Friday Foodstuffs 9.23.11: Requiem for a Tater Cake

Let’s cut to the chase: when a good local eatery closes, it sucks. It really really does.

Without much warning, Dacook’s Eatery here in Forked River removed its signage and placed a ‘CLOSED’ sign on its doors. When the question ‘Where’s a good place for lunch?” was asked, Dacook’s was always a good answer. Great sammiches, juicy burgers cooked to your specification, and lovely soups. And then, there were their tater cakes.

What’s a tater cake?

Well, when a hash brown and a tater tot love each other very much, etc etc. You get the idea. Anyways, these little fried nibbles of joy were maddeningly addictive. Too good for their own good. Probably illegal to carry over certain state borders. And they left a good greasy stain in the paper inside the basket they were served in, so you know these cakes were very healthy (wink-wink). Rejecting humankind, becoming a recluse, with only episodes of “Police Squad!” and an endless supply of tater cakes became a plausible lifestyle.

In other words, I quite fancied those tater cakes.

But now, nothing. Not even a crumb of coating to be had. At least for now. On their Facebook page, they hint at coming back somewhere down the road, most likely in a different location. I, for one, certainly hope so. Memories are powerful things, but crunching down on one of these tasty treats is best experienced in one’s mouth, not inside one’s head.

What’s shaking this weekend?

The Cape May Food & Wine Celebration and NJ Restaurant Week will continue though this weekend, so if you haven’t participated yet – you still have chance!

If you’re anywhere near Ocean County, what a great time to be here! Starting today is Greek Festival 2011 at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Toms River and Que by the Sea on Grant Avenue in Seaside Heights. Both events run though Sunday, and never mind the raindrops!

Just for tonight, you have Joe Canal’s Craft Beer Tasting at Toscana’s Restaurant in Mullica Hill, CONTACT Cape-Atlantic Fall Wine Tasting at the Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May, and Dinner and an Artist: Michelangelo at Georgian Court University in Lakewood.

Tomorrow is loaded with things to do: the Lacey Apple Festival at the Schoolhouse Museum and Forked River Fire Company right here in town, a Fall Festival at War Memorial Park in Mays Landing, the Woodstown Fall Festival Chili Contest at the Woodstown Friends Meeting House in, of course, Woodstown, the Hammonton Art & Wine Festival at the Hammonton Arts Center in, of course, Hammonton, AND, the BBQ-n-Chili-n-Cheesesteak Cook Off on Landis Avenue in Vineland.

If you’re looking for some Oktoberfest fun, it’s The Great Imperial Pumpkin Ale Release Party, Charlie Brown, at Iron Hill Brewery in Maple Shade from 12PM to 5PM tomorrow. Also on Saturday is the Oktoberfest clebration at Blue Monkey Tavern in Merchantville and a German Buffet Dinner at the Moravian Church on Boston Avenue in Egg Harbor City from 4PM to 7PM. The costfor the dinner is $12 per person and $6 for kids.

And on Saturday and Sunday, it’s the Margate Fall Funfest by the Bay and the Grand Finale Concert at Heritage Vineyards in Mullica Hill.

Here’s your farmers’ market report…

A cooking demo with Chef Kathy Gold and apples will be taking place tomorrow morning at 10AM at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.

The cooking class schedule for this weekend is as follows:

Tonight: Academia Barilla: Italian Small Plates at Sur La Table in Marlton and Earthy Autumn at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown.

Tomorrow: Sardinian Cooking at Nunzio’s Ristorante Rustico in Collingswood, Teens Cake Decorating at Sur La Table, French Fall Favorites at Kitchen Kapers, and Best of Class: Cocktail Party, Best of Class: Steakhouse, and Classic Steakhouse at Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City.

Sunday: Entertaining Fall Dinner Party and Best of Class: Special Dinner at Viking Cooking School, Cupcake Workshop at Sur La Table, and A is for Apple at Kitchen Kapers.


Blogging Out Hunger

Just like in many other places, the food banks in Ocean County struggle with increased demand and reduced donations.

Local ShopRite locations continue to help in raising funds for local food banks.

A canned goods drive is taking place on September 28 in Linwood, and it’s being held by the Central United Methodist Church’s Junior Youth Group.

And in the news this week…

How about this for a road trip: a tour of local diners of South Jersey.

Speaking of local tours…agritourism continues to grow in the region.

Cape May retained its ranking as the second largest fishing port on the East Coast.

Meanwhile, some oyster beds along the Delaware Bay remain closed due to all of the recent rainstorms.

And the young couple behind Turtle Stone Brewing in Vineland are looking to raise $30,000 to help in the purchase of equipment. If you want to help support a new local business, please go to their site and help contribute.

Have a great weekend!




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