Tag Archives: Locavore Adventures

Spring Dining & How This Year’s Taste of the Nation in Princeton is Different

2oth Year for Share Our Strength’s Princeton Benefit will be a Locavore’s Dream

Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve been attending this event over the years – in Princeton or elsewhere around the state – you know the drill. Tastes of great restaurant food and great drink – wine, beer, and spirits. Nifty foodie-centric auction items. You know that 100% of your money goes to an excellent cause because nationally Taste of the Nation has raised more than $73 million to fight childhood hunger.

Jim Weaver

Jim Weaver (Photo credit: pplflickr)

This year’s event mixes things up a bit. Sure, there will still be impressive restaurants (Elements in Princeton and Michael White’s Due Mari in New Brunswick to name just two). But it will also be a celebration and reunion of sorts for the pioneers of our state’s locavore movement, whose stories are captured in the book Locavore Adventures. In it, chef Jim Weaver relates how he and a small group came to found one of the first Slow Food chapters in the US, and introduces readers to the wildly diverse cast of characters whose businesses have changed the way New Jerseyans and the entire New York metropolitan area eat.

Among those with products on hand for tasting: Atlantic Cape Fisheries (which brought the Delaware Bay Oyster to national attention), The Bent Spoon, Griggstown Quail Farm, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Mosefund Mangalitsa, Salumeria Biellese, and Zone 7.

Other key differences and changes this year:

Tre Piani at Princeton Forrestal Village

Tre Piani at Princeton Forrestal Village (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location: Tre Piani Restaurant in Forrestal Village off Route 1 – Jim Weaver’s own place, and the site of the first meeting of what would become Slow Food Central NJ

Day and time: Sunday afternoon, May 20, from 2 to 5 pm. (In the past Taste has been held on a Monday evening)

For a complete list of participating restaurants and vendors (I have only scratched the surface here), and to purchase tickets visit www.strength.org/princeton/

The Spring Dining Issue of US 1 is Out!

I’ve had the privilege of writing the cover stories for US 1 newspaper’s spring and fall dining issues for years now and the latest issue has hit the newsstands. In it I profile the folks behind six Central New Jersey ethnic restaurants – a couple of which you’ve read about in this blog (Alps Bistro & Mercer Street Grill) the rest of which are new finds that I haven’t featured previously: Antimo’s Italian Kitchen, El Tule, Ploy Siam, and Tete. Bon appetit!

Steakhouse 85 Review; Upcoming Events

Lots to share today. First up: these 3 fun things happening in Central NJ.

Mrs. G’s – This appliance store and showroom on Route 1 in Lawrenceville now has its own in-house chef, Mary Beth Madill, a Johnson & Wales grad. It only makes sense, since the store carries many brands of high-end kitchen appliances. On Saturday the 18th, from 2 to 4, Madill is teaming up with guest chefs: three sisters who have their own catering company in Trenton called ABC Dadlites.

Debbie Schaeffer of Mrs G's, ABC Dadlites & Mary Beth Madill

They’ll be demoing and serving Southern home-cooking favorites, including mac & cheese, fried chicken wings, & bbq pork. The event is free but seating is limited, so RSVP to info@mrsgs.com or phone 609.882.1444.

Slow Food Farmers Market – The final winter market sponsored by the Central NJ chapter will have 12 vendors on hand on Sunday, the 19th, from 11 am to 3 pm at Tre Piani (pictured at right) in Plainsboro’s Forrestal Village. Tre Piani in Forrestal Village Besides the top-tier vendors, owner/chef Jim Weaver, who founded this Slow Food chapter back in 1999, will be on hand signing copies of his new book, Locavore Adventures. You may recall that, uh, I am the subject of Chapter 7, since I am one of the co-founders. For a list of Sunday’s vendors, click on the Central NJ Slow Food website (which I’ve also added to my blogroll).

Miele hosts acclaimed cookbook author – Are you aware that at their Michael Graves-designed showroom on Route 1 in South Brunswick  the folks at Miele hold food and wine events? Last year I attended a fascinating wine tasting conducted by Maximilian Riedel that pitted his family’s famous glassware against others. On Thursday, February 23rd from 11 am to 2 pm Miele will host Maria Speck, author of the red-hot book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. The NY Times rightly named it one of 2011’s most notable cookbooks. Cost to attend is $25, for which you receive an autographed copy of the book and enjoy samples from it, prepared in Miele’s Steam Oven. Spaces must be reserved in advance – and I’ve already grabbed one of them! To reserve yours, phone Vicki Robb of Miele at 800.843.7231, ext. 2515.

And finally: click to read my review of New Brunswick’s Steakhouse 85, which is in the February issue of NJ Monthly.

Need Some Post-Holiday Pick-Me-Ups?

If like me you’re having trouble settling back into your routine after the holiday break, I offer three diversions:

Think You’ve Done Something Stupid in the Kitchen? Well, you have nothing on my friends, acquaintances, and family members, who gamely shared their best (worst?) cooking mishaps with me for my last In the Kitchen column of 2011 in The Princeton Packet. I would love to hear about your best cooking catastrophes, too.

Hey, I’m a Chapter in a Book! That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. But it’s true: I am the subject of Chapter 7 of Locavore Adventures: One Chef’s Slow Food Journey by Jim Weaver, chef/owner of Tre Piani in Princeton’s Forrestal Village.

It tells the story of his founding of Slow Food Central NJ back in 1999 and how the success of this chapter – one of the first in the US – convinced Carlo Petrini and Slow Food International to establish Slow Food USA. I am proud to say that I was a co-founder of that chapter. The book is due out from Rutgers Press in a few weeks, but you can read all about it in my interview with Weaver in the current (Winter 2012) issue of Edible JerseyVisit the EJ website to find out where to pick up a copy of this free publication, including at Whole Foods Markets.

Suffering from Farmers Market Withdrawal? Every year around this time I begin to mourn the loss of weekly interaction with my favorite farmers. This year, though, there are more winter farmers markets than ever to tide me and you over til spring. Here are those I know about; please add any others you’re aware of:English: The City of Rockville Maryland farmer...

Saturday, Jan. 14, from 10 am to 2 pm at D&R Greenway in Princeton. This is one of two markets mounted by (ahem) Slow Food Central NJ. For directions visit the Greenway site.

Sunday, Feb. 19, from 11 am to 3 pm at Tre Piani in Princeton. The second of the above markets.

The Flemington Farmers Market at Historic Dvoor Farm will be open from 11 am to 1 pm on the third Sunday of the month all winter. Among the vendors is Griggstown Farm. Dates are: Jan. 15, Feb. 19, March 18, & April 15.

The Princeton Farmers Market will be held on the second Thursday of each month from 11 am to 5 pm inside the Princeton Public Library. Dates are: Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 8, & April 12.

Finally, if you haven’t yet discovered the superb Stockton Farmers Market, it’s a year-round indoor market that I’ll be profiling in full in an upcoming issue of US 1. Winter hours are: Fri. 3 to 7, Sat. 9 to 4, & Sun. 10 am to 4 pm. Vendors include The Painted Truffle, the chocolates I’ve featured in recent posts.