Sunday, December 13, 2009

Luchentos Ristorante - Millstone Twp NJ

If you are going to have a special night out and you want excellent Italian food with great atmosphere, then Luchentos is your place. The menu is country Italian so do not expect to see a menu that looks like one you may find at your local Italian/Pizza shop. You will find lots of unique combinations and will have a difficult time deciding what to order.

Once you have tried a pasta dish, you will need to come back and try something from the Chops, Steaks and Seafood section of the menu. I ordered "Pork Chops Country" which came loaded with sausage, peppers, onions and potatoes.


Luchentos is BYOB so be prepared for that. It is located on Rt 33 half way between the NJTPK and Freehold on the westbound side of the road.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

El Meson - Freehold NJ

When you are in the Freehold area (or even when you aren’t) and you want to experience authentic Mexican food, then your first stop should be at El Meson on Main Freehold. It is a small place that is large when it comes to authentic flavor. I also believe it is one of the best restaurants in Freehold. They serve the traditional dishes that you may be used to plus a few unique items. You will not be disappointed if you are from the northeast. I say that because I have eaten my share of Mexican food out west and well….that is a whole other matter.

If you typically order the “nachos” when you have Mexican, then stay home or go to Fridays or some other chain that cranks them out like a factory. This place is not for you. The restaurant is BYOB and in my opinion is a perfect place for a couple or a group of four. If you can, go in the summer when you can take advantage of the outdoor seating.

At the moment, I am unaware of any entrée coupons or any special offers. However, I will post them in comments if I come across anything.

Please come back and post your experience at El Meson once you have tried it.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

NJ Restaurants turn to loan sharks and steal from customers

Desperate to stay afloat in a withering economy, some restaurant owners in northern New Jersey turned to loan sharks to help pay the bills. But when they couldn’t repay the loans, the restaurateurs defrauded their own customers, stealing credit card numbers and wracking up close to $1 million in illegal charges, authorities said Friday.
The Italianissimo Restaurant in Caldwell, Baloco Restaurant in Clifton, and Plaza Diner in Fort Lee were among the "numerous" eateries involved in what Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow called "a significant loan-sharking and credit card scam."
Caldwell police opened the investigation when a Bergen County resident reported that a charge for several thousand dollars — which he said he did not make — appeared on his credit card bill soon after dining in an unnamed Essex County restaurant.
Caldwell police, along with the prosecutor’s offices in Essex and Bergen counties and the U.S. Secret Service launched a four-month investigation, "Operation Cash Flow," that revealed a widespread scam which has led to charges against seven people and nearly $1 million in phony charges so far.
"We believe that this credit card scam has been ongoing for awhile," Dow said at an afternoon press conference from her office in Newark. "We believe that there are hundreds of unsuspecting victims in Essex, Passaic and Bergen counties who are impacted."
The restaurant owners and employees, as well as outside merchants such as suppliers, allegedly duplicated the credit card numbers, charged customers for phony invoices, then distributed the money to the loan sharkers, Dow said.
Six people were arrested in pre-dawn raids Friday: John Paladino 44, Darlene Priester, 37, and Ramzi Musleh, 49, all of Clifton; Dean Ulan, 35, of Bloomfield; Robert Giaconia, 32, of Passaic; and Katherine Paladino, 48, of Hasbrouck Heights. A seventh, Guy Madmon, 32, of Fair Lawn, has also been charged but remains at large, authorities said.
Prosecutors would not say whether those arrested had ties to larger organized crime operations, though Paladino has been on probation for a previous federal racketeering conviction, Dow said. Deputy Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said the "large scale" investigation was ongoing and that restaurant owners may also face charges.
Authorities refused to say how many restaurants were involved.
The restaurant owners did not enter into the high-interest loans knowing they would be required to defraud their customers, Fennelly said. That happened later, when the business owners were unable to repay the loans. "There were certain practices of intimidation," Fennelly said.
Dow and Fennelly said most of the customers whose credit cards were duplicated can recoup their losses but, "often times it’s the credit card companies that are out," Fennelly said.
Those arrested were taken to the Essex County Jail. Bail has been set between $10,000 and $250,000 depending upon the charges which ranged from criminal usury to conspiracy. Some of the suspects were charged with narcotics violations after drugs were found in their homes, police said.
Dow praised the local and federal agencies for their efforts as well as American Express for its cooperation. She also gave a stern warning to credit card users.
"It shows you one thing — you’d better read your bill," Dow said. "You’d better read your statement every month. Be forewarned."

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

White House Subs - Atlantic City NJ

The next time you head to Atlantic City, you MUST stop in at White House Subs to sample one of their sandwiches. Even if you plan to eat somewhere else, stop in and bring a sandwich home. You will not regret it.

The shop has been there forever. You can tell from the picture that I attached. You can also tell from the hundreds of pictures that are on display inside. Whenever a celeb comes to AC, they stop in, have a sandwich...then get their pic taken before it goes up on the wall. I was in there with Dr J. one time.

The sandwiches are special really for two reasons. First, they give you a generous portion regardless as to which sandwich you order. Second, they use fresh hot rolls that are from a nearby bakery.

Make sure you get the hot pepper relish. If you are unsure whether you can take the heat, just have them set it on the side so you can add according to your own taste.

If you get there and you see a line out the door, stay because the line moves quickly.

Where is this place? 2301 Arctic Ave. Basically, when you are driving in on the AC expressway, you will see the convention center on your left. White house is about two blocks south (to your right).

If you go, please come back here and post your experience.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Red Oak Diner - Hazlet NJ

New Jersey is famous for their diners and for good reason....they are simply the best in the world. Even the diners in NY cannot touch the ones in NJ. I call the NJ diner the 8th wonder of the world. The menu is larger than any other restaurant. You can have anything on the menu at any time of day. It is all prepared fresh and out in 10 minutes. I dont know how they do it. Many diners also have their own bakery in the building.

I will discuss many of the wonderful diners over time in this blog. Today, I would like to mention the Red Oak Diner in Hazlet NJ on Rt 35N. The quality of food there is extremely high. The service is excellent, portions and prices are fantastic. There is even a bar if you are looking for a drink with your meal. Two years ago, they hosted a family function for me there (about 25 people). People are still talking about it. The food was incredible.

I highly recommend stopping in at the Red Oak Diner in Hazlet. You will not be disappointed. Stop back here and comment on your experience. OR, let us know about some other positive eating experience in NJ.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Jersey Restaurants

The restaurants in New Jersey are right up there with the best in the country. In this blog, I will begin to detail many of the hot spots that I found over the years. I will talk about the many diners in New Jersey, Seafood, Pizza, burger joints and much more. All of the places that prepare comfort food.

Please visit the vendors you see linked here. I will provide coupons or links to coupons wherever possible.

I am also providing information about NJ Schools, travel and much more HERE.

Please add your comments, suggestions and reviews in this blog.

So, if you live in northern NJ you may be mourning the loss of Callahan's hot dogs. One of the original places that deep fried them. These giant hot dogs were something that I grew up with and will never forget. The fries were excellent too. Still remaining across the street is Hiram's which has a similar format. Of course, there is also Rutt's Hut which I will discuss in another blog in the future.