Tag Archives: Katie Parla

Katie Parla’s NJ Roots; More PJ’s Pancake Houses; Trenton’s New NOLA-Style Breakfast Spot; More

Please accept this post in the spirit it is offered: as a short respite from the craziness going on all around us. 

Edible Jersey’s Annual Travel Issue Features Katie Parla



By now you’ve probably heard of Katie Parla, author of the acclaimed book, Tasting Rome, and whom Mario Batali considers “an expert on all things Rome.” Parla talks about her Jersey roots and future plans in my story in the  Winter 2017 issue of Edible Jersey, here.

Kingston’s Main Street Bakery Morphs into PJ’s Pancake House


Gretalia Hospital Group: Tino Procaccini, Zissis (“Z”) Pappas, John Procaccini

All the Main Street properties – this bakery/cafe, the bistro in the Princeton Shopping Center, the commissary in Rocky Hill – were bought out late in 2015 by the folks behind Agricola in Princeton. But since then, this modest bakery/cafe that had anchored the tiny hamlet of Kingston since 1984 changed hands again. In March, it will reopen – newly refurbished and expanded – as a PJ’s Pancake House, the third (but not last) iteration of the iconic Nassau Street eatery. Get the scoop on this and the growing stable of eateries from the Gretalia Hospitality Group via my feature story here, in the February issue of the Princeton Echo.

February’s ‘Food for Thought’ Column

Food for Thought logo

  • Downtown Trenton finally gets a great breakfast spot (and lunch, too). Hot beignets and coffee with chicory are just two of the New Orleans-style offerings from chef/owner Bert Dumas of Studio B Bakery & Bistro across from the Sun Center.
  • Just in time for Valentine’s Day: 2 romantic restaurant tales from the staffs at Princeton area restaurants.
  • A passel of new and forthcoming restaurants in and around Central NJ.

Details here.


See You on the Radio;NOFA-NJ Winter Conference; Tiffin Service; Drunk History; Italian Dried Pasta Recommendation

Listen in to Sergeantsville’s WDVR on Monday, 1/9


I will be co-hosting “Let’s Talk” with my friend Walt Haake from 3 to 5 pm. We’ll be discussing restaurants and dining in Hunterdon and Bucks counties, food and dining trends for 2017, and myriad other food-related topics.

Joining us are those inimitable Canal House Cooking gals, Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hersheimer, who host the “Canal House Cooking Hour” on WDVR each Wednesday at 4 pm.

For me, it’s a blast from the past, bringing me back to my radio years hosting “Dining Today” in the Princeton area. WDVR can be streamed live or listened to on 89.7 FM in Bucks & Hunterdon, 96.9 FM in Trenton/Princeton, and is simulcast over WPNJ 90.5 in Easton, PA. Please join us!

Calling all NJ Organic Home Gardeners & Farmers Market Aficionados


The 27th annual conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ) is taking place at Rutgers New Brunswick on Saturday & Sunday, January 28 & 29. Many of the scheduled expert speakers and 25+ workshops address cutting-edge issues of concern to home gardeners, cooks, and CSA members. Among them:

  • No-till vegetable gardening
  • Uncommon fruits for every garden
  • The past, present, and future of CSAs
  • Fermentation

Elizabeth Henderson will speak on the past, present, and future of CSAs

Among the presenters is Elizabeth Henderson, who founded one of the nation’s first CSAs almost three decades ago. She will speak on a subject near and dear to my heart: food justice for farmers, farm workers, and consumers. Read my preview interview with Ms. Henderson here in the January issue of The Princeton Echo.

For cost and registration details, click here.

January’s Wide-Ranging Food for Thought Column: Tiffins, Food History on TV, Traditional Dried Italian Pasta from an Historic VillageFood for Thought logoMy Tiffin Express is a Plainsboro-based business that delivers home-style Indian meals daily to 6 pick-up locations around the area. I tried it and report on the results.

Much to my astonishment, I am recommending you tune in to the Comedy Central show, Drunk History, which is as informative as it is amusing. Find out why. Hint: artichoke wars and the great molasses flood.

I was tickled to read the story in the 1/4/17 New York Times about the resurgence of Italian dried pastas made with 100% Italian durum wheat, which appeared after I shared a recommendation for exactly that from none other than Rome food expert – and Jersey girl – Katie Parla. (p.s.: Look for my profile of Parla in the winter 2017 issue of Edible Jersey, which should hit the streets any day now.)

Specifics on all the above, here in the January 2017 Princeton Echo.




Review of Anthony David’s; Italian Cocktails Having a Moment; Say Cheez in Princeton

Anthony Pino Updates His Hoboken Flagship


Private Dining Room anthonydavids.com

No one can accuse Hoboken chef/restaurateur Pino and his wife, Liz, of standing still. Here, from the August issue of New Jersey Monthly, is my review of the latest iteration of Anthony David’s.
p.s. Pino, who also is behind Bin 14, will be opening a third restaurant any day now.

Italian Cocktails Past, Present, Future

I have always thanked my Italian heritage for my being partial to bitter flavors in food and drink, especially the herbaceous liqueurs like Campari, Fernet, and the amaro family. Until recently I have considered myself in the minority. But 3 area events – past and future – are telling me otherwise. (Why New Brunswick was and will be the setting for all three beats me.)

Negroni Sbagliato & Crostini with Anchovy-Chickpea Schmear, Clydz New Brunswick

Negroni Sbagliato & Crostini with Anchovy-Chickpea Schmear, Clydz New Brunswick

In August Katie Parla, the Rome-based food and beverage journalist who grew up in West Windsor, invited me to a fun Italian cocktail tasting at her father Mike’s restaurant, the venerable Clydz in New Brunswick. Eight selections ranged from classics such as the above Negroni Sbagliato (Campari, Vermouth Cinzano rosso, sparkling wine) to new inspirations from bartenders currently working in Rome. I particularly enjoyed Patrick Pistolesi‘s Cosa Nostra (Campari, Rabarbaro Zucca, Fernet Branca, Buffalo Trace bourbon, simple syrup).

I was sorry to have to miss the “Garden Tasting of Aperitifs and Digestifs” with Jeremy Fisher of the Frog & Peach on September 18. His tasting included all of my Italian faves, plus Spanish and French liqueurs and fortified wines, including 2 lesser knowns that I am partial to: Pineau de Charentes and Suze.

Due Mari, New Brunswick Courtesy duemarinj.com

Due Mari, New Brunswick
Courtesy duemarinj.com

I wouldn’t tease you about these past events if there weren’t another one on the horizon. On Saturday, September 26, the folks at Heirloom Kitchen are teaming up with those at Michael White’s Due Mari for a 3 pm Italian cocktail class at that New Brunswick restaurant. The session ($58) covers the classics as well as  the nouveau. Students take home recipes and a shaker, and Due Mari light fare, such as arancini and crostini, will be served. Details & sign up here.

A Take-out Shop Devoted to Grilled Cheese; Heirloom Beans; A New Addition to the Princeton Happy Hour Scene

The "Princeton" & Tiger Fries, Say Cheez Princeton

The “Princeton” & Tiger Fries, Say Cheez Princeton

Those are the subjects of my September “Food for Thought” column in the Princeton Echo. Read about Say Cheez, which I fully expected to loathe – and clearly did not – as well as why Rancho Gordo’s heirloom dried beans are worth seeking out (and where to find them), plus what the bartenders and chef at Agricola are bringing to the expanding Princeton happy hour scene.


Moonshine Goes Legit; Food Writers Speak; A Farmers Market Shows Heart

Are You Ready for Some Moonshine?

I knew that moonshine had gone mainstream, but was nonetheless surprised to find an entire shelf dedicated to more brands than I could easily count when I toured the newest Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, which opened on Route 206 in Hillsborough in June.

Tim Smith, Climax Moonshine

Tim Smith, Climax Moonshine

Moonshine will be in the spotlight at that store and at the Gary’s in Wayne on Saturday, August 29th, when Tim Smith of the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” (shown above – NOT at Gary’s!) will be on hand to sign bottles of his Climax Moonshine, which Huff Post named the best-tasting legal version out there.

Smith will be in Hillsborough from 1 to 3 pm; Wayne from 4 to 6 pm.

I’m told moonshine averages 150 proof; Climax is 90 proof. As for how to drink it, BuzzFeed offers these 19 moonshine concoctions.

And if wine is more your thing, know that Gary’s offers free tastings of at least 8 bottles every day at all of his stores.

Gary's Wine Tasting Dispenser

Gary’s Wine Bar Dispenser


Gary's Shelf Tag

Gary’s Shelf Tag

Second Annual Food Writers & Photographers Panel at West Windsor Farmers Market

West Windsor Farmers Market

West Windsor Farmers Market

This event also takes place on Saturday, August 29th, at 11 am (so you can squeeze in both Gary’s & this). I am honored to be a panelist once again. Come out to the market and ask us everything you ever wanted to know about food writing, blogging, and photography. (On that last subject, I’ll be looking for pointers myself.) Here are my impressive fellow panelists:

Justine Ma Justine Ma is a NY Food Editor who has eaten her way around the world. She has cooked alongside top chefs in the James Beard Foundation kitchen and shares local food experiences on her lifestyle blog LittleMissLocal.com.

Katie Parla is a NJ native and Rome-based food and beverage journalist and educator. She is the author of the blog Parla Food parlafood.com and website katieparla.com, the apps Katie Parla’s Rome and Katie Parla’s Istanbul parlafoodltd.com and the Ebook Eating & Drinking in Rome. Her forthcoming cookbook, Tasting Rome, co-authored with Kristina Gill, will be published by Clarkson Potter in early 2016 and is available for pre-order.

Linda Prospero divides her time as a board member for Princeton’s Italian cultural institution, Dorothea’s House, writing her blog, Ciao Chow Linda ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com, co-teaching a memoir-writing workshop, Italy in Other Words and travels to and from Italy.

Clay Williams is a photographer and blogger based in Brooklyn. He has shot assignments for the New York TimesFood Republic and the EdibleCommunities titles, among other publications. Follow his work at ultraclay.com/wordpress.

A Visit to Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market, Trenton

Isles Urban Farmers Sign at Greenwood Ave. Market

Isles Urban Farmers Sign at Greenwood Ave. Market

Sure, Trenton has the venerable Trenton Farmers Market and there’s the Capital City market on Thursdays, but I recently stopped by the fledgling Greenwood Avenue Market because it is doing important work for the local community. Not only does it have terrific produce dispensed by friendly folk, like these from Isles’ non-profit Urban Farmers:

Isles Table at Greenwood Ave. Market

Isles Table at Greenwood Ave. Market

And also bounty from Hillsborough’s Norz Hill Farm (including grass-fed ground beef at $3.99/lb):

Norz Hill Farm Table at Greenwood Ave. Market

Norz Hill Farm Table at Greenwood Ave. Market

but it also provides important services to the local community. It accepts SNAP and WIC vouchers, offers on-site health screenings and physical activities, and dispenses nutritional info, advice, and samples – like these zucchini pasta samples courtesy of Michelle Brill of Rutgers:

Michelle Brill, Rutgers' Family & Community Health Services

Michelle Brill, Rutgers’ Family & Community Health Services

The market is catty-corner to the Trenton train station (you can see the parking deck in the background of the first photo above) and is open Mondays from 2:30 to 6:30 pm. Make it a point to stop by some Monday between now and the end of October to show your support for this important effort.

Greenwood Avenue Farmers Market Sign

Greenwood Avenue Farmers Market Sign