Monday, July 11, 2011

Basie Bytes: "Cupcakes" at Cupcake Magician

This Week's Best Bet:
Cupcakes at Cupcake Magician


Cupcake Magician, located on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, more than satisfies that 3pm sugar craving. Offering a wide variety of cupcakes from classic "Red Velvet" and "Carrot Cake" to the unique "Elvis Banana" topped with peanut butter cream frosting and chocolate ganache drizzle, there is no question that Cupcake Magician truly works some magic into their craft. We fell in love at first bite!

Baked on the premises daily, Cupcake Magician’s cupcakes are always fresh, moist and simply irresistible. Their stuffed cupcakes, like the "Lemon Pie" and "Chocolate Raspberry Truffle", take everyone's typical idea of cupcakes to a whole new level.

Chocolate lovers have to taste the "Chocoholic": a moist chocolate cupcake topped with a rich chocolate icing and shaved dark chocolate that will have you pleasantly diving into a cocoa-coma... in a good way!

Other Basie office favorites include the "Espresso Blast", "Mint Chocolate Chip" (exactly like everyone's favorite ice cream flavor), and "S’mores". These delectable treats are sure to disappear before you can even say Abracadabra!

Not only are the cupcakes delicious, they’re easy on the eyes. Decorated with meticulous care, you can tell the chefs at cupcake magician consider this an art. Their reasonable prices and friendly staff are just a few other reasons to love them.

Didn’t save enough room for dessert? Try their mini cupcakes for that perfect “just one taste” size serving of sweet after a big meal. For those of you who love the sweetness but would rather skip the calories, they offer sugar free cupcakes too!

On the go? They’re free curbside service is extremely convenient when Red Bank parking spots are scarce and you’re in a rush. Call ahead to place your order.

Cupcake Magician Hours of Operation:

Monday-Wednesday: 10am-6pm;

Thursday-Saturday: 10am-9:30pm; Sunday: 9am-4pm

Cupcake Magician

54 Monmouth Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 530-5700

Monday, May 16, 2011

Basie Bytes: "POACHED PEAR SALAD" at Pearl at Oyster Point Hotel

This Week's Best Bet:
Poached Pear Salad at Pearl at Oyster Point Hotel


Offering reasonably priced meal options and featuring outstanding service and an unrivaled view of the picturesque Navesink River, Pearl (the hidden-gem-of-a-restaurant located within Oyster Point Hotel) is a place to unwind at the end of a long work week, or just to escape for an hour on your lunch break.

We had already loved Pearl for a long time before we got around to trying this unique menu item; ever since, it is what we order every time!

This is one salad that we would not be able to duplicate at home. The poached pear, seasoned walnuts and grapes are perfect together; served over delicate baby greens and tossed with red wine and pumpkin seed dressing with a side of melted brie on toasted French bread... just delicious! We've ordered this to go, too. They prepare and package it separately so you just have to assemble it, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy and amazing dinner.

Pearl at Oyster Point Hotel Hours of Operation:

Monday-Friday: 6:30am - 10:30am (Breakfast), 11am-11pm (Lunch/Dinner)
Saturday & Sunday: 7am - 11am (Breakfast), 11:30am-11pm (Lunch/Dinner)

Pearl at Oyster Point Hotel

146 Bodman Place | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | 1-800-345-3484

Monday, January 24, 2011

Basie Bytes: "CHICKEN & BROCCOLI SALAD" at Front Street Trattoria

This Week's Best Bet:
Chicken & Broccoli Salad at Front Street Trattoria


We recently attended a meeting one morning at Front Street Trattoria and as it was wrapping up, we realized it was close to lunch time. We admit we hadn't been to the restaurant in quite some time so we decided to take a peek at the menu. We were so impressed with the choices! Front Street Trattoria's menu was filled with unusual offerings such as "Grilled Cheese" Ravioli, Balsamic Roasted Fresh Beets, Chicken Sausage Foccaccio sandwich, Mexical calzone, stuffed pizza, Thai grilled shrimp and more... but one item was calling our name: Chicken and Broccoli salad.

The title grabbed our attention at first because we were expecting it to have an Asian influence but upon reading the full description, it had a whole different vibe to it:
"Grilled-to-order chicken and broccoli with cucumber, tomato, celery and caramelized walnuts over mixed greens with mustard tarragon vinaigrette."
We knew we had to try it! Unfortunately we don't have a photo of it in this post because it was only after we finished it that we realized we should write about it in our next post. But trust us, it's delicious! The chicken was cooked perfectly and the fresh broccoli stayed nice and crunchy. The tomato and celery complimented the dish with bursts of flavor and kept the salad interesting with each bite. The mustard tarragon vinaigrette was one of the best homemade dressings we've ever had, and went perfectly with the chicken. The strangest element would have to be the caramelized walnuts... wasn't sure how they would play into the flavors, but to our surprise, it was very harmonious! Their slight sweetness cut the tang of the dressing and the savory flavors of the chicken.

It was the perfect lunch. Not to mention at just $10.95, the portion size is great as well.

Front Street Trattoria has been a part of the Red Bank family for a long time, and they keep their menu fresh and inviting. Next time you're looking for a cozy spot to grab lunch or an intimate dinner, check them out! Outdoor seating available in the warmer months.

Front Street Trattoria Hours of Operation:

Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30am - 9:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30am - 10:00pm
Sun: 4:00pm - 9:00pm

Front Street Trattoria
31 West Front Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 747-9569

Friday, January 7, 2011

Basie Bytes: "CUPCAKES" at Sugarush: A Sweet Experience

This Week's Best Bet:
Cupcakes at Sugarush: A Sweet Experience


Because we're cupcake connoisseurs here in the marketing department, and we've been waiting for a place like this to satisfy our sweet tooth... but we don't settle for just anything!

Sugarush cupcakes are the perfect size (not too big, not too small; they embody the original idea of what cupcakes once were when their history traced back to 1796 says "a cake to be baked in small cups").

They have just the right amount of icing (which in itself is the perfect consistency, whether its buttercream or whipped cream or any of their other specialties), all while being not overly sweet.

The cakes are never dry... they are fresh and moist, light and airy, and all those other delectable adjectives you would want to describe the ultimate treat. Some of them even come with various smooth and creamy fillings (such as mint buttercream, raspberry coulis and more), not to mention all kinds of toppings beyond the realm of generic... Puh-lease, plain ol' sprinkles are SO last year...

When you visit Sugarush, it is obvious that the owners, Chris & Jesse (who are totally awesome, by the way), are fully aware that everyone eats with their eyes first. The shop itself is a feast for the senses, artfully decorated in candy colors and textures from floor to ceiling to suggest a sense of fun and whimsy. The artistic value carries over, of course, into their cupcakes, cakes, and various other goods which are dressed in all kinds of trendy details right down to the adorable plaid cupcake liners! By the way... they also carry scrumptious cakepops... We're just saying...

Another cool concept that Sugarush employs is the idea of a "cupcake bar" wherein you the customer gets to select an un-iced cupcake, and then customize the icing, toppings, and any other embellishments you'd like! Fabulous.

Also featuring a large selection of vintage/retro candy as well as neato soda flavors (such as Jelly Belly jellybean flavored sodas), Sugarush: A Sweet Experience is really living up to its name! And with plenty of press lately from locals like our friends at Two River Theater Company and among others, it seems many people are sure to RUSH over for their fix.

We sampled 3 varieties of cupcakes when we stopped in last week: Red Velvet (amazing), Oreo Explosion (a taste replica of the cookie), and Sugarush (their signature colorful confetti cupcake of which they donate part of the proceeds to charity). How SWEET is that???

Sugarush: A Sweet Experience really is just that. We've been waiting a long time for a cupcake place to open in Red Bank so we just have to add: it's about time. Join us in welcoming them to town!

Sugarush Hours of Operation:

Hours temporarily varying as they move towards their GRAND OPENING at the end of January. Visit them on Facebook for the most updated info.

Sugarush: A Sweet Experience
37 East Front Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 414-9044

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Macaroni and Cheese Ravioli" at Gaetano's

This Week's Best Bet:
Macaroni and Cheese Ravioli at Gaetano's


We know we wrote about Gaetano's once already in the past but this brand new menu item deserves its own mention... Gaetano’s Restaurant has introduced their new Macaroni and Cheese Ravioli and it is unique and delish! The ravioli is made with real Cheddar and Impastata cheeses. Try it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

It's on their menu as a kids item, but grown ups will love it too. Lots of smooth cheesy filling on the inside of the ravioli... doesn't need a drop of sauce to make it complete; It's mac and cheese in reverse. This dish gets 2 thumbs up from the Basie CEO!

Gaetano's Hours of Operation:

Lunch 11:00-3:00 Monday - Saturday
Dinner 4:00 - 10:00 Monday - Thursday
Dinner 4:00 - 11:00 Friday - Saturday

10 Wallace Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 741-1321

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Chicken Marsala" at Racioppi's

This Week's Best Bet:
"Chicken Marsala" at Racioppi's

If you've ever taken the train into or out of Red Bank, you are probably familiar with this tucked-away little gem of a restaurant. Situated on the southern edge of Red Bank's NJ Transit parking lot, Racioppi's has become a local favorite. You can head over during lunch time to grab a quick cup of soup or a sandwich, or even swing by for a full pre-show dinner with delicious options such as the Gianna Salad (mesculin greens, gorgonzola, pears, walnuts & cranberries finished off with a creamy balsamic) or start off with a plate of their whimsical mini fresh mozzarella balls stuffed with a cherry tomato!

But if you ask us, the winner here is the Chicken Marsala. As soon as we tried it, we knew we would blog about it.

A generous portion, Racioppi's Chicken Marsala is bursting with flavor! As you may know, Chicken Marsala is a dish that can sometimes tend to become mushy and bland but Racioppi's has perfected the task of ensuring that the inside of the chicken breast juicy while keeping the outside golden brown -- and of course, their excellent Marsala sauce is loaded with mushrooms and ties it all together as the perfect finish. While you're at it, order one of their unique garlic & herb potato cakes to go with it: smooth whipped potatoes mixed with roasted garlic and fresh herbs, coated in light breadcrumbs and baked in the oven to form a crisp exterior. Yum!

So next time before you're headed to the Basie to pick up tickets or see a show, give Racioppi's a try!

Racioppi's is open M-W from 9a-6p and Th-Sat from 9a-10p.

107 Oakland Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 933-5989

Friday, May 21, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Split Pea Soup" at Basil T's

This Week's Best Bet:
Split Pea Soup at Basil T's

If you're familiar with the area, you know that when heading down Route 35 south, upon crossing the Red Bank bridge into town, one of the first businesses you're greeted with is Basil T's Brewery & Italian Grill. They've been here for many years and have a very loyal following of devotee diners as well as over 1,000 "Mug Club" members -- which they claim is "the largest in America"!

But what you might not know is this: they have perfected the old-world classic, split pea soup.

Yes, it sounds simple enough at first... but don't let that fool you. They had us at first spoonful.

The humble listing in the menu reads:

Zuppa Piselli
Old-fashioned Pea Soup with Pancetta
Cup - $4.50 / Bowl - $8

...Pancetta??? If you're scratching your heads, well then yes... it's true that traditional split pea soup is prepared with regular ol' ham. But this addition of pancetta (aka, Italy's version of bacon) adds the perfect salty bite to compliment this homemade soup. Served with a large crouton and some freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, it is just a perfect dish in any season. And luckily, they have it in every season!

Here is what Basil T's had to say about their Split Pea Soup:

"The Split Pea Soup is a Basil T's original in the truest sense of the word; it is the only thing on our menu that has never been changed or removed since we opened. Every other dish on the menu was added later or has been tweaked in some way except the Split Pea Soup."

Our other favorites here include Bolognese (house-made ruffled pappardelle, veal, beef and pork, Italian tomato, fennel seed, onion and celery finished with marscapone cheese), Orecchiette Salsiccia (house-made orecchiette, sausage, broccoli rabe, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and Pecorino cheese) and Rigatoni Melazane which features house-made rigatoni, fresh tomato sauce, and Pecorino-Romano with small cubes of lightly-fried eggplant which melt in your mouth like little pillows of genius!

Basil T's was kind enough to provide us with the basic recipe for their Split Pea Soup as well so you can do your best to replicate it at home... but next time you're in town, stop by their restaurant and try the real thing!


Add 1 cup of each, finely diced: carrot, onion and celery, with diced pancetta. Cook in olive oil until vegetables and pancetta are browned. Add 1 bag of split peas, and 3 quarts of chicken stock. Cook while whisking every 5 minutes until ready (about 40 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Basil T's Italian Brewery & Grill
183 Riverside Avenue | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 842-5990