Food Meets History at These Upcoming Events

Plus: A paella festival, beer run, collaboration dinner and more.

Garden Party at Glenmont Mansion
Saturday, September 28, 4–6:30pm

For those of us who drifted off in history class, Glenmont is the name of Thomas Edison’s West Orange estate. On Saturday, both the inventor’s hulking mansion and lush green grounds will be the backdrop to an old school Garden Party thrown by The Friends of Edison historical society. Less a dazzling culinary event than an interesting setting for good local food and drinks (there will be at least one signature cocktail) and a decent way to stock up on some New Jersey history on an easy Sunday evening. Tickets are $50 for non-members, $45 for members. 12 Honeysuckle Avenue, West Orange

Crafting Herbal Beverages at Hamilton House
Saturday, September 28, 2–4pm

It’s rare that earnest historical inquiry and creative entertaining collide, but when it happens, we’ll take it. This Sunday, historian and herbalist Morrie Shafer will be demonstrating the many—and many delicious—ways herbs can be incorporated into your beverage life. Harkening back to days of Jersey yore, when foraging and herb gardens played a larger role in both food and medicine, Shafer will cover everything from infused lemonades to simple syrups to herb-infused fruit shrubs to mixers that are specifically useful in cocktails. So not only will you walk away with a few more ingredients to add to your drinks repertoire, but you’ll have a connection to the Garden State’s agricultural and culinary past. Email [email protected] for ticket information or call 973-744-2608. Hamilton House Museum, 971 Valley Road, Clifton; 973-744-2608

Annual Paella Festival in Perth Amboy
Sunday, September 29, noon – 6pm

Why more of New Jersey doesn’t know about the Annual Paella Festival in Perth Amboy is a mystery, but here’s our chance to collectively correct the oversight: Sunday afternoon will gather some dedicated paella maestros at the Harborside Marina for a celebration of all things paella. The event is fairly straightforward: come with an appetite and expect many large and extra-large pans of saffron-suffused rice with seafood, sausage, and (who knows what) other special additions. Especially for those less familiar with the incredibly flavorful, texturally exquisite classic Spanish dish, Sunday’s a great way to get acquainted with the stuff done right. (Speaking of, paella fans keep an eye out for any socarrat up for grabs.) Harborside Marina, 260 Front Street, Perth Amboy

Aarzu & 618 Collaboration Dinner in Freehold
Tuesday, October 1, 5–9pm

The tastes and talents of 618 Restaurant and Aarzu Modern Indian Bistro will both be on full display on Tuesday, October 1 as the Freehold restaurants pair up for this special collaborative dinner. The dinner itself is held at Aarzu on Main Street, but the night’s six-course menu is the creation of chef Christopher Dutka of 618 and the team at Aarzu, with dishes that showcase as much seasonal product-focused creativity as they do Aarzu’s modern take on deep-rooted Indian culinary traditions. Dishes range from Smoked Masala Quail Egg with Tellicherry Pepper to Braised Beef Short Ribs with Pomegranate Gremolata and Harissa Roasted Heirloom Carrots. There’s even a “618 X Aarzu” Spinach Chaat Version 2.0, a riff on the Indian snack with flavors of Mexican street corn. A collaborative dinner unlike any you’ve seen in a while, and a great way to get to know Freehold as a culinary community. Tickets are $85 per person and seating is limited. Aarzu, 30 East Main Street, Freehold; 732-333-0933

Beer Run 5K at Allaire Village
Sunday, October 13 noon – 4pm

It’s better to get early notice for this October 13 race and festival at the historic Allaire Village—you’ll need a couple weeks to train (FYI, just because it’s a “Beer Run” doesn’t mean you’ll need to bring a few cold ones to the gym). The day begins with a 5-kilometer race through the historic village of Allaire, with runners crossing the finish line directly into a waiting craft beer festival. Food vendors will also be on hand, although craft beer is the main event (which is why all tickets, running and non-running, are 21+). In fact if you just want to go to the beer fest itself, you’ll still have an epic day: craft suds on hand include Evil Genius, Phresh Phlavors, Icarus Brewing Co., Citizen Cider, and Cape May Brewing Co. Tickets are everywhere from $0 (for a Morning Yoga session) to $14.95 for designated drivers to $56 to about $70 for 5K registration and ticket to the Beer Fest. Whatever the combination, get your tickets sooner rather than later—Early Bird access already sold out. The Historic Village at Allaire, 4265 Atlantic Avenue, Wall; 732-919-3500

Fall Farm to Table Dinner at Beach Plum Farm (Multiple Dates)
Friday, October 11 (and other dates), 6:30pm

Tickets to Beach Plum Farm’s autumn “Farm to Table Dinners” are up for sale for all six dates (three in October, three in November). Pricey, yes, but the dinners are reasonably in-demand, so pick your date strategically. And no doubt the food will be worth the price of admission: Chef Josh Liwoch has more than a cornucopia’s worth of seasonal bounty at hand to prepare these multi-course odes to fall (much of what you eat will have been harvested or prepared that day). The dinners will take place inside or out—pending weather—but are always served family-style, driving home the farm-fresh romance of it all. It’s also BYOB, so feel free to cart along your preferred autumnal six-pack or wine (the November 23 dinner is perfectly timed for Beaujolais Nouveau fans). Get your tickets ASAP as dates will sell out (and have begun to, already). Beach Plum Farm, 140 Stevens Street, Cape May; 833-327-6268

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