A Full-Court Press of Upcoming Restaurant Events

March Madness is still a little ways away, but in the next few weeks we will be seeing a number of restaurant events taking place in South Jersey – events that hopefully will shake things up and get ol’ momentum back on their side.

Let’s start with this week and the Salute to Semolina! taking place today, tomorrow and Thursday. Yes, it’s a celebration of pasta (3 courses for $25), and it’s taking place at the following locations: The Tortilla Press and Blackbird (Collingswood), Andreotti’s Viennese Café and Joe Palombo’s Mirabella Café (Cherry Hill) and blueplate (Mullica Hill). A singing and dancing revue is not going to be part of this, as far as we know.

On Sunday the 22nd, Collingswood brings back the Restaurant Crawl! Here’s the menu for the day:

Appetizer – Bistro Di Marino (choose one)
Dayboat scallops wrapped in prosciutto di parma, pan seared and served with a sundried tomato pesto
Baked eggplant stuffed with smoked mozzarella and fresh basil,then topped with a tomato sauce

Second Course – Blackbird (choose one)
Thai chicken spring rolls, spicy mustard, sweet chili sauce
Blackbird romaine salad with creamy lemon parmesan dressing
Handmade potato gnocchi, fresh mozzarella and parmesan,fresh herbs, tomato-basil sauce

Entrée – The Tortilla Press (choose one)
Beef Tampicano Platter – tenderloin medallions and twin cheese enchiladas,topped with rajas poblano and served with Mexican red rice
Garlic Chipotle Shrimp – served with cilantro flavored rice and sautéed green beans

Dessert – The Pop Shop
Chocolate Comfort Bread Pudding

You have two seatings for the Crawl: the early one starts at 4:30PM, and the later one starts at 6PM. The cost is $72 per person, and you must call 856.979.3333 to make your reservation.

And then, the first week in March (1st to 7th), you have probably THE major restaurant event in South Jersey this year: Atlantic City Restaurant Week. At last count, over 70 restaurants are participating! During that week, lunch at participating locations will be $15.09, and dinner will be $33.09. The media push for this event has been tremendous; I even caught a bit of a 2-hour radio slot on AM-1400 WOND yesterday that was talking up Restaurant Week.

If our babysitting can be worked out, Lisa and I will be attending the pre-launch event for AC Restaurant Week on the 24th down at Harrah’s. I for one will be curious to try to get a sense of the mood of the folks in the AC restaurant industry. I know that they’ll be putting on their best face for the event, but let’s face it – times are tough. This article from The Press of Atlantic City does not paint a pretty picture. I hope that this event will help the restaurants in the area get some needed attention so they can keep going through these difficult times. Atlantic City has become a great location for food enthusiasts – heck, it gave me a reason to want to go to AC – and it would be such a shame if that got lost.

– John

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