Tag Archives: Chris Albrecht

Catching Up: Fresh Local Pasta; Fresh Local Rice; Chefs with Non-Culinary Sidelines; New BBQ in Lambertville; Foodie Gift Idea for New Parents; More

t has been 2 months since I last posted here. One reason for this lapse is personal: lots of wonderful major life events, including welcoming my first grandchild and gaining a second wonderful son-in-law. The other is global: trying to regain my balance since the election, which I consider an unmitigated disaster. (This is a blog about food and dining, not politics. But I won’t be offended if you want to stop following it because of the preceding statement. In fact, if you voted for the incoming administration, I wish you would unfollow me.)

Here are the stories – some among my all-time favorites to write – that appeared in the interim:

1. My profile of the Zeck brothers and their fresh, inventive, all-natural LoRe pastas made with local ingredients – including grains. This story made the cover of the current (i.e. holiday 2016) issue of Edible Jersey

2. My interview with Jim Lyons about the rice varieties he grows on his Pennington farm, Blue Moon Acres, which was my November feature story in the Princeton Echo

3. I followed that up in the December Echo by having 3 Princeton-area chefs tell, in their own words, about the passions they enjoy outside the kitchen: Crawford Koeniger (auto engine rebuilding), Dennis Foy (well-respected fine artist), and  Max Hansen (hand-turned wooden spoons and spatulas; photo below).


Max Hansen, courtesy the Princeton Echo

Food for Thought logoAmong the tidbits in my “Food For Thought” column over the last months:

  • More Than Q, the popular outlet for Texas-style barbecue, closed up shop at the Stockton Market and opened up in Lambertville
  • NJ resident and blogger Leena Saini has produced a beautiful and eminently useful book for introducing babies to a world of flavors. Read all about Around the World in 80 Purees here. (Scroll down)
  • New ventures for Shibumi Mushrooms, and musical chefs’ chairs: Chris Albrecht takes over the kitchen at the Ryland Inn, while Craig Polignano leaves that post to become the opening chef at the forthcoming Mistral II in King of Prussia, PA. Details on both here.

Eno Terra Review & Update; 3 Cool Events This Week

Eno Terra Post-Albrecht

NJ Monthly cover April 2015 After the departure last year of Chris Albrecht, this Kingston restaurant’s high-profile opening chef, the owners brought in Mike Metzner, who had once worked at Nicholas in Red Bank. Naturally, I checked in to see how things were going under Metzner. Here is my review from the April issue of New Jersey Monthly. But you’ll also want to read this postscript, because the chef situation has changed again!

“Eat Your Weedies” Foraging Workshop

spring salad FPNL.orgDebbie Naha, a naturalist with an MS degree in Food & Nutrition from NYU will host a foraging workshop at the Mapleton Preserve (D&R Canal State Park) in Kingston from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday, April 25. After an indoor slide talk, the group of up to 25 attendees will be led on a foraging walk and taste testing. Registration is required. Phone 609.683.0483 or visit the Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands website.

Tales of Cooking & Coping (including sweet treats!)

Laura Zinn Fromm

Laura Zinn Fromm

I was sorry to have missed award-winning writer Laura Zinn Fromm’s appearances in Princeton a while back, when she discussed and read from “Sweet Survival,” her memoir-with-recipes about coping with a family fraught with mental illness. By all accounts, she is a great speaker: funny, frank, honest, and sensitive. Fromm will be at Bloomingdale’s at the Mall at Short Hills on Thursday, April 23, from 6 to 8. The store’s culinary coordinator will prepare some of the recipes from her book. The cost is $30 and includes a $25 Bloomingdale’s gift card as well as a copy of “SWEET SURVIVAL.” Registration is required. Email Sajal.Hamilton@bloomingdales.com or call 973-548-2263.

Ootsav Music Festival at Mary Jacobs Library

OostavI can’t be accused of promoting the same old, same old. This unique springtime celebration of classical Indian culture – classical music, dance, crafts, and food – was established last year by students of Montgomery High as a fundraiser for the preservation of the library in the tiny borough of Rocky Hill, which serves both. This year’s event is on Saturday, April 25, from 5 to 9 pm at the library. Tickets ($15) and information here.


Breaking News: New Chef at Eno Terra

This celebrated Kingston restaurant has been without an executive chef since the departure earlier this year of Chris Albrecht, the opening chef and very public face of the restaurant. Carlo Momo of the Terra Momo Restaurant Group has announced his replacement: Michael Metzner, a native New Jerseyan who has worked for star chefs Nicholas Harary and Dennis Foy, among others.

Michael Metzner Courtesy giovannisbistro.com

Michael Metzner
Courtesy giovannisbistro.com

Metzner, a Johnson & Wales graduate, last worked at Giovanni’s Bistro in Berkeley Heights. Before that restaurant closed earlier this year, it received a rating of Very Good from the NY Times, which cited Metzner’s “polished cooking” and “carefully articulated flavors.”

A fuller biography of the chef can be found at the Giovanni’s website, which is still up and running.

Good Things Come in Twos: Edible Jersey, New Reads for NJ Foodies, YouTube+Yelp

Edible Jersey Throws Itself a Party

Courtesy of Edible Jersey

I was there as EJ magazine celebrated its 5 successful years with a shindig in this gorgeous barn at Terhune Orchards. Here’s my report on the good food and fun time, in today’s Princeton Packet.

Along with my party eavesdropping I reprinted this recipe from a past issue of the magazine, just right for the current overflow of bounty from our gardens, farm markets, & CSAs:

Christopher Albrecht,  Eno Terra, Kingston (Reprinted from Edible Jersey Magazine)
“[Use a] 7″ x 11″ or 2-quart Pyrex or earthenware dish. Since this dish will be the serving vessel, the more rustic and visually appealing it is, the better.”

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 sweet onions (cut into 1/8-inch slices, sliced with the grain)
2 fennel heads (cut into 1/8-inch slices, sliced with the grain)
6 zucchini, green, medium (cut into 1/4-inch slices, on a slight bias)
6 yellow squash, preferably gold bar (cut into 1/4-inch slices, on a slight bias)
12 plum tomatoes (cut into 1/4-inch slices)
8 sprigs thyme (leaves only)
2 sprigs rosemary (leaves only)
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the sliced onions and fennel in a heavy pot with about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook them slowly, for about 40 minutes, until their crunch is gone.

2.     Place the fennel-onion mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Add about 1/3 of the thyme and rosemary leaves.

3.     Layer the raw zucchini, squash, and tomato slices on top of the fennel-onion mixture. “Shingle” the vegetables to expose about a third of each row, so that the color of each is visible. (It’s OK to pack the vegetables tightly since they will shrink during cooking.)

4.     Once the vegetables are shingled, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese, and another 1/3 of the thyme and rosemary.

5.     Bake in oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Be sure the juices are bubbling and starting to brown. About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, break up the goat cheese over the top and continue baking.

6.     When finished, add the remaining herbs and drizzle with good olive oil. Let the gratin rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Note: This dish can be prepared a day in advance – just leave off the goat cheese, finishing herbs and olive oil until the final bake. Serves 8.

New Reads for Garden State Food Lovers from Edible Jersey & Pete Genovese

Edible Jersey has issued its first recipe collection, a magazine-format cookbook of 30 of the best finds from farmers’ markets across the state. You can order it at the magazine’s website, or buy it for $7.99 at many of the same places that carry the magazine (which, in case you don’t know, is free).

Pete Genovese of Star-Ledger and Munchmobile fame has published the 3rd edition of his evergreen and everchanging Food Lovers’ Guide to New Jersey. If you don’t have any edition, what are you waiting for? And if, like me, you have either of the previous editions, you know how rapidly the best restaurants, markets, farms, wineries, microbreweries, food festivals, and local culinary offerings change. (I’m happy they do: that’s what keeps me working!) As Genovese writes in the introduction, consider the book “a culinary roadmap to a state that leads the nation in highways – and, very likely, restaurants.”

YouTube: Real Actors Read Yelp Reviews

This site is too good to be believed. Click on the heading above and see if you don’t agree.