balderose (3)Brian Imbriale puts the finishing touches on PieHole‘s curry chicken salad sandwich at Fair Haven’s Balderose Fine Foods. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories…

Imported Italian Tomatoes We get an earful from Jimmy DiBartolo of restaurant wholesaler Quick Stop Food & Paper about tomatoes and sauce.

Keep neurotoxins off your plate. We share a few pointers we picked up from Master Gardener Carolyn Heuser’s presentation on organic vegetable gardening.
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chestnuts_moriRed Bank neighbors Melissa Bartolone and Christina Dostie give PieHole a lesson in buying, roasting and eating chestnuts. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)


It is of questionable value that we can walk into any grocery store in America and buy tasteless tomatoes in December and bland blueberries in February. In fact, it’s thanks to this dubious convenience that culinary traditions— especially those that were passed down from generation to generation as a way to best feed ourselves based on the harvest season — are such a rarity.

And so it goes that PieHole seeks out the last remaining vestiges of these traditions around the Green and shares the tastiest ones.

Roasted chestnuts are one such truly delicious culinary tradition.

We’re lucky to live around the corner from a pair of Italian moms who are well versed in the art and science of roasting chestnuts, as their parents were before them. PieHole paid a visit to the sun-filled Mori Place, Red Bank kitchen of Melissa Bartolone, joined by neighbor Christina Dostie to get some instruction on choosing, roasting and eating chestnuts.

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literary vixens 1‘Literary Vixens’ Jacqueline Tobacco (left) and Melissa Bartolone flank author Suzanne Palmieri during her reading at Red Bank’s Lambs and Wolves salon earlier this month. (Photos by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)


literary vixens 2Author Suzanne Palmieri believes in magic.

Not the “pull a rabbit out of a hat” kind of magic. The kind, she told an audience on a recent Friday night in Red Bank, that happened when she learned, while trying to budget her daughter’s college tuition. that an Italian company had bought the foreign rights to her book, ‘The Witch of Little Italy.’ The kind that happens when a fan, who happens to live five minutes away, turns into a close friend.

“I’ve made a lot of friends like that,” she said. “I didn’t know when I wrote the book that it would tap into something bigger.”

Hoping to create that kind of magic for other writers of edgy, sexy fiction is Literary Vixens, a publishing concern that began when friends Jacqueline Tobacco of Middletown and Melissa Bartolone of Red Bank reunited through social media over their love of books.

With Lauren DeVito, Literary Vixens promote, as their tagline says, “smart books for passionate readers.” What started out as a book blog is transforming into a publishing agency, and the ladies hope to hand pick a few marketable authors to work with.

“We knew we wanted [the name] to be a combination of smart and daring,” said Tobacco. “‘Vixen’ means we’re a little bit more edgy in our reading, a little bit more sophisticated.”

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