Bella Luna Ristorante's skilled chefs entice salivary glands with an authentic menu of artfully crafted Sicilian cuisine. Diners can prep their mouths for future forkfuls with a half-pound of fried calamari, served with imported banana peppers and a choice of homemade sauces ($10.95). Sample Mother Earth's luscious flora offerings with the eggplant parmesan ($14.95), or her aquatic collection of farm-raised seafood and Billy Ocean cassettes in the shrimp-and-lobster ravioli ($21.95). Entrees arrive accompanied with Giuseppe's Authentic Sicilian Gravy, which is handcrafted in house and widely coveted by grocers across four states. Enhance an evening by bringing a bottle of wine to uncork while filling your ear canals with live acoustic jazz (Friday and Saturday nights starting at 5 p.m.).
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,150 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex?s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
RosaLuca?s owners Jill and Carmine Castaldo have shared a love of great food?and each other?since they first met at the Culinary Institute of America in the late '80s. Since then, their relationship and culinary careers have flourished, resulting in a full-service catering operation that led to the opening of RosaLuca?s Italian bistro. The eatery, named in honor of Carmine?s parents, Rosa and Luca, features a menu that changes with the seasons, like what?s on the TV?in the spring it?s a DVD player, but in the fall it?s a DVD player inside a pumpkin. This dynamic culinary slate highlights the freshest available ingredients culled from the market or handpicked from the restaurant?s own 12 acres of gardens and greenhouses. In addition to romantic bistro dining?RosaLuca's was voted one of The Star-Ledger's top ten romantic dining spots in 2007?the couple extends the reach of their core operation with extensive catering options.
Acasia Thai Restaurant?s executive chef learned the art of Thai cooking while studying abroad in Thailand. Though his dishes are crafted with produce grown locally, he still uses herbs imported from Thailand to recreate the distinctive flavors he grew to love in garlic pepper sauce and panang curry.?Other aspects of the menu are equally authentic; if you'd like to experience a meal typically enjoyed in Bangkok, try the stir-fried eggplant. Making each dish from scratch allows the chef to easily adjust the spice level according to each guest's preference or horoscope reading.
Wine Italiano's staff members possess a deep knowledge of regional Italian wines. They'll share that knowledge if desired, illuminating the differences between a varietal from Campania and one from Liguria. Their knowledge also extends to food pairings, and many of their recommendations can be bought onsite. The spot's cooks prepare made-to-order Italian sandwiches, soups, and salads using organic ingredients, and shoppers can peruse an inventory of fresh mozzarella, handmade pasta, and other groceries to prepare at home.
The staff at RockinStylist Salon promises to provide haircare to clients of all ages, even if keeping that promise requires them to travel. They will drive up to 20 miles to senior care centers and clients’ homes, though they mostly perform basic haircuts, coloring services, extensions, perms, facial waxing, and manicures out of their salon. Each of the stylists has more than 15 years of experience, which means they’re as skilled with scissors as people who cut new friends out of cardboard every day are.