#SCBDFavorite: Delicious Meal For Two at The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield!

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A week or so ago, Jason and I celebrated our anniversary by having dinner at The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield, NJ since I was invited to check it out earlier in the week! The Orange Squirrel is centrally located at 412 Bloomfield Ave, not too far from the hustle & bustle of Montclair. Founded by Chef/Owner Franseco Palmieri, The Orange Squirrel
brings your Italian favorites and comfort food to new heights, not to mention everything is made fresh. We were knocked off our feet and are already thinking of when we can go again! I also forgot to mention how great the atmosphere is– the decor is orange and brown and stays on theme.

The Pink Squirrel

The Pink Squirrel

When we got in we were greeted by Chef Palmieri who was greeting guests that came in. He sat us down and gave us menus which we devoured. I decided to start the night off with the Pink Squirrel cocktail which screamed my name and Jason had a Sprite. It was one of the best cocktails I’ve had, it had grapefruit juice in it which can be overpowering at times but it wasn’t because it was freshly squeezed. We were already on our way to foodie heaven.

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Photo taken by Jason Ferrera

Since we still weren’t sure what to get for an appetizer and meal to share, we decided to start off with Squirrel Nuts (shown above) which are crisp truffled potato, cheese puffs and so delicious. They are less than ten bucks to great to start with for a shareable snack before you dig into Chef’s delicious food. After looking at the menu awhile we decided we were in the mood for Italian so opted on getting the Baked Veal Meatballs as an appetizer and the Manicotti to share for dinner. As we waited for our order, the chef sent out theese salmon fritters with an amazing aioli for us to nibble on. A few minutes later, our meatballs came out. I’m not a huge veal eater, but I would gladly eat them again– they were cooked to perfection and had great flavor.

Salmon Fritter

Salmon Fritter

 

Baked Veal Meatballs

Baked Veal Meatballs

Shortly after we devoured our meatballs, our Manicotti came out, nicely presented in a small cast-iron skillet. It was the perfect size for us to share. The pasta is made in-house and you can really taste the difference. It was probably some of the best Manicotti I’ve ever had and I don’t eat it as much as I used too. It was so light with a perfect balance of cheese and pasta, melted it in your mouth. I definitely recommend it to anyone and would gladly get it again. I’d also want to try more of the pastas next time I come in.

Manicotti

Manicotti

Another staple you must try at The Orange Squirrel is their monthly dirt tasting for dessert. Chef Palmieri’s wife comes up with innovative flavors every month. When we came in the flavors were Easter-centric with Cadbury in it and more. They were the perfect size for both of us to share.

Photo by Jason Ferrera

Photo by Jason Ferrera

The Orange Squirrel was the perfect spot for Jason and I to celebrate our anniversary and we’d gladly go again. In fact, we were already trying to plan our next visit on the way out. Everything is made fresh, they have innovative specials daily & weekly, and the staff is incredibly friendly. In the mood for tartare, pizza, or chicken pot pie? I suggest you dine at  The Orange Squirrel because you can find them there and won’t be disappointed. Whether you are looking to dine like a king or queen or share some appetizers and cocktails with friends or family, it’s the place to go!

Cheers! 😀

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#SCBDFavorite: Stay Chi Collection by Chi Flo

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In honor spring deciding to show itself this week, I thought it was about time I tell you about Chi Flo‘s latest collection. If you didn’t read my post on how Chi Flo began, read ithere. The Stay Chi collection premiered a few weeks ago and it has perfect shirts, tanks, crop tops, and beanies to add to your summer collection!

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Wearing my Chi Flo sea flo crop top & shades!

I ordered the Sea Flo crop top and wore it yesterday, it was so comfy! I’m definitely looking into getting the Chi Flo Label Loose Crop Top and the Drippy Yang V-neck once it’s back in stock! The line is a huge deal and nothing is over $20!

Here’s some pictures of the line (by Rob Roselli):

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Buy your Stay Chi summer wear by Chi Flo, here.

More Spring fashion and beauty news soon!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#SCBDFavorite: One Pot Dinners Cooking Class at Sur La Table, Hell’s Kitchen

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For my birthday this year I got a gift certificate to take a cooking class at Sur La Table in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. I looked at the schedule and the One Pot Dinners presented by Food & Wine Magazine sounded like an awesome class plus it came with a one year subscription to Food & Wine magazine.

The class started at 11:00 am in the studio kitchen in the store. We were greeted by our instructor Giselle and her assistants, who grabbed us a cup of coffee. Giselle told us a bit about herself and how she went to culinary school and how when she’s not teaching she is a pastry chef at Momofoku Milk Bar. After she explained how the class worked and gave us a packet with the recipes we’d be making in class.

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My favorite recipe we made.

We started the class making an easy Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde. Giselle would show us how to do each step and assist us along with the help of her assistants. It was a great class and each team worked together really well. After the Pozole, we made my personal favorite– Beef & Vegetable Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits, followed by Rice Pilaf with Chorizo, Olives & Fennel, and last, Smoky Paella with Shrimp & Squid.

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Cooking in class at Sur La Table, Hell’s Kitchen NYC

We took a little break while some of the entrees cooked and had a tour of the store with our instructor Giselle. She told us what she recommended we purchase and what was used during class. We could also buy what we wanted then, but most of us waited until class ended. After our little tour, we came back to class and finished preparing then eating all the dishes. As I mentioned, my favorite was Beef & Vegetable Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits, it was delicious and perfect for a meal. It’s definitely a dish I’d love to conquer myself one night!

If you ever decide to take a class at Sur La Table, a huge plus is that all students receive a 10% off coupon that is good for a week. Since I still had money on my gift card, it definitely gave me an upper hand. I decided to purchase my very own food processor and scraper to add to my kitchen collection.

I’d highly recommend a cooking class at Sur La Table to any beginner in the kitchen, they really help you out and all the dishes are pretty easy. They have many cooking studio locations throughout New York and New Jersey and  have a huge roster of classes, you can see, here. They also aren’t costly and range between $55-99 which is not bad for a professional cooking class.

Plan on taking a class at Sur La Table?

Let me know what you thoughts here or tweet me @smchickbigdeals!

Happy Cooking! 😀

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#SCBDFavorite: Quality Italian at Cafe Luna in Old Bridge, NJ!

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As I mentioned in my 10th Ave Burrito piece earlier, I’ve been taking a few short & long trips home this month. On one of my short trips home when I was there for basically a day, my mom decided to take me and her boyfriend out to a late lunch. I was craving a tartare (I still am) and really wanted to go to a nice, restaurant that wasn’t a typical bar. Nick, my mom’s boyfriend suggested we go to Cafe Luna in Old Bridge, since he heard tons of great things about it. I checked out the menu, which looked amazing so we did.

Cafe Luna has a great location and is right off Route 9 North, the dining room is spacious and seats were comfortable.Our waiter greeted us and took our drink order. I ordered the sangria, which was good and had tons of flavor. Since we were hungry we decided to order appetizers, we ordered the bruschetta and calamari (on bottom of pic below).

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The calamari (pictured above) was delicious, not as crispy as I’d prefer but it still had good  flavor and breading. The bruschetta was delicious: fresh tomatoes and onions on big pieces of crostini, it hit the spot. For an entree I got the Filetto di Pomodoro (middle), my mom, Arlene got the Anneletti (left), and her boyfriend Nick got the Linguine Nere (right). We all enjoyed our meals and had some leftovers, but they were pretty filling. I really like that Cafe Luna makes their own pasta, which is a rare find in restaurants in that area.

16510_10151263599230588_586002293_nOf course, our meal would not be complete without dessert. We decided to try their homemade tiramisu which was delicious. It had just enough alcohol flavor in it, and it was so light, one of the lightest I’ve had. Heck, I’d go back just for that with cappucino.

Next, time your in the Monmouth County area and looking for homemade Italian I highly recommend Cafe Luna in Old Bridge, NJ!

Buon Apetito!

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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.

potbelly

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! 😀

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Treat Your Sweetie To These Valentine’s Day Treats

If you haven’t noticed I am huge sweet connoisseur. Does your sweetie have a sweet tooth?
Surprise them on Valentine’s Day with one of these treats:
Divine Valentine at Ivy Bakery
ivy bakery
Enjoy a special Divine-inspired menu, chocolate giveaways and more at Ivy Bakery on Valentine’s Day. Ivy Bakery created a special Divine-inspired sampler menu for you to share with your sweetie or indulge on your own! More details and you can RSVP, here.
The $10 sampler menu includes five delicious treats all made using Divine Chocolate products:
  • Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pie
  • Chocolate Butter Gooey
  • Mini Chocolate Cupcake
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry
  • Chocolate Truffle
Georgetown Cupcake Valentines Day Dozen:
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  • 3 Red Velvet cupcakes
  • 3 Chocolate² cupcakes
  • 3 Strawberry Lava Fudge cupcakes
  • 3 Strawberry Champagne cupcakes.

FYI: Georgetown Cupcake will be open regular hours on Valentine’s Day, 10 am to 9pm, and urge everyone to place orders until 7 pm the night before so they can skip the line!

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Red Velvet heart shaped cupcakes and assorted valentines day themed cupcakes are available at Mr. Cupcakes.

Seth Greenberg’s Authentic New York Brownie Crunch, a snack-able, bagged version of the crispy edges of fresh-baked brownies. Each bite-sized piece is like a cross between a brownie, a cookie and a wafer. Greenberg was inspired to create this product by his award-winning baker father and his daughter’s love for the crispy edges of fresh-baked brownies. $3.99-$4.99 per four ounce package, current flavors available: Chocolate Chip, Toffee Crunch and Mint.

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Retail Stores that offer Seth Greenberg’s Authentic New York Brownie Crunch:

  • Zabar’s
  • Amazon.com
  • Food Emporium
  • Fairway
  • Macy’s
  • Grace’s Marketplace

Carmine’s Family-Style Cookbook ($29.95)

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There is nothing more romantic than whipping up a delicious Italian meal for two, from irresistibly creamy penne a la vodka to herb-crusted salmon arrabiata, with a glass of champagne or a bottle of wine. Available online, here.

Cheers to a sweet Valentine’s Day!!! 😀

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#SCBD February Fun Foodie Favorites

February is well underway and I’m here to report some of my favorite foodie products.

1. Go Organic NYC

GoOrganicNYC

Go Organic NYC, a food delivery service bringing boxes of fresh, organic produce to homes and offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, is now expanding to northern New Jersey. Consumers in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties can sign up to customize their own boxes of produce, or choose to receive a preset selection of fruits, vegetables and seasonal produce, delivered straight to their doorstep. There are no commitments, upfront fees or contracts, just boxes of fresh, organic, high quality produce delivered to consumers at intervals of their choosing. I received a box from Go Organic NYC a few months back and loved it! It was great having the best quality of produce delivered to your door! Go Organic NYC is offering all new customers a 20% off discount when they place their first order, here. To claim the coupon, enter GOORGANICPROMO upon checkout.

2. Eight O’ Clock K-Cups

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I love good coffee and was thoroughly impressed with the Eight O’ Clock K-Cups. I feel that most k-cups aren’t as strong as regular coffee but these are definitely an exception. I even came up with my own Cafe Mocha recipe that works great with them.

Cafe Mocha

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a large mug, make Eight O’ Clock K-Cup in Keurig machine.
  2. Add hot cocoa mix of choice– add milk or sugar if needed.
  3. Top with whipped cream.
  4. Enjoy!

3. Wawa Single Serve Cups

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I grew up in Central Jersey kind of near the shore and Wawa is a staple down there. So when I was home for the holidays I had to pick up the Wawa Single Serve Cups. I love the Wawa brand and there is nothing like their coffee. Since there are no Wawa’s near me up in Bergen County these definitely conquer my craving and they are so cheap– only $10! If you don’t live near a Wawa you can also buy them online, here.

4. Love With Food Box

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I came across Love With Food when I was looking at a HARO email a few months ago so I had to check out for myself. I got the holiday box sent to me in the mail awhile ago and it is perfect. It was filled with fun holiday snacks, some flyers and a note from Love With Food. Love With Food is the easiest way to discover what’s tasty, delivered to your door! Every month, Love With Food members will receive a curated box of unique, hard-to-find tasty bites which varies based on seasonal themes. Say goodbye to boring grocery selections and HELLO to a monthly tasty surprise! Join Us on this tasty journey.

At Love With Food, they are passionate about helping the more than 16 million children in America who are at risk of hunger. For every box sold, they donate a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry. Join Us to help end childhood hunger one meal at a time!

5. Santa Teresa Rum

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During the storm this weekend I was able to open up my bottle of Santa Teresa Rum— the Santa Teresa Rum 1796 bottle. This is a great artisanal rum, best served on the rocks. It’s an aged, dark, delicious rum. Cheers!

6. Crave Jams

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Sisters & best friends, born and raised in the birthplace of the grass roots, Artisan Foodie movement, Brooklyn, NY. They currently live and work in the heart of the Garden State and are riding the crest of the current Food Entrepreneur/Small Business wave!
They specialize in creative twists and takes on traditional favorites! Each batch is lovingly prepared, using the freshest seasonal produce and finest quality ingredients & flavorings available. All Crave products are handmade, in small batches, from market fresh ingredients and canned with care.We source locally whenever possible and are very passionate about the quality of what you crave. All of their jars & labels are all made of recycled materials and we compost! Crave jarred products have a shelf life of 12 months unopened; please refrigerate and consume within 3 months of opening.

Here’s a peak into the Crave varietal menu (7oz jars – $10.95):

  • Balsamic Fig
  • Blueberry Mojito
  • Blackberry Bliss
  • Caramel Apple
  • Chunky Vanilla Pear
  • Cran-Marnier (Best Seller – Limited edition thru New Years)
  • Morning Glory Marmalade (Best Seller)
  • Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed (Best Seller)
  • Texas BBQ Sauce
To place an order or for more information:

Those are just a few of my foodie favorites for this month!

Stay tuned for more of my favorites next month!

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