Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tiny Elephant - Big Santa | Sunday December 21 | Montclair NJ

Candle Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and with it come the risks of candle fires. The Montclair NJ Fire Department has already responded to a number of candle fires this season.

The National Fire Protections Association (NFPA) reports that an estimated 10,630 home structure fires are started by candles each year. On average 29 home fires started by candles are called in every day across the country. The fires have approximately 115 deaths, 903 civilian injuries and resulted in over $418 million in property damage.

Below is important information about safe ways to use candles in the home. Please review it.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Candle Safety Tips from the NFPA:

Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires — and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
·         Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
·         Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
·         Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.
If you do burn candles, make sure that you...
·         Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
·         Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
·         Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
·         Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
·         Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
·         Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
Candles and Kids
·         Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.
·         Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet.
·         December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.
·         Roughly one-third of home candle fires started in the bedroom.
·         More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The 11 September Memorial, Eagle Rock, West Orange NJ

September 11 Memorial, Eagle Rock, West Orange NJ

Over the last few days, my photo of the 11 September Memorial at Eagle Rock has been getting a great many views on flickr. Taking a moment to reflect on the memorial seems appropriate this time of year. We're all caught up in the commericalization of the holiday season and forget that there are some people who have wanted something for the past several Christmases that no amount of money will buy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Royal Icing Recipe - The Stuff That Makes Christmas Sugar Cookies So Good

Royal Icing is that sweet colorful piped icing that dries hard and makes sugar cookies look so good.

The original Royal Icing was made with egg whites and powdered (confectioners) sugar however with so many cases of crazy illnesses being attributed to raw eggs using meringue powder is the best way to go. Meringue Powder can sometimes be found in grocery stores during "cookie baking season" and its almost always in foodie oriented stores such as Whole Foods. Craft stores with a cake decorating section often sell meringue powder as well.



4 Cups Confectioners Sugar (this is usually one box)

3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder

6 Tablespoons Water

Method :

The easiest way to prepare royal icing is to combine all of the ingredients in a stand mixer at the lowest speed using a padle attachment.

I have found that adding the sugar and merignue powder first, allowing those dry ingredients to combine and distribute works best. Add the water a little at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time.

This will produce a sweet but fairly flavorless white icing that is ready to be piped.

Vanilla essense (extract) or any other flavoring can be added. Its often a nice surprise to add some peppermint extract to the royal icing that will be used to decorate candy cane shaped cookies.

Food coloring can be added as well.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Maccabeats - All About That Neis - Hanukkah

The Maccabeats are an a cappella group based in New York's Yeshiva University know for their unique covers of popular music rewritten with lyrics reflecting the traditional Jewish experience. They've been around for several years and in that time performed around the world to audiences of all faiths who find their craft both entertaining and inspiring.

The latest song is "All About That Neis" with music inspired by "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

. @ParagonTap and Table Hosts Benefit for Food Bank @CFBNJ

Paragon Tap and Table in Clark NJ will host a benefit for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey on Thursday December 18 2014.

Chef Eric Levine is known in some circles for culinary skills, in others for his business acumen as the Executive Chef at Morris Tap and Grill and Paragon Tap and Table, but he's known everywhere for his service to those in need. Whether the battle is cancer or hunger, Eric always seems to be leading the charge. This week is no different as his newest restaurant in Clark hosts a benefit for the Community Food Bank of NJ on Thursday Dec 18 2014.

Make your reservations now for dinner seating before it's too late!
Prizes -including Gift Certificates, growlers & more! Special Glass Etching offered Holiday Beer & Cheer T-shirts available for sale
Ways to help Community Foodbank of NJ: Percentage of proceeds from the following will be donated!
Ramstein has generously donated a keg of Winter Wheat. 
-Special Menu for the night-
-Special Cocktails for the Evening 
-Holiday Beers
$1 for every draft and $3 every growler sold donated of the following!
Anchor Christmas, Breckenridge Christmas,  Skyfox Christmas, Great Lakes Christmas, Troeg's Mad Elf
$2 donated from every sale of the following bottles!!
Clown Shoes Reindeer Games, Schlafly Special Release Christmas, Corsendonk Christmas Ale ,Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Paragon Tap and Table
77 Central Ave Clark NJ 07066

(732) 931-1776

Tiger and Porcupine in the Tree of Life at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Caldwell Restaurant Week Announced For August 2015

Caldwell Restaurant Week will run from from Sunday, August 9th through Sunday, August 16th, 2015. Most of the borough's restaurants will join the fun with special prix-fixe menus that showcase the culinary diversity of this West Essex community. Caldwell's restaurant and food scene has been a well guarded secret in the Garden State but after the success of the first Restaurant Week in August 2014 all of that has changed.

The idea of a summer restaurant week sounds a bit contrary because "everyone goes on vacation in the summer" but how many of know anyone who summers for the entire season? Organizers understand that most Caldwell residents, as well as those of surrounding communities are still in town, yet very few special events are planned. Schools, churches, even civic organizations go on hiatus. With longer days making evening strolls before and after dinner possible a summer restaurant week made perfect sense. Bloomfield has been doing summer restaurant weeks for years and 2014 proved that Caldwell can do it too.

Best BYO: Xunta Tapas Espana
Caldwell Restaurant Week will showcase the diversity of dining scene with the cuisine of Spain, Italy, France, Japan and of course several variations and spins on American favorites in the spotlight. By the time August rolls around the variety is sure to be even greater! We already know that local favorites Xuntas Tapas, Angeloni's, and Dough will be participating. There is also a new place opening up this summer right in the center of town - that owner is excited to be a part of this event

Did you know that the readers of Suburban Essex Magazine just voted Xunta Tapas as the best BYO? With the support of the Caldwell Merchants Association and Cloverleaf Tavern supporting all the BYOs #caldwellnjrw 2014 was great - 2015 will be even better! August 9 to 16 plan to be here!

Did you know that President Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell? There is so much to discover here. Details of Caldwell's first restaurant week will be shared as the event approaches. In the meantime like Caldwell Restaurant Week on Facebook and follow on twitter at @CaldwellNJRW

Monday, December 8, 2014

What Disney Park Do You Belong In? For Me It's Animal Kingdom #disneyside @disdining

I am a hippie at heart. Nature and animals are my thing and I love an adventure! Have fun on Kilimanjaro Safaris before checking out It's Tough To Be A Bug, deep in the Tree of Life. Don't forget Expedition Everest and meeting some new friends at Camp Minnie Mickey! Take the quiz today on and find out what park you belong in today!

What Disney Park Do you Belong In?

Words We Love: Immaculate Conception

In the Roman Catholic Church, the dogma of the unique privilege by which the Virgin Mary was conceived in her mother's womb without the stain of original sin through the anticipated merits of Jesus Christ.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is marked on 8 December which always seems to be a point of confusion for some Roman Catholics and non-Catholics alike as it falls just 17 days before Christmas. (how can there be a conception and then birth a little more than a fortnight later?). Immacualate Conception refers to the conception of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, who is often called the Immaculata, especially in art.

The Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) marks when Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. 25 March falls exactly nine months prior to Christmas.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Monclair NJ is named in honor of Blessed Virgin.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Estelle Photobombs The @MontclairPopUp

Local entrepreneurs, Selma Avdicevic (owner of Woolly Boo) and Helene Richman (owner of brandhelene) kicked off the Holiday 2014 Season of the Montclair Pop-Up this week. Being the chick around town Estelle had to check things out just as she did last year.
The Montclair Pop Up is located at 28 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair Center near Villalobos.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Major Potential Public Art Space Remains Unused In @MontclairCenter NJ

Major Public Art Space Goes Unused In Montclair

Don't you just wish the powers that be in Montclair would work with the building owner to create a mural akin to the World Famous Montclair Rooster for this space?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Orangutan in the Tree of Life at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom

#ThrowbackThursday The Old Canal Inn Fire In November 2014 @TheOCI_NJ

The Old Canal Inn suffered a fire on November 15 2014 that destroyed the kitchen and part of the dining room. While it will be months before that portion of this local landmark reopens, the historic bar reopened at noon on Saturday Nov 22.

Located on the Bloomfield/Nutley  border, the Old Canal Inn was saved from being a total loss because of the swift efforts of the Bloomfield and Nutley Fire Departments. The first paying customer after the fire was a Bloomfield Firefighter. The Conca Brothers were ready to put that beer on their own personal tabs tab but he insisted to pay $10 for that one beer to help the business recover.

That story, and so many others from this period of restoratin, tell so much about the type of place the OCI is: people coming together in good times for a beer, and coming together to support each other in the not so good times. It is always like that at the OCI.

While it will be several months until the "New Old Canal Inn" reopens the restaurant portion, but the organizers at Bloomfield Restaurant Week were proud to announce that the OCI was the first restaurant to sign up for the August 2015 event. The Old Canal Inn will indeed come back bigger, better, and more bad-ass than ever before.


The Old Canal Inn
2 East Passaic Ave Nutley, NJ 07110
Type of Cuisine: Pub Food
Price Range: $$
Alcohol: Full Bar

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dresdner Stollen Is Back At Montclair Bread Company

There’s the old Christmas joke that there is only one holiday fruitcake and it is passed from family to family every year. Not true. There are 1,487 American-style fruitcakes in all existence, and they are passed around from family to family every year. (really people, if you are going to share a suburban legend make it plausible!) But today’s not about American fruitcake, it’s about the German variety: Stollen.

There are some things that the Germans do better than Americans: building luxury cars, incredible rail systems, of course Stollen. There are fruit cakes called “stolen” available in some markets this time of year but other than a name and shape, these carb filled blobs have about as much to do with the German tradition as those Volkswagens that were built in the old VW factory in Westmoreland PA (remember that debacle? Ugh!) The great news for this holiday season is that Rachel Crampsey once again brought back the Dresdner Stollen based on the authentic recipe and the results are ausgezeichnet!

Historically Advent, the nearly month long Christian Season just before Christmas, was marked with fasting in preparation of the birth of the Christ Child. The season was not that different from Lent in that its end was marked by a feast of gastronomic proportions. The original 15th Century Stollen was a staple of that season and reflected the lack of flavor that is associated with dishes from these seasons of fasting. Once Saxony became a Protestant state things began to change – filled with dried fruits, drenched in butter, and covered in sugar the Dresden Stollen came to symbolize the sweetness of the Christ Child. The stollen even bears a slight resemblance to a tightly swaddled infant. (and no, this is not the origin of the Spiritual “Sweet Little Jesus Child” but kudos on the musical tangent!)

So what makes Dresden Stollen so different from the one available in the supermarket for $5? Well, only Stollen from Dresden can be called “Dresden Stollen” – just as only bubbly from the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne, everything else is sparkling wine. Semantics aside, the preparation of Stollen following the Dresdner tradition makes all the difference. As a sweet risen bread, most American recipes forget about some of the science that goes into the rise which results in a hard, dense loaf. Despite knowing this secret, and knowing that Rachel knows this secret, I will not share it. All I can tell share is “OMG – I had five of these Stollens last year and plan to have many more stashed away for Weihnachten this year.” They have a great keeping quality so picking a few up now is the best way to guarantee you have them on the big day.

There are some secrets of the Montclair Bread Company that can be shared. The recipe is an authentic Dresden Recipe. Instead of using purchased candied peel, the entire Crampsey family joins in the process of peeling and candying fresh fruit (so there is none of that gummy green stuff and none of that chemical preservative taste). Sweet butter is used throughout the preparation, shortening would be cheaper, but Stollen is about authenticity and flavor. And finally the sugar – confectionery sugar has become the standard for store bought stollen but they did not have that powdered stuff in the 15th or even 19th century so Rachel rolls her stollen in sugar crystals that actually sparkle just a bit on a table illuminated by candlelight.

Since purchasing the Montclair Bread Company in 2012, the Crampsey's have revitalized one of the township’s best known brands and turned it into a bakery that now embraces European traditions and is as good as the best bakeries in San Francisco and Portland. Go for the stollen, and come back for the baguettes, pretzel bread, and jammies!

For 2014 the Dresdner Stollen at Montclair Bread Company is $18.50.

113 Walnut Street
Montclair NJ 07042
(973) 509-2525

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Macarons - Now At @AsaltAndButtery

Asalt and Buttery, the East Coast's favorite destination for Authentic French Macarons, introduces a new flavor: Dark Chocolate Pomegranate. Valrhona Caribe and Pomegranate are the perfect combination for a grown up Christmas wish.  

The French Macaron is a meringue confection made with sugar, egg whites and almond flour, with a filling that can be either ganache or buttercream, sometimes jam is used. Sounds simple, at first, but anyone who knows anything about meringue is well aware of how easy a delightful treat can become aerated concrete if not done well.

So what's owner Maureen O'Neill's secret for the perfect macaron? That's a well guarded secret, sort of, but what is shared is that Asalt and Buttery uses only all natural ingredients and flavors, including real fruit. It's not such a stretch that all those traditional flavor sources are what make the originals in France so good, but it is also the same thing that makes them so delicate with such a short perfect shelf life. .Since nothing artificial is used the general rule is buy them today, eat them tomorrow. (they freeze well, so hoarding for the holidays is perfectly acceptable.)

Located in Little Falls NJ, Asalt and Buttery will be moving to Caldwell NJ soon to a larger location soon. In the meantime visit Asalt and Buttery on Facebook or their website today to plot and plan what you'll get on your next visit. OR order online to anywhere in the country.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Raid Your 401(k) - The Montclair Pop Up Is Back!

Local entrepreneurs, Selma Avdicevic (owner of Woolly Boo) and Helene Richman (owner of brandhelene) today officially announced the return of Montclair Pop-Up. The Montclair Pop-Up 2014 will be located at 28 South Fullerton Avenue and the grand opening will be Saturday, November 29.

South Fullerton Avenue has always been an integral part of Montclair Center, but the economic downturn has affected the neighborhood. Avdicevic and Richman have worked since the summer trying to find just the right location, to bring the pop-up to Montclair Center, and South Fullerton was the answer

Pop-Up stores are temporary retail venues that are very popular in large urban areas. These shops, while small and temporary, can build up interest by consumer exposure. Pop-up retail allows curators to create a unique environment that engages the customers, as well as generates a feeling of relevance and interactivity. “We believe Montclair’s retail landscape has greatly benefited from this idea, as evidenced by the surge of pop-ups since last winter. Last year, we created at the same time an exciting retail space where consumers can purchase unique products, as well as collaborative space for the community,” says Helene Richman.

Montclair Pop-Up will be curated to compliment the residential and existing retail spaces, and will help to increase the South Fullerton foot traffic. Landlord Jarmila Packard says: “We are delighted to welcome Helene and Selma's Montclair Pop-Up to The Crescent Shops. We think it is going to be fantastic!”

Montclair Pop-Up will feature unique, artisanal goods and products, most of them locally made. “It brings us a great pleasure to bring the Montclair Pop-Up “downtown”. It was such a wonderful community experience last year, and we have been peppered with questions about when and where is the new pop-up going to be since last January,” says Selma Avdicevic.

The founders plan to reach out to all other local businesses, and will seek joint participation to engage the neighborhood with events, signage, and marketing for the launch on November 29, which is also Small Business Saturday.

More information can be found at: Updates daily at the Montclair Pop-Up Facebook page and and Twitter @MontclairPopUp