House of Skip

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fuji Japanese Restaurant, Haddonfield, NJ

Haddonfield is a cute town. My companion and I have been there a couple times. They seem to have really great restaurants there and in the surrounding area, Collingswood is also a cute downtown area with great eats. We parked on the street, but there is a lot behind the building the restaurant is in that we didn't notice until we were inside. Fuji Japanese Restaurant is in a small shopping mall type building which has a couple of stores and another restaurant.

It is a rather small restaurant, but has big decor. There is a small sushi bar against the back wall and then the rest of the place is tables and booths that are pretty close together.

They have Omakese, which is a tasting menu and starts at $60 per person. We could not get it because you have to call ahead for it and we didn't do that as this was kind of a last minute pick. We did ask the waitress, who asked the hostess, who asked the chef, who said no. It was nice of them to ask, but we didn't think they'd let us do it. We'll have to go back specifically for that. Instead did our own tasting by ordering this and that off the menu. Our waitress was new, she admitted this was her first week on the job, she did pretty good considering. Fuji is BYOB, so we had them open our Riesling and we began to sip as we looked over the menu.

Here is what we decided on in order to get a taste of everything. We ordered one appetizer, a lobster egg roll and then we ordered sashimi to come as an appetizer, we ordered the super fatty tuna which was a special. Then we ordered a maki roll called futomaki- it was huge. Then we each ordered an entree, my companion got the Sea Bass and I got ginger pork. The entrees came with a soup and a salad. Forget the or, this place gives you both. So here is how it went down.

The bus boy/greeter/did everything guy brought us warm towels to wipe our hands with. The first thing to come out was our soup. It was miso, but with a clear broth, not the broth made from soy beans. It was yummy. Then our waitress dropped two little bowls off with cold noodles and veggies in it and said something like "this is the first part of your salad" we were confused, but we ate the noodle salad and agreed it was good, very refreshing.

The next thing was our lobster egg roll. It came already sliced into bite size pieces, I think we both got 2 or  3 pieces. The shell was thin and crispy, there was a decent amount of lobster in there and some veggies. It had a dipping sauce that was mostly mayo, so that was a no go for my companion, but I tried it, kind of like a tarter sauce but a little sweeter, it was ok, the lobster roll did not really need it, they had a lot of flavor.

Then came our sushi. So, the slices of fatty tuna were in the middle and then the maki roll was laid out around it.The super fatty tuna was awesome, often referred to as toro, it is the belly of the tuna. It is so buttery and full of flavor, we loved it. The Futomaki roll was large pieces, wrapped with a big ring of seaweed, then rice, then the shrimp and avocado, this roll also had tamago (Japanese omelet) which was very sweet.We enjoyed the roll. But we were starting to get full.

Then came the actual salad, which was lettuce and some other veggies (cucumbers, carrots) with ginger dressing. So good. Followed by our entrees which were served with a bowl of rice. My companion's sea bass was amazing. A really beautiful piece of fish, I am kicking myself now for not taking a picture of it. It was a decent size piece, lovely white color and an amazing crust of garlic on the top. He devoured it, but did share a little taste with me and it was definitely good stuff. My ginger pork was nice, really big portion, I could not finish. The sauce was sweet and sticky and so yummy.

We declined dessert and rolled back to the car. What an enjoyable dinner. We hope to make it back to try the Omakese tasting menu.

116 Kings Highway East
Haddonfield, NJ 08033
Tel: 856-354-8200
Fax: 856-354-8205

Monday, August 26, 2013

Winery Hopping- Cape May County

In case you are new here, let me inform you that Skip and her trusty companion love good food and wine. They are also NJ wine enthusiasts. There have been a couple of new wineries that opened up in Cape May County, so of course we had to go check them out. But instead of doing it alone, we were joined by our fellow wine and fun loving friends, Captain and Tenille. You may remember them from the famous Philly Bar Crawl post from last year when we tried to hit all the spots featured on the program, Drinking Made Easy staring Mr. Zane Lamprey.

Skip and her companion woke up early, had a good breakfast and hit the road with the plan of meeting Captain and Tenille at the first destination, Natali Vineyards. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans... of course we ran into trouble. Attempting to go a back way to avoid traffic, we found ourselves in just that, a terrible traffic jam that put us about an hour behind schedule. We alerted our wine loving friends that they should start without us and we might just meet them at the next place. But our luck began to change once traffic started moving, we arrived at the first destination (which we had to pass to get to the 2nd place) and found that Captain and Tenille were still there! And being good friends, they hung out while we did the tasting they had just completed.

Natali Vineyards is located in Cape May Courthouse, on a lovely plot of farm land. They have a cute little tasting room with lots of wine accessories for sale. They also have a great big chalkboard on the wall with their a list of their wines. We went through the highlights for what they have. Some decent dry and sweet whites, a smattering of deep reds that are pretty good, Skip's particular favorite is the Nonna's Red, which they affectionately refer to as a "party in a bottle" because of it's high alcohol content- but it is also delicious! They also have a good selection of fruit wines. Captain and Tenille are not big fans of the fruit wines, but my companion and I like them. My companion probably likes them more than I, especially the sweet ones. The highlights of Natali's fruit wines is probably the beach plum which is a local fruit in Cape May County, however it is very sweet. If you are looking for less sweet, try their cranberry which is tart and on the drier side for a fruit wine.

Once we finished up there we were on the way to the next destination. Just about a 5 minute ride from Natali is the newly opened, Jessie Creek Winery which also operates a Bed and Breakfast. To continue the theme of running into trouble, we pulled up to the winery and saw that the gate said "Sorry we are closed", even though half the gate was open. The Bed and Breakfast is in the front and then the winery tasting room is behind the gate. Skip took initiative and jumped out of the car and asked a man who was in the parking lot if the winery was open, unfortunately he was just a guest at the B&B and did not know, but then a man appeared from the office door of the B&B and said it was open but someone had failed to open the gate all the way. He opened the gate and we drove through and met him in the tasting room. Jessie Creek has a quaint wood paneled tasting room with a little bar for tasting. The tasting room is off of the banquet room that is used to host weddings. While we were there they were setting up one, looked lovely. We tasted all the wines they had to offer, which were only about 5 or 6 at the time we were there. They were pretty good for a new winery. My companion and I bought a bottle of the Pinot Grigio, which was a crisp, refreshing summer drinking wine with a hint of citrus.

Next up was, Hawk Haven, which is one of our favorites, they have a really large and very nice tasting room. They also have a lovely outdoor seating area to enjoy a glass or bottle on a beautiful day. They also have an adorable wooden swing out front hanging from a tree that Skip could not resist. 
Once inside the tasting room we were greeted by the friendly staff and after paying for our tastings, we were directed to a spot on the bar where we were greeted another staff person who took us through the tasting list. Hawk Haven has always been a favorite of my companion and I because they have clean, crisp whites and heavy, fragrant reds. They also have some sweet wines if that's your thing. We left there with a bottle Riesling which is a wine that we like to keep on hand for pairing with Asian or Indian food. They have great reds, but that is usually what we buy when we are there so we decided to change it up. Some of our favorite reds are the Quill and Cab Franc.

After all that wine tasting, we figured it was a good idea to stop for lunch before hitting our next winery. We ended up at The Depot Market in Cape May. It is a small deli where you order at the counter and then can sit inside or outside and wait for your order to come to you. We chose to sit outside at a picnic table on this beautiful summer day. The menu was basic, but not boring. They had a variety of salads and sandwiches to choose from. My companion and also Captain and Tenille had the turkey burger, only my companion had it without the pesto mayo because as some of you may know, he does not care for mayo. I had a spinach salad with egg and tuna salad on it. All three agreed the turkey burger was yummy and my salad was also very good. It was a perfect lunch to fuel the rest of our wine filled day.

With lunch in our bellies, we headed to another new winery, Willow Creek. They have a beautiful property, which is quite large and also a very large and gorgeous tasting room with giant crystal chandeliers. When we entered the tasting room we were greeting by a young lady behind a table who welcomed us and gave us our options for tours and tastings. Since this was a new winery and we had never been there before, the 4 of us thought that it would be fun to take the tour. We were shocked to learn after agreeing to this that the tour and tasting combined would cost us $120! That's $30 per person for a tour aboard one of their winery carts (basically a large golf cart) and a tasting at a super crowded bar afterwards. I will say that we enjoyed the
Vines at Willow Creek
 property and always like to check out new wineries, but we all agreed they are over charging for the tour and tasting. Their wines are really young, not bad, just most of them could use some more time in the bottle. They also have a lot of wines available, perhaps they are spreading themselves too thin? I think in time their wines will improve and since it was packed, I am guessing the prices are not keeping people away. We'll definitely be back for a visit but I wouldn't put them on our favorite list just yet.

We were supposed to head to Turdo next but as it was close to 5 pm, which is their closing time, we called before driving there, when they didn't answer the phone we decided it was best to skip them. I will note that on past visits, my companion and I have truly enjoyed their Italian style wines and look forward to visiting them again.

So, we then landed at our last destination, Cape May Winery. Cape May Winery is large, they have a tasting room where they also have lots of wine accessories and wine themed items for sale, they also have a second tasting room for over flow and a nice patio for sitting and enjoying some wine outdoors. Because it was crowded, we paid for our tastings in the main room and then headed to the room they were using for over flow as there was more room there. We ended up at a tasting bar where their was a lovely young lady working and we got a private tasting through their list as there was no one else at that bar. Based on past visits, we knew they had good wines. We got to chose, I think like 6 wines each to try, so my companion and I each made our picks and shared each others wines so we could get a taste of each. Their wines are consistently good. Since this was our final winery of the day we were going to get a bottle and sit outside where they had live music, but then a brochure for a nearby seafood restaurant caught our eye and so we thought that instead we should take our wine to go have it with our food at this place that specialized in crabs.  As we purchased our wines, each couple bought a white wine that we thought would go with seafood, we told the woman working at the winery where we were going and so she packed our wines in ice and advised us that we might need a corkscrew and glasses. I purchased a corkscrew and she gave us some plastic cups to take with us.

We arrived at H&H and realized that we were lucky that the woman at the winery warned us. This is a no frills kinda joint. It's basically a shack on a pier, you have to wait and obtain an outdoor picnic table on your own (no hostess) then you order inside and give them your name and wait for them to bring your food to you outside. The place was packed! We did end up getting a picnic table pretty quickly and placed our order, 4 orders of all you can eat crabs and 1 lb of pick and peel shrimp. The order took a long time because they were so busy. They do a huge business of take out in addition to eating on their deck. While it is a little unorganized and is totally no frills (no glasses, no silverware, no plates, no side dishes) it is a reasonable price for quality seafood and it was delicious and a great waterside setting to enjoy wine and seafood with friends. We ate up as many crabs as we could and enjoyed the shrimp as well. Both were fresh and tasty, but very messy. We used up a lot of napkins, thank goodness they do provide those. Once we finished up, it was time to part ways and head home.

We had a wonderful day out in beautiful Cape May County drinking wine and enjoying food with our dear friends, Captain and Tenille.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Skip's Favorite Local Places.

It's been awhile since I did any reviews and so I thought I'd start with a recap of some of Skip's favorite places. It will be a two part series, starting with the local joints that Skip frequents.

While my companion and I are always on the look out for new and unique eateries throughout NJ and beyond, there are a couple of key local places that they rely on for a quick bite or low key night.

First up, Skip's go-to home town spots in Robbinsville. Centro, after a couple of other attempts, I'd like to think that this one will stick. Located on the corner of Route 33 and 526, as part of an attempt at a high traffic town center for Robbinsville, some of the previous inhabitants were missing the mark. But with a more balanced bar and dining room approach and family-friendly options, Centro seems to have become a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. A relaxed bar scene, affordable menu items and good food are all part of the keys to success here. An outdoor seating area is a nice touch for the warmer months as well, especially if you like to watch the traffic go by. Skip and her companion can be found there on the weekend for a relaxing lunch, on a Friday or Saturday evening for dinner or a night cap. We've enjoyed their delicious appetizers, such as the calamari and the grilled octopus. They have great seafood entrees and the ribs are pretty good as well. They also often have creative specials in addition to the menu. And you can get just about anything under the sun to drink, scotch, wine, beer (decent selection of on tap stuff besides the usual) and of course they have their own specialty cocktails and martinis. If you happen to be there on the weekend and Dennis is behind the bar- ask for a chocolate martini- his are the best!

Next up, Ploy Siam- located in the Foxmoor Shopping Center (wish there were more exciting shops in there, I think the hidden gems in this center get forgotten because the shopping center as a whole lacks appeal) is Skip's go to local place for Thai cuisine. We've heard mixed reviews but we feel the food is consistently good. The service is admittedly hit or miss. Despite the fact that it is never overcrowded, the service is almost always slow. If you are willing to wait and are as lucky as Skip to have a companion you like to converse with, then don't let slow service stop you from visiting Ploy Siam. The Tom Yum soup is some of the best we've ever had. Their curries are always delicious and they really listen when you ask for a specific level of spice. As you may remember from past reviews, my companion likes it a little hotter than I do. The decor in Ploy Siam is very interesting and definitely can provide a distraction as you wait to order and wait for your food, they have a lovely fountain that has a stream-like design, as well as, lots of interesting statues.

Not to be forgotten of course is the ever popular DeLorenzo's Tomato Pie. If you did not have the pleasure of growing up in or around the Mercer County area, I feel bad for you that you have not been able to experience DeLorenzo's. Whether you are a Hudson St or Hamilton Ave fan, you know that tomato pie is really better than pizza. Skip and her companion feel very fortunate that the Hudson St family chose Robbinsville to open up their new home. There is consistently a long wait, especially on the weekend, but it is well worth it. It's BYOB and they will open it for you so you can drink while you wait :) They have great seasonal antipasto choices and of course the pizza pie is the main attraction, with or without toppings, this stuff is amazing. They have perfected the sauce to cheese ratio and that thin, crispy, charred crust is enough to make my mouth water as I describe it.

Staying with the Italian cuisine, Villa Barone on Route 130 is probably our favorite local, family owned Italian restaurant (and there are many in our area to chose from). Whenever my companion and I want to grab a bite to eat close to home and be low-key, we grab a bottle of nice red wine and head to Barone. Whether we are in the mood to splurge and go with the Tuscan Table, where the server brings you a selection of items from their antipasto bar which usually includes cheeses, meats and marinated veggies like roasted red peppers and olives or just go with the mussels in red sauce, we know we can start off the meal in a delicious way. Their entrees never disappoint either, my companion's favorite is the pappardelle bolognese, but they have many great chicken, meat and seafood dishes in addition to the great pasta. They always have specials too, my companion once even had a bacon wrapped Filet Mignon there. They have all the traditional Italian desserts too like tartufo, cannoli, triamisu and fruit sorbets. You can never go wrong at Villa Barone.

And finally, Daphne's. We all know NJ is the diner capital of the world, so it should come as no surprise that one of Skip's hometown favorite's is Robbinsville's diner, Daphne's. Great for breakfast lunch or dinner, Daphne's is no ordinary diner. On the smaller side as diners go, you always feel welcome at Daphne's. Breakfast is my favorite there, in addition to a great omelet selection and of course pancakes and waffles, they always have a list of breakfast specials that will knock your socks off, like "Jersey Eggs Benedict" which is Eggs Benedict with pork roll, I know crazy! Or bananas foster french toast! Yikes. They have great coffee too. Lunch and dinner are also good at Daphne's, a few times my companion and I have gone and are always amazed at how big and fresh their entree salads are. I just noticed on Facebook that once a week they have all you can eat mussels on Thursdays, we'll have to check that out.

There are more great local places, but this is a good start of Skip's favorite places to visit. Up next, we've got to check out the brand new Papa's Tomato Pies that just opened up, conveniently it is located near our beloved Ernie's :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Paleo Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ok, here is another recipe for you. I recently bought a cast iron skillet and when I was purchasing it the woman at the register was talking about how she loves to make pineapple upside down cake in hers. So, I thought, I can make that paleo! I had just made a strawberry breakfast cake by Primally Inspired (  and that gave me a great idea on how to make the batter for it. The "cinnamon crunch topping" on that breakfast cake is like crack! I couldn't stop eating it while I was making it! 

So, here is my Paleo version of the pineapple upside down cake. I have two great kitchen tools that I used besides the awesome cast iron skillet (if you don't have one, get it now). I used pineapple corer/slicer, like this one:
and it works great to get beautiful rings from a whole pineapple. If you are just going to dice the pineapple, don't bother, but when you need rings like I did for this, then the corer/slicer is great.

I also used my brand new Cherry pitter- which was a great help so that I could use, real
fresh cherries in this recipe and not jarred ones with lots of yucky ingredients in them.

Okay, so let's get down to business, this is how I did it.

Paleo pineapple upside down cake
2 tbs grass fed butter
5-6 pineapple rings
1/4 cup coconut sugar plus 1 tbs
5 eggs
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 tbs coconut oil melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbs honey
4 cherries, pitted and halved

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add butter and allow to melt, lay pineapple rings in the melted butter, sprinkle with 1/4 cup coconut sugar. Allow this to caramelize in pan.

Mix eggs with coconut flour, melted oil, vanilla extract, coconut sugar and honey and whisk until incorporated.

Pour cake batter over pineapple rings and top with halved cherries.
Just out of the oven.
Place in a 350 oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool and then flip onto a serving dish. (carefully)
Finished product
 PS- I served this to my family and they didn't know that it didn't have white sugar or white flour in it. :) They devoured it. :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Skip's Tropical Treat- A recipe

My new favorite thing to do is take frozen fruit and whip it around in my food processor for a yummy dessert. Sometimes I mix fun things in with it and make tasty combinations. This one is my new favorite.

1 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 ripe banana
1 TBSP of coconut flakes (unsweetened)
*amounts are not exact, I just eyeball it, but to give you an idea this made enough for about a 1 cup serving for 2 people.

Put it all in the food processor, turn it on and hold on. The frozen fruit tends to make my food processor "jump around" a bit as it breaks it up, once it becomes smooth it will stop. Whiz it around until it is your desired texture, this one come out pretty creamy because of the banana. I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture. I promise to share one in the future.


Fruit and Nut Bark- Paleo Pen Pals!

In addition to going out for food and drink, Skip likes to cook and experiment at home too! So, when she discovered Paleo Pen Pals you know she was super excited!

This is how it works- you sign up and they pair you with your "pen pal" via email. You exchange addresses and other important info (allergies, like/dislikes, general info) with your pen pal and then mail each other some fun stuff to cook with. Obviously, given this is a paleo site, the ingredients you send should be paleo friendly and there is a $10 price limit on the ingredients as well.

I got paired with Rachel Ball of San Fransisco (! I sent her a box of interesting items and I cannot wait to see what she does with them! She sent me one of the most amazing things I've ever been given! Raw cacao butter! I'd never used it so I was super excited to dig in. I contemplated going savory since I thought that going dessert would be too obvious, but my desire for sweets got the better of me and this is what I came up with.

Fruit and Nut Bark
 1.8 oz of raw cacao butter
 4 oz bar of 100% cacao chocolate bar (chopped)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
A dash of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of honey
1 cup chopped raw cashews
1/2 cup assorted dried fruit (I used Trader Joe's Golden Berry Blend which includes golden raisins, cherries, and other berries)

 I started by melting the cacao butter and chocolate bar in a saucepan.
I added the vanilla, cinnamon and honey and stirred until completed melted and combined. I removed the saucepan from the heat and stirred in the chopped cashew and dried fruits.
I then poured the melted mixture into a casserole dish that I greased with a little coconut oil, wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for a chilly little nap. When I awoke the next day, it was a beautiful brick of chocolate goodness waiting to be broken into.

Now all that is left to do is enjoy! It is sweet, yet slightly bitter and silky smooth from that delicious, wonderful cacao butter. The nuts and fruit add some texture and sure is a yummy treat when you want just a bite of chocolate.
Thanks Rachel!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blue2O, Cherry Hill

One of my dining companions favorite things is good seafood. So, I took him to try a place that claimed to have just that.

Blue2O is a sleek looking place, with blue lights, nice booths and dim lighting. We were pleasantly surprised to find that this bar and grill features half priced bottles of wine on Friday nights, which this happened to be! Bonus. Their house wine is Cupcake, which is not my favorite, but it is ok and at $13 for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, how can you complain?

We started with two appetizers. As many readers may have caught on to, my companion loves oysters and I am just beginning to appreciate them. So, we got an oyster sampler from the raw bar, which was 8 oysters. They were definitely fresh and definitely yummy, I love loading the horseradish on them! I am not a big fan of the larger ones as I find them to have just a little too just slime. But overall they were good. Our other appetizer was called Sriracha Shrimp and we both agreed were similar to the Bang Bang shrimp at Bonefish Grill. They were spicy, sticky and a little sweet from the sweet chili glaze. They were delish and we were off to a good start.

I had a difficult time making a decision on an entree, the menu is full of yummy sounding things. You can order from the simply fresh, simply grilled menu, featuring different fish and seafood items grilled over a wood fired grill. But they also have seafood specialties featuring some unique entrees like lobster risotto, maple bourbon salmon and Bouillabaisse, after some deep thought, I decided on the maple bourbon salmon and my dining companion chose the bouillabaisse. 

The salmon was sweet and had that great crust you get from cooking with something sticky like maple syrup. The bouilabaisse was huge and had lots of great seafood jam packed in it. We thoroughly enjoyed Blue2O and thought it was a worthwhile trip and could be considered for a re-visit.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Flashback- Original Fiddleheads review- circa 2011

Fiddleheads is a quaint little restaurant in Jamesburg, NJ, which is in Central NJ for those of you who aren't familiar with Jamesburg. The staff is really friendly, the host who is also one of the owners, is areal sweetheart who goes out of his way to make sure you enjoy your meal. It was obvious that this place is a neighborhood gem, many of the people coming in where on a first name basis with the owner. The chef even came out and spoke to every table to ask how their meal was, now that's a classy place. Even better it is a BYOB with reasonable prices.

The specials are listed on a small menu on the table, in addition the regular menu. I started with the Lamb lollipop appetizer, it was a little disappointing, it was not prepared the way I'm used to it. It was a little greasy and the breading kind of ruined the whole thing for me and the accompanying sauce tasted like tartar sauce and had a little too much mayonnaise. My dining companion enjoyed his poached pear salad. We ordered from the specials menu, I had the Fabulous Vegetarian Plate which was absolutely fabulous. The veggie cakes made of zucchini,onion, peppers and nuts were amazing, similar texture to a hush puppy,they were really great, it was served with a fennel slaw which was equally good, very fresh and tasty, the cool, crisp fennel was a nice contrast to the warm, crispy veggie cakes. For regular readers here at HOS, it is known that my dining companion loves seafood and scallops is one of his favorites, so being that there was a special with sea scallops over asparagus risotto of course he ordered it. He really loved it, the flavors were so wonderful.

Even though we had finished our meals, we made room for dessert being that they had some really great sounding desserts. My dining companion could not resist the pumpkin bread pudding, which was really creamy and delicious. And I could not pass up my favorite, carrot cake and I have to say it was the best carrot cake I've ever had. Needless to say the rest of the evening more than made up for the disappointment of the lamb lollipops, which was probably just more my taste than a bad dish.

I highly recommend you check out Fiddleheads, it's a great little find and one of those places that you'll leave feeling really satisfied.

An Overdue Shout Out- Fiddleheads, Jamesburg, NJ

Long time HOS followers may remember that back a few years ago, Skip and her companion ventured to a little town called Jamesburg and dined at a lovely establishment called Fiddleheads. We had a wonderful meal and wonderful service.

Recently, in discussing all the lovely places we've been to, we decided to start doing "rewinds" where we revisit old favorites to see what's up. Earlier in the summer we went to Fiddleheads and Skip just never got around to writing something up about it. But they deserve a shout out.

The owners of this restaurant are wonderful, inviting people and have a really great thing going. When we arrived, we walked in and were greeted by one of the owners who was also the host that evening. I said we did not make a reservation but were hoping we could get a table for 2. Not only did he indicate this was not a problem, but he remembered us! Well, me, maybe not my companion! haha! Anyway, he remembered that I sent him a link to the blog when I originally reviewed Fiddleheads, if that wasn't enough, he actually remembered my real, full name from when I made reservations- 2 years ago! He sat us at a lovely little table for two right in the front of the restaurant by the window where we had a lovely view of the street. To say we were excited to be back at Fiddleheads is an understatement.

If you didn't see the original review or don't remember, Fiddleheads is a small, quaint restaurant right on the "main st" of Jamesburg. The decor is super cute and comfortable. In addition to their normal, fabulous menu, they also offer a seasonal specials menu which is always exciting. Both the regular menu and the specials menu feature vegetarian options as well if that's your thing.

This is also a BYOB establishment (an HOS fav) since we didn't know what we'd be eating we brought both a white and a red. Now, you'll have to forgive good 'ol Skip as since it has been a while I don't recall the specials or everything that we ate on this visit. I will however post the original review from our first visit so that you can read that as well.

So, what I do know, is that we shared a cheese plate- Fiddleheads always has a cheese plate on the menu under their salad selections and it varies depending on what is available/seasonal and what the chef picks. It was a wonderful assortment of cheeses, nuts and  dried fruits. I cannot remember if we got another appetizer, but I think we might have because I do remember leaving there very full! I want to say it was something off of the specials menu but I cannot recall. I do know that I had the orange brandied salmon and it was delish! The salmon was perfect and the orange was refreshing and sweet. Neither my companion or I can recall what he ordered that evening, I think it was off of the specials menu and it could have been fish, but I hesitate to guess any further. I do know he enjoyed it as I recall us both sitting at the table stuffed and satisfied as we left.

To recap- Fiddleheads is cute, the staff and owners are wonderful and the food is yummy. Brian, please forgive me for taking so long to say, "Thanks" for remembering us and for being so welcoming. We had an excellent meal and promise not to take so long to come back this time!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Update- Alps Bistro

Back in September of 2012, my companion and I visited the quaint, Alps Bistro in Allentown, NJ and had a lovely Eastern European meal. With an out-of-town relative visiting, we decided to revisit this little gem with Skip's family. We could not have made a better choice.

You'd think with a big party you'd lose that feel of having dinner in some one's home, but not at Alps, it just becomes on big party. The staff was very accommodating of our 7 person (including one child) party and made us feel at home. The service was top notch as usual. The schnitzel was again pork, but Skip went with the Rouladen as it looked so good when my companion had it last time. Most of our party did get the schnitzel which this time came in your choice of 3 sauces, one that came with a sunny side up egg, another was Hunter sauce, which had bacon, red wine and mushrooms and the third was a pineapple peppercorn. 2 of the people in our party got the hunter sauce and it looked amazing. 2 other guests got the pineapple peppercorn and also enjoyed it. Our youngest diner got it plain and loved it, she had a lot of bites! Our final party member got another special which was poached cod in a tomato basil broth with orzo, it was a beautiful presentation and he enjoyed it.

We were again super full after all that food and just asked for a couple coffees. The chef made an appearance around this time to ask us how everything was and he brought us a plate of some delicious little cookies that had a lovely anise flavor. We polished those off and he brought us more! We whined and moaned we were full but ate them anyway! Our littlest guest was asked if she wanted to color when we arrived but she declined. Now, the chef pointed out to her that they hang the drawings from children on their wall and so she gladly accepted paper and crayons while we finished our coffee. She drew a lovely farm scene with a pig (perhaps drawing experience from some of the art work in the restaurant being that they have a couple of pig statues and photos). The staff was excited and proudly hung it on their wall with the other drawings.

Oh! I almost forgot. We were going to get the pate platter, but they were out of them, we ended up getting two orders of pierogies, one potato and cheese and one kielbasa and sauerkraut. You get three in an order and so we divided them up among those who wanted a taste. I had the kielbasa and sauerkraut and it was amazing. They don't make them in house but they order them from a  local company that does make them by hand. You can tell.

So, in summary- Alps Bistro is awesome, whether you are a twosome or a larger party, the staff and owners at Alps love to make you feel like part of the family and engage you in conversation. They are also extremely generous. That is two visits were we received treats on the house.