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May   5

Love My Kitchen, Love My House

It's that time of year again, when proud homeowners show off their homes and gardens. Put on your comfortable shoes, if you plan to take the Essex Fells Kitchen Tour next week, or do the circuit for  the Women's Club of Glen Ridge 21st Annual House Tour this weekend.

Here's what you'll see in Glen Ridge:

The Tour houses remain a secret until the tickets are either mailed out or purchased. This is what keeps the Tour a fun surprise for all those who participate. The houses this year can be described as "distinctive and interesting in their own separate ways, with one or more unusual to the ordinary Glen Ridge home". All pictures of the inside of the homes are at the owner's discretion and will be allowed, or not allowed, the day of the Tour.

Well, as you can see, we can't tell or show you what you'll see on the Glen Ridge House Tour, which costs $30 and goes from 2 to 5 pm. We hear from unofficial sources that the Schades have decided to pull their house off the tour, but who knows? Signs will go up in front yards in town on Saturday morning, so if the Schade house is what you really want to see, you can find out then. There's also a luncheon reception from noon to 2 ($20) and a jazz cocktail reception from 5 to 8 pm ($15). For more info, call the Women's Club 973.748.5459 or drop by Saturday, 219 Ridgewood Ave., Glen Ridge, to buy tickets.

And if you haven't had enough already, plan to inspect the nicest kitchens in Essex Fells.

The Essex Fells Gourmet Kitchen tour takes place Thursday, May 11, 10-2 , rain or shine. Besides seeing several kitchens which incorporate latest in kitchen design trends, there will be chefs from Milan, Fascino, Il Tulipano and LuNello's holding cooking demonstrations. Kitchen designers/suppliers will be on hand to answer your questions.

Tickets are limited! $35. Makes checks payable to EFFEE and mail to PO box 174 , Essex Fells, NJ 07021. Sponsored by Essex Fells PTA and Essex Fells Foundation for Educational Excellence.

And if you're too tired to do the walking, we can recommend this.

May 5, 2006 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (3)

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April  22

No Nicks, No Cuts


Anyone who looks at the paucity of plays on Broadway and wonders where the playwrights have gone need look no farther than "Close Shave" at Cafe Theatre, an evening of eight comic short plays currently on at the upstairs room at Tierney's.

You go in with relatively low expectations (Plays in a bar? How good could this be?), but you come away with a whole new appreciation of the power of words and gestures to entertain, and of the quality of the drama program at Montclair State, where many of the principals are students or recent graduates.

The plays are well-observed and well-directed. The casts are uniformly excellent, but some standouts are worth mentioning here.

Jon Barker is hilarious in two different roles: as a sciurophobic layabout called on to help a stranger (played by the funny and adorable Liz Gerecitano) transport a box full of squirrels in Ben Clawson's Quarrels; and in the title role of Marc Castle's Mr. Company, where he is a programmable robot companion being fought over by two women. Barker shows a facility for accents, and, despite spending the whole play seated on the bar, a knack for physical comedy.

Marly Bewighouse is funny as the lovesick customer in Mr. Company, funny and a little spooky as a Reader's Digest-spouting wife driven to extremes to stop her husband's smoking in Greg Scott Mihalik's For Better.

Brian Parks has a nice turn as a ballplayer reluctantly performing post-season service in Sid Frank's Suicide Squeeze.

Costuming and props are minimal. There are no sets. (Suicide Squeeze takes place mostly on a building ledge, represented by a long table.) But we don't miss them.

-- Warren Levinson

April 22, 2006 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (15)

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March  20

Take One Coconut and One Machete ...

If you like Indian food and you're around town today, you'll want to wander over to the Williams Sonoma on Valley Road Upper Montclair. From noon to 2:

Maya Kaimal, award winning cookbook author and a leading authority on Indian cooking will give a free demonstration at Williams-Sonoma on Valley Road in Upper Montclair from noon to 2:00 on Monday, March 20th. Ms. Kaimal has been a guest on the Today Show, the Food Network, Martha Stewart and Splendid Table. She has also had feature articles in Food & Wine and Saveur magazines. I saw her when she was doing a demonstration in Short Hills. The best part of the demo is when she unsheathes a huge machete and whacks open a coconut.

March 20, 2006 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (7)

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March  13

March Madness

What's the holiday in March where people wear wacky costumes, prance about onstage and are encouraged to get plastered? (Hint, it's not the NCAA basketball tourney.)


You're right! It's St. Purim's Day!

Top picture, by the Barista, Saturday night's 10th-anniversary Purimspiel at Ner Tamid, composed of "clips" from the best Purim plays of the past decade. Bottom, by Mary Meyer, Irish dancers who entertained senior citizens in Glen Ridge today in honor of St. Patrick. Tonight, synagogues everywhere celebrate the festival of Purim with Megillah readings.

March 13, 2006 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (13)

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March  10

Party Time: To The Bus Or To The Bing?

Games_2 With the Sopranos season premiere less than 48 hours away, what better way to get into the Bada Bing party spirit than with a pilgrimage to the Satin Dolls strip club in Lodi -  the original inspiration for the  ol' Bada Bing (but you knew that).

“This is our biggest event of the year. It’s excessive!” a Dolls bartender told us.  Starting at  6 p.m. Sunday, Penthouse Pets are showing up with their tchotchkes (and what could those be?), and local radio and T.V. will be broadcasting live. So much for "what goes on in the bar, stays in the bar.” And if it matters, you’ll be among the first to watch the season premiere before the rest of the world (yes, they have their connections at HBO).

If that's not the way you want to fete the biggest New Jersey TV event of the year there's always a chauffered bus tour of Sopranoland. Tomorrow at 2 p.m., tour operator On Location will help you relive your favorite episodes, and recite the lines as you visit more than 40 locations where the series was shot. Stops include  the diner where Chris Moltisanti was shot, Satriales Pork Store, dinner at Puccini's restaurant in Jersey City, and yes, a stop at Satin Dolls, the night before it gets too crazy. Tickets, $89, must be purchased in advance. Go here for information and reservations, or call 212 683-3516.

March 10, 2006 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (31)

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February   4

Old Stuff

If you like shopping in different eras, run out to the Glen Ridge Antiques Show before it ends at 4 pm today. At the Glen Ridge Congregational Church, 195 Ridgewood Ave. $7 admission, $5 for seniors.

February 4, 2006 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (0)

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January  11

Looking for Yuks?

Here's where to find them.

January 11, 2006 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink

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December  24

A Big Screen, a Box of Popcorn and Thou

Tell us what you want, what you really really want... to see.

'Tis the Season....
What Movie are You Dying to See?

Brokeback Mountain
King Kong
The Producers
The Family Stone


We're posting lightly this weekend, due to the holiday, so consider this your open thread as well.

December 24, 2005 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (22)

daily dish

December  22

Glad Tidings

Tonight's the night for last-minute holiday festivities, before everyone goes off to snuggle with their own families. Your choice:

  • Gather at 6:30 pm at the corner of Church Street and Bloomfield Ave. to join a group of carolers. Free hot cocoa provided by Church Street Cafe. Bring non-perishable food for the Human Needs Pantry.
  • If you'd rather swig beer than cocoa, a group of Baristanetters have organized a get-together over at the Cloverleaf Tavern around 7:30 pm. Iceman, Miss Martta and Cathar have made it a definite date. The Barista may revel as well if she's not too cold and tired to go out. All the reglar kibitzers are welcome.

December 22, 2005 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (17)

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December  15

Oh Come All Ye Heathens

And speaking of the War on Christmas, how about all those pinko Winter Stolstice celebrations cropping up all around town? (Just kidding, we love Solstice, if only because when it's over, the days start to get longer.)

Tonight (Thursday) at 7, there's going to be a moon-watch and solstice event at Essex County Environmental Center, 621-B Eagle Rock Avenue. The Bee's Knees Cafe in Montclair is having a family arts solstice celebration and will be making sun masks on Saturday Dec. 17 from 1 to 4 (free but reservation required 973.744.1190), and the Glen Ridge Association for Cultural Education will celebrate solstice at the Glen Ridge train station on Sunday Dec. 18 from 4 to 6 pm.

And don't forget to check out this non-sectarian holiday fun fest over in Maplewood!

December 15, 2005 in Our Favorite Diversions | Permalink | Comments (8)

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