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: 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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WHATS FOR LUNCH? PANINI AT PATRIZIA’S

080814 patrizias vegThe grilled vegetable panini hero shown above is vegetarian friendly. Below, the burrata. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

patrizia's 073014“It’s like going to your grandmother’s house on Sunday,” manager Santo Saitta said of the food and ambience at the week-old Patrizia’s on Broad Street in Red Bank.

If your grandmother has a dining room in a former bank building with a sky-high vaulted ceiling, a raging hot copper-clad pizza oven and remarkably good food, well then yes, it would be like that.

After a lunch here, you might want to visit nonna more often.

The suggested Burrata All’ Amalfitana appetizer ($13.95) – silky, salty, creamy and lightly seasoned with a smidge of olive oil – was terrific on its own, but the piquant caponata accompaniment made it a sexy, delicious starter.
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SEA BRIGHT: FRESH-PLATED BY YOUNG CHEF

080714 Chuck lesbirelChef Chuck Lesbirel in the dining room of Ama. Below: a seasonal salad of Jersey peaches, Jersey tomatoes and lobster.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

080714 ama lobster2How does a 26-year-old become an executive chef?

For Chuck Lesbirel, now presiding over the kitchen of Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright, it starts with an impressive résumé that goes back to a 14-year-old kid washing dishes at Palate Pleasers in Keyport.

Working in restaurant kitchens, Lesbirel watched and learned the chef business with stints at a kosher restaurant, a few small places, an educational rounding-out at the Culinary Education Center at Brookdale, and then a big jump to sous chef at David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson.

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RED BANK: KICKING-OFF A WEEK OF COCKTAILS

081014 kickoff cocktail 1 Jamie Gray prepares a cocktail at red‘s upstairs lounge bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumThere’s a party going on in Red Bank over the course of the next week, and it’s going to be a bit of a booze-filled frenzy.

At the kickoff of Cocktail Week Sunday night, bartenders prepared specialty drinks made with Leaf vodka, just one of several sponsors for the event organized by Red Bank Flavour.

Bartender Jamie Gray of red restaurant on Broad Street squeezed fresh limes for the Thai basil martinis while Matt Monaco was busy muddling mint for the Hendrick’s Gin mojitos served with cucumbers.

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RED BANK: ‘APPETITE’ SATISFIES HUNDREDS

At this weekend’s three-day ‘Appetite‘ extravaganza at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, hundreds of visitors feasted on food, wine, beer and culinary wisdom.

Susan Ericson’s food blog, Flavor Chronicles/Chefs in Motion has additional coverage.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Mouse-over to pause.)

RED BANK: MORE ON THE MENU AT ‘APPETITE’

080214 appetite8080214 appetite16They came for the wine with local restaurateur Vic Rallo and stayed for the food trucks, beer and make-your-own bloody Mary’s Saturday at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, hosting its second annual ‘Appetite‘ food festival.

The action continues Sunday under the theme of ‘Blues and Brews,’ spotlighting  craft beers, artisanal cheeses, butcher Stew Goldstein – offering a demo on preparing a pork loin Marco roast and more. According to the National Weather Service, it’s not going to be a beach day, so why not come out? More details here.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)    080214 appetite27

SEA BRIGHT: A MARTINI RIPE WITH SUMMER

beau keegan 072214Ama mixologist Beau Keegan adds a dash of grenadine to give his white peach martini the look of a peach. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ama peach martini 072214Kitchens and dining rooms aren’t the only areas of restaurants caught up in the growing interest in locally sourced artisanal food products.

At Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright, the bar has become a place of labor-intensive cocktails prepared with carefully chosen fruits and flavorings, says Beau Keegan, who runs the beverage operation.

“A generation ago, it was all about liqueurs, but there’s been a revolution in the last 10 or 15 years of people making their own purees, syrups, bitters,” he says. Driven by customer interest, “everybody’s kind of pushing each other” to find new, and fresher, ingredients, he says.
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FAIR HAVEN: MOM’S RECIPE LAUNCHES BIZ

072214 4thcreek2Fourth Creek’s red pepper relish, made by Fair Haven resident Andrew Shiavetti. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumWith deep roots in Fair Haven, Andrew Schiavetti started a food company with a recipe his mother, Barbara, made for barbecues, and named it after a stream that cuts through town.

The sweet red pepper relish was so popular that family members were expected to bring it with them every time they received an invitation to a Fourth of July party or BBQ.

“This is my tether back to when I was a kid,” says Schiavetti, a Rumson Country Day and RFH alum. Fourth Creek Food Company‘s products provide him “a connection to not just the good times, but remembering family and friends.”

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FAIR HAVEN: COOK, TASTE, LEARN

071614 taste technique schlossbachMarilyn Schlossbach teaching a class at Taste and Technique Cooking Studio. Below, the Cast Iron Steak Scampi she prepared. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071416 taste technique steakA dozen guests gathered at the counter of Taste and Technique Cooking Studio on River Road in Fair Haven last week, absorbing the pearls of culinary wisdom of chef and retaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach.

Cooking studio owner Carolyn Rue has managed to bring in some of the most sought-after  local restaurant chefs, making sure that the classes are not only informative and delicious, but often entertaining.

The class, titled ‘Jersey Farm Fresh Table,’ consisted of a full dinner, cooked by Schlossbach.

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