Daily Archives: August 31, 2012

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

It’s been one of those weeks for me.  You know the kind where there is so much to do that you are completely overwhelmed and exhausted from the sheer thought of it.  But it’s Friday and I’m a positive thinker so I thought I’d take a little break in responding to emails and doing the assignments for my training class to write about the two bright spots in my week.  The first is that my son has been home taking awesome care of me all week while I have been multitasking to sit through a week long web class, do evening homework assignments, coordinate with a plumber for the slop sink overflow,  etc. – all while doing my regular job.  He has been terrific with making his own breakfast, doing his laundry, and even bringing me water or whatever else I need. 
Okay, so now that I have bragged about my child enough, let’s move on to bright spot number two which actually relates to this blog – Dinner at Pig & Prince Restaurant & Gastro Lounge in Montclair, NJ.  Some friends who live in town invited us to join them in trying out this new restaurant whose official opening night isn’t till next week.  It is housed in the old Lackawanna train station off Bloomfield Ave.  The space has been beautifully renovated and decorated.  There is a long bar at one end and tables scattered through the rest of the room under a high ceiling and two large chandeliers.   Chef/owner Michael Carrino, formerly of Passione, was on hand to greet guests on this particular evening. 
 Keeping in mind that the owner and staff are still working out the kinks, we went with our minds open and stomachs hungry.  After a round of cocktails, we ordered a charcuterie board and a merguez “hot dog” for starters.  The restaurant makes some of their own charcuterie and you can see some of it hanging in the drying room near the rear entrance.    The homemade bread served with extra virgin olive oil was a nice accompaniment.  Merguez hot dog could have used a little more heat but was flavorful and delicious nonetheless served with a carrot slaw.
For our entrees we ordered homemade Pasta with Sous Vide Pork Bolognese, Duck Risotto, Duck with dried fruit compote & rice, and for me a Single Steer Burger.  Could I tell that all the meat in my burger came from a single cow?  Not really, but an interesting concept.  All items were very good in taste but each had a slight flaw.  The pasta had too much sauce, the risotto a little too al dente, the rice with the duck had a little too much heat (should have used it in the merguez), and the bun on my burger was a bit stale.  This was fine by me as I’m trying to go low carb anyway so I just skipped the bread and enjoyed my meat.  As I mentioned earlier, they are working out the kinks.  I would love to go back in a month or so and order the same dishes again and compare.
The highlight of our meal was the desserts.  I am generally not a dessert person and rarely order any.  Others of course love desserts and so we ordered three to share among us four.  Our choices – Key Lime tart, Pannacotta, Goat Cheesecake.  Each of these was absolutely delicious and if we weren’t civilized we might have been fighting each other in public for the last bite.  The tart was just the right amount of sweet and sour, the pannacotta was the perfect consistency and served with a yummy rhubarb base, and the cheesecake served with carrot caramel and carrot ice cream was amazing.  One could definitely taste the slight tang from the goat cheese.
We chose a very “beastly” and delicious wine with our dinner – La Tarasque Cote du Rhone 2010.  The name is a particular kind of legendary beast in France and the wine is the product of an American wine maker.  I even tasted a dry rose from Arizona made from the zinfandel grape.  Never knew they grew grapes in Arizona.
If you’re in the area, I highly recommend checking this place out.  Looks like a fun place to meet for cocktails too.  If you’re not able to forgive a few missed steps in service here and there, I suggest you wait a few weeks before you go.
Happy Eating!!

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