Feels like 43°F

September 3, 2012

Christin’s Morning Spoon: Carpe Diem in Hoboken

After a successful, but parade-less Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day, my brunch buddy and I were lucky enough to enjoy Sunday brunch with a few more people than usual.  Joined by The Drunken Polar Bear, his girl friend Sue, and his friend Enrique, we ventured to one of uptown Hoboken’s hidden gems, Carpe Diem.  Carpe Diem is located right underneath the viaduct on the corner of 14th and Grand.

Carpe Diem is the perfect place for a post movie drink and dinner is pretty good too.  My favorite spot is the two chairs in the dining area right next to the fire.  It is perfect for enjoying a delicious drink on a chilly night.

Challenged to find a place that would give us the greasy and tasty food we were craving after a long day/night of celebrating, we decided Carpe Diem was the place to try.  It also didn’t hurt that Carpe Diem is right up the street – easy to get to with little effort!

Here is my recap.

No Wait.  Since we all had a pretty long Saturday, it took us awhile to get ourselves together and ready for brunch. We met at Carpe Diem at noon and, lucky for us, there was only one other table full. Surprisingly, there were more people seated at the bar than in the dining area of brunch.

Since it was nearly empty, our waitress let us choose where we wanted to sit.  We decided on a table right up against the outside window.  We had plenty of space to spread out and recap our crazy nights.

Warm, Welcoming Environment.  Unlike many of the typical bar/restaurants on the Hoboken scene, Carpe Diem has a unique, neighborhood feel.  Whenever I have been in there, it seems like everyone knows everyone.

On their website, they have the phrase “welcome stranger, farewell friend.”  I think that perfectly sums up the inviting, comfortable atmosphere.  The music is never too loud and you can easily sit at the bar for a casual drink, chat with friends, the bartenders or even strangers.

Breakfast/Lunch Selections.  Carpe Diem has a large, diverse brunch menu, but a majority of it focuses on lunch selections.  On the breakfast side they have frittatas, egg sandwiches and an Irish Breakfast.  The “create your own breakfast” sandwich gives you the choice of breakfast meat:  bacon, ham, sausage or turkey (sadly no Taylor ham) and a pick of a variety of cheeses to add to your egg.  They can be put on a Kaiser roll, seven grain bread, white bread or Texas toast (my favorite).  Sandwich are served with a choice of home fries, French fries, sweet potato fries or yogurt.

My friend Sue decided on the create your own breakfast sandwich with egg whites, bacon and mozzarella.  She thought it was delicious and loved that she had so many options for creating a delicious, customized breakfast sandwich.

For the lunch, there are salads, burgers and sandwiches. There are five different salad choices:  house, harvest (baked brie, walnuts, raisins and tomatoes), Caesar, pear (pears, walnuts, blue cheese) and orange chicken salad.  For the sandwiches, they have a number of choices including chicken and mozzarella, buffalo chicken and katie’s way – open faced turkey sandwich with bacon and gruyere with gravy.  One thing that I love about Carpe Diem’s sandwiches is that you can order them in a peckish (a little hungry) or lee (very hungry) portion.

Frittatas.  Carpe Diem has a number of delicious sounding frittatas, something not typical on brunch menus.  The Brie Frittata immediately jumped out at me.  It is made with brie, bacon and tomatoes.  After initially sounding great, I decided I would prefer to have Swiss instead of brie and no tomatoes, so instead of annoying the waitress with my substitutions, I decided to keep looking for a better option.

I decided on the Western Frittata.  It is made with cheddar cheese, red and green peppers, onions and ham.  I was amazing!  The portion was perfect and packed with a ton of flavor.  For my side, I chose the potato hash.  Potatoes are mixed in with peppers and onions.  There was a little heat to the potatoes adding a great compliment to the frittata.

The Morning After.  Carpe Diem has an array of burgers on their brunch menu.  A few of the delicious choices include the Brie Burger; bacon, melted brie and fresh herbs, the California Burger, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and a cilantro jalapeno sauce and Claire’s Favorite, gorgonzola cheese and thin crisp onions.

All three of the guys picked the perfect burger for their first meal after a long day of drinking, The Morning After. The Morning After Burger is piled high with cheddar cheese, bacon, a friend egg, lettuce and tomato and finished off with a garlic aioli spread.

The burgers come with a choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, soup or salad.  My brunch buddy picked the sweet potato fries – definitely the right choice.  They were served with an aioli dipping sauce that was amazing.  I took a few fries from him while he was not looking.  All three of the guys loved it, which you could easily see since all three of them finished every bite!

Out of five spoons, I give Carpe Diem four.  All five of us really enjoyed our meals.  Everything tasted delicious and the service was great.  My favorite parts were the home fries and of course the sweet potato fries with the aioli dipping sauce.  Amazing!

Carpe Diem is a great, local hangout that really makes you feel at home.  It is definitely worth making the trek uptown for a drink or grabbing a pre beer garden dinner.  And on Thursday nights Carpe Diem offers half off bottles of wine.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

February 12, 2012

Christin’s Morning Spoon: The Malibu Diner

Saturday morning my brunch buddy and I were catching up on Top Chef Texas reruns, one of our favorite shows.  Their quick fire challenge was to make a whimsical pancake for Pee-wee Herman.  As we watched the chefs prepare delicious ricotta pancakes and crazy sprinkle filled pancakes, we both decided a pancake brunch needed to be in our immediate future.

After scanning the menus of a few brunch places in search of a delicious pancake selection, my brunch buddy suggested that we try the Malibu Diner.

The Malibu Diner is located at 257 14th Street, right on the corner of 14th and Park.  Believe it or not, after living so close to it, I have never actually been there – not even for a late night post-bar snack.  He promised great pancakes, so I was sold!

Here is my recap.

Parking Right out Front.  My brunch buddy called his friend Chris to come join us for brunch.  We hopped in my car and drove over to the Malibu Diner.  At first I was concerned about trying to park, but then remembered the parking lot in the front and side of the diner.  To be able to drive and park (without having to pay) right in front of a restaurant is a huge bonus for a place in Hoboken.  So even though the walk is quick, it was great to be a little lazy and just jump in the car and not have to deal with finding a spot.

Not So Great Service. After we met Chris, we sat down and read through our menus (obviously turning straight to the pancake section).  We decided on our meals, closed our menus and waited…and waited and waited, but our waitress did not come.  After about ten minutes, she finally arrived and took our order.  Luckily, our food came out pretty quickly, because by then we were starving.

After we were done eating we again waited quite awhile for our plates to be cleared and the check to arrive.  As Chris pointed out, we were at a diner, so we should not expect amazing service.  Although it was slow, our waitress was friendly enough.  We weren’t in a rush to leave breakfast, so it just gave us extra time to sit and relax.

Plenty of Menu Choices.  One of the things that always deters me from going to a diner is their incredibly large selection of meals.  I always think that if a menu has that many items, they can’t possibly make them taste great.  But if you are looking for a quick, cheap breakfast, diners are the way to go.

In addition to a large selection of pancakes (I’ll get to them in a minute), they have eggs any way you could possibly dream; omelets, skillets and benedicts.  They also have Belgian waffles, French toast and even bagels.  Regardless of what you are in the mood for, they most likely have it on their menu.

My brunch buddy was toying with the idea of ordering a side of bacon, but at the last minute decided on a halved cantaloupe.  He loved it.  He thought it was very fresh and a great healthy snack to hold him over until our meal arrived.

Lots of Pancakes.  Just as my brunch buddy said, the Malibu Diner has a ton of pancake varieties.  They have fresh fruit, cinnamon raisin, peach n’ cream, peanut butter and chocolate chip and apple walnut pancakes.

My brunch buddy made a healthy substitution and ordered whole wheat pancakes with blueberries.  Expecting fresh blueberries, he was very disappointed to see the blueberry compote on his pancakes.  He hoped that fresh blueberries would be mixed in with the batter.  He ended up wiping off the syrupy blueberry compote with his fork and eating them semi plain.

Chris ordered banana peanut butter pancakes.  Unlike my brunch buddy, he loved his, commenting that they were definitely a four spoon pancake.  He also ordered a side of bacon, which was placed right on top of his pancakes.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  After debating between banana walnut or chocolate chip pancakes, I decided on chocolate chip.  They are usually my all-time favorite and I was definitely in the mood for something chocolate-y.  I was served three large pancakes, with mini chocolate chips mixed right into the batter.

They were a little dry and the chocolate chips on one side of the pancakes were burnt.  The only syrup option was in a small plastic container, which did not taste that great – I am a big fan of real Vermont maple syrup.

Out of five spoons, I give the Malibu Diner three.  With such a large and diverse menu, there is sure to be something to please everyone in your brunch party.  Sadly though, the taste definitely does not compete with the many great brunch spots in Hoboken.

The pancakes were good and since all three of us got them, maybe something else on the menu would have tasted a bit better.  Since it is one of the only true diners in Hoboken, it’s clean, large and a great place to stop for any meal of the day or even a late night snack since the Malibu is open 24/7.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

January 20, 2012

Christin’s Morning Spoon: The Hoboken Gourmet Company

This week, my brunch buddy was a little under the weather, so we decided to mix up our typical weekend brunch outing and order take out instead.  Since it was absolutely freezing out Sunday morning, I wanted to pick a place close by so that I did not have to be out in the bitter cold for too long.

After debating between a few options, we decided on The Hoboken Gourmet Company.  It is located in midtown Hoboken at 423 Washington Street.

It is pretty easy to miss this great little spot if you aren’t paying attention.  I have walked past it many times, without even realizing it was there.  Luckily for me, my brunch buddy lives a few buildings down. He always says it is a great place for breakfast, lunch or even to sit and enjoy a coffee.

Here’s my recap:

Adorable Inside.  Three steps down on Washington lead you into a charming, quaint space, perfect for enjoying a morning meal.  Being that I did not get to eat in, I spent a few minutes taking in the atmosphere while waiting for our food to be ready.

Since it is so easy to miss this great little spot, I was happy to see so many people inside.  There are about eight tables and when I arrived around 10:30, they were all full.  There were a variety of people: families, college kids and groups of friends.  Everyone looked relaxed and excited about enjoying their delicious meals.

A counter is located at the front.  Behind it, there were different pastries and muffins that look absolutely amazing.  At the table closest to the door, two little girls were enjoying large chocolate chip muffins.  They looked great – I was very jealous I did not order one for myself.

Quick for takeout.  Although they had a full restaurant, our meal was still ready in about 15 minutes.  Since the counter is right up front, it was very easy to walk in and pick up our food.  It is set to the left of the tables, so I did not have to dodge chairs, tables and people.  I was able to run in and grab my food, without interrupting anyone’s meals or bothering any of the waitresses.

Lots of Eggs.  Hoboken Gourmet Company’s breakfast menu is dominated by egg dishes.  They offer a variety of omelets:  Garden Omelet with red and green peppers, onions, tomatoes and mozzarella, Italian Omelet with arugula, basil and goat cheese and Western Omelet with peppers, ham, tomatoes, onions and cheddar.

In addition to omelets, they have Huevos Rancheros and Lydia’s Breakfast Tacos.  I have obviously heard of Huevos Rancheros, but was very interested in what breakfast tacos would be like.  Three scrambled eggs are mixed with chrizo, cilantro and jalapenos and the wrapped in two corn tortillas and served with beans and salsa.

My brunch buddy ordered Three Eggs Any Style.  He chose scrambled eggs topped with cheddar cheese.  It was served with home fries, corned beef hash and Italian toast.  Usually a skeptic of take-out breakfast, he thought it tasted just as good as if we were enjoying it at the restaurant.  He really liked the corned beef hash!

If you are not in the mood for eggs, there are only three items on the breakfast menu that are not egg based.  They have yogurt with granola and fresh berries, oatmeal with fruit and a bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato and onions.

Omelet.  Since I did not want any of the omelets on the menu, I decided to make my own.  I ordered an egg white omelet with cheddar cheese, ham and onions.  This tends to be my go-to omelet of choice and I seem to be trying it out all over Hoboken.  And this was definitely one of my favorites!  Sometimes egg white omelets are a little dry and lack the flavor of a regular omelet, but this one was amazing.  It had great flavor and while eating it, I almost forgot I went for the slightly healthier route.

The omelet was served with a side of delicious home fries.  Instead of typical toast, I really liked that Hoboken Gourmet Company served it with smaller slices of Italian bread.

Lunch Options.  The Hoboken Gourmet Company has a large lunch menu.  They have six delicious sounding salads.  There is the Hoboken Gourmet Mango Salad, baby green, tomatoes, red onion, pecans and mangoes tossed in a citrus dressing.  They also have a Warm Grilled Chicken Salad with blue cheese, avocado, roasted red peppers, cranberries and sunflower seeds tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

There are also a number of wraps and sandwiches.  They have all of the basic types of sandwiches, tuna salad, chicken salad, fresh mozzarella and ham and swiss.  The turkey, brie and honey Dijon sandwich sounds delicious.  They also serve one of my favorite cold weather lunches, soup and grilled cheese with tomato.  In addition to these sandwiches they also have a few types of pasta and a chicken entrée.

Even if you are not in the mood for a meal, The Hoboken Gourmet Company has a great variety of coffees and teas.  At the front of the restaurant, in one of the window areas, they have a coffee and tea station for customers to prepare their drinks.  It is the perfect place to warm up on a cold day and enjoy a coffee or pastry with a friend!

Out of five spoons, I give The Hoboken Gourmet Company three and a half.  Although I did not get to enjoy the experience of dining in, I loved the welcoming atmosphere on the place.  My brunch buddy and I both loved our breakfasts (I am even thinking about going back tomorrow!).  If eggs are not your favorite and you are looking for more diversity in a breakfast place, this may not be the best place for you.  But definitely give them a try for lunch!


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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

January 14, 2012

Christin’s Morning Spoon: Marty O’Brien’s Hoboken

This Sunday, my brunch buddy and I took a walk downtown for brunch at Marty O’Brien’s.  It was my second time at this relatively new bar since it opened in early fall.  Although I was a fan of Busker’s, I was very excited to try out their brunch and see how the space had changed.

Marty O’Brien’s is located on the corner of 1st and Bloomfield Streets.  Upon walking into Marty O’Brien’s, you immediately enter the bar area.  They have a decent size bar and numerous tables up against the windows.  There were a bunch of televisions and even a projector screen set and ready for the big game.

As you continue to walk through, there are two other rooms perfect for enjoying a meal.  New black and white printed wallpaper and maroon accent walls have been added, creating an old fashioned, welcoming dining experience.

Here is my recap.

Free Mimosas and Blood Mary’s.  As our waiter sat us down, he told us that they offer complimentary Mimosas and Blood Mary’s with brunch.  What could be better?  I was very excited.

I ordered a Mimosa and my brunch buddy chose a Bloody Mary.  Both drinks were a great size for being free – they did not skimp at all!  The Mimosa was very tasty and a great way to cap off a weekend.  My brunch buddy also enjoyed his Blood Mary.  He said it was on the spicy side, which he enjoyed.

Great Variety.  Marty O’Brien’s brunch menu has a great variety of both breakfast items and lunch items.  At first, I was quite torn between lunch and breakfast.  On the lunch menu, the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich and the Turkey Club immediately jumped out at me.  I figured my brunch buddy was going to choose the Grilled Chicken Sandwich.  It has marinated chicken with mozzarella roasted red peppers, arugula, tomato and pesto on a roll.  But he surprised me and went with breakfast.

If you are looking for the perfect combination of breakfast and lunch, try the Hangover Burger.  It is an 8 ounce burger topped with taylor ham, egg and cheese on a brioche roll.  The best of both worlds!

The breakfast menu includes Crab Cake Benedict, Breakfast Burrito, Belgian Waffles and Housemade Pancakes.  Two items that sounded amazing were the Bananas Foster and the Stuffed Pancakes.  For the Bananas Foster, homemade pancakes are topped with fresh bananas, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon (sounds super sweet!) and a side of bacon or sausage.  The Stuffed Pancakes are filled with cheese and seasonal fruit, also served with a side of bacon or sausage.

French Toast.  In the end, I decided on breakfast.  Two slices of brioche toast are topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries, sprinkled with powdered sugar and a few drops of whipped cream made up Marty O’Brien’s French Toast.  I chose sausage as my side.

The French Toast was delicious and tasty.  I loved the side of maple syrup that was included, which tasted more like pure maple syrup rather than Aunt Jemima.

No Irish Breakfast.   When my brunch buddy saw the menu, he was very excited to try the Irish Breakfast.  It consists of two eggs any style, Irish bacon, sausage, baked beans, black and white pudding, Irish soda bread and tomatoes.  Although it seemed like an odd breakfast to me, I was looking forward to a piece of Irish soda bread.

After placing our order, our waiter came back over to tell us they were out of some components for the Irish Breakfast.  He made a panicked and hasty decision to have the Eggs Benedict instead.

Luckily, he wasn’t disappointed.  The eggs were poached perfectly, and the hollandaise sauce was superb.  As a big Eggs Benedict fan who has tried them at many places, these were the best “straightforward” version that he’s had.

Great Service.  Midway through our meal, Giants fans started rolling in for the big game.  Even as the place started to fill up and the wait staff became busier, we never felt neglected or rushed to leave our table to make room for another party.  Our waiter came over numerous times to make sure everything was great  and that we didn’t need anything else.  You can tell that Marty O’Brien’s focuses on making everyone feel welcome, and makes sure your experience is enjoyable.

Out of five spoons, I give Marty O’Brien’s four (remember, tough 2012 grading!).  This is the kind of place I can imagine becoming someone’s go-to brunch place.  Not too many frills, but the food, atmosphere and price are just right.  And a free morning cocktail makes it even better!

Marty O’Brien’s is located at 94 Bloofield Street, Hoboken NJ.

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Rating: 7.0/10 (5 votes cast)

January 7, 2012

Christin’s Morning Spoon: The Clinton Social in Hoboken

After a great holiday season, I started 2012 off right with a New Year’s Day brunch at The Clinton Social.  It is located at 700 Clinton Street, on the corner of Clinton and 7th Streets, right across the street from A&P.  They are open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays starting at noon.

I have been to The Clinton Social a few times for dinner, but never tried their brunch.  For New Year’s Day, they had a brunch special:  an entrée and two brunch cocktails, bloody Mary, mimosa, draft beer or house wine, for $20.  Unfortunately, my brunch buddy and I were never told about the deal and only saw it advertised as we paid the check.

Here’s my recap.

Two rooms, two different feels.  As you walk into The Clinton Social, the first room is the bar.  There is a large bar with TVs perfect for watching the game, and there are high tables up against the windows.  The bar area was partially filled with quite the noisy crowd.  Since we had a late New Year’s Eve and were looking for a quieter meal, we decided to sit in the back room.

The back room has a completely different feel from the bar section.  The exposed brick and brightly painted walls bring light into the area, creating a warm and inviting space.  This gives it more an upscale feel in contrast with the front bar. The back area has about fifteen tables.  The hostess offered to seat us at a table next to two families with little children or at a table in the middle of the walkway.  When we asked if we could sit in the back corner by the windows, we were told that all of the tables had reservations, so there were only a limited number of tables to chose from.  We chose the table in the walkway, and by the end of our meal, only one table was seated!

Small Breakfast Menu.  The Clinton Social’s brunch menu only has a limited selection of brunch items.  Although there are only eight items, the menu is very diverse.  They have steak & eggs, a smoked salmon platter, French toast and short rib hash.  The most interesting item on the menu was the Eggs David.  It is The Clinton Social’s unique spin on Eggs Benedict.  English muffins are topped with meatloaf, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.  It is definitely not something I would try, but my brunch buddy said that was his second choice.

The Clinton Social does have a larger menu with lunch items.  There are numerous appetizers, my favorite of which is the artichoke and goat cheese pierogies.  My girlfriends and I shared them the last time we were there and absolutely loved them.  There are a few choices of sliders, salads, pizzas, sandwiches and even pasta.  If you are looking for a more of a lunch spot, this is your place.  They also have a number of lunch cocktails if a liquid lunch is more your speed!

Huevos Rancheros.  Instead of the Eggs David, my brunch buddy ordered the Huevos Rancheros.  Black beans, jalapenos, avocado and sour cream are served with eggs made your way and placed atop a corn tortilla.  He chose two sunny side up eggs.  He liked that Clinton Social did something a little different with the meal, but felt like they sacrificed practicality for presentation when they fanned out the three tortillas around the eggs in the middle. Overall, he said they were among his favorite huevos in town, after he got through the ordeal of rearranging his plate.

I have actually never tried Huevos Ranceros.  I always thought eggs combined with the fixings for an amazing burrito are a bit too odd for a morning meal.  Boy was I wrong!  I skeptically tried his brunch and I was instantly overcome with food envy.  It was amazing.  I loved the mix of flavors that were in every bite, absolutely amazing.

The Social Breakfast.  I was truthfully stumped over what to order for brunch.  I did not really feel like pancakes and I had French toast the day before.  So after I bit of deliberating, I decided on The Social Breakfast.  Although I thought it was a bit too much food, I went for it anyway.   It consists of two eggs any style, bacon or sausage, home fries, toast and two pancakes. I chose scrambled eggs with a bit of cheddar cheese and asked if I could have it without the pancakes. My brunch buddy scoffed at me giving up food, and gladly offered to eat a few bites of them for me.

When my meal arrived, it turned out not to be as big as I was expecting.  There were only two slices of bacon and the pancakes were actually very tiny.  Even though I initially wanted to eliminate the pancakes, they were actually my favorite part – just the right amount of vanilla; sweet and powerful, without being overbearing.

A Bit Expensive.   Almost all of the items on the brunch menu are around $12-$14.  The most expensive, the short rib hash is $18.  My brunch buddy’s Huevos Rancheros were $12 and my social breakfast was $14 ($15 after they tacked on a dollar for cheese).  Although it may not seem like that much, for the portion size, I thought that it was a little pricey.  They also did not give a bread basket which is a huge letdown to me!

I was recently told that I was a bit too generous with my spoons last year, so for 2012, I will be a bit tougher.  Out of five spoons, I give The Clinton Social three.  As a whole it was a good brunch, but lacked the variety of breakfast choices that I was really hoping for.  Although my brunch buddy and I both enjoyed our meals, for the price, we felt that the food could have been a bit tastier.

Next week, I will be brunching at Marty O’Briens Social Club.  It is a newly redone bar/restaurant on the corner of 1st and Bloomfield, where Buskers used to be.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)

December 11, 2011

Christin’s Morning Spoon: Court Street Brunch in Hoboken

After a relaxing trip to Florida for Thanksgiving, my brunch buddy and I are back in the chilly weather. This past weekend we decided to try Sunday brunch at Court Street. Court Street is one of Hoboken’s oldest family-owned restaurants. They pride themselves on serving high quality food at a reasonable price. We have been to Court Street once before for a delicious dinner so we were very excited to try out their brunch menu.

Court Street is located on 6th Street between Washington and Hudson Streets. Since we arrived just as it was opening, 11am, we were one of the first tables in the restaurant.

Bread Basket: Irish Soda Bread and Fresh Fruit. As you know, I LOVE when brunch spots give a muffin or bread basket. It is a great way to hold you over while waiting for your meal to come out. Court Street serves a bread basket of delicious Irish soda bread. The center is soft and the ends are crunchy; my ideal combo for a great piece of Irish soda bread. I thought it was very unique and a great way to stand out to a diner.

Fruit Salad: They also serve a fresh fruit salad. Unlike most restaurants where the fruit seems a bit old and mushy, at Court Street, the fruit looks and tastes like it is cut fresh for each cup. There was a mixture of watermelon, grapes, cantaloupe and honeydew. All of the pieces were delicious and refreshing.

Amazing Service: My brunch buddy’s best friend started working as a waiter at Court Street and we have been promising for a few weeks that we would visit for brunch. Since we were there on the early side, there were plenty of tables to choose from, so we picked a spot in his section. We were very excited to have his bff as our waiter!

We knew he would be a fun, entertaining addition to our brunch. Of course, he followed through with every request that we made and ensured we had a delightful brunch. You may be thinking, “Well they obviously had great service if they knew the waiter.”

But aside from him, everyone we interacted with at Court Street went above and beyond to ensure we had a great brunch experience. Our waters were refilled before we could even think of needing one. Numerous people came by our table to see how our meal was going and to ask if there was anything else we needed. The very friendly and accommodating staff made this a great brunch.

Cocktails by the Pitcher: $12.00 Morning Cocktail Pitchers. Court Street has a full bar and a great morning cocktail. Not only do they offer the typical morning drinks: Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers and Mimosas, they also serve the Poinsettia – cranberry juice with champagne. Each drink is $6.00 each or only $12.00 for a pitcher, great place to start off Sunday Funday! They also serve champagne and my favorite, a peach or mango Bellini.

My brunch buddy and I decided not to have a morning cocktail since we had a busy day ahead of us. He did order a coffee that he thought was good.

Build Your Own Omelet: I chose the build your own omelet. I decided to go with an egg white omelet to be a little healthy (it was $1.00 extra). There is a long list of ingredients to choose from; four types of cheese, vegetables and breakfast meats. The omelet is served with a side of home fries and an English muffin. In the past year I have developed a new found love for English muffins so I was very excited to see these on my plate instead of typical toast.

For my three, I selected cheddar cheese, ham and sautéed onions. When I cut into my omelet, it was overflowing with ham and onions. I have never had am omelet packed so full. The omelet was nice and fluffy, with so much flavor in each bite.

My brunch buddy also ordered the build your own omelet. He went a little wild and picked re-fried beans, sautéed onions and peppers. He thought the omelet was very well done, and remarked on how much food comes out with every order.

Breakfast/Lunch Selection: Court Street’s brunch menu offers a great variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, sure to please everyone at your table. They have a Grand Marnier French Toast that immediately caught my eye. It is served with your choice of breakfast meat. Along with the typical breakfast meat selection of bacon, sausage and ham, they serve a corned beef hash. My brunch buddy decided to order a side of it because he decided it looked too delicious to pass up. He loved it, and although the portion was large, almost finished the entire thing.

In addition to the typical Eggs Benedict, they have a variety of twists on the breakfast favorite. There is a Florentine, smoked salmon, crab cab and seafood versions.

Court Street also has a colossal breakfast dish, “The Starving Hobokenite.” For only $13 you get three eggs any style, choice of breakfast meat, home fries and three buttermilk pancakes. Gigantic meal for an amazing price!

More Lunch Options: For lunch they offer sandwiches, salads and pasta. They serve a black forest ham sandwich on a croissant with apples, brie and mustard dressing. Kate’s Popeye Salad has fresh spinach mixed with cucumbers, apples, celery, walnuts and onions tossed in a lemon garlic dressing. If you are looking for something more hearty, Court Street also had a penne pasta dish with sweet sausage, fresh basil, tomato, garlic and olive oil.

The Verdict: Out of five spoons, I give Court Street four and half. It was by far the best service I have had while brunching in Hoboken. I loved that they gave really fresh fruit and delicious Irish soda bread. The Irish soda bread was very unique and a great way to start a delicious meal. Bread baskets really are the way to go!

Next weekend will be another traveling brunch review. My brunch buddy and I will be checking out the Victorian Christmas decorations in Cape May and having brunch at the Mad Batter.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

November 19, 2011

Christin’s Morning Spoon: Backyards Bistro

A few years ago, my old roommate and I were in search of a cheap BYOB to enjoy a delicious meal and have a bottle of wine. I had passed by Backyards Bistro many times during my 30+ minute post-work search for parking. Each time I passed, I thought “I will never, ever eat there.”

Backyards Bistro Hoboken Exterior

One night after looking through the menu, we decided to give it a try. I was a little reluctant and nervous that the food would not be good, but after trying their mac and cheese and pretzel bread, I was completely hooked. They have a variety of delicious sandwiches (my favorite is the San Francisco). I have introduced it to many of my friends and since then, it has become one of our favorites.

I have never been there for brunch, so this past Sunday, my brunch buddy and I gave it a try. Backyards Bistro is tucked away at 732 Jefferson Street. It is a small unassuming white building on the corner of Jefferson and 8th Streets. Unfortunately their website is down, so you’ll have to pass by to check out their menu.

Here is my recap…

Looks may be deceiving: From the outside, Backyards Bistro does not look like the most appealing place. But don’t be fooled by the exterior, because great food is waiting for you inside. Backyards is under new management and the interior has been fixed up and freshly painted. Luckily the menu has stayed the same.

Empty: Every time I have ever been to Backyards, the restaurant is empty. A few people usually stroll in to pick up take out orders, but for the most part, there have never been more than two or three other tables filled with people. There are about ten small tables and a counter.

Backyards Bistro Hoboken Interior

The one great thing about Backyards is that you never have to worry about dealing with a wait. For most of our meal, we were the only other people in the restaurant. Even though we were the only ones there, we did feel a bit neglected. My brunch buddy had to wait quite awhile for a refill on his water, which he was not too thrilled about.

Breakfast Items: Backyards Bistro serves brunch Saturday and Sundays from 10am-3pm. In addition to the sandwiches and salads on the dinner menu, they have a number of breakfast items. They have egg sandwiches, a breakfast burrito, pancakes and Backyard’s take of Eggs Benedict, Eggs Jefferson.

My brunch buddy order the Three Egg Scramble. Three scrambled eggs are served over hash browns with a side of toast. To jazz up the scramble, he added cheese, tomatoes and onions and ordered a side of bacon. Overall, he thought the meal was OK, but very greasy. The cheese was laid on top of the scramble to melt rather than mixed in, which may sound good but it looked congealed and greasy. He thought the potatoes were good, but the bacon was overdone.

Backyards Bistro Hoboken Food 1

The “Vermonster”: Initially I wanted to try the crème brule French toast, but in the end I ordered the “Vermonster” breakfast sandwich. Pretzel bread is top with eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and cheddar cheese. I decided to make a substitution and asked for Taylor ham instead of the bacon and sausage. Unfortunately, the kitchen did not make the change and my sandwich was made with bacon and sausage.

I removed the sausage, but kept the bacon on. I really liked that the sandwich was made on pretzel bread instead of the typical breakfast sandwich made on a bagel or roll. I also enjoyed that the home fries were added into the sandwich instead of just on the side. I also wish the eggs were scrambled instead of just cooked similar to an omelet. Overall it was a good sandwich, but a bit too greasy.

Backyards Bistro Hoboken Food 2

Affordable: This was one of the least expensive brunches we have had so far. The total for two breakfasts and a coffee was only $20.00. The portions were large and I was completely full after finishing my sandwich.

Rating: Out of five spoons, I give Backyards Bistro three. Our meals were good, although a bit too greasy. The service was mediocre, but the bill was affordable. Although it was not the best for brunch, I would definitely recommend going for an affordable, delicious dinner.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

November 11, 2011

Christin’s Morning Spoon: Good of NYC Brunch Review

My brunch buddy and I enjoyed Saturday’s beautiful, crisp weather by going into NYC to try a new brunch spot. This week’s brunch spot was Good, located at 89 Greenwich Avenue, on the corner of Greenwich and Bank in the village. Since we had a late Friday night and a slow start in the morning, our Saturday trip into the city was running a little behind.

We left Hoboken around noon and took the PATH to 14th Street. From there it was a quick walk to Greenwich Avenue. We put our names on the list and were told the wait would be about 20 minutes. Since it was such a nice day outside, I was hoping we could bypass the wait and sit in the front, outdoor seating area. I figured it would be the last day to enjoy the beautiful weather before the cold weather rolls in. My brunch buddy shot me down right away saying it was a bit too cold to eat outside and a 20 minute wait was not that bad.

Good NYC Brunch Christin's Morning Spoon Exterior  #5

We took a stroll down Greenwich and right next door to Good was a NYC location of one of my favorite Hoboken shops, Jesse James. I browsed through quickly, and then checked out an adorable home store next door and the browsed the menus of a few other restaurants on Greenwich.

Before we knew it our 20 minutes were up and we went back to Good very hungry and excited for our brunch. Here’s my recap.

Amazing Staff. Once we returned to Good, we were hoping to be seated right away. Unfortunately a few tables were taking longer than expected to finish up their meals and the wait would be a bit more. We waited in the bar area and then as that started to fill up, moved back outside. The host came outside to let us know how sorry he was that the wait was taking longer than they anticipated. He even offered to get us a drink or coffee while we waited.

Within a few minutes he came back out to let us know that our table was ready. We were escorted in to a table towards the front of the restaurant.

Adorable Atmosphere. The adorable décor of Good was very welcoming. The cool blue walls brought light and energy to the restaurant. There are also large paintings of knives and forks on the walls that create a homey, comfortable place to enjoy a morning meal.

My favorite part of Good was the chalkboard paint they used around the bar area. White chalk was used to list Good’s cocktails and wines creatively on the walls.

Get it All Special. Good offers a get-it-all special for weekend brunch. For $24 you receive a house-made bread or side, egg, pancake or French toast dish and a morning cocktail. Each menu item is between $12-$14 and the drinks are about $10 so it is an amazing deal! My brunch buddy and I both decided that the get-it-all was the way to go.

Their side dish offerings include home fries, cheddar jalapeno grits, bacon, sausage, pancakes, eggs and yogurt. If I didn’t just have amazing grits at dinner the night before, that would have been my pick!

Good NYC Brunch Christin's Morning Spoon Drinks #2Breakfast Cocktails. Good’s morning drink menu has a collection of cocktails, beer and cider. Four of their drinks are included in the brunch special; the chipotle mary, passion mimosa, brunch punch and the goodMorning cocktail.

My brunch buddy ordered the goodBrunch punch. It is made with peach vodka, fresh strawberry and orange juices, peach schnapps and mint. As hungover as he was, he thought it tasted great and drank every drop. For me, it was a little too aggressive that early on a Saturday after a rough Friday night.

I ordered the PassionFruit Mimosa, a typical mimosa jazzed up with a passionfruit puree. Although it was great, I was hoping that the passionfruit would be more noticeable and impact the overall flavor of the drink more than it did. The orange juice was also a bit too pulpy, but nonetheless, a great morning drink.

House-made Breads and Sides. Good offers a mouth-watering selection of unique home-made breads. They have savory cheddar cornbread, hand-rolled orange sour cream donuts, warm buttermilk biscuits, pumpkin chocolate cherry bread, pear pecan crumbcake and biscuits with ham and jam. Each bread is $4.00 with the exception of the biscuits with ham and jam, which are $6.00. If the decision to just choose one is too tough, there is also a bread basket for $10.00, where you pick your top three favorites.

By the time we ordered our food, it was after 1:00, so we were very excited to have a little brunch appetizer. I chose the savory cheddar cornbread. I was served two warm and delicious pieces of cornbread. I absolutely love cornbread and with hints of cheddar cheese in every bite, it was amazing. I did add a little spread of butter for some extra taste.

My brunch buddy selected the buttermilk biscuits. They were amazing – browned and flakey with a buttery taste. He was given two large biscuits and, luckily, I was given a large piece of one.

Banana Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast. For my brunch dish, I ordered the banana cream cheese stuffed French toast. French toast pockets are stuffed with a cream cheese banana mix. They are then topped with brown sugar and served with a side of flavorful maple syrup. I was slightly worried that it would be a little too banana-y so I added some sliced strawberries.

The French toast was delicious! It was stuffed with the perfect amount of filling, not too rich and overpowering, sweet without being too sweet. The four slices were way too much to eat, but I did my best!

Good NYC Brunch Christin's Morning Spoon #1

Basil & Goat Cheese Egg Scramble. My brunch buddy ordered the basil and goat cheese egg scramble. Eggs are scrambled together with ample goat cheese, then placed on sourdough bread. They Roasted cherry tomatoes, asparagus and pesto are served on the side. Again, he’s such a sucker for pesto!

He absolutely loved his breakfast, saying it may be his favorite yet. The eggs were cooked perfectly and the goat cheese/pesto/roasted tomatoes combination put the meal over the top.

To top off the amazing food and experience at Good, a fantastic nineties music station was on throughout our meal. We were able to catch up on some of our favorite jams from the past while enjoying a delicious brunch.

Good NYC Brunch Christin's Morning Spoon Omlette #3


Brunch Rating. Out of five spoons, I give Good five! Everything about Good was amazing – friendly staff, welcoming atmosphere, great drinks and amazing food. The get-it-all special allows you to try their delicious food and drinks at a great price. It is absolutely worth the trip into NYC for this amazing brunch gem!

Next weekend I will be staying in Hoboken to try brunch at Backyard Bistro, one of my favorite BYOB dinner spots in town. I can’t wait to try their brunch!

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Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)

November 3, 2011

Christin’s Morning Spoon: Hudson Tavern Brunch in Hoboken

Filed under: breakfast,brunch,Columnist,Hoboken,Restaurants — Tags: , , , , , , — Christin DeMassi @ 2:00 PM

This past Saturday, my girlfriends and I braved the wind, rain and snow to run in the Hobooken 5K.   By the end we were frozen and completely soaked.  The one thing that kept us going throughout the race was the thought of a morning cocktail and amazing brunch as soon as we crossed the finish line.  We showered, changed and headed out in the snow to 1Republik.  We heard great things about their all you can eat brunch and were very excited to try.  But when we got there, we realized brunch was only on Sundays.  We still had a great lunch, but not what we were hoping for.  Regardless, it’s definitely a brunch spot to try in the future.

To make up for Saturday’s brunch that did not happen, my brunch buddy and I went to Hudson Tavern on Sunday morning.  This is one of our favorite places in uptown Hoboken to get a delicious dinner and tasty cocktail, so we were very excited to give it a try for brunch.

Hudson Tavern is located at 51 14th Street, on the corner of 14th and Hudson Street.  They have a few large rooms to accommodate a large crowd of diners.  We were seated in the front bar near their large ornate bar.  Although the tables are a little close together, it adds to the warmth and charm of Hudson Tavern.  Here’s my recap.

Validated Parking.  Since it was really chilly out and I was driving home to see my parents from brunch, we decided to drive my car instead of walking and braving the cold.  Since street parking around Hudson Tavern is limited and difficult to find (like everywhere in Hoboken!), I was not looking forward to the challenge.

While browsing Hudson Tavern’s menu online, I saw that parking is validated at Independence Garage for up to three hours.  The garage is located on Shipyard Lane and 12th Street.  They valet park your car and it is a short, three block walk to the restaurant.  It is the perfect solution for anyone visiting from out of town or weary of finding parking.

Small Crowd and Great Service.  My brunch buddy and I arrived around 11:00 and Hudson Tavern was pretty much empty.  Since it was the morning after Halloween, I think most people were slow to venture out for brunch.  As we ate our meal, people started slowly trickling in.

One of the most refreshing things about Hudson Tavern is their amazing service.  Our waitress was very friendly and accommodating.  She even mentioned that she had a little trouble with the soda machine, and if it tasted a little funny, she would be more than happy to get me something else.  She was very attentive, ensuring we enjoyed our meals and my tired brunch buddy was refilled with their delicious coffee.

Limited Breakfast Menu.  Hudson Tavern has a limited selection of breakfast items on their brunch menu.  They have eggs, fruit and yogurt, waffles and a breakfast sandwich.  The rest of their menu is focused on lunch specialties: soups, salads and sandwiches.

On their brunch menu is one of my favorites, the Poached Pear and Spinach Salad.  Baby spinach is topped with candied walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese and poached pears in a sweet pear vinaigrette.  It is absolutely delicious!

One item on the brunch menu that looked amazing was the Tavern Dip sandwich.  Roast beef, sautéed onion and mushrooms are served on ciabatta bread with horseradish cream and au jus dipping sauces.  Definitely something to try for next time!


Special Omelet of the Day.  Each day Hudson Tavern has an omelet special of the day in addition to their make your own omelet.  As soon as our waitress listed the ingredients: spinach, goat cheese and tomatoes, I knew my brunch buddy was sold.  He’s a sucker for spinach omelets.  He thought the omelet was on par with any in Hoboken, and loved the home fries.

The portions weren’t huge, so he may have to get a side order next time.  My brunch buddy’s only complaint was that the toast did not come buttered.

Eggs.  I ordered the Eggs Any Style.  You have a choice of two eggs any style, bacon, sausage or taylor ham, toast and home fries.  I chose scrambled eggs (I added cheddar cheese), taylor ham, home fries and wheat toast.  Although I like my eggs a little fluffy, the cheese was a perfect addition to make up for it.  The scrambled eggs portion was huge.  My brunch buddy had to finish them for me!

The meal came with four slices of taylor ham.  They were cooked exactly how I like them, a little burnt.  The home fries were made with sautéed onions and peppers.  I loved them.  With some many different components on the plate, it would be easy for one to fall short –but nothing disappointed.  It was also a great value, only $8.00

Out of five spoons, I give Hudson Tavern four.  My brunch buddy and I both loved our meals.  They were very tasty, reasonable priced and the great sized portion.  The amazing service and atmosphere made Hudson Tavern the perfect spot to enjoy Sunday brunch.

Even if you’re not looking for a brunch spot, it is also a great place to grab a meal regardless of the time of day, since they get each meal just right!

Next week, my brunch buddy and I will be going for an NYC brunch at Good.  Hoping it’s one of the Best!

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

October 18, 2011

Cream and Sugar Cafe Opens in Northwest Hoboken

Cream And Sugar Cafe Hoboken

Cream & Sugar Café opened today on the corner of 1001 Madison Street in Hoboken. The café has been undeveloped for several months and adds some competition to the very busy Dunkin Donuts in the northwestern part of  Hoboken. The location offers an assortment of beverages, lots of sugary treats and seating.

According to their site:

Cream & Sugar Café is a “grab and go” destination place that caters your unique appetite cravings. Be it a craving to satisfy your sweet tooth or a craving to satisfy your hunger. Each of our establishments have a “Grab and Go” setting to help individuals that are constantly on the run. Therefore, each of our locations has been strategically selected based on keeping you, the consumer in mind. You will have a palette of choices to choose from. We offer a selection of rich blended American Coffee as well as Italian blended Latte’s, Frappe’s, Espresso, Smoothies and freshly made Juices from our exotic Juice bar.

In addition, we carry an elegant selection of the freshest gourmet Cupcakes, Cakes and Pastries, as well as individually wrapped sandwiches and salads. We also have an array of beverages to choose from to go along with your purchase.

Some quick cell phone photos:

Cream And Sugar Cafe Hoboken

Cream And Sugar Cafe Hoboken

Cream And Sugar Cafe Hoboken

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