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Community Guide

August, 2002

Inside This Edition: Piccola Italia Ristorante in Orange, NJ; The Jersey Beefsteak Tomato - Columbus Farms Market in Columbus, NJ; Movie Review - SWIMMING WITH SHARKS; Bamboo Club in Seaside Heights, NJ  and Drive thru New Jersey farmland and Lebanon State Forest 

 


Jersey Food - August, 2002

Piccola Italia Ristorante was brought to my attention by a friend.  Word of mouth is a beneficial way for a restaurant to get folks in the door.  Consistently good food and service is what keeps them there.  Having grown up in Essex county New Jersey my standard for good Italian food may be too high but if I feel compelled to feature it here then it is quite good.  Orange, New Jersey doesn't often make it into a story about something positive so it's an absolute pleasure to be writing about Piccola Italia Ristorante.  Driving down Lincoln Avenue the parking didn't look very promising until a member of our group who had been there before pulled into a driveway across the street and behind a house.  This little mini parking lot for the restaurant was just perfect.  A mark of a really great Italian restaurant is their willingness and ability to make something not on the menu.  Any trip for our family to an Italian restaurant begins with a cold anti pasta and since I was with family it was time to request a special order.  In true Jersey style a cold anti pasta arrived with everything I wanted and with plenty to go around.  Okay, they made us a good anti pasta now what?  Well, all of  the entrees were delicious.  I had a veal primavera which was so good I can't wait to return to try other dishes.    Everyone remarked on the food which included an enormous veal chop special smothered in all types of mushrooms, veal francaise and a pasta dish.  Piccola Italia Ristorante also has a full bar and wine selection.  The prices and service here are exceptionally good and the mark of a great restaurant is the eagerness to return and I know I'm going back real soon. 

Piccola Italia Ristorante - Orange, New Jersey 


Jersey Treasure - August, 2002

The Jersey Beefsteak Tomato is one of our greatest Jersey Treasures and especially befitting for inclusion in our August edition.  People slam New Jersey often and it's quite amusing to hear their jabs on Jersey usually born out of ignorance.  I have never heard anyone slam the taste of a Jersey tomato and have even heard it called the best in the world.  If you like tomatoes you owe it to yourself to try a nice beefsteak from New Jersey.  My quest for the perfect and freshest Jersey tomato took me to the Columbus Farms Market in Columbus, NJ some years back and I make it a point to go there at least once a year during our growing season.  The Columbus Farms Market is an exceptional choice for some of the freshest and tastiest Jersey beefsteaks in New Jersey.  They should be fresh since they are usually picked the same day they are sold.  All of the produce is good here and there is plenty to choose from and it's all fresh.  Many power shoppers feel the need to rifle through all the produce like it's a supermarket picked clean but there is no need for that here.  Here all you need to do is decide what you want and how much and just buy it.  I have never been disappointed here in the least.  I agree that Columbus, New Jersey is quite a hike from Northern New Jersey but well worth the trip and adventure.  It's a nice ride out there and trip to the country for those more urban Jersey dwellers.  The Jersey Beefsteak Tomato is a very versatile delicacy and is perfect just cut up with a little bit of salt.  Of course you may want to include some in your summer barbeque on a burger or in a salad.  Be sure to stock up so you can make some (or have your favorite Italian cook make as in my case) gravy for those cold winter nights or Sunday afternoons.  Now is the time to enjoy this slice of New Jersey.   

Columbus Farms Market - Columbus, New Jersey 


Movie Review - August, 2002

Video Rental Pick:

SWIMMING WITH SHARKS - rated R

The title to this 1995 classic tells half the story.  The other half is that Buddy played by Kevin Spacey and Guy's boss is an emotional wreck in addition to being the worlds worst boss.  Abuse is Buddy's middle name as he blazes a swath of selfish greed and ego feeding for himself.  It's all about Buddy in this picture as he has cast himself as an affected Hollywood exec.  There are a million Buddy's around the world and this name suits him to a tee because he's nobody's buddy except his own.  Guy has no idea what he signed on for as he gets a lesson in life and the use of leverage to get his.  He quickly learns it's not about how nice a "guy" you are or what you can offer the world but rather leverage and how to apply it in the ruthless unforgiving world.  Have a great idea for a movie?  Tell Buddy!  He'll steal it...  Want to look like an abused idiot? Work for Buddy!  Want to get nowhere in the film industry?  Work for Buddy!  But wait, this "guy" Guy puts Buddy in his place and forces him to give him a leg up.  Using the very leverage Buddy used on him he gets his place at the Hollywood feast after all.  Buddy never wanted to be Guy's buddy but now he has to at least pretend to be and he's quite good at that.  The scenes in this film are hysterical and thought provoking and if you love a good script this film is for you.  Dig beneath the surface as you watch this one and enjoy.


Jersey Clubs and Nightlife - August, 2002   

Summer is in full swing and I know it is not healthy, but I have a good tan going on. The weekends have been great for beachgoers and one of my personal favorite stops is Seaside Heights.  Seaside was a great place, then not so good, and now it is back to being great again.  Plenty of nice places to stay, sausage and pepper sandwiches and pizza that can't be found anywhere else on the east coast, decent beaches, a mile and a half of boardwalk for entertainment, and a great nightlife scene.  After baking thoroughly in the sun, walking the boards and getting my fill of pizza, choosing a nightclub to head off to isn't hard at all.  There are several choices and music to suit everyone.  Rock, house, disco, dance, rave, it is all there in close proximity on Boulevard Ave.  The biggest clubs are Merge, Club XS, Fat Cat Café, and Bamboo.  I personally like Bamboo because there is a large (1000+ person) outside bar, and a great inside area if you want to dance.  Mingling inside and out keeps you busy while enjoying your cocktail of choice.  The crowd is a mix of barely legal to old and haggard.  Dress is typical shore attire, which is minimal and comfortable.  Show all the law lets you and look cool doing it.  All of the places have expensive cover charges if you get there late, to the tune of $20, so bar hopping is not for everyone.  Bamboo fills up the earliest, and other places won't have anyone showing up until around 10.  My recommendation; book a room well in advance for the weekend, load up on sun block, be prepared to eat a lot, pack some clothes which for me usually fits in a plastic grocery bag, and enjoy it all.  Have a great August and take time to enjoy yourself.

Bamboo - Seaside Heights, New Jersey 

written by: James "Shoreguy" Carroll - New Jersey native & Jersey Spin contributor

 


Jersey Driver - August, 2002

Sometimes you just need to get away and take a long cruise.  For those times you need some nice quiet reflection or you just want to listen to your car stereo a cruise south on Rt. 206 might be just right for you.  Cruising south of Mansfield through some very pretty New Jersey farmland offers some nice open road to get away from it all.  This part of New Jersey is much different than Northern New Jersey and adds to Jersey's diversity.  Down around Red Lion, New Jersey is a circle to turn east on Rt. 70 out toward Lebanon State Forest.  Once there the farmland is replaced by pine trees and lots of them.  Turning east on Rt. 72 allows for a nice quiet stretch of quiet reflection or car stereo listening on the way out to the beach.  This particular road will take you straight to Long Beach Island and is a perfect place to stop along your drive for a bite to eat or peak at the ocean.  With August heat you might even want to jump in to cool off before heading back.  It's always good to explore new routes in Jersey if you like adventure and seeing what's beyond the next bend.  This route offers some peaceful quiet scenery usually traffic free until you get close to the beach.  Sometimes it's nice to leave our beloved Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike behind for a nice quiet cruise like the old days on some very pretty underutilized roads.

New Jersey Farmland and Lebanon State Forest  - NJ


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