Tomato-Centric Feast at Rutgers Gardens

Plus: Other upcoming food and wine events around the state.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: See-ming Lee.

The Pride of New Jersey with Due Mari: A Tomato Dinner at Rutgers Gardens
Thursday August 16, 6:30 – 9:30 PM

If you haven’t had your Jersey tomato aha moment yet, here’s a good chance. Rutgers Gardens is teaming up with New Brunswick’s Due Mari to feature the beauty and flavor of Jersey tomatoes in this tomato-centric dinner. Local chefs will teach you all about the horticultural gem in your backyard while simultaneously cooking a three-course dinner of heirloom tomato carpaccio with Spanish octopus, crispy veal Milanese with a tomato compote, and tomato sorbetto for dessert. The event is BYO. Tickets are $80 (tip included) and can be purchased here.

Rutgers Gardens, 140 Log Cabin Road, East Brunswick, NJ; 732-932-8451

Low Country Boil & Food Truck Weekends at Laurita Winery

Thursday August 16, 7 – 9 PM; and Saturday August 18, 11 AM – 9:45 PM (both ongoing)

There are at least two reasons to visit Laurita Winery in New Egypt before the summer runs out: the Low Country Boil and Wine Flight nights (on August 16, 17, 23 and 30), and their Food Truck Weekends, which run this Saturday through November. The Low Country Boil is exactly what it sounds like: $30 buys a bucket brimming with crawfish, shrimp, mussels, corn, sausage and potatoes with a selection of wine flights to choose from ($13 per flight). Reservations are recommended.

The Food Truck Weekends are all-day affairs, held on the vineyard’s event grounds, with six wine bars, 40 roaring fire pits, playgrounds, and food trucks like Rolling Pita, Tacoholics, Maddalena’s Cheesecake, and Max’s Hot Dogs. Fireworks on Saturday, line dancing lessons, vineyard tours, and other events should make time absolutely fly. Info on ticket prices and parking can be found here.

Laurita Winery, 85 Archertown Road, New Egypt; 609-752-0200

DIY Korean BBQ at Maricel’s Kitchen
Wednesday August 15, 6:30 – 9 PM

The founder of Maricel’s Kitchen brings 30 years of professional food service to her catering, meal planning, and cooking classes business, meaning you’ll be in good hands at this Wednesday’s Gogigui (Korean barbecue) class. Your $55 ticket gets you hands-on lessons in making your very own bulgogi (Korean marinated barbecue beef or pork), japchae (Korean noodles), Korean savory pancakes, and banchan (the flavorful mélange of Korean side dishes that can include everything from spicy kimchi to pickles, toasted seaweed, and cheesy corn.)

Maricel’s Kitchen, 11 Sedgwick Street, Jamesburg; 732-497-2698 

Cuban Pig Roast at Rat’s Restaurant
Friday, August 17, 5:30-8:30 PM

Don’t let the name fool you. Named for the character in the children’s novel, The Wind in the Willows, Rat’s Restaurant is a picturesque French restaurant located at Grounds for Sculpture. This Friday they’re hosting their annual summertime Pig Roast, a Cuban-themed porcine feast complete with local, slow roasted pork, flowing mojitos, as well as beer and non-alcoholic drinks, Cuban fried chicken, yucca, and black beans and rice. Tickets cost $55. Call ahead for reservations. Check here for more information.

Rat’s Restaurant, 16 Fair Grounds Road, Hamilton; 609-584-7800

Unionville Vineyards x Agricola Pop-Up Dinner
Saturday, August 31, 6:30 PM

Unionville Vineyards is celebrating 25 years of making wine in New Jersey with a pop-up style “Anniversary Dinner Series.” The dinners feature various New Jersey chefs and restaurants who will cook community table-style dinners complete with locally sourced farm-fresh ingredients. Wine pairings will be chosen by the winemakers themselves. The August 31 dinner will feature chef Mitresh Saraiya of Agricola, the five year-old Princeton restaurant cooking refined contemporary cuisine with produce from its own Great Road Farm. (Agricola was named to NJM’s Top 30 Restaurants list in this month’s issue.) Tickets are $89, and considering the limited space, should probably be purchased well in advance. Buy tickets here.

Unionville Vineyards, 9 Rocktown Road, Ringoes; 908-788-0400

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