Mountain Creek Resort Hosts Dinner Series

And other food and wine events in Jersey City, Gibbsboro, Morristown and Ocean Township.

The Hawk's Nest dining room at Mountain Creek. Photo courtesy of Mountain Creek Resort

Dinner Series at Mountain Creek Resort
Thursday, July 26, 7pm

If you’ve never been to Mountain Creek outside of ski season, or just want something a little different out of a summer night, head to the resort’s Hawk’s Nest restaurant for their newly-launched dinner series. For $65, you’ll get five thoughtfully composed courses each paired with a carefully-selected wine. You’ll go from Fried Green Tomato with Whipped Goat Cheese with a German Riesling to Black Sea Bass with Roasted Corn and Lobster Succotash and Sea Beans with a fruity, delicately chewy 2016 Pinot Noir from The Seeker. (There’s dry-aged steak and Argentinian Malbec after that; bring a mountainous appetite.) The restaurant, overseen by resort food and beverage director Joshua Bernstein, makes a point to “aggressively pursue and support small producers and local farmers,” and the night’s menu looks like a solid way to showcase that. Add the wide green views, ruggedly natural aesthetic (think antler chandeliers), and cool mountain breezes, it’s as far from a boardwalk hot dog as you can get. Reserve a seat ASAP. The Hawk’s Nest at Mountain Creek, 200 Route 94, Vernon; 973-864-6317

TasteMaker Dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Friday, July 19, 6:30pm

The Fourth of July might be well behind us at this point, but Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses across the country aren’t done celebrating America. Lucky for you, they’re celebrating Americans who just so happen to make vodka and wine, at least that’s what’s on the bill for this Friday’s TasteMakers Dinner at their Jersey City location. The five-course menu includes dishes like their Lobster & Shrimp Roll paired with a Texas Spritz (made with Tito’s, lemon and Prosecco) and BBQ King Salmon paired with Federalist “American Craft” Cabernet Sauvignon; you can even finish your night with some very American-sounding Lone Star Joe, which is actually hot coffee jacked with Kahlua and Tito’s (and banana, for nutrition points maybe). Reservations are $80 before tax and tip; if you miss this time around, don’t fret—just stay tuned for the next date at any participating Ruth’s Chris. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 499 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City; 201-448-8664 

Conquer the Cocktail at The ChopHouse
Wednesday, July 24 7–10pm

The marquee products at The ChopHouse are the dry-aged steaks, of course, but next Wednesday, the lakeside steakhouse is playing host to two drinks pros from nearby Fedway Wine & Spirits for this cocktails 101 that just so happens to also involve a four-course dinner. Ticket prices are higher—$120 before tax and tip—but that includes your welcome cocktail, wine and beer over dinner, aforementioned four courses, and professional hands-on training in the art and craft of the perfect mixed drink. The dinner is family-style (likely because after a couple drinks, every dinner sort of becomes family style), with passed hors d’oeuvres to ease you into the night. Reserve your seat quickly, come hungry, and leave with expertise in shaking, stirring, and finishing a tasty cocktail. The ChopHouse, 4 Lakeview Drive, Gibbsboro; 856-566-7300

Sinegal Wine Pairing Dinner at Blue Morel
Wednesday, July 24, 7pm

The menu for the Sinegal Wine Dinner at Blue Morel in Morristown almost has a hint of fall to it—courses include things like Oxtail Bone Marrow Broth, Dry-aged Duck with Plums, Goose Fat Marble Potatoes, and a Fruit and Cheese Plate. Not that anything about the night will weigh you down; it’s extravagance (at $149 per person) with poise. Comprising nine and a half acres in the Napa Valley, Sinegal Estate Winery produces a small selection of organic wines (for a very devoted audience); vineyard founder David Sinegal will be on hand to take you through the wines chosen for the night’s dinner, from a 2017 Sauvignon Blanc with Cold Smoked Hamachi Crudo to their 2017 Pinot Noir with that aforementioned Oxtail-bone Marrow Broth with Raviolini, and a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon to coax out all the meaty, savory, fruity nuance of Dry Aged Duck with Plums and Goose Fat Marble Potatoes. Chef Dennis Mathews and chef de cuisine Thomas Cizsak oversee the menu, which their calling their “most exclusive wine dinner yet.” Price tag aside, expect seats to go quickly. Tickets available through Cambridge Wines. Blue Morel at the Westin Governor Morris, 2 Whippany Road, Morristown; 973-451-2619 

Summer Friday Happy Hour at Piccola Italia
Fridays in July & August, 4–6pm

Summer keeps giving us reasons to love it: pool bars, spray-on suntan lotion, and, for the lucky professionals among us, those few extra hours of freedom known as “Summer Friday.” Granted, that last group might have a head start when it comes to getting to Piccola Italia for their Friday Happy Hour, but anyone who loves a good deal on wine should try to make it at least once this season. Not only is every glass of wine half-price, but every bottle, is half-price, too, up to a $100 value. Assuming your friends get out of work early, too (or are just good at coming up ways to duck out), here’s an easy way to delve into the higher-price part of the wine list and see what double-digit bottles suit your palate best. (Who says you can’t learn anything during the summer?) Piccola Italia, 837 West Park Avenue, Ocean Township; 732-493-3090

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