Weehawken ‘tastes’ success
Ninth annual fundraiser benefits library
by Sean Allocca
Current editor
May 03, 2009 | 2813 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CHEFS OF THE FUTURE – Students from the Weehawken High School Culinary Arts program prepared two dishes for the event: succulent scallops and mouthwatering ravioli.
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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.”

Rave reviews

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

Jersey City resident Sandra Melendez, who first attended “A Taste of Weehawken” a few years ago while working in the UBS building, agreed.

“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.”

Community support

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 seana@hudsonreporter.com
Some of the local restaurants who participated:
Madison Bar & Grill – 316 Washington St., Hoboken

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

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