Capital Grille Debuts Bar Menu

The Capital Grille, a national steakhouse chain with about 50 locations across the country, recently debuted a bar menu. Essentially a reduced menu from the one offered to dining room patrons, it’s divided into categories such as plates to share, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and sides. What’s new though are a couple just-introduced dishes: seared dry-aged sirloin with sweet chili vinaigrette and wasabi oil ($15), very tender and full of beefy flavor nicely balanced with a bright chili vinaigrette, and cast-iron garlic shrimp served over olive-oil crostini ($18). Both of these new items are sized to be shared although I would have been quite happy with the sirloin as an entree.

Cast Iron Garlic Shrimp
Cast Iron Garlic Shrimp
Grilled Sirloin with a sweet chili sauce

You’ll find the same size salads, apps, soups, salads and entrees on the bar menu as you would on the dining room menu. If you’re looking for for a quick bite before visiting the Westfield Garden State Plaza’s AMC or after a long afternoon of shopping, the sandwich selections may be just the ticket. There’s a hefty signature cheeseburger ($18) or Maine Lobster roll ($21) which are sizable portions.

Flanked by two flat screens with a row each of bar and counter seating and a half-dozen tables, the bar still offers a more luxe feeling for patrons looking for something more upscale with table linens and a full bar. In fact, the bar menu has a number of hand-crafted cocktails to boot which explains the large groups of men and women mingling at the bar. On a recent Saturday night visit to the Capital Grille at Westfield Garden State Plaza, that was the case, making it a festive scene for couples and clusters of friends who chose the bar over the dining room as their destination.

Another desirable aspect of the restaurant is free valet parking for guests. Since this Paramus, NJ mall can be challenging to park in, this feature is very welcome.


Address: 1 Garden State Plaza Blvd, Paramus, NJ 07652


Phone: (201) 845-7040

Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs 1130 am – 10pm; Fri & Sat  11:30 am – 11pm; Sun 4pm – 9pm

Names of Management: David Bryson, Managing Partner; Luis Estacio, Executive Chef Partner


Summer Delights From Fairway

Fairway Market has introduced new products to make summer a little cooler. Starting with a new line of ready-to- eat, single serving chicken breast meals with themes like  Moroccan Chicken with Spiced Lentils, Lemon Chicken with French Couscous and Balsamic Chicken with Tuscan White Beans. Inspired by flavors of the Mediterranean, these new chicken dinners are handy for a light, healthy lunch or dinner. Fairway’s Mediterranean-inspired chicken dinners are sold for $5.99 each at ALL Fairway Market locations.chicken pictureFairway ice creams by High Road Craft, a new line of artisanal, hand crafted, super creamy (thanks to high fat content) frozen deserts, are competing head-on against Häagen-Dazs with flavors like Fig & Saba, Fairway to Heaven Coffee, Frutti di Bosco and Stracciatella, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Our favorite was the Burnt Sugar, which had a creme brulee familiarity and lovely carmel notes. High Road Craft ice cream is available in all NYC Fairway Market locations. The four custom Fairway flavors and the other four signature High Road flavors retail for $5.99.

Fairway Frozen Foods Manager Robert Toro spoke to us about the ice cream line.


IMG_0779Fairway Market of Paramus’s Frozen Foods Manager Robert Toro with the new Fairway by High Road Craft ice creams.

IMG_0776Fairway by High Road Craft collection

Atlanta-based Chef Keith Schroeder dreamed up High Road Craft Ice Cream in his MBA program. In addition to Fairway carrying four of the over 90 flavors available in High Road’s ice cream collections, Schroeder created the four original flavors using some favorite exclusive Fairway Market products as ingredients.  Chef Schroeder began High Road as a high-end ice cream product for fellow chefs, but High Road was too good to keep a secret among chefs, and the word of mouth buzz spread within a year of launching to food service. High Road’s distribution has been growing at a remarkable pace of 300% this past year; the company will be moving into a new 25,000 square-foot facility to accommodate growth, which will also house a unique ice cream visitor’s center and offer tours. Chef Schroeder is part food scientist, part food anthropologist, and 100% ice cream lover.

Fairway Market’s Director of Trade and Product Development, Lori Levy, whose tireless passion for discovering fine foods for her customers, led her to an “aha” moment when she tasted High Road. Chef Schroeder’s talent and like-minded pursuit of quality led her to the idea of using Fairway foods as ingredients in new ice cream flavors. Fairway Market’s in-house expert Steve Jenkins, who pioneered the specialty food movement, and in particular, that of fine olive oil, introduced the kind of challenge that Schroeder thrives on: make [us] an olive oil ice cream as well.


Fairway Market

Paramus, New Jersey

(210) 444-5455


Learning the Secret to Big Game Beer Pairings at Whole Foods Market in Paramus, NJ: Talking With Cicerone Sean Collier

Whole Foods Market in Paramus has a great selection of local brews, easy to customize into zesty 6 packs to suit all palates
Whole Foods Market in Paramus has a great selection of local brews, easy to customize into zesty 6 packs to suit all palates

When the Seattle Seahawks butt heads with the Denver Broncos on February 2, tailgating fare will take center stage, yet enhancing those flavors and the mood of the festivities hinges on smartly paired libations.  For this challenging task, I turned to certified Cicerone Sean Collier, Wine, Beer and Spirits Team Leader at Whole Foods, Paramus.  You can hear it straight from Sean’s mouth by watching the video below.

Local Brews You’ll Want to Try:

  • Victory Prima Pils – Manufactured in Pennsylvania, this is a German-style beer with a decidedly American twist (hops) which gives it a bright, citrus character.
  • Resin – Brewed out of Brooklyn, this is the go-to beer for hops fanatics.  It is double IPA style and a great way to impress your “beer geek” friends.
  • Brewery Ommegang Witte – Made in Cooperstown, NY, this is a good entry-level craft beer.  It’s refreshing and light on the palate and crafted with a blend of citrus peel and spice.
  • Firestone Wookey Jack – This brew is black like a stout so you get nice, roasted flavors but it also plenty of  hoppy character.
  • Doc’s Hard Apple Cider – This is bottled right in Warwick, NY, and is great for people who want to avoid gluten but still desire a smooth, refreshing, alcoholic beverage.

The Key to Good Beer Pairing:

  • “Hoppy” beers – Brews with plenty of hop character like Resin or Firestone Wookey Jack will have a more bitter taste which means they don’t pair well with spicy foods (they accentuate the spiciness).  They pair better with bland fare like bread and potato dishes.
  • Light beers – The citrus notes in these brews make them extremely versatile.  They go especially great with cheese dishes, Mexican food or anything with a bit of a kick including Buffalo wings, salsa and spicy sausage.
  • Dark beers – The darker, maltier brews often seem rich enough to be a meal in themselves, but if you’re looking for a food pairing you’ll want to bring dark beers together with protein/bread combos like hamburgers or fried chicken.  The toasted flavor of dark beers naturally complements heavy meats and bread.

I love the wine, beer and spirits department at Whole Foods.  Buy a case or a case quantity of wine, beer or spirits and enjoy a discount and reusable tote bag.  While you are stocking up on beer, check out the market’s wide selection of hormone-free and organic meats ranging from Hot Italian Pork Sausage to Petite Top Loin Roast.  To save you a little extra time on game day, WF has ready-to-go bacon and cheddar beef burger patties and football shaped meatloaf with marinara sauce (that’s right – little meatloaf footballs).

Coarsely ground beef with 15% fat is what's preferred in chili making.
Coarsely ground chuck is ideal for hearty chili making.  Adding a dash of cocoa with spices like chile adds depth.
A sausage for for every palette.
Sausage for upping chili’s flavor or grilling.
Wings, the quintessential game day food
Marinated wings in multiple varieties and heat levels, the quintessential game day food.
Top it all off with a football cake.
Top it all off with a football cake.

Game on.

Whole Foods Market, Paramus, NJ
300 Bergen Town Center
Paramus  New Jersey  07652
8am to 10pm seven days a week

Julbord Swedish Christmas Feast Celebration at Ikea

Trevlig Helg!    (Happy Holidays in Swedish!)  On Friday, December 13, 2013 Ikea in Paramus, NJ will host a traditional Swedish Christmas Julbord, an all-you-can-eat-buffet at two seatings –  4:30pm-6:00pm or 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

traditional Swedish Julbord Christmas feast
Traditional Swedish Julbord Christmas feast

Adult tickets  $9.99; Children 12 & under $2.49

Adult tickets $12.99; Children 12 & under $4.99

Ikea is also one of my favorite places to pick up stocking stuffers and gifts for friends who enjoy cooking and baking.  Here are some inexpensive and nifty finds for those young and old on your lists, particularly those who are fans of organizing.  From wooden toys to art supplies and soft goods for children to decorative accessories for teens and all types of reasonably priced goodies, jams and kitchen organizers for adults, Ikea has some clever options for last-minute gift giving.

Rajtan Spice Jars, $3.99
Rajtan Spice Jars, $3.99
Wide array of glass storage options for fans of storage, pickling and infused oils and vinegar
Wide array of glass storage options for fans of storage, pickling and infused oils and vinegar
Burken squat jar, $3.99
Burken squat jar, $3.99
Snokul containers with lids, $3.99 - ideal for gifts of toffee and candy
Snokul containers with lids, $3.99 – ideal for gifts of toffee and candy
Tullia children's apron
Tullia children’s apron
Drommar 15 piece pastry cutter set
Drommar 15 piece pastry cutter set
Monstrad baking mat
Monstrad baking mat
gooseberry jam
Gooseberry Jam


100 Ikea Dr, Paramus, NJ 07652

Shake Shack Expands to Paramus, NJ – With Hand-Cut Fries

Shake Shack recently opened a new location in Paramus, NJ and amongst northern New Jersey burger lovers, that’s something to celebrate. This micro-chain is proof that truly great things often have humble beginnings. Shake Shack, created by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, began in 2001 as a simple hot dog stand in Madison Square Park. The cart was set up with the intention of raising funds for the park’s conservancy. The cart quickly became a local phenomenon and Shake Shack has been expanding in leaps and bounds ever since. They have already gone global and are planning more overseas locations in the Middle East, Russia, the UK, and Turkey.

The Paramus installation of Shake Shack is situated on a prime piece of real estate on the ever-busy Route 17 South. True to the original, this Shack offers a wide variety of classic fare including burgers, flat-top dogs, frozen custards, and specialty beverages like root beer floats.

All of those options are fresh and delectable yet the big surprise with the Paramus opening for me has been the Shake Shack french fries. Unlike the original crinkle cut frozen fries originally used in the other locations, Paramus launched with a test of hand-cut shoe string fresh Idahos, even sending out a team of SS execs to meet with potato growers to increase their potato intelligence, so to speak.  Would potatoes brought in year round by the ton meet consistent texture, crispiness, flavor and quality standards?  This was a challenge for the corporate team who relied previously on the frozen variety to ensure those qualities.

The beauty of a beautiful fry?  Never frozen, twice-cooked in canola oil, and always freshly made. The formula works well, with crispy exteriors and soft, potato interiors, skin on, gently salted.  ($2.70 for an order).

New hand-cut fries at Shake Shack


Cheesy fries
Cheesy fries

The Shack burger are consistently delicious, full of beefy flavor, almost buttery in taste, griddle cooked with nice caramelization.  ($4.60 for a ShackBurger single) SS burgers are made with 100% all natural Angus beef from the notable Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. Their proprietary formulation of meat is derived from cattle that are hormone and antibiotic free. The flavor is ideal for a burger whether loaded up with toppings which can, in my humble opinion, compete with the bare beefy burger taste that I love, or simply enjoyed naked with a film of Schreiber’s ultra thin, fast melting American cheese which is practically transparent by the time the burger goes from griddle to bun. Buns are carefully chosen with a soft, non-intrusive quality that yields to and absorbs dripping juices.  While a welcome blotter with tender wheaty flavor, I am holding out for a gluten-free variety which corporate tells me is being experimented with for in-house baking and production. For those who prefer no wheat bun, lettuce leaf wrapping is an option.

Classic cheeseburger

After indulging in delicious, salty eats like burgers, dogs, and those hand-cut fries you can top off the culinary experience by enjoying one of the Shack’s frozen custard options. Their ice-cream base is deliciously thick and creamy. The “concretes” ($4.25 single, $6.50 double) are an excuse to enjoy dessert with your burger – dense frozen custard blended with mix-ins like pumpkin pie, pecan sticky bun, cookie dough, and an array of dessert sauces.

And the best news is they will be offering breakfast in the near future at their JFK Airport Shack – now that’s something to shake, twist and shout about after you’ve gotten through those security lines.


Open daily, from 11 AM – 11 PM

Get your shake on at:

479 Route 17 South

(Between Midland & Ridgewood Aves)

Paramus, NJ 07652


With Danny Meyer, the man behind Shake Shack and countless other iconic restaurant brands.
With Danny Meyer, the man behind Shake Shack and countless other iconic restaurant brands.

Chef Christopher Holland, Session Bistro, and Michele Santo, Whole Foods Market Paramus

Chef Christopher Holland, Session Bistro, and Michele Santo, Whole Foods Market Paramus

Gearing up for a cooking demo at Whole Foods Market Paramus, NJ. The program was offered as an educational service to customers. The demo covered Chef Christopher’s delicate pan roasted red snapper fillet served in a brown butter sauce with fried capers atop vanilla bean scented parsnip puree.