Caffe Galleria in Lambertville NJ

The weather was so nice today. It was a good time to visit Lambertville and look at the Halloween decorations, both in homes and businesses. I was told by a resident that the town transforms into Halloweenville at night, and on Halloween, about seven blocks are closed off so that trick or treaters can roam safely. My friend was visiting from NYC so it was also a great time to show off New Jersey's gems.

After walking around, we settled on Caffe Galleria. A lot of other restaurants and cafes were closed for some reason. My friend also commented that it was a good sign that there were so many diners at Caffe Galleria. We skipped the outdoor seating though it looked inviting, and were welcomed to an even more inviting and warm interior. The first thing that greets you is a gelato & coffee bar, then there is a choice of three indoor seating sections. We chose the largest room with red walls and paintings of colorful food items, like raspberries and olives. The tables were also all unique with repurposed wood.

My friend started out with a mushroom soup that was highly recommended. She said it had a strong mushroom smell and flavor, and was good and hearty. She then had a grilled chicken panini, with prosciutto, cheese, and avocado, served with a side salad. I tried their gluten-free pizza. Thankfully for the delicious toppings, the crust wasn't so bad. Overall, I should just avoid gluten substitutes.

Service was friendly and attentive, even though there seemed to be only one server for both indoor and outdoor seating. It is definitely a place worth revisiting.

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Zorba's Brother

Grilled chicken panini with potato salad

Gluten-free omelette with tomatoes, spinach, and olives, served with fruit cup

Okay, I lied. If you read the original post below, I said I'd return to this place over and over again. Unfortunately, as how it happens with other places I want to revisit, there ends up being other places to go to, and too little time. Well, I found an opportunity to go back to Zorba's and I did just that. My friend and I wanted to visit the Princeton art museum (closed on Mondays, to our surprise) and we wanted to eat nearby. Diners are also great for undecided diners like my friend.

It was awfully quiet inside, with just one booth occupied. There was also only one server who, even though he had just two booths to wait on, was never around when we needed him. I almost felt like we were bothering him!

My friend's grilled chicken panini with sundried tomatoes was good, along with the potato salad. I went with a gluten-free omelette, which comes with a choice of three vegetables. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of asking for olives-- thinking they were the typically safe black ones. It left an awful aftertaste even though I picked off most of them. Sadly, I had eaten my fruit cup ahead of my omelette, so there was no refreshing of my palate after my meal.

The coffee also wasn't very good. Not even worth the free refill. In short, I withdraw my previous recommendation of Zorba's Brother.

... original post below from 2/19/12 ...

I ordered a vegetarian sampler (pictured above, priced at $9.99) which I have nothing but love for.  My daughter ordered an overpriced kid's grilled cheese with bacon at $8.49.  But since my daughter is a budding food critic, I will just use her quotes for the rest of this post.

"Who makes bacon like this?  It's so soft."

"How come they don't serve potato bread here?"

"Why do they have butter knives on the table, but they don't even give you any bread with butter?"

"This place is decorated all wrong.  Why do they have a stuffed animal tiger over there?"

"Plus, they are so slow.  They keep forgetting my soda."

"Next time you come to this place, leave me at home."

P.S.  Of course, this is all tongue-in-cheek.  I plan on going back to Zorba's again, and again.  There were no wrong notes in my plate, and I appreciated its simplicity and freshness-- qualities that go hand in hand.

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Princeton Pi

My daughter got off early from school today. Her friend got off the bus with her and is staying with us until her parents come home. I asked the girls what they would have had for lunch at school, and they said, "pizza." I asked them what they wanted to eat since they're not at school, and they said again, "pizza."

I'd seen Princeton Pi a dozen times while walking or driving around Nassau Street. They have a nice menu with pizza (of course), as well as sandwiches and salads. I kept it in mind for a time the kids wanted this type of fare, and today was the day.

The decor is cute. Orange and black keep with the university's colors. There are several references to the town of Princeton, as well as mathematical equations. Hence their name.

It's a small place, however, so it's not good for groups. The booths can sit up to 4 at most, and there aren't many. It's a good spot to grab a quick bite to eat, or take out. As for quality of the pizza, the girls rated it a 7 out of 10!

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Brick Farm Market in Hopewell NJ

Main dining area on first floor

Over the summer, my husband and I passed this place on our way home from Lambertville. I had never seen it before, and it looked promising. We planned a biking trip in the Hopewell area, with a plan to stop by this new place before or after biking. We've returned several times for different meals, or just coffee. There's a market inside, Rojo's Roastery, a bakery, and a deli-style case with prepared farm-fresh and gluten-free foods. There's also a menu of hot foods. Everything we've tried so far has been beyond good, and it's always a pleasant experience coming here.

Elephant ears, my daughter's favorite

Burger with parmesan kettle chips

Bagel with bacon cream cheese

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Bordoloi's Indian Fusion in Plainsboro NJ

Finally tried Bordoloi's in the small shopping center in Plainsboro Village. The large retailers have closed down in the past few years, so the small businesses left are secluded in half a ghost town. If you don't have any specific business there, you will completely miss the three restaurants there which aren't visible from the street. Bordoloi's predecessors may have been impacted negatively by this, but hopefully Bordoloi's will survive and thrive.

The interior is simple, but spacious. The color of the walls is warm ochre and the lighting is dim even in the middle of the day. Decor is minimal, in a good way, and it's also modern, neat, and tidy. The music is new age, like at a spa. There's space for parties in the back, but it's only semi-private, with a folding partition only. The big draws here are the lunch buffet and the Wednesday kebab nights with music.

Today, I had lunch with my friend from NYC. I rarely get a chance to eat Indian food unless I am with friends, or alone. My friend said the naan was nice and fluffy, but the chicken in the tikka masala was dry. I agreed. Funny enough, the chicken tandoori was juicy, which is not usually the case. The palak paneer was standard. My favorite was the tamarind rice, with peanuts. It was not something I've had before, and now it's something to return for.

There were plenty of other choices; I just did not try them all. But it was certainly varied with lamb and lentil dishes, and other vegetarian dishes I don't the know the names of. Desserts included gulab jamun (donut holes soaked in syrup) and rasmalai (cheese balls in sweet cream sauce). I was happy to learn that the rasmalai was gluten-free!

BORDOLOI'S Indian Fusion on Urbanspoon


Special Feature: Wine Chateau

Louis Jadot wines are featured prominently in the French section

Food & wine, wine & food-- it's one of the best combinations invented by man. If you ask my husband, most wine enthusiasts would prefer to bring their own bottle to restaurants, than order off the wine list, unless it's an establishment that's got a reputable stock of wine in their cellar. That's where Wine Chateau comes in, and why it's being featured on my blog. In order to BYOB, you should have a place to get your bottles, right?

The CEO & president of Wine Chateau was kind enough to do a Q&A with The Old Blue Eats. Saurabh Abrol, a young entrepreneur, grew his father's liquor store into an online retailing giant that provides over 17,000 domestic and imported premium wines. Saurabh first branched out with www.winechateau.com in 2003, and since then has been named in Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in 2014. In addition, there are three physical stores located in Metuchen, Piscataway, and Colonia.

2012 Domaine de Bila Haut "Occultum Lapidem," 94 points per Robert Parker

First off, congratulations on your success! As a parent myself, I can only imagine how proud your father must be. In my household, wine is a huge factor in how we celebrate successes and milestones. How did you celebrate this great venture into the wine business, and which wine would you pick to celebrate your next milestone, and why?

We actually never celebrated the success of Wine Chateau until we hit 10 years of us doing the online business, which was in 2013. We opened a very special bottle of wine and Scotch, and they both were celebrated with our family and team members. The wine was Opera No. 3, which is our family favorite, and the Scotch was a Balvenie Single Malt 21 years.

One of your stores is located in Piscataway, where there is a prominent Indian community. There are also many different ethnic cuisines represented, from South- and East-Asian countries that do not produce their own wine. Which wines would you recommend to pair with these cuisines?

Piscataway is an amazing town that houses many different ethnic communities and that is what makes our store successful. South East cuisine (typically Indian food) tends to be on the spicier side, so you want to stick with a white or a light red. If you go with white, choose one of the Riesling wines, and if you go with a red, go with a nice Pinot Noir.

Speaking of New Jersey, I see you have a good representation of New Jersey wines on your website. As a proud Jersey guy and wine retailer, can you share your thoughts about the wines produced in our home state?

New Jersey is a powerhouse when it comes to wines, and most people don't realize that the quality is on par with some of the hard hitting wines that come out of Napa and Italy. Laurita Winery is an excellent choice for wine and to visit their vineyards.

Lounge for wine tastings, where champagne bottles adorn the walls

Well, it was certainly a pleasure getting recommendations from Saurabh, and my husband and I had fun scoping out the flagship store in Metuchen. It's a beautiful site, as you can see from our photos. Wines are organized by region, and there are also large selections of champagne, beer, and liquor. There are even Asian wines (plum and sake), as well as organic and biodynamic wines, so Wine Chateau really has something for everyone.

Wine Chateau
85 Central Avenue, Metuchen NJ 08840
1380 Centennial Avenue, Piscataway NJ 08854
1021 St. Georges Avenue, Colonia NJ 07067


Noodlelicious aka Edison Noodle House

This place is right across from where we ate the week before. I was determined to try it next time we visited my son.

Noodles are the main attraction here, and we ordered both lo-mein style noodles and rice noodles. My son enjoyed the beef satay version with bokchoy, and said it's one dish he's never tried before. We also had to try the pork steamed buns, or as we know it-- soup dumplings, and while not as soupy as we like, were still pretty good. I ventured off the noodle menu and ordered curry chicken fried rice, and it was another surprise. I appreciate that the dishes aren't too salty.

In short, our visit was a hit-- food-wise. Service was really, really slow, even though the place was practically empty. My son added that the prices were friendly for college students on a budget.

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