Quote of the Day

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.

So true!

Who doesn’t love a story about balls?



I highly encourage EVERYONE who is local to give The Meatball Shop a try! came here a few months ago on a date ( I wish I could say the date was as fantastic as the food)  So being a meatball shop virgin and not the biggest meatball fan,  I let him guide me in the ordering process.   I couldn’t get passed saying Naked Balls without a giggle ( I know  I know 25 going on 12) So I loved that the menu was a little arts and crafty where you actually get to draw on it and tick off what you want with markers!

I had the naked balls (classic beef) with classic tomato sauce and a piece of mozzarella on top.  He had the smashed balls HA! (Chicken) with Parmesan Cream– OMG AMAZING I also ordered the special (Moroccan ball) as a slider.   I wasn’t overly thrilled with that one, there was a bit too much going on in it and I’m fairly picky about my Moroccan food!

I cannot rave enough about the Parmesan Cream sauce and the Chicken Balls.  Next time I go, I will absolutely be getting the Smashed Balls with a side of Cream, Parmesan Cream that is…..

Side note:  Their wine selection is very good and the bartenders are pretty to look at.  Nothing beats a good bottle of wine and a plate of balls served by an adorable hipster!


There are currently 3 locations for you to enjoy your balls ( and I’ve recently herd rumor of a new Chelsea location to be opened) :

64 Greenwich Avenue NYC
84 Stanton Street, NYC
170 Bedford Avenue (Brooklyn)





Stop what you are doing and go get some balls!


Weekly Review: Fascino

As a long time Fascino customer I was eager to head back last night.  Once again Ryan and Cynthia did not disappoint and I left beyond thrilled!   I cannot stress enough what an amazing time we had.  Now I NEVER go out for Italian or Italian American food because 9 out of 10 times I can make whatever I order ten times better.  Fascino is a true exception to that rule.  

We started with a bottle of wine that was delivered to our table from the local liquor store as it is BYOB ( i love that). Robert Mondavi Cabernet  and an order of the cornmeal crusted calamari.  Delicious. They split it for us in the kitchen so the presentation was spot on.  It was just the right amount. It was perfectly cooked and deliciously seasoned.   I then opted after much debate For the Ricotta Gnocchi with Sweet Sausage Bolognese: OH MY GOD.  Without a doubt if I was ever on death row or asked to pick a last meal that is 600% it! It was light and airy and not at all overwhelming and lead like as most gnocchi usually is.  The sauce was terrific and not remotely over seasoned or salted. Perfection!  There were a few great favors that opened with each bite.  The fresh basil was a great addition to the dish and complimented everything.  Would love  to see a hot sausage version sometime

My date had the Porcini dusted scallops with Farro Risotto which looked unbelievable. From first bite you could see he was hooked on this dish.  Cooked to perfection scallops can be a tricky dish to work with. The risotto was terrific and light and complemented the scallops impeccably.

Dessert came and I ordered the ultimate parfait and can I just say I had a love affair with my dessert at the table.  If I could have dove in and bathed in the parfait I very much would have.  I cannot rave enough about the sheer awesomeness of it. Dark chocolate pudding , peanut butter mousse, marshmallow brûlée, little chocolate crisps. Genius. Such a simple dish exploded with so many amazing flavors.  My date commented at one point with an amused grin. ” would you two like to be alone”. I said no but seriously try this. He did and he was just as hooked as I was. My hat is off to you Cynthia, amazing!    My date had the molten chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream which he said was terrific.  He wasn’t so much a fan of the ice cream as he isn’t a big hazelnut person but the presentation of both was terrific and to be honest from first bite of my dessert a bomb could have gone off next to me and I wouldn’t have noticed.

Our waiter was charming and helpful but certainly not overbearing or pushy.  

GREAT experience once again!

I will most certainly be back and have found my new favorite meal!  This one is going to be hard to top!



I encourage everyone to stop in at Fascino and enjoy a terrific meal



331 Bloomfield Ave
Montclair, NJ 07042
(973) 233-0350


Sunday Dinner: Roasted Chicken with Roasted Veggies and an Appetizer Pizza

Sunday dinner was my creation tonight.  I had intended to bang out a new recipe by Jamie Oliver however I made a snap judgement last minute that I wanted to do my own thing and ventured in a slightly different direction.   I started with an appetizer pizza:


1 Dough ( we buy ours from the pizzeria) Floured

1 Roasted Red Pepper ( Large)

3 Roasted and Sauteed Small Onions

1 Cup Parmesan Cheese

2 Sprigs of Basil


Roll the dough over flour to avoid sticking, then sprinkle Parmesan to cover the crust.  Assemble roasted red peppers and onions, sprinkle additional Parmesan to cover ( to your liking) then top with 1 sprig of basil and grill for 8-10 minutes on medium heat.   Top with fresh basil and enjoy!



Then came the Roasted Stuffed Chicken with Mixed Veggies:

6.50lb whole chicken

2 vidalia onions (quartered)

1 sweet potato or yam  (Cubed)

2 red potatoes(Cubed)

1/2 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley

5 Cloves of Fresh Garlic( Peeled)

4 Carrots ( Chopped)

1 Long Yellow Squash (Cubed)

1 Zucchini (Cubed)

1/4 cup fresh Thyme

1 Stick of Butter (1/2 Cubed, 1/2 in slices)

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

2 Lemons

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Wash chicken and set in roasting pan ( you can use a rack if need be) Wash and cut all veggies ( NO MUSHROOMS) and put 1/2 in a bowl.  Combine with juice of 1 lemon and set aside the halves. Sprinkle parsley over veggies and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/2 of the thyme into mixture.  Stuff the chicken from the neck to rear and cap with a lemon half. Shove sprigs of thyme into bird and under skin with additional parsley ( leave a little bit)  Slide slices of butter under the skin ( separate with fingers making sure not to puncture or rupture skin.  Slide all the way to the back of the chicken if possible ( You will be elbow deep in chicken, if you are squeamish or get grossed out, don’t make a whole chicken- sub out already cut pieces and bake in a roasting pan)

Rub the bird down with slices and cubes of butter and add veggies around the bird in the pan.  Top with additional cubes.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of the bird.  Rub down again with Olive Oil ( get in the creases and under the skin and around the wings and legs)  Top with parsley and put in oven.  Make sure you add butter and olive oil to veggies in the pan ( a light coating- do not douse) so that they do not burn away. Zest lemon over the top to add flavor to the skin.   Bake on 375 for 30 minutes and then drop heat to 325 for another hour and a half ( at least)  Keep an eye on the belly button and make sure it pops, you will likely have to carve off the legs and wings and put the legs back in the oven as they are dark meat and will take longer to cook. Figure for a 6LB chicken you are looking at 2 hours.  Make sure you watch it, there is nothing worse than over cooked chicken!

ImagePre-Roasting: Assembled and ready to go!



Finished Bird!


For the Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes:

1 Package Baby Bella Mushrooms (Cleaned and Sliced)

1 Sweet Potato or Yam ( Cleaned and Cubed)

Generous pour of Red Wine ( I use a burgundy blend)

Salt & Pepper



Lemon Juice


Combine all ingredients as you did for the roasted veggies above.  Note that mushrooms will cook MUCH faster.  I am allergic to them so I don’t often work with them but these came out great (or so I was told)   I work a lot by trial and error.  I cooked them all together, next time i would either separate them in the pan or cook separately as the mushrooms were done a good 20 minutes before the potatoes.   Toss them in Olive Oil, parsley, lemon juice salt & pepper, Bake on 325 for 20-30 minutes. Mushrooms will be done when they brown nicely.  The wine adds a robust flavor.  ( additionally these mushrooms are FANTASTIC with steak au poivre or filet mignon)  Toss them and rotate them in the pan repeatedly.


Pre-Roasting:  Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes


I also made a pearled cous cous ( I used Near Easts Garlic & Herb) Cook as directed on the box.  I added 1/2 Tablespoon of minced garlic.



Finished Product: Roasted Chicken, Mixed Veggies, Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Mushrooms and Pearled Cous Cous!




Happy Mothers Day! Quiche Lorraine ( Variation)

I went back home this past Sunday for Mothers Day. Since we had a few family members coming over I decided to do a brunch. The original boring plan was my amazing omelets however I said nahhh lets get a little more creative.  So while I was on the train I decided that I wanted to make a quiche.  I began thinking of what my family likes, what I like and came up with Quiche Lorraine.  I made a few variations and have included my recipe below:


1 Frozen Pie Crust

4 Eggs

1 1/4 cup LIGHT cream

2 Cups of cheese ( I used Swiss & Jarlsberg)

7 Strips of bacon

1 Shallot

1/2 Teaspoon olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cayenne Pepper to top & spice


Preheat oven to 425.  Cook bacon until crispy, set aside and let cool.  Saute shallots in olive oil until caramelized, set aside.  Grate or crumble cheese and combine in a bowl with crumbled bacon and shallots. Fill pie crust with mixture and set aside.   In a large bowl beat 4 eggs, light cream, salt & pepper with a dash of cayenne pepper.  Pour into crust over mixture and top with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. 

Bake in oven for 15 minutes on 425.  Drop heat to 300 and bake an additional 20-30 minutes ( until a knife inserted comes out moist but clean)







Spicy Sunday: Spiced Shrimp Skewers & Red Wine Beef Kebabs

Tonight I was in the mood to kebab it up. I headed out to the store with the intent of buying beef or shrimp, but came back with both.  Let’s call it spicy surf and turf.

So the shrimp was VERY spicy ( I used Sriratcha rather than standard chili sauce) The beef was terrific!



  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup steak sauce (e.g. A-1)
  • 3 oranges, sliced into rounds
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 4 small red chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 pounds beef sirloin steak, boneless, cut across the grain into 1/4 inch strips


  1. Combine the red wine and steak sauce in a large bowl. Stir in the orange slices, green onions, chile peppers, garlic, and ginger. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place steak strips in a shallow dish and pour marinade over meat. Cover, and refrigerate 8 hours.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from heat. Soak wooden or bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
  4. Remove steak from marinade, and discard; thread meat onto skewers. Arrange skewers on prepared grill, and cook until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear, 7 to 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 489 | Total Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 121mg



Recipes can be found on allrecipes.com

Pamir Restaurant Morristown: Mixed Bag Review

Ok so for those who are not familiar with Afghan food, a note:  Afghan food is NOT spiced like Indian food. It is much more mild and the flavors should meld together not assault you. 

I was satisfied but not overly impressed with Pamir.  They used to be TERRIFIC when located on Washington Street. 

My friend and I both did the 19.95 dinner special.   

We both started with the Sambosa which I found to be a bit basic and boring. Could have used a bit more filling but overall was okay.    The green salad with yogurt and mint dressing was great.  I had the Chicken Narange Palaw which I thought was TERRIFIC.  I would like to try the eggplant next time, however it was a great dish overall.  My friend had the Lawangi Murgh which at first glance looked a little freaky to me but was delicious!    I had the lemonade which is seasoned with Mint and a club soda.  The lemonade was terrific.  

On a side note, the service was mediocre at best. We waited with our closed menus for a good 15-20 minutes before our order was taken, he walked by us several times, took care of the people next to us etc.  Once everything came out the timing was good, however they were a bit slow to get the dishes off the table before bringing out the next.  

Overall – It was good, not terrific, not bad


HARU Sushi Wall Street: SCATHING Review with a nod to my mother!

5/2/2012 1.0 Star Rating

Ok so let me preface this by saying I have now given this place THREE chances within months of each other and EACH time it has been horrible.  I will detail each instance.

First time:

I ate their for what was supposed to be a timely lunch with a client.  Not only were we seated for 20 minutes before the waters and diet cokes we ordered showed up but the food was horrific.  I ordered the Rock Shrimp Appetizer which tasted and looked like I had gotten it at an apple bee’s, I ordered the Toro Sashimi Special ( $8 a piece) He ordered Teriyaki.  So we waited an additional 45 minutes for our food to come out only to be SO disappointed. My “toro belly” was slimy, warm and sour which obviously was a result of them cutting it and leaving it out while they did god knows what to the salad I ordered and never received and his bland and mediocre Teriyaki.   The toro was inedible  ( took one bite I couldn’t even swallow) and a food poisoning law suit waiting to happen so I sent it back.  Our check took a good 20 minutes to track down, correct and pay. We spent a total of about 2 hours there when it was supposed to be a 45 minute lunch.  

I reviewed them on their site and their VP of Operations contacted me immediately and offered two gift cards to try them again, which leads me to experience number 2.

Second Time:

Again it took a crazy amount of time to receive my salad and my friends 3 rolls.  Food was bland but not awful.  Nothing memorable, service was crap and took forever.  Left unhappy again. When I presented the gift cards, the server gave a VERY audible groan and acted like it was the biggest inconvenience.  

Third Time:
Last night, went in with a colleague ( i forewarned her) she was adamant that it was a great place so I said, sure i’ll give it another shot. (WRONG)
We sat by the door of the bar, (no big deal.) The bartender while initially very nice was about as fake as the nails on my fingers.

I asked for a Lychee Martini, she convinced me to try her ” favorite drink ever” a sakitini ( gross)  I’m sure it was a decent drink, but it was just NOT my thing, so I sent it back. I ordered a MacMurray Pinot Noir- I watched her pour me the end of a bottle and walk away. My friend ordered the Estancia Pinot Noir.  So I’m a HUGE wine snob and a long time MacMurray drinker. What I was served was vinegar and for someone who will usually have 2 glasses of wine at dinner, I took two sips and left it untouched.   The Estancia was decent, it’s a low quality wine so we weren’t expecting much there.  

We each ordered a roll as we weren’t overly hungry.  I had the Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll, she had a California roll, they were mediocre, not great not awful.  When it came time to pay the check, she walked over ( we waited 30 minutes for 2 rolls to come out and another 15 for the check)   Now I gave off ALL of the signs that I was unhappy without being a witch about it but this woman either didn’t give  a crap or was too much of a moron to figure it out.  ( Being subtle is NOT a strong suit of mine)  As she was taking away a FULL glass of wine I said “you know that bottle was kicked”….blank stare…..” it was no good, it was vinegar”  ……”oh”… and she walked away while rolling her eyes.  The manager came over and gave me the equivilent of the Spanish inquisition  and I said, listen I know my wine, I know what it’s supposed to taste like and that was a soured bottle.  

He proceeded to attempt to pour himself a glass from the Estancia, I said, Nope I had the MacMurray and it was the dregs of a bottle, she poured at my table 18 inches from my face.  He said, oh no problem and took it off my check..

As we were packing up our things to leave after paying our bill, I overheard the bartender say to the manager, that woman was a …….and i missed the last word. .

Not the way to win customers my dear.

Safe to say I will NOT be returning

One thing I learned from my Mother, the former Long Time Savor( Food) Editor for the Star Ledger, is how  to write a review and to know what to look for.  In her hay day my mom managed to close down this horrible restaurant called Max’s in NJ (at least that’s the thought and understanding)  I was probably 11 at the time and I remember always being in awe of my mom when she reviewed a place.  The sneaky way she took notes under the table to the outcome whether positive or negative of a review.  This place never stood a chance.  I remember we sat for a LONG time before any service much less any food.  I don’t remember going a second time, but apparently we did to give it another chance and it was apparently equally as hateful. Needless to say my mothers review came out and less than 5 weeks later they were closed.  Do the math.
My intention is NOT to get Haru closed, because some people actually love it there, just to have them correct the crap that goes on and fix their issues.

Surprise! Catering my fathers surprise 60th

I decided to take on the task of catering for my ultra picky family and my fathers friends for his surprise 60th. While murphy’s law was definitely at play:  

  • The Dog Ate a Portion of My Cake ( No, Really that happened) 
  • Someone who shall remain nameless ( mommy dearest) misplaced the cookbook with quite a few of my recipes 
  • Pastry dough that was to be refrigerated was accidentally frozen ( mommy dearest)  rendering it unusable

All that aside it worked out perfectly and I want to throw a HUGE thank you out to Sweet Lucy’s Bakery in Morristown NJ for the last minute order and amazing handling of a semi frantic phone call that went something like:

“Hi, due to a cake accident ( sure that’s what we’ll call it) I need 50 cupcakes or a cake made by this evening!…….. can you help….please? …….please?……”

Truly it worked out fabulously and I am SO grateful that the staff was able to accommodate with 50 delicious cupcakes ( all though we had a minor accident where a few of them toppled over- we lost 4 but that’s ok)



Here’s a snap shot of the menu:


Frank’s Surprise 60th Menu

Moroccan Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Salmon Log

Olive and Blue Cheese Stuffed Baby Peppers

Baked Brie with Raspberry Jam

Ham & Jarlsburg Stromboli

Mozzarella balls wrapped in Roasted Red Pepper

Spinach & Artichoke Pizza

Traditional Italian Platter with Meats, Fruits & Cheeses


Fruit Display

Shrimp Platter

Cheese Board

Mini Candy Buffet

Wine & Champagne Bar


A HUGE thank you to Jessica Williamson for assisting and doing a beautiful job of serving and passing!



Sauteed Onions for the Meatballs!


Beef & Parsley


Beef, Parsley & Bread Crumbs


Beef,Parsley, Bread Crumbs & Eggs


Beef, Parsley, Bread Crumbs, Eggs, Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Cinnamon, & Dash of Coriander


Combined Ingredients


Cooking my balls in the oven


Finished Product!


Balls on a stick ready to go out


Baked Brie with Raspberry Jam & Ham/Jarlsburg Stromboli(should have made 3)


Stuffed Halved Baby Peppers with Olive Tapenade & Blue Cheese


Table scape: tri color gum balls in martini/margarita glasses with zebra napkins, black cocktail plates and the Cup Cake Tower went in the center!



Thank you to everyone who attended, the gracious compliments you paid me, all the support, love and help!


Mom, I still love you ❤