Wassailing the Apple Trees at Princeton’s Terhune Orchards

Plus: Other upcoming food events—and a Super Bowl party—in Jersey City, Hoboken, Brick, New Brunswick and beyond.

Wassailing the Apple Trees
Saturday, February 2, 1–4 pm

If you, like us, didn’t know it, “wassailing” apple trees is actually an ancient pagan custom of performing various rites and blessings over your orchards to protect them from evil spirits and ensure a good crop in the coming year. Terhune Orchards in Princeton has made a custom of the English tradition, and you can join in on the fun. There’s music, performances by English-style Molly Dancers, hot cider, and even an offering of cider-soaked bread to the apple trees. Noisemakers (to ward off evil spirits) are encouraged. A little bit of paganism by way of Princeton. Terhune Orchards, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton; 609-924-2310

Jersey City Whiskey and Spirits Festival
Friday, February 1, 7:30–10:30 pm

Whiskey is the star, but there will be a few gins, tequilas, and vodkas among the 100 or so spirits on hand this Friday at the Jersey City Whiskey and Spirits Festival. Tickets are $70 ($15 for designated drivers). That buys you entry and a tasting glass for responsible sampling. As of this writing, Chavas Empanadas, Taste of Poland, and Mozzarepas were a few of the food vendors listed on the event site (with more to come). No kids or pets, alas, and no one under 21. Come curious, bone up on your whiskey buzz words (single malt, charred oak, peat monster, etc.) Jersey City Whiskey and Spirits Festival, Harborside Atrium, 153 Exchange Place, Jersey City

Anti-Valentine’s Day Brunch
Saturday, February 2, noon – 5 pm

It’s a safe assumption the Madd Hatter has its brunch game down (they serve brunch all week long to a city where brunch is sacred). So if you’re looking for a brief reprieve from the pink and red nonstop Valentine’s Day heart-storm, head over this Saturday. They’re doing their regular brunch menu (which includes Oreo Pancakes and a Hangover Cure Burger complete with sunny side-up egg), with drinks specials and music. Less a culinary event than a party, with decent brunch. Tickets are $24.95 per person, but come in a group of 5 or 10 and you can buy a discounted group ticket (and who wants to hate on Valentine’s Day alone?). Madd Hatter, 221 Washington Street, Hoboken; 201-850-1281

Grand Sampling at Grape Finale
Tuesday, February 5, 6:30–9 pm

Flemington’s “hands-on” winery Grape Finale, is hosting fishmonger Mark Drabich of Metropolitan Seafood and Flemington’s own Fudge Shoppe candy store on Tuesday. Drabich will prepare three seafood dishes to pair with three distinct wines (a Lebanese-style Za’atar shrimp dish gets a peppery Chilean carmenere, e.g.), and the night rounds out with a dark chocolate sampler from the Fudge Shoppe paired with a vintage syrah port. Tickets are $60. Grape Finale, 8 Bartles Corner Road, Flemington; 908-237-0302

Super Bowl LIII at Beacon 70 in Brick
Sunday, February 3, 4–11 pm

Most of us are content to sit at home with something Buffalo-style on Game Day, but if you’re looking to get out and live in or near Brick, you might try Beacon 70 overlooking the Forge Landing Marina. The (relatively young) sports bar on Route 70 is swinging for the fences with this one with an 18-foot “video wall,” an MC, raffles with prizes like flat screens and kegerators), 50-cent Half Time wings, and 60 total screens for your viewing pleasure. Admission is free, with complimentary sausage sandwiches, pizza, and hot dogs from 3 to 6pm, but if you plan on going with company you might check out some of their table deals (at $100, a table for four all night also gets you two medium cheese pizzas, a beer tower, a small pitcher of sangria, and, did we mention guaranteed seating for four all night?). The place looks slick, clean, and well-lit—not a bad place to scream at the TV when your living room can’t handle it anymore. Beacon 70, 799 Route 70, Brick; 848-232-4235

2019 Third Annual Craft Beer & Spirits Festival at the Heldrich Hotel
Saturday, February 9, 5–8 pm

On Saturday, February 9, the Heldrich Hotel and Christopher’s Restaurant will be hosting the 3rd Annual Craft Beer & Spirit Festival. Tickets are reasonable—$42 in advance, $46 at the door, and $37 for designated drivers—and they get you access to 50+ local beers and spirits, including River Horse, Three 3’s, Asbury Park Distilling, and Jersey City Distilling Co. There will also be plenty to snack on, courtesy of the Heldrich culinary team, and raffle prizes for the first 200 ticket holders. Best part: all proceeds (all) go to benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties. If you’re looking to make a weekend of it, the Heldrich is offering special packages (with late checkout, though not necessarily aspirin, included). The Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick; 732-729-4670

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