WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BELLYING UP AT SURF BBQ

041616surfbbqsandwichesAbove, a smoked-brisket sandwich, left, and a pulled pork sandwich. Below, smoked maraschino cherries at the bar. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

041616surfbbqcherriesPieHole had been itching to try Surf BBQ in Rumson for lunch, but the newly opened East River Road restaurant and bar hasn’t yet expanded its hours and is only serving lunch on weekends.

Last Saturday, we finally made it there, and found the place not too busy at mid-afternoon, with no wait at the counter and plenty of available seating at the bar and picnic tables. Maybe everyone was attending their kids’ T-Ball games or working on landscaping, but we think we’ve found a sweet-spot in this smokin’ hot restaurant’s schedule.
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QUENCH: AN OLD-FASHIONED AT SALT CREEK

020115 saltcreek habel3An Old-Fashioned at Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille, above. Below, Rob Habel muddles fruit for the cocktail.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020115 saltcreek habel2Blended to shades of cherry red and bright orange, an Old-Fashioned made by Rob Habel at Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille reminds PieHole of the stunning sunsets you might see over the Navesink River just out the window.

“My grandfather showed me the classics,” says Habel, 33, the newly appointed beverage manager at the riverfront favorite. “I love old-fashioned drinks, and might bring back some of the old school.”

His favorite “old-fashioned” cocktail to make? An Old-Fashioned.

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LITTLE SILVER: PAPPY VAN WINKLE AUCTION

pappyvanwinkleLittle Silver Bottle Shop’s eagle-eyed Bill Kenney guards the four rare bottles of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon the store is auctioning off. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Pappy Van Winkle is a small-batch bourbon that is next to impossible to get. Prices start in the hundreds of dollars per bottle, but even then, that’s only if you can find one to buy.

And so it goes that when PieHole got word that there were no less than four bottles of this rarer-than-rare bourbon available at the Little Silver Bottle Shop, we had to check it out.

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RUMSON: TALKING COLD-WEATHER COCKTAILS

murphy's15 (1)Robb McMahon of Murphy’s Tavern in Rumson mixes up a pair of bourbon Manhattans. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

With a recent string of near-freezing nights, Mother Nature put us on early notice about just how cold we’re going to be for the next five months or six months. And like the ant in Aesop’s Fable about getting ready for the winter, PieHole wants to make sure that we’re all  prepared for the cold months to come. The priority of course is to find a good cocktail to drink now that we’ve put away our seersucker and gin and tonics for the season.

Piehole checked in with Robb McMahon, the amply mustachioed mixologist at Murphy’s Tavern in Rumson to see what he suggests drinking now that we can see our breath outdoors.

“Bourbon. A bourbon Manhattan,” says McMahon, who’s been mixing up drinks around the Green for almost 30 years. The Manhattan is traditionally made with a rye whiskey and sweet vermouth, but McMahon says the bourbon version was one of the first drinks he ever made.

“I was raised on making them with bourbons,” he says.

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