Jerseygator's Blog


Friends, Food & Fun

Posted in brewing,Cooking,Garden,locavore,restaurants by jerseygator on August 14, 2010

Wow, it’s been a busy summer here in South Jersey.  Darrol’s been working at the Sweet Life Bakery, as well as his paying job.  Tracey’s been busy at the pharmacy & trying to pick up the slack from Darrol working too much.  The garden is growing despite the neglect & lack of rain.  And in the middle of it all, our good friends from Paris arrived in the States last week.

Tracey, Gour & Helen

It was wonderful to see Gour & Helen again.  When we saw them last, it was in Paris, in December 2009 and they had just treated us to dinner at Le Entrecote on the Champs-Elysees.  Needless to say, it was an incredible time with wonderful friends and great food & wine.  So when Gour & Helen came to the States (her roots are here in South Jersey), we took them to the BEST place we could think of to match the awesome cuisine of Paris; Blue Plate restaurant  in Mullica Hill and the amazing creations of Chef Jim!  If you’re ever in the Northeast USA and anywhere near Philly, it’s worth the short ride to Mullica Hill, NJ to get some of the best food you’ve ever tasted.  Chef Jim uses local produce whenever possible and it shows in the incredibly varied menu he provides; World famous Jersey Sweet corn & Jersey tomato’s just to name a few.  Of course, since Gour & Helen were our guests this time, Darrol provided the wine.  I make my own wine & we had both the Green-Apple Riesling and my Valpolicella to keep us company all night long.  And as an aside, Chef Jim had visited the Sweet Life Bakery just a few weeks before, so I brought him some of our goodies that he didn’t get during his last visit to the bakery, including our Multi-grain bread!

Chef Jim & Darrol w/treats from the Sweet Life Bakery

This included some croissants and danish that we hand-make at the bakery (all butter, if it needs to be said!).   We started out by getting appetizers, including a clam BLT that was excellent , a pear & goat cheese salad with balsamic dressing and a goat-cheese stuffed pear salad.  Chef Jim responded by providing a simply wonderful dish of cavatelli with fried goat cheese (my favorite!) and sweet pea tomatoes!  Wow, it was delicious and Gour & Helen loved it as much as Tracey & I did.  The entree’s were, of course, simple but amazing; Salmon with horseradish mash potatoes, Hanger steak with corn risotto, Gnocchi with Spicy Sausage and Strip steak with a Peach/Tarragon sauce that should be illegal but, thank goodness, isn’t!  Top that off with a Smore cupcake dessert smothered in chocolate and you you have perfect ending to a perfect dinner in the perfect place.   South Jersey is full of surprises, not only in the vegetables and fruits that this great state produces, but in the people and places that utilize the amazing tasting produce that is grown here.  Having been out of this country several times, I’m not sure that I’m a ‘World Traveler’ but I can state unequivocally that, I’ve tasted food from around the world and South Jersey is among the best I’ve ever had!

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