Jersey City Gal

renatos pizza masters

I order from Renato’s Pizza Masters in the Heights about every other week. I eat dinner around 10pm (or later), and this place delivers late and quickly.

The funny thing is, I’ve only had pizza here three times. It’s perfectly delicious, don’t get me wrong, but my obsession lies with the fresh calamari salad. I’m apprehensive about buying seafood around here, but PM must get their squid from a great vendor, because this salad always was, and continues to be, magnificent.calamari

This past winter I started ordering soup from there, which is addictive. Pasta faglioli is my fave, but escarole and navy beans a close second.

When you want a really comforting treat-myself meal, get the chicken boscaiola, with portobello mushrooms, prosciutto, shallots, brandy, garlic, and a touch of cream.

I also jones the spicy waffle friesall of the time.

pizza masters waffle fries

What not to get: I’ve ordered zuppida clams. The broth is spot-on, but they always send mussels, which makes me sad. If you like mussels, OK. The caesar salad is over dressed which wilts the lettuce—or the lettuce is wilted anyway, I can’t tell.

All the parm sandwiches are standard, as are the mozzarella sticks, garlic knots, garlic bread with cheese and cold antipasto salad.

Anthony “Rich” De Marchi who currently heads the business alongside his sons Mark and Lorenzo, says the success of the restaurant can be summed up in three words “Quality, Service, and Price. In that order. If you don’t have the quality, you have nothing,” explained Rich. “We started in 1959 so we must be doing something right.”

The thing that many people don’t know about Renato’s, if they’re just walking down Central Avenue, is that it’s not just a pizza joint, which is what it looks like from the street and when you walk in. They have a separate entrance on Cambridge Ave. (with a parking lot) that houses a dimly-lit, fancier back room with a full bar and restaurant service. Totally different feel.PM1

But best of all, over the years Renato’s Restaurant has sponsored numerous little league teams, donated to Jersey City causes, gotten involved with local church functions (i.e. St. Joseph’s, St. Anne’s, and St. Nicholas) and organizations like The Dante Alighieri Society and Police Benevolent Association.


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Personally, I prefer to cook with my boyfriend or gal pals at home on Valentine’s, because without the interruption of a waitress or the bill or arriving somewhere on time or parking or the freezing cold, you can work together and talk the whole way through it, one-on-one. Or take a bubble bath together or get a couples massage. Anything! Restaurant dinners feel so impersonal to me. It’s like someone is orchestrating your relationship. No. I hate to feel like I’m on The Bachelorette. I’d rather celebrate what’s real with my boyfriend or my friends who mean the world to me. I love a holiday about love…but do something specifically significant to your relationship, even if you are celebrating with your puppy or even if you are by yourself. Celebrate yourself! Toys all around ;)

If you are into the dinner thing, here’s what’s happening at Jersey City restaurants:

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The Kennedy Dancers, a professional dance company and school, is adding new adult dance classes (ages 18 and up) at the Kennedy Dancers studio located on 79 Central Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. All classes are open for registration.

Dancing is the ultimate cross fit training for your body using all muscle groups through varied exercises and choreography. Just look at how fit everyone gets when they compete on Dancing With The Stars!

Choose from: zumba, pilates, ballroom, jazz, belly-dancing and all levels of ballet.

Daytime Classes are free to Hudson County residents ages 60 & over.

For registration information, please contact Bong Dizon @ (201) 659-2190.


Get flexin’

CAM01960Hey Jersey City,

The International Taekwon-d0 Academy (523 Palisade Ave; 201.356.9918) is raising money for a student scholarship.

I befriended owner Vic Teran when he opened the school in the heights a little over a year ago. Vic is Marine Corps Veteran and former U.S State Department – High threat Diplomatic protection overseas officer.

When he returned to the states and opened his studio, his goal was to provide a positive haven for inner-city and underprvileged children to learn leadership, perseverance, team work and self worth. The Academy offers Taekwon-do, TRX, Bootcamp, Yoga, Zumba, Core training (Kickboxing), and self-defense—which will be my next class after getting mugged on my block!

Vic will take it from here:

Our short term goal for the program is to provide a one year scholarship to 50 inner city kids. Long term, I wish to provide this program as a continuous affordable, publicly funded service to the underprivileged children of Jersey City and surrounding impoverished areas.

At the academy, students will learn the tenets of Taekwon-Do: Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit, honor, courage and commitment. My goal is to give a haven where I can share my experience andserve as a role model for others to emulate. With every donation, you are helping shape a child’s life. Let’s create a better future and great leaders by focusing our positive energy onto these young children. Every child deserves to start over.  Join our team and help us give back to the community by reaching out to children and giving them a location where they can learn self-value and taking them off the streets!


Learn more about the effort and donate here.


Thanks Jersey City!


No party to go to? Your TV isn’t big enoguh? Just want to get out of the house and enjoy the game with friends? Have no fear, Jersey City. Here are some restaurants worth considering:

Battello is hosting the ultimate Super Bowl party in their lounge starting at 4PM in Newport, Jersey City. The party lounge will to feature a giant hi-definition screen, beer pong and flip cup drinking games and all-you-can-eat food. Admission is $20 per person and game day drink specials, including $10 buckets of beer, can be purchased separately. To learn more about the Super Bowl party and VIP packages, email or call (201) 798-1798.

The Brightside Tavern will feature food and drink specials during their famous annual football party. The “Cheers” style bar has two 80-inch TVs in the main room and two special rooms with 10-foot screens that will play the big game. Call (201)435-1234 for more information.

GP’s Restaurant & Bar is hosting a Super Bowl pre-game… brunch style! Anyone wearing a Jersey will receive 20% off any entrée. Games, give-a-ways and trivia will take place from 11AM to 3PM at the Hamilton Park location. For more information call (201) 418-8800.

Loradella’s, in Newport, Jersey City, is offering a large pizza, 10 buffalo chicken wings, and a 2-Liter soda for $19.99! Customers can take advantage of the deal in restaurant, or enjoy it at home via pick-up or delivery. Call 201-963-4900 for details.

Dorrian’s Red Hand invites customers to spend Super Bowl Sunday enjoying $10 Bud Light Pitchers and $5 Fireball Shots while watching the game on one of their hi-definition big screen TVs! For details call (201) 626-6660.


On Sunday, Jan 11th, Mana Contemporary Art (888 Newark Ave.) is opening four exhibitions:

Making Art Dance: Backdrops and Costumes Celebrating 30 Years of the Armitage Foundation; John Newsom: Rogue Arena; David Levinthal: Hitler Moves East; and Ewerdt Hilgemann: Panta Rhei.

Also on view:
Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Chuck Connelly, Julio Galán, and Daniel Lezama in the Pellizzi Family Collections

150+ open artist studios, and a performance by Armitage Gone! Dance at 3 PM in the Mana Glass Gallery.

Stop by anytime from  1 – 7pm. Free.

To the arts,

full_597_28208_UglyChristmasSweatersII_1Embrace the ugly at Zeppelin Hall’s 1st Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party!

The biergarten (88 Liberty View Drive) invites you to get in the holiday spirit on Saturday, December 20th at 10pm.

Dress to impress in your holiday worst for a chance to win a $500 prize at midnight. Snowmen, sparkles and sequins, oh my!

The creator of the Mr. McKnit Holiday Patch Kit, Michael Simon, will be on hand to provide ugly sweaterless guests the ability to get into the holiday spirit and will also guest judge the competition. Here’s me in my Michael Simon.

To cheesy holiday cheer!


The United Way of Hudson County needs your help in its toy drive supporting children and teenagers in low-income families or living in foster care homes through the NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP).

Toys are needed for children ranging in age from 0 to 18 years old, both girls and boys. As one of the most diverse areas in the United States, they encourage people to select gifts appropriate for children of all races and ethnicities. If you are unsure what to buy, teenagers particularly enjoy gift cards.

Items needed include: toy cars, trucks, fire trucks, police trucks, puzzles, games, books, DVD’s, electronics, bikes, baseball gloves, footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, coloring books, crayons, earrings, jewelry sets, belts, and socks. Baby items include clothes, snow sets, gloves, scarf and hat sets. Baby swings, bassinets, walkers, diapers, and toys.

Toys should be new and unwrapped in order to match the correct toy with the right child.

Toys should be delivered by Friday, December 19 to United Way of Hudson County, 857 Bergen Avenue, Jersey City, NJ  07306.  To contribute online, please go to


Make it a happy holiday for all,


image003This Sunday, Dec. 14th, Santa and Mrs. Claus will take selfies with brunch-goers from 11AM to 1PM at eight restaurants along the Newport, Jersey City waterfront. 

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making rounds at Loradella’s, Morton Williams, Raaz, Cosi, Bertucci’s, Dorrian’s, Fire & Oak and Battello.


Say Cheese!


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