#SCBDExclusive: #NJWFF Grand Tasting Recap

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This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending of the Grand Tasting at the 5th Annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival better known as NJWFF with my boyfriend, Jason. The NJWFF takes place at the Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ.  The ride to Crystal Springs was breathless, even with the snow, which if anything made it more magical.

Jason & I at NJWFF

Jason & I at NJWFF

The event was huge and got a great crowd, each room filled with other foodies like us trying the best food and wine New Jersey offers. The amount of food we consumed was overwhelming and it was hard to take food pictures because it was so crowded and I couldn’t wait to get each sample in my stomach, but I still remember our favorites. Our favorite room was the Spanish charcuterie room that was just added on the weekend of the event. The men behind the charcuterie were awesome at answering at answering questions we had. Plus, the charcuterie was some of the best I’ve had.

Some of our favorite dishes we tasted were:

  1. Braised Short Rib from American Cut
  2. Bison Bruschetta from The Orange Squirrel Restaurant
  3. Filet Mignon with Truffle Creamed Spinach from Strip House
  4. Applewood Smoked Trout, with Compressed Apple, Pickled Breakfast Radish, and Celery Root Puree from Ho-Ho-Kus Inn

Those were just some dishes that stuck out to us at the tasting! It was great to see the chefs in their element! I definitely want to check out the restaurants mentioned above, since I haven’t. All of the dishes stood out to us because they were unique and memorable!

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Chef Jose Andres & I at NJWFF!

One of the highlights of the night, was meeting the chef of honor and legend, Chef Jose Andres. I even got a picture with him! He was so sweet and it was unexpected which made it that much better! After meeting Chef Jose we continued to explore the different food and wines a bit more, and catch some of the entertainment including a really talented tapper.

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It was definitely a night to remember and I would love to attend NJWFF again next year and try to stay at Crystal Springs if possible! We were both so proud to be from the great state of NJ with so many talented chefs!

Hope to see you at NJWFF next year!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

Nothing Poor about Doyle’s Pour House

I’m Arlene, Empty Nester of Small Chick Big Deals. This weekend started out in the south Jersey shore area. Just some adults looking for some good food at a good price and some good company. Friday night, decided to meet up with some friends from southern jersey in a town about halfway between us is Barnegat. Heard there was a Doyle’s Pour House that had opened there. I’ve been to the one in Tuckerton and found they had some unique menu items and a comfort food/Irish bar atmosphere. It sounded just right for some adults on a Friday night. We met our friends there and they told us there was a 30 minute wait. Okay, on a Friday night, I could live with that. The bar was full, so we waited and chatted by the doors with our call buzzer in hand. Now, when I say the bar was full this was a bar that wrapped around 1/3 of the restaurant. There are also 2 pool tables on the opposite wall that were busy as well.

Guiness Stew

Guiness Stew

Once seated, we had great service. Drinks brought promptly and well made. I had an Absolute martini and it was made absolutely perfect with 3 olives. Now a little thing that is my own particular pet peeve about martinis; if you served martinis, you should be serving them with nice sized olives, not little salad olives. Here, Doyle’s gets an A+ with 3 huge, healthy olives. One of the specials was a Guinness stew served over mashed potatoes. One of my buddies and I decided to order that and the stew was great. The stew covered the mashed potatoes and filled the plate it was served in. The meat fell apart, no need for a knife for this meal. It was comfort food at some of its best. You know I’ll be going back to Doyle’s.