News

NJ Might Make Expiration Dates Easy Again

It looks like one part of the food handling process is poised to get some much needed simplification. A bipartisan group of New Jersey lawmakers has recently introduced legislation in the statehouse that would revamp the way stores and manufacturers label expiration dates on their products. Rather than the current litany of possible wordings available to them, it would pare it down to 2: "Use By" or "Best If Used By". The first would be for foods that are more easily perishable, and the second for those that may being to deteriorate in quality but which would still be safe to consume afterwards. This should greatly reduce the amount of confusion in our cupboards and the food waste that goes along with it, should it pass. Hopefully it will lead to similar changes around the nation as well, providing the same benefits to people who aren't fortunate enough to find themselves in the Garden State.

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DINING REVIEW #5: The Eat Well

From the outside, you might not even notice this unassuming little shop near the intersection of Bayshore and Town Bank Roads in North Cape May. Several businesses have tried their hands unsuccessfully in the spot, but the Eat Well, with its promises of fresh baked breads, grilled sandwiches, soups and smoothies, might be the first to have a real shot at making it.

We have paid 2 visits to the eatery, and have been pretty impressed both times. On our initial trip we tried the Eat Well Cuban sandwich and a grilled cheese special. We were both satisfied with the quality and flavor of the fillings, and the pickled onions the chef threw in on the side were a nice touch that added a good bit of extra flavor to the next few sandwiches I made for myself over the following couple days. But it was our 2nd visit that really stood out, when we each opted for a special version of the Grilled Italiano sandwich. It normally features prosciutto, capicola, sopressata, provolone and roasted red peppers, which is a pretty winning combination in and of itself. For the special however it was served with a delicious pesto spread and on some truly phenomenal olive and rosemary bread. Everything came together to make for a truly delicious sandwich, so good that even typing this review is making me crave another. A small cup of cole slaw was served on the side, which was also a flavorful treat, if not quite the best I've ever eaten.

The hours are limited (as is the parking), so make sure to check their Facebook page (linked to below) to be sure it's open first. But this is a spot that is definitely worth seeking out for some good, fresh food. We will be looking forward to our 3rd visit and wish them all the success in the world.

GRADE: B+

VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE HERE.

They are located at 508A Town Bank Rd, North Cape May, NJ 08204, in case you want to put it into your GPS.

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NOW YOU CAN BUY WINE WITH COFFEE IN IT. NO REALLY.

We aren't sure what to make of this. Friends Fun Wine, already somewhat controversial for putting wine in a can, is now offering 2 wines that contain coffee in them. The flavors they're adding are in keeping with the sort of notes that expert sommeliers can often pick out from a good bottle; like coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. We are having a hard time imagining what it would taste like with them all purposefully exaggerated however. It would be interesting to give it a try, so if we come across any, or if they send us a sample (hint hint), we will let you know what we think.

CHARDONNAY COFFEE CAPPUCCINO

CABERNET COFFEE ESPRESSO

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DISCOVER THE REAL STORY BEHIND "2 BUCK CHUCK"

The wine world is full of interesting stories, but with the tales of messy divorce proceedings, bankruptcy, birds and branches getting into the wine, and even arsenic contamination, there may be none more fascinating than that of Charles Shaw Wines. Thrillist spoke with a number of the company's key players to piece together a brief oral history of the rise and fall of one of America's best known wineries, and it is a fascinating read.

CHECK OUT THE ARTICLE HERE.

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WE RECOMMEND: MILK STREET KITCHEN

There is certainly no shortage of cooking magazines vying for your attention, many of very high quality. There is a sprightly newcomer on the block however, looking to shake things up a bit. Filled with recipes, tips, product reviews, and feature stories, all accompanied by gorgeous full color photography, Christopher Kimball's Milk Street magazine aims to bring us all a new, simple, delicious way to cook. The recipes included follow an ethos of bringing flavors and methods from around the world together with some classic cuisines to bring food as we know it into the 21st century.

Each recipe is preceded by a brief story, explaining the author's inspirations and intentions in bringing it to life, followed by clear, easy-to-follow directions. The first issues have featured some intriguingly unique ideas; like fluffy olive oil scrambled eggs, Thai style cole slaw, Harissa, Peruvian pesto, Georgian chicken soup, and Tahini Swirl brownies. Along with cocktail ideas, gadget recommendations, and cookbook reviews, the magazine is proving to be an indispensable guide to the new American kitchen.

Along with the magazine, they have also launched a cooking school and a radio program/podcast, which you can access via iTunesiHeartRadio, and many other players. The radio program features a listener call-in Q&A segment, interviews, and contributing editorials from journalists and experts in the industry.

With its innovative ideas and helpful instructions, this is the sort of magazine that you'll want to keep for a long time, and worth the price of admission for anyone looking to step up their game in the kitchen.

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DINING REVIEW #4: The Taco Shop

Cape May Brewing Company is one of our favorite places to go in the county, but as a result of using a special New Jersey law that allows breweries to serve their beer without a liquor license, they are not allowed to serve any food. You could have some delivered or bring your own, but the first option feels odd and the second one requires some more advanced planning than one often puts into such things. As a result, it's a bit surprising that it took this long for anyone to decide to open any sort of food-oriented establishment nearby, but someone has finally done it.

The creators of Cape May Point's acclaimed Red Store bring us The Taco Shop. The urban/modern design of the restaurant fits in wonderfully with the industrial nature of the complex, doing a perfect job of making the space fun, trendy and inviting while still utilizing the warehouse feel, much like their neighbors have done so successfully. Business seemed to be doing well as people were both getting take-out to enjoy with a beer next door, and enjoying the small dining area in the back.

As for the food, you can see it being made in the open kitchen, which is always appreciated, and which allows the tempting aromas to mingle throughout the space. Patrick and I ordered ours to bring home, as we felt we had already drank enough for one night, and the mouth-watering scents emanating from the bag had us absolutely ravenous by the time we reached the house. I ordered 3 shrimp tacos and Patrick had a chicken quesadilla, with us sharing sour cream and pico de gallo toppings. Neither of us was disappointed, to say the least. The ingredients were all very fresh and everything was bursting with flavor. The tacos were a blend of traditional Mexican flavors like cilantro, with some unexpected ingredients like radish, which gave them a wonderful, earthy taste. Patrick raved about his quesadilla, which also featured mole poblano and pickled red onion, frequently using the word, "delicious," between mouthfuls.

All in all it was a sensational experience, and one that we will be returning to again and again to try the different varieties (the chorizo sausage filling sounds especially tempting to me). It seems like a perfect match for the variety of beers served up next door and is definitely worth a visit the next time you're there.

GRADE: A

VISIT THEIR SITE

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WINE REVIEW #6: Heritage Wine Signature Estate Reserve BDX 2011

We had previously gotten to sample this wine at the Cape May Food And Wine Experience in October, and it was one of my personal favorites of the event. Getting to sit down and savor a bottle over Valentine’s dinner at The Blue Rose, one of my favorite restaurants, did nothing to diminish my love for it. It is smooth enough to go down easy, but complex enough to compliment most food. Comprised of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, there are a host of flavors swirling throughout, with each sip seemingly more delightful than the last. It is pleasingly dry and most notably tastes of cherry. Spicy and briny notes are also prevalent throughout, giving it a unique character. I strongly recommend treating yourself to a bottle if you get the chance. GRADE: A+

VISIT THEIR SITE

BUY THE WINE

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Christmas Party Essentials

Everyone wants their holiday party to stand out, but knowing how to do it without too much fuss is half the battle! Which is why we've put together this guide to all the essential items you need to wow your guests, while still being able to have a good time yourself.

When your guests first arrive, many are going to be in the mood for some Holiday Spirits, so make sure you are prepared with a selection of the most popular alcohols, like beer, wine, vodka, rum, and gin; along with a variety of mixers like cola, lemon-lime soda, club soda, tonic water, orange juice, and cranberry juice. For the season you may also want to have hot apple cider, egg nog, or champagne. And be sure to put just as much thought into presentation.

 Unique touches like the Irving Penguin Cocktail Shaker are sure to bring a smile to your friends' faces.

 Keep up the winter theme with snowflake shaped ice cubes. Easy to make thanks to this special ice cube tray, but just as certain to impress.

 Your wine-loving friends shouldn't be left out of the Winter fun. The adorable Kingsley Penguin Winged Corkscrew adds a bit of whimsy to opening a favorite bottle.

 The glasses you serve your drinks in can be just as important. These Ravenscroft Crystal Distiller Martini Glasses bring a modern elegance to any affair, and make sure your drinks look delicious.

 Wine lovers can be even more finicky about their glassware, so make sure to give them something they can appreciate. These crystal Bordeaux glasses perfectly accentuate the aromas of the wine in a beautiful and contemporary design.

 If you decided to pick up some champagne (Veuve Clicquot and Pommery being our favorites), make sure to be ready for a toast. Ravenscroft's Vintner's Choice crystal flutes work perfectly for the occasion, though we can't help you with the toast itself.

 We certainly wouldn't want to forget our beer drinkers. Let them have a little fun, while keeping track of their bottle, with these neck markers. The variety of colors makes it easy to tell which brew is yours, and when you go to take a sip, it creates the illusion that you have an old-time mustache, which only gets funnier with each drink.

  Obviously your guests are going to get at least slightly peckish, particularly after drinking so much, so you will need to be prepared with some food. A nice variety of cheeses is always a good idea, but don't just throw them on a plate. Make a presentation of them with a nice platter, like this slate cheeseboard, with handles for easy carrying.

 Your guests will also need something with which to cut the, erm, well... the cheese. So make sure they can do that in style as well (stop giggling), with this gorgeous gold plated knife set. A perfect compliment to any holiday decor. 

 It would probably be a good idea to offer up more than just cheese to munch on, and this beautiful volume by entertaining expert Martha Stewart is filled with ideas. And don't worry, there are plenty of recipes in here for every skill level.

 Fondue is always fun, though perhaps best suited for smaller gatherings. Whether you're interested in going with sweet or savory options, this set by Rachel Ray will keep your dip warm and look good doing it.

 Make your life a little easier with this easy-to-clean and easy-to-store stackable party bowl set. Fill it with a variety of chips and dips or maybe some smoked salmon and nibbly things and let your guests have it, then just clean them up, stack them up and store them away until your next soiree.

 Should you feel that your guests might need plates and/or bowls for the food you've got planned, this Gibson Barberware Dinnerware set is perfect for a Christmas feast. With the festive red coloring and simple but elegant design, these dishes will beautifully compliment any decor.

 And one can't forget to decorate for the party. These wine ornaments will be sure to make the lushiest of your friends smile.

 Place a few old wine bottles topped off with this candelabra by Boulevard on your table and around the food to brighten things up, and remind your friends of how clever you are.

 And lastly, remember that alcohol consumption is not known for improving people's coordination. Encourage your guests to find alternate means of transportation getting home, and be ready for the inevitable spill. Wine Out will help make sure that any Merlot related messes aren't made into a permanent part of your decorating scheme.

Good luck with your party, and Merry Christmas from all of us!

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WE RECOMMEND: “THE WINE SHOW”

 

Arriving stateside on Hulu over this past Summer, you may have heard about Britain’s “The Wine Show”. In it, actors Matthew Goode (“Downton Abbey”, “Watchmen”) and Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”, “Brothers & Sisters”) spend time in an Italian villa tasting and learning about wine from expert Joe Fattorini and via field segments with presenter Amelia Singer. Mixing lessons on winemaking, history, tasting, storage, pairing and just about anything else wine-related you can think of, there is much to learn here. But this is not some stodgy documentary. The 2 Matthews have an endearing camaraderie that makes watching them on their Italian adventure imminently enjoyable, if not leaving you somewhat envious of the experience. Joe ably joins in their fun while remaining informative, and often gets the fun task of demonstrating some pretty cool wine gadgets and technology (including a few that are available for sale on our site). Amelia doesn’t get to have very much interaction with the rest of the cast, but is a vivacious addition to the show who gets to visit some pretty cool places around the world. Whether you’re a serious oenophile or just starting on your own journey into the world of wine, this is a fun, entertaining and informative show that you owe it to yourself to check out.

WATCH THE SHOW HERE.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL SITE.

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Cape May Food & Wine Experience Part 2: Sean's Notes

Despite the rather unpleasant weather, we made it out to this year's Cape May Food & Wine Experience at the Naval Air Station Museum. Initially, there seemed to be a bit of a crush trying to get at the tables to taste the wines, but by our third table, things seemed to have sorted themselves out and obtaining samples became much easier.

This year also featured live cooking demonstrations and a number of food and craft vendors, which were each new additions that seemed to go over very well. But let's face it, we were really there for the wines, and there were some really impressive ones on offer. I only stuck to tasting wines I figured I would be interested in, which might skew my overall opinion somewhat, but I didn't dislike any of those I tried, though I definitely had some favorites.

The first that I really fell in love with, and which was possibly my favorite of the day, was the Tango by Sharrott Winery of Blue Anchor. This blend of 3 red varieties (including personal favorite Cabernet Franc) had the perfect smooth and smoky flavor that I love in a red wine. While I enjoyed all the reds that Sharrott had on offer, this one really stood above the rest. Their whites were worth noting as well, with a Pinot Grigio and unoaked Chardonnay that I found crisp, clean and refreshing. Their wines were so consistently enjoyable that they might very well be my favorite winery of the event.

The reds from Plagido's Winery of Hammonton were also quite a treat. The Chambourcin was one of the better examples of the grape on hand, with rich cherry and oak notes. But their Vino de Casa was another one of my favorites of the day. It was velvety smooth with notes of plum and felt like a great wine for an Autumn evening by a fire.

DiMatteo Vineyards of Hammonton also impressed me with 2 of their wines; a delicious Cabernet Franc, which was my favorite example of the grape on hand, and their Chocolate Raz. I don't typically favor sweeter wines like that, but this one reminded me of a Tootsie Pop in the best way possible and was imminently drinkable.

Everything I tried from Mullica Hill's Heritage Vineyards was a treat. The Cuvée Blanc seemed perfect for Summer with strong grapefruit flavors. The Sauvignon Blanc interestingly was softer and cleaner, making a great accompaniment for chicken or fish. All of their reds were a treat, with the Cuvée Rouge, Merlot, Syrah and Chambourcin all offering smooth but interesting flavors. The real star here though was the Estate Reserve BDX, and at $50 a bottle it should be. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec offers a rich, complex experience that is hard to rival, and only narrowly gets beat out of the top spot of the day for me.

Other personal highlights:

  • Hawk Haven's Naked Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio were easily my 2 favorite whites of the show. Each was crisp and clean with interesting flavors lurking just beneath the surface.
  • Coda Rossa's entire selection of dry wines on offer (Neve, 1526 Blend, Tempesta, Coeur d'Est) was pretty delicious and worth seeking out.
  • Auburn Road Vineyards was also pretty consistently delicious, but the Eidolon 2012 stood out particularly, with complex flavors that only get better as they linger on the tongue.
  • Cape May Winery had a really lovely Cabernet Franc on hand.
  • The always reliable Bellview Winery stood out with the lightly sweet Jersey Devil White and a rich and flavorful Coeur d'Est.
  • Lastly Tomasello Winery had a few stand-out reds in their 2013 Palmaris Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and 2013 Palmaris Petit Verdot Reserve, with each offering the right blend of complexity and drinkability to be truly enjoyable.

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