Jersey Shore Restaurant Month will Make March Memorable

A month of dining deals, presented by Jersey Shore InMotion, kicked off March 1.

Rosie will be on vacation until mid-March. Today, a post by guest blogger Tammy La Gorce.

Jersey Shore Restaurant Month kicked off on March 1 with about 50 restaurants, high end to casual, confirmed to participate. They’re offering diners a prix-fixe menu as well as new menu items, in some cases, for the entire month of March. The event is presented by Jersey Shore InMotion, a hyper-local digital platform created to promote locally owned businesses throughout the Jersey Shore. The group was founded by a circle of friends who grew up on the Jersey Shore and wanted a way to help connect people with local offerings—restaurants, shops, services, and more—to help those businesses grow. Today, Jersey Shore InMotion counts more than 230 locally owned businesses among its members. Diners can visit this website for a full list of participating restaurants. Pricing varies by restaurant.

On March 12 at noon, head to Chef Central at 240 Route 17 North in Paramus for a free pressure cooker demo, tasting and book signing. Hosts Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book, will be making corned beef hash, cauliflower soup and more. After the demo, the authors will sign books. Look for discounts on pressure cookers, too. For information, 201-576-0100.

Tickets are now on sale for the eighth annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival, to take place April 1 – 3 at Crystal Springs Resort, 1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg. The festival attracts top chefs from around the U.S. as well as bold-name winemakers and craft spirits producers. This year, they’re highlighting two winners of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” Michelin-starred chefs from New York and top talent from New Jersey. The 2016 Festival will benefit both the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. A schedule of events follows.

The Festival kicks off April 1st with two dinners. Top Chefs & Top Wines (dinner No. 1) features five chefs each preparing one course that is paired with a highly rated boutique wine. Two Bravo Top Chef winners headline – Kevin Sbraga (winner Season 7, formerly of Rat’s) and Nicholas Elmi (winner Season 11), both now in Philadelphia. Joining are another “Top Chef” alum, Dale Talde, who recently expanded from Brooklyn to Jersey City, acclaimed Michelin star pastry chef Marc Aumont of NYC’s Gabriel Kreuther and Restaurant Latour Chef de Cuisine Martyna Krowicka (8 p.m., $225 plus tax and tip).

Dinner No. 2 is in Crystal Springs’ Wine Cellar will welcome Sebastiano Rosa of the Tuscan winery Sassicaia & Biserno. Chef Anthony Bucco will be partnering with guest chef Mark Ladner of Manhattan’s Del Posto to create a six-course menu (8 pm, $375 plus tax and tip).The dinner also includes a Krug Champagne Reception with the chefs and winemaker (7 pm).

April 2 brings new events for the 2016 edition of the festival, including a chef and New Jersey farmer showcase, a Prosecco breakfast and a bartender competition, along with spirits tastings and winemaker seminars. The day starts with the new Prosecco & Pancakes breakfast (10 am, $35), followed by A Taste of Italy (noon, $35), highlighting charcuterie, olive oils and wines from Castello di Gabbiano. Winemaker seminars feature From Sassicaia to Biserno: Italy’s Finest Wines (1 pm, $65) with Sebastiano Rosa and Sassicaia wines; The Creation of an Award-Winning Winery (2 pm, $45) with Frank and Julie Husic of Napa Valley; and Gruner Veltliner—The Hidden Gem of White Wines with Austria’s Laurenz V (noon, $35).

The Chef and Farmer Culinary Showcase, a new event (1 p.m., $50), will show off the state’s agricultural diversity by pairing top New Jersey chefs including Francesco Palmieri (The Orange Squirrel) and Bryan Gregg (Escape) with local farmers and purveyors such as Bobolink Dairy, Happy Harvest Hydroponics and Restoration Agriculture. Also new this year is an edition of New Jersey’s Iron Shaker (3 pm, $35) where four local bartenders will compete in two rounds with both judges and the audience voting for their favorites. Secrets of the Crystal Springs Cellar (3 pm, $150) returns with a tasting of rare wines from the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning Wine Cellar led by VP of Hospitality and Wine Director Robby Younes and Chef Bucco. Additional seminars will premiere rose wines of the 2015 vintage paired with sorbets and artisanal gelato (4 pm, $40) and feature George Dickel Whiskeys with hand rolled cigars (4 pm, $40).

The Grand Tasting (April 2, 7 pm—10 pm $135, or VIP admission at 6:30 pm, $250) is the Festival’s centerpiece, a walk-around tasting with 25 top New Jersey and New York chefs and more than 30 wineries. Confirmed restaurants include Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Mistral, Maritime Parc, The Bernards Inn, Ninety Acres at Natirar, The Orange Squirrel, Osteria Morini, Terre a Terre, Hamilton Pork, The Kitchen Step, Escape, Redux, Pig & Prince, Hotel du Village, Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern, Spuntino Wine Bar, BURG, Villalobos, Axia, Taverna, Crystal Tavern, Lunello, Andre’s and more. VIP ticket holders gain access to the VIP lounge with exclusive Champagnes, wines and restaurants including tastings from Restaurant Latour, Michelin starred Piora (in Manhattan) and more. At 10 pm, the Biosphere at Grand Cascades Lodge hosts the Meet The Chefs & Winemakers After Party ($150). This annual party has live performances, a DJ, dancing, an open bar, bites from resort chefs and more. This year’s theme is inspired by Rio de Janeiro, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. (Past party themes have been inspired by Marie Antoinette, Prohibition and Cuba.)

The Festival concludes April 3 with a Champagne Brunch (10 am–1 pm, $50 plus tax and tip) in the Crystal Ballroom. Tickets can be purchased at this website or by calling 844-207-3203.

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