Fraternizing at Fratello’s- Jersey Shore Restaurant Week

Jersey Shore Restaurant Week (JSRW), where to go, where to go? For those of you not familiar with Jersey Shore Restaurant Week, they have it fall and spring. This past fall event was cancelled due to Sandy’s arrival. Living in Monmouth County, so hard hit by Sandy, I’m always trying to help our local businesses and Restore the Shore. As a writer for Small Chick, Big Deals, I just HAVE to love the offers of $20.13 and $30.13 for 3 course lunches and dinners and the fact that many restaurants and/or chefs choose this time to ‘show off’ a little something special.

Our first choice this year was Fratello’s, 810 The Plaza, Sea Girt, NJ. Since it was JSRW we knew it was a good idea to go early. On a Sunday we got there about 5:45 and there were already 2 tables filled in the front dining/bar area. There is also a back dining room, but I like to see the bartenders in action. We were greeted at the door by a hostess who gave us a choice of seating. We chose a booth on the side. The busboy came and poured water in small goblets and the waitress came shortly after and asked if we wanted something else to drink aside from the water. I asked about their house white wines and she was very knowledgeable. She went through every house white and a little description. I knew then we were in for a fine evening. I chose a Pinot and my companion chose an unsweetened iced tea. She also asked if we were familiar with JSRW, as there is a separate menu. We said we were and had chosen Fratello’s because of its larger selection than many of the other JSRW restaurants. She smiled and agreed.

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While she went to get our drinks, the bus boy appeared and gave us a plate of brushetta. It was yummy, not over garlicky so it set the tone for the food to come. Shortly after, the busboy stopped by again with warm Italian bread and butter, in a covered basket. We ordered our appetizers and entrée at the same time. The waitress said she would ask us for our dessert choices later. (Some JSRW venues ask for your entire meal choices at once). Our appetizers were shrimp angels, which were butterflied shrimp covered with angel hair pasta and a very complementary horseradish and dill sauce, was that cognac in there? The other appetizer was mushrooms stuffed with sausage and fontina cheese and a hearty brown sauce. It is clear they know what they are doing in this kitchen!
In between appetizer and entrée we were asked if we wanted another drink. My companion asked for a 2nd unsweetened iced tea. We were surprised to a charge for refills on our bill. Not many places charge for that today.

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Our appetizers were cleared and our entrees arrived. My companion ordered the Seafood Della Casa. And man, they were not kidding about that fish. Shrimp, scallops and what seemed like unending pieces of lobster. All this served with angel hair pasta and asparagus in another delicious sauce. I had ordered something a little out of my usual choices. It was a veal chop and shrimp dish called Veal Chop and Shrimp Scapreciatta. I was just amazed that a veal chop could be as tender as a veal scallop. And let me tell you it was huge, this was a no skimpy chop and again, rich brown gravy covered it. The shrimp were tender and seasoned well and it was accompanied by seasonal veggies, carrots, zucchini and mashed potatoes. What a wonderful meal!

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Of course, since it’s JSRW there is a dessert to be had. My companion picked the apple cobbler and I chose the chocolate chip cheesecake. Both of these were apparently made on premises. The apple cobbler came warm and was more of an apple cake with a crumb topping. It got a very positive reception from my companion. And I have to say, my chocolate chip cheesecake had to be one of the best cheesecakes I’ve eaten. It came with chocolate syrup and just enough whipped cream.
While there are so many choices during restaurant week, we just might go back to Fratello’s once more before it’s over.

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#SCBDExclusive: Potbelly to Open in Paramus this Tuesday!

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If you’ve been an avid SCBD reader from the beginning you know one of my favorite places to grab lunch while I interned at The Rachael Ray Show was Potbelly Sandwich Shop. It was an easy walk from the former studio in Midtown East, affordable, and delicious and I’m not normally a big sandwich person. Check out my original post featuring Potbelly, here.

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I loved eating Potbelly so much that I wanted them to open up in New Jersey. Now over a year later, they are opening their second New Jersey location (the first is in Jersey City) at Bergen Town Center in Paramus, NJ. The Potbelly official grand opening is this Tuesday, February 19th at 11am.

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In honor of the opening they are having an Oven Warming Party (which I found out via Twitter) tomorrow from 11am-1:30pm. The first 260 people to sign up (admits you and one guest) can enjoy a Potbelly Originals sandwich, a bag of chips, and a fountain drink, all for a $5 cash donation per person that will be going to Family to Family to raise funds for their projects.  Be sure to RSVP, here, tonight! I’m planning on attending, so maybe I’ll see you there?!

The MenuPhoto Credit: DNAinfo.com

The Menu
Photo Credit: DNAinfo.com

If you can’t make it out tomorrow, make sure you stop by for their official grand opening Tuesday or anytime the rest of the week.  I highly recommend the Roast Beef sandwich which is my personal favorite, I’ve even ordered it “Bigs” (30% more meat) because it’s that delicious!

Here’s to a successful grand opening and giving Potbelly a warm welcome to Bergen County!

Happy Eating! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#DealAlert & #SCBDExclusive for the Big Brew Beer Fest on this Saturday!

Unsure what to get the beer lover in your life for Valentine’s Day?

Well I’ve got you covered! This Saturday, February 16th is the The Big Brew Beer Festival at the Morristown Armory.

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 Some of the best craft breweries from the area, around the nation and the world will be showcasing over 100 unique tastings. It will be the perfect opportunity for beer aficionados and beer lovers to speak to brewery representatives and discover new beers.

“I fell in love with craft beer when I went to an event four years ago” says Allison Kohler, President of JMK Events, which has created shows for antiques for 40 years. “Much like antiques, craft beer is an art form and we’re thrilled to pay homage to it with The Big Brew Beer Festival.”

One action-packed session will last from 4:30 to 8:30 pm, with featured entertainment from legendary Jersey band The Nerds. Event games include a Doubles Beer Pong Tournament with a $500 prize (free entry with ticket). The Morris Area Society of Homebrewers will be providing brewing demonstrations, make home brewing your new hobby!

Some of the featured VIP beers will include: Boulder Killer Penguin-Barleywine, Dominion Millennium (2 Year Old) Barleywine, Flying Dog Green Tea Imperial Stout, Stone Vertical Epic 12/12/12 Belgian Abbey Spiced Ale, Wyerbacher Riserva American Wild Ale, 21st Amendment Marooned on Hog Island American Stout, Duvel Tripel Hop, Ommegang Art Of Darkness.

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Advance ticket prices are: $80 VIP ticket, $50 General Admission, $10 Designated Driver
At-door prices are: $90 VIP ticket, $60 General Admission, $15 Designated Driver.Use my exclusive SCBD discount code SCBDBBF for $10 off General Admission & SCBDBBFVIP for $15 off the VIP tickets!

All tickets include unlimited tastings and a souvenir tasting glass.

There are a limited number of tickets available. Discounted advance tickets are available online, here

For VIP ticket holders, rare beers, complimentary hors d’oueuvres provided by Morris Tap & Grill, Morris Tap and Grill VIP lounge access (presented by Morris Tap and Grill of Randolph, NJ) and an extended hour of tasting will be made available.

Follow @BigBrewBeerFest on Twitter or on Facebook for updates, special promotions and giveaways. Join the conversation #BigBrewBeerFest.

I know I’ll be in attendance and am really looking forward to it!

See ya there! 😀 Cheers!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

Get Creative This Year with Valentine’s Day Crafts!

My boyfriend and I have been going out for almost four years now, it’s crazy how time flies.   Since we began dating in April 2009 I have always made him a homemade card for anniversaries and Valentine’s Day and this year is not an exception. Now with Martha Stewart Crafts, unleashing your inner cupid is as easy as 1-2-3:

1.     To express your heart’s desire, start with the utterly charming Martha Stewart Crafts “Stamp Card and Envelope Set” – it includes 18 scalloped edge note cards and matching envelopes with heart-accented labels so you can share your love with everyone you wish.
2.     Add your personal stamp with the “Wood Stamp Valentine’s Day Hearts” set of 12 mini stamps nestled in a reusable wood crate.
3.     Seal with a kiss…and with “Valentine Cupid” and “Valentine Cupcake” stickers. Yummy confections, cherub silhouettes, hearts and more Valentine icons shine with glitter and foil accents.
Wood Stamp HeartsStamp Card and Envelope SetGlitter HeartCupid Stickers

  To make things even sweeter, you can save 20% at MarthaStewartCrafts.com now through Valentine’s Day! Just enter coupon code BLOG20 at checkout. 

MSC Craft Your Herat Out Sweeps

Whatever you craft for Valentine’s Day, be sure to enter the Martha Stewart Crafts “Craft Your Heart Out” Sweepstakes for your chance to WIN a DIAMOND HEART PENDANT!

Visit http://bit.ly/CYHOSweeps for more details and to enter. You can enter once a day through February 13th, and the winner will be announced on the 14th.

Happy Crafting! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#DealAlert: 50% Exclusive Events by IAdventure.com for #SCBD Readers

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A few weeks ago I had the honor of attending the Chili Cook-Off held by Iadventure.com— it was a great time and I got to try some awesome chili. If you love Iadventure.com and the foodie events they have, I have good news…

SCBD is teaming up with Iadventure.com and offering an exclusive 50% off discount code to the following foodie events:

It’s easy just the click the link to the event (above) and when you purchase your tickets, put in the code  SCBD50 (all caps & ends with a zero) and you get half off your tickets!

Cheers to fun foodie adventures! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

 

 

Fusha Asian Fusion

Hi readers! My name is Jill, I go to SUNY Albany. Since I have been home from school for winter break, I have been trying to find some good pescetarian friendly restaurants to go to. After hearing about a sushi place where all the sushi is always 50% off, it sounded too good to be true, but what was even better was how delicious it was.

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Some of the sushi rolls at Fusha

Fusha, located in Freehold, was a bargain for their fresh quality fish. I got an order of shumai, the fire dragon roll, and the red dragon roll all for 20 dollars! They also have some Chinese food dishes on the menu which makes it a unique concept!

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Chow Fun

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The Yummy Yummy Roll

I have been back since than with different friends, and everyone is always pleased with their dish and the price. I definitely recommend this place to anyone who loves Japanese food, and is looking for a good deal.

Enjoy A Boozy, Filling Brunch At Sidewalk Cafe

It happened! I finally found out about a restaurant that serves legit boozy shakes! I think the idea of a boozy shake is genius– a milkshake with booze? Can you say heaven?

Before the holiday’s two of my best friends came up to visit me and to go to the city for the day. As I mentioned in my previous posts I’ve become quite the “bruncher” so we decided to go to brunch while we were in the city.  I was invited to go try Sidewalk Cafe located on Avenue A in Alphabet City in East Village so we decided to try it.

We opted to sit by the bar since there was room and each started off by ordering a boozy shake and an entree off the brunch menu. I got the White Russian shake which was huge, delicious and boozy. My friend’s Katie & Sam each got the S’Mores and loved it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them drink a shake so quickly!

The White Russian boozy shake at Sidewalk

The White Russian boozy shake at Sidewalk

The brunch menu at Sidewalk Cafe is pretty interesting but I got the buttermilk pancakes with blueberries since I had a random craving (note: I’m not a huge pancake eater). My pancakes were huge and I was astonished I ate about half of what was on my plate. My friend Katie opted for one of the breakfast melts and Sam got the french toast. They both enjoyed their entrees as much as I did mine.

Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes from Sidewalk

Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes from Sidewalk

For brunch in New York the menu is pretty decent priced, take a look at it, here. The boozy shakes are also totally worth the $9! So next time you are in the East Village looking for a boozy shake and to stuff your face, take a trip to Sidewalk Cafe!

Happy Brunching! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

*Disclaimer: The PR team paid for part of our meal. I was not required to write about these experiences and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*