Friday (into Saturday) Foodstuffs 12.18.09: Where To Go for Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve

As we hunker down and watch the snow fall this weekend, I started to think about that classic holiday story. Come join me, won’t you?

‘Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring
because they were all stuffed with fried fish

Ahhh…the traditional Seven Fishes dinner served at an Italian-American house. I’m so looking forward to once again enjoying this meal with my in-laws. But for many of you, being able to spend Christmas Eve eating lots of fish may not be in your holiday routine. If this is you, I offer hope. Well, I offer a list of restaurants that are going to have a special Seven Fishes menu on Christmas Eve here in South Jersey, anyway.

If you live in Burlington or Camden county, you are the big winners as far as Seven Fishes options. In Burlington County, you can choose from Casamari in Burlington, Bacio’s Italian Cuisine in Cinnaminson and Scaturro’s Restaurant and Bar in Marlton. Down Camden county way you have Mirabella Cafe and Andreotti’s Viennese Cafe in Cherry Hill as well as Blackbird in Collingswood.

Now let’s go to Gloucester and Salem counties. In Gloucester you have Terra Nova in Sewell as well as Luna Rossa Biagio Lamberti in Turnersville serving a special Seven Fishes dinner on the 24th. Salem County is being represented by DiPaolo’s Italian Ristorante in Penns Grove and its Seven Fishes buffet dinner.

Now I was able to find these nine restaurants through my usual online research. But then I went a little beyond the call of duty. I started calling locations, seeing if I could sift out one or two more. Some would call this being thorough. Some would call this being obsessive. And I would respond by saying ‘yes’.

BUT – I did find two more locations that, while not serving a specific Seven Fishes meal that night, will be offering plenty of fish specials on Christmas Eve so that you can create your own. And those places are Girasole in Atlantic City and Lucia’s in Vineland (thank you Stephen at Sweet Life Bakery!).

Those two places cover Atlantic and Cumberland counties respectively – which leaves zero places in Cape May and Ocean counties doing the Seven Fishes dinner. Now Cape May County I can understand, since many places are closed in the off-season. But Ocean? With all the Italian restaurants in Toms River and Brick? I find it hard to believe, and if anyone comes across a place that will be offering a Seven Fishes menu on Christmas Eve, please leave us a comment about it.

Events for the weekend? Yeah, sure…OK. How about this: stay the hecks inside, bake some cookies, drink egg nog and hot chocolate, watch some holiday favorites on TV – there’s your weekend event schedule! There’s really no reason to be out unless you really really have to.

Blogging Out Hunger

From the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce:
For fifteen years, the Taste of Southern Ocean Hunger Relief and the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce has raised thousands of dollars to directly benefit food banks located within the Southern Ocean County community. This labor of love has teamed chefs, businesses and volunteers together with one mission; raise funds during the spring dinner and auction to help put food in the pantries that serve local individuals and families. In 2009 with generous donations from Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce members and Atlantic City Electric $52,000 was collected and distributed to Tuckerton, Long Beach Island , Manahawkin, Barnegat, Waretown and Lacey.

Each year this volunteer group selects a dynamic theme that ties in a multi course meal with décor, invitations, posters, ad journal, activities and auction items. The 2010 Committee has chosen: “A Night Aboard the Orient Express” and is asking help from the local art community to create original artwork to be considered as the design for this year’s event with a $500 prize going to the winning artist

Contest Rules are as follows:
Theme: “A Night Aboard the Orient Express”
Criteria: Open to all artists in Southern Ocean County.
This original painting must include
•The name of the event. “Taste of Southern Ocean Hunger Relief Project – A Night Aboard the Orient Express”
• Min size of artwork 18″x18″
• Created in Oil or Water Media
• Digital File to be sent to rreynolds@sochamber before January 20, 2010

Please note that artwork selected will become property of Southern Ocean Hunger Relief Project and will used on all collateral to promote the April 27, 2010 event. The original piece will be auctioned off at Sea Oaks during the taste dinner with all proceeds going to hunger relief.

For more information please contact the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce 265 West Ninth Street, Ship Bottom NJ 609 494 7211.

And in the news this week…

The pullout of Stephen Starr hasn’t slowed down Chelsea Prime evidently.

Brigadoon Restaurant in Salem is closing after 19 years.

Variety Farms in Hammonton is calling itself a victim in a massive drug bust involving employees.

And a local Cape may cookbook is helping fund scholarships with its sales.

Stay warm this weekend!

– John


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