Frank Slept Here

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 8:38am

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A stone’s throw from this year’s Junior League Showhouse is another showplace that happens to be for sale. Above, 36 Stonebridge, is the sprawling English Tudor manor that served as the family home of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. On the market for $3,100,000, the Estate-section estate has eight bedrooms, five full bathrooms, six fireplaces, an inground pool with two pool houses, tennis court, and a living room where you would be petrified to drink red wine.

Taxes are $62,602 for the 2.6 acre property. For comparison, taxes on the price-climbing Cobble Court are $54,312.


Duryea’s Demise?

Monday, Apr 24, 2006 9:59pm  |  COMMENTS (107)

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Leadglass_1 How many beautiful homes in Montclair will meet the fate of the wrecking ball? That’s what folks on Duryea Road in Montclair are worried about, after a 22-room home, featured in the History of Montclair by Henry Whittmore, was purchased this week (closed 3/22), by realtor Jim Van Note. When the deal went to contract, (Van Note’s offer was highest and best), the sellers and listing agent Oneida Mendez-Laws were under the impression that he would buy the property and renovate it, restoring it back to its former glory. By the time of the closing, Van Note would neither confirm or deny talk of demolition and a different plan, one that involved building two brand new houses on the residence’s 0.81 acre lot. Duryeadining

The fact that the home has a historical designation (a document that along with a Metrocard will get you on the subway) and gorgeous details like soaring leaded glass windows may not be enough to save it from the wrecking ball. From Mendez-Laws, we hear the sellers were none too happy about the possibility of their historic home being demolished (the fact that Van Note got the 22-room manse with taxes of $24,178 for $995,000, when it was listed for $1,175,000, and now might build and sell two props at a million plus each, should also make them very unhappy).

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Open Season on Open Houses

Saturday, Apr 22, 2006 9:35pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

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Looking for something to do on a rainy day? There’s a bumper crop of open houses — 20 in Montclair alone. Don’t be shy — go in and take a look…

15 Glenridge Avenue, #27 $218,000 1-4 pm

515 Bloomfield Avenue, #3 $267,900 1-5 pm

10 Crestmont Road, #2E $324,000 2-4 pm

56 Gates Avenue, #1 $398,000 1-5 pm

21 Grenada Place $425,000 1-5 pm

42 Normal Avenue $435,500 2-4 pm

7A Bellaire Dr. $459,000 2-4 pm

588 Upper Mountain $469,900 2-4 pm

114 Mt. Hebron Road $479,000 2-4 pm

57 McCosh Road $595,000 2-4 pm

12 Tuers Place $619,900 1-4 pm

573 Park Street $699,000 2-4 pm

583 Upper Mountain Ave. $839,000 2-4 pm

17 Glenwood Road $899,000 2-4 pm

352 N. Mountain Avenue $975,000 2-4 pm

15 Bradford Way $1,050,000 1-5 pm

91 Norwood Ave. $1,200,000 1-5 pm

5 Franklin Ave. $1,229,000 1-5 pm

538 Park Street $1,295,000 2-4 pm

72 Lloyd Road $1,675,000 2-4 pm

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Name That Dish!

Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006 10:44am  |  COMMENTS (14)


Look familiar? Our own Annette Batson discovered this dish and it’s become her new fave. Let’s see how well you know your way around Baristaville eateries. Tell us what it is and what resto it comes from.

Meanwhile, if you had to move tomorrow and only had time to eat one last meal from your favorite Baristaville eatery, what would it be…

A Path That Leads To Chocolate

Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006 8:34am  |  COMMENTS (4)


Susan Jeffery Fine had been dealing out of her basement. What she sold was pure — straight from Columbia and Ecuador — and entirely addictive. Now, instead of knocking at her door for a fix, clients — new and old — can visit Fine at The Chocolate Path, which opened last week at 26 Lackawanna Plaza, in a beautiful shared space with Under the Pavillion. Fine stocks a full line on what she describes as "Everyday Dark Chocolate From The World’s Best Sources". Chocophiles may recognize brands like MarieBelle and B.T. McElrath, as well as the popular Plantations line. Dark chocolate is getting as sophisticated as wine, with different "varietals" and a "nose" according to a chocolate report from the New York Times last week…

Soon we’ll be seeking small-production chocolate whose aromas of mushrooms, wood, jasmine and leather can linger on the tongue for up to five minutes.

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The Other New Cuban

Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006 6:13am  |  COMMENTS (35)

Depending on where you live in Baristaville it may seem like a trek, but if you’re looking for casual Cuban (eat in or take out), Bloomfield’s got a sweet new eatery, Havana Sandwich Cafe. Go for the atmosphere (not island and bamboo, but more authentic roadside) and the locals (a Cuban-American sitting down with a plate of ropa vieja (shredded beef) overheard me asking about the cafe’s "Midnight Sandwich." He went on to explain the name — it was the sandwich Cubans would eat after a night of partying, when they were up late and suddenly hungry, but didn’t want to eat a meal-sized pressed Cuban sandwich (like the one pictured here). CubansandwichWe also had an interesting discussion about where to find good lobster Thermidor in NJ, but that’s another post. Havana is open 10 am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday, and the reasonably priced menu is a carnivore’s dream. Wash down a sandwich with one of Havana’s shakes (try the papaya or mango). During the few minutes it took to get my takeout order, I watched the five tables in the small tidy storefront space fill up with a lunch crowd who seemed to know their way around a Cuban menu. In minutes, patrons were digging into plates of meat with sides of creamy black beans and rice and tostones. Havana Sandwich is right across from Franklin Centre/Stop & Shop, so parking isn’t a problem. The cafe, which is already on the radar of Roadfood, has the following statement on its menu: "El Sabor No Engana" which translates to "Good Taste Doesn’t Lie." So far, the food is telling the truth. Check it out. — Liz George

The Great Hot Dog Debate

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 11:57pm  |  COMMENTS (55)

Amazing22 The buzz about Amazing Hot Dog started way back in August on e-gullet, when the owners announced their plans for their hot dog emporium in Verona. For folks who hold the rippers of Rutt’s Hut sacrosanct, Amazing Hot Dog is going after an entirely different market. In fact, they go out of their way to describe the product as not of the "dirty-water dogs or blown-out rippers" ilk. Instead, the folks from Amazing (two guys named Matt and Eric, the latter a Johnson & Wales Culinary school grad) flash-fry their dogs so the casing is virtually intact and the "snap" is preserved. Although their classic is made this way, their "Amazing" which appears to be their signature dog (and what I found to be the tastier of the two) is the same dog but wrapped in bacon (shown here dressed with sauerkraut). Random thoughts: does anything not taste good wrapped in bacon? And how often do you see culinary school and hot dogs in the same sentence?

Amazing Hot Dog differs from Rutt’s Hut in that it touts itself as "A Family Friendly Hot Dog Restaurant." (Hmmm…. as opposed to all those hot dog places where kids just aren’t welcome??) The branding, with its super hero logo, kid-friendly menu, and a look that begs to be franchised, gives the immediate impression that Amazing has definite aspirations to reproduce, doing what hallowed hot dog institutions like Rutt’s and others have not.

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Pine Street’s Got Pies

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 11:27pm  |  COMMENTS (95)

WindowpieIf you like apple pie, drop by and try a sample of Meema’s. A new bakery, Meema’s Country Desserts, opened last week on Pine Street, diagonally across from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, about a block and a half from Glenridge Ave. Three generations of the Green/Venezio family are at work in the store, which is filled with pies, cakes, cookies and traditional Italian style baked goods (zeppoles anyone?). If the pie tastes familiar, there’s good reason. For years, the family has been making pies that would sell like hot cakes at area fairs. Loved the apple pie as well as the store’s crunchy, picnic-style chocolate chip cookies. In the back, Meema (she does exist) was making a decadent looking creation that appeared to be a Boston cream bundt cake.

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Using Their Noodles

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 11:10pm  |  COMMENTS (70)

Rockshrimp2 Though they opened in stealth mode, with little fanfare, Noodle Central, the long awaited cousin to Nelson Yip’s Aozora, has emerged as a restaurant to watch. Yip is behind the menu; brother-in-law Ho Yung and wife Myra (also of Simply Zen) are behind the execution of the restaurant, a family dream a long time coming. A more casual, budget-friendly destination than Aozora, it features an eclectic Pan Asian/European menu that solves the dilemma of "You want Thai, but I crave Japanese." The menu’s Orient express ride through Asian cuisine makes stops in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. The fare is so eclectic it even features linguini (it is a noodle) as well as a soulful French onion soup that although out of left field, is in sync with the restaurant’s comfort food focus. And what could be more comforting than a bowl of noodles, something Noodle Central explores in a variety of familar dishes (think pad Thai) as week as other more unique offerings (sweet potato noodle salad). Seaweed_1There’s also a separate vegetarian menu. 

Some dishes still need tweaking — tofu fries, although artfully presented, lacked any real flavor. What we’d loved: rock shrimp, seaweed salad, and the spicy Siam noodle soup. What we’d love to see: a menu stop in Shanghai for crab and pork soup dumplings.

Noodle Central doesn’t feature the skyscraper presentation Yip became famous for at Aozora, but expect beautifully presented, inventive food in a very aesthetically pleasing, Zen-like space. The space, in fact, is its own story — the restaurant is the centerpiece of the former H. Mullen Livery building, a throwback to the days of horse-drawn stagecoaches that managed to survive all these years.

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Men That Cook For You

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 10:30pm  |  COMMENTS (26)

Chefsmarceric2This is Marc. This is Eric. And this is Marc & Eric. The two chefs bring their experience and their names to downtown Montclair’s new food shop plus a whole lot more. In addition to offering cheese and gourmet shop staples, Marc & Eric is the place to stop and grab inspired sandwiches, soups and salads downtown, pick up prepared dinners to take home, the go-to spot for catering holiday parties, big and small, a cooking school featuring gest chefs from area restaurants and a venue where you’ll actually see chefs in action from the shop’s open kitchen. Expect inventive fare here, like the pumpkin risotto fritters with sage aioli I tried at a party that were in a word, "addictive." Check out the holiday menus for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. Pumprisottofritters2 The latter features a smoked sirloin (like no sirloin you’ve ever tasted before) with wild rice, sour cherries and slivered almonds, as well as a pomegranate & black peppercorn glazed chicken breast with roasted spaghetti squash. Could dinner at home before First Night be the hottest seat in town? Besides gourmet treats perfect to bring to all those holiday parties you’re invited to, you’ll even find neat food gifts for even the littlest gourmands, including coloring cookies with edible markers — a fun stocking stuffer. — Liz George

Featured Comment

I'm struck by how much attention is being paid to the details of a parking lot, as opposed to the attention paid to the future impact of the monstrous projects being planned.

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