Zeugma Mediterranean Grill & Wine Bar Opens in Montclair

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 20, 2017 3:30pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Zeugma Mediterranean Grill & Wine Bar, a new Turkish fusion restaurant located at 44 South Park Street in the Siena building, is full of surprises.

Starting with the incredibly addictive Ginger Lee, a refreshing shaken drink made with fresh squeezed lemon, juiced ginger, honey and a dash of cayenne and garnished with candied ginger & lemon peel (lip-smacking on its own, but would also be incredible spiked with your favorite spirit) to cold mezzes like pumpkin mohammara (sweet pumpkin puree, walnut, garlic, feta cheese perfect for dipping with pita) to a pistachio steak burger served with roasted tomatoes, pistachio pesto, spiced fries and pickles ($16), Zeugma’s menu has imaginative dishes you won’t find elsewhere.

Take Zeugma’s grilled halloumi ($13), for instance. The delicious cheese from Cyprus is grilled, but at Zeugma, it gets wrapped in grape leaves first and then served with a sweet chili sauce. The preparation elevates the halloumi to a new level.

You’ll recognize dishes from Greek and Turkish cuisine, but at Zeugma, they have their own unique twist. Turkish chef Can Alp was born and raised in Turkey, but went to study French cooking in Paris. Alp came to the States and was a chef at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center in New York. He credits his time in Paris as being a big influence on his style, but he maintains the traditions of Turkish food and culture, creating the perfect fusion dining experience.

Adding to the experience at Zeugma is a fresh, welcoming decor, evocative of a seaside taverna. The space is opened up and completely renovated (looking completely different from when it was occupied by a steakhouse) with different seating areas, a lovely mosaic-inspired mural, as well as an attractive wine bar upfront (Zeugma is in the process of securing a California wine license, but you can also BYOB).

Other dishes to try include the tender grilled octopus ($16), the miso calamari ($14), and the pan seared salmon, served with root vegetables, mustard mashed potatoes and garlic kale sauce ($24). The menu is well suited to sharing and even making a meal of hot and cold “mezze” appetizers. Other dishes we want to come back and try include some outrageous desserts. Of course, there is baklava on the menu, but there’s also a chocolate souffle with passion fruit ice cream or a slow cooked pear with red wine, topped with cotton candy & ice cream. We loved the Z Chef Special dessert (pictured below), a light pastry cream sandwiched between layers of French meringue with raspberry sauce.

Zeugma may be the best thing to happen to the Siena.

Zeugma Mediterranean Grill & Wine Bar, (open seven days a week for lunch and dinner) 44 S Park Street, Montclair, 973-744-0074

Delicious ending @zeugma_grill

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Let’s Do Lunch: Montclair Edition, Part One

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 2:01pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Going out for lunch offers the perfect mini-break from the work day. It’s a chance to eat well, recharge and even catch up with friends for an hour or so. Yet, we are doing it less and less. Apparently going out for lunch is a dying tradition, according to the Wall Street Journal. No way. We can’t have that. Step away from your computer. Whether you crave a quiet lunch solo or dine with friends, jumpstart your lunch break tradition with these picks for great lunch escapes around Montclair.


Ah’ Pizz

The Ah’ Pizz lunch specials are no secret. I’ve had at least three friends tell me that Ah’ Pizz is their go-to place for a quick, well-priced lunch. Choose from three options — bowl of soup with choice of salad ($6.99); personal pizza with either soup or salad ($7.99); or choice of sandwich with salad ($8.99). All three options come with a fountain soda.

Ah Pizz

Ah’ Pizz (open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner), 7 North Willow St., 973-783-9200




How happy are we that Mezoco took over the space at Walnut Street Station? So happy, that we are now regulars for their tasty tacos (gotta love the toppings bar!). Carnitas, chicken, steak, vegetarian or tofu tacos are priced at $3.50; there are also individual meal combos or the Familia (12 tacos, rice and bean, chips and salsa) for a group of four to split ($48). The fact that you can walk over to the actual bar and order a beer to wash down those tacos is clutch.

tacos at Mezoco in Montclair


Mezoco, 25 Depot Square, Montclair, 973-744-4749



Jack’s Seafood Shack

I’ve been missing Cape Cod this summer, but Jack’s Seafood Shack in Montclair has been my consolation. Get your fix of lobster rolls or a whole lobster without the long car ride. Or try Jack’s lunch salads. We like the lobster salad platter, served with a mound of yummy lobster meat (prepared either Connecticut or Maine style), potato salad and cole slaw on a bed of greens ($19) or the summery shrimp & romaine salad, featuring shrimp, corn, cherry tomatoes and queso fresco cheese, with a lime vinaigrette ($17). There’s also a terrific kale salad with tri-color quinoa, red onions, and radishes with a sesame dressing ($14).

Jack’s Seafood Shack, (open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner) 718 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, 973-893-5283

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VOTE!!! Montclair’s Abe Foods Competes in Start Something Challenge To Improve School Lunches

BY  |  Friday, Jul 14, 2017 12:01pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

You may know Montclair caterer Abe Dickerson, a.k.a. Chef Abe, as one of the parents who has been fighting tirelessly for healthier school lunches in Montclair Schools. Or you may know him from his catering business where he takes people’s favorite comfort foods and prepares them in healthier ways.

Now Dickerson has an opportunity to take his passion for healthy eating to the next level. He has made it to the second round of the Start Something Challenge. Dickerson has an opportunity to win a $10,000 grant toward his school lunch food company, Abe Foods, as well as gain the support and feedback of business experts to make his dream of a healthy school food company serving area schools a reality.

Dickerson says helping kids eat healthy now is so important to preventing diabetes, obesity and hypertension when they reach adulthood. “Kids are in school nine months out of the year and the education we give them isn’t just what happens in the classroom,” says Dickerson, who adds that many high school kids are buying junk food from vending machines or eating fried foods from vending trucks.

If he wins, Dickerson wants to bid on small single school contracts and affect change. “There’s a national movement to take back our local food school economy. The only way to truly make school lunches healthy is with scratch food cooking,” says Dickerson, who says schools are losing upwards of $100,000 on school lunch because of food that isn’t being purchased and in waste food removal. Dickerson believes schools like Montclair could be sharing profits rather than losing money on school lunches by sharing resources with other districts, and increasing buying power to create a better quality product.

Click the FOOD category here and then vote for Abe Foods. Voting starts today at noon and ends Friday, July 21 at noon. You are allowed to vote from one device per day per sector for the next seven days ending July 21st.

Today’s The Day: Summer of Hell Begins Today For NJ Transit Commuters

BY  |  Monday, Jul 10, 2017 7:32am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Nj TransitIt’s the Morris and Essex Line that bears the brunt of NJ Transit’s Summer of Hell disruptions (starting today through Friday, September 1, to repair tracks), but savvy Montclair commuters should expect delays and disruptions as a result:

Midtown Direct trains on the Montclair-Boonton Line will operate on regular weekday schedules with minor time changes to/from PSNY. Montclair-Boonton Line Midtown Direct trains will not stop at Broad Street Station during peak hours. Note: All Montclair-Boonton Line customers should check the schedules as station stops may have changed.

NJ Transit has a page that explain options to commuters. South Orange Village Vice President decided to soften the blow to her constituents by hosting a Commuter Send-Off Party.

To stay informed, sign up here for NJ Transit Alerts. And make sure you follow Clever Commute and take advantage of Summer of Hell features of the Clever Commute Apps. Continue Reading

Montclair High School Graduation: To Stay, Or Not To Stay… At The Amphitheater (POLL)

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 8:58am  |  COMMENTS (7)

Montclair High School graduated the Class of 2017 on Thursday, June 22 at the school’s 150th commencement. If you watch this video, you can see the beautiful ceremony and the cheering crowds. Starting at around the 34 minute mark of the video, the camera pans the audience for two minutes and you can see crowds of families standing all along the amphitheater, because no seats were available. Then the camera pans over to the fence along the amphitheater where you can see a group of parents and family members standing on the other side of the fence, who weren’t allowed into the amphitheater.

Nancy Witter was one of the many disappointed parents left standing outside the ceremony looking in and estimates she was one of at least 100 family members not admitted into the ceremony. “Our older son graduated in 2015 and the ceremony was in the auditorium due to rain,” Witter tells Baristanet. “That was also chaotic. No (or inadequate) air conditioning, overcrowded, standing room only. Only two tickets each family but clearly not enforced.”

The problem with overcrowding isn’t new. Gail Prusslin recalls the issue coming up back in 2007-2008, with parents concerned about lack of room in the amphitheater as well as concerns around safety and comfort for those attending who may be in wheelchairs, have mobility issues, etc. “Personally, I love the look and feel of the amphitheater, but it was/is just not practical for a graduation class of our size,” says Prusslin.

At that time, a group of parents met and researched some options, including the football field and other nearby venues at Montclair State. “Our consensus was that the football field would be the best way to accommodate the families and still feel connected to the High School. We thought the graduates could meet at the amphitheater with their parents, cross the bridge, and “parade” to the field (with the band accompanying them, of course),” says Prusslin. There were concerns about the heels of shoes potentially damaging the field, so the group looked into renting a surface that would protect the field. However, the plan, presented to then Principal Mel Katz and Superintendent Frank Alvarez never got past the initial idea, due to resistance Prusslin believes was related to cost, logistics and a change in tradition.

That tradition includes walking over bridges at the amphitheater, a symbolic right of passage that’s unique to Montclair High School. Continue Reading

Don’t Miss Montclair Food & Wine Bourbon & Biergarten 2017

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 12:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Remember what a fantastic time it was last year? Well, you won’t want to miss the 2017 Montclair Food & Wine Festival’s Bourbon and Biergarten! This year’s event, Saturday, July 15, moves to the Wellmont Theater, and pairs delicious dishes from area restaurants with wine, beer and spirits curated by Amanti Vino. There will also be live music by Street Beat Brass and a choice of three experience levels:

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Sights and Sounds From 2017 Montclair 4th of July Parade

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 8:06am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Tuesday was a beautiful day for a parade and Montclair’s 67th annual 4th of July Parade did not disappoint. The parade, like Montclair, had a diverse lineup, featuring the young and old, candidates and political opinion, music, amazing floats, art, even a visit from Santa, and of course, it all ends with Elvis (a.k.a. Peter Giuffra).

Perennial parade favorite the Commonwealth Club, with a wink and a nod to the development of the historic Lackawanna train station, created an Erie Lackawanna railroad train complete with billowing smoke (and water spray!). The Little Daisy Bake Shop offered a sweet surprise with their three-tiered cake float.

An energetic group from Montclair Community Pre-K, featuring current students and alumni, proudly served as parade grand marshal.

Music made the parade come alive with bagpipes, incredible performances by Fralinger String Band of Philadelphia and Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps, student musicians from Jazz House Kids and School of Rock Montclair, as well as Montclair Community Band (videos below).

Mikie Sherrill, who is challenging Rep. Ronald Frelinghuysen in the 11th district, made her parade debut as a candidate, marching with an enthusiastic group of supporters. Aging in Montclair marched to bring awareness to senior issues, while another group showed support for Montclair Public Schools and a plea to “Stop the Layoffs.”

Montclair Community Band

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@jazz_house_kids 🎵

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Parade! #montclair #4thofjuly

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Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band!!

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Love them!!

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Stuffed and Bobbi Brown: Healthy Together in Montclair

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

If you love Stuffed grass fed burgers on Montclair’s Valley Road, you’re not alone. Turns out Montclair’s makeup mogul Bobbi Brown likes them, too. But Brown (who stepped down from her company in December and is now onto new endeavors, including JustBOBBI focusing on beauty from within) would tell you that you can’t eat burgers every day.

Brown collaborated with Stuffed owner Dan Campeas to create a new healthy and colorful Kale Salad for Stuffed, featuring tomatoes, cucumber, chick peas, sliced almonds, radishes, and balsamic honey mustard ($10.95). Campeas, who grew up in Montclair, got to know Brown when he became friends with her son when they were both at Montclair High School.

You can order the new salad “Bobbi’s Way,” with a kids burger, goat cheese crumbles, lemon and extra virgin olive oil ($15.95), which is exactly how Brown likes it when she comes to Stuffed, says Campeas.

Looking to Adopt? Nine Colombian Older Orphans Visiting With Kidsave Summer Miracles Program

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 29, 2017 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Rachael Quinn Egan with Francy and her younger daughters at graduation


Montclair adoption advocate Rachael Quinn Egan will drive to JFK airport this Friday to meet nine foster children arriving from Colombia through Kidsave’s Summer Miracles Program.

Kidsave is a volunteer-driven effort engaged in helping move older kids, ages 8 – 14, out of foster care or orphanages and into permanent, loving homes. The children will be hosted by families in the NY/NJ area for the month of July. Egan, who is hosting an 11-year-old girl named Denis, will help advocate to find her an adoptive family.

Egan adopted her daughter Francy through Kidsave five years ago when Francy was 13. Last week, Francy graduated Montclair High School and will attend an honors program at Rutgers this fall.

Of her own experience adopting, Egan says “A friend of mine who loves to do a lot of outdoor risky adventure stuff once told me he thought I was very brave to adopt a teenager, but as I told him we all just find our adventure and joy in different ways. Meeting one of these children might just be the greatest opportunity for a potential parent in our area, and it could be a life saving event for the child.”

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More Than 500 Graduate! Montclair High School Class of 2017 Commencement & Project Graduation

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Montclair High School Class of 2017 is going places. Some MHS seniors will take a gap year or join the workforce; others are headed to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Tufts, Ithaca, Syracuse, Oberlin, NYU, The Juilliard School and many other institutions of higher learning this fall. Commencement speaker, novelist Benilde Little, urged the graduates that no matter where they go, to “take Montclair with you.” Last Thursday evening was the 150th graduation for MHS, held as tradition, when weather permits, in the school’s outdoor amphitheater.

Julianna Wittmann, Student Coalition president

Julianna Wittmann, Student Coalition President 2017, welcomed everyone to the commencement ceremony, thanking teachers and administrators, and nostalgically quoting Cody from “The Suite Life on Deck”: “As we say goodbye to high school and head off our separate ways we take with us the memories of all the adventures we’ve shared.”

Wittmann also spoke of the impact made by the Student Coalition this year, including efforts to fix the parking situation at MHS. “I encourage you all to treasure the memories forged in these halls and take them with you on whatever path you will soon be heading down,” Wittmann added. Continue Reading

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Yummy list. I like Ray's. http://www.raysluncheonette.com

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