Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chef George's Tuscan Marinade -- Our 3rd Post this Holiday Weekend on The Smoke Rise Inn

Smoke Rise Inn's Chef George Tavolara
Yes! This is indeed our 3rd post on The Smoke Rise Inn, and the first recipe that Chef George Tavolara shares with us!

With most people grilling this weekend we felt a marinade would be a good first recipe. Below is Chef George's Tuscan Marinade which, according to Randy Polo, the Smoke Rise Inn General Manager, is great for steak, chicken or even vegetables.

Ted notes that toasting the Garlic in olive oil means just simmering the crushed garlic on medium heat until the barest hint of golden color appears, and not beyond, which will only take a couple of minutes.

You can make this marinade in larger quantities and store it safely refrigerated for several months.

1 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
6 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
3 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary
1 Sprig of fresh Thyme
1 ts of salt
1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes

Toast the garlic in the olive oil, then add herbs and red pepper flake to mixture. Mix with vinegar and season with salt. Add to steak, chicken or vegetables and allow 12 to 24 hours of marinading time before using. Ted suggests using a ziploc bag to marinate your food in, and to remember to squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can to keep the marinade in contact with the food.

Thanks, Chef George!

Happy Grilling, Bon Appetit and Happy Memorial Day!

~Ted &

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Smoke Rise Inn's Chef George Tavolara

Executive Chef George Tavolara, Smoke Rise Inn
From previous posts, you will have learned that Kinnelon's Smoke Rise Inn has seen some changes lately [see Meet Randy Polo, Smoke Rise Inn General Manager]. The Inn is now open for lunch. The menus offer more intriguing options. Events such as the Royal Wedding are generating buzz beyond Smoke Rise. What hasn't changed, though, is the Inn's Executive Chef, George Tavolara.

Chef George is passionate about good food and authentic food. [NB: Emma considers his Mac & Cheese the nec plus ultra ever since first experiencing it at the Smoke Rise Inn in 2004; she refers to it in reverential tones as "Chef George's Special Macaroni".] He's also an accomplished musician and ice hockey player.

I recently caught up with Chef George who, in between a 147 person private event and his regular Smoke Rise Inn duties, graciously offered to answer a few questions...

C.B.: Chef George, tell us about your background.

GT: I was born in Secaucus, New Jersey into a family that owned a restaurant. So from day one I had the restaurant business in my blood.

From an early age I recall setting tables and making hors d'oeuvres. I went to New York University until my mother bought her own restaurant. At that time I began working in the kitchen and attended culinary school. We sold our restaurant and I took a tour of some of the finest restaurants in Manhattan, then to Glen Ridge Country Club and finally here to the Smoke Rise Village Inn.

C.B.: How long have you been Executive Chef of the Smoke Rise Inn? 

GT: August 1 will complete my tenth year.

C.B.: What about ice hockey?

GT: I have played ice hockey since I was ten years old. I still play today and referee about 175 games a year. My daughter Anais also has the passion for hockey. This past April her under 12 girls team won a silver medal at the national level. Her team - the New Jersey Colonials - was the first from New Jersey to win any medal at the national level!

C.B.: Congratulations to Anais and her team! I understand you also play guitar?

GT: I have played guitar for 25 years. I have been lucky enough to play with some friends for most of those years. Personally I have been lucky to have played with members of Blues Traveler and Spin Doctors in the early nineties. These days, it’s more of a hobby, but I still play out a few times a year.

C.B.:  So, who cooks at home? Do you?

GT:  I rarely cook at home. Apparently I have a habit of using too many pots and pans, and I don’t bring anyone to clean up after me (the best part about being the chef is not having to clean the pans).

When I do cook at home it's usually Asian. Anais and I enjoy going to the Asian market buying things we aren’t exactly sure what they are and trying to figure what to make with them. My favorite home cooked meal is gravy, meatballs, and brachiole with pasta. I am lucky enough to have someone in my life who excels at making that.

C.B.: Which are your favorite restaurants?

GT: In my family there is only one restaurant, El Charro - it is in the Village in Manhattan. My mother started eating there when she was in college. It started as half Tex mex and half Spanish; now it’s mostly Spanish and a few old favorites. My family has celebrated everything from birthdays to births to marriages there. The food is outstanding and authentic to Spain. When I was in Madrid I realized how great El Charro is.

Emma & Anais, Smoke Rise Inn
Emma & Anais ~2005?
C.B.: Which are your favorite foods?

GT: My favorite foods are ones that are authentic to their origins. Over the years I have been lucky enough to work with cooks, dishwashers, and even some friends' grandmothers who taught me how to make the cuisine from their homelands, using true ingredients and techniques. I take a lot of pride in making meals true to their origins.

C.B.: What about the changes in the Smoke Rise Inn?

GT: Randy has certainly raised the bar for the kitchen, and it is a welcome challenge. With his backing we are able to deliver an even more refined product, take more risks with menu items. I feel you will really see it in the upcoming special events such as the Summer Social and the Stag’s Leap Wine dinner.

C.B.: You've just released a new menu. What are some of the highlights?

GT: The new menu has brought back some of the old favorites such as the sesame tuna and firecracker shrimp. Most of the changes are based on seasonality. We have two dishes featuring asparagus which are a spring time favorite.

Putting together a new menu is always fun especially the tasting part. The biggest challenge is to make a cost effective menu and still have it be exciting.

C.B.: What sort of food would you like to try going forward?

GT: With the positive response we have gotten to the prime steaks at a higher price, I feel in the future we will be able to use some more interesting and exotic ingredients. Which will allow us to create some more adventurous dishes.

C.B.:  What are some of the most interesting dishes on the menu?

GT: The pappardelle pasta with shrimp is my favorite right now. It is a rich combination of grape tomatoes roasted with truffle oil, fresh asparagus, baby gulf shrimp and a touch of cream tossed with ribbon pasta

C.B.: That sounds scrumptious!  What do you like most about working in Smoke Rise and Kinnelon?

GT: The thing I like most about working at the Smoke Rise Inn over the past ten years is that residents have always been willing to try my ideas and the dishes I have created. Also I feel I have made many friends over the years. It really has been a wonderful ten years.

CB: Thanks, George! Something tells me that the next ten years at the Inn are going to be pretty amazing from a multitude of culinary perspectives.... 

I'm also excited that Chef George will be sharing some of his favorite food recipes with us here on The Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog - the first is his Tuscan Grill Marinade to be published soon. [You may also have noticed the first Smoke Rise Inn drink recipe: a special Mojito!]

For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to visit the Smoke Rise Inn lately, you might consider visiting for lunch or dinner and saying hello to the Inn's Chef George Tavolara.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Smoke Rise Mojito In Honor of Memorial Day

Smoke Rise Mojito
In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend holiday,  here's the Smoke Rise Mojito recipe courtesy of Randy Polo, and the Smoke Rise Inn.  Randy writes:

Here's our Mojito recipe. I find this to be so much more refreshing than a Gin and Tonic in the summer. 

It's easy to make even with the preparation of the simple syrup which once made has a shelf life of a couple of weeks.

* Smoke Rise Mojito *

2 oz Bacardi Rum
½ oz Simple Syrup
3 to 4 Fresh Mint leaves
½ a Lime
6 oz Club Soda

Pour rum and simple syrup over ice. Top with club soda and garnish with mint and lime. Since the simple syrup is already infused with the mint, there's no need to mortar the mint and the lime first.

Simple syrup recipe. (We make 6 cup batches)

Mix equal parts water & sugar in a medium sauce pan & bring to a boil. (6 cups of sugar & 6 cups of water)

Add a generous portion of fresh mint, steams and all.

Add 8 ounces of freshly squeezed lime juice. Roses will do - however not as good.

Once mixture comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Let cool and then strain mixture to remove mint.

Add a few dashes of bitters and store in an air tight container.


Thank you, Randy! I love mojitos and can't wait to try the Smoke Rise Mojito!

How will you celebrate Memorial Day weekend?

If you think it's too much trouble making your own Smoke Rise Mojito, considering coming by the Smoke Rise Inn for one. Remember that the Inn is open to everyone in Kinnelon and beyond -- including for lunch!

Happy Memorial Day weekend and be on the lookout for our upcoming blog interview with the Smoke Rise Inn's Chef George Tavolara.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adventures: Kinnelon Poetry Recitation

Adventures: Kinnelon Poetry Recitation
[Warning: proud parent moment ahead!]  You may remember from 2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest Results that Emma won first place for her recitation of her original poem, Adventures.

I thought I would share it with you here...

by Emma Whittemore

Adventures can be anywhere.
They can be in a dark and eerie lair.
Adventures can be really brave
In a dingy, dank and dark bat cave.
Adventures might be up a tree,
Maybe even on your knee.
You must have some time to spare.
Adventures are...

Kinnelon Poetry Recitation Contest 2011As sweet as a lion,
As quick as a lime,
As sour as a sloth,
As dainty as an elephant,
As hard as honey,
As shaky as lace,
As slow as steel,
As playful as an earthquake,
As noisy as gold,
As fierce as a cricket,
As cunning as a canary,
As bright as a badger,

These are the adventures I want to have.

[Note the image above where Emma puntuates her "These are the adventures I want to have" comes from the May 11, 2011 issue of Suburban Trends which, unfortunately, is not available digitally. The article is titled "Stepping up and supporting poetry."]

Click on Emma's Recitation of "Adventures" for the 2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest for a link to YouTube.

Thanks for reading and watching.

And, now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

'Dropping Fear' Author Michael Catalano at Kinnelon Library 5/25/11

'Dropping Fear' Author Michael Catalano
Do you enjoy horror as a literary genre? Would you like to hear what it took to write a (first) book? Come meet Kinnelon's Michael Catalano, author of Dropping Fear, at the Kinnelon Library on May 25th at 7pm.

Here's how the Kinnelon Library describes the event:

Kinnelon High School’s own, will be coming back… for blood! Please, don’t be afraid. Well, be a little afraid. 

Mike Catalano, who graduated from Kinnelon High School in 1996, just had his first book, a horror novel called DROPPING FEAR, published through Living Dead Press

Now, Mr. Catalano has happily agreed to visit the Kinnelon Public Library. He will be speaking on what it took to actually write a book, his thoughts on the horror genre, possibly the perils he went through while growing up as an average kid in the utterly chilling suburb of Kinnelon, and anything else anyone wants. 

So feel free to join him for some fun and scares! Please call the Library at 973-838-1321 to register.

In anticipation of the Kinnelon Library event, I caught up with author Michael Catalano to ask him a few questions...

C.B.: Mike, what did you like most about growing up in Kinnelon?

MC:  What I liked most about growing up in Kinnelon was the quiet, forest-laden community.  Perfect fodder for a horror story setting.

C.B.: Does your family still live here?

MC:  Yes, my family still lives here in the same house in Kinnelon.

C.B.: How did you get involved in writing?

MC:  Not sure exactly how I got "involved" in writing.  I just always liked telling outlandishly wild stories.  Life can be pretty mundane, especially in Kinnelon, so the idea of something fantastic or even horrifying disrupting the boring always intrigued me.  I started writing for fun in high school and just continued through college.  The more I wrote, the better I got.

C.B.: How did you get interested in horror as a genre?

MC:  I never liked horror stories or movies when I was very young - I guess the gore scared me.  Then, when I was older, I got passed one horror movie. It was like I had to make up for all the years I missed out on when I was younger. 

To me, a story just instantly becomes more interesting, and, in terms of writing, more fun when I can add a completely out-of-the-ordinary and dark element such as horror.  I try to always base whatever horror story I'm telling in some form of reality to keep it somewhat grounded and relatable.  Then, I mix in the scary or horrific stuff to spice the tale up.

C.B.: Mike, any advice to share with would-be authors?

MC:  In terms of advice, I'm not sure if I can give anything beyond what any other writer usually says...  Keep at it.  Don't give up.  Use all resources available while pursuing your writing dream.

And lastly, if anyone ever has a specific question, please feel free to email me.  I was an unpublished author for a very long time and I vowed that if I ever was lucky enough to become published that I'd do whatever I could to help anyone else in my previous unpublished position.

Dropping FearC.B.: Thanks, Mike! Congratulations on your first fearsome book. Something tells me this is the first of many gruesome tales!

Definitely read Local resident has first horror novel published from with great perspective on writing Dropping Fear.

And here's the setup for Dropping Fear which you can purchase from Amazon as well as from Living Dead Press.

On a dark night 25 years ago, masked maniac Derek Haddonfear went on a bloody rampage... Today, Derek's son, Will, is happily married, but still struggles to distance himself from the harsh memory of his father. He and his wife, Kerri, have been trying to get pregnant for years with zero success. Infertility begins to take its toll on their marriage. Kerri can't live without becoming a mother and Will can't live seeing his wife so distraught. Upon coming into contact with a doctor working on an experimental fertility drug, a desperate Will and Kerri decide to give him a shot. What results from the procedure sends Kerri on an uncontrollably violent path that is all too familiar to Will. Is it her hormones? Is it the drug? Or is Will's chilling past coming back to haunt him in the most bizarre of fashions? Regardless, no one will be prepared for the birth of the newest and most unexpected psychotic slasher in the history of horror.

Don't forget: call the Kinnelon Library at 973-838-1321 to register for this terrific opportunity to meet and speak with Kinnelon's Michael Catalano about his new book, Dropping Fear.

If you don't, you'll be sorry! < fade sound of creepy laugh from Thriller >

Friday, May 20, 2011

Missing Dog: Have You Seen Mickey in Kinnelon?

Missing Dog: Have You Seen Mickey in Kinnelon?
Have you seen this dog? His name is Mickey. He has run away and may be trying to find his way back to his former home in Smoke Rise and Kinnelon.  Here is the note Ted received from his owner:

Hi Ted,

I am writing to ask you for a favor. I have a dog that went missing on 4/22. I am desperate to find him and have been in close contact with Peter. When he found out that Mickey's last home was in Smoke Rise he told me to contact you to see if you would post a picture of Mickey.

Mickey is 45 lbs., or at least was when he ran away. I live in Oak Ridge. I have a house with a doggie door that leads to the fenced in yard. My husband and I came home from work on Friday 4/22 and Mickey was gone. No sign of how he got out. But Mickey lived in Smoke Rise with the Milkowskis for quite some time and might be looking for them. He used to wander the neighborhood whenever he got out on the Milkowskis. He never ran away from my house before so I really don't know where he would go.

So if you wouldn't mind please post his picture for me and I will be eternally grateful!


Vicky Van Hentenryck

Have you seen Mickey? If you have, either leave me a comment or email Vicky directly. Please feel free to spread the word, too. Thanks for your help.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Tails Yoga to Stop Animal Cruelty, Kinnelon Library on 5/24/11

Happy Tails Yoga to Stop Animal Cruelty, Kinnelon Library on 5/24/11
Are  you curious about Yoga? Do you feel passionately about stopping animal cruelty and neglect? Consider spending an hour on May 24th, 2011 from 6:30 to 7:30pm with Energy in Motion LLC which will host a Happy Tails Yoga class at the Kinnelon Library to benefit the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

For questions about the 5/24/11 class, contact Maryellen Liddy of the Kinnelon Library at 973-838-1321 or Tiffiny Twardowsky of Energy in Motion at 973-983-9554.

Here's the premise for Happy Tails Yoga:

During the month of May yoga teachers donate their time by teaching classes, locations donate their facilities to hold the classes and attendees donate their money to take these classes. Happy Tails Yoga turns over 100% of the proceeds to the NJSPCA to benefit mistreated and neglected animals (almost $5,000 to date).

Intriguing, no?

Tiffiny Twardowsky, who will be teaching the 5/24/11 Happy Tails Yoga session at the Kinnelon Library, is principal of Energy in Motion, LLC and founder of Happy Tails Yoga.  I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions.

CB: Tiffiny, tell me about yourself and your business?

TT:  I've been in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years designing exercise programs, conducting wellness seminars and health promotion programs, and teaching group exercise classes. I have a Bachelors of Science degree in Movement Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology and a Masters of Science in Health/Fitness Management; I'm an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, a certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Registered Yoga Teacher for the National Yoga Alliance. She is also CPR/AED and First Aid Certified.

That said, I'm really passionate about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and a sound well-being and I've developed a teaching style that combines the science of physiology with the holistic principles of yogic philosophy. I find that this all-encompassing approach improves both physical health and mental well-being.

CB: what about Energy in Motion?

TT:  I started Energy in Motion in 1996 to provide on-site fitness and wellness services for corporate and private clients, allowing busy people to take a proactive approach to health, fitness and stress management. Programs include yoga, pilates, group exercise classes, personal training and wellness seminars. You can find more info at; there's a video that explains the services we provide.

CB:  What about Happy Tails Yoga?

Tiffini TwardowskyTT: I came up with the idea for Happy Tails Yoga in 2008 after speaking with two other yoga instructors with whom I shared a passion for animals. We all adopted pets from rescue groups or animal shelters. For me, the marriage of yoga and animals was a natural fit. Yoga is more than just a form of exercise. It is a way of life, helping you enhance your own health and well-being. Since opening my home and heart to adopted dogs, I wanted to find a way to enhance the health and well-being of the too many abandoned, neglected, and unloved animals in New Jersey.

It started out small, but as I was creating Happy Tails Yoga, I realized I needed to make more of an impact for the animals. I decided to contact as many yoga teachers as I could to see if they would donate their time and talent to teach a Happy Tails Yoga class. People who attend the classes—which are open to all, at any experience level—donate whatever amount they choose. Happy Tails Yoga teachers then send 100 percent of the proceeds to the NJSPCA. I chose the NJSPCA to receive Happy Tails donations because it provides services statewide; I wanted the funds raised during Happy Tails Yoga classes, which are held all over the state, to benefit all of New Jersey’s animals in need.

CB: What do you love most about Kinnelon? 

TT: I live in Rockaway, NJ. My favorite places to visit in Kinnelon are the many parks this town has to offer. My husband and I love taking our dogs for walks in the woods.

CB: Tiffiny, how can blog readers get more information?

TT: To find a Happy Tails class near you, visit and click on “Schedule.” It's a great opportunity to try a new class or take a class with your favorite teacher. Donations can be made, in any amount, at a Happy Tails Yoga class or at the NJSPCA website. In fact, NJSPCA has a donation link on their website specifically for Happy Tails Yoga. You can also mail checks made payable to NJSPCA to:

Happy Tails Yoga
c/o Tiffiny Twardowsky
PO Box 53
Rockaway, NJ 07866

The more money we raise, the more animals we save!

CB: Thanks, Tiffiny!

I hope you'll consider limbering up body and soul on 5/24/11 at the Kinnelon Library with Tiffiny Twardowsky for a Happy Tails Yoga class. You'll contribute to helping stop animal cruelty.

And, if you haven't already, consider subscribing to the Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog via RSS or email updates.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest Results

2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest Results - Galina Adair
Per the announcement in Kinnelon's 2011 Poetry Contest: April 28 Deadline, the big day for the 2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest took place on May 3rd, 2011, when recitation and judging of poems happened.

Galina Adair, who heads up the Kinnelon Children's Library, announced that 163 written poems had been submitted and 55 students had signed up to recite their poems from memory for the 2011 contest.


As you can see from the pictures, the Children's Library was packed with kids and adults... ready that day for some serious poetry!

2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest Audience

We were ready. Emma had been practicing reciting her poem intensely for the last two weeks. She had recited it to her class that same day, to our neighbor Chuck Mougalian at the bus stop, to her teacher, Mrs. Kolster, to Mrs. Bosch, the Stonybrook librarian, and to her friends on the bus...

2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest Recitation Judges
The judges were ready, too.

As this table, you see three recitation judges: Eileen Gelenter, Anna Tiajoloff and Jason D'Alessi. Not pictured is Cathy Bissell.

What I always appreciate from this event is how the judges and Galina take every opportunity to share with us their love of poetry. This day was no exception.

Eileen brought to life 'Take me out to the ball game' and Anna, a previous winner of the poetry recitation contest, shared with us her version of 'Jellyfish Stew' by Jack Prelutsky.

Here is Anna Reciting 'Jellyfish Stew' for the Kinnelon Library Poetry Contest 2011:

The 2011 Kinnelon Poetry Recitation Contest Winners are:

2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest Poet
A Kinnelon Poet Reciting her Poem
The 2011 Kinnelon Written Poetry Contest had different judges from those judging the poetry recitation. The written poem judges included: MaryAnn O'Gorman, Diana Friedman, Marellen Liddy.

The 2011 Kinnelon Written Poem Contest Winners were:

KEVIN MCNAMARA - K-1st grade winner 


I cut through the ice
with my blades made of steel.
I go for the puck
sometimes I must steal.
I push the puck left
I push the puck right.
One shot down the middle
and off goes the light!
My team cheers and claps
and yells with delight.
We've won our game
with one shot this night.

Amelia Harriz - 2-3rd grade winner 

Four Leaf Clover

Once there was a four
leaf clover who was so very sad.
Once there was a four leaf
clover who felt so very bad.
His sadness came from a missing
leaf he went from four to three.
The petal was plucked by a
thief who then hid behind a tree.
The clover knelt and made a wish,
which was his normal habbit.
But he wasn't really lucky now and
he was eaten by a rabbit!

Luke Florio, 4th-5th grade winner 


Iditarod is a race run by dogs
From Anchorage to Nome.
With a thousand miles 'til the end,
They might turn back to go home.

With 13 dogs to pull each sled
Across the snowy trail.
They'll go quicker than the speed of light
And outrun the icy hail.

They cruise along the snow and ice
At a mighty speed
That makes the mushers glad because
The speed is what they need.

"MUSH! MUSH! MUSH!" the mushers yell
As loud as they possibly can.
They're glad the wolves aren't in the way -
They're sleeping in their den.

The winner is so proud when he
Completes the grueling race
A smile forms across his red
Chapped and frost bitten face.

Galina shared with me the following:

It was truly a magical late afternoon had by all. You could sense the participants were very eager to recite their poem to the audience and they were just as eager to receive any sorts of accolades because they KNEW THEY DID A GREAT JOB and impressed us all! I got a real charge out of it - and I am pretty sure the audience did as well.

2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest - Emma & Galina
Galina and Emma
Thank you, Galina, the 2011 Kinnelon Poetry Contest Judges, and the Kinnelon Public Library for creating such a warm, welcoming, creative environment for our marvelous Kinnelon poets.

And, if you haven't already, please consider subscribing to the Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog via RSS or email updates.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 Security Shredding Event Big Kinnelon Hit! Thank You.

2011 Kinnelon Security Shredding Event
While Ted, Emma and I were bicycling last Saturday, May 7th, 2011 for the St. David's 2011 Break The Hunger Hunger Bike Tour event, others were taking part in the Kinnelon Security Shredding Event.

As we bicycled past Kinnelon Borough Hall early Saturday morning, I couldn't help but wonder at the mountain of shreddables about to be assembled. What would it look like? How massive a pile would it be?

And, how successful would the shredding be for the Kinnelon Public Library?

Ron Leavesley must have read my mind because he sent me the following message:


For your information, the shredding program was a great hit. 

We did better than 2010 with over 6,000 pounds ground up. We benefit and DPW benefits by getting a recycle credit for the over 6,000 pounds.

Thanks, Ron

And, then, Carol Sventy came through with the photos in this post!

2011 Security Shredding Event Big Kinnelon Hit! Thank You.

2011 Kinnelon Security Shredders

Were you there? Did your stuff get shredded? I met someone this week who wished he had known about the Kinnelon Security Shredding event...

Thanks, Ron and Carol.

On behalf of Ron, Carol and the Friends of the Kinnelon Library, Thank You for coming out and contributing to this momentously secure shredding!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ramstein Open House and SR Fresh Hot Sauce this Saturday @ 2 PM & 3:45 PM, May 14

Ramstein Beer Open House

Here is reminder for this weekend’s Ramstein Beer Open House and Tour, this Saturday, May 14. Directions are at the website.

There will be 2 tour and tasting sessions, one at 2 PM, and another at 3:45 PM

Maibock, Double Platinum Blonde, Imperial Pilsner and golden Lager will be on tap.

One liter growlers will be available as well.

And SR Fresh Hot Sauce will be there with the Fresh Cayenne-CherryHabanero Gold, and XXXXTra Hot Habanero Hot Sauce. We will also have the new Cayenne-Fresno in 2 Heat levels, Mild and Wild. We will also have our Spicy Aioli in 16 oz jars -- that's Hot and Spicy Mayo for those of you scratching your heads. Come try them! And buy them!

You Hot Sauce people can check out the SR Fresh Hot Sauce Website, where the sauces are explained and sold. Check out the Fresh Hot Sauce Blog as well.

As usual, there will be a tour and explanation of the brewing process by Greg Zaccardi, the owner. [See previous post about Ramstein Beer with videos for a primer.]

See you there!

Ted and Christine and Emma

Sterling Forest Bare Rock Hike on June 5, 2011

Sterling Forest Visitor Center, 2009
Sterling Forest Visitors Center - May 2009
The Smoke Rise Lake & Environmental Committee, and more specifically Ken Bitz, request that you Save June 5th, 2011 for a hike to Sterling Forest's Bare Rock.

We last visited Sterling Forest on May 17, 2009 to visit the Fire Tower. That was a spectacular hike with  breath-taking panoramas. [Note to self: I need to share with you my photos from that hike...]

Ken proposes a similar visit to Sterling Forest, with a hike along the new orange trail that goes to Bare Rock, which offers a fantastic view of Greenwood Lake. It is about the same difficulty as the hike to the Fire Tower.

Here are details for this spring hike to Sterling Forest's Bare Rock Trail:

Date: Sunday June 5

Time: 12 noon

Where: Meet at 12 noon sharp in the Smoke Rise Inn parking lot.

Destination: Bare Rock in Sterling Forest

Distance: 4 miles

Rating: moderate

Features: Climb to Bare rock and enjoy a fantastic bird's eye view of Greenwood Lake

Participation: Adults, children, friends and dogs

If you plan on participating, please let Ken Bitz know via email at

Be sure to bring water and a light snack.

If you're curious about the hike, you can learn more via NJ Hiking.  Check out Sterling Forest – Bare Rock, Fire Tower Loop and Sterling Forest - Bare Rock, Fire Tower. Both posts include directions, details and links to trails maps.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kinnelon High School Students Art Exhibit: May 2011

During the month of May, you have the opportunity to experience the artwork of our very talented Kinnelon High School students in an exhibit at the Kinnelon Library, sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning [CLL].

I had a chance to see the artwork last week between the Poetry Recitation contest and Ted's computer maintenance presentation and was impressed with the creativity and technique displayed. Luckily, I came armed with a camera and took a few photos. They don't do justice to the students' talent, but I'm hoping that they give you enough of a taste to compel to come visit the 2011 Kinnelon High School Students Art Exhibit for yourselves.

The artwork is on display in the Kinnelon Library lobby display area and in the second floor gallery through May.

When Ron Leavesley informed me that the Kinnelon High School Art Exhibit was sponsored by the CLL, I had to learn more. He immediately shared with me the following:

CB: Ron, how did the Kinnelon High School Student Art Exhibit at the Kinnelon Library get started?

RL: It all started in 2002 when I spoke with Sharon Toriello, the KHS principal at that time, about our interest in outreach programs.  The art exhibit was one of them. By the way, Sharon was very receptive to the outreach idea and a great person to deal with.

CB: When was the first exhibit?

RL: The first exhibit was in May of 2003 and it has continued ever since in May.

CB: Who organizes the KHS Students Art Exhibit?

RL:  The intersting part is that the key KHS art instructors in 2003 are still involved in the program although some of their art teaching responsibilities have changed. They are: Jackie Castro, Geoff Flash and Lynda Zak.

Jackie has become the coordinator of the KHS Students Art Exhbit. Alice Kivlon joined the group about a year or so ago. Currently Geoff is responsible for the sculpture, Jackie and Lynda the artistic creations and Alice Kivlon for working with students on their "Studio Art" (the large photos). A very talented group.

I encourage everyone in Kinnelon to come visit the KHS student art exhibit.  The quality and creativity gets better every year.

CB: Thanks, Ron! I'm not surprised that Kinnelon High School students are so artistically talented. Especially after witnessing firsthand the passion that Kiel and Stonybrook art instructors have for their students

Here are the photos I took [note: missing are photos of the ceramic pieces]. I encourage you to go see the real deal for yourselves. You won't regret it!

Kinnelon High School Students Art Exhibit: May 2011

Kinnelon High School Students Art Exhibit: May 2011

Kinnelon High School Students Art Exhibit: May 2011

Kinnelon High School Students Art Exhibit: May 2011

Kinnelon High School Students Art Exhibit: May 2011

Congratulations to the Kinnelon High School art students and art instructors!  Do visit the Kinnelon Library, you will definitely enjoy this art exhibit.

By the way, you might also enjoy this article: Kinnelon High School artists make it to the 'Super Bowl' of ceramics and Kinnelon woman revives her publishing dream since several of the art teachers above are mentioned.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn
As announced in Smoke Rise Village Inn, Royal Wedding: 11:30am to 2pm 4/29/11, the Viewing of the Royal Wedding at the Smoke Rise Inn wound up a resounding and sold out success!  Congratulations to the organizing committee and the Smoke Rise Inn.

JoAnn Brett forwarded me the following summary recapping the regal highlights of The Royal Wedding at the Smoke Rise Inn.  It's written by Lola Burling.

The Smoke Rise Inn was a sea of hats, tiaras and gloves. Eighty-Eight lucky Smoke Rise women and their friends attended the sold-out event celebrating the Royal Wedding in high style. The Inn ballroom was transformed into a setting fit for a Duke and Duchess with billowing blue satin tablecloths that looked like windowpanes with white grosgrain cross-ribbons. The tabletops sparkled like the Windsor gems, decked out with crystal Candelabras all surrounded by beautiful hydrangeas flower arrangements. The setting was completed with life size royal thrones. Debbie’s Designs of Wayne provided all of the party decorations.

Smoke Rise Inn Royal Buffet
Smoke Rise Inn Royal Buffet
Chef George created a special royal buffet, which included many delicious options...
  • Westminster Abbey Cucumber Soup
  • Parliament Square Quiche
  • Buckingham scones 
were some of the specialty items prepared specifically for the event.

The crowning jewel was the Happily Ever After Fairy Cake Tower streaming with Royal Blue ribbons and purple roses.

All in attendance watched the Royal Wedding on a large screen and toasted the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The afternoon was filled with much laughter and comradery. Each table played a witty game called Pass the Crown and one lucky lady at each table went home like a princess. Lori Morimoto won a replica of the royal engagement ring for the most properly dressed award.

Smoke Rise Inn Happily Ever After Fairy Cake Tower
Happily Ever After Fairy Cake Tower 
The event was professionally photographed courtesy of Precision Interactive Entertainment Associates. They also provided the pre-recorded wedding video.

The event was topped off by fun photo mementos of the day. PIE Associates had backgrounds of Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and Kensington Palace, the Thames River and London phone booths that they overlaid picture s of all the SR Dames.

This magical afternoon happened with a lot of planning, coordination and team work. A very particular thanks the Royal Wedding Planning Team for the idea and their hard work, JoAnn Brett, Lola Burling, Jane Johnsen, Alexis Joseph and Vera Mordhorst.

Also, A special thanks to Carol Nash for her assistance with the scones and Crown Wine Stopper wedding favors and to Janet Tricarico for bringing all the beautiful hats.

And last but certainly the most important is the Smoke Rise Inn staff and Inn Manager, Randy Polo who did an exceptional job surpassing our expectations while managing this event.


Thank you, JoAnn and Lola Burling for sharing these highlights with us. I can just imagine the pomp, circumstance, whimsy and great fun that you all had during the Viewing of the Royal Wedding at the Smoke Rise Inn.

I encourage you to view all 185 photos in Royal Wedding Walk Around and Table Photos folder. To whet your appetite, I picked out the following photos from the event. They capture the enthusiasm and magnificence of the event's participants!

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn - Table 1

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn- Table 2

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn - Table 3

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn - Table 4

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn - Table 5

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn - Table 6

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn - Table 7

The Royal Wedding at The Smoke Rise Inn - Table 8

Can you imagine a better way to spend the Royal Wedding than by donning glamorous hats and doing lunch in style at the Smoke Rise Inn?

I can't!
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