SHREWSBURY: NAME THAT HOME-STYLE MEAL

031715 sisterskitchen6A dish known as “Carl’s Hankerin’ Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Peas and Carrots” from My Sister’s Kitchen, where Michelle Paone, below, is co-owner and baker. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

031715 sisterskitchen4When Michelle Paone rented the space next door to her New Outlook Salon in Shrewsbury some months back, the idea was that it would house a catering business, with her sister working as the chef.

Family obligations on her sister’s side led to the deal falling through at the last minute, however, leaving Paone partner-less. But then Rich Lopazanski, a “fabulous cook” and Paone’s husband’s best friend since elementary school, stepped into the role of chef, clearing the way for the opening of My Sister’s Kitchen about two months ago.

The sister may not have stuck, but the name did – just like the old-school, stick-to-your-ribs meals the kitchen now produces six days a week.

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ON THE GREEN: EAT YOUR HEART OUT, LOVER

021015 carlos bakery heartCarrie Zensinger shows off one of the several heart-shaped cakes available at Carlo’s Bakery in Red Bank, above. ArtSea Gallery in Sea Bright carries chocolate Kewpie dolls, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020715 artsea chocolate cupidWith the approach of Valentines Day, the heart swells – especially for those foodies who like their treats in the shape of a heart.

And there are plenty to set culinary hearts a-flutter, as PieHole discovered earlier this week on a tour of the Greater Red Bank Green in search of heart-shaped foods and desserts.

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RUMSON: A LUCKY FIRST IRISH SODA BREAD

013015 Irish soda bread3Debbie Bagnell, the winner of last year’s Irish Soda Bread competition at the Oceanic Public Library in Rumson. Below, a slice of her bread. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

013015 Irish soda bread1“It was so surreal. I felt like it was part of a movie scene. There were men in kilts and bagpipes,” says Debbie Bagnell.

A self-described cooking-and-crafting hobbyist and homemaker says, Bagnell was recalling the day her Irish Soda Bread won first place at Oceanic Public Library‘s first annual baking competition in Rumson.

The win was a bit flukey.

“I had no intention of entering,” she said. “I had never baked an Irish Soda Bread before.”

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FOR LUNCH: SHINIEST EATERY IN SHREWSBURY

123014 Americana diner4Chrome and other decor gleams both inside and out at the often-packed Americana Diner. Below, a matzoh ball soup starter with noodles. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

123014 Americana diner3Two o’clock in the afternoon, and you’d think the large parking lot at the Americana Diner on Route 35 in Shrewsbury would have a few empty spots. You’d be wrong.

The holiday week between Christmas and the New Year might have something do with it. Then again, it might just be the seemingly infinite lunch specials on the multipage menu.

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LITTLE SILVER: TASTES OF (LITTLE) ITALY

121614 ferruccis2Sandy and Paolo D’Amico behind the counter of Ferrucci’s Gourmet Delicatessen. Below, buffalo milk butter from Parma, Italy.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121614 ferruccisShopping at Ferrucci’s Gourmet Delicatessen in the Prospect Plaza strip mall in Little Silver is like stepping into a classic Italian grocery store, according to a customer who stopped in to pick up pizza dough brought in from Brooklyn. It’s as good as Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, he said.

Mixed New York boroughs aside, there is something about New York city tap water that makes pizza dough and bread taste better. And the bread at Ferrucci’s is delivered daily from Brooklyn along with the dough. It’s also a consistent daily sellout, says owner Sandy D’Amico.

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SEA BRIGHT: HEARTY FOOD, BY THE BOOK

120414 Alices3The Gaelic omelet at Alice’s Kitchen contains a little bit of this and that, just like those Alice Gaffney, below, remembers from her native Ireland. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120414 Alices2When Arlo Guthrie penned his famous “Alice’s Restaurant,” he didn’t have Alice Gaffney in mind: she was an ocean away from the scene of the Thanksgiving Day “massacree.” But that line, “you can get anything you want…” pretty much applies to Alice’s Kitchen, Gaffney’s restaurant in Sea Bright.

In addition to enjoying her varied breakfast and lunch offerings at the Ocean Avenue eatery, you can now take a book home with you for free.

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HOLIDAY FOOD TRADITIONS? DO TELL!

120314 davis rhubarb cakeRhubarb coffee cake baked in the kitchen of Red Bank resident Sue Davis. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumLike Tevye, in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ PieHole has tradition on its mind this holiday season.

We’re calling on all home cooks and bakers to share with us the holiday food traditions that grace your table every year.

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BOOSKERDOO: NO LONGER JUST COFFEE

111914 booskerdoo4Amelia Caverly, below, and at center above with fellow Booskerdoo bakers Carolyn Kroeper, left, and Diana Richter preparing the day’s bread and pastries (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

111914 booskerdoo1For the past 16 months, the sleepy town of Fair Haven has awakened to the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee wafting from Booskerdoo, at the corner of DeNormandie Avenue and River Road. Cars start pulling up as early as 6 a.m. as customers run in to grab a cup of French Roast or Jersey Diner.

Now, they can pick up something sweet and baked on-premises for breakfast or dessert, too.

Having made a transition from teacher to baker, Amelia Caverly – who owns the three-store chain with her husband, James – is there to start the day’s work at 4 a.m., overseeing a small baking crew in the back of the store.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? PICK A # @ BRENNAN’S

110514 brennans1The smoked-salmon on sesame-seed bagel from Brennan’s. Below, the menu board behind the deli counter. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Brennan’s Deli in Rumson is all about the numbers.110514 brennans3 The board hanging above the deli counter lists 26 sandwich options – and those are just the regular suggestions; a daily special that can also be found on the website.

Having no time for a leisurely lunch this week, the takeout option brought PieHole to this old West River Road favorite. And while we ordered a number 17, a quick chat with owners Caryn McCann and John Yurish brought some of these numbers into perspective.

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CLIPPINGS: THIS ONE BAKES THE CAKE

Gina Roselle-Broschart 4CLIPPINGS_220Gina Roselle-Broschart’s first love was gymnastics. Later, she studied nutrition at Rutgers, and then attended Culinary Institute of America to become a pastry chef. Today, Roselle-Broschart’s specialty is cake decorating. Here, and in the video below, she is at work at Antoinette Boulangerie in Red Bank, where she lives with her husband, backyard beef-smoker Scott Broschart.

“I found a connection between gymnastics and cake decorating,” says Roselle-Broschart. “They both require perfection and artistic liberty at the same time.” (Photo and video by Gerda Liebmann. Check out all the Clippings from the Green here.)

 

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RED BANK: PUMPKIN PANDEMONIUM

100514 rbfarmmktAngus McDougald with his daughter, Jade, at Red Bank Farmers’ Market. Below, Lisa Bagwell among the edible pumpkins from Organic Produce. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100514 rbfarmmkt3 For those who think the season for fresh produce is over, there are still many vendors showing up at the Red Bank Farmers’ Market to prove them wrong.  It is the perfect time of year to buy fresh apple cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

But squash pumpkins and other  cruciferous vegetables take center stage this time of year.

“I like to simply roast them and eat them,” Lisa Bagwell, of the Certified Organic stand, said of the different varieties pumpkins and squash. Noting the smaller blue hubbard squash, she added: “These are delicious. The gourds, on the other hand, are not delicious.”

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RED BANK: COOKIES THAT LAST… AND LAST

larosa (1)Peter LaRose behind the display cases at his family bakery, where one is reserved just for biscotti. Below, a box of hard, fresh biscotti. (Photo above by Jim Willis; below by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092014 la rosas2Is it possible that a centuries-old Roman recipe still holds pride of place on many tables today?

The Italian cookie, biscotto – ‘biscotti‘ is the plural version, and really, who can eat just one? – is just as popular today as it was when the Romans were marching across Europe.

La Rosa’s Pastry Shop and Bakery in Shrewsbury, PieHole‘s go-to place for biscotti, has been baking these tasty, dunkable, treats for years, satisfying our yen for a grown-up’s cookie. With sweet aromas wafting from its ovens, the retro neon lights and the shiny cases filled with mouthwatering pastries, La Rosa’s serves up a magical sensory mix that gets little noses pressed up against the glass, too.

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RED BANK: BOULANGERIE OPENS ART SHOW

100214 boulangerie2Exhibit No. 9 gallery owner Tom White, center, discusses the artwork now showing at Antoinette Boulangerie in Red Bank. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100214 boulangerie5Curated art exhibits that could previously only be seen in Asbury Park at Exhibit No. 9 gallery can now also be enjoyed avec croissants and other treats onMonmouth Street in Red Bank.

Antoinette Boulangerie opened its doors last week to art and pastry lovers alike with in an exhibition titled “Dessert for the Eyes.”  The stylish opening reception, hosted by bakery owners Ayca User and her sister, Zeynep Ozdimer, featured works from around the globe, chosen by Exhibit No. 9 owners Tom and Lois White.

“The art in the gallery will change often, so it won’t always be the same thing on the walls,” User said, while guests snacked on decadent chocolate-covered strawberries and coconut macaroons.

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SEA BRIGHT: PUTTING OUR PIEHOLE TO USE

sb pie 100214 8The three judges at the Sea Bright Farmers’ Market’s first apple pie bake-off: Eric from Estonia, Susan Ericson and Susie Markson. Below, the winning apple caramel tart. (Photos by John T. Ward and Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100214 SB farm market pieAn invitation to judge the first annual apple pie bake-off at the Sea Bright Farmers’ market Thursday afternoon was too tasty an opportunity for this PieHole writer to turn down.

With a bakery background – I grew up in a Queens bakery – my opinions on apple pie are pretty specific. A good one needs a flaky crust, a non-mushy apple filling, and most important, fresh apple flavor.

Fall is apple season, of course, and you can find many varieties of apples at farm markets and pick-your-own orchards right now. The best for pie baking are the Granny Smiths and Honey Crisps. They hold up better through the baking process, with a tart and tangy flavor that plays well with the added sugar and spices.

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RED BANK: CHEF RENEWS PASSION AT DISH

091817 ferrando dishAnthony Ferrando discusses his newly rediscovered appreciation for hands-on cooking while preparing ravioli from scratch. Below, the completed ravioli. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091714 ferrando ravioli lighterLike movie stars who return to their roots by taking a role in a Broadway play or indie film, experienced chefs sometimes also need to revive themselves.

For chef Anthony Ferrando, a partner in the restaurant Dish in Red Bank, that means returning to the kitchen, where many of the routine tasks have been taking up by helpers, to do more inspired cooking. It also means means bringing together raw ingredients to form a recipe.

“I have a great kitchen staff here,” Ferrando said. “My sous chef, John Bonilla, has been with me for nine years, and Antonio Comacho started here as a dishwasher and is now in charge of the grill. They know what to do. They can run this kitchen.”

“There are going to be some great changes here, though,” he added in the next breath.

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HEY KIDS, BLOCK OUT ROOM FOR DESSERT

faith king 091314Faith King with her dessert a the Madison Avenue block party last Saturday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels mediumIt’s a big block party weekend here on the Green, with close-knit streetfests going on in several locations in Red Bank (Elm Place, South Street) and Fair Haven (Poplar Avenue). Each offers a chance for home cooks to show their neighborliness in the universal currency of food.

Last Saturday, at a rain-soaked block party for residents of Madison Avenue in Red Bank, Faith King reminded attendees that the desire to share isn’t solely an adult impulse.

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RED BANK: PATRIZIA’S AMBROSIAL SIDE

090814 patrizias dessertA sampling of desserts from Patrizia’s. Below: the caramel cone. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

090814 patrizias caramelIn a perfect world, calories would not count and sugary treats would be good for us. But this is not a perfect world, and so we have to be selective about when we allow ourselves to indulge in desserts.

At Patrizia’s on Broad Street in Red Bank, the pizza and pasta are not to be missed. But it would be a good idea to leave a little extra time, and room, for dessert when you visit.

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SEA BRIGHT FARMERS MARKET: DIVE DEMO

082814 sbfarmrs mkt1Dive chef Kyle Hopfensperger and sous chef Daniel Ciameroni at the Sea Bright Farmers’ Market. Their salsa, below. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

082814 sbfarmers mkt2Last week, the still-new Sea Bright Farmers’ Market added a weekly feature: local restaurant chefs’ demonstrations and tastings.

First up were Dive chef Kyle Hopfensperger and sous chef Daniel Ciameroni, both 29 years old, who brought youthful exuberance and a vat of salsa for shoppers to try.

Not so much a demonstration as a tasting, the event gave the pair a chance to offer suggestions on what to buy at the market and how to use it.

“The fresh white peaches and watermelon in the salsa came from two local farms,” Hopfensperger said. Jalapeno peppers – pickled in-house at Dive, across the street on Ocean Avenue – gave the salsa a spicy kick. Finely chopped white onion added additional bite, making the salsa less sweet than you’d think.

“We’re bringing  bar food to a new level,” Ciameroni said.

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RED BANK: CHECKING IN ON BOULANGERIE

081514 boulangerie 2Ayca User of Antoinette Boulangerie with a platter of croissants. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumWhat could be better than café au lait and a fresh-baked croissant? How about a coconut chocolate croissant specially made for the season?

This is just one of the delectable sweets to come out of the kitchen at Antoinette Boulangerie on Monmouth Street in Red Bank. Opened just eight months ago in the middle of a snowstorm, the French pastry shop has garnered serious attention and appreciation from the local public. It is often busy, particularly on the weekends.

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RED BANK: THE SWEET AFTERTASTE

081514 cutie pops pomericoMelanie Pomerico, owner of Lil’ Cutie Pops, holds a bouquet of cocktail-themed cakes. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge.)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumCocktail Week, a townwide party that showcased the bars and bartenders in Red Bank, had some sweet support from borough bakers.

Lil’ Cutie Pops on Monmouth Street made three flavors of its signature cake pops: Bailey’s Irish Cream, Guinness Dark Chocolate and Margarita. Although they were baked especially for the themed event, all three treats are often in stock or can be special-ordered, shop owner Melanie Pomerico said.

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