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E.L.A.

Member Since 05 Nov 2006
Offline Last Active Today, 12:15 PM
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#1438919 [Wayne] Viaggio

Posted by E.L.A. on 17 March 2019 - 09:31 PM

I’m sure he will still have some nice gourmet dishes along with his Italian street food. He cures and ages his own meats and salumis. He has been showing off some beautiful dry aged ribeyes that I’m sure will make their way on to the menu.

How is the parking there? Do they have a parking lot? It looks like the restaurant is on a corner by a busy intersection.

 

Yes, there's parking. You just have to drive around the block so that you know where it is. There's several options. Walking out of the restaurant, to the right, there's a block of street parking around the corner. This is heading toward Jack's Cafe. There's also many parking spots across the street from the street parking and Jack's Cafe, and they are most often available. There is also a very large municipal lot "behind" the restaurant, which you access by (walking out of the restaurant) going around the other corner, to your left. There's tons of parking there. Also, across the street from the restaurant, there's a bank parking lot which the restaurant patrons use at night, and an adjoining lot as well.

 

I've eaten at Baci -- and the neighboring Mezza (which is excellent!!!), and Jack's Cafe (which is around the corner) -- and I've never had a problem parking. 




#1438907 [Wayne] Viaggio

Posted by E.L.A. on 17 March 2019 - 05:11 PM

I think the new place won't be as gourmet as Viaggio. Chef Robbie is looking to serve 'Italian street food' at the bar, and will also have a lot of fresh pastas and maybe some large family style dishes. When we were there over the weekend he had an excellent appetizer special of tramezzini carozza which is basically a fried cheese sandwich with mozzarella, stracchino, and mortadella, that is tempura battered and fried. He was trying it out at Viaggio and plans on serving it at the new restaurant Osteria Crescendo.

 

 

 

Interesting...the space at Baci was conducive to a more "fine dining" atmosphere. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't fine dining like Savini, but it was a nice space (dining room). Plenty of people viewed it as casual, dressed casual having dinner there on a Saturday night, but you could also see people dressed up a bit more, jackets, slacks, etc. Now, that doesn't mean anything. And, of course I know the space is being changed. Plus, the new place has got a liquor license. 

 

The downtown Westwood area attracts a lot of people from neighboring towns -- including Closter, Park Ridge, and Oradell. It's a nice little downtown area, and you've got some popular restaurants there. All the ingredients for a successful place -- because you have a successful, talented chef.




#1438906 So...where'd you eat this week?

Posted by E.L.A. on 17 March 2019 - 05:02 PM

I am still behind on my postings...Sonny & Tony's (Mahwah), Sangria (Mahwah), Capital Grille (Paramus), Oceanaire (Hackensack), Baumgart's (Ridgewood), Shumi (new, in Ridgewood), Mantra (Paramus), Hiram's (Fort Lee), and 103 Prime at Valentino's (Park Ridge).




#1438877 What's with the no activity?

Posted by E.L.A. on 16 March 2019 - 05:41 PM

 

 

I tried posting regularly, but then got beat up for only writing about restaurants near me, and not further up North near the other posters (who never post about their dining experiences, but like to complain), so I just gave up. I now mainly post on Instagram, or another food blog which is much more welcoming. ELA, of course, you are the exception. I always enjoy your posts. I really miss Rail Paul.

 

paryzer -- interesting, and I was unaware. First, I don't understand the "got beat up" thing. 

 

Well, I think a few of the bullies were tired of me posting about the same restaurants each time (like Laurel & Sage, Cafe Panache, Tillies, Viaggio, etc.), even though I would only post the new and interesting specials that they had that time, and not the same meals. It just wasn't worth it. 

ELA, you should give Hungry Onion a try. They have a New Jersey section. Although the majority of the members are from Central Jersey they are very friendly and welcoming, and are looking for more North Jersey posters. I actually met a few of them and had dinner with them. They have little HOdowns (HO for Hungry Onion) at some of the restaurants and invite everyone that is interested.

 

 

paryzer -- who cares what they were tired of, LOL. Not me! I hear you though. I tend to go to several of the same restaurants, and I post about it, and I read about others who do the same. I read your posts, looking specifically at the various specials and different dishes you tried. That's the point of posting! LOL.

 

I never heard of Hungry Onion -- thanks for the recommendation!




#1438876 What's with the no activity?

Posted by E.L.A. on 16 March 2019 - 05:09 PM

 

 

one of the "damaging" aspects is when you have posters who are argumentative, arrogant, condescending, or of similar type demeanor. We've seen it here

 

Interestingly, the certain guys (and, yes, they were all male, I believe) who drove away posters with their ugliness have now gone away themselves (or curtailed their posting)...thereby making it obvious they cared little about this Board.

 

 

Peter, thank you! That was exactly my point...and you made it very clearly and very concisely...far more clear and concise than me! LOL. Thanks again.

 

Maybe we can make an effort to get some of those "good" people back here.

 

Ironically, I think the "ugliness" and the people it came from -- in my experience -- those people thrive on it. It's a release for them. They feel better about themselves by insulting, belittling, and demeaning others. However, they also thrive on the byproduct of it, which is the argumentativeness of it all. They thrive on the back and forth, the confrontation, etc. They drag you into their ugliness.

 

So, once people leave, or stop paying attention to them...yes! They go away!!! They no longer have what they thrive on!!! Really, we can view this as a cleansing or purging process -- and we should really try and get some of those good, quality people back here. I don't know why Rail Paul decided to leave, but there is one quality guy, a good guy. I haven't seen Nick Gatti post in a long time, and he too was another good guy. I think he's been busy with some business activities and even more important, his family.

 

If anyone knows any of the good people -- reach out for them, invite them back, and we should let them know that it's a much better "neighborhood" now, LOL.




#1438849 [Wayne] Viaggio

Posted by E.L.A. on 16 March 2019 - 05:19 AM

 

Any news on Westwood? He's going in where Baci was...liquor license and all!

 

Any details as to opening?

We were just at Viaggio last weekend. From looking at their Instagram account, it looks like they are putting the finishing touches on the new place. I would guess that they would open within the next month. They just installed the bar, they got the new tables and chairs. It is shaping up very nicely.

 

 

 

Very nice...thanks paryzer! I guess they decided on a new bar, LOL. The bar at Baci was nice. I liked it there. Circular, good size, not too loud. I remember when Baci first opened, I went there and liked it a lot. I was looking for very good Italian restaurants in Bergen, and I felt there weren't many -- to clarify -- there are many Italian restaurants, but I don't think there were more than a small handful of very good, excellent ones.

 

My favorites are -- Dimora (Norwood), Savini (Allendale), David's (Cliffside Park), Cafe Italiano (Englewood Cliffs), Andiamo (Haworth), Paisano's (Rutherford), Bottogra (Hawthorne), Justin's (Hawthorne), DiPalma's (North Bergen -- yes, I know it's in Hudson County), and Lu Nello's (Cedar Grove -- yes, Essex County, LOL), and for "old school" Italian, I like Rudy's (Cliffside Park). I haven't been to a few of them in quite some time -- Cafe Italiano, David's, Lu Nello's, DiPalma's -- but these were always favorites of mine.

 

So, I very much liked Baci. I went back a couple of months later -- and again, very good. I would say in the next two years, I probably got there around 10 - 12 times, but on a declining basis as friends who lived there moved, people I used to meet there because it was a central location moved, or who knows what other reasons, LOL. 

I am very much looking forward to trying this new place!




#1438846 What's with the no activity?

Posted by E.L.A. on 16 March 2019 - 05:00 AM

I tried posting regularly, but then got beat up for only writing about restaurants near me, and not further up North near the other posters (who never post about their dining experiences, but like to complain), so I just gave up. I now mainly post on Instagram, or another food blog which is much more welcoming. ELA, of course, you are the exception. I always enjoy your posts. I really miss Rail Paul.

 

paryzer -- interesting, and I was unaware. First, I don't understand the "got beat up" thing. I only post about restaurants near me as well. Sure, occiasionally when I am out visiting with clients, say for example in Central NJ, about an hour away from my office or house, yes, if I have a meal at a place, I might post about it. However, it is somewhat rare. If I don't post about it, it's not because the restaurant is not near me. However, 95% of my posts are about restaurants that are within 30 minutes of my home or office. Why? Because that's where I eat regularly! LOL.

 

Regardless, I can certainly understand how you feel. Personally, I find that in a BB environment, there are always going to be dynamics, and one of the "damaging" aspects is when you have posters who are argumentative, arrogant, condescending, or of similar type demeanor. We've seen it here, and we've seen it a lot. In my opinion, that brings down the temperature and the positive tone of the BB. It's like that one obnoxious person who can completely "ruin" a party, LOL. On that note, thank you for the kind words paryzer. Now that some of those posters are not active here any longer -- they don't have anyone to demean or insult, LOL -- now would be the perfect time to re-invigorate this specific room. I read posts on restaurants all over NJ, so that when I travel, I have a list of places I can go and know I will enjoy!

 

I post, very rarely, on one other BB, but I find the activity there is about the same as here. However, I don't like the "tone" of that room as there are a few "bullies" and that too brings down the tone and enjoyment of a BB. Bullies ruin BB's, and so do others who don't play nice in the sandbox so to speak. 




#1438598 So...where'd you eat this week?

Posted by E.L.A. on 11 March 2019 - 05:19 AM

Recents -- O Lar (Piermont), Hunan Taste (Denville), Jockey Hollow (Morristown), River Palm (Edgewater and Mahwah), No. 12 (Ridgewood), Sear (Closter), Oceanos (Fair Lawn), and Jimmy Buff's (West Orange)...more details to follow...




#1431849 Lolita's Mexican Cantina in Westwood

Posted by E.L.A. on 30 August 2018 - 05:05 AM

94 views, no replies.  Not part of the favored few, I guess.    I know that I have been sounding a bit frustrated with this forum lately, but at this point I think you can understand why.....   Maybe if I put this into the lost Northeastern NJ thread...

 

I hear you -- light on the comments, advice, etc. Where is everybody? LOL. Summer? Come on folks. 




#1431266 Sangria...new (relatively) restaurant in Mahwah

Posted by E.L.A. on 14 August 2018 - 05:40 PM

Went back to Sangria this past Sunday...and some very nice changes to the menu! I've been there a couple of times in the last two years or so, but was just so busy I didn't get a chance to post about it. Anyway, this was my first time back since last fall and they have added a few nice dishes to their menu -- a new scallop tapas plate, an octopus tapas plate, and a few others. 

 

Still a nice place, nice ambiance -- and a nice bar area, and the entire menu still has that new, "modern Spanish" cuisine. I think being that it's a bit off the radar it doesn't get super crowded. They don't seem to do a lot of advertising, promotion, etc. Strong tapas, small plate orientation -- and with nice side dishes and a good choice of entrees. Yes, a focus on Sangria!!! We ate at the bar so I could watch the last couple of holes of the PGA Championship. We had a few tapas plates -- octopus, scallops, and churrasco steak. The food is very good. 
 
Service at the bar was very good. The bartender was attentive, personable, and he only had a couple of customers seated at the bar, so it was an easy juggle. It wasn't very crowded, which always concerns me about a place -- a good place, a place I like.
 
I like this place and I hope they continue to do well. It's a good local place, but with so few alternatives -- they should do well. I can see it being a destination spot for people coming from 15-20 minutes, meeting half-way, etc. The food is good -- very good flavor, tastes, variety, etc. You are not getting food like this at El Cid. It's a different kind of place with El Cid being more "traditional" so to speak, and Sangria being more modern, nouveau, and the like. Bottom line, this is a very good local place. If I didn't live nearby, yes, I would drive to meet friends, drive 20 minutes or more to go there once in a while, etc. It's worth it. 



#1430671 So...where'd you eat this week?

Posted by E.L.A. on 28 July 2018 - 04:48 AM

Had a business lunch today -- at Mantra (Paramus) -- with an associate, and two Indian gentlemen. For lunch, Mantra does a buffet, with a nice variety of dishes. They seem to range from authentic, real deal, to a toned down Americanized version of a couple of dishes. That said, the Indian gentlemen, who live in Edison, and eat at Indian restaurants day and night, very much enjoyed Mantra. They educated us a bit on some of the dishes, variations, and the difference between authentic and Americanized versions of various dishes. 

 

Today, they had a "chilli chicken" dish that was very good. Not too spicy, but a slight tinge of bite. If you needed it muted, the white rice offered on the buffett did a very good job. They had several other dishes which the Indian gentlemen enjoyed finding on the buffet -- and even more, enjoyed the dishes themselves. There was a goat dish -- and two things, no, don't ask me the name, and no, I didn't try it, LOL -- as well as several vegetable based dishes. They always have several vegetable/vegetarian dishes. One of the Indian gentlemen was a vegetarian, the other was not. I don't know Indian food well enough to give you the names of the various dishes -- but they always have the name on a placard, with a description, ingredients, etc.

 

While I go here often, and I enjoy it -- it's around the corner from my office, it is convenient, quick, etc. -- today was very good. 




#1430670 Mezza in Westwood

Posted by E.L.A. on 28 July 2018 - 04:37 AM

Thanks...I vaguely knew about the one in Livingston, and of course had never been. I had been wanting to go to the one in Westwood for a very long time. Many friends raved about it, and a few people I know in the industry like it very much. I happen to like their tastes, have similar tastes, etc. -- so I had wanted to go for a long time. Who knows what happens, but I never made it. LOL. Finally, I was looking for a place on a Sunday night -- my first choice was closed, and I decided Mezza it is. LOL.

 

The service here was good. Poor service, especially amateurish service, can certainly ruin a dinner for me. A personal gripe is when they don't clear plates. Then, the server shows up with your entrees, his/her hands are full, and they can't clear the plates! LOL. Or, they don't replace plates, etc. I've had servers take away utensils, without replacing them, and dessert is on the way. LOL. Whatever it is, I hear you. Here it was very good. Attentive, but not overly intrusive, and paying attention to water glasses, pita bread, and even more, the server was able to provide insight on some of the dishes. The service wasn't a perfect score, but different people like different things, however, it certainly was very good. 

 

I'd like to get back and go to Baci, which I haven't been to in a long time, and Granita Grill, which I used to like very much. The latter was a nice, family owned/operated Italian place, BYO, with some good, quality, good flavors and taste food. It's a nice, casual, local kind of place, where I always enjoyed my meal. And if I was more in the mood for a burger -- Finnegan's is right around the corner. LOL. Davey's isn't far either! 




#1430582 Mezza in Westwood

Posted by E.L.A. on 27 July 2018 - 02:59 PM

Had dinner this week at Mezza...and it was excellent. Nice, quiet, BYO place, with a nice, casual, ambiance. It's casual, but you know you are in a "nice place" and what goes along with that. High ceilings so the noise from large groups could travel a bit -- but I don't like those quiet, wax museum type places, LOL.

 

So, we started with the spring rolls, a very nice Mediterranean-style version, light, but crispy dough, very good compliment of vegetables, with a spinach and nut sauce. Very, very good. We also had the cauliflower appetizer, which was also excellent, with some raisins, toasted pine nuts, scallions, and a very flavorful tahini type sauce. I was hoping to try the octopus appetizer, but not this time, LOL. For the entrees, we had grilled skirt steak -- very nice flavor and taste here, prepared perfectly as ordered, served with a "potato cake" (sliced potatoes, squared off, layered with a bit of cheese and herbs, served in a cake-square -- very good! I wish it was bigger! LOL), and sauteed brussel sprouts and a tomato type relish and a very nice rosemary sauce. We also had the sauteed shrimp entree -- and this was a monster winner!!! Served with orzo, and a wine/tomato cream sauce, basil and small pieces of feta cheese. Bam!!! A real winner. Lots of flavor and taste.

 

Now, dessert, which we weren't going to get...forget that! Get the fritter tree points or whatever they call it!!! More dessert fritter than zeppoli, they are served and stuck onto a piece of art, a metal-frame tree with the fritters stuck on the end. I should have taken a picture, but I didn't,, because when I saw it, I just wanted to eat it! LOL. So, it's this small piece of art -- table top size -- very nice, with the branch ends being a small, spike end, and the fritters stuck on the end. These were served with two sauces -- a very nice chocolate sauce, and a lemon cream sauce. The fritters were dense, but in a good way, crispy on the outside, dense, but still airy a bit on the inside. They had substance and that made it more than some light, airy, shi-shi thing, LOL. It was very good, with an excellent presentation.

 

Service was very good, and attentive -- they were very good with water, asking if you wanted more pita bread (it was warm and nice), keeping wine glasses filled, etc.

 

This place is very good! Excellent. Well worth the trip. I would and will go back, in a heat-beat.




#1430232 So...where'd you eat this week?

Posted by E.L.A. on 20 July 2018 - 02:59 PM

A few lunch spots this week -- Mantra, Hiram's, and Bobby's Burger Palace -- obviously, I didn't do a great job on my diet this week!!! LOL.




#1430228 Saddle River Cafe...from Jamie Knott/Saddle River Inn

Posted by E.L.A. on 20 July 2018 - 05:11 AM

https://njmonthly.co...&_hsmi=64573983

 

Looks interesting...and they just opened two days ago! If this news was "out there" and talked about, I must have missed it.

 

I will have to stop by and check it out, and it seems like a good option for a casual meal if you are "in town" so to speak. They close at 4pm, so it's a breakfast, lunch, snack, juice, coffee, etc., kind of place.

 

Also, there are plans for expansion, and a second location already in "lease review."