Tag Archives: New Jersey

A “Molto Bene” Off The Beaten Track Italian Meal

By Lakshmi:

Last night, a dear friend made reservations for us to dine at Molto Bene, a small jewel box like Italian restaurant located in the heart of historic Cranbury in New Jersey.  Named for the Italian term “very good”, this tiny restaurant packs in a bar, a mercato (market) and a dining area in its compact space, which is always brimming with diners.

As we noticed the diners around us, it was clear that this place was different from many an Italian restaurant.  The plates coming on to the tables were diminutive with beautifully presented assortments of food.

Our native Italian friend decided that trying a series of small platters was the way to experience the full array of tastes available at our disposal.  The first bite of the Palline di Palermo (Chickpea Fritters) served with a lemon alioli yogurt sauce had our taste buds singing.  Reminiscent of the falafel (for its ingredients) and an Indian cutlet (for its texture), these crisp on the outside, smooth on the inside concoctions were awesome.  The Polenta Fritta (Polenta Fries) that followed were a simple rendition of polenta that paired beautifully with the mozzarella cream rouille.  Our vegetarian version of the Ricotta al Forno (Baked Ricotta) with homemade fig marmalade and flatbread blended the salty and sweet into a perfect mix of flavors.

From an impressive start of appetizers, none of which we had savored before, we moved on to their CICCHETTI chi-KE-tee (Small plates) dishes.  We started with a tomato bruschetta and followed it with a Ricotta Gnocchi Fatta in Casa (perfect pieces of gnocci in a very simple tomato sauce).

For those wondering if we were satiated at this point, the answer is…life is too short to not indulge in dessert.  So, out came the traditional Tiramisu, a warm banana bread pudding, crisp friend Zeppoles (Italian mini donuts) with chocolate sauce and some homemade cookies to compensate for our missing macaroni entrée.

A final shot of espresso capped a “molto bene” evening spent with friends discovering a new world of Italian cuisine.

If you’d like to learn more about Molto Bene or explore their off the beaten track menu for inspiration, click here:


Come Hungry, Emerge Happy At PJ’s Pancake House

By Lakshmi:

For those local to the Princeton, New Jersey area, PJ’s Pancake House is that iconic restaurant across the street from Princeton University whose pancakes, waffles, breakfast and lunch specialties leave you coming back for more years after your first dining foray.  Long lines of students, young couples, families young and old are a common sight, sometimes waiting for a long time in the sun, wind and cold to grab a bite here.

This morning, with the temperatures hovering around the low 20’s and the wind howling like crazy, the thought of going into this familial place and tucking into some of the fluffiest, flavorful pancakes doused with butter and syrup got us going.  After a short wait in the cold, we were seated at a large table for five.  As we waited for our waiter, we entertained ourselves looking at the messages etched into the table.  In fact, legions of diners have played tic tac toes, written love notes, expressed their emotions on tables across the restaurant.

Now to our meal.  Our assorted stack of raisin, banana and blueberry pancakes was perfect.  Fluffy, flavorful, melt in your mouth pancakes that made us joyful with every bite.  The bruschetta and onion rings consumer sang accolades with every bite.  The grilled cheese with tomato hit all the right notes on this cold afternoon.  And the eggbeaters with whole wheat toast was the perfect light lunch.

As with every meal at PJ’s, we did not have one morsel of food left on our plates.  We were stuffed and pushing ourselves out of our chairs required a bit of effort. Of course, our final question to the manager was when they were opening a location even closer to our home.

Come May PJ’s will be hosting us for more breakfasts, lunches and dinners as they open a new location five minutes from our home.

Don’t just take our word for it.  If work or life ever brings you to the Princeton University area, don’t miss a meal here.  To get tempted, take a look at their menu below.


PS.  Soon, this iconic restaurant will be seen on the big screen in a scene shot by Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck for Runner Runner!