Scarlet Tanagers: Birds from the Heavens

BY  |  Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (9)


Nature it is exciting and a bit mind blowing when one is able to catch a glimpse of a Scarlet Tanager. These elusive birds live high in the tree tops and  generally nest deep into a forest’s interior to avoid becoming prey of high flying raptors. Looking from the ground one would assume that this bright red bird was a cardinal. They arrive in our area back from southern climes in mid May to early June to nest. Continue Reading

Name That Holly-Day Cocktail

BY  |  Friday, Dec 20, 2013 3:30pm  |  COMMENTS (28)

hollydaysopenDuring the holidays I have very few culinary hang-ups. I stay the hells-jingle-bells away from anything that contains suet.  Boiled perogies stuffed with prunes Korus-style, should be outlawed, and it goes without saying that I would rather eat two bars of Life Boy soap before eating a teaspoon of lutafisk. Other than that, everything else falls under the old catch phrase, “Why not, it’s the holidays?”  Aquavit shooters?   Why not? Skol. Figgy pudding with wassail chasers? Come all ye faithful!

With that said — and this is just a guess, but — it may be why I feel a bit like last year’s tinsel left on the sidewalk until after the new year. Again, just a guess. Continue Reading

Early Montclair and the Italianates

BY  |  Monday, Sep 30, 2013 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (19)


Without a doubt, it was the lovely architecture that originally lured me, like many others, into the area of Montclair. Like many homes in the area, mine is an old, yet beautiful, cash suck. My house is an Italianate built most likely in 1840, according to my friend Frank Godlewski, aka the House Whisperer, aka Frank GG, as a second and or third country home to a wealthy NYC family. Yes–an Italianate not a Victorian.  A lesser known style usually characterized by its low pitched roofs, deep eaves and long rounded windows mimicking Italian villas of the day.

Victorian may the most misused stylistic-buzzword that most architecture buffs find maddening. A blanket term thrown over everything from the 19th century and a bit after. Look, a curly Q — it must be Victorian. Flocked wallpaper — must be Victorian. Flock of Seagulls—while probably never referred to as Victorian, having popped out a century later, they are a perfect example of British style, that with new and improved technology (hair gel), took the States by storm. Continue Reading

Montclair’s FASHIONable Night Out

BY  |  Saturday, Sep 14, 2013 2:18pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

mfnoopen2Wondering what to wear this season? I know I am.  Want to know what is smoking hot and what should just be smoking because it needs to be burned? If you attended Montclair’s A FASHIONable Night Out you got a peek at the hot looks our local stores featured on the catwalk. Continue Reading

Montclair Farmers Market: Late Summer Favorites

BY  |  Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 7:50am  |  COMMENTS (11)


Without a doubt my favorite part of traveling is finding what local food markets have in season. Like the gorgeous tiny strawberries in Montreal,  or the tiny haricot vert and haricot yellow (as I have been known to say) in Paris, the flats of flowers at the Eastern market in Detroit, and even meat sitting in the open sun in Manaus that smelled so rancid it had me running for the nearest exit to chunder — totally gross, but a memory none the less. Continue Reading

Name That Yankee Doodle Cocktail

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 02, 2013 3:43pm  |  COMMENTS (18)

rwb cocktailopen2

Remember last year on the 4th when you mixed beer with wine and then got talked into (like it was a hard sell) drinking gin and tonnies– by 7 p.m. you had a flag in your hand and were dancing around like Edie Beale? Yeah well, for all of our sakes— try NOT to do that this year.

When it is a hot  drinkin’ holiday you have to pace yourself. Sangria is a wonderful wine based drink that can be a light or as boozy as you would like. A typical sangria is made with wine, fruit juice or sugar, fruit and some sort of brandy, but we are not typical are we? Continue Reading

Simply Radishing Ways to Serve Radishes

BY  |  Saturday, Jun 29, 2013 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

radish openFor most of my younger life, radishes remained one of the odd  bits in my salad that I picked out. They became pals with that odd slice of pickled beet and those freakishly bright yellow, pickled-peppers that I would drop on the floor, hoping the dog would eat (I didn’t have a dog but hope springs eternal). Then one day — hauh, hauh, hauh — I went to the food markets in Paris where the radish is not a plastic bagged bit of red. No, no — there not only do you eat the delicious root, but the leaves as well. I came home obsessed. Continue Reading

Name That Herbal Cocktail

BY  |  Friday, May 24, 2013 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (25)

lemon rose openThe big three day weekend is here: Time to sit in our backyards and contemplate what to do when our world becomes overrun by cicadas. For those of you ready to get grilling, keep in mind that cicadas are both low in carbs and gluten-free, unless you beer batter and deep fry ’em.

If chowin’ down on bugs ain’t your thing, trust me, rosemary infused lemonade will be. (How is that for a random segue?) I was first introduced to rosemary-lemonade at the Montclair Historical Society’s herb sale. My first thought was, “Holy cremoly, this is good!” My second thought was, “This is sooo darned good it doesn’t need a thing–before 11:59 a.m. After that, of course, it needs liquor.” Continue Reading

Green Screens: Beyond the Arborvitae

BY  |  Monday, May 20, 2013 6:16pm  |  COMMENTS (5)

Hinoki cypress

Hinoki cypress

There you are on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, time to dig out your outdoor furniture cushions, pour yourself a glass of relaxation, put on some Gregory Porter and get ready to enjoy the season. And then you see it, Old Man Franti’s backyard crap-pile. You have two choices: A) Suck it up for one more summer while complaining to anyone who will listen, then go on Baristanet and try to weave your complaint into a random comment thread hoping someone will care. Or  B) Head to the nursery and pick up some nice screening bushes . Chances are B will prove more effective. Continue Reading

A Mother’s Day Without Mom

BY  |  Sunday, May 12, 2013 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (22)

momopenWhoever said, “Time heals all wounds”  had yet to lose their mother. This January, when my mother died, I unexpectedly joined what I call “The Dead Mother’s Club”.  A club nobody wants to become a member of, but when you do, it is the members of that club — and sometimes only the members — who help you deal with the pain of your loss. Continue Reading

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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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