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Community Guide


May, 2003

Inside This Edition: The Grain House Restaurant in Basking Ridge, NJ; Newark Museum in Newark, NJ; Movie Review - ONE HOUR PHOTO; 94th Bomb Group Restaurant in Fairfield, NJ, and Feature - Boardwalk Bullies - Playing Where America Plays in Atlantic City

Jersey Food - May, 2003

Holiday restaurant dining can be a bit of a shot-in-the-dark.  Restaurants that do a fine job of maintaining high standards the rest of the year often lose their focus and slip down a notch or two.

This Easter, our party of six decided to try The Grain House in Basking Ridge.  Affiliated with The Old Mill Inn, this picturesque, cozy restaurant more than met our expectations for a pleasing holiday excursion.

One of our main complaints in the past has been that too many restaurants feel the need to push in extra tables and chairs to accommodate the holiday rush.  This makes for uncomfortable seating for customers as well as providing a difficult situation for servers.  Well, this certainly was not the case at the Grain House.  Tables were comfortably placed and beautifully appointed; the service was prompt without being intrusive.

The menu was a price-fixed, four-course dinner.  For appetizers, we were given a choice of Caesar salad, a most interesting asparagus on greens or shrimp cocktail - very large and perfectly poached.  The next course consisted of soup choice, rolls and cranberry scones.  Entree offerings were sliced filet mignon with roasted potatoes, rack of lamb, salmon or pistachio encrusted chicken.  Being a table pf six, we were able to evaluate each choice and there certainly weren't any complaints.

Desserts were offered in a room filled with every conceivable texture and taste, from fruit to homemade carrot cake to the gooiest of chocolate cake.  Our dining experience was never rushed and was completely satisfying.  We will undoubtedly return to The Grain House again and again.

The Grain House Restaurant - Basking Ridge, New Jersey 

Jersey Treasure - May, 2003

The Newark Museum offers a nice cultural getaway in the heart of New Jersey's own Newark.  Say what you will of Newark, but amidst layers of decay and urban blight, there is a city being slowly reborn.  The positive seeds of change have taken hold in the downtown area and time will tell if the renewal spreads beyond the streets near the river out into the neighborhoods.  For now, Newark has established quite a unique cultural experience down by the river.  Just off the river is the Newark Museum which offers a look into the past of the world and the past of the city.  The Ballantine House, which is really a mansion built for the famed beer-brewing family, serves now as an anchor for the museum and part of Newark's rich history.  This portion of the museum is a National Historic Landmark and a very well-preserved example of Victorian architecture.  The Ballantine furnishings are on display in the rooms open to the public.

Rich collections of traveling exhibits are on display throughout the museum including many permanent ones.  It's pretty cool to be able to see an ancient Egyptian falcon preserved as well as the jewelry worn in those times.  Whatever your artistic or cultural interest, the Newark Museum is bound to have something for you at some point in time.  

Newark Museum - Newark, New Jersey 

Movie Review - May, 2003

Video Rental Pick:

ONE HOUR PHOTO - Rated R - As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and for Director Mark Romanek to even be mentioned with the great Stanley Kubrick is in itself, a remarkable achievement.  With enormous clarity of vision, Romanek brings his screenplay to life with stunning detail and impact.  Robin williams takes on his most challenging role as "Cy the camera guy" who takes care of "his customers" at a corporate pig of a company called SAV-MART.  Cy is the perfect employee except for taking a few liberties with extra prints of the customers pictures.  His anal attention to perfection becomes too much for management  as he is finally let go for "click counts" that don't match up.  Things never match up for Cy as he is in a constant state of loneliness living vicariously through others and one family in particular.

The stress of being canned sets this bright and confused individual off on a course of unpredictable revenge.  Cy's customers are really "his customers" at least in his own mind.  Cy is bright but painfully shy and unable to build a family of his own on his own.  He punishes those who need to be punished in his own special way and by no predictable means.

This film is a must see for the thinking filmgoer able to understand the nuances of Kubrick and how Romanek applies his brilliance to a remarkable film.  Everything in this film makes a statement from the set design to pauses in dialogue to the big brother video surveillance of modern corporate America.  The acting in this film is superior from the moment Robin Williams opens his mouth as Cy to the lurid and precise portrayal of his boss at the SAV-MART.

Romanek is a true artist of enormous potential and his ONE HOUR PHOTO is worth and hour and half of your time.

Jersey Clubs and Nightlife - May, 2003  

94th Bomb Group Restaurant in Fairfield, NJ offers the "single and looking crowd" a place to look on any given Sunday.  Tucked beside a small airport is the "Bomb Group" which offers nice sized rooms, decent bar service and a restaurant.  In the summer there is even a generous sized patio to look for and maybe meet someone.  I'm always on the lookout for the best of the club and nightlife scene in New Jersey so when a buddy of mine mentioned this Sunday night singles function I thought it was worth a look.  Mark the single guy's quote to me was "there is something for everyone" and just after arriving I could see why!  There is quite an age range from 30 all the way into the late 50's.  Imagine a group of 300 with that diversity!  The music was broad in scope this Sunday to cater to the diverse age range and there was plenty of looking and dancing.  Mark the "single guy" really made a great suggestion to check this place out as it may very well be the best singles spot on a Sunday in New Jersey.  If you want to know just what all those singles are looking for you will have to check it out for yourself.  I imagine that as the temperature heats up, so will the atmosphere at the 94th Bomb Group.  I know I'm looking forward to checking out the crowd on the patio when the temps warm up a bit more!

94th Bomb Group Restaurant  - Fairfield, New Jersey 

Jersey Feature - May, 2003

Boardwalk Bullies - Playing where America Plays in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Spring is in the air on the boardwalk in Atlantic City or as many of us affectionately call it "AC."  The snow is gone, the temps are climbing and people are beginning to head to the beach for some afternoon rays.  The casinos buzz along all year as tourists play the odds and take their chances at winning.  AC locals and visitors spill out of the casinos this time of year to play on the beach and the boardwalk.  

If you venture down to Boardwalk Hall you might run into a bunch of bullies, Boardwalk Bullies that is.  The Bullies are no boardwalk sideshow but rather New Jerseys newest minor league hockey franchise.  In just a few years this team is bringing home the wins and the value for their fans.  The motto in AC is "Where America Plays" but I'm sure that if there is a sign like that in their locker room it says "Where America Plays and Wins!" 

People come to AC for all sorts of reasons such as work and play, and it is one of New Jerseys most famous and treasured destinations.  For me, the great allure of AC is the energy and the passion of the place.  The Bullies are an extremely well-coached and well-managed organization.  They are also a very passionate team, and their product enhances AC a great deal.

While visitors and entertainers will come and go to Boardwalk Hall, the Bullies are destined to deliver their own brand of sports excellence for many years to come.  The Bullies even have a Canadian scout on the lookout for new prospects!  Many hockey seasons have come to a halt, but the Bullies skate on in the Playoffs.  Sure the Kelly Cup is not the Stanley Cup, but you would never know that watching this team skate.  

Spring is here and AC is coming alive outside.  If you hurry you may be able to catch a game before their season ends.  I'm sure the Bullies will be anchored at the Boardwalk for many years to come, so if you miss them this year they will be back next year playing to win!

Boardwalk Bullies - Playing where America Plays in Atlantic City, New Jersey  written by Jerry Butler

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