Friday Foodstuffs 9.17.10: Summer Might Be Winding Down, But The Food Events Keep On Going

If you’ve been following us this week (and you HAVE been, haven’t you?), you’ll know that this weekend is a busy one event-wise. Maybe it’s to celebrate the kids being back in school, or to keep the food and wine economy rolling despite the end of the summer. Who cares? With the promise of great weather and a calendar that’s jam-packed full of foodie goodies, it’s a great time to be hanging out in the Southern end of the Garden State!

First up – how about a restaurant week that covers the entire state? You got it: the 2nd Annual New Jersey Restaurant Week gets started on Sunday September 19 and runs through September 25. Over 200 restaurants covering all 21 counties will be participating. Restaurants will be offering as many as three different options during the week: 1) 20% off your bill, 2) complimentary dessert and coffee with your entree, OR, 3) a $35 3-course Jersey Fresh dinner.

How about a restaurant week for a town known for its great places to eat? Yup yup yup. Collingswood Restaurant Week will be from September 26 to September 30, and most of the places you know are involved: Tortilla Press, Blackbird, Pop Shop, IndeBlue, Joe Pesce…and many more!

And then there’s the Cape May Food and Wine Festival starting this weekend, of course. Word on the street is that they got these two food bloggers from Ocean County to be part of the group judging the Chef’s Cookoff at the Harvest Wine Festival this Sunday (hosted by none other than beer critic extraordinaire Gary Monterosso). Check out the schedule we posted earlier in the week for all the events taking place.

More? Greedy, aren’t we?

Iron Hill Brewery in Maple Shade kicks off their Oktoberfest Celebration tonight, with specials that will be running through October 3. Then things get downright wacko on Saturday. For the seafood lover in you, you got a few options: the big boffo Festival of the Sea at Point Pleasant Beach, the LAC Ruritan Crab and Craft Festival in Hancock’s Bridge, or Crab-A-Palooza at Pinsetter Bar and Bowl in Pennsauken. High Street Grill in Mount Holly will have its Fall Homebrew Contest as well as its Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday. Tomorrow will also be the day for the Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta at the Stafford Branch of the Ocean County Library in Manahawkin.

There will be two events that will be going on Saturday and Sunday: the Wings ‘n Water Festival at The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, and Valenzano Winery’s WineFest 2010 at their winery location in Shamong.

And then on Sunday, and with football season now upon us it seems altogether appropriate, it’s all about the beer. There’s the Mad Batter Beer School at the Mad Batter Bar and Restaurant in Cape May. And there’s also the 2010 Craft Beer Festival at The Deck at Trump Marina in Atlantic City.

And now, here’s your farmers’ market report…

Chef Kevin Taylor of Los Amigos in Berlin will be having a cooking demo tomorrow morning at the Burlington County Farmers’ Market.

Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s in Atlantic City will again be the hot spot for cooking classes this weekend: Best of Class: Grilling and New York Steakhouse today, Date Night: A Dinner to Remember tomorrow, and a Steak, Roast and Chop Workshop on Sunday. The only other class going on will be Just Pho Fun for Couples at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown on Saturday.

Blogging Out Hunger

A new shop, Kathleen’s Closet, will be opening at the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Twp in October. Proceeds from sales at the store go to help the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

And speaking of Egg Harbor Twp, here’s an interesting option for high school kids facing suspension: service work at the Southern Branch of the Community FoodBank.

And in the news this week…

Big time kudos to the winner of this past season of Top Chef: Chef Kevin Sbraga of Rat’s in Hamilton Twp (located by Grounds for Sculpture). The best part for me? He’s from Willingboro. Awesome!

Magueri Farms had an interesting visitor recently – none other than Lidia Bastianich!

Good news! Lots of Jersey peaches this year. Bad news! Lots of Jersey peaches this year.

Newton Diner on the White Horse Pike was destroyed by fire last last week.

This sounds like a pretty good guide for finding out about farms, farmers’ markets and CSAs. Interesting that Burlington County gets lumped in as a central county.

And hold your breath: because of the dry summer we have had, local wineries think the 2010 vintage will be something special.

Enjoy your weekend!

– John and Lisa

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