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Author Archives: Bluejeanfoodcritic

The Red Hen – Swedesboro, NJ

The Red Hen – Swedesboro, NJ

Once you travel outside the cities of Philadelphia, Collingswood, and Haddonfield, which I call the Triangle of Tasty, the list of notable dining destinations seems to dwindle quite considerably. I decided to take a trip to the historic town of Swedesboro, New Jersey for some fun at the beautiful Swedesboro Lake Park also known as Lake Narraticon Park and a bit of shopping along the main street.  After an afternoon of fun, the need to eat hit. I saw The Red Hen (TRH) and remember hearing of a new spot called Travo 13 when Terence Feury was cooking there, but TRH looked much more appealing with my two year old son in tow and advertised as a family friendly establishment, so I decided to give them a try. Family friendly TRH is indeed. Besides the bar area, eighty percent of the diners present had a family in tow, games and toys for purchase as soon as you step inside and kids eat free Monday thru Thursday. The décor is modern, hip and fun with the right mix of music playing. Service was friendly and efficient. The menu is a bit eclectic and they have a very nice craft beer selection. I would start things out with French Onion Soup.

The French Onion Soup was your standard variety and better than average, with a nice amount of cheese and bread throughout the bowl, but the onions could have been caramelized a little more. Next up would be calamari.


TRH would serve one of the better calamari dishes I have had in a long time. The calamari was so fresh, moist and cooked perfectly. Every bite was heavenly and was seasoned with Parmesan, pickled hot pepper, and lemon aioli. This dish alone paired with the Shock Top Banana Spiced Wheat beer I was drinking, I could leave TRH happy, but I pushed through for an entrée of grilled shrimp.


The dish consisted of shrimp marinated in a light teriyaki, lime and chili sauce accompanied with fresh summer vegetables. The dish had a great concept and flavor profile, but was executed terribly. The taste of sauce and rub on the shrimp was fabulous, but sadly the shrimp were so overcooked I could have used them as bouncy balls. The veggies were overcooked as well. The broccoli had no snap, while the squash and peppers were mush. Also, besides the top layer of broccoli, squash and peppers the rest of the pile was onions, onions, and more onions not cooked well. I can see where they were going with this dish and respected the combination except for the amount of onions, but was very disappointed after eating the perfectly prepared calamari.


TRH had a bump in the road with my main entrée, but I was so pleased with every other aspect of service, ambiance, menu, drinks, and meal, I will happily return. Hopefully next time they will just be a little more careful to pay attention to what they are serving for each course. Two out of three ain’t bad, but the with the shrimp dish it made them go from OMG to SMH IDK.


Three out of Five Stars






Press Release:



Restaurant Event Highlights Fishtown, Northern Liberties and Penn’s Landing Hot Spots


PHILADELPHIA—August 7, 2015—SugarHouse Casino today announces its second annual Night Out

Restaurant Week. The event, which runs from Aug. 21—Aug. 30, will include participating restaurants

from the Fishtown, Penn’s Landing and Northern Liberties neighborhoods. Offering a taste of these

neighborhoods’ epicurean delights, diners can expect special menus, discounted pricing and

entertainment during their time at many participating eateries.


Each restaurant will feature $35 three-course dinners from special, prix fixe Night Out Restaurant Week

menus. Select restaurants will also include a $20 three-course prix fixe lunch menu. Nine new

participants join the 2015 Night Out Restaurant Week for a total of 21 participating locations.


Participating restaurants include:

Bardot Cafe

Bar Ferdinand

Bourbon & Branch – lunch and dinner

Cantina Dos Segundos

Chart House

Circles Contemporary Thai Cuisine

El Camino Real – lunch and dinner

Girard Brasserie & Bruncherie – lunch and dinner


Jerry’s Bar

Johnny Mañana’s – lunch and dinner

Keating’s River Grill


Modo Mio

Morgan’s Pier


The Pickled Heron

The Refinery – lunch and dinner

Ristorante La Veranda – lunch and dinner

Suppa – lunch and dinner



“We are delighted to showcase what this area of the city has to offer the Philly food scene during our

second annual Night Out Restaurant Week,” said Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse

Casino. “The culinary talent and variety is spectacular and I know restaurant-goers will enjoy the best of

what our neighbors have to offer.”


In addition to The Refinery’s special menu for the week, SugarHouse is going all out for the event,

including live music from 6—10 p.m. each weekday to accompany its usual 9 p.m.—2 a.m. Friday and

Saturday performances at The Refinery. For full details, menus and the entertainment schedules visit


As an added bonus, diners who eat at an official Night Out Restaurant Week establishment are eligible

to receive $25 match play at SugarHouse Casino. Promotion details are available at Rush Rewards and at

the Night Out Restaurant Week website.

Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar Launches 4th Annual Burger Contest

Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar Launches 4th Annual Burger Contest

Fans Invited to Submit Their Own Creations; Winning burger to be featured on Zinburger’s menu for one week

Livingston, NJ – August 12, 2015 – No one ever heard of the Honolulu Baby Burger featuring charred pineapple, volcanic fire roasted red peppers and SPAM until the one-of-a-kind creation won Zinburger’s Burger Contest last year. Now, Zinburger is hoping to take it to an even greater level for their 4th Annual Burger Contest.

The upscale gourmet burger concept is inviting burger fans to submit their own burger creations via Facebook ( or Instagram (#ZinFanBurger) through August 31, and be sure to tell them Bluejeanfoodcritic referred you!!!

The winning burger, picked by Zinburger chefs and Facebook fans, will be featured on the Zinburger menu for one week at the 10 east coast Zinburger locations.  The winning chef will also receive a $100 gift card.

After the last day for entries on August 31, Zinburger chefs will choose their top three choices. Facebook fans and Instagram followers will then vote for their favorite from September 9-21. Winner will be announced September 22 and the winning burger will be served October 5 -11.

Guidelines for the burger include the following: 

  • Must use Certified Angus Beef only
  • Must use Zinburger’s Bun
  • Any and all toppings and sauces allowed

Burger will be chosen and judged on the following:

  • Taste (do the flavors combine to create an appealing flavor and texture)
  • Mass appeal
  • Visual appeal
  • Name of the burger
  • Complete Recipe
  • Creativity – videos, photos, etc.
  • Seasonal ingredients/Accessibility of ingredients
  • Overall cost to produce
  • Ability of the submitter to participate in media promotions

Since opening the East Coast’s first Zinburger in Clifton, N.J. four years ago to much fanfare, stellar reviews and packed crowds, Zinburger has developed an almost fanatical customer following who enjoy made-to-order gourmet burgers, hand-spun shakes and floats, decadent pies and 23 wine varieties.

Zinburger is located in Clifton, NJ, Paramus, NJ, Cherry Hill, NJ, Nanuet, NY, Huntington Station, NY, Atlanta, Durham, Charlottesville, Sunrise, FL and Boca Raton, FL.

For more information, visit or and be sure to tell them Bluejeanfoodcritic referred you!

Cameron’s Seafood Market – Philadelphia, PA (Broad Street Location)

2015-01-22_12-41-17_414Cameron’s Seafood Market – Philadelphia, PA (Broad Street Location)

Seafood is by far one of my favorite categories of food. It has so much variety and flavor. Yet it is probably the most ruined type of food around by poor execution, lack of freshness, and most times small portions due to its high costs. With a few locations in Maryland and two in Philadelphia, I decided to give Cameron’s Seafood Market’s (CSM) Broad Street location a try. As soon as you step inside CSM you are welcomed with a beautiful array of fresh looking seafood with decent prices on display in ice at the tiny market section of their store. I did not want to cook myself, so I decided to order a bowl of lobster bisque, fried scallops and shrimp, with a side of fries at the restaurant side of things.

As dreamy and wonderful as the market seemed, those few steps away into the restaurant side was more of a nightmare with what I was served.  The lobster bisque lacked any sort of flavor except salt, extremely thick and pasty, did not seem fresh at all, and I have had better lobster bisque come out of a can from my local supermarket. The scallops were beyond over cooked, dripping with grease, and were so rubbery they would have been better suited to be a child’s bouncy ball then anything resembling something to eat. The shrimp were of decent size, but were overcooked as well causing them to be dry. Also, the stiff and tasteless breading was three times the size of the shrimp negating anything the shrimp could have offered if they were cooked properly. To add injury to insult, CSM then threw double-breaded fries to my meal, which everyone already knows my feelings on this atrocity done to potates and is the bottom of the barrel French fry with the only reason to buy them is because you are cheap and worried about your bottom line.

Would I ever go back to CSM? Never to eat, but the market did look nice and service was friendly so at least that had that going for them.


One Star out of Five

South Jersey Bacon and Beer Festival


How many ways can you cook bacon?

Popular SJ Festival offers tasty insight.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

South Jersey…Michael Snyder, CEO of Crossroads Programs, is bringing out the big guns:

Though his nonprofit runs several events during the year as fundraisers, none is more successful than the South

Jersey annual Bacon & Beer Festival. This year the festival will be held on Thursday, August 20, from 5-

9pm at the Grand Ballroom of the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood. Tickets for are $37.50 and

are available online buy CLICKING HERE .

The popular event features a dozen restaurants all offering tastings of a wide variety of dishes.

“Our only requirement is that they have bacon,” says Snyder. “Aside from that they chefs can use their

imagination…and they do.” Last year’s festival featured bacon chowder, bacon pasta, bacon doughnuts

and bacon infused bloody marys. “We can’t wait to see what’s on the menu this year.”

Crossroads Programs runs homeless shelters for teens and has built an extensive network of

foster treatment parents. Still, the organization has struggled to make itself known to the public – until

they developed the SJ Bacon and Beer Festival. So popular has the combination of both foods been that

Snyder often has donors calling him months ahead of time to insure they get a ticket.

This year the organization had no trouble signing up new restaurants eager to compete (“best

bacon dish” and “best beer” are awarded by popular choice contests), spanning Gloucester, Camden

and Burlington counties. Fifteen restaurants will be on hand to offer tastings of their bacon favorites and

11 breweries will offer craft beer tastings.

“I’d recommend coming hungry,” suggests Snyder. “You’re gonna have a lot of choices.”

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

For details please contact Lydia Cipriani, 609 880 0210, ext. 111.

Participating restaurants

The Pop Shop

The Tortilla Press

Tortilla Press Cantina

Bistro di Marino


Braddocks Tavern

Aunt Berta’s Kitchen

Andreottis Catering

Otts Tavern

Robin’s Nest

DiBartolo’s Bakery

Kitchen 519

Trattoria Figaro

Famous Dave’s

Local Links

Participating breweries

Downeast Cider

Evil Genius

Flying Fish


Neshiminay Creek

Pinelands Brewing

Saucony Creek





CLICK HERE to buy tickets

Lemongrass – Cherry Hill, NJ

I was invited to attend a preview press dinner at Lemongrass. The owner Danny Dang was very welcoming and he stated that this was a dream come true for him to open his own restaurant. I do not review previews, but what I can tell you is that I had a great time there. Below each course is a description from Danny of the dish.



1) To begin, we start with a Lobster Roll for each individual to show off our creativity, as well as presentation, since the Lobster Roll is our creation.


2) We will follow up the Lobster Roll with the world famous phở from the Vietnamese people. This is as traditional as it comes, and any chef who is competent in Vietnamese cuisine should be able to prepare a phở properly. The broth must be hearty with a nice balance of ginger and herbs. We are quite proud with our phở.


3) Banh Xeo. We choose this dish to display our finesse as it is very difficult to cook the Banh Xeo and keep it nice and crispy.


4) Basa Fillet is a recent hybrid of fish, and it is not French-influenced, but rather, American-influenced. We are, perhaps, the only restaurant that offers the Basa this way.


5) Flank Steak to demonstrate the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine.


6) Mì Quảng, which is a traditional tossed noodles bowl from Central Vietnam, where I come from. Mì Quảng is a meal, like phở, that properly demonstrates the traditional Vietnamese culture and values. And as with phở, Mì Quảng will test a chef with his or her patience, care, and dedication.


7) And to end on a lighter note, we serve our twist on the traditional dessert, Flan, to show off our creativity, and a rich and healthy tea to show our quality. As a tea-drinker, I have tried many, many teas. Some are quite expensive; however, we choose this particular tea because of its taste, quality, and aroma.

Jazz Age on the Delaware


(The following is a special series on written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

On Saturday, August 8th, a special event was held at the historic mansion known as Glenn Foerd on the Delaware.  Located just at the edge of Northeast Philadelphia city limits in the Torresdale neighborhood, the hidden estate on the banks of the river was the scene for a Roaring 20’s party known as Jazz Age on the Delaware. This celebration of almost a century gone by was innovative, spirited and fun.


Upon walking up the long driveway to the main grounds of the estate, you instantly felt that you were transported to the past.  This was not only due to the theme of the event, but the location itself as well.  Torresdale was long ago the home to many wealthy individuals who were deeply involved in town civics.  It is where many notable mansions were built prior to the Main Line coming into prominence.

The sounds of big band and jazz immediately hit you as you entered the main grounds of the estate, led by  such live acts as Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society, the Gin Canaries and the Red Hot Ramblers (with lead singer Chelsea Reed).  A wood dance floor permitted the guests, almost all dressed in period appropriate garb, to cut the rug at their leisure.  Additionally, such professional acts like the Old City Sweethearts and the Minsky Sisters performed the dances of the day.  The emcee, Dandy Wellington, kept things exciting and moving at a fast pace.  Numerous food and drink vendors set up shop, and a pie contest was held with prizes awarded to the best baker by a panel of judges.  Apparel, jewelry and art with a 20’s theme was also available for purchase.  After the day’s events concluded, an after party was held in downtown Philly, at the great Prime Rib restaurant located in the old Warwick Hotel.

As I touched upon though, the true star of the show was the location itself.  Normally open for tours, the staff of the Glenn Foerd allowed guests of the party to walk through parts of the old home as part of the festivities.  The incredible art and architecture that has been preserved, along with what was then modern technology, presents a window into how life truly was different in past centuries.  The scenic view of the river is breathtaking.  For those that enjoy history as much as I do, it is a must to visit this part of Americana, and can be considered as vital as seeing the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall as far as our city’s past is concerned.


This organizers of this event indicate that it will be an annual affair, and I look forward to enjoying it again next summer.  It truly was an experience in a time warp, and here is to hoping that there are more get-togethers such as this that are as innovative and thoughtful to form.  See you soon “around town”…


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