Friday Foodstuffs 10.15.10: Restaurant Weeks from the Delaware to the Atlantic

I was trying to think of a new way to present the Friday Foodstuffs to you, since we are now settled into our new digs, although we are still in the digital version of unpacking boxes. And then it came to me: interpretive dance! Fortunately for all concerned, the idea lasted about 3, maybe 4, seconds. And then I figured that maybe the tried and true method of writing it out would be best.

Next week we have two restaurants weeks taking place, one that it big and well-known and one that is just being introduced this year. The big boffo one is, of course, South Jersey Restaurant Week, presented by the members of SJ Hot Chefs. This is an ‘all hands on deck’-kind of event, where each of the 40-plus SJ Hot Chefs restaurants in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties will have special four-course meals for $25 or $35. Next to Atlantic City Restaurant Week, this is as big a regional restaurant event as you can get here. It’s a great way to sample a restaurant that you have been thinking about but thought might be out of your price range. And, it is also a nice way to help support local businesses in the area. South Jersey Restaurant Week will run from October 17 to 22.

The other restaurant week that is happening this coming week is a wee bit smaller, but for those of you living closer to the shore it might be a little closer to home. It is Somers Point Restaurant Week, which will take place from October 18 to 24. So far, there looks to be more than 15 restaurants in Somers Point participating in the restaurant week. Restaurants will either offer a special prix fixe meal for $25.07 or they will simply take 25% off your bill. While Somers Point Restaurant Week may be on the small side in comparison to South Jersey Restaurant Week, keep in mind that Somers Point is right next to Ocean City – so an after-dinner stroll along the boardwalk is a quick trip away (so long as the bridge construction isn’t causing too many delays).

It’s going to be a sunny and breezy fall weekend, so why not get out there and enjoy the crisp fall air at one of these outdoor events this weekend:

* The Chatsworth Cranberry Festival is this weekend. It is a big big festival (if you haven’t been, be prepared – it is really big), and it will take place from 9AM to 4PM on Saturday and Sunday.

* Two of the regional wineries are having outdoor festivals this weekend as well. Up New Egypt way, Laurita Winery is having its Harvest Festival from 12PM to 6PM. Down Landisville way, Bellview Winery is throwing their annual Italian Festival from 11AM to 5PM. The Italian Festival is $10 a person, but free for kids.

* Rea’s Farm in West Cape May holds an annual Harvest Country Fair, and that will be happening tomorrow from 10AM to 5PM. Admission is free for all.

What else is on tap? Well, you still have a chance to have Lunch on Landis, as in Landis Avenue in Vineland (and no, not literally on the concrete). Participating restaurants along Landis will have special lunch menus for $8 a person. The promotion runs through Sunday. Swedesboro will be a swinging scene tomorrow thanks to their Olde Kings Jazzfest, which also include a wine tasting. Tickets are $25 a person, and only $10 for kids ages 13 to 21. Of course, the kiddies don’t get to taste the wine. The Barnegat Branch of the Ocean County Library will be the place to Escuchar, Bailar y Fiesta! (Listen, Dance and Party!) starting at 2PM. Please call to register. Passion Vines in Somers Point is running a special one-day Flight to Octoberfest Mastery event from 2PM to 8PM for $10 a person. On Saturday night there will be a Fall Hearthside Dinner at the Gibbon House on Ye Greate Street in Greenwich starting at 6PM. The dinner is $50 a person and $75 for a couple, but please call 856.455.4055 to reserve a table (seating is limited). And on Sunday, Arrive in Style Luxury Limousine will take you for a Wine Tour and Dinner. The tour starts at 11:45 at Botto’s Italian Line in Swedesboro and is $75 a person.

And here’s the Farmers’ Market Report…

The Ocean City Farmers’ Market is having Cupcakes for the Cure this Saturday and next Saturday.

Sounds like the Medford Lakes Farmers’ market had a good first year.

Here’s your cooking class schedule this weekend:

Friday: It’s a Dinner Party 101 at Sur La Table in Marlton, or, maybe you’re just hungry for Cocktails and Cravings being offered at Viking Cooking School in Atlantic City.

Saturday: Lots to celebrate: a Breakfast Bonanza for the kids at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology in Sewell, a Celebration Brunch and a Tailgating Party at Viking Cooking School, and a Dinner Party 101 for Couples at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown.

Saturday and Sunday: Sur La Table is holding a special 2-Day Baking Workshop starting at 12PM each day.

Sunday: Enjoy a Champagne Brunch or a Tuscan Dinner Party at Viking Cooking School, or let the kids explore Everything Chocolate at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown.

Blogging Out Hunger

On Saturday there will be an Empty Bowls Soup Sampling Event at the Madd Potter’s Studio in Clermont. The minimum donation is $10, and the money raised will go to the Community Food Bank of NJ Southern Branch and Imagine Render, which promotes the Empty Bowls project for world hunger.

Sports Paradise’s annual food drive in Willingboro is ready to kick off.

And in the news this week…

For a change: a very positive article regarding Camden and the growing community garden movement.

Another article about the legislation trying to get through the state government that would allow direct shipping of wine to consumers.

There is also legislation to have the last week of September declared as “Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week”.

A lot of buzz was generated about the new solar panel field unveiled at Santa Sweets farm.

The Dougherty family, owners of Knife & Fork and Dock’s Oyster House, are planning to open another eatery in Atlantic City next spring.

Local fisherman are concerned that in trying to save the butterfish, squid fishing may be stopped next year.

Two delivery people were attacked and robbed this past week in Toms River. Sadly, this is a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

And Jim’s Lunch, a Millville tradition for 88 years, reopened on Columbus Day once again to the delight of the locals.

Enjoy your weekend!

– John


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