“Food is important. Food is community.”
That’s the view of Nunzio Cassara, owner of Nunzio’s Dolce Vita restaurant in Morristown, and it pretty much sums up Monday’s Taste of Morristown.
More than 500 members of the Greater Morristown community filled two ballrooms at the Westin Governor Morris to sample offerings from 42 establishments, with wine tasting and beverages courtesy of Gary’s Wine and Marketplace of Madison.
It was the 16th annual edition of Taste of Morristown, hosted by the Rotary Club of Morristown. Proceeds from the $65-per-person affair will support Rotary charities ranging from scholarships at Morristown High School to the global eradication of polio.
That’s why Rotary chapter president John Lyons looks forward to the event every year.
“It brings the restaurants and community together, and it raises money for the local community,” said the Morristown architect.
Oh yes, Lyons also mentioned the grilled octopus from Chef Fredy’s Table in Morristown. And the seared ahi tuna on buckwheat soba noodles from the Hyatt Regency Morristown’s Eclectic Grill.
Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin and Jeff Sovelove:
Lobster bisque from Morristown’s Revolution Social Brew House generated some buzz, too, as did clam chowder from H2Ocean of Cedar Knolls.
“It has a little zing,” said Morris Township resident Wilma Pitman, savoring a spoonful.
The chowder also impressed Dr. Morton Tau, an oral surgeon who ventured from New City, NY, with companion Leslie Watson.
“We’re foodies,” Tau said. “We know Morristown is known for its restaurants.”
The South+Pine American Eatery table proved popular, with duck tacos slathered in passion fruit hot sauce and pickled red onions.
For those of us who like to start with dessert, pastries from The Artist Baker and peanut butter chocolates from Enjou Chocolat scored high marks. “They are the absolute best,” said Rotarian Barbara Ward, an unabashed choco-holic.
And let’s not forget the ethereal peanut butter silk mousse from Mara’s of Denville.
Providing an international flavor was Morristown’s new Pierogies House, owned by Polish immigrant Evelina Berc. She compared Morristown, with its sidewalk dining, to cities such as Kraków and Warsaw.
Berc’s team served samples of Bigos, a “Hunter’s Stew” with kielbasa and sauerkraut, and assorted pierogies. “They have so much protein and vitamins,” Berc said of the potato dumplings. “They’re good for you!”
One of her staff members, 25-year-old Romanian Giada Felice, moved to Morristown from Italy six months ago and managed to investigate the competition on Monday.
Gnoshing on a plate of Nunzio’s tender beef, penne vodka Bolognese and chicken and pesto in cream sauce, Felice declared it equal to–and quite possibly better than–anything she had tasted back in Italy.
Buon appetito, Morristown!