Finding Mish

The Secret of 70th Street 

A golden lotus gracefully opens its ethereal petals, revealing diamonds dancing delicately on its pistils and stamens. It is an alchemist’s dream. No clunky piece of jewelry, this luminescent brooch blossoms with timeless design, creativity, and craftsmanship. So often we go treasure hunting in New York, yet so rarely do we unearth a real treasure. In this case the map couldn’t be marked more clearly. Forego 47th Street. Skip breakfast at Tiffany’s. Wander up Madison Ave. past Chopard and Chanel, and turn east on East 70th Street. Proceed to a cluster of brownstones close to Lexington Avenue. There, tucked behind a gentle garden sits a boite of a jewelry store called Mish New York. For years, my Upper East Side girlfriends have talked in hushed, reverent tones about Mish. They swoon over Mish’s chalcedony and diamond earrings, sigh at the sight of the topaz, gold and diamond pagoda pin and quietly covet the gold Chinese charm bracelet. This eponymous boutique also houses a select array of stunning jewel-encrusted rings, bracelets, necklaces and cufflinks created by Mish Tworkowski, a boyish, friendly former senior VP of Jewelry at Sotheby’s. A New Jersey native, Mish graduated from Rutgers with a double degree in Art History and Business Administration—both of which, no doubt, contributed to his accomplishments as a taste-making jewelry designer and successful entrepreneur. Along with the discerning artistic eye and business acumen, Mish’s interest in jewelry design, its process and art, grew out of an early exposure to all aspects of jewelry making. “A family friend owned a jewelry studio and factory where I would hang out watching the craftsmen at work—creating molds, casting, soldering and polishing silver and gold, and setting stones. It was a fun and amazing place.” Mish explains. “So through osmosis and access to the workshop at a young age, I got to the point where I could make drawings and then think about how to convert a drawing into a piece of jewelry through, say, the ‘lost-wax’ process.” After college came a 15-year stint at Sotheby’s, which included overseeing the estate sales of Diana Vreeland and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Soon Mish started creating his own line of jewelry. His early business “began organically, as many of my clients at Sotheby’s became friends and were interested in my designs.” He began selling his jewelry on the side with his Sotheby’s boss’s blessings. A self-described “happy workaholic,” Mish threw himself into his dream of opening a shop in 2001. His apprenticeship at Sotheby’s gave Mish some definite thoughts on the subjects of taste and style. To him, they are closely linked. “If you define tasteful and stylish, tasteful could be negative, implying that someone is boring, maybe too solemn or safe in her dress,” he says. “Tasteful and good taste are different. Good taste is always appropriate. Good taste is finely edited, never anything superfluous. Stylish, or having style, is someone who is willing to take a little risk. The little surprise that it gives is always wonderful. It might make you smile. It might make you think, ‘Wow, that person is creative and original.’ When someone is stylish, it is under the veil of appropriateness, there is a tastefulness, but with flair.” Nature is Mish’s primary muse. While at Wakaya, a client’s resort in Fiji, Mish was so blown away by the vibrant colors of sea life that—despite being a self-professed “waterphobic”— donned scuba gear and ventured out to the coral reef. “The colors were awe-inspiring,” Mish recalls. “Huge cobalt-blue starfish, yellow, pink, purple and salmon coral, fish of all colors. I went there to relax, but from the moment I stepped on the island, I was designing jewelry non-stop.” Mish has a devoted following of chic New Yorkers. His wide smile and signature bowties reveal a man confident in his own style, who effortlessly puts people at ease. I recently walked into the cheery shop to find a film crew interviewing Mish for a BIG birthday montage for a regular customer. I heard Mish thank her, teasing that without her enthusiastic patronage, he would “never have been able to buy Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris apartment!” When a museum curator friend heard I was researching this story, she emailed me pictures of her Mish treasures— the “go-to” orbiting pearl earrings, the aquamarine necklace, the Henderson brooch Mish designed for her, which she described as a “stunner on a navy suit jacket…the subtlety of colors shows the eye of the artist.” Even online at 72 dpi, she looked great. “What I love about this jewelry,” she wrote, “is his masterly way of mixing colors, keeping it all fresh and not serious-looking (even if the prices are serious). It’s easy to wear.” Mish enjoys collaborating with his customers and being inspired by their lives and interests. His playful wit emerged when designing cuff links and tuxedo studs for a client’s husband’s 50th birthday. The husband collected cars and especially loved his Aston-Martin. Mish made studs, using photos the wife took, that were replicas of the wheels (replete with gemstone hubcaps). He backed the cuff links with miniature gold versions of Aston-Martin tire treads. “What is special about coming to someone like me is that I’m not wholesaling, but dealing one-on-one with the client with a defined style,” Mish explains. “Many jewelers have globalized, so that you can buy their jewelry in any city or country and so can your friends. If you want to buy my designs or find something unique that none of your friends have, you have to come to my store.” In a world where so much is mass-produced, impersonal and brazenly marketed, it is rare to come across a business that thrives on artistry, workmanship and word of mouth. We sometimes forget that, in matters of the heart, a gulf still separates the ordinary from the extraordinary. Mish is a reminder of just how wide that gulf can be. EDGE

All photos courtesy of Mish New York; special thanks to Michael Oldford


Wardrobe Malfunction

Wow. Has it really come to this? I recently learned there is someone at this magazine who has been forbidden to purchase his own clothing. I won’t say who it is, but you’ll find his name closer to the top of the masthead than the bottom. He is a reasonable, intelligent man with a good eye for what works and what doesn’t—except when he’s standing in front of a mirror. The expensive, yellow plaid shirt that doesn’t go with anything (except possibly a wood chipper) was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Since then, his wife must be present to approve all apparel purchases. This is nonnegotiable. If you—as a husband, wife or significant other—feel that you are headed toward this totalitarian state of clothes shopping, I can help. As the longtime host of the TV series A Makeover Story, it was actually my job. I found that focusing on five “essentials” often was enough to move fashion disasters in a safe direction, so that’s how I’ll handle it here. And just to keep things in season, we’ll focus on autumn. Men, stick to this plan and you never hear another What were you thinking! Ladies, arm your man with this information and you’ll soon be cutting him some slack (instead of cutting up his slacks) when he comes home from the store. Buy two sport coats. Although price-wise they will represent the lion’s share of the new wardrobe investment, quality navy blue wool and brown corduroy sport coats are an absolute necessity that will create endless outfits. I know that men can be tempted, at times, to purchase grey, black, or herringbone blazers (all of which can be dazzling), but coupling those colors and patterns with shirts, slacks and ties dramatically widens the playing field for fashion faux pas. I highly recommend J. Crew’s Cashmere Ludlow Legacy Blazer ($575) and Banana Republic’s Tailored Corduroy 2- Button Blazer in Camel ($198). As you’ll see, navy and camel act as an absolute and infallible base for each and every autumn ensemble. They make up the keystone in the flying buttress of a well-rounded wardrobe. Purchase two pairs of Chinos. Don’t call them Khakis, because they aren’t the same. What most people consider a stereotypical khaki is really just the bottom of the barrel in the world of men’s cotton trousers. I hate to say it, because they serve many a purpose, but it’s true. The word Khaki, by the way, comes from the Urdu word for dusty. During the Raj, English soldiers would dye their whites the color of the omnipresent and unavoidable dust in south and central India. Thus, was born both the color and the English word. Chinos, the more sophisticated cousin, are distinguished by the combed cotton sheen and the lack of back pocket cover flaps. Lacoste’s Classic Chino in Beige ($88) is perfectly conservative and appropriate for any occasion. Get two tailored shirts. You want the real deal here. A well-constructed gent’s wardrobe requires them in at least two colors; white and a light blue pattern. I’ve always been a fan of the Brooks Brothers Luxury Slim Fit shirt ($79.50). It is timeless, fits properly, and is available with or without a French cuff. Brooks Brothers includes its trademark “knot” cufflinks with each French cuff purchase, which is a fantastic pair of fashion training wheels if I’ve ever seen them. Every man needs an essential brown shoe. Keep in mind, a go-to black shoe is always a necessity, but I find that in fall, a brown shoe is always more appropriate and will mesh with infinitely more outfit components. Hugo Boss has always been a favorite of mine. And, in this case, the Saharian Chukka Boot in Dark Brown ($275) is a timeless, rich choice. Chukka sub-ankle boots are a great option for brisk months and seem to carry with them both endless style and rugged masculinity—two big advantages in my book. Most men have no idea what it’s like to suffer for the beauty of a shoe, and this will be no exception. Chukka’s wear like a Jimmy Choo, but feel like a Birkenstock. I know, it’s so unfair! Accessorize. No male wardrobe would ever be complete without a little accoutrement. I know most men shy away from (if not perpetually underestimate) the importance of the accessory. A stubborn man can mount successful arguments against a beautiful watch, a great pair of cufflinks or a dazzling ring. However, a first-rate leather belt is a must have, not a should-have. Again, since we’re building our fashion masterpiece within the framework of an autumnal palate, I highly suggest brown—if for no other reason than the fact that brown leathers seem to retain more beauty in texture, and stand out more prominently against other fabrics. Ralph Lauren’s Saddle Leather Belt in Papaya ($175) is a winner through and through. Its gold roller buckle and rich saddle leather echo country craftsmanship, while conjuring images of the luxury of Savile Row. A suddenly and unexpectedly well-dressed man can be a startling reminder of all the other fantastic, useful, and sometimes mystifying purposes he serves. So go forth and shop with new purpose and confidence. To the Short Hills… and beyond! EDGE


Hurting Instinct

 For more and more vets, evaluating pain has become less and less of guessing game

As judgment calls go, it is one of the most difficult in veterinary medicine. A dog in pain can’t speak for itself—we know that—but without accurately gauging the nature and severity of a canine’s discomfort, even the most gifted vets may find themselves at a loss when determining a course of treatment. Compounding this dilemma is the fact that dogs rarely display the pain they are experiencing at home on a trip to the animal hospital. Their adrenaline is pumping, their senses are under assault, and many experience off-the-charts anxiety—all of which can mask their pain once they hit the examining table. So what’s a vet to do? Keep score. They now can do so thanks to an elegantly simple document called the Canine Brief Pain Inventory (aka CBPI), which was developed at the University Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. The two-page evaluation sheet contains 11 carefully constructed questions, each of which can be answered on a sliding scale from 1 to 10—not by the doctor or (obviously) the patient, but by the dog owner. The result is a score which, over years of trials, has proven to be remarkably accurate. Why the dog owner? The answer would seem to be a no-brainer. After all, who better to report on a pet’s condition than the person who sees that pet more than anyone? But there’s the rub. The idea of taking what is purely observational data and then translating that into unimpeachable science is not always an easy sell. It’s not weaving straw into gold, mind you, but to some it has a little of that flavor. Not so says the CBPI’s creator, Dr. Dorothy Cimino Brown, Professor and Chief of Surgery at Penn who also has a practice within the university. “There is a whole scientific method surrounding how you build a numbers-based assessment tool from something that is inherently subjective,” she says. “It is a multi-step process during which you develop interview questions and then determine what and how they should be asked, and also how the answers should be recorded. We knew that the signs and behaviors associated with chronic pain in dogs can be non-dramatic, and therefore would be best known by dog owners. That is why we devoted five years and $500,000 on studies and focus groups in order to develop a scientifically reliable instrument.” According to Dr. Brown, there was a lot of tweaking during CBPI’s first two years, and mostly fine-tuning over the last three. Some of the questions to be included seemed obvious to everyone, such as How is your dog hopping into the car or getting upstairs? One development that surprised the researchers was a sleep question. Dogs experiencing pain related to cancer have trouble sleeping, so everyone assumed a sleep question would make the final cut. “It didn’t,” says Dr. Brown. “In building a question about sleep we could never get it to mathematically behave. So we eliminated it. The problem was that not all owners sleep in the same room as their dog, so we dropped it from the inventory.” Brown’s team is pleased with the acceptance of the CBPI within the veterinary community. The form is available on the Internet at no charge, and it already has been downloaded more than 500 times; there is no way to track how often it is emailed or disseminated in other ways. After some initial resistance, the CBPI received glowing reviews in veterinary publications and today companies seeking FDA approval for canine pain medicine are using the CBPI to determine whether a drug is doing what it is supposed to do. Will the CBPI achieve “industry standard” status? From a research standpoint, it’s already a superb one. Considering that many local practitioners don’t use anything—they will ask how a dog is doing, but they don’t quantify it longitudinally—often a change in medication or treatment is based solely on feel. Old dogs can learn new tricks, as can vets who might initially resist an instrument such as the CBPI. From a patient record-keeping standpoint alone, says Dr. Brown, it just makes sense. “We recognize that the idea you can build an objective tool for a subjective situation is something new for veterinarians,” she offers. “But you can’t just pull six questions out of the air and expect to get a real evaluation.” EDGE  

Editor’s Note: Mark Stewart grabbed this story assignment for selfish reasons. He is the owner of an arthritic collie named Clementine. On his next vet visit, he will have a completed CBPI in hand. Mark also authored New Jersey Plants and Animals and All Around New Jersey: Regions & Resources; both books are now in their second hardcover printings.


Horse Play

 In the Garden State, Polo Is a ‘Family Thing’ 

Thousands of families in suburban New Jersey wake up on summer Sundays to a little something I like to call the eternal struggle. The kids want to kick around in cutoffs and flip-flops. Dad is looking to devote the day to the “competitive spirit” (translation: watch sports). Mom? By the time the sun sets, she would like to feel as if she’s moving forward—psychically and socially— not just treading water. Like most, I once assumed the solution to this Sunday dilemma was unattainable. And I’m not one to give up easily. I run a business that presents a new twist or challenge on an hourly basis; if I don’t hear someone screaming a four-letter word, I actually worry that something’s wrong. Perhaps that is why my favorite four-letter word is Polo. Yes, I know. We tend to think of polo as an exclusive pastime for those who enjoy the privileges of wealth and influence. And in some parts of the world this is true. But I have experienced firsthand the inclusive side of polo, too— the side that brings people from all walks of life together in a beautiful setting, transforming that sleepy Sunday into a vibrant sporting and social event. Some come to watch the action. Others come to connect with old friends and meet new ones. Big kids come and so do little ones. And a lot of people may not admit it, but they come for the amazing food. The point is that everyone comes. For those interested in business or social networking opportunities, well, obviously that goes on all the time at a polo match. In fact, much like golf, the two are constantly intertwined. Unlike golf, it doesn’t take a mother or father away from home all day. Indeed, I know of no other leisure activity that promotes the family dynamic the way that polo does. And this applies to virtually any family. Families with young children will find plenty to do at a polo match. There are the magnificent ponies to admire, the spotless stables to explore, a variety of kid-friendly activities and, naturally, lots of other young boys and girls. Families with teenagers typically park the car, get a feel for the layout and logistics, and then watch with confidence (and relief) as their sons and daughters fan out on their own—leaving mom and dad to enjoy a civilized afternoon and recharge their batteries for the week ahead.

THE CULTURE The people who gather to watch a polo match tend to have a few things in common. They enjoy good food, engaging conversation and, let’s face it, people-watching. Consequently, you won’t see too many folks wandering around in jeans and a t-shirt. You will see some big hats— hats that are unlikely to be worn anywhere but a polo match. As a rule, polo fans dress neatly and nicely. This includes the kids, who seem amazed that they can actually enjoy themselves without looking like their role models on Jersey Shore. Do you have to be wealthy to attend and enjoy a polo match? No. Polo is an expensive sport to play (just ask my accountants) but, in our area, a season’s pass to a polo club can be had for less than the cost of two tickets to a Yankees game. Are there wealthy people at a polo match? Most definitely. But they are not as easy to pick out as you might think; the old expression, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” often applies here. That’s because it’s not all about the money. It’s about the camaraderie, it’s about the aesthetics, it’s about people who—like the elite athletes out there controlling their powerful animals—are interested in elevating their game. Ultimately, I believe this is what makes polo such an inclusive sport. Truth be told, I encountered far less resistance from people in American polo when I first started getting into the sport in the 1990s than I did when I came to America from Europe as a boy in the 1970s. The real tip-off that there are multimillionaires milling around in the crowd is the number of corporate sponsors splashing their names on an event, and also the high-end jewelers and other retailers who like to display their wares to attendees. They know that there are lots of current and future customers at the match, and they also know that many people only watch some of the action—they come to socialize and shop, too. If you’re in the market for a new car, new jewelry, new wardrobe, new stock broker, new caterer or even a new face, there is a lot to catch your eye away from the field.

THE COMPETITION Lest we forget, polo is a serious sport. It is fast. It is exciting. And it has an element of danger. The athletes in the saddle must perform both as individuals and as members of a team, and they need unbelievable hand-eye coordination. The animal that riders must control is a “pony” in name only—they are full-on horses, four to eight inches taller than the riding ponies at your local stable, and a lot stronger and swifter. They tip the scales at around 1,000 pounds. When they thunder past the spectators, the air crackles with energy. A good polo pony can cost a cool quarter-million dollars or more, and requires up to two years of training before they are ready for competition. They continue to train daily, often twice a day. A polo pony must respond to a rider’s instructions through a variety of one-handed tugs on the reins and subtle weight shifts and leg movements. They are primped and pampered in between matches, but once the action starts they are pushed to their absolute limits. Many first-time polo fans are amazed to see how often a player changes mounts. His string of ponies usually ranges between three and seven. If you’ve ever watched an ice hockey team change lines, then you have some idea of the level of exertion involved. A quality horse can get its rider to the ball. From there, however, it’s up to the player to pass, defend or score. There are four players per side, each with different responsibilities. The point of polo is to work the ball up the field and knock it through a goal that is eight yards wide. The field itself is 300 yards long with tall sideboards to protect the spectators and keep the ball in play. Defense is all about position and timing. A player can thwart an opponent by interfering with his mallet, or by “riding him off” (picture a half-ton bodycheck). For us, polo is a family sport no matter where we are sitting. My great joy is that I now train and compete with my sons, Tyler, Shaun and Jeffrey. I have been working on my polo game for more than a decade and still feel like I’m learning something new every day. Often I am asked about the skill level required to play polo at a world-class level. The truth is that it’s difficult to define. Try hitting a golf ball one-handed on a bicycle at 30 mph without ending up in a heap and you’ll have some idea of the talent and training involved. Better yet, come out to a match this summer. You’ll see…it really is a family thing. EDGE  

Editor’s Note: Simon Garber is the owner of the Yellow Cab and SJS Jets polo teams, as well as the Polo Club of Colts Neck. For more information about this summer’s Sunday schedule, log onto Special thanks to Dario Garcia and Susan Belfer for their help on this story.

Love is a Battlefield

Dispatches from the Dating Front

The facts are irrefutable. The numbers are alarming. The statistics are startling, surprising, and just a little depressing. By  now you realize that I am not referring to the unemployment rate, the housing market, or the New Jersey Nets’ 2009–10 record. No, I am talking about dating. And specifically, dating post-30-something when, as the old saying goes, you’re more likely to be kidnapped by terrorists than find Mr. Right. Dating takes guts, and it is much easier to exit than to enter. If you don’t believe it, try these three numbers on for size—50, 3, 3 and 5. Around 50 percent of American singles have not been on a real date in more than two years. Human beings typically decide whether someone’s attractive within 3 seconds of meeting them. And the most common time for breakups is between 3 and 5 months into a relationship. Whether you’re newly unattached or, like me, a lifelong single, the odds may seem stacked against you. However, who’s to say you can’t tilt those odds in your favor? To do so, it helps to have a little clarity about what is—and is not—happening out there on the adult dating scene.

You’ve probably heard these words of wisdom before, but they bear repeating. According to the most recent study I could find, instant dating turn-offs are bad breath, bad teeth and body odor. Followed closely by hair mistakes, raggedy nails, missing teeth, hairy nostrils, burping, flatulence, and goofy glasses. This goes for the guys and the girls—no joke! If you manage to make it past those harrowing first three seconds, remember not to talk too much about yourself or your ex, don’t bring up marriage too soon, and don’t appear to be an overeager beaver. Body language speaks volumes, so uncross your arms.

Look your date in the eyes, and gaze and hold that look a little bit longer than normal. Create an instant link to a person, and say his or her name at least twice during a conversation. Look for clues that your date is interested, and remember bits of information about a person and work that information back into the conversation. Happiness is contagious and hard to walk away from. So try to relax. Don’t worry. Be happy. In terms of gender specifics, remember that a large  majority of men are not confident meeting a woman for the first time. As a rule, men are put off by groups of loud women. So ladies, help these poor guys out and break away from the crowd. And please, help with the conversation. At the same time, avoid clinging, fishing for compliments, serial flirting, being a party girl or a drama queen. Men, stand up straight before you even utter a word—slouching gives a woman a negative first impression. Also, if you cannot decide what to wear on a date, go with blue. Studies confirm women are attracted to men in blue.

We all know how important it is to be in the right place at the right time. Indeed, among the best places to meet other people and do some initial flirting are classes, coffee shops, gyms and shopping malls. And despite what you’ve heard, office romances have a surprisingly good track record, too. Four out of 10 result in marriage. Don’t ask about the other six. No longer taboo, no longer not talked-about, and no longer not admitted to is online dating. In fact, the online dating industry rakes in close to $2 billion dollars annually. Matchmakers and dating coaches pull in another $260 million. Goes to show you, there are a lot of people looking for Mr. or Ms. Right. Right on. The drawback of going cyber, of course, is that what you see isn’t always what you get. Statistically speaking, a woman’s biggest fear in the online dating world is meeting a serial killer. For men it is meeting someone fat. To the men I say hey, prioritize! To the women I say that only three percent of men are technically psychopaths, so the odds are with you until about the 33rd online date. Italian restaurants are the most popular on a first date. Hello—who doesn’t like pasta and pizza? Most people will kiss on the second date and consider themselves in a relationship after six to eight dates. Women feel it is appropriate to get intimate after a month, or two or three. Men feel it is okay on the third date, which also happens to be the recommended time to wait until cooking someone dinner at home. Interesting.

What do the boots-on-the-ground people have to say about New Jersey’s 30-to-50 dating scene? I convinced five friends to recount some recent experiences. Admittedly, it’s too small a sample to be scientific. But I think it’s a fairly accurate picture of who’s out there and how they’re doing.

She doesn’t need a reason to celebrate, but a good date is cause for celebration. Linda likes to go out and have fun, and dating is a night out. The way she sees it, a night out—good or bad—is never that bad. “I go out every weekend with this frame of mind,” she says. “I am out to have fun and if I meet someone, great. If not, I am still going to have fun.” Linda has rolled the dice on the Internet dating site, “I had what I thought were two great first dates, but both turned out to be total busts. All they were looking for was a physical relationship—on the first date. One guy lived in a boarding house in Belmar and ranted on and on about how much he hated his family. I thought about calling 911.”

He’s 39 years young and the most fun guy I know. Dave has sworn off blind dates—they just don’t work, he says. Dave meets many of his dates in bars, where he can make the corniest opening lines sound like Shakespeare sonnets. He also finds Facebook to be productive. First dates are usually dinner, and Dave always pays. “I have found some old flames on Facebook and a lot of new ones, too,” he says. “I also meet a lot of people at weddings, but the younger women kind of get misty-eyed watching the bride. I smell commitment and usually run.”

She was married, a mother, and divorced before turning 30. The years leading up to and after Hannah’s divorce were trying, both emotionally and physically, and when she decided to get back into the dating game it wasn’t as simple as she thought. After many miserable and insufferable dates (almost all the results of set-ups), she tried and had substantially better luck than Linda. “I knew right away Victor was the one,” she says, sounding almost like a commercial. “We clicked. Our first date was coffee. We saw each other often after our first date, and very soon after we became inseparable.” Hannah and Victor, both in their 40s now, just celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary.

He’s what Jersey Girls call an Italian Stallion. Rob is a player—funny, smart, athletic, handsome, curious and, with some notable exceptions, fairly adept at juggling multiple dates. Suffice it to say that a glass of wine tossed in the face, a lap full of spaghetti, and getting his sports car keyed are not rare occurrences for Rob. Still, he lives and dates by a strict code. “I never let anyone I date see, hear, or know about others,” he says. “I don’t flaunt it and I am sensitive about it. Humor, discretion and comfort are very important.”

She has to be the hardest working person I know, and she admits that dating isn’t easy. At 41, Danielle wonders if she will ever marry. Actually, she wonders if she will even date. “Believe me, I have tried. I am going on a singles cruise in a few months, and although I am not looking, it doesn’t mean I won’t look.”

Dating isn’t meant to be, nor should it be, a military campaign. I remember most of my dates, and yes, there are some I would love to forget. Like the time my date and I shared a dinner table with his friend and his friend’s girlfriend one Labor Day weekend. This couple argued throughout the entire meal. Finally, my date asked them to calm down. The other woman threw a drink in his face, he got angry, and then his friend punched him in the face and broke his nose. We spent the evening in the emergency room. I guess, in this case, love really was a battlefield. Most of my dates haven’t been catastrophes. My best, my favorite, and the date I still remember with longing and nostalgia, consisted of a long bike ride around the park, a messy soft-serve vanilla cone, a dinner of pizza and Pepsi, and watching a sky full of fireworks. Sparks flew that night. They certainly did.

Editor’s Note: In researching this story, Diane explored the worlds of dating “events.” Log onto to read an extended version of Love Is a Battlefield and get her take on Lock N Key and 7 in Heaven.


Cooking with Fire

A day together in the kitchen can be great couples therapy. Or a recipe for disaster.

Couples searching for something to do together frequently settle for spending a few hours at a nice restaurant. By definition, this serves the purpose—they’re doing something and they’re together. So why, after they pay the bill and argue about whether the tip was adequate (and was that last Sambuca really necessary?), does the sense of isolation remain?  Because
they haven’t really “done” anything; the experience was essentially passive. Now, if they were to cook the dinner together, they might enjoy being creative and productive, working toward a common, pleasurable goal. Assuming, of course, that no one gets sick afterward. First, let’s establish some ground rules. These evolve from my thirty years of marriage (no reprieve in sight) and almost that many years as a professional chef.

They don’t apply when one of the partners has serious cooking experience and the other doesn’t. Habits developed in restaurant kitchens die hard, and never remembering to turn off the burners can be a problem. Unless you both think liverwurst on rye with onions constitutes dinner, you should begin planning your menu at least a week ahead. Write it all down. No unilateral last minute changes. (“Uh, I thought we could throw a couple of habaneros in the stuffing.”) Start a notebook. Keep track of your meals à deux. If you’re really into it, take some pictures. Don’t keep insisting on foods that make him break out in hives. He may be a Neanderthal, but he’ll get the message eventually. Settle on how, as well as what, you want to make. “What? My mother always put cream of mushroom soup in the sauce. I suppose that’s not good enough for you?”

Avoid including Mom’s, or Nonna Esmeralda’s or Tanta Rifka’s specialties. Avoid tricky, last-minute preparations. No hollandaise, no soufflés, no deep-frying, no molten chocolate cakes. Pick a make-ahead first course. A salad or a soup would be perfect, and believe me, if you think making a great soup is too easy, you’ve never made one. Put together a platter of antipasto, and remember to take it out of the fridge an hour or two before you eat, so the cheese doesn’t taste like polystyrene.

For a main course, roast a leg of lamb, or do a baked pasta, or a casserole. Forget the veal piccata for now. And if neither of you can wield a carving knife properly, cook something that doesn’t require a surgeon’s touch. Watching him wrestle with a roast chicken, or, worse, a roast duck, will lead to merriment (yours) and resentment (his). If neither of you can bake…don’t bake. Baking is unforgiving. Many professional chefs dislike the weighing and measuring and fussing. Learn a foolproof recipe for tiramisu or a fruit cobbler and make it the day before. This isn’t a cooking show, and you don’t get extra points for creativity. Simple and successful is the goal. Just in case, have a couple of pints of ice cream in the freezer. Shop the day before, if possible.

Have some alternatives in mind, just in case all the asparagus is yellowish and limp, or your grocery is out of pancetta. Make sure you have all of the equipment you need. This is a good time to invest in a decent chef’s knife, or an enameled cast-iron casserole, or even a good pair of tongs. Looking for a pastry bag in the local drugstore on a Saturday night is a total bummer. Establish a timeline. Candles and cut flowers are optional, but leave enough time that you can shower and change. If one (or both) of you smells stronger than the cheese, you’re not going to enjoy dinner. Take it easy on the cocktails and keep them simple. A bottle of wine, maybe two, is fine. Three strawberry mojitos before dinner is just wrong. And don’t hurry. No one’s waiting for your table. Enjoy eating what you’ve cooked, and compliment each other’s efforts. Save the competitive juices for the tennis court. Is there one unbreakable rule? Yes, and it may not be an obvious one. Scrub the cookware; empty the dishwasher; wipe down the counters; take out the garbage. Before you eat.

The whole exercise is pointless if you come down for breakfast and there’s a heap of greasy pots in the sink and the house smells like garlic. The concept is to eat dinner and then follow your fancies. Or your fantasies. Ever met anyone whose fantasy life revolves around unclogging the garbage disposal the morning after? Many of us spend our days tapping away on lifeless little plastic squares. A day spent together in the kitchen provides contact with the textures and colors of nature. We get our hands dirty, and maintain the focus needed to work safely with hot pans and sharp knives. With a little forethought, you might have a pleasant afternoon followed by a memorable meal. After all, feeding and being fed by another person is an act of—almost—unrivaled intimacy.

Hot Spots

A Dozen Dazzling Places to Say ‘I Do’

Toss out your bridal magazines. Delete those online wedding bookmarks. Tell your party planner to take a walk. This is New Jersey! If you’re in the market for an unforgettable wedding, you’re already in the right place. You just have to know where to go. I’m not talking Weird New Jersey here. On the contrary, every venue on this list lends itself wonderfully to traditional ceremonies and receptions. That being said, if you are looking for something simple, special, lo-tech or alternative, you can also count on these places to shine under virtually any circumstances. Finally, don’t fret if you’ve never heard of these nuptial hot spots. Each, in its own way, is one of the state’s best-kept wedding secrets.

The Great Outdoors
These wedding venues take advantage
of New Jersey’s awesome natural beauty.

Back-to-nature types love the Mountain Lake House, which offers the ultimate in seclusion and privacy just a few minutes from ritzy Nassau Street in Princeton. Don’t be surprised if Bambi and Thumper join the festivities. Wedding parties are the interlopers on this 90-acre nature preserve; the furry full-time residents merely tolerate their presence.

Spring and Autumn wedding dates fill up fast at the Taylor-Butler House in historic Middletown. The breathtaking Victorian-Italianate structure sits on five wooded acres and has been lovingly restored to offer eight ornate rooms in which to hold your service and reception.

When you’re talking “blast from the past,” there may be no better wedding site in the state than the 1761 Brearly House, which sits in a meadow at the end of a winding, unpaved road in Lawrenceville. The hinges hadn’t even started squeaking on this lovely Georgian brick home when the colonials started taking potshots at the redcoats. Of course, those musket balls wouldn’t have been coming from Brearly. It was a Quaker farmhouse during the Revolution.

Before the Cooper River joins the Delaware, it ambles past

the Camden County Boathouse in Pennsauken. It serves as the launching point for some of the state’s finest crew teams. Add them to the people pulling for couples as they recite their vows on the balcony overlooking the river and the natural beauty beyond. It’s like getting married in a Monet painting.

No other spot in New Jersey combines sea and sky like the Water Witch Club in Monmouth Hills (above). It offers a sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean, New York City and Sandy Hook Bay, and is the highest place on the Eastern Seaboard where couples can tie the knot. Nestled in a neighborhood recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Water Witch Club Casino has been in continuous use as a gathering place for performances and celebrations longer than any other in the state.

For pure firepower, nothing can compete with the battleship New Jersey in Camden. Launched in 1942 and converted to a museum and memorial in 2001, she is the Navy’s most decorated battleship. The New Jersey (aka BB62) has her own events staff to ensure that everything’s shipshape for the nuptials.

If you prefer New York over Philly as your river view, then you’ll want to contact the folks who run the boathouse at Hoboken’s Shipyard Marina. An emerald lawn stretches right to the water’s edge, where guests can arrive by limo, ferry or—for that cousin who still owes you money—PATH train.

Classic Charm
These wedding spots feed the need for timeless tradition

Anyone getting hitched at Liberty Hall in Union (right) will tell you that a rose garden by any other name would not smell
as sweet. There’s just something about an outdoor wedding at this historic site—with its 23 manicured acres and breathtaking architecture—that truly transcends the mere traditional.

Catering halls may be off your radar if you’re looking for something beyond the ordinary. However, don’t be too quick
to eschew the James Ward Mansion in Westfield. While it offers the bells and whistles you’d expect from a traditional
wedding spot, it outdoes itself (and the competition) in terms of Old World elegance and sophistication. No smoked-glass
chandeliers here.

For most soon-to-be-marrieds, it’s an article of faith that the cost and commitment involved in the staging of a glorious
“church wedding” will come in on the steep side. Not so at the Kirkpatrick Chapel in New Brunswick (right). From the
towering candelabras to the chest-rattling pipe-organ music, it’s everything you dream of—only without the religious trappings or the big price tag.

Artful Dodges
A great way to avoid the obvious is to embrace
the creative side of the wedding equation

Looking to class up the in-laws on the big day? Look no further than the Newark Museum, which offers three different venues boasting priceless paintings and sculpture. You deliver the guests and the elegant Engelhard Court, the plush Ballantine House and the beautiful Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden supply the cultured surroundings.

Bringing form to your function is a specialty of the Grounds for Sculpture, located at the Seward Johnson Center for the
Arts in Hamilton. A favorite spot for exchanging vows is the Nine Muses by Carlos Dorrien, but with so much to serve as
an artistic backdrop, brides and grooms are encouraged to get creative. EDGE



According to the Mayan calendar, on December 21, 2012, the world will come to an end. Deep down, no one really buys into this apocalyptic vision. However, it would be nice to think that New Jersey is moving away from impending doom, rather than towards it. So, the question is: Are we?

When out-of-towners think of New Jersey, they tend to picture belching smokestacks, floating medical waste and other less-than-complimentary images. Unfair as that may be, the state does have a reputation for contributing more than its fair share to the world’s pollution problem. More and more, however, we hear that New Jersey is actually a leader in the Green Movement. Everyone, it seems—from cities to businesses to individual citizens—is focused on reducing our collective carbon footprint, protecting our precious resources and promoting sustainability. Granted, there is often a credibility gap between saying you’re green and putting your money where your mouth is. But as this snapshot of “where we are” shows, in many important (and surprising) ways, the Garden State really is living up to its name. Change is never easy, especially when it comes with a price tag. And make no mistake, the initial cost of going green can be steep. Yet slowly but surely, what was once a polarizing issue is becoming a foundational one. The poster child for environmental sustainability no longer sports a beard and sandals. More often than not, it’s a guy like Mike Kerwin. Kerwin is the CEO of the Somerset County Business Partnership and founder of the state’s first Energy Council. He has been at the forefront of leading the effort to make New Jersey green. Whether it’s convincing people to walk, bike, use mass transit, bring their own bags to the grocery store or reuse water bottles, he has been committed to teaching the masses how to live more environmentally friendly. Kerwin himself sees the change. Where he once found himself lecturing people on why it’s important to live green, he now spends a lot of time providing answers to inquisitive New Jerseyans on how to embrace a cleaner, healthier and more environmentally responsible lifestyle. While everyone is still watching their pennies these days, there is a general acceptance that the added cost (and effort) required to achieve these goals is worth it in the long run. “I definitely notice that younger people—starting with my own kids—seem to embrace it,” says Kerwin of going green. “I think it’s going to be a generational shift. I think ultimately there is going to be a demand for some lifestyle changes. And I think the older generation will follow suit. The case has been made that change has to be made.”

OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS One of the most daunting obstacles to the greening of New Jersey is breaking old habits. The same person who dutifully recycles plastic bags or keeps their tires perfectly inflated may be completely resistant to a resource-preserving technology that simply rubs people the wrong way. Ted Carey knows all too well what it feels like to bump up against logic-defying behavior. His Hillsdale company, C&C Service, markets and installs LaundryPure, a device installed above the washing machine that uses the hydrogen contained in tap water to eliminate the need for hot water and laundry detergent. It saves money. It saves energy. It extends the life of clothing. And from a cost-to-benefit standpoint, the $450 LaundryPure amortizes itself in less than two years. You’d think by now every home would have one, and that Carey would be sipping Mai Tais on some beach overlooking a secluded tropical lagoon. There is just one problem.

“The promise that the unit makes is so great, that there is a natural skepticism,” he says. “Madison Avenue has indoctrinated us to believe that you need bleach and detergent in order to have clean clothes. And when something seems too good to be true, we have a tendency to move away from it.” “We need to give a unit to Oprah,” Carey laughs.

GRIP IT & RIP IT The verdant Hyatt Hills Golf Complex, situated on the borders of Clark and Cranford, was once a condemned brown site. Now it counts among its accolades the NJTA’s Environmental Stewardship Award. Hyatt Hills was reclaimed and transformed into a destination for golfers and their families, with first-rate teaching pros and fine dining.

CAR TALK Perhaps the ultimate test of our willingness to flip the switch on the status quo is the environmentally friendly automobile. America’s car culture is deeply embedded in New Jersey. Look around the next time you’re stuck at a stoplight. Almost everyone is driving something smelly, noisy, big—or some combination of the three. At what point will Garden Staters embrace hybrids like the Prius or Volt, or the batterypowered Leaf? (Note to Nissan: Real men may not drive a car called the Leaf.) The numbers are too premature to draw any lasting conclusions, but what does exist may raise a few eyebrows. Toyota dealerships like the one in Cherry Hill reported that they were having a hard time moving the Prius—and that was before the mother company’s PR nightmare. In 2008, New Jersey ranked 11th in hybrid vehicles sold, with 6,072, despite being the 9th-most populous state. According to the salespeople in Cherry Hill, the vast majority of New Jerseyans are still in love with their SUVs, and have a hard time with the concept of plugging in a car at night. The idea of not being able to go out and just start your car immediately is still viewed as a hassle versus a benefit. Not to mention that there are conversion steps the average home must undergo before it can support a hybrid vehicle.

GROWING PAINS We are what we eat. Countless studies support this old axiom. Although only a small percentage of fruit, vegetables and dairy grown in the Garden State is organic, that number has been rising dramatically as New Jersey consumers are becoming wise to the real cost of food grown with the help of chemicals, or trucked in from thousands of miles away. Business is booming at the state’s beloved produce stands, many of which feature organic goods. Meanwhile, the major grocery chains are devoting more and more space to these products. Some even have organic house brands. All told, sales of organic foods have seen double-digit percentage increases each year for more than a decade, with some years well over 20 percent. It’s a drop in the bucket, of course, but anything that heightens consumers’ awareness of the bigger environmental picture—especially in such personal terms—is a step in the right direction. Stephen McDonald would certainly agree. He founded Applegate Farms, a Bridgewater-based natural foods business, 22 years ago. Back then he and his peers seemed to be fighting a losing battle against that other McDonald’s. Today, Applegate Farms has grown from a niche market in the health-food category to mainstream markets all across the state. McDonald credits the growth of his business and others like it to the fact that New Jersey shoppers are making informed choices about what they feed their families—significantly more informed than even a decade ago. “When you walk into a store you want to understand how it was made, and what’s in it and what is not in it,” he explains, adding that “you can eat less and eat better, and it doesn’t have to cost you any more money. And it’s better for your diet. What excites us is that people are learning and becoming more engaged.”


Of course, a major component of changing our longterm relationship with the earth depends on setting a good example for our children. In this regard, New Jersey schools are getting with the plan. Most if not all of the major additions and renovations that have occurred in recent years have embraced some aspect of green sensibility. One of the early trend-setters was the Willow School in Peapack-Gladstone, built from the ground up in 2001. Most of the school was constructed with salvaged and recycled materials. From the wooden beams that hold up the walls to the stonework that graces the steps, much of the physical plant is experiencing a second coming of sorts. Solar pane ls have cut energy bills by as much as 70 percent, while rainwater is recycled in a filtering tank and stored for everything but drinking water. The school even has a lunchtime garden on-site. Head of School Kate Walsh is quick to point out an added benefit to going green: an enhanced learning environment. “There’s sort of a peaceful easiness in our classrooms,” she says. “We keep cool with a lot of natural air and natural light. We don’t have a lot of sickness. It’s a very healthy environment. There are no toxins, so the kids are basically healthy and the energy is really nice. What we teach our children is that they need to be responsible decision-makers as they live in the world.”


Ultimately, the agent for green change in New Jersey will be a mix of common sense and economic survival. As Randall Solomon, Executive Director of the New Jersey Sustainable State Institute at Rutgers, points out, “We want to make sure the foundation of our economy and our standard of living is built on a stable foundation that will last into the future.” As for the Mayans, one might be tempted to say that they could have used a smart guy like Solomon to give them a heads-up when their society began crumbling. Then again, New Jersey might do well to take a hard look back at the lessons learned by that vanished civilization. There are some haunting parallels. Yes, we’ll make it past 2012 all right. But the next time you find yourself complaining about food and water shortages, skyrocketing fuel prices, overbuilding and overpopulation, it might be worth remembering that in responsible, proactive stewardship of the environment lies the key to the future of the state.

Editor’s Note: Zack Burgess is the Assignments Editor for EDGE. He decided to tackle this assignment himself—with assists from architect Bob Kellner and transportation Expert Josh Leinsdorf. For more information on the energySMART program call (866) NJ–SMART.



Century Mark

New Jersey was a state of “firsts” way back in 1921!

Hangar Number One is constructed at the Naval Engineering Station in Lakehurst as a base for military airship development. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1968, it is one of the few surviving structures of its kind in the world.




The first class of New Jersey State Police officers graduates from training in Sea Girt. Only 81 of the original 116 men selected survive the rigorous three-month course designed by superintendent Norman Schwartzkopf, Sr.

The Newark-based Carrier Engineering Company develops the first AC unit capable of cooling offices, stores and theaters. The company’s Centrifugal Chiller revolutionizes the air conditioning industry.

The State Theatre, designed by architect Thomas Lamb, opens in New Brunswick. Admission is a quarter and the first film screened is White Oak, starring cowboy hero William S. Hart.

New Brunswick stride piano pioneer James P. Johnson records four historic songs—“Harlem Strut,” “Keep Off the Grass,” “Carolina Shout” and “Worried and Lonesome Blues”—that bridge the gap between Ragtime and Jazz.


Atlantic City hosts a Golden Mermaid beauty pageant to attract tourists during Labor Day week. Margaret Gorman of Washington DC is the winner, with audience votes counting for 50% of the final score. A year later, the competition is renamed Miss America.


The first “Million Dollar” prizefight is held in Jersey City between world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey and world light heavyweight champ Georges Carpentier. More than 80,000 fans squeeze into a specially constructed arena to watch Dempsey score a fourth-round knockout.

The Port Authority is created to coordinate activity of New Jersey and New York ports, bridges, highways and tunnels. The need for centralized oversight became obvious when military troop movement choked the region’s infrastructure during World War I.

All-American Arthur Loeb leads the Princeton Tigers basketball team into battle in what proves to be their first conference-championship season. Loeb’s 203 successful free throws would stand as a school record for more than four decades.

Are You Open?

It’s the phone call Jersey Shore restaurants love to get… and the one that’s driving them crazy.

Superstorm Sandy did more than just splinter our beloved boardwalks and leave miles of beach towns in devastation and wreckage. It took from us the iconic eateries, watering holes and gathering places where so many Jersey Shore memories were made. The storm surge blew through hundreds of businesses. Some rebuilt, some are still trying, a few just gave up and walked away. Though bruised and battered, the beaches are all open this summer, as are most—but not all—of the beloved beach businesses.

Here is a snapshot (taken in May) of who’s up and running, and whom you might want to check with before penciling them into you shore itinerary. Most were underwater at one point, or perilously close to it. Please note that some of the “Check Firsts” will be open by the time you read this story—so don’t be scared away. Sadly, others may be gone forever…no matter how many times you check.



Martell’s Tiki Bar • Jenks Club • Red’s Lobster Pot • Spike’s • Offshore


OPEN: Sandy Hook State Park

CHECK FIRST: Sea Gulls’ Nest


OPEN: Woody’s • Harry’s • Ama

CHECK FIRST: Anjelica’s • Donovan’s • McLoone’s


CHECK FIRST: Seaside Boardwalk Casino Pier

Seaside Funtown Pier


OPEN: Whispers • Black Trumpet • The Breakers

Editors Note: The writer’s family owns Johnny Piancone’s in Long Branch. The water never got near the place, and they were up, running and super-busy within a few days.

‘Til Death Do Us Part

They say the new rule for modern weddings is that there are no rules. Actually, there’s nothing new about that.

Am I imagining things, or does this wedding planner stink?

In Medieval Europe, June weddings became popular because people took their annual baths in May. The tradition of a bridal bouquet began at weddings held after June, when the happy couple and their guests tended to be a bit more fragrant.

I am so ready to start dating again…

Daniel Bakeman and Susan Brewer were just teenagers when they got hitched in New York in 1772. Susan passed away before Daniel, in 1863, making their marriage the longest in modern history at 91 years.

Oh, right. And Rip Taylor is “just a bit flamboyant”….

In 2007, a man named Liu Ye in the Chinese city of Zhuhai got fed up with being single. Unable to find a suitable mate, he married a foam-core cutout of himself. Over 100 guests attended the traditional ceremony, which included a best man and bridesmaid. Ye admitted that he might be “just a bit narcissistic.”

Wait. Didn’t I see this on a reality show?

When the legendary lover Casanova decided to settle down, the mother of the young woman to whom he proposed reminded him that they had once been lovers—and informed him that he was proposing to his own daughter.

No way we’re tipping the band…

Elton John once charged £2 million to  sing at a wedding.

Today, we just use Slim Jims…

In Ancient Rome, marriage experts studied the entrails of swine in order to determine the luckiest day to hold a wedding.

And your point is…?

In a 1976 mass wedding held in Yankee Stadium—during which more than 20,000 members of the Unification Church tied the knot—Reverend Sun Myung Moon announced that the world had lost faith in America, and that New York had become “a jungle of immorality and depravity.”

Does that mean there are more than 25,000 wedding singers?

In the People’s Republic of China, more than 25,000 marriages ceremonies are performed on an average day.

Any truth to the rumor she’s seeing the Tilt-A-Whirl on the side?

In 2009, a 23-year-old woman named Amy Wolfe married a roller coaster in Pennsylvania. She had fallen in love with 1001 Nachts at Knoebels Amusement Park as a teenager and claimed to have developed a relationship with “him.” After the ceremony, Amy changed her last name to Weber, after the ride‘s manufacturer.

And the line at the carving station was ridiculous…

In 1867, the wedding of Maria del Pozzo to Prince Amedeo of Italy got off to a rocky start when it was discovered that Maria’s wardrobe mistress had hung herself and the palace gatekeeper had also committed suicide. Things could only get better from there, right? Wrong. It was a blistering hot day, causing the elaborately garbed leader of the wedding procession to collapse and die from heatstroke. After the happy couple boarded their honeymoon train, the stationmaster fell onto the tracks and was crushed under the train’s wheels. The carnage continued as an aide to the king fell off his horse and broke his neck during the revelry, and Amedeo’s best man accidentally shot himself.

First & Foremost

It is possible to have a great first date.

Photocredit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

There are scores of articles, blogs, and web sites about horrendous first dates. Yet not that much has been written about the fantastic ones. Is it a case of not wanting to jinx a budding relationship? Perhaps one needs a little distance from that initial link-up to gain some perspective. Or maybe the train wrecks are just more interesting to read and write about. The fact of the matter is that, whether you’re 16 or 60 or somewhere in between, it is possible to have a great first date…if you follow a few simple rules and embrace the experience.

For most people, “the goal of a first date is to get to a second date,” says Julianne Cantarella, dating coach and owner of New Jersey’s Matchmaker. “For many people, however, obstacles such as anxiety and high expectations can get in the way.”

Cantarella’s advice is to keep it simple and have fun. When she matches people up through her company, for instance, she usually arranges a lunch as a first date. Dinner, she explains, can be uncomfortable for people just getting to know each other—and expectations are usually higher. “Plus, if you’re not hitting it off, you are stuck with each other for a couple of hours. It’s always a good idea to at least have an enjoyable activity to help pass the time, just in case.”

She does not recommend movies or concerts for a first date, however: “The first date is an opportunity to get to know someone…to do that, you need to converse with one another, and you can’t do that at a movie or concert. Save those for subsequent dates.”


If the weather cooperates, a great idea for a first date is exploring one of the many gorgeous state parks in New Jersey, such as Island Beach State Park (great for bike riding), Hacklebarney (for hiking), or Liberty State Park (hop on a ferry and visit the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.)  A complete listing can be found on the state web site. There are also hundreds of wonderful community and county parks where you can bring a picnic lunch, such as Grover Cleveland Park in Caldwell, Brookdale Park, which lies within the municipalities of Montclair and Bloomfield, or Verona Park, which offers seasonal paddleboat rides and light fare in its quaint stone Boathouse restaurant.

Participating in a sporting event you both enjoy is also an excellent idea. My first date with my husband, Tom, was the Giralda Farms 10K race in Madison. We had lunch at a diner afterward and that was the beginning of our romantic relationship. Both of us are runners. We met through the Essex Running Club and had been friends for about a year before he asked me out on a “formal” date. I figured if he could fall in love with me all sweaty in running clothes after a race, he was the one.

Photocredit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock


If your interests run more toward history or art, there are many places in the Garden State that are ideal for a first date. Mark Luzzi, 55, massage therapist and former resident of Caldwell, suggests Grover Cleveland’s Birthplace in Caldwell. It is the only house museum dedicated to the 22nd and 24th U.S. President, Grover Cleveland.  A bachelor when he entered the White House, Cleveland got married at the age of 49 to Frances Folsom, 21, the youngest First Lady in history. Visitors can partake of parlor games and try on period costumes—but call first for site hours. It’s a short tour, so you can follow it up with coffee and pastries at Calandra’s Italian Village, which is nearby.

Luzzi also recommends the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in Morristown, Gustav Stickley’s early 20th century country estate, a National Historic Landmark that will transport you back to 1911. “I love Stickley’s furniture but cannot afford it, so this is the next best thing,” he says.

If you both are fond of nature and photography, investigate Hackensack Riverkeeper Eco-Tours. They run from May 4 through October 13. The Eco-Cruises are educational tours of the Hackensack River and the NJ Meadowlands aboard the Hackensack Riverkeeper’s specially rigged pontoon boats. Captain Bill Sheehan started the Eco-Cruise program in 1994 to increase awareness of the lower Hackensack River watershed as a vital natural and recreational resource. The tours generally take between two and two-and-a half hours and are fully narrated by a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain.


For first dates with someone you’ve known for a while—and whom you want to impress—then cocktails and dinner are a good bet. Pat Amato, 23, a certified personal trainer in Roseland, recommends Halcyon Brasserie, a popular spot in Montclair for special dates (first and otherwise).  “The décor is beautiful, and before dinner you can relax at the main bar or lounge,” he says. The menu is eclectic, with selections ranging from Organic Scotch Eggs to Kimchi Fried Chicken to Orange Ginger Glazed New Zealand King Salmon.

Jenn Schiffer, 28, a web site developer from Montclair, recommends Pig & Prince as a “nice, fancy place with great cocktails and appetizers.” She also counts Uncle Moustache—which serves French-Lebanese fare—and Tuptim, a Thai restaurant, among her favorite not-too-noisy places to enjoy good first-date conversations.

Another way to make a great impression is to take your date to High Societea House in Wayne—described on its web site as a “tea room where one can go back in time and enjoy the lost art of conversation, while enjoying the perfect pot of tea!”  Catherine Close, a graphic designer in her 50s from Little Falls, had her first date there with her now-husband, Mick. “It’s a lovely ambience,” she says, “with the floral tea cup settings, serving pieces and lace tablecloths.  A relaxed and romantic atmosphere.”

Photocredit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

To complement your tea, there are scrumptious caramel and assorted fruit scones with freshly made lemon curd and clotted cream, homemade soups, salads, finger sandwiches, tea breads, muffins, and assorted desserts. Reservations are encouraged since there are a limited number of tables.

The bottom line is that first dates don’t have to reduce you to a bundle of raw nerves. A little planning, the right attitude, and being open to having fun and living in the moment can go a long way.

Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • Asian Burger 

728 Thompson Ave. • BRIDGEWATER

(732) 469-0066 •

Our Signature Sirloin burger, topped with an Asian vegetable slaw, sesame ginger aioli, lettuce, and tomato. 

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Paragon Tap & Table • Lobster Ravioli with Chipotle Shrimp Sauce 

77 Central Ave. • CLARK

(732) 931-1776 •

This house made lobster ravioli is made with semolina flour and filled with a combination of fresh lobster and mascarpone cheese, it’s then topped with a light but flavorful sauce made with shallots, chipotle pepper, broken shrimp and a touch of light cream. This light but flavored dish exemplifies the seasonal menu at Paragon Tap and Table.  

— Eric B. LeVine, Chef/Partner

A Toute Heure/100 Steps Supper Club & Raw Bar

232 Centennial Avenue / 215 Centennial Avenue • CRANFORD

(908) 276-6600 •

Spring is finally here!  We are featuring the best “spring” ingredients like local ramps, asparagus, and spring berries!  At 100 Steps, you might find local ramps in the mignonette paired with great NJ oysters!  Or, at A Toute Heure, you might sample ramps on our daily flatbread pizza or crostini!    

— A Toute Heure – Robyn Reiss, Executive Chef / 100 Steps – Kara Decker, Executive Chef

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • Tex-Mex Crunch Burger 

1–7 South Ave. • CRANFORD

(908) 272-3888 •

Sirloin Burger topped with guacamole, crispy tortilla strips, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. 

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Black Horse Tavern & Pub • Summer Smoked Pork Chop 

1 West Main Street • MENDHAM

(963) 543–7300 •

A succulent house-smoked chop served with micro spring herbs and Jersey blueberry gastrique.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Piattino Neighborhood Bistro • Amalfi Seafood Pasta 

88 East Main Street • MENDHAM

(973) 543-0025 •

Sautéed shrimp and clams, tomato, roasted garlic, spinach and white wine lobster broth over linguine.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • Jersey “ Wake Up” Call 

619 Bloomfield Ave. • MONTCLAIR

(973) 783-2929 •

Sirloin Burger topped with pork roll, American cheese and a fried egg. Lettuce, tomato and onion! 

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

George and Martha’s American Grille • Sliced Hanger Steak 

67 Morris Street • MORRISTOWN

(973) 267-4700 •

Served atop a sweet potato purée, with a wild mushroom demi-glaze and pan-roasted asparagus.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Office Tavern Grill • Slow Roasted Chicken Tacos

3 South Street • MORRISTOWN

(973) 285-0220 •

Grilled flour tortilla, achiote spice, guacamole, queso fresco, cilantro and lime. 

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Pan Seared Scallops 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 •

Most guests think to visit us for an amazing hibachi meal, but we offer amazing traditional Japanese style dishes such as the Pan Seared Scallops, served with a edamame purée, truffle scented greens, miso lime dressing and bok choy. We also offer the freshest sushi in the area.

Daimatsu • Wild Caught Sushi

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 •

We are excited to introduce seasonal wild-caught fish from Japan, including (from left) Isaki from SW Japan served with ginger & scallions, Kamasu from Shikoku seared on the skin with sweet yuzu pepper and cured with kombu seaweed,  and Ni-Anago eel braised tender in soy and sweet sake broth.  

— Momo, Chef

Publick House • Grilled Swordfish 

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-2355 •

The grilled swordfish is a perfect addition to our menu this Spring. Served over a fresh cut watermelon salad of red onion, pan-roasted brussel sprouts, feta cheese and tossed in a red wine vinaigrette. The swordfish is topped with lemon zest. The balance of flavors and diversity in textures makes this dish a true star. 

— Danilo Ayala, Executive Chef 

Morris Tap & Grill • Smoked Scallops with Corn Risotto

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH

(973) 891-1776 •

The house smoked scallop dish balances the delicate flavored of smoked scallops served on a fresh corn risotto. The scallops are then topped with crispy celery root chips and finished with charcoal salt adding the perfect balance to this light dish.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Thai Amarin • Gang Phed Ped Yang

201 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 376-6300, (973) 376-6301 •

A customer favorite, our Gang Phed Ped Yang perfectly blends a spicy and savory red curry base with delicious coconut milk and fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and pineapples. All of these fantastic flavors are served over our exceptionally crispy duck.  

— Amy Thana, Owner

Café Z • Cappellini Arugula del Gamberoni 

2333 Morris Avenue • UNION

(908) 686-4321 •

Angel hair pasta tossed with rock shrimp, arugula, diced tomatoes, garlic and marinara with a touch of cream. The combination of authentic flavors in each of our fresh, homemade entrées is nothing less than culinary perfection!

— Patricia Inghilleri, Owner

Chestnut Chateau • Gifts from the Sea

649 Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 964-8696 •

Not only does the summer bring beautiful blue skies, warm weather and longer days it also brings great seafood in our area. The fresh scallops, shrimp and fish are abundant and delicious. The Chestnut Chateau is the only area restaurant that offers fresh, local and wild seafood. 

— George Niotis, Chef 

Mario’s Tutto Bene • Vinegar Pork Chops 

495 Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 687-3250 •

Our vinegar pork chops feature three thin-cut Frenched chops that are coated with Italian breadcrumbs and sautéed with sweet vinegar peppers, prosciutto and garlic. They arrive with house-made roasted or mashed potatoes. Our regulars love this entrée.   

— John Garofalo, Owner

Rio Rodizio • Brazilian Meats

2185 Rte. 22 West • UNION

(908) 206-0060 •

We offer an “All-You-Can-Eat” dining experience transported straight from the streets of Rio de Janeiro to your tableside. Each customer gets to witness a never-ending parade of freshly roasted meat and poultry. Our authentic Gaucho chefs carve these melt-in-your-mouth meats to your liking.

— Paul Seabra, Owner

The Manor • Seared Atlantic Salmon

111 Prospect Avenue • WEST ORANGE

(973) 731-2360 •

Among the varied entrées served in The Manor’s Terrace Lounge dining room is this perfectly-seared fresh Atlantic salmon. The crispy skin and delicate texture are accented with a flavorful almond and pumpkin couscous. Along with asparagus tips, a roasted tomato beurre blanc offers a rich, buttery compliment to this layered and refined dish.

— Mario Russo, Chef de Cuisine

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • Pacific Island Ahi Tuna Burger 

411 North Ave. West • WESTFIELD

(908) 232-1207 •

Our pan-seared ahi tuna burger is finished with spring vegetables, Asian mayo, lettuce and tomato.  

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef


The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • Grilled Bratwurst

728 Thompson Ave. • BRIDGEWATER 32–34 Chestnut St. • RIDGEWOOD 1–7 South Ave. • CRANFORD 61 Union Pl. • SUMMIT

619 Bloomfield Ave. • MONTCLAIR 411 North Ave. West • WESTFIELD

We fire finish our beer-braised bratwurst on the grill and serve it with sautéed onions and peppers on a char-grilled garlic-infused baguette.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Paragon Tap & Table • Butternut Squash Ravioli

77 Central Ave. • CLARK

(732) 931-1776 •

Our new restaurant blends hand-crafted ravioli preparations with creative twists on classics. A popular addition to the fall menu at our new restaurant has been the butternut squash ravioli served, which we sautée with butternut squash and sage sauce. 

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

The Black Horse Tavern & Pub • Bone-in Ham Chop

1 West Main Street • MENDHAM

(963) 543–7300 •

Our ham chop is served bone-in, with a bing cherry compote, and is accompanied by celery root purée and citrus-sautéed spinach.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Piattino Neighborhood Bistro • Neapolitan Pizza

88 East Main Street • MENDHAM

(973) 543-0025 •

Our house special Neapolitan-style Piattino pizza is stone-fired and topped with roasted chicken, basil-and-pine-nut pesto, pecorino romano cheese, fresh-pulled mozzarella, braised onions and tomatoes.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

George and Martha’s American Grille • Maple Pumpkin Pie

67 Morris Street • MORRISTOWN

(973) 267-4700 •

This season we are featuring maple pumpkin pie. It’s a maple-infused, spiced pumpkin pie topped with cinnamon and fresh whipped cream.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Office Tavern Grill • Belgium-Style Stout Braised Mussels

3 South Street • MORRISTOWN

(973) 285-0220 •

We braise Prince Edward Island mussels in a local craft ale, with garlic and onions. They’re finished with herbs and served with fresh-cut fries.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Daimatsu • Tuna Tataki

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 •

The must-try favorite on our appetizer menu is tuna tataki—diced tuna marinated in sesame-flavored soy sauce and mixed with finely chopped onion, spicy sprouts and nori on top.

— Momo, Chef

Publick House • Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-2355 •

This has been one of our signature dishes since we opened in 2009. For the Fall season, the tuna is crusted in black and white sesame seeds and seared rare. It is sliced and served over a medley of stir-fried vegetables, which are cooked in soy sauce. The dish is finished with scallions and accompanied with a side of wasabi.

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Morris Tap & Grill • Roasted Pork Tenderloin

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH

(973) 891-1776 •

We serve our seasonal roasted pork tenderloin with roasted Brussels sprouts and finish it with a port wine demi. We pair all of our dishes with selections from our best-in-the-state craft beer menu for an ever-evolving craft-beer and food experience.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Thai Amarin • Curry Beef Short Ribs

201 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 376-6300, (973) 376-6301 •

Our juicy beef short ribs, cooked to perfection with rich, mild Massaman curry—emphatically the king of curries—is perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coco-nutty, sweet and savory, its combination of flavors has more personality than a Thai election! 

— Amy Thana, Owner

Café Z • Chicken Rapa

2333 Morris Avenue • UNION

(908) 686-4321 •

One of our crowd favorites is our Chicken Rapa. We prepare a boneless chicken breast with sundried tomatoes, fresh diced tomatoes, broccoli rabe and serve it over capellini with a white wine, oil and garlic sauce.

— Patricia Inghilleri, Owner

Chestnut Chateau • Smoked Meats

649 Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 964-8696 •

With football season in full swing, we’ve added smoked certified angus meats to our menu, while cooking up the best brisket, ribs, pork bellies and butts north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Our baby back ribs fall off the bone and with my homemade barbecue sauce a loss by your favorite team won’t matter anymore. 

— George Niotis, Chef

Mario’s Tutto Bene • Vinegar Pork Chops

495 Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 687-3250 •

Our vinegar pork chops feature three thin-cut Frenched chops that are coated with Italian breadcrumbs and sautéed with sweet vinegar peppers, prosciutto and garlic. They arrive with house-made roasted or mashed potatoes. Our regulars love this entrée.  

— John Garofalo, Owner

Rio Rodizio • Brazilian Meats

2185 Rte. 22 West • UNION

(908) 206-0060 •

We offer an “All-You-Can-Eat” dining experience transported straight from the streets of Rio de Janeiro to your tableside. Each customer gets to witness a never-ending parade of freshly roasted meat and poultry. Our authentic Gaucho chefs carve these melt-in-your-mouth meats to your liking.

— Paul Seabra, Owner

The Manor • Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb

111 Prospect Avenue • WEST ORANGE

(973) 731-2360 •

Our herb-crusted rack of lamb is moist, tender and full of flavor—and contrasted with a wonderfully seasoned,crispy exterior texture. The dish is served with a rosemary-mint demi-glace on the side. To complement the lamb, we add a decorative potato basket featuring an array of seasonal vegetables and a rich eggplant caponata.



Curtain Call

UCPAC is a blast from the past.

By Mark Stewart

The year was 1928. Nearly 1,500 people settled into their seats on a Tuesday evening to hear the first notes played by the great Chet Kingsbury on central New Jersey’s newest entertainment attraction, a $20,000 Wurlitzer pipe organ. Above the audience sparkled a magnificent, 13-foot tiered-crystal chandelier. Before them was a full orchestra pit, its musicians ready to accompany the two films scheduled to play, one starring Dolores Costello and Conrad Nagel, the other Myrna Loy. It was opening night of the million-dollar Rahway Theatre.

Later that evening, as patrons exited the building under the 2,500-light marquee, it was difficult to imagine the fun would ever end. The Rahway Theatre was a state-of-the-art entertainment palace built at the height of the Roaring ’Twenties. It could accommodate moving pictures, vaudeville revues, stage plays and concerts. No expense was spared. It even had a nursery to look after children while their parents were enjoying a show.

Upper Case Editorial Services

And yet, there were changes in the wind. The stock market crashed, movie studios started turning out talking pictures and vaudeville died. The Rahway Theatre soldiered on, providing an inexpensive diversion during the Depression and World War II. It hosted rock n roll shows in the 1950s and continued to thrive as a movie house well into the 1960s. Little by little, however, the venue lost its glittering opulence and fell into disrepair. By the 1980s it was in danger of falling to the wrecking ball.

In 1984, title to the Rahway Theatre was transferred to Rahway Landmarks, Inc. A major restoration effort was initiated and one year later it was renamed the Union County Arts Center. First the interior was restored. Next the façade underwent a facelift. As the theatre regained its footing, the city’s Arts District grew up around it. Now called the Union County Performing Arts Center, the theatre is actually one of three performance venues under the UCPAC umbrella—including the 60-seat blackbox-style Loft and the plush 199-seat Hamilton Stage down the street.

“This theatre has served as a community cornerstone for nearly nine decades,” says UCPAC executive director Lawrence McCullough. “Our mission is to present programming that is diverse and accessible and fosters the new generation of young artists and audiences.”

First-time visitors to the old building today have the same reaction as audiences did back in the 1920s: a sense of wonder and awe at its golden-age grandeur. And yes, the old Wurlitzer is still there. It sounds better than ever.

Editor’s Note: For a schedule of upcoming events at all three performing arts center venues, log onto or call (732) 499-8226.

The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • Truffled Tots

728 Thompson Ave. • BRIDGEWATER 32–34 Chestnut St. • RIDGEWOOD 1–7 South Ave. • CRANFORD 61 Union Pl. • SUMMIT
619 Bloomfield Ave. • MONTCLAIR 411 North Ave. West • WESTFIELD

Not your average tater tots, these are handmade tater tots infused with herbs and fried until they are crispy golden brown. They are served with white truffle aioli and sprinkled with sea salt.

Paragon Tap & Table • Beer Brined Pork Chop

77 Central Ave. • CLARK
(732) 931-1776 •

Our pork chops are brined for thee days and served on top of a creamy bacon mac and cheese. It’s one of the highlights of our gastropub menu.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

The Black Horse Tavern & Pub • Goffles Farm Chicken Breast

1 West Main Street • MENDHAM
(963) 543–7300 •

Prosciutto wrapped Goffles Farm Chicken Breast with roasted new potatoes, marsala herb butter & crispy sage. 

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Piattino Neighborhood Bistro • Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon

88 East Main Street • MENDHAM
(973) 543-0025 •

Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon paired with a lemon herb risotto, piccata butter and crisped baby arugula.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

George and Martha’s American Grille • Crispy Jumbo Lump Crab Croquettes

67 Morris Street • MORRISTOWN
(973) 267-4700 •

Crispy Jumbo Lump Crab Croquettes with Lemon infused Aioli and Roasted Corn Relish.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Office Tavern Grill • Maryland Blue Crab Dip

3 South Street • MORRISTOWN
(973) 285-0220 •

Maryland Blue Crab Dip Sour Dough Bread Bowl filled with Jumbo Lump Crab Dip, served with Old Bay Flour Tortilla chips.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Daimatsu • Sushi Pizza

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE
(908) 233-7888 •

This original dish has been our signature appetizer for over 20 years. Crispy seasoned sushi rice topped with homemade spicy mayo, marinated tuna, finely chopped onion,  scallion, masago caviar, and ginger. Our customers always come back wanting more.

— Momo, Chef

Publick House • Roasted Long Island Duck Breast

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE
(908) 233-2355 •

New to our menu this season is the roasted long island duck breast. The duck is seasoned with salt and pepper and slowly roasted to temperature. Paired with creamy, sweet celery root puree and earthy oven roasted portobello mushrooms, the balance of flavors compliments the fat of the duck breast perfectly.

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Morris Tap & Grill • Tuna Tartare Flat Bread

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH
(973) 891-1776 •

Fresh ahi-grade tuna tossed in a light ginger scallion sauce served on top of a wasabi brushed lavash crisp.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Thai Amarin • Duck Rad Prig

201 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD
(973) 376-6300, (973) 376-6301 •

A customer favorite, our crispy boneless duck topped with a sweet and spicy chili and garlic sauce is unique only to us. Topped with aromatic basil and lime leaves, our Ped Rad Prig will have you wanting more.

— Amy Thana, Owner

Café Z • Hot “Z” Shrimp

2333 Morris Avenue • UNION
(908) 686-4321 •

Jumbo shrimp encrusted with panko bread crumbs served with our hot and spicy marinara sauce that we make here.

— Patricia Inghilleri, Owner

Chestnut Chateau • Black Seabass

649 Chestnut Street • UNION
(908) 964-8696 •

As the cold weather is in full swing, everyone bundles up and likes to stay warm. I embrace the cold and use the best fish caught in the deep blue waters of our east coast. Black seabass is great whole or filleted. The flaky white meat is served with a browned butter sauce that’s garnished with capers, baby croutons, parsley and lemon supremes.

— George Niotis, Chef

Mario’s Tutto Bene • Vinegar Pork Chops

495 Chestnut Street • UNION
(908) 687-3250 •

Our vinegar pork chops feature three thin-cut Frenched chops that are coated with Italian breadcrumbs and sautéed with sweet vinegar peppers, prosciutto and garlic. They arrive with house-made roasted or mashed potatoes. Our regulars love this entrée.

— John Garofalo, Owner

The Manor • Surf and Turf

111 Prospect Avenue • WEST ORANGE
(973) 731-2360 •

I pair pan-seared prime filet mignon with a butter-braised lobster, along with fresh seasonal vegetable accents. An airy shellfish emulsion and the creamiest mashed potatoes you will ever taste make for the perfect partners to this classic dish, which has helped The Manor successfully define the art of fine dining for over a half-century.

— Mario Russo, Chef de Cuisine

EDGE is not responsible for any typos, misprints or information in regard to these listings. All information was supplied by the restaurants that participated and any questions or concerns should be directed to them.

It Is What It Is…

…and 21 other expressions that drive me crazy.

By Mark Stewart

I have issues with I have issues. In my career as a writer and editor, I find myself sideswiping people in the financial, legal, medical, tech, sports, publishing and public relations industries who subject me to what I consider to be an inordinate number of expressions that either don’t say what they mean, don’t mean what they say, are utterly redundant or are subject to serial misuse.

I’m not talking about industry-specific jargon; that at least has a cultural component. The words and phrases that burrow under my skin are ones we all employ on a regular basis without even listening to the jibberish spilling out of our mouths. Perhaps the most annoying aspect of these overwrought expressions is that I catch myself using them all the time. Like the rest of the world, I have my lazy, semiliterate moments—even though I am paid not to.

So here are my Top 20. How many do you hear in a given day? Be honest…how many are you guilty of using?


This is often the one-word response to something that requires nothing more than the word Yes or even a simple head-nod. I’ve noticed that a lot of service people have started using the word. “May I have some water when you come back to the table?” Absolutely. It’s become a kissing cousin to the word Obviously, which people use when something is not at all obvious.

At the end of the day…

I don’t know about you, but the end of my day rarely brings resolution to anything other than being awake. I wonder, do people who work the night shift ever say At the end of the day…? If so, wake me up so I can slap them. Actually, this expression has some history behind it: In the early 1800s, when the day ended, there was only (poorly lit) night, so everyone had to stop whatever they were doing until it was light again.

At this point in time…

Just to be clear, this is really code for Until I tell you otherwise, because it covers way more time than a single point in time.

Everything happens for a reason.

Well, technically this is true. My issue with the phrase is that, while brilliant minds like Einstein and Hawking spend their lives trying to express this concept in mathematical terms, the rest of us dullards use this old saying when we have no clue what the reason for something is.

If I would have…

This is a tense with which I am unfamiliar. It’s like a mad twisting of the subjunctive. In truth, it’s not a tense at all. The correct construction is either Had I… or If I had…

I have to say…

Fine. Go ahead. You don’t need anyone’s permission.

I have issues with…

If these issues are important topics of debate, I’m all for a lively discussion. If these issues are only inside your head, work them out and get back to me.

I mean…

Wait. Did you just say something you didn’t mean?

I’m not comfortable with…

Your comfort is not my concern, so find another way of saying I disagree or That’s a bad idea.

It is what it is…

Annoying because it relieves the utterer of any responsibility for analyzing or responding meaningfully to a situation. Doubly annoying because often it is not what it is, but something entirely different.

It’s all good.

Rarely, if ever, is it all good.


So are you saying this is a good idea or a stupid one? Or that it’d be stupid not to think it’s a good idea? Or that giving it more thought would require no brain? Now my head hurts.

No worries!

I’m sorry. Are you Australian? I didn’t think so. For future reference, It’s okay or Don’t worry will do just fine.

Old school

The more I think about this adjective, the more it annoys and confuses me. First of all, it should be hyphenated, yet never is. Second of all, its meaning is different when a young person uses it and an old person uses it. Third of all, let’s face it, young people have almost no concept of what old people were doing when they were young. And fourth of all, if you took courses at the New School in New York City back in the 1980s, is everything you learned now considered Old School?


C’mon, is this any way to start a sentence? I assume whatever observation or opinion you are about to offer is personal, because you are saying it.

Same difference

Thankfully, people don’t use this much when they’re being serious because, seriously, does anyone really understand what it means?

Thanks in advance…

I am guilty of using this phrase in the manipulative way it was intended, as a means of saying to someone In case you were thinking of not doing this annoying thing I want you to do, forget it—you now have no choice because I’ve already thanked you. It’s like warning someone not to go back on a promise they haven’t even made yet.

That’s a great question.

This is a very “versatile” response. It can mean Wow, I never thought of that and I probably should have or That question was idiotic, but you’re my boss or client and I’d rather not be fired today. Often, it is a way of drawing someone timid into a group conversation, which I guess is a fairly benign use of the phrase. Ironically, there is one time when you almost never hear people say, “That’s a great question”—when someone actually asks a great question.

To be honest…

Hold on a second. At what point were you not being honest? When I hear someone say this, I instantly assume that some part of what they are about to say might be a lie.

What’s done is done.

Technically true, but that’s no reason to give up on something you might still be able to change or fix.

With all due respect…

There are certain people who’ll begin a sentence with With all due respect… and you just know that what’s coming next is going to be the most disrespectful thing you have heard all day. Admit it, you know at least one person like this.


Short for You only live once. I don’t hang out with people who actually use this word, but it irritates me just to know that these people exist. I wonder if Hindus ever say YOLO…because I’d have an issue with that.

Editor’s Note: In case you were wondering, the author’s #23 most annoying expression was My bad. Visit the EDGE Facebook page to add your pet peeves to the list—including Pet peeve (which came in at #32).

The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside  

the area’s most creative kitchens.


Grain & Cane Bar and Table • Miso Glazed Salmon 

250 Connell Drive • BERKELEY HEIGHTS

(908) 897-1920 •

Our savory Miso Glazed Salmon—accompanied with jasmine shrimp, fried rice and an aromatic citrus yuzu coconut sauce—is one of many sensational seasonal menu items. Order online!


The Thirsty Turtle • Pork Tenderloin Special 

1-7 South Avenue W. • CRANFORD

(908) 324-4140 •

Our food specials amaze! I work tirelessly to bring you the best weekly meat, fish and pasta specials. Follow us on social media to get all of the most current updates! 

— Chef Rich Crisonio


The Thirsty Turtle • Brownie Sundae  

186 Columbia Turnpike • FLORHAM PARK

(973) 845-6300 •

Check out our awesome desserts brought to you by our committed staff. The variety amazes as does the taste!

— Chef Dennis Peralta



The Famished Frog • Mango Guac 

18 Washington Street • MORRISTOWN (973) 540-9601 •

Our refreshing Mango Guac is sure to bring the taste of the Southwest to Morristown.

— Chef Ken Raymond




Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Pork Belly Bao Buns 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 •

Tender pork belly, hoisin sauce and pickled cucumber served on a Chinese bun. 





LongHorn Steakhouse • Outlaw Ribeye 

272 Route 22 West • SPRINGFIELD 

(973) 315-2049 •

Join us for our “speedy affordable lunches” or dinner. We suggest you try our fresh, never frozen, 18 oz. bone-in Outlaw Ribeye—featuring juicy marbling that is perfectly seasoned and fire-grilled by our expert Grill Masters. Make sure to also try our amazing chicken and seafood dishes, as well.

— Anthony Levy, Managing Partner

Ursino Steakhouse & Tavern • House Carved 16oz New York Strip Steak 

1075 Morris Avenue • UNION 

(908) 977-9699 •

Be it a sizzling filet in the steakhouse or our signature burger in the tavern upstairs, Ursino is sure to please the most selective palates. Our carefully composed menus feature fresh, seasonal ingredients and reflect the passion we put into each and every meal we serve.


Support Our Chefs! 

The restaurants featured in this section are open for business and are serving customers in compliance with state regulations. Many have created special menus ideal for take-out,  delivery or socially distant dining, so we encourage you to visit them online. 


Do you have a story about a favorite restaurant going the extra mile during the pandemic?  Post it on our Facebook page and we’ll make sure to share it with our readers! 

The Chef Recommends

What makes a successful restaurant? Food, service, atmosphere, value—all are crucial ingredients in a winning recipe. The true measure of success, however, can be measured in repeat customers. In other words, loyalty is everything. We asked some of the region’s top chefs and restaurant owners what they would recommend to first-time customers that would be most likely to transform them into regulars…

The Black Horse Tavern & Pub • Sliced Buffalo Sirloin

1 West Main St. • Mendham

(963) 543–7300 •

The Black Horse is one of New Jersey’s oldest restaurants, but features contemporary farm-to-table American cuisine. One of our signature dishes is sliced buffalo sirloin. It’s prepared with a blackberry brandy demi-glaze and served with roasted vegetables, lima beans and grilled pita.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Café Z • Stuffed Meatball

2333 Morris Ave. • Union

(908) 686–4321 •

At Café Z, we are always trying new ideas and recipes. Our homemade stuffed meatball is a great example. It started out as a “daily special” and quickly became a crowd favorite. We hand-roll each and every one, bake and serve with our homemade spicy marinara sauce. The concept originated from our Bolognese sauce, a three-meat gravy we serve over pasta with a dollop of seasoned ricotta cheese. Both are simply delicious, always fresh and made on premises.

— Patricia Inghilleri, Owner

Chestnut Chateau • Pan-Seared Tilefish

649 Chestnut Ave. • Union

(908) 964–8696 •

Our line-caught tilefish comes from the deepest part of the ocean. It is  pan-seared and served over broccoli rabe, sautéed in garlic and olive oil, and garnished with diced Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers. It’s one of my favorite dishes and our customers savor every bite—truly, it will make you close your eyes and smile.

— George Niotis, Chef

George and Martha’s American Grille • Pork Osso Buco

67 Morris Street • Morristown

(973) 267–4700 •

Our regulars at George and Martha’s really feel like they’re home when they order the Pork Osso Buco. It is paired with savory mashed potatoes and crispy fried leeks. Comfort can be cutting-edge if you are innovative in your technique. I enjoy taking familiar flavors and dishes and presenting them in a new and exciting way that surprises my guests.  

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Manor • Surf & Turf

111 Prospect Ave. • West Orange

(973) 731–2360 •

I pair pan-seared prime filet mignon with a butter-braised lobster, along with fresh seasonal vegetable accents, which currently include baby carrots, beets, turnips, haricots verts, and wild mushrooms. An airy shellfish emulsion and the creamiest mashed potatoes you will ever taste make for the perfect partners to this classic dish, which has helped the Manor successfully define the art of fine dining for over a half-century.

— Mario Russo, Executive Chef

Mario’s Tutto Bene • Vinegar Pork Chops

495 Chestnut St. • Union

(908) 687–3250 •

Our vinegar pork chops feature three thin-cut Frenched chops that are coated with Italian breadcrumbs and sautéed with sweet vinegar peppers, prosciutto and garlic. They arrive with house-made, roasted or mashed potatoes. Our regulars love this entrée.  

— John Garofalo, Owner

The Office Tavern Grill • Chicken & Waffles

3 South Street • Morristown

(973) 285–0220 •

Our most popular signature dish is the chicken and waffles. The buttermilk fried chicken is served with gruyere and applewood bacon in a maple syrup reduction. The waffle batter is infused with rosemary and thyme with a touch of cayenne pepper and the chicken is crunchy and flavorful. All these flavors—the hearty, sweet and salty—really work together.  

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • The Wedge Burger

411 North Ave. West • Westfield 61 Union Pl. • Summit

728 Thompson Ave. • Bridgewater

619 Bloomfield Ave. • Montclair 1–7 South Ave. • Cranford

32–34 Chestnut St. • Ridgewood

Our newest burger, The Wedge, combines two classics—the hamburger and wedge salad. A half-pound of grilled beef with blue cheese, beefsteak tomato and cheddar cheese sauce—served between two wedges of iceberg lettuce. The idea was developed when we were looking at a gluten-free burger that had a little creativity to it. Now it’s a signature item.   

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Piattino Neighborhood Bistro • Braised Chicken & Linguine

88 East Main St. • Mendham

(973) 543–0025 •

Piattino is a Manhattan-style restaurant where we can get creative and adventurous with traditional Italian food. Our braised chicken and linguine, which is prepared with a 24-hour red wine glaze, is a very popular menu item that demonstrates how we prepare Italian ingredients—tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, fresh rosemary and oregano, garlic butter—with an American technique and influence. 

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Publick House • Blackened Scottish Salmon

899 Mountain Ave • Mountainside

(908) 233–2355 •

In keeping with our Irish roots, we offer exceptional pub fare. However, we’re best known for our high-quality seafood and meats, including our pan-roasted blackened Scottish Salmon. It’s served with a pine-nut quinoa, and arrives with fresh asparagus, and a creamy carrot purée.

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Rio Rodizio • Roasted Meats

2185 Rte. 22 West • Union

(908) 206–0060 •

We offer an “All-You-Can-Eat” dining experience flown straight from the streets of Rio de Janeiro to your tableside—featuring the unique ambiance of a traditional Brazilian Steakhouse. Each customer gets to witness a never-ending parade of freshly roasted meat and poultry. Our authentic Gaucho chefs come to you and carve these melt-in-your-mouth meats to your liking.

— Paul Seabra, Owner

Thai Amarin • Drunken Noodles

201 Morris Ave. • Springfield

(973) 376–6300 •

We prepare a wide range of authentic Thai food that you can’t find anywhere else. Our regular customers love our Drunken Noodles, a stir-fried broad rice noodle dish with a distinct flavor profile. They are sautéed in our special sweet and spicy garlic basil sauce and topped with fresh holy basil. It pairs really well with our fried cheesecake dessert. 

— Amy Thana, Owner

Nowhere to Hide

Nazi art thieves were no match for New Jersey’s real-life Monuments Men

Over the past year, the brave men and women who devoted their knowledge and efforts to save the looted masterpieces of Western civilization during World War II have risen—mostly from the dead—into the public eye more than 70 years later. The art-specialist soldiers known as “Monuments Men” marched out of history’s shadows and right into popular culture thanks to the movie starring George Clooney, John Goodman, Bill Murray and friends. Unbeknownst to all but a handful of historians, many of these heroic, dedicated and patriotic academics—who raced against time (and the Russians) to save the great masterpieces and hidden gems of the Western world—lived, worked and trained in the Garden State.

Columbia Pictures/Fox 2000 Pictures

Among the key players in this story who hailed from our state were S. Lane Faison, Charles Parkhurst, Patrick Kelleher, Ernest DeWald and Craig Hugh Smyth, who studied at Princeton to be art historians and curators. A handful of these distinguished men went on to be directors of the Princeton University Museum of Art.

The Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Commission (MFAA), a group of 345 men and women from 13 nations, was established in 1943 as the tide of war began to turn in Europe. Known as the Monuments Men, they were recruited and trained to retrieve, safeguard and return art masterpieces, many of which had been looted from museums or confiscated from Jewish families. The Hollywood film is an amalgam of people and events. In the race to save civilization, lives and irreplaceable masterpieces, real-life art historians and curators in Europe and the United States actually began their work more than four years before Germany even declared war, and continued their endeavors for many years after the Nazis were defeated.

In anticipation of the war, museums all over Europe toiled day and night, carefully packing up sculptures and paintings and shipping them to hiding places. It was a national effort. For larger paintings, the Louvre employed scenery trucks from the Comedie-Francaise to transport them to shelters. The Mona Lisa was chauffeured in its own private railway car to her hiding place in a French chateau in the Dordogne. In 1941, the United States followed suit. Art treasures, from the newly established National Museum of Art in Washington, for example, were shipped to the safety of The Biltmore in North Carolina, as well as Fort Knox.


The aforementioned Dr. Smyth (pictured in uniform on the preceding page) was one of the young curators who helped to move the art. A Naval reservist with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art history from Princeton, he served as a drill sergeant and officer in the Pacific before he was tapped to head the Munich Collecting Point out of Hitler’s Munich Headquarters. Smyth’s story begins mostly when Monuments Men, the movie, ends.

According to Alexandra Smyth, his daughter, Dr. Smyth settled into Hitler’s office at the Nazi headquarters—now, appropriately, the Central Institute of Art History—as “it was the only building large enough to house the huge amounts of art for cataloguing and repatriation.” Dr. Smyth, who spoke German, immediately incurred the wrath of the U.S. military for hiring knowledgeable Germans to help with the daunting task of sorting, cataloguing and returning the tens of thousands of art treasures that were being trucked in from their hiding places—including those poorly stored in the dank salt mines shown in the 2014 movie.

“He felt it was his duty,” notes his son, Ned Smyth, “to reignite German interest in art—he considered Germany the intellectual birthplace of art history—and reawaken a positive patriotic identity of German intellectual tradition of art history…and so he hired German art experts, who were cleared by the military, to help with identifying and returning the plundered treasures.”

Eyebrows also were raised when Dr. Smyth retained the services of the German custodian who had previously maintained the Nazi headquarters for Hitler. According to his son, he wanted to get qualified Germans back to work. Later, Dr. Smyth made a point to hire German Jewish art historians to work at The Institute of Fine Arts in New York.

Photo courtesy of the Smyth family

The question of whether to return the artwork to its European owners or to send it to the U.S. for “safe-keeping” was another prickly issue. The Russians, considered any art they found as spoils of war—compensation for the devastation visited upon them by the German military—and shipped vast quantities back to Moscow. The race to seize as much of the art before it disappeared into Russian hands was one of the main plotlines in the movie.

The priceless Madonna of Bruges: loaded for transport (top) and back home in The Church of Our Lady in Belgium (bottom).


Dr. Smyth strongly favored returning the masterpieces to the original owners or their surviving family members. However, not all the Monuments Men agreed. John Walker, a director of the National Gallery, saw the Collecting Points as convenient way stations to appropriate European masterpieces for his new museum. He convinced General Dwight D. Eisenhower that the art should be shipped to the United States. This set up a High Noon moment that would have provided a high point for the film.

“When Eisenhower arrived at the Munich Collecting Point,” Ned Smyth recounts, “Dad had the army soldiers stationed carrying machine guns guarding the head-quarters. My dad spoke with Eisenhower…and he got the message. If anything my dad did during the war captured my young imagination, it was how he risked court-martial and the end of a promising career to save the art for Europe.”

Dr. Smyth, who passed away in 2006, lived in Alpine and went on to earn his PhD from Princeton and enjoyed a distinguished career as Director of the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU and Director of the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti near Florence. He also was an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His efforts in restoration of art in Europe earned him honors in both France and Germany.


The last of the Monuments Men, 88-year-old Harry Ettlinger (pictured on page 71), lives in the Morris County town of Rockaway. Born in Germany to an affluent Jewish family, he escaped to America with his parents and siblings, starting their new life in a one-room apartment in Washington Heights.

“People told my father Go West,” Ettlinger jokes. “So we moved west…16 miles to New Jersey.”

When he returned to Germany during World War II, it was as a citizen of the United States and a soldier of its armed forces. As an army private, he was plucked from his company (which was heading to the Battle of the Bulge) to help translate for the Monuments Men. His take on the movie—where his name was changed to Sam Epstein and the handsome British actor Dimitri Leonidas portrayed him—is that it was entertaining and educational, but “to a degree, they have covered certain items that reflect what Monuments Men did. The rest is Hollywood.”

While we may feel it, not many of us actually can say we worked in the salt mines. But that’s what Ettlinger did after Germany’s surrender. For ten months he oversaw the removal of artworks that had been stored by the Nazis 700 feet below ground in salt mines to protect them from Allied bombs. There among the treasures, Ettlinger and the German miners—who had been okayed by the United States—uncovered the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Strasburg as well as a Rembrandt self-portrait. In addition, he helped with art retrieval from Hitler’s private retreat, the Eagle’s Nest. He also helped recover and return works of art owned by the French branch of the Rothschild family, which had been stored in Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps.

Perhaps the most meaningful moment in this experience was retrieving his grandfather Oppenheimer’s collection from a warehouse in the Swiss spa town of Baden Baden. Ettlinger, who went on to a distinguished career as an engineer, says his grandfather was a wise man, known for his humor—wonderful traits that seem to run in the family.

Neue Gallerie NYC


The Nazis’ aesthetic was intolerant towards modern art and termed it “degenerate.” Hermann Goering was charged with identifying and rounding up potentially important modern works to be sold to collectors outside Germany. This plan met with little success, and at one point an exhibition was held in Munich so that Nazi leaders could make fun of the paintings. After that, the art was supposedly burned. Much of what survived was only recently retrieved from apartments owned by the late Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of one of Hitler’s hand-picked Modern Art confiscation experts. The elder Gurlitt was tasked by the Nazis with selling the looted art through his network of contacts. Already, a valuable Matisse painting from that cache was returned to art dealer Paul Rosenberg’s descendants, one of whom is Anne Sinclair, the ex-wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (aka DSK), the former managing director of the World Monetary Fund. Earlier this spring, the Neue Gallerie in New York mounted a show exhibiting the stunning Degenerate Art seized by the Nazis from museums and private collections.

Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

Whether The Monuments Men and its attendant publicity inspired people to come forward with knowledge of artwork looted or “lost” during World War II, it seems every week brings a new discovery and reunion of art with owner. Just this past April, a 17th Century painting missing during the war was sent from Germany back to Poland. And, of course, there was the startling headline last November about 1,500 works of art that were discovered behind a wall of canned food in a Munich flat. Thus the legacy of the Monuments Men is nothing if not enduring.

Editor’s Note: Sarah Rossbach grew up with stories of those who escaped the Nazi regime and those who, sadly, did not. One of the lucky German Jews, Robert von Hirsch, traded a 16th Century Cranach painting for the right to leave Germany alive with the rest of his collection. His brother, who collected original sheet music, received exit visas for himself and his family, but was ordered to leave the sheet music in Germany.  His wife successfully petitioned to take her everyday china. She wrapped it in—what else?—priceless sheet music by Beethoven, Brahms and Bach.