Bacon Lovers, Rejoice at Zeppelin Hall

Plus: Preparing for Hudson Restaurant Week, a Napa Valley wine dinner in Long Branch, and a vegan-pop up in Asbury Park.

BaconFest at Zeppelin Hall
Through January 26

Nothing warms a cold, damp January day like the smell of sizzling bacon. The wise folks at Zeppelin Hall are well aware of this, which is why they’re filling the space with the smell of everybody’s favorite pork product, all the way up to the high ceilings. To fill two weeks with bacon creatively was a challenge, but chef Franco Robazetti pulls through with dishes like his award-winning bacon sliders, bacon-wrapped bratwurst, bacon s’mores (exactly what it sounds like), and bacon lasagna (all we know is there are sheets of bacon involved). The most extravagant (and most fun) might actually be the Bacon Campfire, which is basically like a German-American bacon charcuterie board with sausages, cheeses, pickles, and an actual (mini) campfire. Show up at 10pm on January 23 and get the added bonus of watching chef Robazetti’s appearance on “Beat Bobby Flay.” Zeppelin Hall, 88 Liberty View Drive, Jersey City; 201-721-8888

Orin Swift Wine Dinner at McLoone’s Pier House
Thursday, January 23, 7pm

Another way to brighten your January? A taste of the Napa Valley. You can get one at McLoone’s Pier House in Long Branch when they host Orin Swift. Chef Joe Racioppi put together a sleek four course menu, plus dessert, with each course paired with an Orin Swift wine. Flavors are complex and bold: Shrimp and Coconut Bruschetta with a 2017 Mannequin Chardonnay and Grilled Swordfish with Pear Cranberry Compote and Frizzled Leeks alongside a 2016 Palermo Cabernet. Tickets are $84.95 per person and seating is limited, so reserve quickly. McLoone’s Pier House, 1 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch; 732-923-1021

Hudson Restaurant Week
January 27– February 7

It’s sweet sixteen, as in sixteen years going strong for Hudson Restaurant Week, which returns in a couple weeks with a long list of participating restaurants, including a few new additions. There are lots of names from Hoboken and Jersey City, including plenty of spots we’ve been to and loved: Soul Curry and Halifax in Hoboken, Harry’s Daughter and Edward’s Steakhouse in Jersey City, and the Jersey City, Guttenberg, and North Bergen outposts of vibrant Cuban spot Rumba Cubana. Not everyone’s doing lunch—you can see how (and when) each restaurant is participating here—but there are dinner specials ranging from $25 to $42. Hudson Restaurant Week, Hudson County, various locations.

Vegan Pop-Up Dinner at Cross + Orange
Thursday, January 30; 6:30pm and 8pm seatings

As this year’s Golden Globes menu proved, vegan doesn’t have to be your chosen lifestyle to be your dinner. So vegans and omnivores alike are welcome to partake of the first Vegan Pop-Up Dinner Series of the year at Cross + Orange. The dinner will be four courses, with a winter-themed menu still TBD from executive chef Pablo Toxqui. Desiree Stemmer of Desireddish, a boutique plant-based sweets outfit also based in Asbury Park, is taking care of the dessert course. Tickets are $55, plus a $5 handling fee. You can opt for wine pairings, although the prices and wine options aren’t published as of yet. Cross + Orange, 508 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park; 732-361-5502

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