Archive for July 2010
With summer in full swing it was a good day to travel down the Garden State Parkway and make some images in Long Beach Island. We’ve realized that stock images are great, but they do have a shelf life. So we look to revisit some of our old haunts, and new ones too, and make new images and see what if any changes have occurred since we’ve been there. Today I picked away at an assignment down in Beach Haven, on the southern side of the island. As I was scouting the beach the ice cream truck showed up and the driver made hew way to the beach to sound the alarm for people on the beach.
Sunday night started what turned out to be a great, but long assignment. We’re doing a dining assignment on, well can’t say exactly just yet, but it has to do with New Jersey and fishing, fish, fish markets and eating fresh fish. I started the assignment heading out to sea with a local fishing boat. We spent 12 hours fishing. It was a great time and the water was flat and air cool. I tried a few different cool things to make a few good images. The one above is probably my favorite. I was using our Mark III, which was fine, but wish I had a full frame sensor camera, and one that I could have pushed the sensitivity, (ASA, ISO whatever it is) up a few stops higher without the noise. It continued back on land for the morning. By 11 am I was getting tired so I went home and crashed for a bit before getting up and heading south on the Garden State Parkway for the last leg of the job. This was part was a simple dining assignment. Great place, good crowd, okay light. It should make for a good spread, or slide show. Stay tuned for the publish date.
INVITING At Dish in Red Bank, the atmosphere is cozy and casual.
DISH, in Red Bank, is a worthy place to go, with good, satisfying food frequently spiking to very good. But if you go, prepare for two distractions.
The first, an inadequate ventilation system, can most likely be avoided by going with a group of four or more, because most of the bigger tables are in the open, airy part of the dining room. Parties of two may be crammed in the back, as mine was on my first visit, where there is no escape from the aromas of every order hitting the heat.
Equally annoying, the door chime rang intermittently during both of my visits, pealing over all conversation in the two-tone traditional electronic style. (I later learned that it could have been unplugged, something that had not occurred to me.)
Otherwise, Dish, opened by Anthony Ferrando and Judy Matthew in 2004, is a happy find. Mr. Ferrando, a 1994 graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School) and executive chef of the restaurant, said on the phone after my visits that they chose the name because it was open to interpretation. His cooking background was mostly Italian, and he said he didn’t want to add another Italian restaurant to the New Jersey landscape.
He hasn’t. Dish is New American, generally, with mostly Mediterranean influences. The menu is small and tidy — 10 appetizers and 17 main dishes, plus a few recited specials and desserts.
There were three appetizer standouts beyond the pleasantly salty focaccia in the bread basket: crab cakes that looked mass-produced but were full of sweet lump crab and served with a frisky roasted red pepper rémoulade; Prince Edward Island mussels in a glorious sauce of white wine, Pernod, tomato and pancetta (showing that nearly everything is better with some version of bacon); and bacon-wrapped shrimp over cheese grits, the shrimp suffering only slightly from spending too much time in the grease. A pleasant runner-up was the risotto, rich with speck (see the above bacon reference) and creamy stracchino as the main cheese, along with a bit of Parmesan for punch.
The arugula salad — with fennel on the menu, but as a special with chunks of watermelon and ricotta salata when I sampled it — was generously proportioned though unremarkable. The simple salad was in the same category. But the “crispy spinach” was a disappointment: Both the flavor and texture of the delicate greens were ruined by deep-frying, which turned the spinach into leaf-shaped oil reservoirs.
Main dishes were consistently good. Two specials were indeed that: scallops over quinoa with Meyer lemon sauce studded with pineapple, red peppers and onion; and house-made ravioli — translucent disks filled with an airy mix of chopped spinach and sautéed chopped shrimp, sauced with a summery mix of tomato, basil, white wine and butter.
The griddled New York strip steak was tender and juicy, but came with only a mountain of herbed French fries — and no vegetable. Free-range rosemary-lemon roasted chicken was flavorful and moist, but the root vegetable mash promised on the menu seemed more potato than anything, and the seasonal vegetables were fresh but uninspired: green beans and julienned carrots. (A request for a vegetable side dish was met with more of the same.)
A plate of pan-roasted salmon had a good balance of protein to produce, with a welcome chili lime sauce. Chunks of carrot enlivened the look of rigatoni with sausage Bolognese, but the meat-to-sauce ratio seemed excessive. Desserts, sometimes an afterthought at restaurants this size, were a delight — and all house-made. The three best were a berry crumble with a superbly crunchy oatmeal-three-sugar topping spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg; a Meyer lemon tart featuring a fresh and flaky shell; and an oversize slab of thickly frosted, moist chocolate cake that Mr. Ferrando calls his version of one that grandma might make.
Marc’s been busy lately fitting in several assignments covering the restaurants and food in Monmouth County for The New York Times. This weeks assignment was at DISH in Red Bank. On Monday Colin will be shooting at three locations, including an overnight trip out on the high seas! Stay tuned.
Scrolling through The New York Times website we found an ANJ image made the “Week in Pictures”. Check out the slideshow at http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/07/23/nyregion/20100723wip-10.html
I was surprised when Marc called me to say he was running down to Atlantic City to cover Governor Christie’s announcement that the State was taking over the Atlantic City casino and boardwalk and beaches. It’s been a long while since we’ve done any news for The New York Times. Marc’s been busy with them doing Dining, and a sports job here and there. Before he left and asked if I would take this job, news, NY Times, sure! Last year they pulled their bureaus out of New Jersey and stopped covering the day to day news here. They stopped the Metro section, then went to the City section, and now we are in the NY/Region section. Well, NY/Region section of the section behind the first section. It used to be fun to run to my local WaWa and grab the NY Times and open to the Metro section to see if Marc or I got the B1, and then if it was above or below the fold. And then I would buy the other five bigger New Jersey papers to see if we got beat, or won for that day. That’s one thing I surely miss, the competition amongst the shooters. For me, that is probably about 70 % of the enjoyment, fun, adrenanline rush in shooting news- having a small group of shooters at a news event- and trying to beat them, in a colleague friendly kind of way. The other 30% is getting the shot, right, for some strange reason I love not getting the shot, and I even like getting beat. In Atlantic City it was no different. There were at least 12 shooters there, from three States. Before Christie arrived we were all milling about and talking but at the same time secretly coming up with our own strategies on how to get the shot we need, and beat the guy or girl next to us. I thought a ket shot was Christie meeting and shaking hands with AC Mayor Lorenzo Langford was a ket shot, because basically with this announcement NJ is telling AC, were taking this part of your town over. As the governor moved through the crowd they met, and the Star Ledger’s John Munson nailed the shot. I got a frame of them meeting, but Langford’s back is to me. I didn’t get that. But, listening to all the news reports, and on the John Gambling show this
morning they talking how the AC Mayor felt snubbed, both in the plan and with not being invited on the stage to hear the announcement. That is something I did see, and an image I did make. You can kind of get the feeling the Mayor feels left out as he listens. It was good to see Tim Larsen and Matt Rainey, two fantastic shooters who always peak my interest in the game when I’m around them. Hopefully, the Times is coming back around and we’ll be getting more calls to cover news. They ran one image from the story, although they called for several different shots for the story. You can see their story http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/nyregion/22casino.html?src=mv
Every year it seems that all the regional magazines and newspapers come out with their own lists of New Jersey’s “Best Of’s”. This year is no different. During the summer ANJ’s photographers will be out making images of this years best beaches and shore towns, and activities. Just as we start work with our clients and worry that the subject or content would redundant or boring, we get surprised. Today I traveled into Asbury Park to shoot the beach there, and found the city booming with activity during this years “Roadtrip”, a four day gathering of LBGT beachgoers. There was music and dancers and vendors, and plenty of revenue for the sponsor and city in parking meter fees and tickets! Next I’ll be traveling to Gunnison Beach, New Jersey’s own nude beach!
This morning I took an unsuccessful fishing trip to the Delaware River in Walpack New Jersey. The stripers were just out of my casting distance, I wished I had a boat. Then, waist deep in water, I turn around to see a black bear getting ready for a soak. I quickly head back to the car and put on my long lens and slide back down the riverbank for a couple of pics. The bear walked away, I fished a little longer, no luck. I walked back to the car to find the bear strolling down the road. I took a few more from a safe distance all the time wishing I had a bigger telephoto lens. Put two things on the “want” list. Boat and 300mm.