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November, 2003

Inside This Edition: Terra Mare in Madison, NJ; Ellis Island in New Jersey; Movie Review - USED CARS; Special Jersey Clubs Thanksgiving Edition and Feature - Thanksgiving In New Jersey


Jersey Food - November, 2003

It's new, it's reasonable, and it's really good.  When the Captain's Galley in Madison closed, everyone wondered what would next occupy that space.  It used to be a cozy little bar with good food, but the seating was cramped and the interior quite dark. 

Terra Mare is the new restaurant, and it's hard to believe it occupies the same space as the former Captain's Galley.  The bar is gone and it's surprising how much space is freed up for dining.  The interior is light and airy, and the seating is comfortable with ample space around each table.

The really nice surprise is the food.  It's terrific, and you don't need to take out a loan to pay for dinner.  Our hungry group visited Terra Mare on a weekday evening and were immediately struck by the professional manner of the management.  Most new restaurants need time to work out the glitches but there were none to found here!

The wait staff is professional and clearly experienced.  Our food came  to the table in a timely fashion and piping hot.  The meals certainly weren't sitting around in the kitchen waiting to be delivered.

The menu is varied and offers a variety of  ways each item can be prepared.  Our group ordered variations of beef and shrimp.  The 8oz. Filet Mignon was outstanding served with blue cheese and walnuts over polenta.  Another tasty preparation for the filet was with shallots, green peppercorns and covered in a creamy brandy sauce.  Oh boy, was that good!  One in our party chose the Champagne Shrimp and it was flavorful and tender.

Each entree is served with a small salad, roasted vegetables and potatoes of the day.  The roasted potatoes were delicious.  Generally speaking most entrees run about 17-18 dollars, and on the night we were there, many were indulging in the special of the day which was lobster.  

Terra Mare surely deserves a look and is a great addition to the Morris County selection of great places to dine.

Terra Mare - Madison, New Jersey 


Jersey Treasure - November, 2003

Willy's Florham Park Sunoco in Florham Park,  New Jersey.  How could a gas station ever make it into the pages of Jersey Spin?  Well, when the publisher needed some repairs made to his car he opted to seek out an entrepreneur and small New Jersey business owner.  The experience was nothing short of superior.  Turns out that Willy's is fairly new and easily rose to treasure status as a place where anyone who owns a car can depend on competent, friendly service at reasonable prices.  What particularly impressed the publisher was his close attention to detail and customer satisfaction as this repair and service was explained in simple terms.  Also impressive was that one of the worn parts was offered for examination and explanation.  A gas station is usually just a gas station but when a bright, hard working, New Jersey entrepreneur sets out to build a first rate reputation on solid value, it becomes a Jersey Treasure.   

On a more general note, it is always a pleasure to write about interesting and unique Jersey Treasures, and while auto repair is by no means unique, Willy's approach to it is refreshing and represents a solid value.  It's quite possible that there is a Jersey Treasure waiting to be discovered in your neck of the woods.  The chances are also great that a Jersey entrepreneur created it!

Willy's Florham Park Sunoco - Florham Park, New Jersey 


Movie Review - November, 2003

Video Rental Pick:

USED CARS - Rated R - USED CARS proves once again that it's great writing and great acting that enable a film to stand the test of time and become a classic.  As the title suggests this film is about used cars and has become the quintessential comedy about used cars and the people who deal in them.  Taking just eight and 1/2 weeks to film at a cost of 6 million dollars, this film turned out to be a winner financially and artistically.

Many filmgoers may not have even heard of USED CARS but Kurt Russell delivers the finest performance of his career as a smooth- talking used car salesman named Rudy Russo.  Rudy Russo even plans on talking his way out of car sales and straight into politics.  Jack Warden also delivers the performance of a lifetime as he portrays not one but two car dealers who are feuding twin brothers.  Leave it to Luke's ace salesman Rudy to sell just about any car in any condition.  The cars on these lots aren't used they're pre-owned and Luke's evil brother Roy L. wants to own his brothers inventory and lot as well.

This film is hilarious, timeless and captures the true spirit of the used car business in a winning and witty parody.


Jersey Clubs and Nightlife - November, 2003  

Special Thanksgiving Edition 

We have been roaming the clubs of New Jersey for nearly two years now, and it's so good to see that the New Jersey club and nightlife scene is just as vibrant as it has ever been.  It may be a little harder to find the party in Jersey, but once you have found it then a good night surely awaits.  It's especially great to see legendary places like the Stuffed Shirt in South Orange reborn as the South Orange Grill.  We were down there recently and we loved the updated decor.  If this place is anything like it's predecessor then North Jersey will have another great place in South Orange to enjoy.  It will be fun to keep our eyes on this new place.

Something very interesting is taking place at many Jersey Clubs which is a return to the creative inventiveness of the 70's.  It's great to see the spirit of the 70's melded with the new sounds of today at places like Joey's in Clifton, NJ and over at Bamboo in Seaside in the summertime.  One place we featured here is a place called Pub46 in Clifton, NJ which has a 70's feel altogether complete with live rock bands.

The younger crowd headed out this year to a great place in Neptune called the Headliner which has one of the best sound systems in the state and up to the Sandbar in Jersey City for some great Latin beats.  The Planet in Hoboken also offers some great Latin music on certain nights.  

For those older Jersey folks who like a nice lively evening out with the total "club" scene the Famished Frog in Morristown and The Restaurant in Hackensack were singled out by us as excellent choices with an upscale crowd and very pleasant atmosphere.  It was great looking back at all the great Jersey Clubs we featured here these past two years especially at Thanksgiving.  One thing we can all be thankful for is that New Jersey has an awesome club and nightlife scene, and the trend continues for club goers to have the best product and a variety of choices. 

Special Thanksgiving Edition - Jersey Clubs And Nightlife


Jersey Feature - November, 2003

Thanksgiving In New Jersey 

New Jersey is a very special place to celebrate Thanksgiving.  This special holiday celebrating a bountiful harvest takes on an even more important meaning in New Jersey as one of the nations most ethnically diverse.  No matter where you live in Jersey or what your ethnic background, most  of us love New Jersey for the special memories this time of year brings.  By now, most of the leaves are down as the cool fall breezes are replaced by the colder northern jet stream  typical of our winter months.

Many outsiders to New Jersey have a very distorted view of New Jersey if all they know about New Jersey is what they see on the Sopranos or on the New Jersey Turnpike.   I'm a big fan of the Sopranos, but there is a great deal more to be thankful for living in New Jersey than a hit television show set here. Thanksgiving memories are here once again in the Garden State.

Ask someone local about Thanksgiving in New Jersey, and you will get answers as diverse as our population.  A person in North Jersey might have fond memories of a traditional Thanksgiving in Essex County complete with a morning high school football game.  Someone from Ocean County may take a traditional morning walk on the beach. while someone in Mercer County takes a morning mountain bike ride.  Whatever the morning activity is (unless you are the one doing the cooking), there is usually a traditional Thanksgiving meal on that day complete with family.  Ask anyone from New Jersey what the traditional meal is and you will get turkey and about million other different answers about what else is served with it.

Diversity, family and friends make Thanksgiving great in New Jersey.  Where else could you find such richness to be thankful for.  Those familiar with New Jersey know it as a fast-paced environment rich in culture.  Thanksgiving is a great time for thoughtful reflection and what better place for it than in New Jersey.    

Thanksgiving In New Jersey  written by Jerry Butler

To Learn More About Feeding The Hungry In New Jersey


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