The smooth sounds of jazz and smells of eclectic cuisine flooded the food court at 1200 Harbor Blvd. on Tuesday, April 28, for the ninth annual “A Taste of Weehawken” fundraiser. A crowd of 350 hungry patrons paid an entry fee to sample fine food from local restaurants, helping to raise $14,000 for the Weehawken Public Library.
The attendees enjoyed wine and delicacies from Weehawken eateries like Lorraine’s Table, Paula at Rigoletto’s, the Chart House, and the Harbor Bar and Brassiere. Spirits were supplied by Allied Beverage of Carlstadt, among others.
Guests were also treated to a slideshow presentation of the new book “Weehawken: Images of America,” and a 50/50 raffle with prizes including sightseeing trips around New York City, a ride on a Yankee clipper, and gift certificates to local establishments.
“People get a chance to catch up and hear from other people in town,” said Mayor Richard Turner last week. “And the library is such an important institution used by people of all walks of life. The event was a huge success.”
One of the biggest hits at the event might just have been the Weehawken High School Culinary Arts program, which prepared succulent, seared sea scallops and mouthwatering ravioli stuffed with braised veal and Portobello mushrooms.
“It’s absolutely outstanding,” said Mayor Turner about the food prepared by the culinary arts program. “Every year, the guests always rave about the program.”
The students often prepare food for events that take place at the high school, including the township’s 150th birthday celebration this past March, and sausage and peppers for last Monday night’s sports awards.
With the help of food instructor Allan Hecht and professional chef Michael Fiorentine, 12 selected students from the program prepared over a thousand ravioli and scallops over a two day period for the event.
“We tried a bunch of them just to test them of course,” Hecht said of the ravioli. “[Fiorentine] only had to go through the demonstrations on how to present the food once and walked away. I’m a food snob; I’ve been a restaurateur for over 25 years. The kids did a flawless job.”
“You can’t beat sampling two or three restaurants at once.” – Jim D’Andrea
“There’s always great food,” Melendez said, “but the High School Culinary program was amazing. It’s really phenomenal that the school has such an advanced program.”
The D’Andrea family of Weehawken loves spending time together at the event each year, but for different reasons.
“We haven’t missed a year,” said father Jim D’Andrea. “You can’t beat sampling two or three restaurants at once.”
D’Andrea’s wife Lucy said she liked being able to get out of the house and spend time with her family.
“It’s a great event,” Mrs. D’Andrea said, “and I don’t have to cook!”
The family was in agreement about one thing – their favorite dish at the event. It was the mushrooms from Paula at Rigoletto’s restaurant.
Loretta Zucconi of Weehawken has been coming to the event every year and had a simple reason for showing so much support for the township.
“I love eating,” Zucconi said. “You get to sample all the different restaurants in town, and it’s for a worthy cause.”
Sean Allocca can be reached at email@example.com
GP’s – 24 69th St., Guttenberg
Lorraine’s Table – 875 Boulevard East, Weehawken
Ana’s Kitchen – 5104 Park Ave., West New York
Paula at Rigoletto – 3706 Park Ave., Weehawken
Amanda’s – 908 Washington St., Hoboken
Chart House – Lincoln Harbor, Weehawken
Houlihan’s on the Waterfront – 200 Harbor Blvd., Weehawken
Carlo’s Bakery – 95 Washington St., Hoboken
Allied Beverage – 600 Washington Ave., Carlstadt
Rosa De Saron Florist – 4707 Park Ave., Weehawken
Ben & Jerry’s – 22 Riverwalk Place, West New York
Harbor Bar & Brasserie ¬– 500 Harbor Blvd., Weehawken
Porto Leggero – Harborside Financial Plaza, Jersey City
The Melting Pot – 100 Sinatra Dr., Hoboken
Weehawken High School Culinary Arts – 53 Liberty Dr., Weehawken
Ruth’s Chris Steak House -1000 Harbor Blvd., Weehawken
Pizza Villa – 3502 Park Ave., Weehawken
Garden of Eden – 226 Washington St., Hoboken
Frank’s Waterside – 7800 B River Rd., North Bergen
Tomaso’s – 163 Old River Rd., Edgewater
Park Avenue Wine and Liquor – 4204 Park Ave., Weehawken
The Art Café – 4530 Park Ave., Weehawken
New York Caftan – www.khadijaheartofmorocco.com
Costco – 80 South River St., Hackensack