being said, I grabbed one tonight and twisted off the cap.

Deep, dark, syrupy wine in the glass, with what else but raspberry on the nose.  There was just a bit of alcohol on the nose as well, but what do you expect at 17% or whatever it is.  On the palate, sure, there is some raspberry syrup, and not a whole lot more other than sweetness.  Great for some, and maybe OK for me, but nothing spectacular.  Much prefer the Tobin James dessert wines, and even better yet some good Sauternes or some Mr. K’s from Sine Qua Non.  75 points.  Cheers!

Brisket and Turkey Smoke - 01 August 2010

Well, after picking up a 6.24 pound USDA choice brisket, as well as a turkey roast for Zelda, I figured up the smoker around 11PM so I could throw my brisket in around midnight. My plan is then to throw Zelda's turkey roast in sometime when I woke up, and both should be ready after lunch, and still be plenty warm for dinner.

Much more to come!