Our Favorite Dishes this Year

DINING OUT THIS DECEMBER? OF ALL THE MEALS WE ENJOYED IN 2018, OUR STAFF PICKS FOUR CAN’T-MISS PLATES TO SINK YOUR TEETH INTO NOW!




Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Laurel & Sage, Montclair

This sweet, neighborhood corner restaurant is one of my favorites in town. Considering the number of restaurants per capita in Montclair, that is really saying something. Laurel & Sage’s signature dishes include pomegranate molasses braised short rib and ginger-soy lacquered Chilean sea bass, which are delicious, no doubt. But my favorite dish here is the grilled Atlantic salmon. OK, I know, why would I choose the seemingly standard salmon as one of my favorites of the year? I can answer that in four words: yuzu brown butter vinaigrette. A yuzu is a hybrid of a wild mandarin orange and a lemon and is used in Japanese cuisine. The fruit gives the dish a fresh and unique tint of citrus that I now crave. The fish is served with Oregon-forged mushrooms and cauliflower that provide a wonderfully earthy contrast to this dish from the sea.

Daria Meoli 

LAUREL & SAGE, 33 WALNUT ST., MONTCLAIR, 973.783.1133,  LAURELANDSAGE.COM.

Curry Goat Stew, Café MoBay, Bloomfield

At first glance, there isn’t a lot of excitement around Café MoBay— that is, of course, until you step inside the Bloomfield storefront. Once you’re in, you’re immediately swept up by the Caribbean spirit thanks to festive music, vibrant colors and the mouth-watering aroma of Jamaican food. My go-to from the extensive menu is the curry goat stew, a staple in most Jamaican kitchens. The slow-cooked goat is tender to the bone and picks up flavors from the peppers and mild curry sauce, and I’m getting hungry just writing this. Mix the accompanying white rice and steamed cabbage into the stew for an unforgettable meal.

—Darius Amos 

CAFÉ MOBAY, 1039 BROAD ST., BLOOMFIELD, 973.337.8460, CAFEMOBAYNJ.COM

Barbecue Burnt Ends, The Wooden Spoon, Bloomfield

Among all the dishes I’ve had in 2018, this dish tops my “sorry not sorry” list. Having lived exclusively in the Northeast and not had many opportunities to eat really good Southern barbecue, my infatuation with burnt ends is a relatively new one. If you too are a bit of a brisket rookie, let me enlighten you—burnt ends are cut from the fattiest part of a beef brisket making them incredibly flavorful and indulgent. The Wooden Spoon Southern Kitchen and Saloon serves them up smothered in their tangy house barbecue sauce topped with chopped red and green peppers. If you want a few bites worth every sinful calorie, the burnt ends gets my vote.

—Daria Meoli

THE WOODEN SPOON, 285 GLENWOOD AVE., BLOOMFIELD, 973.743.0099, WOODENSPOONSALOON.COM

Sweet Black Sticky Rice, Up Thai, Morris Plains

Tucked away in an unassuming Morris Plains strip mall, Up Thai has been making itself known to diners seeking traditional and inventive Thai dishes. When I go to Up Thai, I’m often tempted to fill up on the lengthy list of apps and entrees (try the golden pouch to start and the short rib massaman curry as your main), but I always save room for one particular dessert—the sweetened black sticky rice. The starchy grain, which changes to a regal purple hue when cooked, is generously flavored with coconut milk, and it’s fit for a king when paired with slices of fresh mango. Remember: Glutinous rice does not contain gluten—so go ahead and enjoy it, friends with Celiac disease!

—Darius Amos

UP THAI, 981 TABOR RD., MORRIS PLAINS, 973.998.8536, UPTHAINJ.COM

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January 2020

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On their day off from school, kids will enjoy making their own sundae using our homemade ice cream and have fun creating a special craft using re-purposed materials from the farm.  Two one-hour...

Cost: $9.99 per child

Where:
Alstede Farms
1 Alstede Farms Lane
Chester, NJ  07930
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Sponsor: Alstede Farms
Telephone: 908-879-7189
Contact Name: Alstede Farms
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Come join the fun with this moderate to vigorous fitness class!  By learning, then utilizing optimal posture, core, balance, simple functional movements and basic exercises, you’ll be moving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Montclair Public Library
50 South Fullerton
Montclair, NJ  07042
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Telephone: 973-744-0500
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On Wednesdays at 2 pm, Montclair Public Library hosts The Every Wednesday Matinee, a film series presented in its auditorium. In January 2020 we will be watching Paul Newman movies in honor of his...

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Where:
Montclair Public Library
50 South Fullerton Ave
Montclair, NJ  07042
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MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Jan. 2, 2020 – The Spin Doctors, the wholly unique, blues-influenced rock group that became a staple of the early-’90s music scene, will be playing the Wellmont Theater in...

Cost: Visit LiveNation.com

Where:
Wellmont Theater
5 Seymour St.
Montclair, NJ  07042
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Sponsor: Wellmont Theater
Telephone: 973-783-9500
Contact Name: Dan Gunderman
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2020 marks the Centennial Year of jazz giant Dave Brubeck. To celebrate his life and legacy, Dave’s sons Chris and Dan Brubeck, who performed and recorded with their father since the 1970s,...

Cost: $26-32

Where:
Berrie Center for the Arts
Ramapo College of NJ
505 Ramapo Valley Rd.
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Ramapo College of NJ
Telephone: 201-684-7844
Contact Name: Box Office
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