Review: Ninety Acres – “Bring Me Food”

We’ve long wanted to try Ninety Acres, a culinary center located in a restored carriage house. My in-laws came to visit, and offered to take us for our birthdays. Ninety Acres is part of the Natirar (Raritan spelled backwards) resort in Somerset County. They have a private club, event/meeting spaces, celebration spaces, a farm, a park…quite beautiful and refined.

The Ninety Acres building, a restored carriage house

Ninety Acres offers locally grown and sourced foods when possible, When you eat at Ninety Acres, you choose between a regular menu and the “Bring Me Food” (BMF) menu, which was the source of much confusion for our family. With BMF you will not get a menu at all (well I got one, but that’s because I was taking notes, and they felt bad for me. So they brought one but made me promise not to look at it until the end). Continue reading “Review: Ninety Acres – “Bring Me Food””

Treat of the Day: The Chocolate Bar

Our favorite dessert spot in Westfield is the Chocolate Bar, and we’ve been there many, many times. They sell gelato and all sorts of chocolate items, including chocolate covered brownies, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered graham crackers, chocolate dipped pizzelles, chocolate dipped biscotti, almond bark, chocolate covered strawberries, truffles, gourmet coffee and more.

The Chocolate Bar (they have no website) is at 112 Quimby Street in Westfield.

Continue reading “Treat of the Day: The Chocolate Bar”

Review: The Inn at Lambertville Station

So it’s a little cloudy in this picture, but the hotel is next to the river

We recently spent a romantic weekend (away from the kids!) in Lambertville NJ/New Hope PA. We stayed at the Inn at Lambertville Station, which is right on the Delaware River, looking out over New Hope. (Read 11 Things to Do in Lambertville/New Hope here)

Overall it was a lovely experience, save for the loud, drunk wedding guests parading past our room from 11-11:30 p.m. on Saturday night. See WARNING below.

The hotel is behind a historic station house which is now a restaurant (and two bars). The hotel is not old, but it looks old inside (in a good way). The front desk has a nice looking key pick-up area and gift shop with food, drinks and lavender soaps (the type they have in your room). Continue reading “Review: The Inn at Lambertville Station”

Day Trip: Sterling Hill Mine in New Jersey

I went to the Sterling Hill Mine and Museum as part of a school field trip, but you can go on your own as a family.

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

ROCKS

We learned that there are 3 types of rocks.

-metamorphic (created by pressure – heat turned it into something else). Examples: slate, which used to be shale. Marble, which used to be limestone

-sedimentary (silt, sand). Examples: coal, sandstone

-igneous (magma, lava). Examples: basalt

The mountain that’s mined is a marble hill, with white and gray stone. Continue reading “Day Trip: Sterling Hill Mine in New Jersey”

Treat of the Day: Ralph’s Ices

We first discovered Ralph’s when in Staten Island, eating at Denino’s Pizza. Ralph’s was just across the street. Since we’re relative newcomers to the East Coast, the concept of Italian Ices was rather new to us too. Turns out that Ralph’s is quite popular in the area, with many NY locations, and many in New Jersey as well. On every trip home from Sandy Hook, we stop at Ralph’s, which is heavily represented in the Garden State.

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It’s always a toss up between the water ices, the creme ices and the ice cream. Here’s why:

Water ice flavors: cotton candy, grape, blue Hawaii, black raspberry, Malibu bay breeze, root beer, red raspberry, sour cherry and strawberry margarita.

Creme ice flavors: cappuccino, canolli, coconut raspberry tart, crazy coconut, cremalata, mocha chip, peanut butter candy bar, peanut butter cookie dough, pina colada, vanilla fudge brownie and more.

Here’s what we ended up with:

2 malted milk shakes (black/white and chocolate), a java chip creme ice, and a brownie sundae. We felt a bit ill after finishing them all.

Ralph’s has lots of locations.

Review: Sandy Hook with Kids

Sandy Hook is a great place for those who don’t want the boardwalk experience, and want more to do than just sit on the beach. Plus it’s only $15 entrance for a whole carload of people. Parking is free and the money goes to the National Park Service. Sandy Hook is a “barrier spit” that’s 6-7 miles long, a mile wide at some points, and accessed via bridge.

What to do at Sandy Hook:

Ride a Bike: Bring your  own or rent one (there’s a rental place at Beach B – first right after the pay station). Lots of trails – 7 miles of them starting at the park entrance, out to Fort Hancock at the end.

Fishing: fishing is allowed at all beaches without lifeguards on duty.

Continue reading “Review: Sandy Hook with Kids”

Treat of the Day: Little Scoops Ice Cream

This is the first of what will probably be many ice cream posts this summer – I have a big list of places I want to go! We went to Little Scoops in Cranford on the last day of school. We won a certificate for 5 free sundaes from a tricky tray (thanks, Little Scoops!) and thought that was perfect day to cash it in. Plus it turned out to be 250 degrees outside, and Little Scoops had air conditioning. Yay!!!

What we loved about Little Scoops wasn’t the ice cream (I’ll get into that later). It was the atmosphere and the staff. It looks like an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and the staff (including the owner, who came over to say hi) could not have been nicer.

 

Continue reading “Treat of the Day: Little Scoops Ice Cream”

Review: Point Pleasant with Kids

If you’re looking for a traditional New Jersey boardwalk experience, Point Pleasant does the trick. It has rides, games, hermit crabs, taffy, fudge, greasy food, the beach and other things going for it.

FOOD:

For outdoor (shaded) seating, Jenkinson’s has it’s Pavilion complex, with Mexican, sushi, seafood, coffees, burgers, pizza etc. Their Boardwalk Bar & Grill also has outdoor shaded seating. A list of other Point Pleasant boardwalk dining options is here and here. It’s the usual fare, plus many stands like Kohr’s Frozen Custard. Continue reading “Review: Point Pleasant with Kids”

Review: Asbury Park with Kids

copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

I really like the Asbury Park boardwalk. There are no arcades, no rides, and the stores are a bit nicer. It’s not big, and it’s understated. Plus it has the Silverball Museum, where you can play pinball for hours (you pay an hourly rate, so it’s not quite the same as an arcade).

Here are some things you should know if you go to the Asbury Park boardwalk/beach:

FOOD:

The stand food looks good, including a crepe stand, sausage stand, the Mayfair Boardwalk Grill, Ralph’s Italian Ice, and ice cream (pictured below). As for restaurants, there are many to choose from. A friend recommends Langosta Lounge. We’ve enjoyed eating at Siculiana’s Italian Bread and Pizza twice (it’s next to the Silverball Museum). Wonderbar is famous, and you can bring your pets to the outdoor area during Yappy Hours (kids 8-14 are admitted to the Yappy Hour food area).

 

copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

 

WHAT TO DO: Continue reading “Review: Asbury Park with Kids”

Date Night: Patria

the Mixology Bar at Patria

It’s always exciting when my hubby and I get a date night. Especially when we go to a hip and trendy restaurant – something that we rarely ever do. Recently we actually had a double date, meaning with other adults, not our kids. Fortunately these adults expressed availability for that night on the morning of the date, because we plan so far ahead. They’re spontaneous folks too and like us, have no life.

I heard about this new hip and trendy restaurant, Patria, through my tennis instructor who is expert in all things New Jersey. Check out the link and you won’t believe this kind of hipness exists in Rahway. Last time we ate in Rahway it was at David Drake’s old restaurant, which I believe had the unusual name of David Drake. The New Jersey chef is talked about in the media as being not only a great chef in New Jersey, but also recognized OUTSIDE NEW JERSEY. That was a delicious, expensive foodie meal, and we couldn’t believe that kind of restaurant existed in Rahway. It closed a week after we ate there.

Continue reading “Date Night: Patria”