Tag Archives: cara di falco

Essex Junction

#HipNJ’s Cara Di Falco visited Bloomfield‘s latest neighborhood haunt, Essex Junction!

Essex Junction, located steps away from the popular New Jersey Transit train stop, features an array of gourmet options for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Mixologists specialize in “Local Legends” cocktails, and also pour a variety of craft beers, including many Garden State-brewed favorites!

Cara chatted with Jeremy Goldberg, one of EJ’s owners, about his restaurant’s signature dishes.

Cara and Jeremy dived into a delicious Shrimp and Grits sampling, which is made with five u7 shrimp, herbed gouda grits, arugula and chile oil. The duo also tried the Braised Short Rib, made with a side of house gnocchi, sautéed mushroom, truffle oil and red wine reduction. (Excuse us as we take our jaws off the floor!)

Jeremy places a great importance on his New Jersey heritage. From the ingredients in the food to the (very cool) decor of the space, the heart of Essex Junction is the state it resides!

Essex Junction wants to put its success towards a good cause. If a customer orders a “Local Legend” cocktail and posts it on social media tagging EJ and the respective celebrity (here’s looking at you Joe Pesci and Chelsea Handler), EJ donates half the proceeds of the drink to the Bloomfield school system!

For more information on Essex Junction, visit TheJunctionUSA.com.

fuse events

Fuse Events Teams Up With Empire Social Catering

By: Cara Di Falco

Fuse Events, a #hip, customizable event space in Hoboken, has brought in a delicious new catering team, Empire Social Catering!  To celebrate the partnership, they recently held a “Spring Awakening” event to showcase their respective talents to the marketplace.

Fuse is an event space that can accommodate events like birthday parties, showers, brunches and professional meetings. The space will hold 60 people seated or 80 standing.  A small bar area is available for drinks, but the space is BYO.  Seating includes bar tables with stools and a few lounge-style couches. There is also a small outdoor space available, with large windows and glass doors on either end of the space. It can be set up and decorated to suit most event needs!

Empire Social Catering is headed up by Chef Abe Elkomey. At the event we attended, Chef Elkomey crafted several creative small tastings, including a Mediterranean lamb meatball in a mint pesto, quinoa salad with pickled orange and a melon compote salad – to name a few!

Entertainment for the evening included a live jazz band and a special performance by Fuse owner Karen Nason.

Empire Social is available for off-site catering as well so feel free to check them out for any event. They have a full team from chefs to wait staff and clean up crew.

For more information on Fuse, visit them on Facebook.  For more on Empire Social Catering, visit EmpireSocialCatering.com.


Montclair’s Vital

#HipNJ‘s Cara Di Falco sat down for lunch at Montclair‘s Vital with Chef Kwame Williams to hear about his family’s journey through the restaurant world!

Kwame’s sister Nataki sparked the roots of this restaurant in Montclair. Having years of finance experience and his prior experience in the kitchen, she was sure they would have a hit on their hands.

Kwame got his culinary start and received a degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, then continued on to receive much of his experience from 4 star restaurant The Ryland Inn.  Kwame works endlessly to perfect and master his recipes and is always daring to try something new.

With a fresh juice bar and many meat and dairy free options, Vital has specially crafted their menu to cater to a larger audience through all meals of the day!

In the interview Kwame tells us “the health aspect is in the Jamaican culture very heavily with the roots and the juicing and the fresh fruits.” All dishes are hand prepped from scratch in the kitchen, never artificial and never frozen.

The Williams sibling trio prides themselves in being one of the very few sit down Jamaican restaurants unlike many takeout franchises. Their goal is to bring healthy and fresh traditional food to the table with a resort ambiance.

Alongside the restaurant business, Kwame donates much of his free time introducing healthy foods to children through Edible Schoolyard and speaking at schools.

For more on Vital, visit their website.  And for more on Cara’s visit to Vital, visit CaraDiFalco.com to view Vital’s curried cauliflower recipe!