Archive for the ‘Montclair, NJ’ Category

Cezanne Comes to Montclair

August 30, 2009

The signs have been up for what seems like years, decorating Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair like Christmas. Well, the Cezanne and American Modernism exhibit finally opens at the Montclair Art Museum on Sept 13.

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne

The high-profile show for the low-profile museaum will certainly receive it’s fair share of attention in the coming weeks, but Peggy McGlone at NJ.com has a real nice piece about how the show was conceived by MAM curator Gail Stavitsky and trustee Adrian Shelby and the difficulties in putting together the exhibit, which features 18 Cezanne works along with 118 others indfluenced by the French painter.

It’s worth the read to wet your appetite for what should be a highlight of the fall in Northern NJ.

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Lalezar Rounds Out Montclair’s Diverse Menu

November 21, 2007

Lalezar
718 Bloomfield Ave.
Montclair, NJ 07042
(973) 233-1984
http://www.lalezarcuisine.com

Ethnic food in Montclair is a bit like driving up Claremont Avenue, there are a lot of stops and plenty of time to look around. There are dining establishment with everything from sushi to Ethiopian to Cuban cuisine and everything in between, but one of the best and most consistent spots in town is Lalezar, at Turkish restaurant tucked away on the western slope of Bloomfield Ave.

Lalezar’s exotic tapestries and décor complements the fine Turkish cuisine. The quality of the food is evidenced by the large groups of families and locals that crowd into the two-tiered dining hall for the good eats inside. The families are also indicative of some of the fairest prices in the city with hearty meals between $10-$20.

We’ve eaten at Lalezar several times over the past few years and have yet to be disappointed. If you’re a first timer try several of the generous mideastern spreads on the menu. Hummas, babaganoush and the usual suspects are all there but we recommend the Ezme, chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and walnuts to start the evening off with a kick.

Another favorite is the Sigara Boregi, crispy phyllo wrapped with feta cheese and parsely.

There are several tasty fish dishes on the menu but lets face it when you go to a Turkish restaurant it’s all about the lamb and there is much to choose from at Lalezar, namely the doner kabobs, Kuzu Sis, lamb chops and the superlative Adana Kebap, ground lamb with onions, red peppers and garlic. Be warned it has spice to it.

Lalezar also has live Turkish music on weekends (there is a cover), belly dancing and makes good use of its Web site with an extensive listing of the menu and a new order online feature for people taking out.

JC

Best Places in NJ: The Meadowlands?

September 20, 2007

As a lifelong Giants fan Jerseycool’s heart always skips a beat on Route 3 when passing the soon to be torn down stadium. But even we would be hard pressed to call the Meadowlands a work of art.

Surprise, surprise the Sports Complex made the list off “150 Best Buildings and Places.

Other places of note include Penn Station in Newark, Newark Symphony Hall, Liberty Science Center, Lucy the Elephant and Montclair’s very own downtown district.

NJ.com has a nice piece about the list on its site today.

The list was compiled by the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects and obviously there will be a considerable amount of debate. For example, in Morris County the Vanderbuilt-Twombly Mansion atThe Mansion at FDU Fairleigh Dickinson University was left off the list, as were the grounds, which for this alumni were quite stunning and designed by the same fella who did that big park in the middle of Manhattan. Let’s call that one a miss.

The Mansion at FDU

To each his own. The list is high on parks and buildings but ommits the state’s sprawling civil engineering achievements, such as the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Pulaski Skyway. I dare anyone to drive the pike at night near Exit 13 and not be awed by the sheer industrial art. Or pass through Cheesequake State Park on the Parkway and not be floored as to how the road and natural landscape form an almost seamless union.

JC

Munchers Not Impressed With Raymond’s French Toast

June 1, 2007

They came, they ate, they went eh. The Star Ledger’s Munchmobile did the breakfast rounds this week and stopped at non-other than Montclair’s own Raymond’s. We weren’t surprised by this.

Raymond’s has been a hot spot on the North Jersey breakfast scene since the 1990s. However, the upscale diner’s signature dish, French toast, did not make the grade with at least one of the munchers.

“Lovely to look at, but it had no taste.”

I suppose a day of eating French toast and pancakes must have ruined their appetite. We here have Raymond’s French toast on our last meal list.

On the positive side the munchers liked Raymond’s corn cakes.

JC

Brown Studio Opens in Montclair

May 30, 2007

Confused about foundation, gloss, eyeliner? Well, Montclair native Bobbi Brown has opened her first retail store off of Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair.

The grand opening it tomorrow at Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair but the curious can read all about it today on NJ.com.

JC

Yoshi Won’t Roll You Over

May 29, 2007

Yoshi Japanese Restaurant
109 Watchung Plaza
Montclair, NJ, 07042
973-746-7272

We broke the Bloomfield Avenue bubble this Memorial Day weekend and ventured over to the much quieter Watchung Plaza section of town. There are a few shops and restaurants mainly in the two blocks east of the train station but not much in the way of nightlife.

This can be good and bad.

The good. It took us exactly one minute to find a parking spot on Watchung Avenue only a few steps away from our dining destination. Try doing THAT on a Saturday night along Bloomfield Ave.

Still, there’s a buzz missing from that area of town and we’re sorry to report that Yoshi did not make matters any better.

There was only one other couple eating inside when we arrived around 8:30 p.m. last Saturday yet service was a bit on the slow side for such a quiet night.

We had edamame, which was salted but we didn’t get any soy sauce to dip the beans in. Now, that might be the way Yoshi serves them but that isn’t the way everyone eats them.

We ordered the sushi for two and the fish was good but nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that wouldn’t be surpassed by Sushi Hanna, Nori, Daruma or even Nouveau Sushi. It also took awhile to get a second glass of water. This may have had to do with us eating outside. Out of sight out of mind I guess but for a place off the beaten path we thought there might be a little something special about Yoshi. Something that would make it a destination, instead, Yoshi is more of a sidestep.

JC

Indigo Smoke Is a Cure For The Blues

May 14, 2007

Indigo Smoke
380 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ,
973-744-3440
http://www.indigosmoke.com

It had become something of an embarrassment that we hadn’t tried Montclair’s version of Kansas City Barbecue since we moved here a couple of years ago. Maybe it was the restaurant’s location on the other end of town from Jerseycool headquarters but for one reason or another we hadn’t tried the joint.

Well, we remedied that the other night and with every bite we regretted not having gone sooner. If you are a carnivore in the area, heck, if you’re a BBQ fan in New Jersey than Indigo Smoke is worth the trip.

The restaurant isn’t much on the eyes. Neat and clean tables with a cushioned booth opposite a set of tables in the back. All very standard stuff. There’s a couch area for take out patrons but, despite the small size, we found we had more than enough elbow room even though we were in the back with two other couples to our right and left.

The restaurant was out of beef brisket, we thought that was odd for early on a Friday but they had enough to serve on sampler plates. Sold! We ordered the meat sampler to share and also ordered the side sampler.

If you’re trying Indigo for the first time we highly recommend this strategy since it gives you a taste of all the main meats: ribs, brisket and chicken and you get to sample six side dishes, which are almost worth the price of admission by themselves.

The ribs are Kansas City sweet as they should be for a place that boasts about both it’s Zagat rating, which is quite high, and its membership in the Kansas City Barbecue Society. We don’t know about any of that but we do know that the ribs we had were succulent, savory and fell off the bone. The brisket was also melt-water mouth worthy leaving the chicken behind but only because everything else was sooo good.

Several of the side dishes also stood out and should not be missed. C took one bite of the whipped sweet potatoes and declared “if it were cold it would be ice cream.” The mac and cheese also had a home made authenticity that made you curse the day you ever cooked the stuff out of the box and the pull apart bread did more than just serve as a mop up solution for all of the left over juices on our plate.

You may have noticed a lack of green vegetables on our menu and this presents a problem for vegetarians. Even the string beans are cooked with bacon so unless your diet allows for fish there is little on Indigo Smoke’s menu that will suit your diet.

Indigo Smoke also has some interesting services. The restaurant features a jazz and gospel brunch on Sundays, which we have put on our schedules, delivery and take out menus and Indigo has a dinners club where patrons can pay a yearly fee to have meals prepared and delivered in advance.

In battleship parlance we scored a hit with Indigo Smoke and we’ll be sure to make a return trip soon.

JC

Dinner to Help Fascino Server

May 3, 2007

We got a notice in our e-mail from Fascino informing us of a benefit dinner for long-timer server Tony Loftman.

Tony has been battling cancer for a number of years and the dinnerwill help cover his healhcare costs that his insurance company won’t pick up.

The dinner will be 6-10 p.m., May 11 at the Nutley Parks and Recreation building, 44 Park Ave. in Nutley. For more information on the dinner please call 973-235-1818.

Ricci Speaks

March 2, 2007

Stephen Witty has a nice piece on Montclair native Christina Ricci of Indy movie fame in today’s Star Ledger and on NJ.com. Ricci is pluggin’ her new flick “Black Snake Moan” where she plays a nymphomaniac forcibly reformed by Samuel L. Jackson. Yep, you’ve probably seen the half naked poster of her chained to a radiator.Black Snake Moan

The title “Wild Child Grows Up” is a bit off. We remember Ricci from the Adams Family movies and a spat of edgy roles in “The Opposite of Sex” and “Buffalo 66” but wild child? We’re sure Ricci has raised a bit of hell in her time but Lindsey Lohan she ain’t.

We’re also not sure about the “Grows Up” part either. Ricci is 27 and though small and waifish, she pretty much grew up a while back. Anyway, title aside it’s not a bad read. Hey, we didn’t even know Ricci was from New Jersey much less Montclair.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of Feb 9-11

February 9, 2007

It’s the weekend before Hallmark Valentine’s Day so most sane couples will be heading to restaurants for their evening out. If your special place has a table cloth be sure to make reservations today or tomorroThe Iron Monkeyw before heading out as it will likely be a busy weekend in the eats business. Our personal picks are Fascino and Table 8 in Montclair or the Iron Monkey in Jersey City. Heading into the city and have a few hundred dollars you want to unload, La Bernadin is your choice. Good luck getting a reservation on that one.

Thinking more about desserts? NJ.com has taken note of the holiday with write up on chocolate shops. Reads it here.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Murphy vs. Lecter — At the cinema this week it’s a showdown between Eddie Murphy’s Norbit comedy and the latest installment in the Hannibal Lecter series, Hannibal Rising. Norbit looks a whole lot like the old Nutty Eddie MurphyProfessor movies Murphy made a few years back and Hannibal is the back story to everyone’s favorite cannibal. We didn’t even bother reading the Thomas Harris book so we’re thinking movie-goers will opt for the red hot and Oscar nominated Murphy. With most of the country in the grips of a cold wave, the laughs are probably more needed than the scares.

Our pick, Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima is probably more worthy of your $10 or try to catch Mark Wahlberg’s Oscar nominated turn in The Departed on the big screen before it lands on DVD.

The Plot Against Warm Weather — Speaking of cold weather, it’s not a bad weekend to curl up with a book. Three recent recommendations:

  • Plot Against America by Philip Roth — We just put this one down and were disappointed. Not because it was bad but because we could have followed Roth for a couple hundred more pages as he pondered a childhood in Newark with Charles Lindbergh as president.
  • Manhunt by James L. Swanson — JC is not really a big reader of Civil War history even as fascinating as it is, but this tale of John Wiles Booth’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln and his subsequent escape is a terrific read. Swanson’s Booth is portrayed as vain fop and is probably too good to be true but if you just go with it you’ll be rewarded.
  • The Cell by Stephen King — recently released in paperback, as all King books should be read, this one is eerily similar to King’s 80s masterpiece The Stand only with cell phones and about 700 pages shorter. We haven’t gotten all the way through it but we’re hooked.

What’s old is new — Looking to venture out this weekend. The American Museum of Natural History opens its new premanent collection on the origin of man. The NY Times does better justice on this than we ever could.

The Grammys, 8 p.m., CBS –– And the award for best use of a falling, old stocking goes to…wait that’s a different Grammy award. No the music whorefest that is The 49th Grammy Awards airs Sunday night. Better bet, 9 p.m. on NBC Donald Trumps apprenti wrangle with a hord of angry bees. Now that’s realty TV at its finest.

Have an event we should know about? Did we miss something? Drop us a line by sending us an email here.

Have a good weekend everyone.

JC