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LITTLE SILVER: CELEBRATING WITH CAVIAR

caviar (1)Haylee Brents of Sickles Market in Little Silver shows PieHole a range of caviar options for New Year’s Eve. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

If your past few New Year’s Eves all blur together in a haze of champagne toasts and unrealistic resolutions, you may want to mark the close of 2013 in a way that really stands out. Cheri Scolari of Sickles Market in Little Silver tells PieHole that caviar is one way to really make your New Year’s Eve memorable.

“Caviar creates a great food memory,” says Scolari.  You may not remember what you wore to a New Year’s Eve party, or even who you spoke with, but the experience of having caviar is so strong you’ll remember what you ate, Scolari says.

“That’s a food memory that you want to create,” she says.

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RED BANK: RIVER USERS SAY KEEP COVE LISTED

rb hearing 1 123013Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, in foreground, listens during the comment portion of the hearing. Below, Michael Humphries of Fair Haven called for an alternative to the borough’s proposed delisting. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb hearing 2 123013Hoping to safeguard Red Bank’s only direct public access to the Navesink River, Maple Cove users and preservationists packed a meeting Monday night to combat a plan that would remove the site from the town’s inventory of preserved lands.

For more than three often-contentious hours, a standing-room audience challenged the borough rationale for the proposed delisting of two town-owned riverfront properties.

Their fear: that contrary to official assurances, the changes would clear the way for one or both sites to be sold for private development.

“The property is not being sold. It is not being turned into condos,” borough engineer Christine Ballard insisted at the outset.

Yet many of the commenters clearly weren’t buying that assertion.

“People feel it’s a first step to something nobody here wants,” Michael Humprhries, of Fair Haven, said of the proposed delisting. “There should be some way of satisfying the public that keeps that piece of property accessible.”

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MIDDLETOWN: BUBBLY FOR THE NEW YEAR

nicholas_champage (2)Nicholas Restaurant

owner and chef Nicholas Harary helps PieHole choose a bubbly to ring in the New Year. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Celebrating on New Year’s Eve almost always means toasting with a glass of something bubbly. For some, that toast starts with a sheepish visit to the refrigerated section of the local liquor store and blindly throwing money at a best guess for a decent bottle of “champagne.”

To help throw some light on Tuesday night’s toasting – and, we hope, keep us from throwing money out the window – PieHole checked in with Nicholas Harary, chef and owner of Restaurant Nicholas in Middletown.

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PEDDLING A BOLD NEW IDEA TO RBR STUDENTS

bike desksRBR students (left to right) Ryan Grant, Shrewsbury, and Jacob Curtis, Little Silver, do their morning sprint on exercise bike desks while reading their assignments in the RBR Media Center. Looking on is RBR Media Specialist Kathy Smith, who purchased five bikes for the Media Center to encourage healthy exercise for her students’ bodies and minds.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

In the fight against obesity that challenges America and its children, every little weapon in the arsenal helps.  So when Red Bank Regional High School Media Specialist Kathy Smith considered her budget for furniture last year, she had a eureka moment.  As students use the Media Center every day for research, classes or for a gym exemption, she thought, “Why not introduce them to movement?”

“And when I researched the desk bikes,” she stated, “I learned that I could get five for the same price as two library chairs!”

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RED BANK: BURNHAM STILL FIERCE ON COVE

rb parking 041713The parking lot at Maple Cove, as viewed from the library property on West Front Street. Below, Councilwoman-elect Cindy Burnham with borough Administrator Stanley Sickels at a recent fire department event. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sickels burnham 120313Cindy Burnham may have broken the Democratic lock on Red Bank’s council, but she hasn’t abandoned the pet cause that got her there, or her style of defending it.

At several borough council meetings since winning election in November, Councilwoman-elect Burnham has stood at the commenters’ microphone and sparred with nearly all of her future colleagues on the governing body over the fate and history of Maple Cove, the town’s sole public Navesink River access. Burham is widely credited with having saved the site, at the north end of Maple Avenue, from possible development.

As she has for years, Burnham insists that the incumbents secretly want to sell the property to Hovnanian Enterprises, which owns abutting real estate. The latest evidence of the council’s intent, Burnham says, is the administration’s scheduling of a public forum on Monday, December 30, over whether to remove the site and another one at the public library from the town’s Recreation and Open Space Inventory, or ROSI.

One by one, as they have in the past, the Democrats insisted they do not, and – despite her repeated claims to the contrary – never have had plans to sell the site.

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WEEKEND: WHAT ARE YOU DOING OLD YEAR’S?

RibeyesThe Ribeye Brothers (above) bring their scrappy brand of “detached garage rock” back upside the Dub for a Sunday night see-off to the Year That Was. The annual performance of BLACK NATIVITY, below, finds room at the inn on the Count Basie stage for a Saturday matinee here in 2013. 

Friday, December 27:

blacknativityFAIR HAVEN: “Musicians love playing there,” said our old friend Siegfried “Sigi” Schock one recent night. “They get a great crowd; there’s cheap beer… AND you get paid.”

As it happens, that best-kept-secret venue is not some Flavor of the Month nightspot, but none other than the Knights of Columbus Red Bank Council 3187 in Fair Haven. The hall, at 200 Fair Haven Road, has been the scene for some successful benefit concerts in the past, although it’s also true that the KofC books bands on a consistent basis throughout the year. Tonight, between the hours of 8 and 11:30 pm, Council 3187 hosts singer-guitarist Robert Ender and his combo — familiar from well-received gigs at the Red Bank Guinness Oysterfest, the Dublin House, D’Jeet and other Shore area shindigs. Then on January 24, Sigi and his bandmates in Ziggy Shock keep the partyball rolling into Twenty-Fourteen.

RED BANK: It’s the FINAL weekend at Two River Theater for the remade/ remodeled family musical adaptation A Wind in the Willows Christmas — a production about which one wise hyperlocal stated, “it’s a show that’s succeeded in finding its heart.” Performances continue Friday (12 and 7 pm) and Saturday (12 and 4 pm), with a closing matinee at noon on Sunday. Take it here for tickets (adults $20 – $55; ages 18 and under $25) — and here for our review of the show, on redbankgreen.

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X-COUNTRY GIRLS X-CEL IN CLASS, AND FIELD

PrincipalsCupRBR’s Girls’ Cross Country Team was the first recipient of the Principal’s Cup for having the highest average GPA among its team members (at 96.8%) than all other fall sports’ teams. Coincidently, they also brought in the best team performance with an undefeated record of 7-0 and ranked among the top 25 girls cross country teams in New Jersey. The ladies are pictured here with their coaches, Chris Desiere, April Chichelo and RBR Principal Risa Clay.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

This year, Red Bank Regional High School added a new accolade to recognize student athletes, and in this case, scholar athletes, with the first Principal’s Cup.

RBR Principal Risa Clay explains, “We created the Principal’s Cup, which recognizes, acknowledges and celebrates the team that strives for excellence while competing both on the playing field and in the classroom. It is awarded to the team with the highest average GPA among its members.”

The honor this year went to the Girls’ Cross Country team, which, coincidently, had registered the best team performance of the RBR fall sport’s season. For only the third time in its 30-year history, the Girls’ Cross Country team went undefeated with a 7-0 record.  They finished second at the Shore Coaches Invitational and placed five girls in the top 25.

The girls’ performance off the field was equally amazing with a combined GPA of 96.8%.

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where_122613

Where Have I Seen This? wraps up 2013 with… a window on the future? A bit of light in the darkness? A cliché barrel whose bottom has been scraped?

If you know a better description, or – better yet – Where the above photo was taken, please send an email to wherehaveiseenthis@redbankgreen.com.

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RUMSON: ELECTRICAL FIRE DAMAGES HOME

rumson fire 122513 2A firefighter battling the blaze next to the chimney on Christmas Day. (Photos from Sea Bright Fire Rescue Facebook page. Click to enlarge)

Rumson fire 122513 1Fire damaged a Rumson home and sent two volunteer firefighters to the hospital Christmas Day.

Rumson fire Chief Jymm Fenn tells redbankgreen that the fire, at 7 Briarwood Drive, caused by faulty wiring, results in significant damage to the two-story structure.

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JUKES RING HAPPY NEW YEAR; HAPPY B’DAY NJ

SouthsideBasieNewYrsSouthside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes ring in the new year for the 15th time at the Count Basie Theatre on Tuesday, December 31 — a date that also sees the Basie cutting the ribbon on the first “pop-up store” dedicated to New Jersey’s 350th birthday campaign.

From press materials furnished by Count Basie Theatre

The New Year’s Eve performances by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at the Count Basie Theatre have become a 15-year Jersey Shore tradition — and at Tuesday night’s countdown concert, the Basie will kick off New Jersey’s 350th birthday celebration year with the opening of the first official New Jersey 350 Pop-Up store, commemorating three and a half centuries of life in the Garden State. A group of dignitaries will be cutting the ribbon on the Pop-Up in a ceremony at noon on December 31.

The Red Bank store will be located onsite at the Basie, just next door to the theatre’s Carlton Lounge. The Pop-Up stores will travel to venues and events around the state throughout 2014.

NJ350 Pop-Up stores will specialize in merchandise with a unique New Jersey focus. Featured products are what curators have dubbed “Jerseyana.” Included are the “Jerseyopoly” board game and “Goodnight Jersey” children’s book, as well as NJ350 and state-branded merchandise; educational items; items specific to the history of Red Bank and the Count Basie Theatre; Governor Chris Christie’s popular state-silhouette lapel pin and more. The Red Bank location will remain open through January 6, 2014.

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RED BANK: ALL BUT HOME HAILS THE SNAIL

cinn snail 070112The Cinnamon Snail is now the top-ranked restaurant in New York City according to Yelp.com (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

yelpOuch! Red Bank gets a second black eye in as many days for as for its hostility to food trucks.

The restaurant review website Yelp.com’s users have ranked the borough-based Cinnamon Snail gourmet vegan food truck as the top restaurant in New York City,

Yes, never mind that it’s on wheels: with four and a half stars out of five, the Snail bested such famous eateries as La Bernardin and Gramercy Tavern.

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LITTLE SILVER: FROM FRANCE, STUFFED PRUNES

prunesSickles Market stocks these French prunes only during the holidays.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PieHole knows that local foraging is the best foraging. For the food lovers on your gift list we have assembled PieHole’s First Annual Shop Local Holiday Food & Drink Gift Guide. This is the 11th in the series.

PIEHOLE-GIFT_MED

Hailing from the south west of France, these are not your everyday prunes.

Similar to a regional wine, the d’Agen plum receives a geographic designation. Following a centuries-old process, these prunes are stuffed with a whipped, sweet filling and go great with a duck pâté or foie gras or as a sweet accompaniment with coffee.

Pruneaux d’Agen Fourrés go for $28.99 for a large tin at Sickles Market in Little Silver.

FAIR HAVEN WARMS TO POND OFFER

Schwenker’s Pond, on River Road, empties into Shippee’s Pond and then the Navesink River. The long-vacant Doremus house, below, was demolished earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

doremus-houseThe last time developer David Carr tried giving Schwenker’s Pond to Fair Haven, borough officials pretty much told him to go jump in it.

Then-Mayor Mike Halfacre and the borough council, citing cleanup costs and other potential liabilities, rejected the offer.

But that was seven years ago. Today, the borough appears far more receptive to the offer.

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RED BANK: RECIPES WITH BOOZE AND LOVE

baileys_rossano2Red Bank’s Jenny Rossano shares a holiday recipe with PieHole that’s equal parts fond memories and booze. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

This time of year, PieHole can not get enough of homemade holiday gifts. Especially boozy ones. Save your gift cards and store-bought candy: for us, the most thoughtful gifts always come out of the kitchen.

And so, when we tasted Jenny Rossano’s homemade Bailey’s Irish Creme, PieHole knew that this recipe and the story behind it needed a wider audience, hoping that it will encourage a bit more homemade booze-gifting on The Green.

The recipe below comes from Ireland by way of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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