Viaggio: Rustic, Modern Italian Worth The Journey To Wayne

BY  |  Tuesday, Mar 21, 2017 2:15pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Chef Robbie Felice of Viaggio

NJ Wine & Food Festival, the state’s premiere food event, features well-known celebrity chefs from Jersey’s culinary scene and beyond. You’ll recognize names from Top Chef as well as local chefs such as Michael Carrino, Ryan DePersio, Ariane Duarte and Francesco Palmieri.

This year, there’s a new young chef to watch, Robbie Felice, who was invited to participate by Anthony Bucco, executive chef at Restaurant Latour, who coordinates the festival chefs. At age 26, Felice, a CIA grad, already has an impressive resume –working at properties owned by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, including serving as sous chef and head of the salumi program at B+B Ristorante in Las Vegas and working with longtime culinary mentor DePersio at Montclair’s Fascino.

Even if you can’t make it to the NJ Wine & Food Festival, you can take a trip to Wayne, where tucked away in a strip mall, is Felice’s restaurant, Viaggio. Walk inside and you forget you are steps away from busy Hamburg Turnpike. Instead, the restaurant’s reclaimed barn wood, brick walls and strings of lights evoke a rustic Tuscan farmhouse vibe.

House cured salumi at Viaggio

The menu is equally transportive. A Sussex native, Felice describes his cooking as “the way food is eaten in Italy — super fresh, meant for sharing, simple and straightforward.” You’ll want to start by sharing one of the stars of the Viaggio experience — the extensive salumi offerings. Most are house-cured and the rest are imported from Italy. “In order to be truly authentic, I knew I had to make my own. I’m bringing in whole Berkshire pigs that I butcher here, and I use it all to make everything from pork chops and prosciutto to porchetta de testa to mortadella,” says Felice. Diners can select a sampling of salumi served at their table on a wooden board. Pickled accompaniments offer the perfect counterpoint to the rich, salty meats.

Fazzoleti

Another must-try is the fazzoletti, a.k.a. handkerchief pasta, just one of the many interesting pasta dishes made in house. These delicately folded pasta pieces, served simply with herbs and preserved Meyer lemon butter, channel spring on a plate, and boast complex flavors that make each bite better than the last.

For your secondi course, there is a branzino in parchment with tomatoes and olives or for meat lovers, the hearty Piedmontese tagliata with rosemary smashed potatoes and cippolini onions. And if you never think to order chicken out, think again and try Felice’s chicken alla cacciatore, made with Lancaster Amish chickens, housemade pancetta and polenta.

Save some room if you can for dessert and split a chocolate budino. Featuring salted caramel and meringue, it’s a showstopper ending to a delightful culinary sojourn. For a closer look at Felice’s work, you can reserve the 5-seat Chef’s Bar, for a curated experience featuring a custom tasting menu and a direct view into the open kitchen (advanced reservation required; starts at $85 per person).


Viaggio, 1055 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne. 973-706-7277. 5-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5-10:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 4-9 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays

Get a Taste of Montclair on March 13

BY  |  Tuesday, Mar 07, 2017 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Taste of Montclair

Enjoy the cuisine of more than 40 celebrated restaurants and food crafters around at the annual Taste of Montclair on March 13.

Taste of Montclair is a fundraiser hosted by Rotary Club of Montclair. 100% of ticket sales go to the charities supported by the Club including Toni’s Kitchen, the Human Needs Food Pantry, and the feeding programs of the Salvation Army. The Montclair Rotary Club also supports S.O.F.I.A, Succeed2Gether, the Montclair Township Animal Shelter, and many others serve our communities. This year, Taste of Montclair is made possible by the generous support of presenting sponsor Clifton Savings Bank.

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Kimchi Smoke, Outrageous Southern Korean BBQ Sensation, To Open Montclair Location

BY  |  Sunday, Mar 05, 2017 8:38am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Get ready Montclair for a Chonut 2.1 and much more!

Baristanet fell in love with Kimchi Smoke when we tried their taco featuring smoked pork shoulder, sweet Gochujang sauce, smoked kimchi, cheddar cheese, ramen bits, on a tortilla sprinkled with powdered sugar, at Montclair Food and Wine Festival’s first Bourbon and Biergarten back in 2015. Continue Reading

Chef Meny Vaknin of Mishmish Cooks and Delivers Meals to Homebound Elderly New Yorkers

BY  |  Saturday, Mar 04, 2017 8:48am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Chef Meny Vaknin

Homebound elderly New Yorkers in the East Village got a taste of Mediterranean cuisine from Montclair when Chef Meny Vaknin of Mishmish delivered specially prepared meals right to their doors as part of the Chefs Deliver for Citymeals program. Chef Vaknin will also take part in the upcoming event Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels on June 12, 2017.

The delivery marks the announcement of the theme for the 32nd Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals – Ports of Call Mediterranea: A Culinary Journey. Chef Vaknin will be one of more than 50 chefs gathering  to celebrate the flavors of the Mediterranean Coast at tasting stations throughout Rockefeller Center.

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Essex Junction and The Wood Pit Team Up to Put BBQ on the Menu

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 02, 2017 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Essex Junction and The Wood Pit

Montclair and Bloomfield will be making beautiful BBQ together! Essex Junction owner Jeremy Goldberg and The Wood Pit owner Chef Lawrence Hackney are collaborating to bring BBQ to Essex Junction every day.

Goldberg tells Baristanet he had been doing some focus groups to tweak Essex Junction’s menu. He discovered that BBQ was the thing that customers wanted and, when asked which place they love, The Wood Pit was the #1 choice. Coincidently, Chef Lawrence of The Wood Pit is a frequent customer of the popular restaurant and bar. Long story short, the two decided to team up.

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Aw, Nuts! Bloomfield’s The Orange Squirrel To Close

BY  |  Monday, Feb 27, 2017 11:45am  |  COMMENTS (2)

For the past eight years, The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield, owned by Chef Francesco Palmieri and his wife Elaine, has been a favorite restaurant and bar for locals and diners from all over the NJ and NYC area. Sadly, Chef Palmieri has announced that he will be closing The Orange Squirrel tomorrow.

Opening in November 2008, amidst a national recession, The Orange Squirrel was ahead of its time and has paved the way in Bloomfield as a dining destination. The restaurant quickly received The New York Times’ highest review rating and Chef Francesco competed and won on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” hosted dinners at the prestigious James Beard House with legendary actor Vincent Price’s daughter and received other national and local recognition.

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“The Chocolate Entrepreneur,” Tuesday, 2/28 at the Montclair Women’s Club

BY  |  Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 11:48am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Enjoy a talk with local entrepreneur and Montclair Women’s Club member, Susan Fine of The Chocolate Path, this Tuesday, February 28, at 7 p.m., 82 Union Street, Montclair. Continue Reading

Tune In To See Montclair Teen Compete on Chopped, Jr.

BY  |  Thursday, Feb 23, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair’s own Aidan Dowell will be a competitor on next week’s Chopped Jr, airing Wednesday March 1 at 8pm on Food Network.

Aidan is a 7th grader in House Lofrano at Glenfield Middle School. He prepared to compete on Chopped, Jr. by taking cooking lessons with Karan Fischer of Montclair Culinary Academy.

Junior chef Aidan Dowell as seen on Food Networks Chopped Junior

Aidan competes in a music-themed episode (entitled “Turn Up the Beet”), and Misty Copeland is one of the judges. Continue Reading

Get Cooking! Learn About Olive Oil, or How to Make Sushi, Doughnuts or a Tuscan Dinner Party

BY  |  Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Looking for a few culinary nights out? These upcoming local adult cooking classes offer skills, food, and fun:

adult cooking classes

Montclair Culinary Academy will offer a few fun classes for adults this weekend. Learn how to make sushi and dumplings on Friday, February 24 at Designer Appliances (208 Bellevue Avenue, Montclair) and a delicious Sunday Brunch on February 26 at R.HOME Design Showroom (17 West Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Livingston)

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Montclair Woman Creates Aisle 3 To Make Your Weekday Meals Easier

BY  |  Friday, Feb 17, 2017 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Aisle 3

Montclair resident Nancy Stone is trying to make your life easier. She has created Aisle 3, a meal solution program to make getting weekday dinners on the table easier.

Aisle 3 provides four meals per week that are budget- and family-friendly and can be made in under 40 minutes for less than $20 — all based on what’s on sale at your local grocery store. Stone researches weekly sales, creates the meals, makes the recipes in her kitchen and photographs them with with a slideshow of the steps needed to make each meal.

“I came up with the idea for Aisle 3 last year when my two oldest sons were in college apartments and no longer on meal plans.  I would look up online what was on sale at the grocery stores near their schools and send them recipes they could make that were quick and inexpensive,” says Stone. With Aisle 3, she’s aiming to help a larger community.

Stone’s vision is to provide a fun and easy home-cooked meal solution for families that supports neighborhood grocery stores and the people who work there and help out the community.  Each week she delivers two meals that she made for the website to a food insecure family in Montclair.

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Featured Comment

A great looking building for Montclair Center with appropriate height, massing and details. Bravissimo!

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