Rosie’s Farewell: Time to Pack Up My Hopping Shoes

The time has come for me to pack up Table Hopping With Rosie, a blog I have written since 2001, before the word blog was being used. Yes, I am leaving the best job in the world.

Over 15 years, I have enjoyed memorable meals at hundreds of NJ restaurants, and have had the privilege of meeting talented and hospitable NJ chefs (you are the best in my book), restaurateurs and mixologists. I also have enjoyed my visits to NJ farms and wineries. Over 15 years, Lowell and I ate out on the average of three times a week, which means that we have experienced more than 2,400 dinners. We loved it.

The good news is that Table Hopping will continue under a new editor, with several occasional contributors, including yours truly.  More on that below.

Looking back, I am so proud of how the NJ restaurant scene has exploded. When I first started writing about food and restaurants there was no Internet, most people did not know what e-mail was, and restaurants did not have homepages. So much has changed. We now have pop-ups, farm to table, snout-to-tail cuisine, gourmet coffees, craft breweries, shared dishes or small plates, farms and farmers listed on menus and exciting ethnic cuisines.

Over all these years of dining out, I’ve been asked many questions.

How do you keep your weight down? Answer: yoga and exercise. We eat lightly at home—and whatever we want when we go out.

What’s your favorite restaurant? Answer: it changes weekly. There are small ethnic holes in the wall that we love, and upscale fine dining establishments that are always impressive.

What are the most unusual foods you have eaten? Answer: Years ago at the Perona Farm game dinner I tried squirrel, raccoon, bear and other unappetizing meats. In Norway, we had whale, which tasted like fishy liver. In Iceland, we had horse, which was “neigh.” In Australia, grubs and ants. No need to try any of these again.

Many thanks to my husband Lowell, without whom I could not have done this job. He endured delicious and sometimes not so delicious meals with me. He went out on cold winter nights and hot summer evenings for my job. He took pictures for Table Hopping and loaded them up on the Internet and then helped me pick the ones to use.

Other highlights of this job include all of the tasting and media dinners Lowell and I were privileged to attend, as well as the times I was asked to judge food contests. Appearing as a judge on “Throw Down With Bobby Flay” was the icing on the cake. Other fun judging experiences include Best Chef Bergen County (also known as Best Chef NJ); chocolate contests and of course the Great Burger Showdown hosted by New Jersey Monthly. Appearing on Arthur Schwartz’s and Joan Hamburg’s radio shows and local radio and TV was a blast. as was being interviewed for Eating With Eric by Eric Levin episodes 15 and 16.

Many, many thanks to New Jersey Monthly publisher and editor-in-chief Kate Tomlinson, who originally agreed to meet with me in 2000 to discuss my concept for Table Hopping With Rosie. She liked the idea, and on January 10, 2001, Table Hopping With Rosie made its debut with stories about Rat’s (still open); chef Lance Knowling, who now has a restaurant  in Harlem; Foro Italico in Elmwood Park (now closed); Vin de Matisse, a one-time boutique winery that was connected to Café Matisse in Rutherford (still open); Amanda’s (still open); the Residence Inn at the Manor (both still open); and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room in Princeton (still open).

For their trust, advice and support, I say a big thank you to the New Jersey Monthly team, especially editor Ken Schlager; deputy editor/dining editor Eric Levin; managing editor Deborah Carter; digital news editor Maryrose Mullen; associate editor Joanna Buffum; and my frequent lunch buddy, promotions director Beth Bressman.

Above all, I cannot forget my readers, who have informed me about restaurant openings and closings and other information for the blog. YOU have made Table Hopping With Rosie possible. For that, I will be forever grateful.

So I am folding up the tablecloth, putting the table in storage, taking off my hopping shoes and retiring (except for some monthly blogs). It has been a non-stop 15-year party. I cherish the memories.

PSST! Lowell—we are eating home tonight. Pork chops are on the menu!

Post-script from Ken Schlager, editor: Everyone at New Jersey Monthly wishes Rosie and Lowell nothing but the best in the years to come. It has been a pleasure to get to know this dynamic duo of Jersey dining. Rosie is a joy to work with—and to dine with. We will miss her daily reports, and look forward to her continuing contributions to this website. Now the Table Hopping torch is being passed to Andy Clurfeld, a veteran of New Jersey food journalism who will make her New Jersey Monthly debut next week. Stay turned for more about Andy and more from Table Hopping.

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