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Where the Wild Things Are: Wild Thing Yoga Apparel


Courtesy of Wild Thing Yoga Apparel





One person’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

In 26-year-old Alexis Simoes’s case, recycled plastic water bottles became a signature component of her nature-inspired Wild Thing yoga apparel.

In June 2017, Simoes, a Wall Township resident, world traveler and yoga lover recreated her favorite travel destinations on fabric. Her personal photography of Costa Rican beaches, sea cliffs in Ireland and Colorado mountains were printed onto crop tops, leggings and shorts.

Her apparel is made of sustainable material—RPET (recycled plastic water bottles) and Spandex—that is quick-drying, lightweight, form fitting and antibacterial.

“Wild Thing inspires people to travel, explore, and make connections all over the world,” Simoes says. Each piece is named after the place that inspired it, such as Tahoe leggings, Rockies Goddess top and Algarve shorts. It’s like carrying the natural wonders of the world wherever you wear them.

The collection is available at Shape Shop, Asbury Park; the Yoga Barn, Farmingdale; and discoveryourwild.com.

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5 Essential Foods to Add to Your Diet


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.





Diet is ground zero when it comes to improving and maintaining health. So-called superfoods are building blocks to address or prevent chronic diseases and even slow aging. “Nutrients are most powerful when they come in the form of food rather than a pill,” says Amy Rind, a holistic nutritionist in Maplewood.

What are the primo foods to integrate into your diet for optimal health? We asked Rind and Jersey-based health coach Beth Nydick for their top food picks.

Fermented Foods

Foods such as kombucha, yogurt, kimchi and krauts reintroduce good bacteria—often in short supply due to stress, alcohol, illness and medication—back into the gut.

Benefits: Improves microbiota to help relieve anxiety and depression; boosts heart health; may improve autoimmune conditions; helps manage weight; and curbs sugar cravings.

Chia Seeds

Tiny but mighty, add these mild-tasting, nutty-flavored seeds to smoothies, salads or even a meatloaf.

Benefits: High fiber; high in calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc; loaded with antioxidants; and high protein.

Bone Broth

Changing culinary tastes eliminated snout-to-tail consumption of animals, removing essential nutrients from many diets. Bone broth reintroduces important aminos like glycine, proline, collagen and glutamine.

Benefits: Boosts immunity; lowers inflammation; improves sleep; elevates mood; good for the gut; and improves hydration.

Mushrooms

The personal trainers of our immune system, mushrooms strengthen it over time.

Benefits: Fights cancer (maitake); B vitamins (shitake); blood-pressure-lowering compounds (shitake); adaptogens (reishi); improves energy; elevates mood and fights depression.

Green Vegetables

‘‘What is the healthiest green veggie? The one you eat!,” says certified holistic health coach Beth Nydick.” You have to eat them to get the best nutrients. My favorite is spinach—good, old spinach. It has high carotenoids and plenty of antioxidants to eradicate potentially hazardous free radicals. To eat more, add greens to smoothies (include a banana and you will not even taste the spinach). Add greens to soups or throw some in when you are roasting proteins in the oven.”

“My motto is: Kale, yeah!” says holistic nutritionist Amy Rind. “I love kale because it’s high in vitamins C and K, plus fiber. It’s also a good plant-based source of calcium and iron. Pair kale with a healthy fat like sunflower seeds or avocado to absorb the most nutrients from this green powerhouse.”

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Learn About the History of Champagne at Morton’s Steakhouse





The History of Champagne at Morton’s
Thursday, January 17, 7 pm

Thursday nights are usually treated with all the pomp of “Weekend Eve,” but Morton’s Steakhouse in Hackensack is putting all the focus on Thursday night with a glitzy Champagne tasting. They’re tackling no less than “The History of Champagne” (done by the glass, not the history book chapter), with a menu running through a list of bubbles and four accompanying courses. French Champagne is the focal point (the climactic “Clash of the Titans” main course is a Wagyu Filet alongside Dom Perignon Cuvee and Duval-Leroy Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs), but there will be “imitators” (Spanish Cava, Italian Brut), even some bubbles from the U.S. Tickets, no surprise, are up there at $175. Reserve quickly. Morton’s Steakhouse, One Riverside Square, Hackensack; 201-487-1303

Booze & Chews at Langosta Lounge
Thursday, January 17, 5–9 pm

With a little help from Local Smoke BBQ, Langosta Lounge on Asbury Park Boardwalk is hosting its first “Booze & Chews” of the year. The concept is pretty simple (and much needed): bourbon meets barbecue. Tickets are $30, which you can call to reserve. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Asbury Park Fire Department. The Langosta Lounge, 1000 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park; 732-455-3275

Better Brewing at Home: Pour Over Edition
Saturday, January 19, 1-2 pm

Proving that not every outing has to involve alcohol, Black River Roasters in Whitehouse Station is hosting an hour of its “Better Brewing at Home” series. The goal: help demystify all the gear and grind options dedicated to your morning cup o’ joe. This Saturday’s subject is Pour Over, the trendy, maybe over-ritualized, definitely time-consuming brewing method you may or may not have seen in your local coffee shop. Fear not: Black River staff plan do not intimidate—you’re in good hands, it’s a coffee shop and roastery, they know their beans and brewing methods). Tickets are cheap, $15, and at the very least you’ll leave with a kick and some snazzy new coffee buzzwords. Black River Roasters, 424 Route 22, Whitehouse Station; 908-823-4715

Chef’s Table Food & Wine Pairing at Redz
Thursday, January 24, 6:30 pm

Redz Restaurant in Mount Laurel is kicking off its Chef’s Table series with this dinner from chef Goelof de Groot. The dinner of five courses will play up the restaurant’s bold American style (i.e., Caviar Parfait with Avocado, Braised Short Rib Lollipop), each course paired with a wine chosen by long-time industry experts Charlie Beatty and Fillipo Cammarata of Wine Works in Marlton. Tickets are $100, and can be reserved online. Redz Restaurant, 515 Fellowship Road, Mount Laurel; 856-222-0335

The 9th Great Beer Expo
Saturday, February 2, 12:30–4pm, 5:30–9pm

We don’t tend to flock to expos, for good reason—crowds. But if you like beer, this is one expo you’ll want to try. There are two sessions of the Great Beer Expo taking place at the Meadowlands Expo Center—more than enough time to sample a lot (if not all) of the 150+ beers on hand from 70 breweries, with plenty of Jersey talent on hand. (The expo will update their list of breweries as they add them.) Tickets are $46 in advance ($60 the day of, if any remain), and just $10 for designated drivers. There will be food available for purchase, and beer seminars during the day. Kids (of any age) are not permitted. Meadowlands Expo Center, 355 Plaza Drive, Secaucus; 201-330-7773

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After the Shutdown: Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station


Exelon shut the Oyster Creek generating station in September. Now it wants to sell the site to Holtec, which would be responsible for all cleanup.
Courtesy of Stan Honda/ Getty images





December 23, 1969, was a blustery day in Ocean County, with winds gusting up to 20 miles per hour across Barnegat Bay and the temperature dipping into the teens. It was a slow news days as the country paused to celebrate Christmas. Reports emerged that a federal grand jury had issued new subpoenas in a corruption probe that would ultimately take down Newark mayor Hugh Addonizio. In Chicago, anti-war activist Abbie Hoffman took the stand in the notorious trial of the Chicago Seven. Across the Pacific, the Viet Cong agreed to a three-day Christmas truce as President Richard Nixon vowed to wind down the Vietnam War. On the U.S. pop charts, Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” reigned as number 1.

Two years behind schedule, way over budget and with little fanfare, Jersey Central Power & Light put its Oyster Creek nuclear generating station online that day at 12:01 am, producing more than 500 megawatts of electrical power. It marked the first operational use of General Electric’s Mark 1 boiling-water reactor, promoted as a smaller, cheaper alternative to its predecessors. 

Nuclear power was already old hat. Oyster Creek, located in Forked River, an unincorporated community in Lacey Township, was the nation’s 16th commercial nuclear-fission power plant; another 48 reactors were under construction, and 41 were in the planning stage. The Oyster Creek startup garnered only a brief mention on page 33 of the New York Times.

Over its lifetime, Oyster Creek would generate more than 192 terawatt hours of electricity—enough to continuously power about 600,000 homes for five decades. It would also produce 750 metric tons (1.7 million pounds) of radioactive nuclear waste. It experienced no major operational problems.

At noon this past September 17, operators shut down the Oyster Creek turbine. Three minutes later, two “scram” buttons were simultaneously pushed, inserting 122 control rods into the reactor core and aborting the nuclear reaction inside the vessel. After nearly a half-century of operation, the nation’s oldest active nuclear power plant went offline for good. 

That began the onerous task of decontaminating and dismantling the plant—a process known as decommissioning. The shutdown also created severe financial angst among local officials, who had grown dependent on Oyster Creek’s tax revenue. And it offered the latest painful reminder that the United States lacks a plan to deal with a growing stockpile of radioactive nuclear waste. 

The shutdown left New Jersey with three operating nuclear reactors, which produce 37 percent of the state’s electricity. With the emergence in recent years of cheap and abundant natural gas, along with a growing appetite for renewable energy, plants like Oyster Creek have lost their competitive edge. The nuclear age is on the wane in the United States, at least in the commercial energy sector. Today, there are 60 active U.S. nuclear plants with 98 reactors, down from a high of 112 operational plants in 1991. Only two reactor plants are under construction.

Oyster Creek’s license was to expire in 2029. But in 2010, the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered the plant to build cooling towers to protect Barnegat Bay from its warm-water discharges. After estimating the cost at more than $800 million, Exelon Corp., the current owner/operator, reached an agreement to close the plant in 2019. That was advanced to 2018 in part to manage costs.

Courtesy of Holtec

A CHANGE IN PLANS

Shortly after the shutdown, plant employees began the process of cooling down the reactor and removing all nuclear fuel for storage in the plant’s used-fuel pool, a bath of highly purified, chemically balanced, fresh water. The 40-foot-deep pool—with reinforced concrete walls 2-feet thick—contains 2,430 fuel assemblies, more than half of the spent fuel that has accumulated over five decades.

Exelon estimated decommissioning would take 60 years. Its method, a process known as SAFSTOR, includes waiting for the radiation—both in the fuel pool and the reactor—to diminish naturally over decades, reducing the contamination risk for workers dismantling the facility. That plan changed dramatically last summer when Exelon reached an agreement to sell the plant to Holtec International, which has a technology campus in Camden, and proposes to complete the task in less than eight years by expediting the transfer of the spent fuel from the pool to dry storage casks before its radiation has appreciably decayed. Holtec and Exelon have asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an expedited approval of the sale by May 1,  prompting concern among environmentalists. 

“What’s the big hurry?” asks Janet Tauro, board chair of Clean Water Action NJ. “Holtec may be the best thing in the world, but we’re talking about 1.7 million pounds of nuclear waste.” Lacey Township, the Sierra Club and Concerned Citizens of Lacey have asked the NRC to hold a public hearing. Tauro and Clean Water Action New Jersey have asked the state attorney general for a review of the Exelon/Holtec deal.

“The NRC will try to complete a review of the application by May 1,” says NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.  “But we have made it clear to Exelon and Holtec that achieving that will be contingent upon us receiving the information we need.” That could include information about technical aspects of the decommissioning and adequacy of funding for the project.

Exelon and Holtec officials are nonetheless optimistic the deal will be approved on their timetable. Soon, the nuclear license and the 700-acre property would be transferred to Holtec—along with control of a nearly $1 billion decommissioning trust fund generated by utility ratepayers over decades. Holtec would assume all liability for the spent nuclear fuel—and any potential accidents.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, says he’s fine with the expedited decommissioning schedule. “It’s very doable and it’s been done many times throughout the country,” he notes. But he would like to see the storage site for the nuclear waste elevated and upgraded to withstand potential flooding or a terrorist attack. According to an AP report, the Sierra Club and several community groups also say the $1 billion fund is insufficient for cleanup and storage.

Tittel is “most concerned,” however, about the transfer of Oyster Creek’s ownership from Exelon, an industry behemoth with deep pockets, to Holtec, a relatively small limited-liability company, which will subcontract the work to an even smaller subsidiary. “If there is some kind of accident, there will be no one to hold accountable,” he says. 

Kris Singh, who holds more than 90 patents, mostly related to nuclear energy, founded Holtec in 1986. His company has emerged as an industry leader in the management of spent nuclear fuel. Its dry-cask technology is used at 116 nuclear power plants around the world, including 65 in the United States. Those casks would be used to store Oyster Creek’s spent fuel.

But Singh’s company lacks experience in cleaning up closed nuclear plants. That’s why it teamed with a Canadian engineering firm, SNC-Lavalin, to form Comprehensive Decommissioning International (CDI). Holtec has also reached agreements to purchase nuclear plants in Massachusetts and Michigan and perform expedited decommissioning there. The Massachusetts deal is awaiting NRC approval, and the Michigan deal will be submitted at a later date. 

“CDI, headquartered in Camden, has been established to bring the expertise of both companies together to ensure safe, rapid, and economic nuclear plant decommisioning,” says Holtec marketing and communications specialist Caitlin Marmion.

What’s in it for Holtec? The company would, in effect, hire itself and its subsidiary to clean up the site by drawing fees from the decommissioning fund. Holtec also would purchase its own storage casks for the cleanup. And once the cleanup is done, it can profit from the sale of the 700-acre Oyster Creek site.

An exact replica of the control room at Oyster Creek, which, over five decades, churned out enough electricity to continuously power about 600,000 homes. Courtesy of Stan Honda/ Getty images

SOUNDING THE ALARM

Paul Gunter, a longtime environmental activist, policy analyst and nuclear-reactor watchdog for the advocacy group Beyond Nuclear, has been following activities at Oyster Creek for decades. He is calling for a thorough inspection of the plant’s GE Mark 1 reactor before it’s disposed of, citing its well-documented design flaws and a long history of modifications and retrofits. The reactor came under intense international scrutiny in 2011, after three of the same reactors melted down at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. 

Holtec’s decommissioning plan “is like burying a body without an autopsy,” says Gunter. He notes that 21 GE Mark 1 reactors remain operational in the United States. (Holtec’s Marmion points out that the company’s plans to dismantle and dispose of the reactor are “in accordance with regulatory requirements.”)

Gunter is also alarmed by Holtec’s partnership for the decommissioning work. SNC-Lavalin, Gunter says, currently faces federal corruption charges in Canada. Equally disturbing, he says, the company is “barred from doing any contractual work with the World Bank until 2023—again because of global corruption.”

SNC-Lavalin has had a legal cloud over its head since 2015 (the same year it began collaborating with Holtec) when allegations surfaced that former employees paid $150 million in bribes to officials in Libya to influence government policy and win contracts. In one case, a former SNC-Lavalin vice president is awaiting trial on charges he made bribes to the Gaddafi regime. In a separate case, a former SNC-Lavalin vice president of construction pleaded guilty in July to using a forged document following a widespread corruption investigation involving the construction of a super-hospital in Canada.  And in May, Canadian authorities filed charges against SNC-Lavalin after a multiyear probe related to illegal political contributions.

“Is this the company we want to be handling a $1 billion trust fund?” asks Gunter.

Holtec officials say SNC-Lavalin has cleaned house and put its problems in the past. “We are aware of SNC-Lavalin’s history,” Holtec says in a written response. “Lavalin has reshaped the entire leadership team and transformed the entire culture of their business.…We are confident that the changes made in the years prior to establishing CDI will prevent future bad conduct by rogue employees.”

The decommissioning project is not the only joint venture between Holtec and SNC-Lavalin. The two companies are also collaborating on the design and production of a small, nuclear and modular reactor, called SMR-160, at Holtec’s Technology Campus in Camden. The reactor is planned for operation by 2026.

Last February, Holtec signed an agreement in Camden that calls for the state-run nuclear operator in Ukraine to adopt the SMR-160 technology to meet its energy needs. Shortly after, Holtec announced that Ukraine may also become a manufacturing hub for SMR-160 components.

“Holtec is poised to….reinvigorate nuclear power for a world in dire need of a weather-independent and carbon-free source of energy,” CEO Singh told World Nuclear News at the time.  

A nuclear plant technician wears protective gear while working near a used-fuel pool like the one at Oyster Creek. Courtesy of Stan Honda/ Getty images

WASTE PILES UP

The closing of Oyster Creek is more than a local story. It occurs amid the glaring absence of a national strategy for the permanent storage of our growing stockpile of nuclear waste. That stockpile stands at 80,000 metric tons—its radiation lasting thousands of years—and is expected to increase to about 140,000 metric tons over the next several decades as more plants close.

In 1982, Congress directed the Department of Energy to develop a permanent geological repository for used nuclear fuel. In 2002, President George W. Bush signed a law designating Yucca Mountain in Nevada as that site.  In 2010, however, the DOE, after investing $12 billion in the project, shut it down with little explanation. Nevada’s Harry Reid, then the Senate majority leader, is widely credited with scuttling the plan in his home state. 

For now, U.S. nuclear power plants are resorting to on-site storage. Most of their spent fuel is stored in cooling pools and steel-and-concrete casks at 125 sites in 35 states. The NRC claims fuel can be stored safely in this manner for more than 100 years.   

But the U.S. Government Accountability Office informed Congress in April 2017 that “spent nuclear fuel can pose serious risks to humans and the environment….and is a source of billions of dollars of financial liabilities for the U.S. government. According to the National Research Council and others, if not handled and stored properly, this material can spread contamination and cause long-term health concerns in humans or even death.” 

Holtec, which made a name for itself in on-site storage, raised eyebrows last year when it announced its plans to jump into the potentially lucrative decommissioning business. Now, it is looking to take an even bigger leap: It has applied to build and operate a mammoth interim spent-fuel repository on 1,000 acres in New Mexico.  

Holtec initially wants to store 500 canisters of spent nuclear fuel containing up to 8,680 metric tons of uranium from commercial nuclear reactors. If the NRC issues that initial license, Holtec would seek to expand the facility in 9 subsequent phases, each for an additional 500 canisters, to be completed over the course of 20 years. (If the license is approved, Oyster Creek’s spent fuel would be shipped to the site—creating yet another revenue opportunity for Holtec.) If that were to occur, the New Mexico site would swell to 163,700 metric tons—more than double the capacity assigned to Yucca Mountain. 

Opposing Holtec’s interim storage proposal last year became the singular mission of Kevin Kamps, a radioactive-waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. His reasons are many, but mostly he is concerned that it would establish a “de facto permanent, surface storage dump” without approval by Congress.  

In addition, the interim site, he says, “would expose low-income people of color, communities already heavily polluted by fossil-fuel and nuclear industries, to yet another, major assault to their health, safety, security and environment. And it would launch tens of thousands or more high-risk mobile Chernobyls…down the roads, rails and/or waterways in shipping containers…of questionable structural integrity.”

WHAT ABOUT LACEY?

For plant employees and local officials, the mood was somber on Oyster Creek’s final day of operation in September. Former Lacey Township mayor Gary Quinn (now an Ocean County freeholder) was “sad about the whole situation.”  

Lacey Township is the consummate company town; its seal incorporates a rendering of an atom. Exelon officials say that, over its lifetime, the plant has generated $3.4 billion in wages, taxes and local purchasing. Corporate ownership and employees have donated about $20 million to local charities. 

For decades, the plant has provided as many as 700 jobs. That number has shrunk to 400 and will be reduced by another 100 during the decommissioning. Local government has become reliant on the $2.7 million in annual corporate taxes it collects from the plant. Lacey also receives $11 million annually in state Energy Tax Receipts. That covers about one-third of Lacey’s annual budget.  

Quinn says state officials have assured him the township will continue to benefit from the energy tax for a couple of years, but its share could be reduced drastically, maybe by half, after that. And when it comes time to demolish the buildings, the corporate property tax revenue will decline as well. It’s a troubling picture for Lacey’s financial future. 

With nuclear waste being stored on-site indefinitely, the prospects for residential or commercial projects are virtually non-existent, Quinn says. Township officials have begun discussions with natural gas companies to see if there is interest for a plant there, given that the hookup to the state’s power grid is basically ready to go. Quinn believes it is the best scenario for the township’s financial future. 

A bill coauthored last year by then U.S. representative Tom MacArthur would tap into a $40 billion federal nuclear storage fund to provide economic relief for towns affected by a nuclear-plant closure. The bill breezed through the House but died in the Senate. (In November, MacArthur, a Republican, lost his bid to keep his House seat to Democratic challenger Andy Kim.)

As it stands, there is no plan for the town to get anything other than 1.7 million pounds of radioactive nuclear waste. There it will sit—in steel and concrete canisters in a concrete structure next to a parking lot just off Route 9 and a few miles from the beach—until America comes up with plan.

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The 16 Best Restaurants in Morristown





In recent years, Morristown has turned its long downtown thoroughfare (South Street, extending past the Morristown Green to Washington Street), from a scattering of small shops and minor eateries into one of the most vibrant Restaurant Rows in northern New Jersey. Its craft beer scene is a strong point. Add the rest of downtown, and your choice of cuisines, price points and atmospheres are multiplied. Here are our 16 top picks for the best restaurants in Morristown, in alphabetical order.

Sea bass at Blue Morel. Courtesy of Blue Morel

Located in the Westin Governor Morris Hotel, the upscale Blue Morel is about a mile from the Morristown Green, the park that represents the center of town, but has plenty of parking and a veteran kitchen team led by chefs Dennis Matthews and Thomas Ciszak. The dinner menu is largely New American, with a sushi section and raw bar.
2 Whippany Road, 973-451-2619; Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily

Pork roll sandwich with waffle fries. Photo courtesy of the Committed Pig

Burgers rule at the Committed Pig—there are a dozen to choose from. Also popular are the grilled cheese sandwiches, egg dishes, pancakes, pork roll sandwiches and a kids menu.
28 West Park Place, 862-260-9292; Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, daily; BYO

Chicken taco flatbread. Courtesy of the Famished Frog

This craft beer bar, with live music Fridays and Saturdays, offers burgers, flatbreads, wings, salads, entrées and daily specials. It adjoins with Hops, which offers an even wider selection of craft beers along with a smaller menu.
18 Washington Street, 973-540-9601; Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Photo courtesy of Grasshopper off the Green

A classic Irish pub, Grasshopper off the Green has a bar and flatscreens downstairs and a dining room upstairs. Menu highlights include shepherd’s pie, bangers & mash, fish & chips, plus quesadillas, salads and American dishes.
41-43 Morris Street, 973-285-5150; Open for lunch, Mon-Fri; dinner, daily: brunch, Sat-Sun

Braised octopus appetizer with tomato asopau.

Photo by Laura Moss

Occupying the renovated 1918 Vail Mansion, Jockey Hollow has made New Jersey Monthly’s list of Best Restaurants every year since it opened in 2014. Under chef Craig Polignano, who came aboard in 2017, the four separate dining spaces, each with their own ambience, have reached new levels of excellence, especially the upstairs dining room, daPesca, devoted to seafood. Overall, the menu is New American with a specialty in exceptional pastas. The wine and beer lists offer unusual value and variety, and cocktails are excellent.
110 South Street, 973-644-3180; Open for lunch, Tues-Fri; dinner, Tues-Sun; brunch, Sun (varies by room)

Bowl of ramen. Photo courtesy of Inspiration Roll

Fresh ingredients, with many choices of add-ons, characterize this casual spot offering poke bowls (fish over rice or salad) or poke burritos, as well as unusually good ramen bowls brimming with rich broth, high-quality noodles and generous amounts of meat and vegetables.
40 South Park Place, 973-998-9449; Open for lunch and dinner, daily; BYO

The lunch buffet at Mehndi. Photo courtesy of the Mehtani Restaurant Group.

The Mehtani family, award-winning restaurateurs, present a high-quality Indian a la carte menu and a lunch buffet at Mehndi in the Headquarters Plaza Building.
3 Speedwell Avenue, 973-871-2323; Open for lunch and dinner, Tues-Sun

Maple and chili glazed salmon, parsnip puree, apple and fennel relish. Photo courtesy of The Office Tavern Grill

A large craft beer selection is one of the draws at the handsomely redesigned restaurant (formerly the Office Beer Bar & Grill). There are excellent salads and a solid menu of American favorites, from burgers to flatbreads, wings, entrées and changing regional specialties.
3 South Street, 973-285-0220; Open for lunch and dinner, daily; brunch, Sat-Sun

Potato pancakes. Photo courtesy of Pierogies House

Chef/owner Evelina Berc brings the hearty and affordable cooking of Poland, her home country, to soul-stirring life at Pierogies House. The plump pierogies, with a variety of filings, are the heart of the small menu. But the kielbasa is unusually good and the hearty soups are not to be missed.
45 Morris Street, 973-432-8270; Open for lunch and dinner, daily; BYO

Spicy barbecue baby back pork ribs. Photo courtesy of Roots Steakhouse

Like its sister restaurants in Ridgewood and Summit, Morristown’s Roots is an upscale enclave specializing in prime beef, including dry-aged cuts. There’s also seafood entrées and a bevy of classic steakhouse sides.
40 West Park Place, 973-326-1800; Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Cocktails at SM23. Photo courtesy of SM23

Having met an inspirational mixologist on a trip to Australia, Shaun Mehtani opened this sophisticated bar and lounge, with a good small plates menu, on his 23rd birthday. Hence the name, SM23. A DJ spins tunes on weekends.
3 Speedwell Avenue, 973-871-2323; Open for dinner, daily

Seasonal salmon dish. Photo courtesy of South + Pine

A Bobby Flay protégé, who ran several of his top kitchens, chef Leia Gaccione has proven herself a star in her own right with this casual American eatery where the food is relatable, affordable and always touched with imagination and detail that lifts it into super-deliciousness.
90 South Street, 862-260-9700; Open for lunch, Mon-Fri; dinner, daily; brunch, Sat-Sun; BYO

Pan-seared scallops with Thai coconut black rice. Photo courtesy of Stirling Tavern

From the owners of the landmark Stirling Hotel, the Stirling Tavern offers upscale tavern food and excellent burgers in a vibrant, modern space. The bar boasts a creative cocktail menu and a relevant draft list, with local breweries that are often hosted for special beer dinner events.
150 South Street, 973-993-8066; Open for lunch and dinner, daily.

Corned beef sandwich with fries. Photo courtesy of Tashmoo

Opened in 2006, at the beginning of Morristown’s restaurant renaissance, Tashmoo offers a well-stocked bar, a bevy of craft beers, excellent burgers, a menu of American favorites and a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
8 Dehart Street, 973-998-6133; Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Grilled Octopus is served with salsa brava, roasted new potatoes, piquillo peppers and a ‘nduja aioli. Photo courtesy of TOWN Bar + Kitchen

Slightly off the beaten path, opposite the Morristown train station, this sleek, comfortable, two-level restaurant offers contemporary American fare and an extensive wine list. The dinner menu includes raw bar, charcuterie plates and a range of entrees, including potato gnocchi with pesto, lobster puttanesca and marinated flank steak. Check out the upstairs patio in the warmer months.
80 Elm Street, 973-889-8696; Open for lunch, Mon-Fri; dinner, daily; brunch, Sun

Buffalo chicken meatballs. Photo courtesy of Urban Table

Fresh-squeezed juices, local ingredients, composed salads and modern takes on comfort food characterize Urban Table, a busy, attractive and casual spot.
40 West Park Place, 973-326-9200; Open for lunch and dinner, daily; brunch, Sat-Sun

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Good Food, Great Ambience at Stirling Tavern in Morristown


Popcorn shrimp tacos at Stirling Tavern. Photo by Shelby Vittek





The first time I tried to get into the Stirling Tavern in Morristown for dinner, it was too packed to get a seat—and it wasn’t even the weekend yet. Even the bar was too full to stand around. My companion and I left feeling deflated, and wandered down South Street to another restaurant instead.

Located among Morristown’s bustling downtown restaurant row, the Stirling Tavern has become a crowd favorite since it opened in late 2016. From the owners of the landmark Stirling Hotel, the gastropub offers upscale tavern fare in a modern space, with options like grilled Iberico pork with celeriac puree, and pan-seared scallops over Thai coconut black rice on the menu.

Don’t worry—there are also four types of burgers and various fried snacks for those who crave more traditional pub dishes. The bar also boasts an interesting draft list, usually featuring a few local breweries; and a creative yet affordable cocktail menu (Stirling Tavern bartenders came in third in the 2017 Ironshaker Competition).

Mexican Street Corn Flatbread. Photo by Shelby Vittek

I tried a different tactic on my return visit, and decided to ditch the dinner rush crowd and grab lunch with friends at the Stirling Tavern instead. We grabbed a corner at the large bar, which occupies the right side of the restaurant. The dining area, filled with a variety of different sized tables, is to your left when you enter.

We started with the Mexican Street Corn Flatbread ($12), with Chihuahua and Cotija cheese, grilled corn, avocado, chipotle aioli and cilantro. I would have preferred the corn to be more charred—and for there to be more of it—but the starter was devoured within minutes.

Voodoo Salmon Wrap. Photo by Shelby Vittek

The entrees we ordered were from the lunch menu, which includes some items that aren’t available for dinner. I got the Popcorn Shrimp Tacos ($14). The shrimp was crispy and well spiced, and topped with a fresh green papaya slaw. My friends opted for the Voodoo Salmon Wrap ($16), with blackened salmon, romaine, bacon and avocado; and the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich ($14), topped with cheddar cheese, buttermilk ranch and shredded lettuce. Each came with crispy steak fries—some of the best I’ve tried in Morristown.

The Stirling Tavern might not be the best option for an intimate, quiet meal or romantic date. But you can always count on getting great food in a vibrant, energetic space.

Just be sure to make a reservation in advance.

Stirling Tavern, 150 South Street, Morristown; 973-993-8066. Open for lunch and dinner, daily; brunch, Sunday.

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You’re invited: Seven Principles Workshop For Couples

Seven Principles Workshop For Couples

Because love (and a good relationship toolbox) is all you need.

This post was contributed by a community member.

This Valentine’s Day, what would it be like to feel closer than ever?

Based on Dr. John Gottman’s New York Times best-selling book, The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work, this two-day immersive workshop is for committed couples of all kinds – of any length, status, or orientation – who want to strengthen their relationship, and gain a new set of proven communication skills that emerged from Gottman’s four decades of groundbreaking study.

If you and your partner have been craving a deeper connection with each other – wanting to recharge your friendship, build intimacy, and learn to move through conflict faster and easier – then please consider joining us to gear up for Valentine’s Day with a uniquely powerful experience.

Certified Gottman Leaders Larissa Jaye and Bill Barry look forward to supporting you on this heart-forward weekend adventure. For more information and to register now, please visit www.NJCouplesWorkshops.com.

For further information, click here.

Thanks for your feedback.

Hasbrouck Heights: 5 Latest Homes To Hit The Market

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ — On the hunt for a new home nearby, but tired of browsing through the same old real-estate listings over and over? Never fear! To help simplify your search, we’ve got a fresh batch of new listings nearby.

Below, you’ll find the five most recent homes to hit the housing market in the Hasbrouck Heights area — such as one with 2 beds and 1 bath for $215,000, and another with 4 beds and 4 baths for $699,000.

Like what you see? Simply click on any address in the list to get additional photos and details. Happy house hunting!

1. 112 Walter Ave, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604

Price: $699,000
Size: 4 beds, and 4 baths

2. 164 Burr Pl, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604

Price: $389,000
Size: 3 beds, and 1 bath

3. 469 Franklin Ave, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604

Price: $410,000
Size: 3 beds, and 1 bath

4. 221 Coolidge Ave, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604

Price: $215,000
Size: 2 beds, and 1 bath

5. 113 Baldwin Ave, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604

Price: $244,900
Size: 3 beds, and 2 baths

Your search doesn’t have to end here! Keep scrolling for more listings. And there are even more homes for you to check out in our real-estate section for the Hasbrouck Heights area.

For Sale: $699,000
4 bd/3 full ba

<div>112 Walter Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $389,000
3 bd/1 full ba

<div>164 Burr Pl</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $410,000
3 bd/1 full ba

<div>469 Franklin Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $215,000
2 bd/1 full ba

<div>221 Coolidge Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $545,000
3 bd/1 full ba

<div>310 Williams Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $425,000
3 bd/2 full ba

<div>202 Myers Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $485,000
4 bd/1 full ba

<div>323 Division Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $453,200
4 bd/3 full ba, 3,074 sqft

<div>269 Oldfield Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $499,999
3 bd/3 full ba

<div>401 Boulevard</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $344,500
3 bd/3 full ba

<div>100 Hamilton Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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Author Dani Shapiro Chronicles Her New Origin Story in New Book


Dani Shapiro at her home in Connecticut. Photo courtesy of Michael Maren





Author Dani Shapiro wasn’t expecting any major revelations when she spit into a tube and sent off her DNA for analysis through a genealogy website. So when the results came back showing that her father was not her biological father, Shapiro was floored. “The rug was pulled out from under me,” she says. “It seemed out of the question.”

The blue-eyed and blonde-haired Shapiro, who grew up in a Modern Orthodox Jewish household in Hillside, was often told she didn’t look the part. “I didn’t look Jewish,” she says. “I looked like I came from another part of the world.” But at no point did she expect a family secret as big as this one.

Photo courtesy of the publisher.

A mere 36 hours after reading the results, Shapiro was able to identify the man who was her biological father, or at least the sperm donor. What followed was a life-changing journey, a full investigation of her own identity and belonging that she chronicles in her new memoir, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, due January 15 from Knopf.

“As a memoirist, writer and journalist, I’ve been digging for the truth my entire life,” says Shapiro, the author of four previous memoirs and five novels. “There are some ways in which I was writing toward or around this all my life.”

Without living parents to ask for the answers, Shapiro went looking wherever she could, including to Philadelphia, where she had been conceived at a fertility clinic. “I was consumed with what my parents knew,” she says. “Did they actively keep information from me, or did the institute not tell my parents?”

Shapiro hopes the story of her discovery reaches others with similar experiences. “I’ve never felt so excited for a book before,” she says. “It has a purpose.”

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The Little Hen, a French Bistro From the Owners of Two Fish, is Coming to Haddonfield


Two Fish co-owners Felice Leibowitz and chef Mike Stollenwerk.

Two Fish co-owners Felice Leibowitz and chef Mike Stollenwerk.
Photo by Stuart Goldenberg





If all goes well, The Little Hen should open on Kings Highway in Haddonfield mid-March, making it the second restaurant in one town from partners-in-business (and life), chef Mike Stollenwerk and manager Felice Leibowitz. In 2016, the pair opened Two Fish in Haddonfield, which was named one of NJM‘s Top 30 Best Restaurants in 2018. (Before that, Stollenwerk had found success at Little Fish in Philadelphia in 2006, Fish in 2009, and gastropub Fathom in 2010.)

But where Two Fish focuses on modern, refined seafood, the Little Hen is going full-throttle meat (eponymous little hen included, see below). We caught up with Stollenwerk to ask him about the concept, how he plans on honoring two concepts in one town, and what to expect when we’re able to score one of Little Hen’s precious 20 seats.

Table Hopping: You already have an acclaimed, cozy, niche seafood restaurant in Haddonfield. How will The Little Hen be different?
Mike Stollenwerk: We tinkered around with the idea for the last year. It’s going to [have] a rustic French countryside feel. The menu’s going to play off that. It’s going to be very meat-heavy, kind of the opposite of Two Fish. They’ll play off each other pretty well.

TH: Is that the idea? Playing the two restaurants off each other?
MS: At Two Fish, we limit ourselves. If you don’t like seafood, yes we have steak, but we’re limited in terms of what we’re reaching our guest with. I realized we’re not speaking to everyone. Two Fish is executed more like fine dining: each element has a reason [to be] on a plate, and it all works around seafood, whereas more rustic French would be something like braised short ribs with mashed potatoes. [The Little Hen] is going to be very unfussy, more laid-back, more casual, with price points a little lower. And BYO.

TH: Can you give us a for-instance on price points?
MS: I would say appetizers would be in the $8 to $16 range, entrees in the $21 to $28 range. For the most part, it’ll be classics. Steak Frites, Steak au Poivre, Braised Short Ribs, buttery mashed potatoes. Simple, casual French cooking.

TH: It’s a small corner space—20 seats. What is the interior like?
MS: The total square footage is 450, with an open kitchen, which was part of the plan for Little Hen by default, since it’s one room. When I was at Little Fish in Philadelphia, about the same size as [Little Hen], it was an open kitchen and people loved it.

TH: Speaking of kitchens, what about you? How will you divide your time between two kitchens, to intentionally drastically different menu concepts?
MS: I’m going to oversee both. I’ll spend the majority of my time at Two Fish. And then I’ll see what happens.

TH: Why did you choose to open another restaurant in Haddonfield?
MS: Well, there’s a convenience factor—the restaurant is like, 100 feet away. But it’s an awesome corner spot, nobody’s done anything with it. It was a candy store most recently. It’s right on the corner of Haddon Avenue and King’s Highway. You can see it from every angle, every intersection—there’s beautiful historic bay windows around the whole place. [And] the dining scene is really cool here. At Two Fish, we’ve acquired a lot of regulars and very loyal customers. We have a great following here. Between Collingswood and Haddonfield, and the proximity to Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, there are a lot of people in the area. Ten years ago, if you wanted a good meal, you’d have to go into Philly, drive over and pay the toll, get your car booted.

TH: Maybe a silly question, but can we expect to see hen on the menu?

MS: We’ll probably do a brick-pressed capon, [which is] basically a little hen. When I think of the French countryside, I see a little hen running around. Though the name was my partner [Felice Leibowitz’s] idea. It was just me and her that started out at Two Fish. That’s why it’s called “Two Fish.” And then it got busier and busier. 

The Little Hen is scheduled to open by mid-March, located on the corner at 220 King’s Highway East in Haddonfield. Its hours will be the same as Two Fish [Weds – Sat, 5pm – 9pm; Sunday 6pm – 9pm], “though Sunday we’re going to open Little Hen earlier in the day, one o’clock,” says Stollenwerk, “so guests can catch a late lunch or early dinner.” For info on The Little Hen, direct inquiries to Two Fish, 856-428-3474

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