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February, 2003

Inside This Edition: IL Mondo Vecchio in Madison, NJ; The Lamp Shop in Summit, NJ; Movie Review - UNDERCOVER BROTHER; Cherri in West Orange, NJ and Feature - Changing Jersey


Jersey Food - February, 2003

IL Mondo Vecchio in Madison, New Jersey is an excellent restaurant tucked away in a nondescript storefront in a lovely old town called Madison, New Jersey.  IL Mondo Vecchio is far from nondescript, but unless you have heard of its good reputation or live in the area you just might pass it by, and that would be unfortunate.

The restaurant is not very large, so reservations are a must.  The atmosphere is cozy and the wait staff is knowledgeable and clearly very experienced.  The menu represents a wide variety of taste preferences.  If you order an appetizer or salad with your entree, you will be treated to a superior complimentary bruschetta.

Salads are fresh and not your standard fare.  One of my favorites is the spinach with gorgonzola cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.  On a recent visit, our group sampled the shrimp wrapped in pancetta and parmesean, the nut encrusted fish, and the huge veal chop.  The veal chop was so tender that it melted in your mouth.  Everyone found their choice of entree to be well above average.

If you are a beef lover, the filet with gorgonzola will ensure that you make a return trip to this restaurant.  If you must have pasta, the raviolis stuffed with porcini mushrooms is excellent.

By the time we reached the dessert portion of the meal, we felt some guilt about eating so much thus opted to share cannolis stuffed with raspberry and chambord cream along with coffee.  The dessert was outstanding.

Unlike some restaurants today, we were not rushed, and the service was attentive without being intrusive.  IL Mondo Vecchio - Try it, you'll like it.

IL Mondo Vecchio - Madison, New Jersey 


 

Jersey Treasure - February, 2003


The Lamp Shop in Summit, New Jersey, offers a pleasant look into the past and the way things use to be and the way it probably should be.  The small little specialty repair shops of the past have been swallowed up or driven out of business by the large home centers.  Standing just where it has since the 40's, The Lamp Shop offers customers the means to preserve the past through restoration.  The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and draws on decades of experience in lamps.  Customers can bring in their favorite worn out lamps to be restored by the shop.  The Lamp Shop also has just what the do-it-yourselfer needs to do the job as well.  I discovered this Jersey Treasure as I embarked on my own little project to restore a pair of old lamps.  These particular lamps were originally vases with holes drilled out of the bottom to support a base and electric wiring.  Since these weren't lamps to begin with I knew I would need some special items for my project.  Home centers are great for many projects, but for this one the thought of going in and trying to explain what I was trying to do made the project seem like more of a job than a relaxing activity.  What I really wanted to find for my project was a specialty shop with knowledgeable help and all the parts I needed..  The staff at The Lamp Shop knew immediately what I was trying to do the moment I took the vase, now stripped of it's old lamp parts, out of the plastic bag it was in. The shop had just what I needed to be able to get my project rolling and most importantly complete it.  I walked out with everything I needed which in this day in age doesn't always happen.  I also walked out longing for the days when life wasn't so complicated.  Heading over to The Lamp Shop for your next lamp restoration should prove to be a pleasant and very uncomplicated activity as befits this Jersey Treasure. 

The Lamp Shop - Summitt, New Jersey 


Movie Review - February, 2003

Video Rental Pick:

UNDERCOVER BROTHER - Rated PG-13 -  UNDERCOVER BROTHER is the first superhero of funk!  He's the coolest, hippest and badest dude on the block.  UB is even stamped on his belt buckle signifying his superhero status.  He's a legend in his own mind!  Yes, he is UNDERCOVER BROTHER, not Superman, but super funkadelic!    UB fights an evil plot to brainwash humanity with cool funk, trick platform shoes and the best beats of 70's solid gold hits.  The music alone makes this a must see film for 70's music lovers with a soundtrack almost as good as the 70's classic timepiece DAZED AND CONFUSED.  UB is never dazed but may be confused as to what year it is as he chases down modern-day evil in his 70's Caddy-convertible.  UB's Caddy can't keep up with modern road gear,  but evil doesn't stand a chance against UB as cool rules and funk debunks.  The only thing bigger than UB's ego is his fro as in Afro!  You have to be cool to fight these fools and UNDERCOVER BROTHER is the coolest cat in town and at the video store.


Jersey Clubs and Nightlife - February, 2003  

This article has been removed pending editorial review.


Jersey Feature - February, 2003

Changing Jersey

Change is the only constant and New Jersey has gone through enormous change the past 20 years.  Some change has been good and some not so good.  Through all the change, New Jersey has retained its unique character and culture and remains the most diverse State in America.  Sure, my aforementioned characterization is open for debate and is admittedly subjective, but many facts can't be argued.  If you live in Jersey you are all too familiar with the not so good changes. 

New Jersey is the most densely populated of all the States and our roads are bursting at the seams.  All one has to do is insure a car here or try and entertain themselves and it's clear that Jersey is an expensive place to live.  New Jersey has an enormous economic base, home to many high-tech companies.  It can be rather stressful to live in New Jersey, but through all the growth is a tradition and culture that has stood the test of time and remains quite healthy and intact.  All one has to do is leave New Jersey to appreciate just how diverse and special it is.  People have left New Jersey and stayed away but the New Jersey will never leave them.  The phrase "you from Jersey…  I'm from Jersey"  made famous by Jersey's own Joe Piscapoe on Saturday Night Live remains funny to this day because it's rooted in the truth.  All great comedy has its roots in the truth, and no matter where you are in the U.S.A., you will utter those words seriously if you think you have found someone from Jersey.

Even if you have never set foot in New Jersey, hearing words like Hoboken, Princeton, Atlantic City and Jersey Shore will evoke images of fame, intellect, entertainment and the most unique seashore in America.  All nations are represented here in New Jersey and many flock from the cities, the suburbs and even the farms to enjoy New Jersey culture, food and people.

Many people from Jersey get offended at all the negative and often snide comments about Jersey, but they are amusing to me and never taken personally much less seriously.  Every negative comment I have ever heard about Jersey has come from outsiders looking for a laugh or frustration over its growth. 

New Jersey has changed a great deal and will continue to change.  I don't think we will ever lose the rich diversity and texture this State offers, and no matter what the future holds, some things change but the best things in Jersey never change.

Changing Jersey  written by Jerry Butler


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