WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ITALIAN BRILLIANCE

040516lapastaria3Pumpkin-filled ravioli is one of the lunchtime specials at La Pastaria, seen below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

040516pastariainteriorGo to Red Bank’s La Pastaria on Linden Place in the evening, and you’ll probably be waiting a while, even if you have a reservation.

As a humanitarian gesture, PieHole feeds you this little pearl of wisdom: hit this restaurant for lunch. The afternoon is a more laid-back affair, with attentive service and a menu full of familiar Italian fare that includes some enticing daily specials.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HEALTHY, EARTHY PIZZA

031516earthpizza2The vegan, one of the many selections on the menu at Earth Pizza, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

031615earthpizza1When Paul and Lisa Finkler opened a Pizza Fusion franchise in Red Bank in 2010, they may not have foreseen the niche their restaurant would fill. But the Broad Street restaurant was an immediate draw, and soon customers were asking for more gluten-free and vegan dishes.

Three years ago, tired of the parent company’s rules on menu changes, the Finklers bought out their contract, redubbed the restaurant Earth Pizza and did as asked.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? FAST FOOD, GREEK STYLE

112715greekeats1A plate of rotisserie chicken at Greek Eats comes with pita bread and a variety of  sides. A gyro, below, loaded with fillings, including french fries.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

112715greekeats6That old line about having fast food “your way” can definitely be applied to the newest restaurant on Newman Springs Road on the Shrewsbury-Red Bank border.

Greek Eats, located in a high-ceilinged, industrially-styled space on the former site of Memory Bowling, is the brainchild of George, Charlie and Taso Lyristis, brothers and owners of Teak and the Bistro in Red Bank.

But if decor and the fun, blue-eyed logo — a protector against the evil eye —  don’t pull you in, the opportunity to grab some authentic Greek grub certainly should.

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FAIR HAVEN: NOW CRAVIN’ SPROUTS

071615seedtosprout4Vegan pastries, grab ‘n go salads, kale wraps and smoothies are a few of the items customers line up for. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071615seedtosprout5In a space formerly home to a luncheonette inspired by the “grease trucks” of the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, customers looking like models in a Lululemon fashion show lined up recently for grilled avocado sandwiches, seed salads and millet-and-flax toast with coconut butter.

Yes, there’s been a complete 180 at the former Cravin Haven in Fair Haven, a beef-heavy luncheonette that closed in January after just a year of operation. The space, in the River Road shopping center anchored by an Acme supermarket, is now a strictly vegan restaurant and juice bar called Seed to Sprout.

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LITTLE SILVER: A BETTER SALAD BAR

033115 healthfair2Chef Silvio Guzzo talks about the many cold and hot options available at Healthfair Natural and Organic Food Market, including the grab-and-go sandwiches below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

033115 heathfair5If bean sprouts and granola are all that comes to mind when you think about health food, then perhaps you haven’t been to Healthfair Natural and Organic Food Market in Little Silver lately.

A bigger-than-expected market on Branch Avenue near the Little Silver train station, Healthfair also offers a daily hot food bar, a cold salad bar, a juice bar and an organic coffee station.

On a recent weekday, right before lunch hour, the considerable parking lot was packed. Inside, customers were grabbing groceries as well as house-made meals to go.
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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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RED BANK: VIA45 CHEFS GO TO MARKET

via45
Chef Claudette Herring slices some of the heirloom tomatoes she and partner Lauren Phillips picked up last Sunday at the Red Bank Farmers Market. Below, Herring and Phillips at Via 45, their Broad Street restaurant. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

via45 (4)“We’re going to miss the tomatoes. And the corn. The corn was so sweet this year,” chef Claudette Herring of Red Bank’s Via45 says wistfully of the change of seasons. “We’re not going to have corn like that in the winter.”

Herring and Via45 chef Lauren Phillips did some shopping at the Red Bank Farmers Market last Sunday to get a read on what’s available as we teeter from summer into fall.

The chefs suggest keeping an eye out for the last of the season’s heirloom and grape- or cherry-sized tomatoes, and found some large yellow varieties at the market.

“These tomatoes are beautiful, and they won’t be around much longer,” says Herring.

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RED BANK: CINNAMON SNAIL ON VEGAN ROLL

Adam Sobel, in striped bandana, says, “I want to get people excited about vegan. It’s not all brown rice and steamed vegetables.” (Photos by Jim Willis.)

By JIM WILLIS

Bites1_SmallAdam Sobel, owner of the popular vegan food truck the Cinnamon Snail, doesn’t get all preachy about being a vegan. Instead of sermons about the evils of the standard American diet or the darker side of factory-farmed animals, the 30-year-old Red Bank resident lets his food speak for itself, and hopes his cooking will get non-vegan customers to connect the dots on their own.

Since hitting the road  three years ago, the Cinnamon Snail has become a Red Bank Farmers Market staple while amassing a considerable following in Manhattan, where it has won multiple awards. Mobile Cuisine Magazine, for example, named the Snail “America’s Favorite Vegan Food Truck” in 2012.

redbankgreen sat down with Sobel on the front porch of his home over a cup of chai and some yerba mate to discuss the trials and tribulations of a kitchen on wheels and what’s next for the Cinnamon Snail.

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MOBILE FOOD MAY FIND A SPOT IN TOWN

adam-sobelCinnamon Snail owner Adam Sobel appears to have persuaded Red Bank officials to carve out a spot he and other mobile vendors can compete for. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi: click to enlarge)

Adam Sobel’s push for mobile food vending on the streets of Red Bank inched forward this week.

The owner/chef/driver of the popular Cinnamon Snail vegetarian and organic food truck came away from Wednesday night’s borough council meeting with a pledge that the governing body would look into creating a dedicated spot near the train station that mobile food vendors could compete for.

But the location under discussion isn’t one that Sobel, the presumptive lead candidate for the license, is sold on.

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A NEW PIZZERIA, AND A RAVE FOR VIA 45

pizza-fusionPizza Fusion boasts 68 seats, and plans to offer delivery in about three weeks. (Click to enlarge)

We’ve got some Red Bank eatery news this rainy Monday, with a long-awaited organic-ingredients pizzeria opening today and a second Broad Street restaurant getting a laudatory review from New Jersey’s largest newspaper.

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