I've noticed an Asian invasion in the town of Ridgewood, NJ and was curious to see what the Ivangie Tea House had to offer. They was really only one thing I wanted from that place--bubble tea! Bubble tea is common from where I come from and hard to find in New Jersey. Fortunately, I didn't have to look to far for it.
The Ivangie Tea House is a small restaurant with a cozy setting. I had the chance to sample some of the food they offered to see how authentically Chinese they were. Unfortunately, this is where they failed at the task. I actually expected a lot more from a place that offered bubble tea and was a bit disappointed by what I received. The food was okay at best.
They do serve good tea but it's nothing you can't buy from teh store and make yourself. Bubble tea, however, is the exception since it's time consuming. Unfortunately, all the times I've been there I've only been able to get bubble tea once. All the other times they were never ready which was puzzling. How could you not have bubble tea available if it's one of the main things you advertise?
Overall, I realize the Ivangie Tea House is scaled down to serve the common American populace. It's too bad because they could really go somewhere with what they have to offer and make themselves stand out in the process.
PROS: Good location
CONS: Bubble tea is never available
My wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by going to Chakra Restaurant in Paramus, NJ. We both have had of the place quite often from many people. It was once going to be the destination where I took my wife to ask her to marry me. (Don't worry, even though I changed the scenario, she still said yes).
Chakra is an impressive restaurant combining Asian culture with American sensibilities--Asian fusion as they call it. The decor is fabulous giving a very intimitae and soft atmosphere to the entire place. The lounge area is reminiscent of a cozy jazz bar filled with large, comfortable couches. There are booths for nice, intimate settings, and many tables for bigger parties.
The food is exquisite. You cannot help at the marvel of culinary mastery on display. Everything has its own unique flavour and simply delicious. The staff is absolutely amazing and friendly. We were lucky when we went as my wife knew the chef, so we were treated to something different that wasn't even on the menu.
As you can imagine, it is an expensive outing but well worth everything that you can experience at this place. From the valet parking to the greeting by the hostess to the friendliness of the server to the intimate atmosphere to the exquisite food. There wasn't a moment that I was rushed to leave at all. I savoured everything and soaked up the atmosphere.
We will definitely go back again when we have the opportunity. It's best to try out as a couple--go out on a "date" again if you can. You won't be sorry you did.
My wife and I like Japanese food and every once in a while we pass by Wasabi Japanese Restaurant in Ridgewood, NJ. This place was also recommended to us so we decided to give it a try one day.
One thing you can't miss is how crowded this place always is. Sometimes you are lucky to be seated. This is a BYOB place so many people come with some alcohol in hand. It's not a big restaurant but cozy enough which adds to the atmosphere.
Upon looking at the menu, we were put in a dilemma of what to choose since there were many different items to pick from. There were many things to try and I was curious to see how they prepared certain dishes. We ate our food and left afterwards.
The staff was friendly and courteous. Parking is tight when it's crowded even though they have a parking lot. The street it resides on is a very busy one.
Wasabi is neither good or bad; it fills the need in the area for Japanese food, and is actually a popular place, but I guess we expected more. Maybe we came in with higher expectations than we should have but we weren't entirely satisfied when we left. I don't know if we'll go back to try it again but at least we know that a place like this exists.
PROS: Good atmosphere, variety of selections on the menu
CONS: Food is average at best
The Hohokus Pharmacy has a great "Mom & Pop" feel to the entire place. I've only been coming here for a year yet I feel like part of the family. My wife, however, has been using this place all her life and has a very friendly relationship with everyone over here. And that's what makes this place feel like home--the staff knows everyone on a first name basis.
I really appreciate the professionalism of the staff and how attentive they are at filling your perscriptions. In the short amount of time I've been attending this place, I feel very confident with what I am purchasing--no matter how much it may cost--knowing that I don't have to worry about what I am receiving.
The store also sells lots of goodies such as candy, perfumes, greeting cards, and stuffed dools among the many pharmacutecal products readily available on the shelves. I even appreciate the fact that they are even open on Sunday, even if it's only for half the day.
I have complete faith and trust with the people that work at Hohokus Pharmacy, and glad that there are still stores like this that treat people like people.
PROS: Great friendly staff, very knowledgeable
It's funny how one can work near a shop and never take the time to check it out. This was the case with me as I always passed this shop every day going to work. In fact it was just right across the street. It was only when my business moved that I became more acquainted with the Best Little Frame Shop & Art Gallery in Mahwah, NJ.
The store is very charming as indicated by the nice porch and bench outside the store. Great for lounging around and relaxing. The owner of the place is the sweetest woman with an artistic flair for photography. As indicated by the many pieces of artwork hanging around the store, they do an excellent job at framing these masterpieces.
The upstairs houses an art gallery which is housed in four small rooms. I can definitely spend an entire day just marveling at all the works produced by the many local artists in the area.
Recently they hosted the First Annual "Yellow Bra" exhibition to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Local artists submitted artwork to help raise money for this cause, and it was a smashing success. The Gallery is know planning to host more exhibitions such as this as well as classes for those interested in learning more about art.
The community participation is incredible and energetic. It's easy to get involved when the people are friendly and upbeat. I enjoy this place and look forward to continuing in participating in their events.
PROS: Wonderful gallery, great people
CONS: Needs some good parking
Whenever I visit New Paltz, NY, I always make sure I drop in at Manny's I know I can get these supplies at some other big art store like Pearl, but it's the location and the feel that always draws me through the front doors of Manny's.
First, the location is very ideal as it's right on the main street of New Paltz. It's also very convenient as Suny College is just a couple of blocks down the road and lots of students come scrambling here to get their art supplies.
Second, the store is well stocked and even well-priced. There may be a few items here and there that may be expensive, but overall it's no different from any other art store in terms of the products that they carry.
Last, however, the staff makes the place feel energetic and welcoming all the time. I guess because it's a family-owned business gives it a certain charm that's infectious. I really like the art projects displayed on the window by the staff showing off the artistic abilities and the use of different materials used to create these pieces. What a way to draw the crowds in to see what they have to offer!
This is a fun little shop that also sells greeting cards, stamps, and paper materials. Overall, I really appreciate a store like Manny's and am glad that they are still around.
PROS: Great energy, friendly staff, lots of supplies
My wife directed me to Han Ah Reum, a Korean Asian Supermarket located in Little Ferry, NJ. We both heard good things about this place from my wife's Korean students, and I was curious to see what they had to offer.
This is not a small place. In fact, it's very big just like any other supermarket. A lot of staple foods were sold here such as milk, eggs, bread, and so forth, but they also offered a lot of Asian products that I was looking for quite some time--frozen dumplings, fresh seafood, Asian snacks and desserts, sauces, noodles, and lots more. It was hard not to buy out the store. Of course, be aware that a lot of the items are Korean influenced so there might be a bit of difference in what you buy. I knew this going into the place but still wanted to try it out.
I really enjoyed browsing around and looking at what this supermarket had to offer. I would definitely go back for another visit just to get some nice snacks.
Han ah Reum is part of complex that aslo includes Valley Fair, a retail store that sells brand name merchandise for almost 65% off. The combination of these two places together is a killer--you can't help but stop at both places every time you visit.
It may be a bit out of the way but worth the trip if you are looking for some authentic ingredients.
PROS: Lots to choose from
CONS: A bit out of the way to get to
Tower Records in Paramus, NJ is separated into two big sections: music and movies.
The amount of music selections is incredible, especially a separate room for jazz and contemporary titles. CDs are reasonably priced and you can usually find almost anything when browsing through the incredible amount of titles available.
The movie section offers lots of favourite titles on any genre for the casual movie fan. Again, just like the music section, you should be able to find any title here. If not you can order specific titles if it's within their power to bring it into the store. This applies to the music as well.
Besides these two subjects, they also house a large magazine rack with all the current titles available. A small section of toys can also be found, some specifically made just for Tower Records as exclusive items.
There is always a sale or discount available every time you walk into the store, so take advantage of what is being offered.
Being on Rt. 17, you have to be quick when entering the lot because you can shoot by the place without even blinking. If it wasn't for the big sign I don't think anyone would notice this unassuming store.
PROS: Lots and lots and lots of selections
CONS: Bad location
Partyland in Midland Park, NJ hosts a variety of items geared to make your parties fun even more special. Aisles filled with accessories for any theme is available making selecting what you need even harder. There is so much to choose from that you want the whole store to make sure that you aren't missing anything.
Recently I surprised my wife with an anniversary balloon I purchased from this place. The staff was very helpful and accommodating in making sure that I left with the right one for a very special occasion. Even better was the price of everything. I thought I would have to give up an arm- - - eg to make a great presentation. Instead, and to my delight, everything is priced very reasonably, almost to a fact that I feel like I'm stealing at times.
Party-themed plates, napkins, tablecloths, signs, balloons--you name, they have it for you to make your presentation even more incredible than you imagined. Just be prepared to wander around for some time taking in what this store has to offer.
PROS: Great selections, helpful staff
Most everyone is familiar with the Orvis catalog, but not many realize that Orvis has retail stores with full-service capabilities and an expert staff. When Orvis opened on Route 17 in Paramus, NJ, it became a popular destination for local anglers and hunters. Orvis has a respected reputation for quality merchandise and premier equipment.
The Orvis is a large facility with all sorts of items for the outdoors-enthusiasts in your family or network of friends. You will find a large selection of men and women's clothing, decor for the home, and unique gift items. You may like their quilts, coffee tables, or bar stools. Perhaps you collect lanterns or clocks--they certainly have all sorts of styles for you to choose from. Customers have a lot to browse when they come to Orvis.
My father-in-law is an avid angler, and Orvis has a huge selection of fly fishing items that I could buy for him on any occasion. Orvis has frequent sales and great buys when sales are on, so you can stock up on necessities or splurge on an item, such as the waders my father-in-law got from this store. Gift cards are available so that a recipient can select what he or she wants from the wide selection of products.
Orvis primarily caters to those interested in fishing and hunting--just like the catalog. However, you can find all sorts of items here if you like camping, or being outdoors for other activities. Books and videos are available for purchase to educate those interested in these sports. Sometimes Orvis hosts classes that teach things like casting while fly fishing. Call the store for more details on upcoming classes.
PROS: Best store for hunters and fishermen!