Car Bombs and Killer Irish Coffee

Point, Click, and Eat!

Working Like Dogs

Corrections or additions?

This article by Jamie Saxon was prepared for the March 17, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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Car Bombs and Killer Irish Coffee

Let’s face it, most people these days don’t need a reason to drink –

just getting through another day is good enough for us – but on St.

Patrick’s Day, it all seems so reassuringly legitimate. Check out

these places to get some of that luck o’ the Irish by osmosis or more

direct means of absorption.

McGuinn’s Tavern, 1781 Brunswick Pike (alternate Route 1, just before

the Brunswick Circle), Lawrenceville, 609-392-0599. Since 1982,

McGuinn’s has been run by a second-generation Irish family in

traditional tavern style. With two bars that open at 10 a.m. on the

17th, you know McGuinn’s is seriously Irish; they even host "St.

Practice Day" on the 17th of every month to help patrons gear up for

the big day.

On St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy $2.50 pints of Guinness and Boddingtons,

and $5 car bombs (usually $8). "If you haven’t had one of these, you

haven’t celebrated St. Paddy’s Day correctly," says Chiarello. A car

bomb is a 3/4 pint of Guinness with a shot of Jameson’s Irish whiskey,

then a shot glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream dropped in (yes, the liquor

and the glass). Drink all at once, if you dare.

Alchemist & Barrister, 28 Witherspoon Street, 609-924-5555. St.

Patrick’s Day at the A&B marks the culmination of the famous longbeard

contest, now in its 24th year. Debbie and Carl Endiger, owners of

Vis-a-Vis salon at 31A Hulfish Street and official measurers since the

contest’s inception in 1980, will pluck three hairs from the

chinny-chin-chins of the contestants and proclaim the winners. "We

like to give out a lot of prizes," says owner Tom Schmierer. "We even

award a most traumatic growth prize; you do look pretty horrible the

first ten days or so."

Schmierer started the contest as a dare with his brother, Jake, as a

tip of the hat to Connor Larkin, Schmierer’s favorite character in

Leon Uris’ "Trinity," who escaped from jail unrecognized thanks to his

unkempt beard. Schmierer, whose mother, a Dwyer, is 100% Irish, says

the contest is designed to offset "the stereotype of the drunken

Irishman, to put a positive spin on St. Patrick’s Day." He donates all

proceeds (it costs $10 to enter the contest and $1 to get in on the

17th) to local charities – this year, the contest benefits Princeton

First Aid and Rescue Squad.

March 17 brings an SRO crowd primed to down the requisite Guinness

specials and the all-Irish menu (if you must sit, the dining room is

also open), which will include not only corned beef and cabbage but

also Irish mixed grill, A&B’s famed lamb stew, Gaelic steak sauteed in

Irish whiskey with tomatoes and onions, and colcannon, mashed potato

with kale. Music will be provided by bagpipers and local bands playing

Irish tunes.

Buddy’s Shamrock Tavern, 100 Homecrest Avenue, Ewing. 609-406-0260.

Buddy’s took first place at this year’s Irish coffee contest,

sponsored by Jameson’s and held at McManimon’s Pub, last year’s

first-place winner, 151 Liberty Street, Trenton. 609-393-9023.

Other local Irish watering holes:

Buddy’s Shamrock Pub, corner of Elmwood and Johnston avenues,

Hamilton. 609-586-8600

Sweeney’s Irish Pub, 666 South Broad Street, Trenton. 609-393-6669.

Tir Na Nog, 1324 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton. 609-392-2554.

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Point, Click, and Eat!

When the administrative assistant pool at ITXC, an international

telecommunications company on College Road, got tired of ordering the

same-old, same-old food for in-house meetings, luncheons, and meals

for the company’s 24-hour customer service department, they were

stumped. Now, however, when the boss says, "We need food!," they order

whatever they want, whenever they want, right from their computers –

vegetable lasagne from Lucy’s Ravioli, Thai salad from Hannah &

Mason’s, sushi trays from Teriyaki Boy, and shrimp tandoori from

Flavor of India.

The culinary lifeboat is Vmeals.com. Jackie Bunn, formerly in

marketing at Merrill Lynch, owns the central and northern New Jersey

license of this national online catering service.

"Vmeals is designed to simplify the food ordering process for people

who order for groups on a regular basis," says Jamila Hammad, who, as

the Mercer County market representative, hand picks the restaurants

and caterers whose menus Vmeals will make available to its clients.

Merrill Lynch in Plainsboro; the Ronin Corporation on College Road;

and Candlewood Capital Management on Hulfish Street are also Vmeals

converts.

Busy Betty Executive Assistant simply logs onto www.vmeals.com, types

in her zip code, and views a selection of menus. Prices are

all-inclusive so Betty doesn’t have to break into a sweat or rattle

her new acrylic tips over calculating the little things like tax,

gratuity, or delivery charges. She can even e-mail the menu choices

(with or without prices showing) to the meeting attendees.

"Customer service babysits every order," says Hammad, so Busy Betty

doesn’t have to fret whether the restaurant’s received her order, and

she doesn’t have to confirm the order the day of the luncheon. "Even

if a restaurant has a fire or the chef doesn’t show up, Vmeals is

responsible for replicating the order as closely as possible with

another vendor and delivering it on time."

Thanks to Vmeals’ online payment options, when the food arrives, Busy

Betty doesn’t even have to break into petty cash or find the company

Visa that accidentally slipped behind her computer station last year.

Not bad, Betty.

Vmeals, 866-863-2571 or 866-vmeals1. Www.vmeals.com.

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Working Like Dogs

Canine co-chairs, Jackson and Fluffy are hard at work,

planning "Wags to Riches," a fundraiser for the Friends of Homeless

Animals, which takes place on Saturday, March 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. the

Montgomery Center for the Arts, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery Road,

Skillman. Proceeds will support the development of a new pet adoption

and humane education center in Skillman.

Jackson and Fluffy like to watch "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS so to give

the event a bit of a twist and to attract "nonpet" people the two

pooches have procured the free services of five appraisers who will

give appraisals during the event. Bring your lamp, clock, chair,

whatever, or photos of larger pieces.

For $100 a ticket, guests can enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and

live piano music. E-mail glibbares@yahoo.com or call 609-497-2409.


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