Tag Archives: food

Bucket and Bay Craft Gelato

#HipNJ’s Cara Di Falco headed over to Jersey City to pay Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato a visit!

Bucket & Bay is a gelateria located on Bay Street known for its unique gelato.  Gelato, of course, is an Italian style of low-fat ice cream that is characterized by its more dense texture in comparison to other styles of ice cream.

Cara sat down with Jen Kavlakov, the owner and chief of the café, to talk about what goes on behind the scenes. Along with her husband, Boris, she opened up Bucket & Bay because it had long been a dream of theirs and they wanted to make their kids proud of them for following that dream.

Perhaps the most pivotal ingredient that contributes to their healthier (and tastier) gelato is the 100 percent grass fed milk. This type of milk has more nutrients than standard milk whereas cows that produce the milk produce it in small amounts.

What also sets Bucket & Bay apart from other gelaterias in New Jersey is that rather from starting from a premade base and adding flavor from there like others do, Jen and the rest of her crew start completely from scratch.

The café also only uses local ingredients acquired from a purveyor. One drawback is that they only use seasonal ingredients, so you won’t be able to get anything with strawberries in the dead of winter. But they work around this. Family is very important to Jen and Boris and the duo would never put an item on the menu that they wouldn’t serve to their loved ones.

Jen obviously was not going to let Cara leave without a sample! Cara was lucky enough to try one of the cafes classic items, a pressed gelato sandwich. Served on toasted babka, a type of croissant roll, this sandwich includes gelato and a house-made jam. Her sample was a classic combination of Bucket & Bay vanilla gelato and strawberry rhubarb jam.

Jen and Boris also strive to be active community participants beyond desert by selling their top-notch ingredients through a buyers club deal called Bucket Share. Membership is not required in order to purchase the ingredients, but a discount is offered. Rather than a come-and-go atmosphere, the café also features community space and visitors are encouraged to sit back and enjoy the gelato.

To learn more about Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato, go to BucketAndBay.com.

#HipNJ Celebrates #NationalHotDogDay

By: Marisa Reinhart

Hot Dog! It’s time to “ketchup” with the best hot dog places all over the Garden State! Check out this list, and celebrate #NationalHotDogDay with us!

Jimmy Buff’s– West Orange

Jimmy Buff’s originated the famous Italian hot dog in 1932. A Jimmy Buff dog goes into a roll of pizza bread that is the perfect consistency to support the crispy potatoes, sautéed onions and peppers. With the “Fat Tuesday” special, customers come in droves to get a double, which is two hotdogs in one roll, for the price of one.

Hot Grill– Clifton

The Hot Grill dates back to 1961 and specializes in Texas Weiners. Customers typically order their hot dogs “all the way” which consists of a twice fried hot dog smothered in mustard, home-made chili sauce and onions. Get a side of fries with gravy to complement the delicious dogs.

A photo posted by Texas Wiener (@hot_grill) on

Rutt’s Hut– Clifton

Another joint competing for Clifton hot dog greatness, Rutt’s Hutt declares themselves “The Home of the Ripper!” The secret recipe relish is just as famous as the fried hot dog. There’s even rumors that Babe Ruth once dined here.

A photo posted by @rutts_hut on

Bubba Dogs– Sea Isle City

You don’t want to miss this spot next time you are down the shore! Make sure to get the classic Bubba Dog which features melted cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce and crispy potato sticks. Delicious!

A photo posted by Tim McNamara (@bubbadogs) on

Callahan’s– Norwood 
The Callahan’s “So Big So Good” hot dogs are offered in two sizes, “Regular” 9 inch and “Super,” which is over a foot long. The 48-hour Marinated BBQ Pulled Pork with Slaw dog or the Bacon and Salted Caramel Brittle with Peanut Butter Drizzle dogs are unique and delicious.

Happy Eating!

New Jersey’s Best Date Spots

By Katy Kronberg

Dating can be a nerve-racking experience. You meet someone, ask them out, they agree, and then reality hits. “Where am I going to take this person for the date?!” Choosing the perfect restaurant is not an easy task. The pressure is on to make a good impression. To calm your anxiety, #HipNJ has come up with a list of restaurants that are great places to take your date!

Café Archetypus – Edgewater

If you’re looking for a unique spot to take your date, Archetypus is the perfect choice. This dark, candlelit café is designed as though the guests are sitting inside a cave. The walls are carved with beautiful, intricate artwork, which ignites a romantic atmosphere. Most known for their seemingly endless list of decadent deserts, the menu is simple and modest.


Cuba Libre – Atlantic City

Located inside the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City, this Cuban escape offers authentic food and ambiance. Cuba Libre serves as both a restaurant and nightclub, so the date can go beyond dinner to drinks and dancing! The décor makes guests feel as though they are on vacation in Cuba, and the food seals the deal.

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Grounds for Sculpture – Hamilton

Grounds For Sculpture is situated on the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton. The grounds encompass many things, such as artwork, landscapes, historical buildings, classes, shows, and more. A date here could include dinner and a moonlight tour around the property. Can you say romantic? There are a few different restaurants to choose from that cater to all price ranges. Perfect choice for a relaxing and unique date.

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Mario’s Tutto Bene – Union

Once you eat at this restaurant, you will wonder how you ever survived without it. Mario’s has everything an Italian restaurant needs. The guest is treated to a lovely experience with every course. From drinks, to appetizers, to the pleasant surprise of Intermezzo, to the entrée, and finally to the absolutely delicious desserts, you cannot go wrong with any menu choice. Plus, Friday and Saturday nights turn into a lively Karaoke scene. Prices are reasonable and the check is 25% off on Wacky Wednesdays.


McLoone’s Pier House -Long Branch

Romance is bound to be in the air when sharing a meal while looking out onto the beach and watching the sunset. McLoone’s rests on the boardwalk in Pier Village in Long Branch. The menu includes everything from fresh fish to steaks and salads. During the summer season, the windows are opened and the restaurant offers open air dining. Not only incredible for lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch is a great option for a weekend date.

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Thai Kitchen – Bridgewater

As its name states, Thai Kitchen is an eclectic spot for authentic Thai cuisine. Popular in the community, arriving in prime mealtime means a wait, but it’ll be worth it. The wait staff is extremely helpful in explaining the dishes, so it is a good place to try new things. Portions are generous and every customer leaves fully satisfied. Being a little adventurous in your choices can make for awesome date conversation as well!


Kyma Cuisine – Somerville

Kyma Cuisine is the perfect Greek escape in the heart of Somerville. Once inside, the restaurant’s blue and white atmosphere transports the guest to the coasts of Greece. The staff is extremely welcoming and makes each guest feel at home. The menu has endless options so there is something for everyone. A date at Kyma is definitely not something anyone will forget.


Toast – Montclair, Asbury Park

Simplicity at its best, Toast is a popular spot for breakfast, lunch, and brunch. There are two locations, one in Montclair and the other in Asbury Park. The restaurant’s mantra is “Peace, Love, Pancakes,” which would sound good to any breakfast lover! Known for their pancakes, the recipe is promised to please any crowd with offerings from classic buttermilk to red velvet. Toast is a fantastic way to start a daylong date, whether it’s heading to the beach or wandering through downtown Montclair.

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Jersey Shore BBQ – Belmar

What are the two best things about summer? The beach and barbecues. Jersey Shore BBQ gives you both! Just a short walk from Belmar beach, it is a welcoming community hotspot with good people, but even better food. Classic home-style barbecue right off the beach…it cannot get better than that! As a mid-day meal or after a long day on the beach, Jersey Shore BBQ will be a date pleaser.

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Mizu Sushi – Cranford

In Japan, sushi originally started out as a fast food because of the quick popularity and easiness to make. Mizu Sushi goes way beyond that, making their dishes look like artistic creations. Just looking at their Instagram account will make you hungry! This date spot would be anything but ordinary. It also makes for a great #foodstagram!

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