Category Archives: cake


Sweet and minty, these brownies were made with creme de menthe by Linda Vanderslice, a former neighbor and friend on the street we just moved away from. They represent years of experience in baking and if what they say about food equating to love is true, then the cocoon of a cul de sac that we lived on was a truly blessed place.

Across the street neighbor’s, Mary and Ray Paolantonio chose Saint Patrick’s Day to throw us the most festive goodbye party. The fact that we moved a mile away wouldn’t stop our neighbors because we have always related best through food, parties and celebrations.

Hit or miss unsanctioned block parties, backyard celebrations and the traditional Sunday evening before Christmas open-house dessert party which I expect we will return to the street to celebrate.

Whiskey, wine and beer added good cheer to the send-off. And a birthday cake for the kid who just turned the quarter of a century corner. Neighbors who remember when your children’s birthdays are? Priceless!

Truth be told, I don’t miss the house, which I hear has only one wall left standing and is being rebuilt into the dream-home of another family. I’m fine with that. I will miss stopping on my morning walk to chat with Christine and her sons. I will miss watching the children grow. I will miss waving at busy neighbors as they trim bushes and edge lawns. I will miss our next door neighbors. I will miss the relationships that have developed over twenty years. And I will miss the woman who grew up on our street, moved away, and then sent out postcards to see if any houses would be coming up for sale. She wanted to raise her family on the same street. A testament to the special vibes.

Living on Oaklawn was exceptional — out of the ordinary, really in neighborhood experiences. I thank everyone on the block for being the generous and kind souls that they are. I hold dear in my heart every single one of you! With love and gratitude…..


032817josef1Paté spread courtesy of Sickles Market in Little Silver.

It was a foggy Monday night when guests, chefs, and culinary students converged on the Navesink Country Club for the annual Jocef, Joe Romanowski Culinary Fund Raiser. A veritable who’s who in the local food scene, Flavor Chronicles brings you pictures of some of the most beautiful creations you’ve ever seen.

032817josef BCC creationsPoached pear, spicy shrimp, smoked duck on pumpernickel triangles and a beautiful tossed salad were made by Brookdale Culinary College students.

032817josef50Not out of school yet and already cooking and serving like pros. 

Once overlooked by guidance departments in high schools, culinary education is becoming mainstream. Making scholarships possible for those in need is the point of this fund raiser. It is also a grand opportunity to meet, great and chat with executive chefs. Seeing the latest creations and tasting new flavors is a big bonus.

032817josef teak and bistroGeorge Lyristis brought yellowfin poke — a Hawaiian delicacy — to the exhilarating buffet. We’re told that this is a new addition to the menu at The Bistro in Red Bank. Edamame dumplings are on the menu at Teak, also in Red Bank.

032817josef3Carpaccio, in its most elegant guise was served at the Raven and the Peach table. Their executive chef Rachel Cicalese is a graduate of BCC Culinary.

032817josef mumfordsIf at first you eat with your eyes, then Mumford’s Culinary Center in Tinton Falls takes the prize for natural goodness. The fresh colors were just outstanding. But that can be expected when the restaurant and cooking school tends to their own garden.

032817josef litchKitch Organic, the gluten-free all organic haven on Leighton Street in Red Bank brought tasty delights for all to enjoy. Friends and relatives with special needs diets find true bliss when they walk in the door of this restaurant. I’ve been told more than once that finding a place where they can order “anything on the menu,” means more than we will know.

032817josef danny murphyDanny Murphy of Danny’s Steakhouse on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank brought a little sweetness to the party with cauldrons of butternut squash soup. Each cup was embellished with a swirl of whipped cream.

032817josef grazeUnforgettable depth of flavor that still makes my mouth water came from the sauté pan on the table at Graze. I’m told by chef Junior, seen in the lower left photo with Chef Brian and his wife of Picolo Italia, that you need to use some surprising porcine parts for this luscious dish. Not surprising since he’s been teaching a monthly class on how to breakdown an entire pig. Graze can be found in the Markham Street shopping center in Little Silver.

032817josef b2bistroAlways exuberant, B2 Bistro on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank brings their A-game with more than one bite muffuletta sandwiches. This is a sandwich I hope to see on the menu next time I stop in because 2 bites weren’t enough. Their food never disappoints! 

032817josef41Culinary genius Pat Trama continues to wow us with a mozzarella bar. I called it an antipasto buffet but was corrected. It is innovative, brilliant really and appealed to so many hungry souls. From the fresh mozzarella to the artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes it is beautiful to look at and just flat out delicious. At the end of the table you see tiny bulbs or pipettes of olive oil, vinegar, and balsamic. Trama’s Trattoria is located on Brighton Avenue in Long Branch.

032817josef12D’jeet in Shrewsbury produced tiny mouthfuls of heaven. Crunchy cups filled with a salmon tartare mixture were inspiration itself from chef Casey Pesce.

032817josef3Yumi, located on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright couldn’t get their sushi on the table fast enough for the swarming crowd. Their artful displays are always super-fresh and top-notch.

032817josef2The freshest fish in town or in this case the Highlands on Bay Avenue comes from Lusty Lobster. Although they didn’t have wandering shucker’s this year, they did have plenty of guests waiting to grab a mollusk or two. 

032817 josef vintage cakeNever last or least, when it comes to pâtisserie or The Vintage Cake, I always make it a point to stop at their table first. Excellence in every single spoonful and bite is what we’ve come to expect from these bakers. The white chocolate mousse is a transcendent cup of bliss. It is an understatement to say that it was almost impossible to get near this table at the end of the evening. That is why I’m telling you to go to this amazing fund raiser next year and eat dessert first.

032817josef8In Long Branch, Tuzzio’s on Westwood Avenue has been serving home-style Italian food since 1965. I’m pretty sure they get the longevity award. We have loved sliding into a booth in this restaurant for as long as we’ve lived here. That would be twenty seven years. What can you say about a place that means comfort food? I’m so glad they’re there and it was lovely to see them at this fund raiser. Those meatballs were served with slices of garlic bread. Yeah, stopping at this table brought big smiles to everyone’s faces.



What better tribute is there than a continuation of your life’s work? At the third annual “Recipe for Success” gala — Culinary education foundation to benefit culinary arts students from the Jersey Shore — more than thirty local restaurants, many run by chefs who worked with Joe Romanowski, brought interesting and tasty dishes for guests to sample. Students from The Culinary Education Center prepared gourmet treats too. Here’s a glimpse of the tastes of the evening….

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My palate is stuck in Paris…while my body is still happily enjoying what we call local summer at the Jersey Shore. This is the moment when most of the tourists and summer denizens have gone back to where-ever-they-live and the traffic returns to something we consider normal. After living here for a quarter of a century I can attest to the fact that this is truly a time to rejoice. But why are my taste buds wishing to hang out at a true Parisian café?

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You can’t go home again. Really? Sure you can. Especially if it’s a big deal birthday party for someone you love.

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