It's Friday So We Visited James on Main

So another Friday came and went and we visited James on Main in Hackettstown NJ (surprise).  This time Lisa and

Lisa and Marcy at James on Main
Lisa and Marcy at James on Main

 I had company - our friend Marcy.  As usual we scored the coveted counter seats and had a front row view of Chef Bill and the rest of the team's culinary skills.  That night we enjoyed (plus the usual bottles of red wine):

1) Cheese platter

2) Mussels in a curry lime sauce (or it could have been coconut)

3) Bison ribeye with veggies

4) Sea bass

5) Cheese cake with an apple sauce (it gets hard to remember the later on in the evening we go.

As usual, everything was friggin' outstanding.  Pics below.


Mussels in coconut and curry sauce
Mussels in coconut and curry sauce
















Ribeye Bison from James on Main
Ribeye Bison
Sea Bass from James on Main
Sea Bass
Cheese cake from James on Main
Cheese cake



Checking Out Alexandria VA's New BBQ - Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ

Just this past week a group of us from Campaign Solutions decided to try the brand new BBQ restaurant in 

Christian Curto and Megan Andersen at Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ
Christian Curto and Megan Andersen at Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ

Alexandria Virginia, Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ.  These were the hearty people from CS that decided to give the restaurant a go - all of us BBQ snobs in our own right, albeit from different parts of the country: Ryan Waite, Christian Curto, Bentley Hensel, Megan Andersen, and of course, yours truly.

We originally were going for takeout but decided to stay because the

BBQ Pork Belly and Brisket with Greens at Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ
BBQ Pork Belly and Brisket with Greens

restaurant looked awesome. We were quickly seated during lunch even though the restaurant already had a decent crowd for something that opened just the other day. The menu was stacked with all your standard BBQ favorites and it also had plenty of yummy sides.  We all tried a few different things - but a couple of us got similar meals: brisket, pork belly and sides.  Well that's what I got except I got two sides of the collard greens and a draft beer.

First up for me was the brisket and it was super delicious with a nice smoke ring.  The only comments besides how tasty it was, was that a few people were surprised we werent asked if we wanted a dry or moist brisket.  I've never been asked that before but then again I'm from NJ.  I tried the hog BBQ sauce which was tasty but a little sweet for my taste.  All and all, I'm definitely ordering the brisket again and so should you. 

Then I moved on to the pork belly which was out of this world yummy.  It was great.  Seriously.  Great.  No sauce needed.  It had a tremendous amount of flavor.  Seriously - get the pork belly.  I finally devoured the greens and they were very good too.  I'm a little more partial to Dinosaur BBQ's greens which is loaded with a variety of items - this was simply greens and some pork.  Tasty and simple.  

Brisket at Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ
Close Up of the Brisket

None of us had room for dessert so can't give you a review.  Oh the owner was out and about, stopping by everyone's table to make sure everything was to your liking.  I always like it when the owner stops by - even great restaurants occasionally make mistakes and it's always nice to see the owner who will jump through hoops to correct anything.  The owner gave us the background on the restaurant - he's a competition BBQ judge who teamed up with Myron to open this restaurant.

Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ is a great addition to the Old Town section of Alexandria VA's restaurant scene - stop by and get the pork belly and brisket.  Thank me later.




Sauces including The Hog Sauce at Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ
Sauces including The Hog Sauce



Revisiting the Long Valley Pub and Brewery

I was a regular at the Long Valley Pub and Brewery; my family used to go there every Friday. In fact, there was a publication that listed the best breweries in the USA and we were listed as a regular customer and called the Brew Pub family.  However, over the years, they changed chefs, management, and owners.  The food went down and then down, and then down again.  The Brew Pub also had a weird odor which I assumed was the yeast.  I used to joke about it with the owner of the Old Mill.  

Meanwhile the beer was always good, but the market changed and now you can get micro brews pretty much wherever you go.  I'd give the restaurant a go and then stay away; we'd have a good meal and then go there too much and the food was inconsistent.  That's changed very recently.  Anyway, here's an updated review below and to see how much it has changed, my harsh OLD review from over 6 years ago.  Needless to say (really write), The Long Valley Brew Pub is a great building, has great micro brews, and good pub food.



We've been here two times in the past month for lunch and both visits were enjoyable.  We were seated right away and the staff was very friendly.  I ordered the same thing both times - not that there weren't other items on the menu but we are on a mostly protein diet so I wanted to stick with safe diet items. 

Naked Wings Long Valley Pub and Brewery
Naked Wings Long Valley Pub and Brewery

I started out with the beef barley soup which was solid and loaded with meat and veggies.  Lisa ordered their naked wings which were tasted and hit the spot.  Naked because they weren't breaded or floured before being fried.  We went hot sauce and they looked and tasted great.

Both visits I went beer sampler.  Not that I couldn't decide which beer to get (Amber or Lazy Jake) but I just like getting the beer sampler because it's fun.

As I did with the beer sampler, I ordered the same thing - the best of the wurst  but with a twist.  I substituted out the mashed potato for sautéed spinach and I really liked it.  This dish was always a favorite of mine and continues to be a favorite.  Your get three different wurst with whole seed mustard.

I think the Brew Pub is a solid place for lunch or dinner, especially if you are looking for pub food and good beer.  


Best of the Wurst from The Long Valley Pub and Brewery
Best of the Wurst


Writing this review as I sit at my table.  First time back in many years after being a regular.  We waited 30 mins for chicken nachos and wings which when they arrived were cold.  Unfortunately they arrived after the entrees were attempted to be delivered which we sent away.  Food is average but the timing was horrendous.  Our burgers were ok but I ordered my medium and they came on the well done side - not sure if they continued to cook our food after we turned it away.  Beer is still good but I wouldn't drive far for it.  

If you are coming to the area and want a good burger go to the old mill.  If you want great entrees go to redwoods




The Boathouse in Orlando Florida

We just came back from our annual Disney World trip and as usual we ate at some fabulous restaurants.  Our biggest surprise came with dining at Disney Springs' The Boathouse.  It's awesome and a tad bit pricey but worth every penny.  Before I jump right in, a few words of wisdom for you.  

Disney Springs is not your same old downtown mall  - it's a major shopping mall that is likely super crowded.  So that means, you need to try to get to your reservation a little earlier than usual or leave enough time to get through the crowds.  Also, the restaurant is likely to be crowded too and the check in for reservations is on the inside so don't get caught on the line outside the restaurant.  Finally, if you want to eat in a boat, I think you need a larger sized party and a reservation in advance.

The Boathouse Coriander Seared Ahi Tuna
Coriander Seared Ahi Tunsize party and request it in advance.

We ended up scoring an outdoor table which was on their dock.  It had a beautiful water view. The menu has a lot of different fish and seafood options - quite a few of them are local.  I ended up ordering the local white gulf shrimp.  Normally, I'm not a lover of shrimp because I'm worried about it's source but not this time.  They were delicious.  Anyway, back to the menu. They feature Gibson steaks which they make a big deal out of; for me, I don't go to a seafood restaurant and order steak.  However, someone in our party did order a Filet and they let me taste it - it was really good and cooked nicely.  Their drink menu was good  - featuring a lot of local  Florida beers.

The Delicious Bread at The Boathouse
The Delicious Bread at The Boathouse

The first thing we dug into was their bread.  It was delicious.  Yes I understand.  Bread.  It was sweet, yummy and firm.  The butter was also delicious.  I only had one piece but that was due to my diet not my lack of desire.  We ordered a second round which was also devoured.  Go ahead a pull the bread apart many many times!

OK, back to the shrimp.  I ordered the locally caught gulf shrimp in what was surprisingly steamed in Old Bay - not that Old Bay seasoning on shrimp is unique, but the shrimp tasted so good, I assumed there was something else on them.

My entree was a delicious coriander seared tuna roasted shishito peppers in a soy lemon sauce.  It was awesome and prepared nicely. As mentioned above, someone from our party did try the steak and let me have a taste and it was great.  Again, I would recommend there fish or seafood because you are at a seafood restaurant but if you want to go steak, have no fear because it's tasty.  My son ordered the wild caught salmon on cedar plank - I tried it.  It was good but pretty much standard.

This was a highlight of our 8 day trip to Disney World this year.  It's not cheap but then again, you are in Disney World.  Enjoy it.


The Boathouse Locally caught shrimp special
Locally caught shrimp



Tewksbury Inn Oldwick NJ

This is my original post from Yelp.  I'm usually there on Mondays for lunch and try to go there two times per month for dinner.  It's also going to be my site for my 50th birthday dinner. 


This is an update to my 2011 review.  I eat here at least 1 per week.  It's my favorite all time restaurant.  The bar is fun and can be a little loud but if you want quiet there is the dining room  The staff is really professional and friendly.  The food is high quality and everyone I've ever met here for dinner or lunch always brags about how awesome the Tewks is.  Their menu changes between lunch and dinner so I'll give you my highlights for each...

Lunch: Lunch is spectacular.  I usually get oysters that are fresh and shucked nicely,

Fresh Shucked Oysters from Tewksbury Inn
Fresh Shucked Oysters from Tewksbury Inn

but if you are looking for something else: the french onion soup which is traditionally prepared and flavorful, the mussels (get extra croutons because you will want to drink the broth), steak carpaccio, and the sesame wings which are magical (get them at lunch because they aren't available at dinner).   Lunch entrees include the burger which is one of the best in the area (get in rare with blue cheese, fried onions, and mushrooms and thank me later), any of their salads (tuna nicoise and buffalo chicken are my favorites), or the bistro chicken which should be named the best friggin' pan fried chicken.  I also love their caesar salad - yeah i get it it's romaine but their homemade dressing is plate licking good and I also love the pan seared trout.  Heck, even their cole slaw tastes great and I hate cole slaw.

Dinner: Dinner is even better than lunch if that's possible. There are a few overlaps with lunch appetizers but must orders for dinner are the butter poached lobster and boston bibb salad.  I NEVER eat dinner at the Tewksbury Inn without ordering the butter poached lobster.  If I want to try something else, I ask my girlfriend to order something else and then we split the apps.    For entrees, I love the pineapple marinated hangar steak (get it rare), pan roasted sole which is a new item (I had this a week ago and LOVED IT), the sesame crusted tuna, and the lamb shank.  At dinner, I do try to get one of the specials but if not, I go with  one of my go to items mentioned above.  Finally, the burger IS available but it's off menu so you need to ask for it.

This is my favorite restaurant around.  I'd eat here every day if I could.  If you have any worries just follow my recommended items and thank me.  Maybe they will even let you order the sesame wings in the bar at dinner time; probably not, but tell them you read my awesome review and maybe you'll be surprised.

Go and Love The Tewksbury Inn.


Caesar Salad from Tewksbury Inn
Caesar Salad from Tewksbury Inn

Like I wrote above, Lisa and I are usually here on Monday's for lunch.  In fact, during a business work week you'll find me at my corner table with my laptop working.  As usual, I had the oysters and the caesar salad which is the entree portion with anchovies and extra dressing.  I eat every drop of the caesar salad dressing.

Not shown in any pics, I also had the bistro chicken but without their delicious mashed potatoes and opted to double the sautéed spinach.  Still awesome.  

It's all great.


Mattar's Bistro Allamuchy NJ

This was my original post from July 2014.  I just visited this past Saturday so I'll update this review below.  In general, Mattar's is a great place to spend a Friday or Saturday night and becomes an awesome place when they have live music in the bar.


The overall 5 stars was for the area.  We are huge fans.  The food is great.  The service is great  The atmosphere is great.  And the prices are very very good.  This is now our second third favorite restaurant in the area besides the Tewks Inn. We could eat here once per week.

I always get the crab cake app.  So should you.  It's fantastic.  The best way to describe it is a crab cake tower coated with shrimp.  Order it.  You will love it.

The oysters are always fresh.  Usually someone gets them.

I've had the steak, the fish, and pasta dishes - everything is tasty and reasonably priced.  My son ordered the ribs and he wasn't a fan but other than that we haven't been disappointed.  If you have room for dessert - get the apple crisp.  It's delicious.

Chicken in a madiera and sage sauce - Mattar's Bistro
Chicken in a madiera and sage sauce - Mattar's Bistro

Well that was a quick even for my Yelp reviews. I've switched to a new favorite entree.  I get the organic chicken in a sage and madeira sauce.  It's crazy good and I'm almost always get it.  If I don't it's one of their fish specials or the ribeye found on the menu which is covered in a wine sauce with a sunny side egg and onion straws.

My favorite spot is in the bar.  I always look for a table there.  The high tops are comfortable and if you go on a Friday night you'll get a some live music.  The bar almost always has a "cheers" like group of characters and the "Sam" of the bar is Mattar Mattar, the owner.  He's always around by greeting you and checking in on your meal.

All and all, Mattar's is a great time.  Enjoy it.


James on Main - 12.16.2016 Visit

Stopped by as usual for a 7PM reservation at the James on Main counter.  Here are some pics from the visit which was awesome as usual.  We had the cheese plate, mussels, two different kinds of soup, grilled veal chop, and cheese burger.   


Chef Bill from James on Main
Chef Bill from James on Main
Kaela Frenchman at James on Main
Kaela Frenchman at James on Main


Charcuterie Board Cheese Platter James on Main
Charcuterie Board Cheese Platter James on Main


Cheese burger and Steak fries James on Main
Cheese burger and Steak fries James on Main
Mushroom special James on Main
Mushroom special James on Main
Veal chop with veggies James on Main
Veal chop with veggies James on Main

Publick House Chester NJ

This is my review from the middle of April 2016.

We've always had great service and personal attention from The Publick House and when there is a band there we have an awesome time.

You can usually find me there for lunch during the week.  The wait staff is always friendly as is their manager Freddie.

I usually order one of the items below ....

1) wings - these are your basic tasty buffalo wings which I always love to eat.  Nothing fancy - no 100 types of sauce just mild and hot with blue cheese.  I like mine a little more well done but they are good and solid.

2) wood grilled pizza - it's a total surprise.  It tastes great and they have some real

The Publick House Clams Oreganato
The Publick House Clams Oreganato

good combinations.  I usually get the veggie and unlike other pizza places they are cooked nicely and don't overwhelm the delicious wood grilled flavor.

3) Caesar salad with either grilled chicken or marinated steak.  I like the chicken best and the salad and dressing is well done.  The dressing tastes fresh and homemade.

4) roasted eggplant with rigatoni which is one of my favorite. It's in a light tomato sauce and very flavorful.

I've tried some of their pasta dishes and I've always enjoyed them.

The Publick House has good food, good prices, good drinks and when they have live music it's a great place to be.  

Here's a quick update.  I switched to a different diet and stopped eating the pizza and pasta.  I try to come here once a week for lunch.  I get the same thing which is totally delicious.  A vodka martini with house stuffed blue cheese olives and their chick pea salad with grilled chicken.  The Chickpea salad is loaded with chickpeas, veggies and olive oil and the grilled chicken is always well cooked.  Here is a picture from this past week. Lisa usually orders soup (lentil) and their clams oreganato (pictured above).  If you stick to the items mentioned in my original review above or the pictures below you'll have a great time.


Publick House Chickpea Salad
The Publick House Chickpea Salad

James on Main Hackettstown NJ

This is my original post from June 2016 that you will find on Yelp.  I've made James on Main a weekly stop for us - usually Friday nights at the counter.  It seems Chef Bill cooks better when we are seated at the counter 😊😊😊 Since this is really my first restaurant review post here I thought a little rules of the road would be appropriate.  I'll post my original review here and on Yelp.  Subsequent visits will only be here AND Instagram (@pardonmyfrenchnj), Twitter (@pardonmyfrench), and Facebook.

June 29, 2016 Review

I've eaten here twice in the past 2 weeks and James on Main is awesome.  The only complaint I have is that it can be hard to get a reservation so if you don't plan, you probably have little hope to get in.

Wood Fire Grilled Elk
Delicious Wood Fire Grilled Elk

The food is fresh and the recipes and food combinations are modern.  Last weekend I had their sausage mixed with vegetables in a broth and it was awesome.  As an entree, I had the elk special which was wood grilled and fabulous.  I ordered a side of quinoa and roasted vegetables which I completely enjoyed.  I sat at the counter both times (only spot I could get) and everyone's dish looked awesome.

It's BYOB so that keeps the overall price down.  The staff is super friendly.  Chef Bill is a pleasure to talk with.  He is also meticulous when it comes to making sure every dish  - app or entree, expensive or easy on the wallet, comes out perfectly cooked and perfectly presented on a plate.

Everyone there works hard to put out great food. If you are looking for a place to eat in Western NJ, it should be on your short list but don't think too long because they won't have any tables.


Lisa and Eric enjoying dinner at the counter where you'll find us most Fridays outside of the summer

Eric and Lisa at James on Main
Eric and Lisa at James on Main June 2016


Opening Post


I love eating out and I eat out a lot.  I was an avid user of Yelp and for years that was my primary vehicle for restaurant reviews.  Then along came Instagram and I started making a lot of picture posts and even once in a while I'd live stream from restaurants.  My initial good reviews of restaurants were rewarded by the chefs, better seatings, happy greetings, and trials of food.  So like a good Yelper I'd make followup posts.

However, this got me 🤔 what's the value of my posting and checking in more at Yelp?  To get a "coveted" Duke badge?  The restaurants that I frequented didn't reward or recognize me as a Yelp Duke; they recognized me as a regular 😊 customer.  Why should I continue to Yelp after an initial review?  I kept posting pics and tweeting from those spots which the restaurant management loved - so why Yelp or Open Table after the first review?

Hence,  I might still post a review at Yelp but no more checkins or followup reviews.  I'll definitely post pics on Instagram but I'll also post reviews, follow-ups, and pics here.  I'll include pics of the foods, pics of my family and friends, and a lot of the times pics with my girlfriend Lisa.  You'll get the main review and then quick pics/posts from follow ups.

I hope you enjoy and come back a lot.  If you are a food snob and want to post - happy to provide a platform for you.



James on Main with Lisa and Eric
Lisa and Eric at James on Main in Hackettstown NJ