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16 Prospect Street, Westfield, (908) 232-7320
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RATING: Highest Possible Rating: 4 chef hats
ENJOYING POETRY… Poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan, of Hawthorne, and editor of The Paterson Literary Review, and painter Maria Mijares of Plainfield enjoyed the recent poetry reading in the Carriage House Series at the Patricia M. Kuran Cultural Arts Center in Fanwood. The reading featured the poetry of Ms. Gillan and David Keller. (See related story for next date of poetry reading.)
By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
Cutting edge Northern Italian cuisine smothered in an informal, semihip ambiance is found at the Northside Trattoria along Prospect Street in Westfield.
The front room of the restaurant includes approximately 10 tables with a large kitchen with chefs buzzing about like bees and occasional flames bursting from the range. Oftentimes, the noise level is intruding, but has the potential to add to the casual atmosphere.
The Trattoria’s back room soothes the eye with creamy yellow, stenciled walls and adequatelysized tables. The noise level manages to flow from the front room, but this is a cozier atmosphere.
The wait staff is accommodating. Only once did we need to seek out the waitress. She forgot to supply the complimentary basket of bread which arrived as a small crusty loaf. A breakaway variety, the bread should have been sliced for more bitesized enjoyment. We felt like Neanderthals pulling the bread apart.
Pencilthin breadsticks were nestled in a wrapper by the salt and pepper shakers. They were tangy and crusty – very enjoyable and perhaps a better accompaniment than the bread itself.
Green Shell Mussels is the appetizer of choice at the Northside Trattoria. The shellfish is noticeably fresh and tender. Not one mussel was overcooked or displeasing. It was a playful treat to let the mussels, once pulled gently out of their shells, swim in the delicate sauce of garlic and plum tomatoes.
If you are not a shellfish fan, fear not. Other appetizers include: Focaccio Bread with tomatoes, onions, zucchini, black olives, parmesan and olive oil for $4.95; Trattoria Baked Clams for $4.75 and Lobster Ravioli in a creamy Vodka Sauce for $6.95. All reasonably priced.
A bounty of alluring salads are offered to the hungry customer including: Grilled Portobello (mushrooms) with assorted greens, crumbled feta, black olives, and a sundried tomato vinaigrette for $7.25 and another highlight, the Antipasto with imported salami, pepperoni, assorted vegetables, and cheeses for $6.95.
Sharing the Tossed Salad with my companion, we found fresh and festive baby greens, ringlets of red onion, mushrooms, and plum tomatoes. A most welcome surprise was the appropriate sprinkling of tender pinioli nuts embedded in the greens. A zesty olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing laced the dish, but was oftentimes overwhelming.
Still working on our dishes, the wait staff seemed too eager to remove them from the table. This was a little disturbing because although there was a small wait at the door that Saturday evening, there was certainly no need to rush from course to course.
My companion ordered the Eggplant Parmigiana which was piping hot but buried by a mountain of mozzarella cheese and parsley. The topping did not seem to flow with the dish, but seemed like a solid cover which moved with every piece of the meal. The eggplant was also razor thin and mostly breading. ($ 9.50)
Northside Trattoria serves up a fabulous Manicotti with fresh and rich ricotta piped into the manicotti shells. The pasta shells were al dente and fork
tender – cooked to perfection. Topped with the familiar mozzarella, it seemed to flow better with my meal. The marinara sauce seized the tastebuds with bits of onion and plump pieces of
juicy tomato. ($ 8.95)
The only disappointment to this dish was the offering of fresh Vege t ables Blanch including broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. The accompaniment seemed out of place in this dish. It was too Americana in the middle of a perfectly cooked and prepared Italian dish.
Allowing blanched vegetables to mingle with marinara sauce seems inappropriate and presumptuous. Few people combine the two.
All dishes were served piping hot. My companion did not have to request additional sauce for the dish or need the meal to be reheated at any time.
Other entrees include: Chicken and Prosciutto, Vodka Sauce, and Chicken Balsamic. All entrees range in price from $7.50 to $14.95.
One must have on the dessert menu at the Northside Trattoria is the Fruit Sorbet – a real treat in taste and presentation.
Lemon sorbet bursting out of a shelledout lemon cup keeps the flavors going from start to spoonlicking finish. It cleans the palette and refreshes the senses.
Northside Trattoria does not maintain a wine list – so plan on bringing your favorite bottle when dining there.
Dining at the Northside Trattoria does not require formal dress. Jeans, casual dress for men, women and children, is appropriate.
Local Students Chosen Local Students Chosen Local Students Chosen Local Students Chosen Local Students Chosen For All-State Or For All-State Or For All-State Or For All-State Or For All-State Orchestra chestra chestra chestra chestra
WESTFIELD – After qualifying for the New Jersey Region II Orchestra and Chorus, six Westfield High School students have earned AllState fame.
Four of the students were chosen for the New Jersey AllState Orchestra: David Louie, Christina Yang, Allen Yu and Peter Yu. Tim Greenlaw and Kristi Williams were selected for the New Jersey AllState Chorus.
Over 200 student musicians auditioned for these placements on March 20.
David, who was selected as a violinist for the orchestra, is a freshman. He has performed in the Region II Intermediate School Orchestra for the past two years, the Region II High School Orchestra this year and in the New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Christina, a sophomore, has been playing the viola for four years. She has performed in the Region II High School Orchestra for the past two years, the New Jersey AllState Orchestra, the New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the West Orange Youth Orchestra.
Both David and Christina performed at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center in May.
Allen, a sophomore, was chosen as a cellist for the orchestra. He was the Assistant Principal Cellist in the New Jersey AllState Orchestra last year, and the Principal Cellist for the New Jersey Youth Orchestra and the New Jersey Regional II High School Orchestra.
Peter, who was selected as a violinist for the orchestra, is also a sophomore student. He was Concertmaster of the New Jersey Youth Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster in the New Jersey Region II High School Orchestra. He
was also a member of the New Jersey AllState Orchestra last year.
Allen and Peter, who are twin brothers, have won competitions such as the Otto Altenburg Young Pianist Competition. Recently, they gave solo performances with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra. They soloed two years ago for Governor Christine Todd Whitman.
David, Christina, Allen and Peter will perform in a recital at the First Congregational Church in Westfield on Saturday, June 19. They will also volunteer as a quartet to perform at “A Taste of Westfield” this October.
Tim, a sophomore, participated in the 1992 and 1993 AllState Festival Chorus. He is currently a member of the Westfield Chorale, Youth and Chancel Choirs at the First Baptist Church and the Westfield High School Mixed Chorus.
Kristi is an active member of the Westfield High School choral program. A sophomore student, she is a member of the 1998 Region II Chorus. She was a singer with Crescent Concerts and participated in their performance of Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s
Choral Fantasy this year. Kristi is also a member of the Westfield Chorale and the Terrill Road Baptist Church Choir.
These six young musicians will perform in the New Jersey AllState Orchestra and Chorus in Atlantic City during Teachers Convention Weekend this November.
Their final concert will be held on Saturday, November 20, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. They will be preparing to audition for next year’s Region II, which will be held in December.
NOTED MUSICIANS… After qualifying for the New Jersey Region II Orchestra and Chorus, six Westfield High School students have earned AllState fame. Four of the students were chosen for the New Jersey AllState Orchestra: David Louie, Christina Yang, Allen Yu and Peter Yu. Tim Greenlaw and Kristi Williams were selected for the New Jersey AllState Chorus. Over 200 student musicians auditioned for these placements on March 20. Pictured, left to right, are: Peter Yu, David Louie, Allen Yu, Christina Yang, and Kristi Williams. Not pictured is Tim Greenlaw.
Theater Pr Theater Pr Theater Pr Theater Pr Theater Project Returns oject Returns oject Returns oject Returns oject Returns At Union County College At Union County College At Union County College At Union County College At Union County College
CRANFORD – The Theatre Project, now in its fifth year in residence at Union County College (UCC), will present the New Jersey premiere of
Rose Caruso’s comedy, “The Little Playwright” from Thursday, July 1, to
Sat u r d ay, July 17, at the Roy Smith Theater at UCC. The play will feature Barbara Guidi as Beth and Dana K. Gereghty as Vicky. The ensemble will include Gary Wood, Daaimah Talley, Andre DeSandies, Sandra Toll, and Deborah Pires.
The design team will include Director Mark Spina, Producer Gary Glor, Costume Coordinator, Marion Brady, Lighting Designer John Marinko, Sound Designer Michael Magnifico, and Production Stage Manager Valerie Hudak.
Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens, $10 for general admission. For tickets, please call the
Theatre Project Box Office at (908) 6595185. Group discounts are available.
This production will be made possible by a 1999 HEART Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Nicholas P. Scutari, Chairman, The UCC Foundation, and Marion Curka.
The Campione’s Authentic Sicilian Tomato Sauce
You might know it as marinara. My family calls it “gravy.” But everyone knows it as tomato sauce. Here is my family recipe. A family secret and tradition I am proud to share with you. This recipe was provided by Michelle H. LePoidevin and her mother, Ellen “Campione” LePoidevin.
1/ 4 CUP OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL 2 BULBS OF FRESH GARLIC, PEELED, SLICED (NOT DICED) 23 YELLOW ONIONS, DICED 1/ 2 CUP RED WINE 1 SMALL CAN OF TOMATO PASTE 1 TABLESPOON OF EACH TO START: SALT, PEPPER, SUGAR, FENNEL SEED 1/ 2 CUP OF GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE 68 LARGE, DEEP RED, FRESH TOMATOES, DICED INTO CHUNKS.
(IF YOU DON’T WANT TO DO IT THE OLDFASHIONED WAY, 2 LARGE CANS OF TOMATO PUREE WILL SUFFICE). 1/ 2 CUP OF FRESH BASIL
In a large pot, pour in olive oil, garlic and onion and begin to cook over a medium flame. When onions and garlic have become translucent, add in tomato paste and mix well. Add wine, spices and cheese. Cook for 1520 minutes over a low flame. Finally, add chunks of tomatoes (or puree). This sauce or gravy needs to simmer for 23 hours in order to achieve its maximum flavor.
Pour generously over the pasta of your choice. NOTE: Adding cooked meatballs, sausage, or a piece of pork to your gravy gives this recipe extra flavor. Experiment with different meats to achieve the flavor you like best or enjoy a meatless gravy.
Arts & Entertainment Press Releases must be
sent to the attention of Michelle H. LePoidevin by Fridays at 4 p. m. to be considered for publication
in the next issue. Double spaced and typed. Color pictures are preferred.
Swain Galleries Family Owned & Operated since 1868
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