Just when you thought the food industry ran out of ideas for spicy fare, today Dunkin’ introduced its Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut, just in time for Halloween.
The limited-edition doughy treat features strawberry-flavored icing with cayenne and ghost pepper for a sweet heat indulgence.
As peculiar as it sounds, the Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut blends both tantalizing tastebud sensations into one mouth-watering flavor.
“Halloween looks a little different this year, and so do our donuts. While our classic bakery offering has plenty of crave-worthy treats, we’re excited to show our spicy side with a donut that packs a touch of heat with something sweet and can be enjoyed any time of day,” said Jill Nelson, vice president of marketing strategy at Dunkin, in a press release.
The Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut is available today until December at participating Dunkin’ eateries nationwide.
I cannot think of a better way to end the Investors Bank 2020 Hot Summer Nights Concert Series at the Village Green in Summit, NJ, then watching renowned New Jersey cover band The Nerdsperform in front of a live audience Tuesday night.
Playing since 1985,The Nerds have built a loyal legion of fans all over the world. And approximately 250 people had the glorious opportunity to see them for free.
I, for one, always wanted to witness The Nerds in perosn and wasn’t disappointed one bit.
The Nerds kicked off their show with Christmas Eve / Sarajevo, which Trans-Siberian Orchestra made famous. It’s not an easy song to play, but they rocked it to the fullest.
The band went into a few of my personal favorites: Prince and The Revolution’s Let’s Go Crazy and being a heavy metal brat, I enjoyed the Nerd’s version of Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me.
Not many cover bands can match The Nerds’ intensity.
Fronted by Jim “Spaz” Garcia, who sang and played lead guitar, The Nerds performed Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music White Boy, with Peter “Stretch” Oltmanns banging out that unforgettable funky baseline. The group even changed up the tempo with New Jersey’s own Frank Sinatra’s Summer Winds.
Oh, What a Night and The Nerds played that, too, mixed in with a little Led Zepplin.
They followed that up with Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and a resounding version of Gun N Roses’ classic rock track Sweet Child of Mine, sang by Mike “Mongo” Spiro, who hit those difficult-to-reach high notes and also dazzled the crowd with his fantastic keyboard work. Plus, Jack “Biff” Yocum’s rhythmic drum playing.
Yeah, Rock n Roll, baby.
To keep everyone dancing, The Nerds fast-forwarded it to 2015 with Flo Rida’s Welcome to My House and DNCE’s Cake by the Ocean.
Paying homage to this great nation of ours, The Nerds dropped the curtain on the show by playing The Star-Spangled Banner.
Brian Kirk & the Jirks at the Village Green in Summit, NJ.
One of my most anticipated concerts of the summer was seeing the band Brian Kirk & the Jirksperform at the Village Green in Summit, NJ, on Tuesday night.
And the seven-piece (usually nine members) cover band did not disappoint, playing memorable tunes from the 70s up to the present.
Brian Kirk & the Jirks had the people dancing, singing, laughing, and just plain enjoying themselves, helping them cope with their COVID-19 worries, at least for the time being.
Brian Kirk, the charismatic frontman of the New Jersey-based band, used his soulful voice to belt out songs: Looking Glass’s Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl), Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes’s Talk to Me, Billy Joel’s Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, and New Jersey’s Own Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road.
The group also performed Manfred Mann’s Blinded by the Light, a song which “The Boss” wrote and originally recorded in 1973.
Additionally, Freedom Bremner, a wonderful singer, handled the vocals on Lionel Richie’s All Night Long, Bob Marley and The Wailers’s Could You Be Loved, and Stevie Wonder’s You Can Feel it All Over, plus other great tracks.
When songs called for higher octaves, however, the band’s lead guitarist took over. He rocked out to Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog, 4 Non-Blondes’s What’s Up?, and Leo Sayer’s You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.
Kirk, a true showman with undeniable high energy (visible sweat markings and all), even injected a bit of humor into the concert. Although a little dry at times, Kirk told one joke that had the crowd in stitches.
“The Canaries Islands do not have one canary on it,” Kirk, who owns an encyclopedia knowledge of music, told the audience. “The Virgin Islands? Same thing, no canaries.”
But I digress.
One of the highlights of the show was Brian Kirk & the Jirks’s brass section, which was outstanding, adding an element of musical style most cover bands cannot match.
All in all, Brian Kirk & the Jirks came out to party and rock the crowd, which it did, no doubt about it.
Coppola’s is everything right about New Jersey pizza.
Located in New Providence, the restaurant provides the finest Italian food, made with a Naples-inspired flair.
As for the pizza, I enjoyed a sausage slice, with the meat baked right into the pizza, just the way I love it. Some places throw the sausage on top of a slice before popping it into the oven. Hey, it is just not the same, trust me.
Next, I devoured a Sicilian pizza (square, for you people not in the pizza know). This slice was not too doughy and had a ton of flavor, so it was up to my Brooklyn standards of tastiness.
My girlfriend Maggie had the spinach and mozzarella slice.
All the savory offerings were outstanding, crafted with top-quality ingredients, including tangy sauce, crispy but not that hard of a crust, with delicious, fresh mozzarella to put an exclamation of excellence point on the pizzas.
Coppola’s has become one of my go-to spots for pizza when I am in the area.
Coppola’s has a 3.5 out of five stars, with 183 reviews on Yelp.
Saporito is like many of the pizza joints I used to frequent in Brooklyn. It even makes a Brooklyn Pie, a Sicilian-style pizza, with the cheese on the bottom and sauce on top.
Additionally, Saporitooffers a wide variety of specialty pizzas, 22 to be exact.
Maggie and her daughter Nicole delighted in Bruschetta Pizzas (picture above) — an old fashioned pizza with a thin crust flavored, oregano and roasted garlic, topped with fresh tomato and basil pesto and mozzarella (no pignoli nuts). Yes, it is amazing as looks.
But if you just in a mood for a regular cheese slice or square, you can’t go wrong. It’s very close to the New York City-style, crafted with fresh, mouthwatering sauce and mozzarella, not to mention a firm, crunchy crust.
Not to worry too much about pandemic protection, as Saporito adheres to all Garden State food guidelines, Plexiglas and all.
Saporito has a four out of five stars, with 72 reviews on Yelp.
As the summer heads into August, the music at the Investor Bank 2020 Hot Summer Nights Concert Series at the Village Green in Summit, NJ, is reaching a fever pitch.
The next two musical acts are a testament to the quality of musical acts playing at the Village Green (356 Broad Street) in Downtown Summit.
First, on Tuesday, August 11th, at 7:00 p.m., Brian Kirk & the Jirks, a nine-piece interactive, high energy band, will be hitting the stage, bringing their cool brand of music to the Summit area. Brian Kirk and the Jirks play a variety of tunes from Led Zeppelin to Taylor Swift and everyone in between.
With two decades behind their musically rocking experience, Brian Kirk and the Jirks played everywhere from New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania, and Long Island. But the band has traveled around the world.
If that isn’t good enough, on Tuesday, August 18th 7:00 p.m., New Jersey’s beloved group The Nerds will bring their hip dorkiness to Summit, playing a blend of Soul, Classic Rock, and TV themes.
Yes, even I have always wanted to see The Nerds perform live, and now I will get my chance.
Performing everywhere and anywhere, The Nerds, first known as AKA, has entertained thousands of crowds since 1985.
Additionally, they have been on The View about four times, The Carson Daly Show, and The Arsenio Hall Show, among others.
Note: Social distancing of six feet or more and face coverings will be enforced. Please help keep everyone around you safe and as healthy as possible. Plus, bring your own chairs and blankets for comfort.
I usually have a steadfast rule of not purchasing pizza right as a place is closing, you know? You don’t always get its best pizza, as it’s usually the leftovers, sitting there for some time.
But I couldn’t resist a hankering for some cheesy goodness from a pizza joint I had not eaten at before, Annabella’s II, located at 401 Speedwell Avenue. Morris Plains, NJ. So I order three offerings: sausage, white, and square.
Hey, I was hungry, but I digress.
Completely outfitted for pandemic protection, Annabella’s Pizza II crafted the sausage slice with the meat baked right into it, just the way I like it. While the pizza did droop a bit, the fact that the sausage abounded, the extra weight caused the pizza to flop. But, overall, it was a tasty slice.
Next, the white slice was equal to the task, made with quality mozzarella and creamy ricotta, with the crispy crust complementing the pizza.
Last but not least was the Sicilian-Style (square) delight, which checked off all the boxes for flavorsome pizza. Delicious cheese, just the right amount of doe, and the same savory sauce used on the other varieties reminded me of a Brooklyn square.
I will have to visit Anabella’s II during a busier time when the pizza is pipping, hot-out-of-the-oven, mouth-watering ready to enjoy. Plus, to sample its other Italian specialties.
Please visit Anabella’s other location at 329 Smith Road in Parsippany. For more information, check out eatatannabellas.com and on Facebook.
Tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Madison Downtown Development Commission and Museum of Early Trade & Crafts (METC) Concert Series, TheZaire Bandwill be performing in front of METC’s building on 9 Main Street in Madison, NJ.
The Zaire Band is known for playing its own rendition of cool country music classics and today’s best from the popular music genre.
Jumping the Gun in Madison, NJ.
Next, on Friday, August 7th, Jumping The Gun will be hitting the stage to play classic rock tunes from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, NJ’s Bruce Springsteen and more.
For a sweet change of pace, on Friday, August 21st, Orquesta Los Nueve Del Sabor, comprised of salsa music artists from the NY/NJ area, will be bringing its high-energy, Latin rhythms to the region for a night of classic salsa, merengue and Cumbia (a Colombian folk dance and dance music) hits.
On Friday, August 28th,House of Hamill, a Celtic group from Philadelphia, will be brandishing their fiddles and violins for an evening of foot-stomping, joyful music.
Check out this amazing rendition of Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child of Mine.
The final performance in the concert series features Madison-based rock n’ roll band What’s What.
What’s What jams out to up-beat rock music from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, playing the likes of Val Halen, Tom Petty, Cheap Tricks, and others.
Last Friday, Mama D & the Vexations rocked the crowd with its own brand of eclectic music.
Note: You must wear face coverings and practice social-distancing of six-feet or more. Also, it’s strongly advised that you bring hand sanitizer for adding protection.
Mama D & The Vexations came out to entertain the Madison, NJ, faithful Friday night as part of the Madison Downtown Summer Concert Series in front of the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts (METS) after the inclement weather last week caused the postponement of its show.
And the wait was surely worth it, as the band “rocked the house” with its renditions of danceable pop music, cool country tunes, classic rock songs, and memorable Motown greats.
Fronted by lead singer Donna Ward, a music teacher from Chatham and known by her stage name, Mama D, the band performed Millennium pop hits such as CeeLo Green’s Forget You, Elle King’s Ex’s and Oh’s, Jessie J’s Price Tag and John Mayer’s Waiting On the World to Change.
Additionally, Mama D & The Vexations belted out catchy country music and classic rock tracks by Maren Morris and Tom Petty’s American Girl, respectively, as well as Motown timeless songs like Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay and Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine.
Mama D & The Vexation, from Morristown NJ, dropped the curtain on the show with Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, a song that received a rebirth on HBO’s megahit TV show The Sopranos.
October Rose Performs at Ginty Field Gazebo in Morris Township, NJ.
The duo of Leanne Weiss and Derek Allan, known collectively as October Rose, on Tuesday performed at Ginty Field Gazebo in Morris Township, NJ, to a socially-distanced, appreciative crowd, playing original country tunes mixed in with popular cover songs.
October Rose opened up with an original song, All In, a hard-driving, country rock-charged track featuring Wiess’s powerful yet smooth, made-for-country music voice.
With Weiss being a true Jersey girl, October Rose–also fronted by Pittsburg native Allan’s impressive musical stylings–played a mashup of the Garden State’s Bon Jovi’s You Give Good Love a Bad Name and Brooklyn-born Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot.
For me, it was the best of both worlds, as I currently live in Chatham, NJ, and was born in the greatest borough in the world, Brooklyn. How You Doing?
But I digress.
The band followed it up with Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats, and then brought it back to its own musical creations with Closer and a Different Kind of High, a heartfelt tribute track to the people facing the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic that’s presently plaguing the nation.
October Rose encourages fans to donate to Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization wholeheartedly committed to battling the unforgiving disease that rips apart so many lives in its wake.
Next was Heartbreak Song, another musically edgy and lyrically meaningful tune that has garnered October Rose a measure of country radio music play and critical praise.
Other originals performed were crowd favorites Kinder and Bonfire, peppered in between with covers of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart and Heart’s How Do I Get You Alone. Plus, Chris Stapleton’s Tennessee Whiskey and Gretchen Wilson’s Here for the Party.