vic rallo 032816 2Staff from Vic Rallo’s Surf BBQ will be the judges for a Traditional Chili Cook-Off, hosted at the Rumson Fire Station on Saturday, October 22.

Purveyors of the most celebrated chili recipes often use the image of a firehouse (or a multi-alarm blaze) as a selling point for their customized take on the spicy South-of-the-Border stew — so it’s only appropriate that when the Oceanic Free Library hosts its latest benefit event on October 22, it will be a Traditional Chili Cook-Off that takes place inside the nearby Rumson Fire Station at 140 East River Road.

The public is invited to stop in at the station between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m., for a sampling of homemade chili recipes, prepared and presented by as many as 30 local contestants — all of them vying for prizes (and borough-wide bragging rights) in a hot ‘n heavy competition that promises to hit the spot for a great local cause.

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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)


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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basie appetite 2013 16Scenes from the 2013 inaugural ‘Appetite’ event, which returns to the patio and stage of the Basie this weekend. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

basie appetite 2013 10Its famous stage has hosted everything from Hollywood royalty and hall of fame rockers to high school revues — but Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre seems to have hit upon a fresh recipe for success, with the new breed of live shows built around celebrity chefs.

Such culinary cable stars as Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Robert Irvine and “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro have done boffo box office at the Basie. And with the arrival of this weekend’s ‘Appetite: A Gastronomic Experience,’ casual fans and full-fledged foodies can feast on a two-night/two-day excursion that’s highlighted by two superstars of the video-victuals circuit.

A four-course affair running from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, the second annual edition of Appetite also features tie-ins to the good works of some popular hometown favorites.

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