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.
Looking for a few culinary nights out? These upcoming local adult cooking classes offer skills, food, and fun:
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)
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.
The Wooden Spoon, a Southern food restaurant and tavern, will open in the former space of Senorita’s Mexican Restaurant at 285 Glenwood Avenue in Bloomfield this spring.
Owner and Executive Chef Donald Erickson, formerly of Stage House Tavern in Somerset and Scotch Plains, gave Baristanet a sneak peak at the menu and plans for the complete renovation of the space and it looks very promising.
Besides the main dining room and a large U-shaped bar being out in on the first floor, The Wooden Spoon will have 3 private party spaces — one on the main floor, two on the second floor. Also on his wish list, but not confirmed, are plans to build a deck on the side of the building over, what is a small parking lot at the moment. Continue Reading
February 9 is National Pizza Day! To celebrate — and since it’s hard to drive to our favorite pizzeria on a snow day — we can at least talk about where to get that favorite slice. There are plenty of places in Montclair and nearby that stand out for their pizza. When it comes to something old, we love Star Tavern in Orange, a new Jersey pizza institution, for their thin, crisp, piping hot pies. For something new, check out Dough in Caldwell (they score extra points for their creative pies and lovely outdoor patio in warm weather).
Montclair Pizza — So Many Choices
Montclair has a great new cheesy addition to the pizza landscape in Fiamma Woodfired Pizza. Located on Bloomfield Ave., in the former Greek Delights space, there are plenty of comfy booths and the warmth of a wood burning oven cranking out delicious lightly charred pies. When you go, be sure and try their calamari fiamma. And if you want to feel virtuous, make your pie half arugula.
Another favorite is Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q & Pizza, where we love Max’s pie (smoked mozzarella, pesto and marinara) as well as the Texas (smoked mozzarella, Texas sausage, marinara, caramelized onion, jalapeno and pesto).
A photo posted by Ruthies Bar-B-Q (@ruthiesbbq) on
If you have kids, they probably ask you for a Chicken Bacon Ranch slice or a pie topped with pasta — you can find both of these at Enzo’s on Valley or Da Vinci’s on Bellevue. And when it comes to the pizza I grew up with — the kind of pizza you might find at any typical pizzeria in NYC’s five boroughs — Mr. Dino’s is the nostalgic favorite. Villa Victoria has arguably the biggest slices in town — and we love the dining room with its family-friendly, red checkered tablecloth ambiance. As you can see, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Do you love your neighborhood slice or do you venture cross town for something different? Vote in our poll below — you can pick your top three places to grab a slice or a pie.
Robert and Adele Genovese, Montclair residents for the past 15 years, have opened up Local at 107 Watchung Avenue. The coffee shop serves curated products from the tri-state area with a particular focus on Brooklyn and Upstate New York.
The shop, though small, feels spacious and airy thanks to the streaming light and open minimal design. And the warm and friendly staff makes it even more inviting. There are a few tables to sit and enjoy a very good cup of coffee brewed from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters — we’ve heard the pour over ($4) is excellent— or a flaky croissant from Balthazar, or a majorly huge doughnut from Dough, a bakery in Brooklyn. Also on the menu are a nice selection of Tay Tea, small batch chocolate from Fruition, granola, and other treats.