Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Holidays Back East: Northern Jersey

Happy New Year everyone! I've been away for quite some time and have eaten so much good food while away. I'm excited to tell you all about it, but I'm going to have to do so in chunks. There's just that much. To that end, let me tell you what's poppin' off in Northern NJ. I got to go to two places I've been hearing about for some time on this trip, and both were awesome.

First up was Sweet Avenue Bake Shop in Rutherford. This all-vegan bakery's speciality is cupcakes and MY GOD do they make some good ones, including the best cupcake I ever had, above. That is a struffoli cupcake. Deep fried dough balls top a vanilla 'butter cream' cupcake for a creation that is sweet, moist, and tastes a hell of a lot like funnel cake.... if funnel cake took a bath in heaven. Best cupcake ever.

Above are some of their other selections. On the left they had some holiday peppermint stick cupcakes and on the right is my dad's favorite: the all chocolate "Jet Black." Superb. I really can't recommend Sweet Avenue more. The goodies are delicious and the folks there are super nice and friendly to boot!

For a slightly more nutritious take on things, we headed 15 minutes away to Montclair for dinner at Veggie Heaven. The name might be slightly hyperbolic, but only slightly. All the Asian food on their menu is vegan and made from high-quality ingredients, the service is fast and efficient, and walking around cute Montclair is a great way to spend time before or after dinner. We chose before, and when we had finished some last minute gift-getting, we sat down to enjoy our tasty meal.

We started with some spring rolls which were probably the only thing we ate which were just "eh". Totally your typical veggie spring rolls. On the other hand, the wonton soup was delicious. Savory broth with mushrooms surrounds big fluffy overstuffed (with faux pork) wontons that will warm right through the cold-ass NJ winter.

Our entrees were pretty slammin' too. I had the broccoli with garlic sauce and my only complaint was that it could have been spicier. I asked for medium and it was super mild. Still good though. My mom's cashew "chicken", however, was amazing. Thin medallions of faux chicken meet up with perfectly cooked peppers and snow peas in a flavorful sauce and then the whole thing gets topped with crunchy roasted cashews. Yum.

My parents don't live in Rutherford or Montclair, but I'll totally make the hour long pilgrimage north to hit up these two spots again, and anyone in the area should absolutely do the same.

Up next: Holiday eats to die for.


Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Man, I can't wait to go to Sweet Avenue soon! Too bad they won't have that special cupcake.

Sky said...

Not to worry - all the cupcakes are fantastic. Or you could just wait til the holidays next year. Could be worth it :)

Amanda said...

i LOVE LOVE LOVE veggie heaven. my cousin lives in Montclair so I go there with her to visit. I've been promising to take my mom and Jimmy but I don't feel too much like driving up there on a random weeknight

Sky said...

Next time you go there Amanda, drive the 15 minutes (if that) to Sweet Avenue and get a cupcake after. To DIE FOR.

Princess Consuela said...

I just introduced my sister to your blog. She's been a vegetarian off and on since she was about six, and I thought the two of us could try Veggie Heaven next time she's in my area, since I'm only about 40 minutes from Monclair. I'm curious to see what a vegan meal would taste like. But I think reading your blog has inspired her....she justed texted me that she's at Wegman's buying diary free ice cream. LOL!

Sky said...

Yay for dairy free ice cream and dinners at Veggie Heaven. You'll love it!