Tag Archives: boardwalk

garden state film festival

#HipNJ Visits the Garden State Film Festival

By: Jessica Schirripa

This weekend was way more than just ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’ It was the 17th annual Garden State Film Festival, which is a movie buff’s ticket to an inside look of the magic of cinema, all while paying tribute to New Jersey’s legacy as the birthplace of American film-making.

Held at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, the GSFF is one of the largest celebrations of the arts throughout the state of New Jersey. To be a part of this premier statewide initiative is to be a part of one of the most respected independent film festivals along the East Coast.

The vision of this film festival has blossomed into a renowned event that serves as a platform for both the filmmakers and the enthusiasts. It breeds creativity and passion, and even generates huge revenue for New Jersey’s very own city of the arts, Asbury Park, through storefront merchants and other associations at large!

Filled with ‘Best of Fests’, award ceremonies, celebrity guest appearances and overwhelming community support, this edition of the film festival proved to be one of the busiest and most impressive productions to date. Throughout the five day, ten venue commemoration, there were over 240 international films showcased. It also provided hands-on creative workshops open to the public, casting calls, back to back Q & A panels with the actors and filmmakers, non-stop after-parties, and more!

While attending Friday evening’s kick-off gala, the energy pulsated throughout the convention center. I was greeted with flashing lights, red carpets, and wall- to-wall local sponsors highlighting their own crafted foods, sweet treats and specialty services. It was neat to see the casts and crews of the movies, media and committee mixing and mingling the night away. It was the perfect way to experience Hollywood’s glitz & glam right off the boardwalk, especially since Asbury Park has been profoundly impacted by the Garden State Film Festival. In fact, the GSFF has played a leading role in the transformation from a city in urban decay into what is now referred to as “one of the coolest towns in America”. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who was one of the many A-List attendees, was beaming with Garden State pride as he watched all who have been captivated by cinematic adventure. 

Aside from the dedicated board of directors, an army of volunteers, and everyone involved in the creation of these films, there was a legion of intense super-fans who were treated to complimentary trolley rides and parking. This was a nice touch to help treat those who attended the festival from beyond the Jersey Shore

The best part about the success of this weekend’s Garden State Film Festival was that it was an opportunity to be inspired and inspire others. A festival like this provides eager filmmakers an avenue to reach new audiences and be recognized for their skills and hard work. Even though there is the element of competition throughout the showcase, everyone is there to encourage each other and motivate other budding talent to go for their dreams!

For more information, visit GSFF.org.

vegan

#VeganDay 5 of NJ’s Best Vegan Restaurants

Hey #HipNJ! Today is #VeganDay! To celebrate, let’s take a look at five of the yummiest vegan restaurants in the area!

1.  Veganized, New Brunswick

Located in the heart of New Brunswick, this vegan eatery is the bomb-diggity! Highlights of the menu include their RAWzagna (gluten-free raw zucchini pasta, marinated mushrooms, fresh tomato, nut cheese, sundried tomato puree, pesto) and the BBQ Skewers (grilled seitan vegetable BBQ skewers, herbed white bean sauce, saffron rice, crusted oyster mushrooms with maple dijon). The undisputed fan favorite is the mackin’ cheese pictured above. It looks so good!

2.  Seed to Sprout, Fair Haven & Avon-by-the-Sea

This down-the-shore vegan joint is the real deal. It offers breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, teaches cooking classes, and operates a bakery located in Wanamassa. They offer a delicious Maui Wowie smoothie (house-made cashew milk, strawberries, mango, banana, coconut, and fresh tumeric) and a Bacon Cheddar Melt (seared marinated tempeh, caramelized onion, coconut bacon, cashew sauce, riddled on a millet-flax bread). Pictured above is the House-Made Tempeh Chorizo Tacos! Yum!

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heart beet burger // 📷: @nachisheel

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3. Heart Beet Kitchen, Westmont

A charming, farmhouse-inspired eatery, Heart Beet Kitchen has a wide range of tasty foods such zucchini noodles with eggplant meatballs or spicy Buffalo cauliflower sandwich on a gluten-free bun. They also offers some tasty deserts such as a chocolate chip dough bar with almond butter, a pumpkin pie, and a matcha chai. The highly-acclaimed Heart Beet Burger is pictured above. Looks tasty!

4. Papa Ganache, Matawan

Vegan baked goods have never sounded better at Papa Ganache, a vegan/gluten-free bakery! While known for their baked goods including biscotti, cheesecake cups, pies, cookies, cakes and more, they also serve other food such as baked ziti, chili, and pizza. Pictured above is their delicious banana chocolate chip walnut bread, which looks super yummy!

5. Veggie Heaven, Teaneck, Montclair, & Denville

Culturally-inspired Veggie Heaven is known for their Asian fusion food. With favorites like the Thai Bang Bang Chicken, Crispy Stuffed Tofu, and any of their sushi options, it’s hard to go wrong here. Pictured above is a few of their sushi rolls which look absolutely delicious!

Any of these options are a fantastic choice for celebrating #VeganDay! Enjoy the day and try some vegan food if you get the chance!

greasy foods

#GreasyFoodsDay 5 of NJ’s Yummy Greasy Foods

Hey #HipNJ! Today is #GreasyFoodsDay! To celebrate, let’s take a look at five of the most mouth-watering, greasy foods found in the Garden State!

1. Fat Sandwich, RU Hungry, New Brunswick

Launched in 1979 and aptly nicknamed the “Grease Truck,” RU Hungry is Rutgers University’s grease epicenter. The first fat sandwich they debuted was the Fat Cat which consisted of two cheeseburgers with lettuce, tomato, and french fries all on the sandwich. Their current best-seller is the Fat Darrell which consists of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, marinara sauce, lettuce and tomato. I’ve had the Fat Darrell and can confirm it is delicious! Want to coin your own sandwich? RU Hungry challenges worthy participants to eat any five fat sandwiches in under 45 minutes. Those who succeed get to have their sandwich featured on their menu. Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman tried the challenge and failed. I couldn’t imagine eating five of those monstrous sandwiches in under an hour!

2. Italian Hot Dog, Jimmy Buff’s, Kenilworth

Originally founded in Newark by James “Buff” Racioppi in 1932, Jimmy Buff’s is the home to the famous Italian Hot Dog loaded with two fried hot dogs, peppers, onions and potatoes. I’ve visited the Kennilworth location and can confirm the authenticity, grease, and tastiness this sandwich boasts. This location featured an open kitchen so you can watch all of your sandwich fixin’s being deep fried right in front of you, which only makes your mouth water more before your served. Jimmy Buff’s is one of NJ’s oldest food traditions and there’s no wonder why it’s still going strong today.

3. Maui Burger, 30 Burgers, Branchburg

This relatively new NJ burger chain features 30 delicious, fresh and juicy burgers. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Branchburg location which has a very diner-esque feel to it. I had the Maui Burger, topped with grilled pineapple, smoked ham, teriyaki glaze, cheddar, lettuce, tomato & sweet mayo , and it was SO good! Other burgers that are worth trying include the Trenton Burger, topped with pork roll, American cheese, and ketchup, and the El Paso Burger, topped with roasted pablano peppers, sautéed onions, bacon, pepperjack, guacamole, lettuce & chipotle mayo. Yum!

4. Cheesesteak & Cheese Balls, Steaks Unlimited, Seaside Heights

Nothing says boardwalk food like a good ‘ol fashioned cheesesteak! Steaks Unlimited has one of the best cheesesteaks on the Jersey Shore. Paired with deep-fried, bread-crumbed coated, cheddar cheese balls, the cheesesteak and cheese balls combo is a Jersey Shore classic! When I visited, I was feeling daring and put cheese balls in my cheesesteak. Best idea ever!

5. Chonut, Kimchi Smoke, Westwood

This new Texas Korean BBQ fusion restaurant boasts perhaps the most intriguing, greasy, and glorious sandwich on this list. Dubbed “100% Ridiculousness,” the Chonut is brisket, smoked Kimchi, Fatboy bourbon chipotle sauce, bacon, cheese, and scallions sandwiched between a sliced glazed donut. Oh my! I have yet to try this delicious monstrosity but it is on the top of my To-Eat list!

Now that I’ve made your stomach growl, go out and celebrate #GreasyFoodsDay at one of these fine establishments!