The process of writing about food is often like going on a blind date. The hope for a mutual attraction, a little something in common, and maybe a good time is what you’re looking for. Tasting several dishes cooked by the kitchen crew of a restaurant is no different. You hope for something delicious, food that has been prepared properly and maybe, if you’re lucky you get an unexpected taste experience to write about.

Friends, relatives and strangers never hesitate to ask over and over again, “Where should I eat?” and the answer is always the same. Taste is subjective. Where you eat and what you eat depend on what floats your boat. How much are you willing to spend and just what sort of an experience are you looking for.

Like dating, everyone has something else in mind, but in the end, if the experience is pleasantly memorable, then it was a good match. That said, here is a list of my favorite food match ups in 2014 and a little about what I would like to see come into my culinary world in this new year.

101014 David Prown food tour

A chance meeting at an event I was covering led to me ambushing my friend David Prown with the idea of a West side food tour in Red Bank, NJ. That he was agreeable to the point of enthusiasm made this tour exciting. The man knows so many in the hispanic population and has a daring taste palate. We tried a few variations of tacos, the al pastore being a new favorite, and the queso covered corn on the cob, or elote spiced my desire to learn more. I’m looking forward to round 2 of this tour. So many new-to-me items to taste.

101914 seattle

We also wined, dined and shopped our way through Seattle, Issaquah, and Snoquamie in the ever-green lined state of Washington. New flavors, new ideas and a renewed appreciation for travel. The fresh-to-my-eyes sights, sounds and aromas have me excited to see what the new year will bring. A dim sum breakfast was eye opening and needed repeating. So good we went back to try everything we missed the first time around. Breakfast in front of a waterfall with views of the mountains was blood stirring. This was a wonderful experience.

033114 jocef

Starting this culinary year off, my friend Rick Willgerodt invited me to cover an event so near and dear to my heart. It was a Taste and Technique cooking class where I first met Joe Romanowski. Having enjoyed several of his dishes before, it was cherry on the sundae time watching him cook. That class led to a second. His cooking style and philosophy were pure fresh food inspiration. After he passed away, a foundation to continue his work of inspiring and helping young chefs was born. TheĀ  Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation is worth our support, and a wonderful tribute to a true chef.

Last, I will thank Red Bank Green and Pie Hole for giving me a second platform for an on-going discussion of food. What’s good, what’s new, what’s been done too many times, and who’s cooking it. 2015 is going to be an exciting culinary year. New restaurants to review, new flavors to taste, and new people to meet.

In 2015, I am hoping to take a few new cooking classes, ambush a few chefs, both seasoned and new to the game, interview some of the cookbook writers I have been following, and try many new restaurants. I am also hoping to bring you new views from bartenders and baristas, maybe some usable ideas for your at-home kitchens and parties, and delicious out-door cooking ideas as well. Last, there will be more information and inspiration coming from the community gardeners and back yard food curators. It’s going to be a wild, get-your-hands-into-the-food/dirt kind of year. Are you with me?

Wishing you the best year ahead…happy, healthy and tasty!


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