Pad Thai Scampi?

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 10:45pm  |  COMMENTS (32)

Spice_cuisine_sign You love pad thai, your in-laws prefer Italian and your kids will only eat chicken fingers. What’s a diner to do?

Simple, check out Spice Cuisine, a new Thai restaurant across from the A&P in Bloomfield, which specializes in authentic Thai, but devotes half of its menu to traditional Italian items and has a $3.95 children’s menu with the regular kiddie fare.

For owner Ruenboon Sarabhayavanija, who was born in Bankok, running a Thai restaurant is in the blood. Her sister Randy Ochajaroen owned Tuptim in Montclair for 10 years and her son Luck owns O Thai, a trendy Thai restaurant in Vancouver.

But Ruenboon, who also goes by the American name Sheri, added the Italian half of the menu because most of her family is tired of Thai food and only wants Italian. Chef Luis Gonzalez, who was a sous chef at Church Street Cafe in Montclair, can turn out either cuisine.

Salmon_in_panang_curry Don’t expect the lavish interiors of your Montclair Thai restaurants, and until they get a double door for the front, you may find yourself a little chilly in very cold weather. But you’ll love the prices. Pad thai and all the other noodle dishes are only $6.50, and most of the Thai entries are just $7.50. The pad thai was very good, but we were especially delighted by the salmon in panang curry sauce.  In addition to traditional Thai iced coffee and tea, there’s a honey-sweetened lemongrass juice. And save room for the fried banana, thai custard and fried ice cream desserts, which are presented beautifully.

We didn’t try the Italian side of the menu, which includes fried tilapia, chicken francaise, chicken marsala and shrimp scampi, and our children are too old to choose hot dogs over pad thai. You’ll have to check that out yourselves.

Parking on the street, or across the street in the A&P parking lot.

Spice Cuisine, 26 Belleville Ave., Bloomfield NJ. Open 7 days from 11:30 am to 10 pm. 973.748.0056.

Your House’s Worth, Three Ways

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 10:43pm  |  COMMENTS (28)

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7warrenpl769This Montclair house, 7 Warren Place, (left) is on the market for $769,000. For its reval worth, you can find it here, on the Appraisal Systems site, in Neighborhood 7, for $740,000. Or you could take Zillow’s zestimate above, which predicts a sale price of about $639,014.

So who do you believe? Realtor, appraiser or Zillow. Let’s watch this one and see what it ultimately sells for. Tell us how your home stacks up.

Meanwhile, here’s a much larger price discrepancy…

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R2D2 Is So Last Century

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 3:08pm  |  COMMENTS (33)

Samantha Curcio, a sophomore at Bloomfield High loves to build things, and wants to be an engineer. But for now she’s getting her thrills on BHS Robotics Team – The Blazing Bengals – with the distinction of being the first girl team member. She’ll be joining nine team mates at a prestigious regional robotics competition in Trenton this weekend, hoping to take home some scholarship bucks.
Their challenge was to design, build, and program an electronic robot that can lift inflatable tubes and stack them on a 10 foot high rack. A few built in cameras, robotic arms, remote operating devices, and aluminum chassis later, mission accomplished.

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Robotics teacher and mentor Mr. Abdul-Ghafur says the robo-champs worked every day after school and weekends to meet the exacting requirements of the competition. The serious hobby takes some serious money: registration fees and expenses amount to more than $10,000, which have been 100% underwritten by ADP for the last three years, Abdul-Ghafur told us. Good luck at the competition – Bengals rock!
–photos courtesy of Samantha Curcio. Left – front of robot, right – controller.

Play Politics Here

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 2:19pm  |  COMMENTS (185)

Cut and paste political diatribes to your hearts’ content in this thread — where people who are actually interested might read it.

Dazzling Duryea Road

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 1:17pm  |  COMMENTS (24)

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We haven’t seen the inside, but the exterior transformation of 4 Duryea Road, the Huestis House, is certainly dramatic. The fact that it went from almost being demolished to becoming a historic landmark estate that should stand another 100 years is pretty exciting. Kudos to Jim Van Note and Oasis Architecture for giving the beautiful Queen Anne Victorian back her crown. More photos after the jump…

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Talk To Your Cops

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 1:08pm  |  COMMENTS (7)

Residents living in the areas of Bloomfield Avenue to Walnut Street and Grove to Baldwin Streets, have organized a public meeting with MPD to address crime and safety issues in their neighborhood. They’ve invited Chief of Police David Sabagh and Lt. Kenneth Miscia, Bureau Commander of the Community Policing Bureau to a community talk tonight. They’ll be fielding questions and presenting info about the “Neighborhood Watch” program.
Tonight, 6:30 pm, at Montclair Fire Department Headquarters, 1 Pine Street, Second Floor Meeting Room. Refreshments served. Call 973-509-1961 for information.

Watchung Station: Hartnett’s Response

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 12:18pm  |  COMMENTS (42)

Baristanet was copied on this email from Joe Hartnett to Mike M. (whose name and address was on the letter, but requested anonymity on Baristanet) regarding his complaints about Watchung Station.

Thank you for your recent letter. With respect to the trash receptacles, unfortunately what had happened was that NJ Transit recently replaced the receptacles with a new, locking kind of unit but did not give us the keys. We just obtained the keys yesterday so the overflowing trash will not continue to be a problem.
With respect to the security issues, we have been trying a variety of strategies but they obviously have not worked. As long as the station remains under lease to us, we will stay at it until we find a permanent solution. We will be happy to check the information you forwarded to make sure we are not missing anything. Of course, the major issue we always face is balancing the many demands put upon our Police and other departments while trying to restrain escalating property taxes. I assure you that the vast majority of our people are neither work-averse nor irresponsible.
Locking the station was a temporary measure to protect a valuable asset while buying a little time to help us work to a more permanent solution, just like I had to “lock out” other things I’m working on (like the township budget) to buy the time to personally respond to your letter. It’s always about prioritizing and balancing time and resources, whether Police work or anything else we do. Otherwise, almost all problems would be very easy to solve.
Thank you for your interest, concern, and suggestions and we’ll be taking a look at that information you sent. Thanks again.
Joe Hartnett
Township Manager

Montclair: Don’t Ever Change?

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 12:14pm  |  COMMENTS (36)

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A reader writes…

After living in Montclair for 25 years from 1972-1997, it is part of my heart and soul. I was pleased to be in town again for five days over the New year’s holiday, seeing-some dear-to-our-hearts old friends, very few of which still remain in town. Upper Montclair seemed bustling and sparkling, even after the holidays — people slipping in and out of Starbuck’s, The Gap, Williams Sonoma, the upscale jewelry stores and childrens’ clothing shops.  The bakeries, 5 & 10, and so many other of the old stores I remember are long gone, and recently my favorite store of all, Vitti’s, closed.

I was sad to see the last of the Olympic stores had closed, as well as the funky Orion book store. I stopped in Barbara Eclectic, a clothing store I used to love, but found it totally changed, and stocked with clothes I hated.

I drove around my town, and whereas the houses all look fantastic, all spiffed up to within an inch of their life, it begins not to feel like home. McMansions have eaten up some of the neighborhoods, (I was
horrified at what used to be the Marlboro Inn) and the yuppification of my comfortable, diverse and interesting town is now complete. It worries me. House prices, as everywhere, have soared. Friends sold their nice, comfortable but nothing extraordinary house for close to a million dollars, and
I learned that our dear old home on Fernwood Avenue was recently assessed for $925,000, and would undoubtedly sell for over a million.

I was shown on a list of my old neighborhood assessments that even the little houses on Nassau are all well over half a million, and I saw none on
the entire huge list for less than that. Most of the plain, normal  houses I remember are over $750,000, many that I remember in the 8’s and 9’s, like ours, and MANY way over a million, a number over 1 million 5, and one on Park street for $2,300,000. And this was always a very nice, but not
the priciest part of town. I cannot imagine the assessments on Upper Mountain, or in the estate section in Montclair proper.

Well, it concerns me greatly. An old friend, who recently moved to Clifton to avoid the taxes, was telling me that her son and his wife wanted so much to buy a house in town, but could find nothing they could afford, and are in Bloomfield, I believe. I remember when my own daughter and her husband were house hunting a few years back after renting in town, and they found the same thing and had to move elsewhere. And these are the kinds of young people Montclair needs in order to stay the community it always was.


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Treats To Two Seats

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 11:14am  |  COMMENTS (16)

We’ve got a show that’ll make you laugh (tonight), a cool jazz concert for date night, and for the little ones, international stars Swimmy, Frederick The Mouse, and Inch the Inchworm performing Sunday afternoon. If you’ve been paying attention, you know all three shows have been mentioned or advertised on Baristanet. Be the first to identify the show, and you’ll win two tickets to the perfromance. Don’t try and win them all – only one pair of tickets per person.
First Winner! mother_of_i wins two tickets to The Nova Scotia Mermaid Theater performance this Sunday afternoon at SOPAC. Congratulations, and give our regards to Swimmy!
C’mon people now, let’s get to guessin’. We’ve got two more pairs of tickets to give away, both great shows!
Second Winner: Denise just won two tickets to SOPAC’s Bill Charlap Trio concert.
Sorry, no one guessed last night’s event at the Diva Lounge, Girls Gone Funny starring Glen Ridge’s funniest mom, Eileen Kelly. Catch her next time…

Mysteries Of Malt

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 10:12am  |  COMMENTS (4)

Beer_mugsHad enough of those wine pairing dinners?  Now’s your chance to exchange wine goblets for a frosty mug. This Sunday, January 28, you’re invited to The Petite Cafe in Nutley for its first beer and food tasting:

Beer has been around a long time, perhaps as long as the great pyramids themselves.  Today, beer making has evolved into a true art form:  Porter, Pilsner, Stout, Cream Ales, Lagers, and Micro Brews are assuming a decidedly prominent role as beverage of choice with dinner.  Petite Cafe owners, Keith and Maureen say choosing the "right" beer is as important as choosing the "right" wine.

We will try and unravel some of the mysteries surrounding our beloved concoction of hops and malts.  We’ll taste a variety of styles of beer and serve a five-course meal of small plates paired with a specific beer ($40 ++/person).  Just  pick up your 5-pack  (one per couple is all you need) at The Nutley Wine Shop before dinner.

For reservations, contact chef/owners Keith and Maureen here. For the menu, go to the jump.

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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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