Corrections or additions?
This article by Jamie Saxon was prepared for the March 17, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
U.S.1 Best Bets
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
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,
Sweeney’s Irish Pub, 666 South Broad Street, Trenton. 609-393-6669.
Tir Na Nog, 1324 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton. 609-392-2554.
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
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.
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 email@example.com or call 609-497-2409.
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