Welcome to NJ

After a long hiatus while I was summering and moving, I am back and I have moved to NJ. I know – its painful for me to even write those words.  A colleague sent me a message on Facebook recently that read “well, hurricanes, earthquake – and now you have moved to NJ – I know hell has frozen over!” Indeed, I will be blogging for the next year from Jersey City, NJ – which while I do not love yet - I am finding some great foodie treats to occupy my time and stomach.

For example, there is Taqueria on Grove Street – from the outside, it looks like a nothing, hole in the wall. But inside – its casual, BYOB and the food is just outrageous. We liked the special veggie quesadilla so much that we ordered a second. And this is not an ordinary flour tortilla quesadilla – its stuffed with veggies, mushrooms cotija cheese in a lightly fried-to-perfection shell.

Or there is Legal Grounds Coffee, on Grand Street. Reminds me of a proper coffee house, like the ones in Northampton, MA where I went to college. Great breakfast and lunch options, but more importantly, fantastic coffee, and a special brew each day.

And of course, there is the Brownstone Diner, known for their Food-TV made famous pancakes. And I can attest – the pancakes are pure fluffy deliciousness!

So lastly, in honor of my move to NJ, I want to share with you my recipe for “NJ Sangria” even though Sangria season may have slightly passed. Then again, there really is no wrong time for fabulous sangria.

"NJ" Boxed Wine Sangria

NJ Sangria

  • Boxed wine of your choice (or any lighter variety of wine)
  • 2 cups Triple Sec or Brandy of your choice
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • A few springs of mint
  • 2 cups seltzer water or Fresca soda

The night before you want to serve the sangria, take the sliced fruit, triple sec or brandy and 1-2 cups of the wine and put into a plastic container or bowl, cover, and leave in the fridge. This will give the fruit the chance to absorb the alcohol, and also for the wine to pick up the flavor of the fruit.

When ready to serve, get a large bowl ready, and pour in the boxed wine. Add the wine soaked fruit, seltzer or fresca (you can also use orangina, sprite, etc.) and the rest of the wine. Add mint, and some ice cubes if the sangria needs more chilling.

Cheap and delicious “NJ” sangria. Enjoy!