Friday, July 29, 2011

Today's Menu for Friday July 29

Today's Lunch/Dinner Selections:
Half $3 /Whole $6
- Peppers (grown at The EARTH Center) and egg on homemade ciabatta
- Cheddar with tomato and balsamic reduction
- Grilled zucchini with goat cheese spread and balsamic reduction

Sm $2 /Md $3 /Lg $4.50
- Summer chicken soup - organic free-range chicken in a light broth with corn, peas and tomatoes

Sm $1.50 /Md $3 /Lg $4.50
- A Better World (vegan)
- Fire-roasted corn with black beans (vegan)
- Carrot and beet salad (fresh from our own garden!)
Also - NEW!
- Local fruit salad with watermelon, cantaloupe and berries - price TBD

Tonight's Dinner Specials:
- Zucchini sticks with marinara dipping sauce-$4

- Stuffed baby vegetables - TBA
- Locally caught NJ seabass -TBA
Both come with the sides of sauteed garlic greens, basil couscous and cherry tomatoes

- Blueberry crisp $2.00
- Peach upside down cake - $2.50
- Chocolate zucchini slice - $2.50
- Poundcake with blueberry compote - $2.50

Watermelon Aqua Fresca - $2.50
Iced Coffee/Iced Tea

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Community Bulletin

Hey Everyone!

We hope you are all keeping cool out there. We won't mention how hot WE are in the kitchen while we're putting together our daily concoctions of delight to tempt your taste buds and keep YOU out of the hot kitchen. The only thing that cools us down is big slurps of our chilled peach soup or a blueberry crisp kept cold in ice. Yum.

June brought the beginning of our Friday night dinners. Every Friday, we're offering two new entrees featuring what is in season and local. Surrounded by a network of talented chefs, we've been tapping into their expertise to feature authentic international dishes. Chef Armando oversaw our Mexican inspired dishes of enchiladas, tacos, black beans with bacon(addictive) and salsas. Volunteers, Francis and Shalini, have collaborated on Indian dishes including Aloo Mutter, Bainghan Bartha, Chicken Kebabs, Chicken Kheema and dal. We've featured Italian favorites like vegetable lasagna and eggplant parmesan. All American hits like Chef Rachel's secret recipe for meatloaf and Chef Leslie's brined and roasted chicken are always accompanied by our homemade seasonal sides like garlicky greens, creamed corn and potato gratin.

We wait, see what is coming in from the farms, brainstorm and decide what the menu will be. Right now, we are blessed with an abundance of local zucchini, corn, eggplant, herbs, peppers, peaches, berries and watermelon. There isn't much time to do more than cook, eat, repeat.
It's really fun when a new item comes. "Eggplant, oooh eggplant, we can make parm, a curry, involtini, baba ghanoush," etc etc. There's a winner of the week and the rest of the ideas are filed away for future use. Getting excited about loads of beautiful produce is hard to avoid around here.

Stop by for lunch Monday-Friday 11-3 and dinners on Fridays 5-9 to see what we're inspired by. It's different every week and guaranteed to be delicious.

We have so many guests, volunteers and friends of the cafe who grow vegetables, herbs and fruit. They've been sharing the wealth of this summer's bounty with us. Michael B. brings in leeks and zucchini. Diane, Joan and Jill stop regularly with herbs. the Edible School Yard in Highland Park regularly sends over some goodies. The gardeners at Rutgers Gardens and the Earth Center also send over gorgeous produce for us to play with. First Field, has generously gifted us with their exceptionally delicious gourmet, Jersey ketchup and fresh produce, including beets, squash and basil, so far. Huge thanks are sent out to all of you who toil in the dirt and think of sharing with us your produce and stories of how your garden grows.

Some nice things have been happening to people in our community around the cafe. We love to share the news.

Agatha B., our beloved volunteer, finished up her doctorate at Rutgers and was offered a teaching position in Texas. We had a tearful surprise party for her at the cafe, arranged by fellow volunteer, Michael S. (They met while volunteering here and became fast friends. How great!) Right before she, her brother, and her cat drove off into the hot humid sunset, Agatha stopped by one last time for loads of hugs to cookies to keep her fueled on her journey west. Agatha was such a delightful addition to our team. A curious cook, avid vegan baker, consummate composter, stripey sock wearing, smarty pants with a wry sense of humor. Boy, oh, boy, we are going to miss our Agatha. She's already thinking about finding a group of people in her new home to start a community cafe out there. We wish her loads of success in all of her endeavors!!!

Deborah Z., volunteers with us on Wednesdays as a server and cashier. For months, she excitedly looked forward to a beachy vacation. She was surprised with a marriage proposal to make the vacation perfect. Congratulations to Deborah and the lucky groom-to-be.

One of our favorite young ladies, Julia, shared with us that she was recently pulled on stage at an Enrique Iglesias concert at the Borgata in Atlantic City. She proudly showed us the YouTube video of her working the crowd like a true rock star and we promised her we'd share the link with our blog readers. We knew Julia could draw, polish off a dessert like a champ and giggle adorably but now we know she's destined for show business. Watch her video.

Over the winter, we had a baking intern, Caitlyn. She graduated from culinary school in the spring and returned to volunteer with us on Fridays. She just got hired by our friend, local bread baker, Sweet Spice & Honey. Good luck, sweetie!

Cafe friend from the very beginning, Diane F., has joined us this summer to assist with our social media. She's been tweeting, Facebooking, blogging and being an all around goddess of all things techy. She also has added some spice to the cafe's life by generously adding some new additions to our spice cabinet and pantry. Thanks, Diane!

Tim M., majored in Communications at Rutgers, and spent most Fridays of the summer so far helping us at the cafe as a cashier and social media coordinator. He's looking for a PR job in beverages or sports. Good luck, Tim!

Lots of our volunteers and guests are coming and going from fantastic summer vacations. Jacquelyn called in with a report from the coast of Croatia, Storey is touring America on a solo road trip (we told him to brake for pie), Lara and her family are off roadtripping, too. Kobe is dividing his time between lifeguarding and days at the beach.

The cafe has been delighted to host groups of young people this summer through the Rutgers Future Scholars and Mitzvah Corps programs. We've loved getting to know these amazing teens and are always amazed at what young people can bring to the table if you give them a chance. They've been a giant help with customer service, prepping food to serve and to be stored for future use, and a healthy dash of dishes in there, too.

The culinary students at Promise Culinary have been working their rump roasts off this summer. They joined the cafe for a special night of service, showcasing their front of the house training. They've made outstanding quiches, soups, quinoa salad, breads, desserts and more for the cafe.

Chef Rachel had the opportunity to teach the night class in June. The students were terrific. They learned how to make ricotta, marscapone, basalmic reductions, lavash crackers, lasagnas and more. One student was so into cheesemaking, she started selling her own the same week!

At the Elijah's Promise's tasting fundraiser event, Chef's Night, held at the Somerset Palace, in June; A Better World Cafe, served our own ricotta, strawberry jam (made from fruit grown by Giamarese Farm in East Brunswick), peppercorn lavash cracker and a drizzle of basalmic reduction. The students helped make the components of the cafe dish and helped assist all of the other restaurants and vendors at their tasting stations.

Night class student, Eugene, joined the cafe for his externship in July. He did a marvelous job and we wish him much success after he graduates.

Have something exciting you'd like to share with the community cafe, please let us know. We hope you are enjoying your summer, visiting farm stands, savoring the simplicity of a perfectly ripe piece of fruit and keeping cool. When you get hungry, come on in, we can fix ya right up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fresh veggies, organic chicken and new friends, oh my!

New delicious selections on the menu this week:

- Summer chicken soup - organic free-range chicken in a light broth with corn, peas and tomatoes
- Grilled cheddar sandwich - on our homemade focaccia with balsamic reduction and tomatoes
- Fresh shepherd's salad with cucumber, tomato, red onion and feta
- Chicken salad platter - organic free-range chicken, artichoke hearts, giardiniera and olives (from our good friends at Dr Pickle) and pita bread

This week we'll also have a rotating selection of desserts including our berry crisp, a pound cake with blueberry compote, chocolate chip cookies, peach upside down cake and chocolate zucchini cake!

We'd also like to give a shout out to our new friend Jeff from Colavita who supplied us with a generous donation of white, red and balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oil. Thank you very much for your support!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Menu for Friday July 22nd

Come join us for our Eat Local Challenge tonight. Today's roasted chicken, corn, blueberries and zucchini, as well as our seafood items tonight are all sourced from local NJ farms and vendors.

Dinner Specials:
- Organic free-range roasted chicken with NJ cream corn and sauteed vegetables - $10
- Baighan Bartha- Indian style eggplant with brown rice -$7
- Locally caught NJ seabass and scallops -TBA
- Zucchini sticks -$4
- Eggplant parmigiana -$8

Sm $2 /Md $3 /Lg $4.50
- Chilled Peach Soup

Sm $1.50 /Md $3 /Lg $4.50
- A Better World
- Israeli couscous salad
- Beet salad with lettuce
- Grilled cheddar with balsamic tomatoes

Half $3 /Whole $6
- Turkey with mayo
- Grilled Zucchini with goat cheese spread

- Zucchini walnut muffin with salted caramel icing $1.75
- Blueberry crisp $2.00
- Lemon blueberry slice $2.00
- Warm vanilla biscuit with blueberry compote $3.00

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Better World Cafe in the News Again!

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in a new series titled "Re-imagining the Work of Ending Hunger" in their official Blog first featured Elijah's Promise in their Part 1 post on June 22 and then featured A Better World Cafe in their Part 2 post on June 29.

According to the Geraldine R. Dodge website, their mission is as follows

"For more than 30 years, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation has nurtured people, ideas, and institutions which transcend self-interest and contribute to a sustainable human society and the environment which shelters it.

The Foundation works in three ways:

  • by responding to imaginative proposals which fall within the declared areas and which promise to have impact, to be replicable, and to effect systemic change;
  • by encouraging capacity-building and institutional development for the grantees through technical assistance workshops; and
  • by developing initiatives shaped by close listening to practitioners and resource people in areas where the concentration of funds is likely to improve the quality of life.

The mission of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation is to support and encourage those educational, cultural, social and environmental values that contribute to making our society more humane and our world more livable."

We're honored to have been spotlighted again by such a respected Foundation, thank them for spreading our message, and sincerely hope that we can continue to live up to the values that earn their respect by continuing our work to help our community and the world.

Menu for Friday 7/15

Lunch Specials

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Basil Cream Sauce - $6
Fiesta Quiche - Pepper Jack cheese, peppers, onions, tomatoes- $3

Dinner Specials (available after 5pm)

-Organic Turkey Tacos with Rice, Beans, Pico De Gallo -$9
-Curried Eggplant Stew with Rice -$8

Sandwiches Half $3 / Whole $6
-Grilled Veggie Panini with Mozzarella and Basalmic Reduction
-Turkey with Caesar and fresh basil
- Grilled Cheddar and Pesto
-All beef Hot dog (no antibiotics, nitrates) with Caramelized onions $3

Soup sm$2 / md$3 /lg$4.50
-Chilled Peach- sweetened with honey and swirled yogurt

Salads sm$1.50 / md $3 / lg $4.50
-Better World Salad (V)
-Roasted Carrot over greens
- Quinoa Salad with tangy honey poppy seed dressing

-Rockin' Rice & Beans (V)

-Warm Biscuit with fresh whipped cream, atop a pool of summer berry compote- $3
-Blueberry Lemon Tea Slice -$2
-Carrot Muffin with Salted Caramel Icing - $1.75

Friday, July 8, 2011

Menu For Friday July 8th

Dinner Specials (available after 5pm)

-Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles and Sauteed Greens -$9
-Grilled Mediterranean Platter- Zucchini, Eggplant, Couscous and Roasted Chickpeas -$8

Sandwich- Half/Whole $3/$6

-Heirloom Organic Tomato and Goat Cheese
-Grilled Bacon & Mozzarella
-Hotdog with Caramelized onions $3

Soup- sm/md/lg

-Tuscan Tomato with kale and chickpeas (V)

Salads- sm/md/lg

-Better World Salad (V)
-Greek Orzo Salad with Feta and Olives


-Rockin' Rice & Beans (V)


-Carrot Cake with Cream cheese frosting -$2.50
-Fruit Tart -$3.00
-Zucchini Bread with Nuts -$2.00

Drinks- Hot-$1.25 Iced-$1.75 Refill-$1.00

-Organic Fair Trade Coffee and Teas