Friday Foodstuffs 5.20.11: An Entree of Evesham, a Bowl of Bridgeton…and More!

A variation on a previous theme…

Along with the increase in the amount of Restaurant Weeks has been the addition of more and more one-day events that showcase the best of local restaurants in one community. Typically, they are given the title of “Taste of (your town here)”, and they are usually in one location. Nothing wrong with being able to sample the culinary handiwork of your town in one shot to find out what local establishments are doing amazing work in the kitchen. And even if you’re not local, if you’ve been curious to take a gastro-tour of certain places, you can cover many bases this way.

So this weekend, you got two municipalities that, well, may not get a lot of talk food-wise doing “Taste of” events: Evesham and Bridgeton. But that’s OK; we’re all about giving a shout out to food events everywhere in South Jersey, whether it’s Collingswood, Cape May, or Bivalve. And we know from experience that you can find great food in unlikely places, so why not Evesham and Bridgeton?

The good news is that they are happening on different days this weekend, so you could go to both is you were so inclined. A Taste of Bridgeton is taking place tomorrow night starting at 6PM at the Marino Center on Washington Street. The event is part of the year-long celebration of Bridgeton’s 325th Anniversary (yes, that’s 325 years). The restaurants that will be participating are still being assembled as we speak, but it sounds like the organizers are getting a good response so far. The cost is $25 per person, and you might still be able to buy your ticket at the door if you cannot buy them today.

Sunday will be third edition of Taste of Evesham, and this year they are bringing out the big guns…well, the Big Daddy I should say. Chef Aaron McCargo will be making an appearance at 2PM with his new cookbook “Simply Done, Well Done”. Tasting time will be from 1PM to 4PM on Main Street between North Locust and Cooper Avenues in Marlton. The cost to attend will vary based on whether you want to do the beer tasting (Beer tasting?!?! I LOVE beer tastings!) and the wine tasting (Wine tasting?!?! I LOVE wine tastings!). For the beer tasting, the price is $15; without the beer tasting, it’s $10 (for kids 13 and up as well). For kids ages 4 to 12, the cost is $5. Check out their website for the current list of participating restaurants.

Want to taste another town? OK – how about Bordentown? This weekend is the annual Bordentown Street Fair, so stroll the main drag and consider one of the many great eateries in town for lunch.

Another town? Hmmm…ok, there’s the annual Jazz and Blues Festival in Point Pleasant Beach, and there will be plenty of Jersey wine on hand for tasting as well.

Another??? OK, now you’re just getting greedy. Here’s the rest of the weekend, which is chock full of tasty trips to take…

Tomorrow is the annual Strawberry Fest at Gandy Farmstead on Tyler Road in Greenfield from 10AM to 4PM. For something less fruity and more spicy, there is the big boffo New Jersey State Chili & Salsa Cook Off on Washington Street in Toms River from 11AM to 5PM. To participate in the tasting, the cost is $7 per person. You may still be able to call and register for the Spring Tea in the Historic Hancock House in Hancock’s Bridge, which starts at 12:30PM. You might be able to still get a reservation for The Table: a wine and food experience at Hawk Haven Vineyard in Rio Grande. The dinner starts at 3PM, and the cost is $99 per person.

For the wine and spirits lover in you, you have your choice from a Wine Tasting at the Camden Riversharks Diamond Cafe at Campbells Field in Camden, the Wine & Wildlife Festival at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, and a Savor Scotch tasting at Passion Vines in Somers Point.

And for the beekeepers, and beekeeper wannabees, out there, the spring meeting of the NJ Beekeepers Association will be tomorrow at the Cape May 4-H Fairground in Cape May Court House starting at 8:30AM.

If you’re up for an early Sunday drive, check out the annual Egg & Asparagus Breakfast at the Greenwich Fire Hall on Ye Greate Street. Breakfast will be served from 7AM to 11AM. Sunday is also the day for some kosher BBQ. If that sounds rather, erm, unorthodox (or orthodox, depending on where you sit), check out the Lag B’Omer – Beach, Beer and BBQ event at JCC Camp on Tuckerton Road, Medford. This event will feature the cooking stylings of one Michael Solomonov, chef and owner of Zahav in Philly and newly-minted James Beard award winner.

Here’s your cooking class schedule for the weekend:

Tonight: Learn to Make Strawberry Jam! at the Cape May County Vo-Tech Kitchen in Cape May Court House, Date Night: Italian Dinner at Viking Cooking School in Atlantic City, and Date Night: Italian Trattoria Fare at Sur La Table in Marlton.

Tomorrow: Kids in the Kitchen – The Cupcake Corner and Kebabs, Skewers and Sate with Big Green Egg at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown, Essential Knife Skills at Sur La Table, and Best of Class: Steakhouse at Viking Cooking School.

Sunday: Academia Barilla: Handmade Stuffed Pastas at Sur La Table, Stop the Clock Cuisine at Viking Cooking School, and Kids in the Kitchen – Cake Pops Workshop at Kitchen Kapers.

And in the news this week…

Boy, there was a time when we had so few microbrews down here in South Jersey. Now, there seems to be one getting started every week. From Beer-Stained Letter, word of a new one called Tuckahoe Brewing Company getting ready to launch.

Yay! Another bill getting assembly approval by friend of local farming, Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, to further help promote Jersey Fresh and Jersey Grown.

Yikes! The IGA grocery store in Bridgeton is set to close, the third grocery store in Cumberland County to close since October.

With the annual crop of blueberries coming, we have the annual list of farms getting fined for labor violations.

Some new places getting ready to open, or have just opened, including Baia Restaurant (formerly The Inlet) in Somers Point, Jack Baker’s Water Street Grille (formerly Lobster Shanty) in Toms River, Sweets Suite Bake Shoppe Cafe in Millville, and Dos Caminos at Harrah’s in Atlantic City.

And if you were needing a Krispy Kreme fix, your wait will soon be over: they will be opening up in Collingswood this August.

Enjoy your weekend!

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