Several new restaurants have opened in the busy downtown Freehold area. Lo Bello moves into the former Nuovo Luna to bring Freehold exquisite authentic Italian food, prepared by area favorite Chef Ciro, formerly of Angelo’s in the Union Square Mall in Middletown and several other area restaurants. Very affordably priced selections and live entertainment on Saturday nights are already earning this BYOB eatery rave reviews for lunch and dinner.
Also joining the Freehold dining selections are family owned Angelo’s Café and Bistro on Main Street (No affiliation to the Angelo’s on Route 9 in Freehold). The former owners of Piccolo Forno in West End, Long Branch, mix food and fun as they offer Italian food and unique entertainment by Angelo his wife Virginia. Right down the road, Owner Lynn Marrone brings San Marzano to the former Goodfella’s. Marrone, who owned Carlo’s Pizza in Matawan, Laura’s Pancake House in Old Bridge and Stuff Yer Face in East Brunswick is expanding the family friendly menu to include lunch portions, and some Spanish favorites.
Under new ownership is long time Millstone favorite Luchento’s, serving generous portions of authentic Italian food, prepared by the original chef, Tom Luchento. They’ve freshened up the décor, giving it a more modern look and they’re also waking up early to prepare wonderful pastries, breads and treats in their new bakery. Bakery is open Monday through Friday, at 6:30 am. Lunch Monday through Friday at 11:30 am. Their party room is open too, for showers and small weddings. BYOB. On Route 33, 10 minutes West of downtown Freehold.
Beacon on the Bay in Atlantic Highlands has closed but the original location, Beacon Street Grille continues to offer favorites including their signature New England Clam Chowder.
The Wine Room of Monmouth County on Rt. 33 in Manalapan is preparing for the late September arrival of grapes from Sicily, Abruzzo and Puglia, Italy. They are also receiving California grapes and invite you to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org for a tasting and to sign up for wine making. Contact them at 732-792-7007.
Longtime favorite and Avon landmark The Macaroon Shop goes high tech this month, rolling out its new on-line delivery service. Now you can send their famous macaroons anywhere. They’re shipped in re-usable cold cartons. Click www.themacaroonshop.com and share the shore.
Congratulations to Chef Matthew Zappoli of Tre Amici in Long Branch, who was named Champion on the Food Network’s Chopped. The episode, which aired on July 20 (“Dream’n of Redeem’n”), re-united 3 previously defeated challengers for one more try at success. Chopped requires competing chefs to prepare an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, with an odd combination of ingredients, delivered in a mystery basket. For the appetizer round, Chef Zappoli created a beef braciola with the mandatory ingredients of a rump roast, rainbow chard, and vegetable yeast spread that would fit right in on Tre Amici’s menu. For the entrée Chef Zappoli combined whole branzino, jarred piquillo peppers, jicama, and (if you can believe it) chocolate sandwich cookies into a chocolate crusted branzino filet, served with a jicama slaw, potato-jicama cake, and piquillo coulis. The dessert was a ricotta-chocolate croissant, served with a vodka crème and blueberry caramel sauce, made with the required vodka, crescent roll dough, sesame seeds, and blueberry jelly beans. Chef Zappoli and Tre Amici are on Ocean Avenue in the West End section of Long Branch.
The Food Channel has released its Top Ten trends for snacks this season and they include some old fashioned favorites like Twinkies and Little Debbies. If you want to be on the cutting edge of crunching visit www.currentsnj.com/snacks for the full list
Here’s a list of the Food Channel’s Top Ten trends in Snack Attack satisfiers!
Chip and Dip. New varieties and new flavors come to the party. Look for hummus and falafel chips or pretzel crisps instead of the traditional chip-and-dip duo. They’re healthier, spicier, and often served hot.
Small and Sensational. Snacks are more substantial, like mini-meals. For pick-me-ups, grab a Big Mac Wrap at McDonald’s. Come dinnertime, we may graze some more, but by today’s definition, snacks may be all we need.
The Drink Shift. This trend is about the “halo of health” drinks made with fruit or antioxidants. It’s part of the shift away from all colas and energy drinks, toward teas, lemonades, fruity organic waters, and carbonated fruit drinks with interesting flavor combinations. Some Soft-drink companies are also moving away from high-fructose corn syrup and back to sugar.
Goin’ Nuts. Nuts are good for you, and now lots of things are going nuts, like nuts with granola, nuts and fruits and smoked nuts. Unique flavor combinations like cashews with pomegranate and vanilla, and dark chocolate with caramelized black walnuts are coming out everyday.
Fruits. The trend here is locally grown and sourced. Also more varieties, like white cherries and seckle pears. Fresh fruit is now the number one snack among kids aged two to 17.
Cruising the Bars. While the granola bar is an acceptable emergency meal, bars are now offered in dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic, soy-free, cholesterol-free, trans-fat-free, and casein-free varieties. There are even versions specifically for women and for kids.
Sweet and Salty. Until recent years, the only way sweet or salty snacks mixed was when we ate something sweet then craved something salty, or vice-versa. Now that barrier is removed and more salty/sweet combos are making it to the market and into vending machines too.
Yogurt. The new gold standard for yogurt is the increased health value found with probiotics. Acknowledging our trend toward global flavors, there is Greek yogurt, among the healthiest snacks we can eat. Icelandic yogurt is starting to emerge as yet another world player and new self-serve frozen yogurt shops are popping up everywhere too.
Bodaciously Bold. Bold flavors are almost becoming regular, satisfying an urge for something unordinary. How else to explain flavors such as Doritos First-, Second-, and Third-Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero?
Nostalgia’s New Again. We all sneak some of those devilishly good Snack Cakes. Twinkies, Ding Dongs, TastyKakes, Little Debbies. Anything that has lasted this long deserves a mention in the snacking hall of fame, even if it isn’t good for you.