Tag Archives: Princeton

Brio Tuscan Grill – The Staff Bowls Us Over

By Lakshmi:

Tonight, to celebrate a mini personal milestone, we decided to try a new “chain” restaurant that has opened in the Princeton area – Brio Tuscan Grille.  We knew nothing about the place, beyond the fact that a few friends had some lovely Sangria here.

After a short wait, we were shown to our tables.  The place was spacious, the decor a bit old world classic, filled with an eclectic combination of people enjoying a leisurely pre-Thanksgiving evening.

The menus at Brio are exhaustive and feature the usual list of pastas, salads, meats and desserts.  The waitress was quick to point out that we could edit most items on the menu to suit our vegetarian taste.  She said everything at Brio was very fresh, a term which is loosely used at many a chain with very few living up to that promise.

We commenced our meal with a Tomato Mozzarella Caprese  with the freshness of the mozzarella and tomatoes oozing through every biteful.  This was followed by a Field Green Salad (with my greens aversive daughter actually eating the leafy dish), a Pasta Alla Vodka (divine according to the younger one), a Pasta Pesto (the lightest pesto pasta we’ve had) and a Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta (the smoked peppers playing in perfect harmony with the fresh mozzarella).

We had a little hiccup in our meal’s arrival – with a manager actually coming to apologize for the mix up and delay.  Our waitress followed up multiple times to check in to see if we needed anything else.

We had eaten more than we should have and yet when the waitress presented the dessert choices, we could not refuse a cheesecake/greek yogurt concoction and a chocolate cake oozing with molten chocolate and topped with vanilla ice cream and berries.  To us, the dessert felt like the final flourish to a lovely meal, but the best was apparently yet to come.

When we were presented with our check, I noticed a $50.00 credit.  The waitress proceeded to tell us that the Manager wanted to compensate us for the delay in our meal’s arrival.  As I walked over to thank the Manager, he apologized once more, handing me a coupon for a free entree along with his business card.

He thanked us for coming, requested us to come back and the waitress checked in again to make sure we had a lovely time as well.

We’re not a huge fan of chains, but when a chain does treat you like a special guest and wants your business, we want to return for more.

Thanks to Alex Cooper and his team, we will be back for more!

To learn more about Brio Tuscan Grill, please visit their website at


The Joy And Beauty Of Farmers’ Markets

There are many signs that herald the arrival of summer.  Besides the weather, people coming out of winter hibernation in droves, the profusion of flowers in bloom, the colorful dresses with an edge of playfulness and so much more.  But here in the Princeton area nothing screams the arrival of summer louder than the local farmers’ market that opens up in May and winds down on the last Saturday before Thanksgiving (November).  In our family, it has become a ritual to start our Saturday mornings with a visit to the market.  If there is a place where the smells and sights produce a state of gastronomic nirvana, this ranks high up there.  To learn more about our local farmers market, click here.


We’d love to hear about the farmers’ markets in your town.  So please write in or send in a photo.  Here is a quick visual journey through ours.

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!