WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? AN ORCA OF A BURRITO

120516queso7Queso Grill’s steak burrito: you’ll need a fork and knife to eat this “wet” behemoth.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?On Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, fast-food joints Luigi’s Famous Pizza, Stamna Taverna and Subway share a parking lot. It’s a bit like a food court, but in a strip mall.

A south-of-the-border lunch hankering nudged PieHole through the door of another of the center’s tenants: Queso Grill, where we were stopped short by the number of decisions that would need to be made before we could order lunch.
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CRAVINGS: A BUSHEL IN A BURRITO

90516calientecantina1A fried sweet apple burrito covered in two sauces and ice cream. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsSeasonal changes can induce all sorts of fresh cravings, and with September screaming “apple season,” PieHole stumbles on a dessert so tasty, and in such an unlikely place, that sharing our bonanza is all we can do.

Read on to see where you can feast on this crave-able cinnamon-scented apple burrito.
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RED BANK: 10TH AVE. BARMAN SMOKES ‘EM

dudley delhagen 080515 2Dudley Delhagen, bar manager at 10th Ave. Burrito Company in Red Bank, was named the winner of a national contest to come up with a new cocktail using DeKuyper’s-brand cordials Monday.

Launched in September, the contest invited bartenders across America to craft a signature cocktail; fans were then asked to vote for their favorite creation online. Delhagen’s employed the company’s JDK & Son Fleur Elderflower Liqueur. A press release announcing Delhagen as DeKuyper’s first-ever “cocktail master” described his concoction as “the perfect balance of sweet and smoky.”

The recipe for Delhagen’s creation, called the Smoked Blossom, is below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A FRESH TAKE ON TAPAS

110815belmonte2An unusual adaptation of taquitos, above, and a glass of made-to-order sangria, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

110815belmonte4Gone are the heavy velvet drapes and dark, brooding atmosphere that once decorated Red in Red Bank. Renovated and re-dubbed the Belmonte, the Broad Street restaurant and bar with the panoramic front window is now lighter, brighter and much more inviting.

A cool, marble-topped bar elicits a bit of Old World charm. Banquettes lining the walls promise comfort, while high-top tables arranged down the center aisle of the room offer a variety of seating or standing options: playing off the primarily tapas menu, it’s a mixture of this and that.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? AUTHENTIC MEXICAN

091515chaparrita3Enchiladas in salsa verde at La Chaparrita, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson and John T Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON
la chaparrita 091515

Authentic Mexican food that brings serious heat, if that’s what you want, can be found at La Chaparrita, a grocery store and restaurant on Red Bank’s West Side with an affectionate slang Spanish name meaning “shorty.”

Lunch at one of the three cozy tables in the Shrewsbury Avenue gem is probably not so different from your mom’s — that is, if your mom has music blaring while she prepares hundreds of tamales just steps away.

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RED BANK: 10TH AVE. ENTERS THE RING

brian katz 080515 110th Ave. Burrito owner Brian Katz with a mural depicting luchadores in an agave field—complete with a tequila distillery. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

10th ave 07191510th Ave. Burrito Company opened in Red Bank last week, and there’s no mistaking: it’s serious business, aiming to leverage its 165 seats, a coveted liquor license and primo views of the Navesink River to success.

But with a giant mural of masked Mexican wrestlers, a cadre of tattooed and weird-bearded servers, and a barely filtered owner, the West Front Street eatery appears to be off to a running, if low-key, start on his goal of “bringing something unique” to the town.
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CHURN: 10TH AVE. NEARS OPENING DATE

10th ave 071415 1Signage is now up at 10th Ave. Burrito on West Front Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallWith the restaurantization of Red Bank in full swing, this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn serves up a groaning board of food news.

• The long wait for 10th Ave. Burrito Company is nearly over.

Sicilia Ristorante on Broad Street has a new owner, and he’s planning to split the business in two, sort of.

Details, and some assorted table scraps, are just around the corner.
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RED BANK: NOT FANCY BUT SO TASTY

101014 international2The platter of Tacos al Pastor, served on a melmac plate, at the International Mexican Food Restaurant. Below, a sampling of the sauces that accompany the tacos. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

101014 international3Walk down Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank and you are almost certain to miss a terrific taqueria.

The International Mexican Food restaurant is something of a stealth business. You wouldn’t know what lurks inside at number 92 if someone didn’t tell you. There is a tiny sign above the door that reads, “International,” but that’s it.

Don’t let the bare-bones exterior stop you, though, or the fact that no one inside speaks English; even the takeout menus are in Spanish. This place is busy because the food is fairly unique to the area and seriously good.
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LUNCH? BURRITO TEXANO, POR FAVOR SEÑOR

100814 peppersThe plate-hogging Burrito Texano and tamarindo agua fresca at Señor Pepper’s. Below, multicolored tablecloths spice up the dining room.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100814peppersEvery now and again, the same old tuna sandwich isn’t going to cut it for lunch. PieHole wanted something with big flavor and a little heat. Feeling ravenous, we also wanted quick. Experience reminded us that Señor Pepper’s on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank would fill our needs.

On a surprisingly warm October afternoon, the first order of business was a cooling beverage. Skip the soda and bottled iced tea here and go for the agua frescas. A little sweet, these tea-like concoctions are a most refreshing quaff. Wanting something we hadn’t tasted before, we opted for the tamarindo agua fresa. Offered in sizes small for $1.75 and big for $3, this tamarind-flavored cold drink, served in a trendy Mason jar mug, was the perfect thirst-quencher while we munched on complimentary, house-made tortilla chips that came with both red and green salsa.

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RED BANK: MURAL MAKEOVER

Jim Fitzmaurice working on the mural at Juanito’s last month. Below, a detail. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

An outdoor mural near the Red Bank train station has been getting a wholesale freshening-up in recent weeks. And it’s not the first time.

Painter Jim Fitzmaurice of Rumson has been restoring the mural on the side of Juanito’s Mexican Grill, located at the corner of Monmouth and West streets.

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NO DECISION ON MEXICAN MARKET PLAN

juan-torresJuan Torres, owner of Juanito’s restaurant, testifies about his proposal for a large grocery on Red Bank’s West Side Thursday night. (Click to enlarge)

A plan for a supersized bodega on Shrewsbury Avenue didn’t make it to the checkout register Thursday night.

A hearing by Red Bank’s zoning board ended with more testimony, and objections, expected when the matter resumes on August 4.

Juan Torres, who owns Juanito’s restaurant, Juanito’s Bakery and El Guero grocery – all on the borough’s West Side – is seeking board approval for what would be the borough’s largest ethnic food store.

But first he’s got to clear hurdles related to the store’s size, parking issues and pedestrian safety, as well as the resistance of at least one other bodega owner.

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