WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CHICKEN WITH THAI BASIL

muang thaiThe wonderfully spicy Pad Kra Prow at Muang Thai in Red Bank. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

Authentic-tasting Thai with its liberal use of flavorful hot chili peppers, savory fish sauce and acidic lime can be difficult to come by. For years PieHole has had to make the trek into  Atlantic Highlands to Kunya Siam to get our fix of heat, acid and umami.

Fortunately, Muang Thai opened up on Front Street and now PieHole is within walking distance of a kitchen that is unafraid to churn out boldly flavored, authentic-tasting Thai food. We noticed that the restaurant’s expansion into the space formerly occupied by Flowers on Front is complete so we took the opportunity to explore their lunch menu and see how the new space shaped up.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BURRITO, THEN NAP

north of the border burritoThe carnitas burrito at North of the Border on Monmouth Street in Red Bank. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumWhen we walked through the door of Red Bank’s North of the Border on Monmouth Street, what we really wanted was the tacos.

Unfortunately, PieHole’s hectic schedule only allowed for a take-out lunch, and no matter how many times we’ve tried, tacos to-go are simply never as good as tacos eaten moments after they’re prepared.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CLAM PIZZA, IN RED BANK

DSCN1865Puglia’s clam pie, called the Mulberry Street. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumBy SUSAN ERICSON

A town that has more than 20 pizza venues at any one moment has some serious competition.

In Red Bank, one goes out (Biagio’s) and another is on it’s way in (Patrizia’s). For restaurateurs, breaking the habits of diners who rarely step out of the box on on their usual Friday night order is a challenge.

Dining out, though, with pizza specifically in mind, well, there’s a chance for diners to try something different.

One of the new kids in town is Puglia. If this Bridge Avenue pizzeria, located in the former home of Red Bank Pizza, seems remotely reminiscent to another time and day, that might be due to the Little Italy vibe. The place pulls you in with its promise of good Italian food, and keeps you there with comfortable atmosphere and good service.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HOMEY, WITH FREE FRIES

turkey club alices kitchenThe turkey club at Alice’s Kitchen in Sea Bright.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumThis week’s warm weather found PieHole once again putting the top down on the convertible and zipping east towards Sea Bright for lunch. We noticed progress in the clearing and preparation of the town’s public beach parking lot. Last week‘s mountains of sand gave way to cement curbs and the semblance of a parking lot.

Neighbor and frequent PieHole lunch companion Brian McCourt joined us, and suggested we try Alice’s Kitchen.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BURGERS IN SEA BRIGHT

sb beach burgers 040314Premonitions of summer at Beach Burgers and Grille in Sea Bright. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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Thursday’s warm weather and bright sunshine found PieHole putting the top down on our convertible and heading east to the beach.

We poked around Sea Bright, a  hive of reconstruction activity buzzing with backhoes and bulldozers.  Strolling a sunny Ocean Avenue, we noticed the breeze carrying the perfume of the ocean and the warming sand, and decided on lunch at Beach Burgers and Grille, one of a handful of new businesses that set up shop in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

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PIEHOLE: SEEDS, SALADS, AND MORE BURGERS

trattoria 2PieHole checks out the $8.95 lunch special at Front St. Trattoria. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

redbankgreen’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…

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GLOBE BURGER & HOOPS

globe_burgerPieHole takes in some March Madness at the Globe. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Ah, the Globe. Home to arguably the best burger in Red Bank and beyond. Moreover, you’ll almost certainly get to enjoy that burger without having to rub elbows at the bar with someone who’s just had his Maserati valet-parked on Broad Street, making the company as good as the food.

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RED BANK: TASTY RED SNAPPER SUSHI

sogosushi (2)A great selection of rolls to choose from among the lunch specials scratched our itch for brown rice sushi at Sogo Sushi. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Sogo Sushi on Monmouth Street in Red Bank is known for its brown rice sushi. The very slight nutty taste and more robust texture of the brown rice make for a deliciously unique accompaniment to the usual sushi fare.

It’s also a bit addicting, and so we headed to get our fix for this week’s What’s For Lunch.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CURRY CHICKEN FROM BFF

imageThe curry chicken salad sandwich from Balderose Fine Food in Fair Haven.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumBack in January, when we last checked in with Fair Haven’s Balderose Fine Foods, Tony Balderose was just getting ready to reopen his doors after several months hiatus.

PieHole stopped back in Friday morning, and ordered up the curry chicken salad on a sub roll ($6.99).

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? THIS, IN RUMSON

atlantic bagel 022514 2The Metropolitan, with a side of red potato salad, at Atlantic Bagel in Rumson. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumHonestly, this kind of blew us away.

It’s called the Metropolitan, and it’s hefty sandwich of maple honey ham, provolone, lettuce, tomato and roasted peppers with your choice of dressing – we had the Russian – on a bagel.

Tasted great. All the ingredients obviously fresh. But what knocked us out was the price: $5.20. And it comes with a huge side of potato salad.

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PIEHOLE: CHEESE SCHOOL IS NOW IN SESSION

Caitlin O’NeillReady for cheese school? Read all about it in PieHole. (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…

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CAPPY AND FRESH MOZ

A&G what's for lunchThe A&G Special from A&G Italian Fine Foods in Little Silver (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

On a friend’s suggestion, PieHole stopped by the deli on the corner of Oceanport and Silverside avenues in Little Silver. A&G Italian Fine Foods opened just before Thanksgiving in the location vacated by Giovanni’s over a year ago.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? PHO-BIOTICS FOR FLU

Takeout Chicken Pho from Pho Le in Red Bank.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Last week found PieHole in the grip of the grippe. When we finally emerged from the covers, we needed something not only restorative but with flavor that would agree with our still-finicky tastebuds.

Enter Red Bank’s only Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Le, and it’s $8 Chicken Pho.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? THIS, IN RED BANK

rb diner 013014Grilled chicken wrap with curly fries, at the Red Bank Diner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumThe seasoning on the grilled chicken in the grilled chicken wrap sandwich at the Red Bank Diner? It’s a secret.

And the dressing? Also a secret, teases owner Loui Kanellos, before allowing that it’s just a simple house concoction.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? THIS, IN LITTLE SILVER

felicia's 012314 2The Little Silver Panino, at Felicia’s & Sam’s. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumThe name “Felicia’s and Sam’s” may not shout “Italian,” but restaurants on the Green don’t get much more Italian than this cozy place in Little Silver.

Tucked away behind the CVS drugstore in the Markham Place strip mall, the place is owned by husband-and-wife Felicia and Sam Zaffiro, who emigrated to the United States separately from the same tiny town near the toe of the Italian boot, Vallefiorita.

And while the location and decor say “American luncheonette,” the menu is infused with the benefits of a culture “where every mother makes sure her daughter knows how to cook,” Felicia tells PieHole.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? THIS, IN SEA BRIGHT

sb pizza 1 011014Chicken roll with dipping sauce, at Sea Bright Pizza. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumAn Italian chicken roll? What’s that?

“If you go to Italy and ask for an Italian roll, they’ll look at you like you have three heads,” says Sea Bright Pizza owner Cono Trezza.”It doesn’t exist. It’s like ‘chicken parm.'”

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TURKEY SUB IN LINCROFT

joyce's turkey sub 011514The turkey sub with hot peppers at joyce’s. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumJoining a stream of paint-spattered tradesmen, women in businesswear, hungry young guys from Christian Brothers Academy and others streaming into Joyce’s Subs and Pizza, PieHole expected good, cheap What’s For Lunch eats.

Located in a characterless but busy strip mall on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, the 40-something-year-old shop is a mainstay among neighbors that include Pat’s Market and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? PHILLY IN PHAIR HAVEN

umberto's 121313Umberto’s Phlly cheese steak sandwich with onions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumWhen it comes to cheese steak, it’s often best not to look too closely or ask too many questions. Rubberband sandwich? Say no more.

Silvio Fabbri has no patience for it.

“It starts with good steak,” says the owner of Umberto’s Pizzeria, on River Road in Fair Haven. “You can’t buy cheap ****.”

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SOPPRESSATA ‘N CHEESE

whatsforlunch_soprasettaSoppressata from Citarella’s Market paired with some pickled cherry peppers from the garden and a piece cheddar cheese.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumCitarella’s Market in Red Bank carries a few different cured dry sausages that they bring in from Pastosa’s in Brooklyn.

PieHole recently picked up a sweet soppressata (approx $15 per pound) from the Prospect Avenue shop. At home, we put together a quick lunch with some pickled hot cherry peppers from this summer’s garden and a piece of cheddar leftover from a recent party.

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RED BANK: FOR LUNCH? SOUP WITH BITE

readie's 111513Vegetable barley soup, with a kick. We had it with turkey on a roll. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels mediumThe vegetable barley soup PieHole ordered at Readie’s Deli in Red Bank last week delivered a surprising spicy jolt.

Turns out that was the first time Readie’s had ever made the soup, owner Tom Fishkin told PieHole.

“I said, ‘Hey, why don’t we make some vegetable barley soup today?'” he recalled saying to his cook, Elid Cruz, that morning. “Elid said, “Ok, what’s in it?’ I said, “Well, start with some vegetables… and barley.'”

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