Restaurant Review: Raval Tapas Bar and Cocktail Lounge

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Last Friday I was invited to Raval, a new Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Jersey City before it even opened. It made me feel very VIP. As this post is going out (Wed, May 27), Raval is now open to the public. The restaurant is the latest concept from Restaurant Development Group (RDG), the successful team behind Lucky 7 Tavern and Satis Bistro.

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If you’re unfamiliar with tapas, it’s small plates of delicious food that you can share. It’s a great concept where you can try many different things of the menu. My goal was to try as many things as possible.  Starting with cocktails:

Cheers! I'm at a private party at @ravaljc before they officially open next week! #jerseycity #jerseyeats #nj #newjersey #njisntboring

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This cocktail is called the “Modernista” – Earl grey infused pisco, pear liqueur, vanilla & lemon.

My husband and I started with two appetizers: plato de queso (chef selection cheese plate) & plato de embutido (chef selection of sausage, ham and cured meat). Both were phenomenal, and I got to try cheese and meat I’ve never had before.

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We also added on patatas bravas (crisp potatoes, spicy bravas sauce and roasted garlic allioli) which was right up my alley since it was spicy, contained potatoes, and I love an allioli sauce.

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I’ll admit that at this point I was already full, but we had to try more since we were there!

Next we tried the costillas ala miel (sherry and honey glazed berkshire pork belly, pickled chiles and marcona almonds). I’ve never had pork belly before, and I’m not a pork eater in general, but this was one of my favorite dishes.

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At this point we were REALLY full, but we had try 3 recommendations from our waitress:

The croquetas de bacalao (salt cod fritters with spicy pepper jelly)

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Croquetas cremosa de setas (porchini béchamel croquettes and wild mushroom)

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and finally, the canelones de conejo (braised rabbit leg and mushroom crêpe with porcini rabbit demi-glace).

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My husband is the pickiest eater in the world, and I was so proud that he tried everything that was on our table. I would also like to humblebrag by saying that I tried a lot of new things I would never think to try before. Rabbit? That was a new one for me. And honestly, if you told me if was turkey I would have believed you. The porchini and wild mushroom croquettes were fantastic, and our waitress’s favorite too. The cod fritters were great, but the spicy pepper jelly? AMAZING.

Of course, despite being super full, we had to get dessert. We tried the crema catalana (baked custard, orange compote, vanilla bean whipped cream, burnt sugar) and churros (housemade sevilla churros, espresso chocolate sauce). Both were very sweet and delicious. I had never seen a Spanish Churro before, which were round instead of the stick shape I’m used to.

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This was a great dining experience for me. I got to try delicious dishes I would have never tried before, the food was all amazing, the ambiance of the restaurant is very romantic and classy, and it’s right in downtown Jersey City which is a great area!

Check them out and tell them I sent you! PS. They take reservations!

About: Raval is a modern Spanish tapas restaurant & cocktail lounge located in Downtown Jersey City.
Address: 136 Newark Ave, Jersey City, New Jersey
Phone #: (201) 209-1099
Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter @RavalJerseyCity and Instagram

Events to Check Out this Weekend: May 29 – 31, 2015

Riverfest – May 29-31

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RiverFest is back with three days of the regions best local food establishments, music and family fun. It’s NJ’s premiere food and music festival. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy the music and delicious festival foods.

Dates: May 29th – 31st, 2015
Address: Marine Park; Riverview Rd., Red Bank, NJ
Cost: Free admission
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Michael Arnone’s 25th Annual Crawfish Fest – May 29-31

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What started as a small crawfish boil for 70 people homesick for boiled crawfish in 1989, has turned into Michael Arnone’s 25th Annual Crawfish Fest. Featuring the best Music and Food that Louisiana and New Orleans has to offer. Cajun, Zydeco, Delta Blues, New Orleans R&B, Brass, Gospel and Jazz on 4 Stages.

Dates: May 29th – 31st, 2015
Address: Sussex County Fairgrounds; 37 Plains Rd., Augusta
Cost: $40+. Buy them Here
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Monroeville Vineyard’s Barbecue – May 30

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A generous portion of meat, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad and Beans from Hawgs Breath Barbecue in Upper Pittsgrove! $15 includes meal, wine tasting and Live Music! This is an outdoor event! Case Club member plus 1 are Free!!

Date: Saturday, May 30th, 2015; Noon to 4pm
Address: Monroe Vineyard; 314 Richwood Rd, Mornoeville;
Cost: $15. Get Tickets HERE
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Jersey Fest Food Truck Mash Up – May 30

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20+ Specialty Food Trucks, Brews and Cocktails, Music, family fun, giveaways, harness racing and more.

Date: Saturday, May 30th, 2015; 5pm to 11:30pm
Address: New Meadowlands Racetrack; 1 Racetrack Drive, East Rutherford
Cost: $5 GA
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Barnegat Township Kick off the Summer Festival – May 30

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Event features Craft Breweries, NJ WIneries, Food Trucks, Craft Vendors, Live Bands, Children’s activities. This one day event runs from Noon – 6 pm, rain date is Sunday, May 31.

Date: Saturday, May 30th, 2015; Noon to 6pm
Address: 427 E. Bay Ave., Barnegat, NJ
Cost: Free to Attend
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Rhythm and Blues by the Brook – May 30

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The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that one of Union County’s best loved warm-weather traditions is back: the annual Rhythm and Blues by the Brook free outdoor music festival, which returns to historic Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, on Saturday, May 30th, 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. This year, Rhythm and Blues by the Brook features the high energy funk of The Family Stone, and the iconic R&B super group of the ’70s, War. Also featured is “world music on jet fuel” Safro-Rock artist Mthakathi. Rhythm and Blues by the Brook also features free activities for young children, including inflatable activity rides, a petting zoo, and pony rides. The children’s area will open at 12:00 noon and close at 4:30, when the main act takes the stage. Also returning to Cedar Brook Park on May 30 is a classic car show, located near the basketball court across the park from the concert area.

Date: Saturday, May 30th, 2015; 12pm to 6pm
Address: Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield, NJ
Cost: Free
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Jersey Born Music Festival – May 30

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Jersey Born Music Festival Presented by Coors Light & Asbury Park Press. The Nerds, B-Street Band, Billy Hector Band, JoBonanno & the Godsons of Soul, The Funktion, Quincy Mumford & the Reason Why, Lance Larsen & Marc Ribler, Christine Martucci, Joe Iconis & many more exciting Jersey bands! In addition to the colossal music line-up, the audience can look forward to a family friendly event, great food unique vendors, Coors Light and wine available! Fans are guaranteed to have a full day of fun starting at 11 am and ending at 6 pm. Rain Date: May 31. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Mary’s Place by the Sea

Dates: Saturday, May 30th, 2015; 11am to 6pm
Address: Cookman Ave., Asbury Park, NJ
Cost: $5, kids under 10 are free
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Ocean Grove Giant Spring Flea Market – May 30

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385 vendors selling new, used and antique items. A variety of food offerings. Free admission. Something for everyone. 9 am – 4 pm. Rain or shine.

Date: Saturday, May 30th, 2015; 9am to 4pm
Address: Ocean Pathway & Ocean Ave., Ocean Grove
Cost: Free
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Strawberry Festival at Oasis Family Farm – May 30 – 31

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STRAWBERRIES FOREVER!
NO U-PICK
Farm fresh strawberries
Strawberry shortcake
Strawberry rhubarb pies
Strawberry ice cream
Chocolate covered strawberries
Strawberry fudge

ACTIVITIES FOR THE KIDS:
Wagon rides
Sand art
Craft activities
Pie eating contest
& more!
– Wear red & get $2 off entry to the FunZone!

Date: May 30th & 31st, 2015; 10:30am to 4pm
Address: Oasis Family Farm; 3 Circle Dr, Robbinsville
Cost: Free to attend
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NJ Renaissance Faire – May 30, 31; June 6 & 7

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The New Jersey Renaissance Faire, where fantasy meets reality! A Renaissance Festival the way you remember, alive with interaction, magic and friendship.

Dates: May 23rd, 23th, 30th & 31st; June 6th & 7th, 2015
Address: 1195 Florence Columbus Rd; Bordentown, New Jersey
Cost: $18+. Buy Tickets Here

Brewery Review: Tun Tavern in Atlantic City

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I’ve been visiting a lot of craft breweries all around New Jersey lately, and while in Atlantic City I decided to check out Tun Tavern, which is a microbrewery and restaurant.

The restaurant itself is really nice, and it’s right by the convention center and the Tanger Outlets so it’s in a convenient location. They also have free parking, which is always an added bonus in Atlantic City. They also had live music when we were there!

We decided to get a flight/sampler, so we could try most of their beers on tap, which came in 3 oz pours, 5 total. I opted out of the IPA and switched it out with a Hefeweizen (not a fan of IPAs). I should also mention that their Hops are Jersey Grown!

Enjoying a flight of #njcraftbeer at #tuntavern in #atlanticcity! 🍻 #nj #newjersey #njisntboring

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Beers I tried:
– Irish Red: Irish Style Red Ale ABV 5.1%
– Devil Dog Pale Ale: American Style Pale Ale ABV 5.2%
– Tun Light: Blonde Ale ABV 3.9%
– Leather Neck Stout: Oatmeal Stout ABV 4.5%
– German-Style Hefeweizen (Seasonal)

As I mentioned, they also have an IPA (ABV 6.5%), a Belgian Style Tripel, and an American-Style Barley Wine Ale which comes in bottles only. Because they brew all their beer in house, they also have seasonal beers. I may return in the Fall to try their pumpkin beer.

Since they are a restaurant, they recommend what beer would taste well with your meal which is nice.

My husband got a burger, which they recommend with the Leather Neck Stout or the IPA.

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I got a chicken caesar salad, which they recommend with the Devil Dog Pale Ale or the Tun Light.

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Overall, it was a great meal with great beer, and it’s definitely a reasonably priced place to go to in Atlantic City.

You can also get a growler to go! ($10 empty, $24 filled, $16 refills). We got one to add to our big collection of NJ growlers which is growing more and more every day.

Support local NJ beer! Check them out!

About Tun Tavern:

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When first built in 1685 on Philadelphia’s waterfront, the original Tun Tavern developed a reputation for offering fine beers and being home to important historical events including being the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps on November 10, 1775. Today’s Tun Tavern continues to hold prestige as the first brew pub in Atlantic City, NJ offering award-winning casual gourmet cuisine and handcrafted brews, as well as live entertainment and special events.

Address: 2 Convention Boulevard, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Phone: 609.347-7800

Check out more info on their Website!

Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter @ACTunTavern

Diner Round Up – The Starview Diner in Somerdale

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There are SO many South Jersey diners that when I find myself in the area, I must make a visit to one. This time I visited the Starview Diner, a diner right off of White Horse Pike in Somerdale.

I really enjoyed this diner! They have a great menu, and it took me a while to make a decision on what to get. They even have a cool bar area if you’re looking to just go there to grab a drink.

Ultimately, I ended up ordering a “mini meal” which including soup or salad and two sides for under $11. I can’t pass up a good deal! There is at least 20 different options on the mini meals, and they all looked delicious.

The diner didn’t have my usual matzoh ball soup, so I got a vegetable soup instead. It was one of the best vegetable soups I’ve ever had! For real! It was also in a bowl, not a cup, and I easily could have had this as my meal.

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For my main course I got mushroom caps stuffed with crab meat was was really, really good. I also enjoyed my peas and mushrooms side and mashed potatoes, but after trying their fries I wish I got them as my “potato” instead.

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Overall, I really dug this diner. I left feeling VERY full.

Basic Info
Address: 9 S White Horse Pike, Somerdale
Phone:(856) 784-4224

Diner Facts:
24 Hours – No
Parking Lot – Yes
Liquor License – Yes
Salad Bar – No
Homemade Desserts – Yes

The 11th Annual Princeton Festival Begins June 6th!

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NEW LISTENING CHOICES FOR THIS YEAR’S PRINCETON FESTIVAL AUDIENCES
Country Music, Indian Music and Dance, and Baroque Orchestra join the line-up for the three week long program in June

The Princeton Festival in its eleventh season continues to bring new and different genres to its audiences. This year’s Festival, which runs from June 6 to June 28, will feature for the first time country music by the guitar duo “Striking Matches”, traditional Indian Music and Dance by Pradhanica, and a concert by the Festival Baroque Orchestra to join the wide program of opera, musical comedy, chamber and choral music, piano recital, jazz and a cappella jazz, not to mention the Festival’s own piano competition for young artists.

“Striking Matches” is currently making a grand stir on the country music scene. The new CD by the singer-songwriter, guitar-wieldingStriking-Matches duo of Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis, “Nothing but the Silence” produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett, hit the music scene in March and was covered extensively by major media. The duo has been in great demand since and is in the midst of an East Coast tour. Their own special brand of music brings together blues, pop, country and rock. “Striking Matches” began its rise in 2012, leading to its frequent appearances on Grand Ole Opry and other top country music stages. Their appearance with the Festival is on Sunday, June 21 at 7:30pm in the McAneny Theatre at Princeton Day School.

From the other side of the world comes traditional northern Indian music and dance performed by Pradhanica, a Kathak dance and world drum ensemble. Their dynamic, spinning dance and haunting music are driven by spell-binding rhythms. Composition is by rhythm master Pandit Divyang Vakil, for many years a leader in teaching the North East about Indian dance. Pradhanica will perform on Saturday, June 27 at 8pm in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. In line with their mission to show the world more of this engaging Indian artform the group will give a free public demonstration at Clark Music Center, The Lawrenceville School on Saturday, June 6 at 4pm.

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Another first for the Festival is a concert by the Festival Baroque Orchestra. Playing on period instruments, the chamber orchestra led by concertmaster Juan Carlos Zamudio will present a program of music by Baroque masters on Wednesday, June 24 at 7:30pm in Miller Chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton. The concert in the chapel setting will give the audience a chance to take a step back in time to the late 17th and early 18th centuries with music by Heinrich Biber, Georg Muffat, Georg Friedrich Handel and J.S.Bach.

The new features in The Princeton Festival’s June program are framed by the familiar elements that have been the mainstays of the Festival in its past ten seasons, Mozart’s The LeNozze-di-FigaroMarriage of Figaro was written in 1786 but it remains one of the most popular operas in the repertoire world wide. The upcoming production features rising opera stars to bring to life the human comedy and moving music that continue to speak to us in the twenty first century. Concordia Chamber Players return with their always adventurous programming, this year ranging from Mozart and Mendelssohn to a serenade for flute by Edward T. Cone. Jazz is well represented to jazz afficiandos by pianist Falkner Evans, and pure enjoyment awaits listeners with the a cappella jazz of West Side 5 and The Tribunes. The Festival’s Conducting Master Class will culminate in a choral concert in which the conductor participants will show their new and polished skills. Fei-Fei Dong was a finalist in the Van Cliburn International Piano competition. She plays an all Chopin recital for the Festival audience. The Festival’s own Piano Competition for Young Performers will continue to bring in top talent from the mid Atlantic region and beyond. No musical comedy could be younger and more fresh than the Tony award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which will bring its laughter and song to audiences in ten performances.

For more information about the three weeks of the Festival and a link to ticket sales (handled by McCarter Theater), visit www.princetonfestival.org. To purchase tickets by phone, call McCarter Theatre at 609-258-2787.

Enjoy Summer Fun at the Tri-County Fair: June 11th – 14th, 2015

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FOUR AWESOME DAYS OF FREE SUMMER FUN AT THE TRI-COUNTY FAIR

Mark you calendars now! On Thursday, June 11 through Sunday, June 14 treat your family to wholesome entertainment at the Tri-County Fair. There will be thrill rides, carnival games, face painting, fireworks, awesome music, a car show, great food and more!slide-two-img-one

The excitement of carnival attractions including rides, games, music and more is coming to the Morris County area at the sprawling 107 acre site of Christ Church located at 140 Green Pond Road, Rockaway, NJ 07866 – Exit 37 off of RT-80.

Come out and enjoy classic rides such as the Ferris Wheel, kiddie rides and the Zipper, games of chance, great fair foods such as gourmet Belgian waffles by Waffle DeLys, oven roasted turkey legs, handmade crepes by Bonjour Creperie, fried Oreo’s, delicious homemade lemonade and much more!

The Tri-County Fair will also feature free family entertainment such as; family friendly music, a spectacular fireworks show, a complimentary musical showcase where local bands will display their talents and entertain fair-goers and an old time car show complete with 50’s music!

Tri-County Fair admission and parking are free and all the festivities will happen on the sprawling 107-acre campus of Christ Church, 140 Green Pond Road in Rockaway. For excitement that won’t break the bank, be sure to get your Advanced Sale Ride Tickets now. Save big with 33% off the cost of all rides on the midway.slide-three2

On opening night, Thursday, June 11, get a jump start to the fun at a huge discount with an Unlimited Ride Band—pay one price and enjoy every ride on the midway. The can’t-miss Fireworks Extravaganza is Friday, June 12 under the evening stars. The fun continues with impressive musical talent; catch the performances on The Showcase, Saturday, June 13. On Sunday, June 14 the Fair caps off with some good ole’ 1950’s music including a classic and custom car show.

For directions to the Tri-County Fair, ticket purchases or more information call 973-783-1010 or visit www.TriCountyFair.org.

Algonquin Arts Theatre’s A New York City Gala featuring Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale – June 4

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Come take a bite out of the Big Apple at Algonquin Arts Theatre’s A New York City Gala featuring Chazz Palminteri’s A BRONX TALE! Guests will be enjoy subway platform performers, NYC street fare, music and all things NYC has to offer!

Four ticket levels offer various levels of access from a Gala Ticket that provides a seat for A Bronx Tale up through a VIP experience that includes cocktails, dinner and an exclusive post-show reception.

The Gala is the single biggest fundraising day of the year for Algonquin Arts Theatre, and the event includes a Silent Auction, Live Auctions, raffles and much more. For information including an event schedule, ticket levels and how to support the event, please visit algonquinarts.org/gala.

This year, Algonquin Arts Theatre recognizes Humanitarian Honoree Diane Turton, Community Service Honoree Manasquan Savings Bank and Arts Education honoree John Luckenbill. All funds raised support our mission to provide cultural enhancement and arts education to all audiences at the Jersey Shore.

Purchase Tickets with Dinner ($160-$185)
Arrive at 5 p.m. for VIP cocktail hour. Premium Seating will be Assigned by Gala Committee.

Purchase Tickets ($55-$80)
Arrive at 7 p.m. for cocktail hour and to check out our great silent auction items. Preferred & Regular Seating: Choose your seats or select Best Available. Curtain time for A Bronx Tale is 9 p.m.

For tickets please call the Algonquin’s Box Office at 732-528-9211 or log onto algonquinarts.org/gala

About A Bronx Tale

A Bronx Tale recounts the coming-of-age story of a young man torn between allegiance to his father’s upright working-class values and the alluring lifestyle of the local mob boss who befriends him. And what’s more is that the writer and star of the show, Chazz Palminteri, pulls off the 18 characters all by himself! He paints the neighborhood’s various colorful multi-layered characters to perfection with impeccable delivery and physicality.

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Palminteri first performed A Bronx Tale as a one-man show in Los Angeles. It became the hottest property in Hollywood since ROCKY. He was offered a selling price of more than a $1 million to walk away from the project. With only $200 left in the bank, he refused. He wanted to play Sonny and write the screenplay. One night Robert DeNiro walked in to see the show and as they say, “the rest is history.”

Palminteri then moved the production to New York, where it played for four sold-out months and earned him nominations for the New York Outer Critics Circle for both acting and writing. While in New York he completed the screenplay of A BRONX TALE and soon found himself starring opposite Robert DeNiro, who chose the script for his directorial debut. The Hollywood release of the film came in 1993.

In 2007, Palminteri returned the show to stage for a 137-performance run on Broadway and subsequent national tour. Since then, Palminteri continues to take the show around the country for special engagements.

“A BRONX TALE IS A GOOD YARN, A VIVID TRUE STORY.”
– Stephen Holden New York Times

“… a raucous, solo tour de force.”
– Ray Loynd Los Angeles Times

“… a touching, strong and honest portrayal of growing up in the Bronx during the turbulent ’60s. Palminteri is an extraordinary storyteller – and he knows the territory.”
– Ed Kaufman The Hollywood Reporter

“… strong, deeply affecting, well-rendered. It pulsates with life … Palminteri plays his younger self and the colorful people of his youth flawlessly …”
– Meex. Daily Variety

“A BRONX TALE is BRILLIANT! STUNNING, SEETHING THEATRE!”
– Jerry Tallmer New York Post

“Chazz Palminteri’s one-man recreation of his childhood … is so authentic, and is delivered so lovingly that anyone capable of an ounce of sentiment must be moved.”
– Joey Levy, Los Angeles Reader

About the Algonquin Arts Theatre

Algonquin Arts Theatre (AAT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1992 with the mission to provide cultural enhancement and arts education to all audiences at the Jersey Shore through high-quality performances and programs in theatre, music, film and dance. The end goal is to foster appreciation of the arts and promote lifelong learning, particularly among underserved audiences including the economically disadvantaged, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. Algonquin Arts Theatre engages local and regional audiences in the performing arts through our on-stage programming and Performing Arts Academy.

The organization’s programming and operations are centered in Manasquan’s business district, a Rockwellian Main Street that’s character has remained the same since the 1930s when the Algonquin movie house opened its doors. After closing as a movie theatre in the early 1980s, in 1994 the theatre reopened as a performing arts space; still showing first-run movies when the stage was dark. In 2011, the theatre stopped showing first-run movies to present and produce more performing arts programs in a shift aligning closer with the mission statement.

With ticket revenues only covering a portion of operating and production costs, Algonquin Arts Theatre relies on the generosity of sponsors and individual donors to continue providing high-quality programming to the community.

Vineyard Review: DiMatteo Vineyards

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If you’re in the Hammonton area I strongly recommend checking out DiMatteo Vineyards. I went to Plagido’s Winery and DiMatteo the same day. It was a great day trip!

You walk in and they have small yet cozy tasting room. Their wine tasting is $8 to taste 7 wines. Personally, I think that’s a little steep…but they do have a lot of great quality wines. Overall there was 22 wines to taste, so narrowing it down was really difficult.We had a very friendly “bartender” who had a lot of great recommendations about the wine and what to pair the wine with. She also gave us very generous samples.

Their wine list is broken down by white, red and fruit. On the white and red list, it shows you a range of dry to sweet which was very helpful in chosing the wines for tastings. Recommendation: Go with at least one other person and discuss the wines to taste, you can always share!

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I ended up try the following wines: Peardonnay (Dry White), Diamond (Sweet White), White Sangria (Sweet White), Pasquale Red (Sweet Red), Chocolate Raz (Dryish Red), Blueberry (Fruit) and finally their Ice Wine (Fruit).

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All of their wines were great. The Peardonnay was definitely a different! It was a pear chardonnay, but the pear isn’t too obvious. It’s also a dry white, so having that extra bit of fruit definitely gave it a cool flavor. I also thought the Chocolate Raz was something like I had never tried before. It reminded me of a tootsie pop. You taste the raspberry…then the chocolate. I like going to vineyards who have something unique…and these two wines in particular definitely fit that criteria.

2 vineyards in 1 day! #dimatteosvineyard #njwine #njvineyards #hammonton #hammontonnj #nj #southjersey #newjersey #njisntboring

A photo posted by New Jersey Isn't Boring (@newjerseyisntboring) on

 

I left with a bottle of their Blueberry Wine (Hammonton is known for blueberries!). Their bottle prices are very reasonable. All of their wine was under $20, and the majoring of the wines were around $12. Not too shabby. Their wine has won lots of awards and if you go there you will see why. Tell them I sent you…

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PS. They usually have a LivingSocial that offers a hefty discount. So make sure you research that! I know I wish I did…

If you have a NJ wine passport don’t forget to get it stamped!

Basic Information

DiMatteo Vineyards
Address: 570 N 1st Rd, Hammonton, NJ
Phone: (609) 567-4633
Tastings: $8 for 7 tastings. Including glass.
You can find them on Facebook

Events to Check Out this Weekend: May 22 – 24, 2015

Wildwoods International Kite Festival – May 22-25

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Festival starts at noon with the Unlocking of the Ocean ceremony outside of the Wildwoods Convention Center. Festivities following include opening of the Kite Sales Tent, Friday Night Social via the local South Jersey Kite Flyers Club (all-you-can-eat buffet for $10 per person) and the 9:00pm Illuminated Night Kite Fly. Saturday and Sunday include the East Coast Stunt Kite Championships, sport kite demo’s, team flying, kite workshops and family games. Monday features the World Indoor Kite Competition inside the Wildwoods Convention Center. FREE to spectators. Visit http://www.SkyFestivals.com

Date: May 22nd, 2015 – May 25th, 2015
Address: Wildwoods Convention Center & Beach; E. Hand Ave. & E. Burk Ave., Wildwood
Cost: Free for Spectators
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Jersey Shore Food Truck Showdown – May 23 – 25

The Jersey Shore’s Food Truck Wars is pitting over 40 regional trucks head to head in this competition of the tri state area’s best mobile-made eats! Come out for a day of delicious food, entertainment and the Star Ledger’s Family Fun Day. Admission is only $3 to the park.

Dates: May 23rd – 25th, 2015
Address: Monmouth Park Racetrack; 175 Oceanport Ave. Oceanport, NJ
Cost: $3
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Blues, Wine, & BBQ Festival – May 23 & 24

The 2015 Blues, Barbecue, and Wine Festival is ready to help you shake, rattle and roll through wine tastings of 20 premier New Jersey wineries! The first signature event of the 2015 festival season will include the announcement of the winners of the 2015 New Jersey Wine Competition, and the winner of the annual Passport Program international wine trip giveaway! Enjoy 2 days over Memorial Day weekend of delicious local wine sampling, tasty authentic BBQ, and rockin’ blues!

Dates: May 23rd & 24th, 2015
Address: Schooley’s Mountain Park;91 E Springtown Rd, Long Valley
Cost: $25
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NJ Renaissance Faire – May 23, 24,30, 31; June 6 & 7

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The New Jersey Renaissance Faire, where fantasy meets reality! A Renaissance Festival the way you remember, alive with interaction, magic and friendship.

Dates: May 23rd, 23th, 30th & 31st; June 6th & 7th, 2015
Address: 1195 Florence Columbus Rd; Bordentown, New Jersey
Cost: $18+. Buy Tickets Here
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Blues & BBQ Wine Event @ Natali Vineyards – May 24th

BLUES & BBQ 2015Join us for our Memorial day celebration of Blues & BBQ. Enjoy the music of blues singer Danny Eyer. Wine tastings, wine by the bottle or glass, sangria and wine slushies. Local artisan and food vendors will be on hand. Our events are always free admission and rain or shine. Children and pets welcome.

Dates: Sunday, May 24th, 2015; 2pm to 7pm
Address: 221 N Delsea Dr, Cape May Court House
Cost: Free to Attend
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Maplewood Street Fair – May 24

Over 200 Artists, crafters and vendors and 25,000 spectators. 11 am – 5 pm. Free admission and free parking on the streets of Downtown.

Date: Sunday, May 24, 2014; 11am to 5pm
Address: Streets of the Downtown, Maplewood
Cost: Free
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Highlands 15th Annual Seaport Craft Show – May 24

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The Highlands Business Partnership will host the 15th Annual Seaport Craft Show, rain or shine from 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is free. Come experience a delightful collection of various handmade crafts from more than 60 crafters and artisans. Shop till you drop for unique gifts, art, jewelry and personal items at this Juried Show.

Date: Sunday, May 24, 2015; 10am to 4pm
Address: Huddy Park; Bay & Waterwitch Aves., Highlands
Cost: Free

My Weekend at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Con

This past weekend I got a chance to go to the first Atlantic City Boardwalk Con! You would know this already if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

FRIDAY

We got there on a Friday, around 5pm, and I picked up my Press Pass. Having a press pass is a lot of fun.

The convention ended at 7pm, so we had time to walk around just to see what was there. I was very happy to see that Drew Blank, an artist I follow on Etsy, was there. I have previously bought art work from him before online, so it was really cool to meet him in person. I’m also pretty positive that my friend bought me something of his for my birthday…but I’ll have to wait 2 weeks for that.

Other highlights from Friday included meeting the artist from Super Emo Friends, and meeting Jen from DumbBows (which will soon be an Etsy Store of the Week).

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We got to play the new game, Stan Lee’s Hero Command and I got to meet the creator, Jeff Hardy. Watch the trailer:

I also ended up winning two movie tickets from the Movie Buff booth, which is a movie trivia game based right out of Hammonton, NJ.

We also got to see some amazing vehicles from movies and TV, including the Ecto-1:

Finally at #acboardwalkcon! #atlanticcity #njisntboring

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And the DeLorean:

Day 3 of #acboardwalkcon. Let's do this! #nj #atlanticcity #newjersey #njisntboring

A photo posted by New Jersey Isn't Boring (@newjerseyisntboring) on

 

AND my friend got interview by two puppets aka Stanley and Jax from the Ultimate Nerd-Ament. They asked me but I was camera shy…

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SATURDAY

Saturday was a lot busier at the convention. We saw an amazing panel called “Twisted Toons” which had some of the top voice actors in the business: Rob Paulsen, Maurice LeMarche, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille, Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh), Jeremy Shade(Finn, Adventure Time) & Josh Keaton (Green Lantern). They ended up reading different scenes from Avengers using some of their cartoon voices. Hearing the cast of Animaniacs be Avengers was so cool. There were moments I just closed by eyes to take it all in.

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While we were on the floor, I got to see Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC, perform “Tricky”. It was random and amazing. Did you know he loves comics and even created his own? Well, now you do.

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I also got to meet the NJ Ghostbusters who do great events and raise money for wonderful causes all around New Jersey. Like on Facebook!

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We also went to a panel which we THOUGHT was going to be the Flash, but ended up being cancelled and replaced last minute with WILLIAM SHATNER. So that was amazing! The panel was so small because it was so last minute, which made it more intimate. William Shatner is a class act, I have to say. Picture is from my husband’s instagram.

#shatner #acbc #captkirk #beammeup #5yrmission

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After Shatner, we check out the Comic Book Men Panel which had Bryan Johnson, Mike Zapcic, Ming Chen and was unofficially hosted by Brian Quinn from Impractical Jokes. It was one of the most unorganized panels (which was on Con’s fault, not the Comic Book Men), and advertised Jason Mewes (who was not there), but was definitely one of the most entertaining panels at ACBC. They ended up doing a Q & A and it was a lot of fun.

SUNDAY

On the last day of the Con we checked out the Guardians of the Galaxy Panel with Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn and Gregg Henry. It was another unorganized panel, so Michael Rooker took charge and became the moderator for a panel that ended up becoming a Q & A. Most of the questions went to Rooker any way, so it was a good thing that he had most of the control on the mike. It was a great panel, but it’s also a little awkward since no questions went to Gregg Henry(who played the Grandfather to StarLord).

 

After the panel, we went down to the floor to make sure we saw all there was to see before we left. I ended up purchasing a Baymax/Wonderwoman mash up print from modHERO, who I’ve purchased from before at the Asbury Park Comic Con (when it was called that).

My friend purchased an autograph and picture with the cast of Animaniacs so I tagged along and got to meet them too. I spoke to  Jess Harnell, who asked me my name, and asked me if I spelt it with an I or a Y and THEN said to me in Wakko’s voice “Nice to meet you Cyd with a Y”. It was AMAZING.

OVERALL

I really enjoyed the convention BUT they definitely had some first year kinks that need to be worked out for next year. Throughout the weekend panels kept being moved all all over the AC convention center, which was super confusing and had people running around. The fact that some celebrities did not show up is not their fault, but having people check their website for updates while they were at the convention was kind of annoying.

I also did not understand why you had to spend money to see Kevin Smith’s panels. From what I heard it ended up being a 3 hour panel, so I’m kind of okay with missing it, but I don’t know why that was separate. Whose decision was that? Hmm…

I was bummed that Stan Lee has to cancel last minute, especially since this was his convention, but I hope everything is okay with him. Although he was not there, his image was EVERYWHERE. We enjoyed seeing the Stan Lee museum!

Just another Saturday… #acboardwalkcon #doacbc #ironman #atlanticcity #nj #newjersey #njisntboring

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The convention’s attendance was low, so I think they need to do more advertising next year for it. I seemed to be the only one who knew about it more than 2 months in advance. Weird. Because the attendance was low, it was awesome walking around without being trampled and seeing every panel up close.

I hope they do it again next year! View more of my pictures from the weekend HERE. More professional photos (not from my iphone) coming soon!