Alta’s Kitchen Opens at 2 e Ferry St in New Hope PA

pure food made with love!

Yes, that is right. Alta’s Kitchen Company has opened at 2 e Ferry Street in the heart of the historic Bridge town in New Hope PA.

I’m featuring hand crafted Panini Sandwiches and Artisnal Salads. Made to order with farm greens and in-house Roasted meats!

The Russian Romaine Wedge with tomato, cucumber, peperoncini, carrots & Avocado

Panini Press ready! Each Panini is made to order with carved meats on beautiful Ciabatta or Herb Foccaccia

We are open Tuesday to Sunday starting at 11 am. Each day will have special Panini, Salads and Soups made with Bone Broth!!

Pork Bone Broth, winter vegetables, White Beans & Ham


Alta’s Kitchen Cooks

Welcome to 2023 and our new Logo!

Here we Go!

I love cooking for friends and family. I love putting together ingredients. Shopping at Matt’s in Belmar or the farmer markets in Asbury-Park_NJ and throughout our small towns with farms!

I’m excited to share my vision of food and table tops and the perfect supper. My friends will say to me that I’m happiest being the host and cook and I agree.

As you’ve read, I also personally have been on a health journey including eliminating gluten from my diet. I will cook Gluten for anyone and I do miss it, but I am working hard to create the Gluten Full delights that are Gluten Free. And these dishes I am excited to share.

I’m also Fod-map in my life! So these dishes are created without some ingredients you will never miss and your stomach will love you!

I hope you enjoy this Porch Supper!


Many times I fear ordering a salad. Limp greens, bottled dressings and hard cardboard tomatoes.

A Salad is the world, the season in one bite of flavors, crunch, textures. When I plan a dinner, the salad helps to build the experience, teasing the senses.

I’m a huge Blue Cheese and Wedge Fan. But I also love taking the August summer Greens and creating a Chopped salad with the Blue.

Chopped Blue Cheese Salad with Farmer’s Greens, Cucumbers, NJ Beefsteak Tomatoes, Green Olives, Red Wine Vinegar, Crumbled Danish Blue and AK Blue Cheese Dressing- All GF and Fod-Map Friendly


I don’t care what time of year it is, every day is a day where Pasta is welcome. For me, when I learned that I could not digest high Fod-map ingredients, this included Gluten. No Pasta?

Thank goodness it is 2023 and gluten free pastas are everywhere. But to find a GF pasta that doesn’t break, doesn’t have a mealy texture or tastes like only corn is hard. I’ll be sharing my recommendations soon.

For this dinner, I created two beautiful family style dishes that were served together along with roasted NJ corn, shredded cabbage and potato salad.

The Pasta: GF Fettuccine in a Sunday Gravy- one of my favorite sauces simmered sans onions. The guests here weren’t told the Fettuccine was GF and were impressed. I feel even if you don’t have a gluten problem, glutens are fattening and the typical American diet is dominated with this ingredient. Just cutting out 20% of your weekly intake will lead to weight loss.

Sunday Sauce, Homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce, Red Wine, Ground Beef, Sausages with no onion or onion powder, Proscuitto, Salami and Roasted Pork Shoulder Served over Gluten Free Fettuccine

Fried Chicken

Me and my Fried Chicken. Another food I thought lost by eliminating Gluten. I loved Fried Chicken especially the very simple pan fry of my grandmother with only a dust of flower.

But Buttermilk Fried is my true love and I’m constantly working on this recipe. Your fry heat time is different when you use a rice or corn flour. But more importantly to me, is how the coating and chicken intertwine.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken made GF with Rice Flour, dried herbs and fried in Canola Oil then Oven Baked.

It’s 2023 and Alta’s Kitchen is cooking and writing and sharing the journey of life, the food that blesses it and the beauty of sharing life’s bounty with friends and family.

My Road

Part Two:

Finding Fearless: Let Not Youth Be Wasted on the Young

words and photos by Robert Kingsland

At five years of age I learned to use a rotary phone which was replaced by a pushbutton phone then a slim cordless phone to wireless flip phone to Blackberry to I Phones and Android Phones.

smiling again

In 6th grade I learned to type on a typewriter which became a word processor in 7th and by 9th grade giant computers which evolved to laptops then all in ones to Tablets.

In 2007 the information internet highway was supercharged with the birth of Apple, Facebook and Twitter on the stock market. This incredible American led technology revolution opened information to all people and allowed us to take more control of our lives.

It helped me to find My Road forward.

As I grew in weight in 2010, I used this technology to search the web for diets, diet supplements and healthier recipes. I followed them. I researched and I purchased all types of bars: protein bars, energy bars, bars with hunger blockers.

I did smoothies and 3-4-5 day cleanses. I stirred powders into my coffee which were to make me feel full or add protein or energy booster powder to my juices to spur my exercise and metabolism.

I bought a fitness bike first than an elliptical machine with maps and different levels. They were pre-Peloton, but they were cutting edge in 2011 and 2012. I did a health challenge and was given a Fit-Bit to track my steps. A device on my arm to count my steps and calories!

I was never alone. Every year at least 45 million Americans go on a diet. We spend between $45 million to $100 million, depending on source, for diet supplements, diet clubs, prepared foods and vitamins.

We also spend between $300 million and $600 million on in-home gym equipment and spend over $600 million on gym memberships. I spent money on all the above!

Yet, 95 Percent of diets FAIL every year yet we keep coming back to try the new diet, the new supplement or a new exercise device.

If you ask me ” How many diets did you do in the 8 years of my weight battle?”; I would say I tried every one. If you asked me if I used my gym memberships or equipment that I spent thousands of dollars on, I would say I’m part of the statistic that only 8% to 20% of us actually use our gym membership fully or our expensive equipment.

I can’t say all diets didn’t work for me, I had lost 40 pounds over 4 years and had maintained 238 lbs for 2 years. I also can’t say I didn’t benefit from the use of my elliptical when my joints let me, but I did cancel the gym membership as I never went.

Our bodies change we are told and their is truth to this. A 56 year old will not be the same weight as his 21 year old self much less his 37 year old self but I never imagined being 108 pounds heavier in 2012 versus my weight in 2007.

As my eyes opened the day after Mother’s day in 2018 I was a man without a job and I was at a cross road. I had decided to take June and July off, my mind was spinning and I wanted to explore other opportunities as I didn’t know who would hire me at my price point and my unhealthy condition in the restaurant business. I also didn’t think I could handle a restaurant job or the stress or the physicality of hospitality.

As I lay in bed, heavy, joints aching with digestive dissonance, I was determined to use this time to change my state of being and find the fearlessness I had when I was younger and healthy.

I was determined to cook healthy food from scratch, walk more, ride a bike to the beach and assess the next steps in my life and not settle for a job or my physical state. I was going to find answers and find a road back to health.

I felt the biggest issue preventing weight loss was the growing inflammation in my joints. Every joint.

My ankles were bloated, I could barely wiggle my toes. This pain prevented me from doing more time on the elliptical or walk. In fact, many times, one workout or too much housework would lead to days of acute pain or trigger pain in my lower back or trigger my plantar fasciitis.

I started taking more turmeric and joint health products advertised with smiling faces of relief. I found little relief.

I started to eat blueberries and strawberries and make smoothies with them. I drank cherry juice. I ate more salmon, nuts, kale and beets than I will ever eat again and to be honest these things led to diarrhea, or stomach cramps or indigestion.

At the same time, even though I wasn’t adding much to my exercise routine or diet, I started to see my weight decrease slowly. By the end of June I was 235 pounds and maintaining it.

I know 3 lbs doesn’t seem like much, but I had been stationary for 3 years at 238 lbs. To see movement lower and to hold that new lower weight is key to real weight loss. It’s not water loss when you maintain a new low over a period of time.

While better days were starting to overtake bad days, the bad days would constantly come back. It was baffling. I had days and weeks without severe breathing issues or heartburn and weeks where my stomach would not be bloated.

But the bad days were terrible, debilitating and depressing. In July 2018, I decided to purchase a travel franchise and spent a week in Orlando at a training camp.

By this point, I was 232 pounds. I had lost 6 lbs and was maintaining this new low with swings of a pound or two during the week. I was less bloated, my face was smaller and I was wearing my size 36 pants again.

But I didn’t feel healthy especially with the ‘episodes’ of acute heartburn and digestive blockage. The ‘episodes’ would feel like an asthma attack with severe breathing issues, acid reflux, uncontrolled burping all in one.

Understand, that even though I had lost weight the ‘episodes’ were outside of this constant hum of dissonant digestive discomfort. If you are losing weight shouldn’t you feel better? Breathe better? Have less joint issues? I was following diets, eating yogurt, cottage cheese and melons!

Feeling Like a Fish Out of Water

Then, one day at the end of July 2018, after the travel school, I was home with a perfect shore weekend with friends coming for a Porch Supper that evening after the beach. I was in a great mood. A positive mood.

I left my house early that Saturday morning with an Iced French Pressed Coffee and a buttered baguette to visit Matt’s Farm in Belmar, the Asbury-park Farmers Market, local 13 Fish and my favorite supermarket.

I also had on my list a new Greek place that was the bomb according to my friends, with a real Greek food shop with different varieties of Feta and real Greek prepared foods. I’d dreamed about a gyro, I’d not had one in ages and I craved one: Extra tdziki, extra onions please.

I ate that beauty of Greek cuisine as if it were my last meal. An hour later as I was peeling potatoes, I thought it could be.

My body went into full ‘episode’ mode. I could barely breath. My heartburn and acid was out of the hemisphere. It took hours to catch my breath. How was I going to cook? I thought I was having a heart attack. I took pills prescribed to me years ago for high blood pressure, chewed tums, used my inhaler and laid down on my bed breathing, my mind angry for answers. What caused this? What?

It had to be something I ate! There were very few things I’d eaten by this point of the day and this was one of the worst episodes I’d had since I left my job in May 2018.

In my bed, my breathing coming under control, tums kicking in, I started to ask what ingredient of the Items I’d eaten had I’d not eaten in the last week and 3 ingredients immediately popped out: Feta cheese, the lamb meat and Raw onion. I Googled Feta first then I Googled: What is in lamb Gyro meat?

The answer: Onions are an ingredient in the lamb meatloaf or Gyro.

Then I Googled: “Are onions hard to digest?.”

The answer, yes.

New Jersey Beefsteaks with Jalapeno and Cucumber

Game changer number 1: Good Ingredients May Hurt You and Lurk in Foods You don’t realize.

Could onions be the trigger of my ‘episodes’ and a source of my daily digestive malaise? Is this why on most days now, I felt so much better as I’d stopped consuming raw onions in multiple forms 2 or 3 times a day every day since May 2018?

Well, as you guessed, onions became enemy number one and were not part of any sauce or preparation for the Porch Supper Menu which was a success although I burped through the whole evening.

New Jersey Scallops Bay leaf, pepper

After this weekend, my episodes were cut in half but a constant dissonant discomfort in my bowels didn’t go away. I started reading labels and found onion or a derivative in so many products from catsup to gravy to certain hot dogs or packaged snacks.

Cutting out raw onions and dried powdered onions started to calm my dissonant digestive tract. The more I cut out the better I felt and I also started to lose more weight and I reached 225 lbs in August 2018. A new record.

I had now lost 53 pounds from my 2012 peak and 13 pounds since May 2018.

Fancy Bridal Show, 225 lbs, August 2018

While thinner, my joints were becoming more inflamed. Being on my feet for a 4 hour bridal show was grueling. I started weeding with a chair and sometimes had trouble getting up from the chair. Tumeric wasn’t the answer nor the many supplements and expensive vitamins I tried. Nor were the foods I added to my diet when I Googled: What vegetables reduce joint pain.

The pain was becoming acute and it would flair up after any walking, gardening or attempts at exercise. I was doing many travel shows at Bridal Extravaganzas and its at one of these shows I heard about Celery juice and diet. Hmm I said and Googled: Is celery juice good for you?

The answer wasn’t a clear yes but there were many articles and blogs.

This became Game Changer Number 2: Celery may be an anti-inflammatory and it may aid digestion and weight loss.

I read many articles positive and negative about the affect of Celery Juice on the body, but the one I took to heart said “try it for 30 days, what have you got to lose?”

What many of the bloggers were in agreement was that celery Juice needed to be the first thing to hit your gut, not coffee or water but celery juice. It was also clear that eating a stalk of celery didn’t do what celery juice does. It was also clear that the positive effects were 50/50 depending on the person.

This is the beauty of today; Information at our fingertips that allows us to make our own decisions and after labor day 2018, I decided to give celery juice a try. Nothing else was working and what did I have to lose?

I learned there were two ways to do celery juice and each offered different benefits.

Juicing with a Juicer makes a clear liquid but removes the fiber, those strings that get caught in our teeth when we crunch down on a stalk of celery with our Buffalo wings.

Pure juice will help your inflammation.

Celery Juice fiber, however, removed in the juicer helps with digestion and blockage which leads to option 2, the blender. You are still turning the celery into liquid but you keep the fiber to aid your digestive tract.

You have a choice of how to do it and each is a personal one. I wanted the anti inflammation benefits with the green fiber for digestive help and chose the blender method.

I started with 1 median stalk with about 6 ounces of water to get about 8 ounces of juice. I did this for a week.

Was it good to drink?

No. It’s a horrible texture. I drank it and envisioned a celebratory shot at my best friends wedding to get it down. I started adding a banana to help with the texture. It is something that I learned hurt me down the road.

Did it taste good?

No. But I’ve tasted worse, like my first ever Sea Urchin with a friend who promised it’s the most amazing experience of tastes ever in your life.

Immediately, I had an incredible cleansing of my bowels beyond what I’d had with other cleanses. I felt the bloat draining from my digestive system. I experienced no cramps.

Within days, My stomach felt lighter, my belly wasn’t bloating out of my shirt and I had less days of complete constipation or not going or extreme diarrhea.

I built to 10/12 ounces of juice by the middle of the second week by adding one and a half stalks of celery with 2 ounces more of water or 8 ounces.

My feeling of hunger in the morning was less, I could not finish my iced coffee nor needed the caffeine, I felt more alert and less in a state of feeling sleep deprived and I was yawning less. My urine was clearer and I personally felt that the urine flow was increasing to a healthy level. My skin was looking clearer as well and I was also losing weight.

What I wasn’t feeling was immediate joint relief and I would still have days of digestive discomfort return with ‘episodes’ even though I’d become diligent about not consuming onions.

It gets frustrating to not see immediate improvements or feel discomforts rise again and again. This is why we give up on diets and exercise routines or a juice regimen. We change course too quickly but at this point for me, after years of diets and cleanses I felt that what I was doing was moving me down a better road and I needed to keep going.

Thirty days turned to 6 weeks with celery juice, my morning drink and onions continued to be banished as best I could. I kept telling myself to stick with the program, believe in my choices and give new lifestyle changes a chance to make an impact.

I was losing weight again. Not “diet” promised miraculous weight loss but my scale was going lower each week and never up. More importantly, the range of weight was 1 or at most 2 lbs. Not huge swings.

By mid September 2018, I knew my Travel career was going nowhere and knew I needed to get back to my true love and passion, food and entertaining. I was thinner and healthier and I felt maybe, I could create a consulting business and some how, stars aligned.

In October 2018 Alta’s Kitchen Company was born. I was at 220 lbs by this time and about 6 weeks into my celery juice regimen. As I said from May 2018 to now, I was losing weight gradually but in the 6 weeks of a celery juice regimen combined with a diligent no onion policy the weight really came off and by this point I started to notice my ankle swelling going down.

I had mornings where I literally sat up from my bed and stood without reaching for something to balance me with no ankle or knee pain and I was I able to do more physical things for longer periods of time. I could bend down and tie my shoes and sit upright with no pain in my hips.

My first client was an acclaimed West Village Restaurant. I knew returning to New York City would be a challenge but my body was evolving in the right direction for the first time and I needed to keep moving down this road challenging myself.

With my first client, I was surrounded by people who talked about ingredients and the affect they have on a body. They are leaders in gluten free pastas and believe ingredients affect the body. They believe in pure ingredients.

It was here, in March 2019, I learned the word FODMAP from the Culinary Research and Development Director when I was talking about not eating onions. “You may be FODMAP insensitive”, she said.

Even My Cat Jaggar was not Digging the Word: Fod-Map


Game Changer 3: The Onion is a Fodmap and Gluten is a Fodmap

Fodmap stands for:

Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols.

Simply put, very complex sugars many people cannot digest easily. Don’t get lost at first reading what Fod-Map means, go right to the map of ingredients that are High in Fodmaps.

Here, with my arch enemy the Onion, were ingredients that diets I’d followed over many years mandated. Ingredients I believed healthy and worked into my daily life. Ingredients that I added to lose weight and Ingredients I added because they were good for reducing joint inflammation. Here is a partial list:

Onion of all varieties


Ripe bananas


Raw Apples

Beans of all types

Baby Cucumbers



Cottage cheese and most soft cheeses

Yogurt and dairy products


Many types of nuts





Maple syrup

Wheats, barely and other hops- Gluten

Agave Syrup

High Fructose corn syrup

This was overwhelming as I started remembering bad episodes where I would have friends at my house for the weekend, feeling amazing and slicing up watermelon, honey dews and packing beautiful fresh foods for the beach, nibbling of course as I packed. I would then have an episode as we set out for a day of bliss. I would pretend I was needed on a conference call and return to my house to chug Pepto Bismol and use my asthma inhaler and arrive an hour later.

I would be at work conferences, feeling great at the morning greet, my presentation ready, and have the morning breakfast with the team with bacon, scrambled eggs, yogurt parfait, beans with Chorizo and cut fruits including watermelon and sliced papayas. When it came time to present I would be in a full blown ‘episode’ mode.

I cut out a slew of foods and my digestive dissonance went way down and the episodes were seldom. I was reading ingredients and writing down what I ate each day and when I had a day of discomfort I was able to find the culprit.

In June 2019, I was walking down my stairs at home with little pain in my ankles or knees and one foot in front, not the sidestep and my buddy noticed the change.

I wasn’t out of the woods. If I exerted too much I would have leg pain in the upper hip or the lower back. If I did too much on my feet, I could spark my plantar fascitous which would keep me in bed.

I was also cautious with my body as I still had breathing issues that would appear out of nowhere and a very low but ever present digestive dissonance. I still didn’t feel secure walking more than a few blocks or riding a bike to the beach with friends. It was still very frustrating but, I felt I’d turned a corner.

I made a lot of progress in 2019 and finished the year at 215 lbs. Then came Covid in March of 2020.

During this time, I cooked for myself and my friends and family and worked on recipes for Alta’s Kitchen Porch Supper. Weight continued to come off gradually and I entered 2021 at 205 lbs. I still had days with digestive dissonance but I would find out the cause as most of the food I ate in 2020, I prepared but I kept ignoring one set of ingredients on the Fod-map: Gluten

Below 200 lbs

In August of 2021 after a beautiful beach day, I posed for this photo in size 34 slim cut short and a large ‘slim fit’ shirt. I was below 205 pounds for the first time since 2009 at 198 lbs. I still had a low dissonant hum at times and minor episodes as I wasn’t cooking all my food as in 2020 but the dissonance grew during the holidays of 2021.

I was eating healthy day to day but I was creating food and in full baking, holiday, entertaining mode-cooking fried foods, breads, cookies, stuffing, cakes, pies and pasta. I was so happy cooking for friends and family after the Covid lockdowns and 2021 was the first one where we all felt freedom and could hug again. I was so excited to be baking and entertaining.

The celebratory stuff I love to bake and create all had one thing in common: Gluten. I realized that gluten was my next food group from the FODMAP I had to tackle but Gluten is intertwined into so many things we eat.

Giving up a watermelon is easy, but now I have to give up fried calamari and chicken parmigiana? I love Bud Lite, I make homemade tomato sauce in the summer because I love pasta! A grilled bacon and cheese on a grilled buttered hard roll is like my first smoke in the morning.

I knew giving up gluten would be as difficult as quitting cigarettes and I made a commitment that if I did go fully Gluten Free and my weight reaches 170 lbs. the next ingredient will be tobacco.

I am very close to the next step.

Celebrating the Kentucky Derby

With Gluten, I knew I had to have a plan. I boxed breakfast and substituted bread with Gluten Free protein bars that were Fod-Map friendly and contained no fructose or ingredients like peanuts or yogurt or syrups.

I took a pineapple and tangerine snack with me to work and ate a lunch around a protein and healthy greens that were Fod-map friendly. It’s not easy to find restaurants that do the romaine wrap for a burger or sandwich or the availability of GF Pizza.

A few days into no gluten, my digestive system and body were in a complete rumble of cleansing and cramps. I felt cravings like you have when you deny your body nicotine and I started to have an acne breakout and moments of anxiety chills. I ate a lot of celery sticks at night and sliced pineapples.

Within days, my lungs opened up and I could breathe deeper breathes. Yes, a smoker’s lungs opening up is an unbelievable sentence to write but it happened. My stomach dissonance completely disappeared. I felt a tremendous sense of flow through my body. Constipation, diarrhea was replaced by smooth bowel movements. I slept through the night and would wake up with energy.

Within 10 days I went from from 198 lbs to 190 lbs and after stopping the beer on the 12th day, the weight literally melted off of me.

As I finish part two of My Road, today June 20th 2022, I’m 175 pounds. That is 103 lbs less than my peak in 2012 and 63 lbs less since May 2018 and My Road continues.

178 lbs

While I had very little pain in my joints, I would still have issues in my back. One morning in March, the owner of the restaurant looked at me and said ” You look great and thin but now your not aligned”. She gave me a referral to a mixed chiropractor who has realigned my core after a 100 pound weight loss. I have no back issues anymore.

I’ve learned how to stretch my muscles and I am lifting free weights and I’m dancing and smiling again. I’m not afraid to go out and walk with a group.

I’m going to continue writing about My Road and sharing recipes that are are delicious and Fod-Map friendly. I’m going to share exercise routines and discuss my restaurant experiences as I still will have digestive dissonance when a waiter doesn’t know their ingredients.

It’s not easy to give up a huge swath of ingredients and favorite dishes but I will never go back to gluten or high Fod-map ingredients. My challenge is to create the dishes I love that are Fod-map Gluten friendly as Gluten is a Fod-map. I’m going to develop AK Porch Suppers around food that all can eat. I’m very excited.

In Barbados 2018, I faced a crossroad. Accept my new being or find a way out. My dad would often say ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ and I would think, “Let not, youth be wasted on the young.”

I share my travels with humility.

I sit on my porch as I edit my words and I’m at a place I never dreamed I’d be in 2018. I’m 56 years old today. I feel fearless again as I didn’t give up finding My Road forward.

I don’t know the future but I am going to continue to share my journey that is forming my life and my approach to health, food, restaurants and hospitality and if my words and recipes help just one person, than that’s success.

Me at Tea Dance!

Let’s Dance!

##fodmap #gluten #fearless #celeryjuice #myroad #onion #diets #Don’tgiveup #Letsdance

My Road

Part One:

How Did I Get Here…

words and photos by Robert Kingsland

Barbados 2018 at 238 lbs

I would ask myself that question a million times in the seven years before my friend took this photo of me in Barbados, February 2018. I was 238 lbs in this photo.

I’ve decided to share a very personal journey.

I love food, the restaurant business. I love the front of house, service, hospitality, numbers and I have a passion for ingredients, cooking and entertaining. I love life.

I thought I knew food and ingredients but during the last 12 years, I’ve learned that healthy, pure ingredients can not only be delicious and good for you they can also be poison to your body.

I’m writing this from the heart and in two sections starting with the background of my weight and health journey. The Second part will deal with the road back to health.

I may write some words people may take offense to. Please don’t. I write and speak directly about my personal journey of health to obesity back to health. I don’t use any word to offend as this is my truth told with no filter as my struggles are struggles I have endured and found natural solutions to that many people experience and struggle with each day. My hope is something I’ve learned will help another person.

Learning to take selfies

When I went to Barbardos in 2018, I was at a crossroads and I was beginning to accept that my weight gain was due to my age, my stress, the loss of my brother. On the one hand, this was the new season in my life and I had to learn to live with my weight and the ailments that came with those pounds. I looked like many people my age: heavy and unhealthy.

On the other hand I was angry at myself for not working harder to find ways to lose weight and find a road back to what I had always been: thin and healthy. I thought I was a failure. How did I get here, I would ask myself constantly.

I took photos on this vacation, even selfies. It was the first time in many years I asked to be photographed. I avoided photos at all costs after I ballooned to obesity. I would never join corporate group photos, family photos or even solo ones. I could barely look in a mirror.

By 2018, I realized I had to come to terms with my new reality. I had to either accept it and do my best to live as healthy a life as I could manage, listen to my doctor and start taking medications for my heart and my bowels or I had to work harder to lose more weight.

My highest weight was reached in 2011/12 at 278 lbs. Four years earlier in 2007, I was 170 lbs. I had been that weight for 10 years.

My weight gain was gradual at first and then it was unstoppable. Not just weight but bloat and discomfort in my stomach, constant heart burn and acid reflux.

I did every diet. I bought gym equipment to work out at home. I ate a pack of Rolaids a day and drank Pepto Bismol. Some diets worked. Most did not. But through sheer will I was able to lose 40 pounds over six years and maintain it.

Even though I looked better than I had in a long time in Barbados, the pain and discomfort of my every day life was building and becoming debilitating.

My ankles would swell and my feet would be numb. My knees were in constant pain. My stomach was constantly churning. It became harder and harder to walk, work out and to physically work 10 hour days. My weight gain wasn’t isolated to my torso. My calfs were growing. I had developed breasts. My hands were swollen and aching. My face was swelling.

During this vacation, my friend was very patient with me. Walking slowly. Taking cabs when I couldn’t walk or breathe. But I was determined to have a good time. I snorkeled. I laughed. I enjoyed seeing people and going to restaurants.

I was determined to not be as I was becoming at home: a hermit. I wanted to be out but I didn’t enjoy seeing people anymore this fat. I could no longer go dancing. It terrified me to go out to dinner for fear I’d have an asthma attack or worse yet, an inability to walk at the same pace with other people.

Barbados Snorkeling 2018

While my body was breaking down I was in a constant state of anxiety and shame for becoming so fat while the fighter in me would Google for new diets and health supplements. I wasn’t going to give up getting back to thin.

I started taking tumeric and a joint supplement called Bi-Flex. These two items plus daily doses of Advil or Tylenol and a roll of Tums helped me to get through the day.

I also took diaretics to decrease the bloat and turned to drinking water to flush my system and added Slim Fast to my coffee. I drank Metamucil and added grain fibres to my diet including bran and raisins. I would drink lemon water and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar daily.

A Porch Supper with Friends

I tried to not slide into depression. I stayed as active as I could around my home, working on my gardens, going to the beach. Instead of going to restaurants, I had dinner parties with friends. I did things where I could manage my pain and the surroundings.

To people around me, I was living a good life, only heavier. I was fat all over and hid it with coats, suits, perfectly crisp shirts. Only my mother would say the truth, I was looking unhealthy and bloated.

Setting an Outdoor Table

I’d constantly go shopping to buy bigger size clothes that made me look thin replacing shirts, shoes. I would dress sharp to hide the weight and give myself confidence.

No More Ties!

This is how I lived from 2010 to 2018 in a constant state of anxiety, fat, pain, asthma attacks, intense heartburn, constipation followed by diarhea, gout attacks and joint inflammation that rendered me on days crippled and unable to get out of bed or go to work.

I would spend nights completely depressed followed by days of fight. I would push forward in pain and discomfort, putting on the healthy Robert show.

Ahh The Good Life

I was in good shape my whole life, a runner in high school and ate sensibly. In 2007, I was 170 lbs. I was shuttering a restaurant I owned after two years of struggles and I scrambled to get back into the NYC restaurant scene.

I worked hard my entire career and I was always healthy, self confident and outgoing. I danced at least 2x per month my entire life. I loved going to the theatre and dinner. I jogged regularly. I loved the beach. I loved working. I rarely sat at home.

When my business closed, I landed an amazing opportunity but I was broke, indebted to my investor, the IRS and New York State. To say I was under pressure is an understatement. I was also hitting middle age.

I moved up quickly in my new company going from an AGM to regional in three years. My workload was intense but I loved everything about my company and the people who worked there and we believed in healthy ingredients. I was exercising but I started gaining weight. I also started to experience more stomach issues than I’d ever experienced before.

My company used beautiful ingredients for Mexican cuisine. Until I joined this company, I never truly ate Mexican food, I knew Tex-Mex and I loved the authentic Mexican cuisine as it had many parallels to Korean food. I was eating ingredients I’d never eaten or drank on a regular basis: Avocado, red beans, agave syrup, black beans, pomegranate, Dried Chiles. Ingredients which were healthy. It excited me to be exposed to a new culture and ingredients.

In 2010 I was moved into a larger role with more training duties and oversight of more restaurants. Before the promotion I’d gone from 170lbs in 2007 to 210 lbs by 2010. Within months after the promotion, my weight would begin to balloon. I became bloated in my stomach. I was swelling in my ankles and my chin started its puff fish blow out. I could no longer button my top shirt for a tie. I thought the utter stress of finances was the cause of this. It was anxiety driven. It was my age.

At the same time, I felt tremendous pressure to look good and handle the work load but nothing in my closet fit. I went from a size 42 suit in 2007 to size 44 in 2010 to a 46 in 2011 and by 2012 size 48 when I hit 278 pounds.

My waist went from 32 to 38. My feet would swell, so I had to move up in shoe size and nothing with a pointed toe.

I was embarrassed to go to the gym. I could no longer jog or walk. I Had no idea how I could be so overweight. But I kept pushing and lost about 10 lbs and settled in at a cool 268 at the end of 2012.

I eliminated fast food, I would eat half of what was in front of me and I started eating fruits. I cut out salt. I was determined to get thin. My company also did a health challenge with management and we received Fit-Bits. The Goal to lose 20 pounds in 60 days. I achieved the goal and carried 248 pounds in 2013 and maintained it and gradually lost 10 pounds more over 3 years, aftee I decided to move out of the City and to a beach town I’ve loved, Asbury-Park_NJ. I felt it would help me get back to health and deal with my brother’s death.

I rented at first and the move was the best thing I’d done for my mind. The air was fresh. I had less asthma attacks and the beach life helped me get down below 240 pounds.

I enjoyed the commute and my lower weight but I struggled managing my bowels, my joint pain and heartburn which would stop me breathless even with my healthier diet.

Sometimes after an hour in my car, I’d reach the restaurant and struggle to get out of the car. If someone I knew was near by, I’d pretend to be on the phone so they wouldn’t see me struggle to stand straight.

My back would lock on me when bending over to do normal things like clean a cat litter box or bend to pick up a pen. I carried a folding chair to work in my flower beds and weed. I found refuge in the handicap stalls at work to catch my breath and burp out gas.

Catching my Breath…

Many mornings it would take me more than 30 minutes to get upright and out of bed. I began to get gout flareups on a regular basis. Severe flareups where I couldn’t walk.

I researched Gout and removed foods I loved from my life: asparagus, spinach, shrimp, Cauliflower and I drank cherry juice on a daily basis. I was also eating fruits and yogurt and cottage cheese.

While I started having better days where my bloat and discomfort would recede, it would be followed by severe days where I could barely get through a day. It made no sense.

By 2016 I settled into 238 pounds and maintained it. While I was thinner, my body continued breaking down. I envisioned my new life: overweight, on heart meds, bowel meds, taking pills for my joints, becoming another unhealthy person managing pain and discomfort. I loved the beach and would look around and see people as heavy or heavier than I. I was them. I was beginning to think I needed to manage my new body and weight. If others can, then I could.

But I would Scream; how did I get here and how do I find a way out? I didn’t want to be fat.

By Barbados 2018, I finally looked at myself. I took pictures of myself and forced myself to look at what I’d become. To look at me. I was at a cross roads; accept my new state of being or find a road out. I knew I needed to shake the tree.

A month after this photo was taken, I was bought out from my position at work. The tree was shaken. The road was crossed. I was devastated but at the same time, I knew change was needed in my life.

Little did I know this was a Blessing in Disguise.

Part 2: My Road

The Road Back

Let not, Youth be Wasted on the Young

#nevergiveup #fodmap #celeryjuice #onions #glutenfree #gout #watermelon #jointpain #bloat

A New Hope

Searching for new hope in New Hope

words and photos by Robert Kingsland

I visited New Hope Pennsylvania and Lambertville New Jersey in October of 2020 in the throws of the Pandemic. We had never really heard that word ‘Covid’ until January of 2020 nor the word “Lockdown” .

We were put under incredible restriction and for months lived in cocoons, fits and starts of work, death. We were behind “30 days to stop the spread” which turned into 30 more which turned into 2 years.

It was an incredible time but we pushed forward and found a way. We stopped being social. Sunday supper was off the table. We created cocoons with family and friends. We masked. We sanitized. We built barriers of plexiglass. We built restaurants in the streets and created Piazas where cars once roamed. It was a dizzying journey.

By October of 2020 we had as a people, adapted and we created a path to human interactions. Sort of. Bars, clubs. Movie theatres, salons were still shuttered but we were moving in the right direction in some areas.

Restaurants and stores were given opening guidance. We couldn’t sit inside the restaurants, but we could sit outside. We couldn’t have that many people in our shops, but we could stand in line 6 feet apart and we could walk outside in group with masks. We were even allowed to be maskless outdoor when eating or drinking! Flights were resuming at a very limited capacity and businesses were doing their best to reopen.

Which is why my Friend and I who were living in a cocoon in Wanamassa New Jersey, decided to ‘Get out of Dodge’ and venture on that beautiful October day to New Hope. A day that gave me a lot of hope for the future and the holiday season in 2020.

In fact, the holidays were good. We had small family gatherings and gatherings with friends and some planes started to fly. And by the New Year of 2021 we saw a path to forward to some road of normalcy.


What do we see in the future?

We ushered in 2021 and near Valentine’s Day, things did begin to spring. Business was slowly coming back, we had weathered at that point what we all believed was the worst of the Covid Death surge and by the middle of 2021, business was surging.

In fact, by October, the restaurants were seeing a huge upswing in weddings, large group reservations, bridal showers and patrons! All the beautiful things we put off during the Surge of 2020, was being planned for the end of 2021. You felt energy. We all felt movement forward.

And then, a curve ball came at us once again.

Thanksgiving was on the horizon and what looked like a normal holiday season after 18 months of toil and tribulation. We all wanted to go home, to visit family, to see people we had not seen in years. We wanted to celebrate the holidays with our friends and business colleagues and get back to celebrating birthdays, Christmas and New Years.

We were going to introduce parents to their grandkids born under the Covid days of isolation. Planes were flying at 75% and after more than 18 months of following protocols we wanted to see the eyes of our family and friends we had not seen. And then a new word appeared: Omicron.

With the new word floating around we needed to get tests but we couldn’t get tests, lines were around the corner and what limited tests there were began to confirm we were again in the midst of a new wave and it spread like wildfire.

Many restaurants were on track to equal 2019 Event sales in the 4th Quarter of 2021 only to see cancellation after cancellation beginning the first week of December. Deja Vu, Right? Like March 2020, business fell of the cliff.

In fact, many restaurants and other businesses had to shutter their doors as their staff members became ill with Covid and guests and shoppers were back home and shopping on-line. How do you operate when you have no idea if you will have staff in the morning or you risk your entire staff getting sick just getting to work.

But, this time we were ready and to the goverments credit, lockdowns were not reimposed. Instead, we forged our own path at home and in our businesses.

What is an underrated strength of humans is our ability to adapt and restaurant folk and business leaders, who were dealt one challenge after another learned new ways to forge forward.

We made quick decisions. Went Take out, went more limited shifts. We also closed for a small periods. We kept doing temperature checks of our team and created lines of communication so team members could easily get shifts covered if they had some of the symptoms. We bought our own stash of home tests to ensure our restaurants could keep moving forward

We were not going to let this wave dampen our hope. We shuttered doors of our own will and opened doors once we had a plan that fit our business.

So it was quite intriguing to be invited to a celebratory birthday in no other place than New Hope where I had tasted my first breathe of hope in October 2020.

When the Rooster Crows, we Awaken!

Off we went to the historic Logan Inn in the heart of New Hope Pennsylvania for the Birthday bash of the year

The Historic Logan Inn in the Heart of New Hope PA

It was a beautiful February morning with a chance for a ‘clipper’ during the afternoon. We hit the road literally at the 2 year anniversary of the start of the Pandemic. We drove through Trenton along the tributaries that become the Delaware River with 90’s tunes blaring; the sunroof open to sunshine cruising to a festive weekend of friends and freedom. I had not sat at a table in a restaurant with 12 friends since March 2020. It was so exciting.

New Hope and Lambertsville are Revolutionary War Era towns joined by a bridge over the Delaware River.

These are towns rich in history and architecture that glimmer as bright as when they were built in the 1600 and 1700’s when they were big towns in the Revolution that formed this country.

Now, these towns of history, where the buildings built during the birth of our nation, are filled with the beauty of modern craftsmen, antique dealers, Yoga and Pilates centers and beautiful eateries. These towns are historic but the Hipness factor is just as big.

Like my first trip in October, the air was pure, the streets were alive and the people we met were instantly likeable. What made this trip different: Masks Or the lack of them. With the easing of Omicron we have seen the easing of restrictions on masks in the outdoors and within buildings. Many states moved quicker than others with New Jersey and Pennsylvania having lifted mask mandates. In NYC you still needed that mask. In these states: see ya!

We now see eyes and teeth at the same time. We see the smiles that go with the bright eyes and you feel this beautiful sense that community and camraderie are overtaking masking and isolation. The Valets and Inn Keepers welcomed us with open arms and once we settled down, we began our celebration to friends and life.

A Beautiful Hand Made Lantern

I love my cats but living 24/7… gives me a great understanding of Cat-Itude!

Some of us went on a short shopping walk then happy hour while others relaxed but as the evening enveloped us we were all ready for the big birthday bash. We were dining at Ferry + Main by Landmark at the Logan Inn.

It is quite beautiful with two bars, one more focused on Scotches and bourbons and a large central bar with soaring windows a grand open kitchen and a giant fireplace. It is modern but blends into this very historic building. There is even a cigar room and a gigantic billiard room below the restaurant.

The food is very good matched by a great selection of hand stirred cocktails, champagnes and wines. It’s been a long time since I sat festively with 12 friends by a fireplace and ordered a Dirty Tito’s Martini, Shaken Hard with 3 olives. Perhaps it was the beauty of ordering my first Dirty Tito’s in years or the festive nature of the evening but number 2 was ordered very quickly!

The Busy Bar at Ferry + Main at the Famous Logan Inn

From beautifully prepared Charchuterie, Appetizers including Steak Tartare and entrees including roast Duck, our dinner was amazing. The room was filled to the brim. All the bars open. The smoke rising from the Open kitchen and the cascade of laughter filling the 30 foot high room. What a beautiful night. A night of fun and of newfound hope.

Our next day started a little later than expected, we did after all go out to a bar after dinner. Some of our party joined the continental Breakfast others explored the New Hope Ferry Market (me!).

The market is located directly across from the Logan Inn and it is a beautiful food court featuring very gourmet foods that are real and very very good.

I have been on an incredible life changing jouney rediscovering food. I start everday with a 12 ounce puree of celery juice and I love only ice coffee.

I’ve also gone gluten free and follow the Fod-Map Map. The hardest part of the day is breakfast for me as I Loved grilled cheese with bacon on Portuguese rolls. Or the New Jersey star Pork Roll and American Cheese. My favorite of course a salt bagel double toasted with cream cheese sliced Salmon, capers and greens.

Friends ask if I miss these foods. Yes I do But, the way I feel makes me no longer want them but finding something close to them, is amazing.

As you enter the Ferry Market, SkyRoast Coffee boldy proclaims the best Coffee in New Hope and I have to say, it’s some of the best coffee I’ve drunk in many years. (I like to French Press my own, so to find coffee that tastes like coffee is not an easy task). I was happy. I knew I could at the least have a good coffee to soothe my Tito’s hangover. I wandered through the market and found paradise!

I’m an avid drinker of Celery Juice. It’s the first thing that goes into my gut each morning. When I travel, I assume it will be hard to find and I don’t stress if I miss a day or two.

Well, never fear. My super delicious coffee in hand I see the Little Radish menu including Gluten-free bagels and Celery Juice!(

I was so surprised that I could get my cherished Celery Juice and get a Gluten Free bagel! The owner was delightful. The celery juice perfect and the gluten free bagel with lox and cream cheese and baby greens was the perfect antidote to my 2 very Dirty Tito’s Martini’s! I definitely could now Shop!

Quack Quack!

And off we went! As we roamed the streets, we were greeted by warm smiles. You could hear the laughs. The exclamations of excited chatter and the exuberance of being with each other.

There were no limits on how many could enter the shops as there were in October of 2020 and you could feel the excitement of the shop owners and their guests. What is interesting, is New Hope is very much a shopping area of crafts, jewlery and clothing that are hand picked and hand made. It is high end without the attitude!

Lambertville on the other hand is dominated by Galleries and Antique Stores. It’s a very interesting dichotomy that makes each of these towns very unique. They both, however, have a large amount of restaurants and pubs. You can’t get bored and there is something for everyone.

The Jewels in here are exquisite!

After walking a few miles, we needed to eat and yes, we needed some libations. What better than a lunch at an Old Irish Tavern called ‘The Dubliner’. They feature a beautiful bar, historic windows and really friendly staff. They had a guitarist in the back and Guinness being poured the right way at the bar.

The Legendary Dubliner Where the Guiness is done Right!

It is a place where in minutes the conversation goes from your inner circle to everyone at the bar. The food, perfect, the drinks better. The friends we made, best! We could have stayed all day, but we had many other streets in New Hope to wander and some of us were heading to the 2 pm Show at the Bucks County Playhouse featuring a one man show with Rob McGuire.

This playhouse is very famous and gets legions of Broadway and Cinematic stars. Built as a Grist Mill in 1790, the sight was saved from demolition in the 1930’s and turned into a local community theatre. The list of major stars are eye popping. Robert Redford, George Segal, Audra McDonald and Zero Mostel have graced the stage. While I didn’t go to the show, it’s amazing to be in this vibrancy with so many choices of things to do.

Legendary Bucks County Playhouse

We all of course, took an evening siesta as we booked a 9 pm table at a restaurant called Salt House. Our Twelve had dwindled now to 4 as those with kids had to get home.

The Salt House was highly recommended by all at the Dubliner. It is a unique place amongst hundred of unique places.

The building was built in 1775 of stone. It is intimate. The tables are few but breathtaking.

You reserve a table and literally pay an upfront deposit for dinner.

The Streetside Window Table
A great table to write your memoir!

We wanted the table by the fireplace and to get this we had to pay for 2 extra seats. We did it and boy was it worth it. As was the food, the ambience and the sheer character of the restaurant. It was filled with starry eyed travelers like our party and many locals at the bar. The food was delicious and the Chef was very open to accomodating my Fod-Map and Gluten Free needs.

The Fireplace Table!

Our second evening in Logan Inn was coming to a close and we headed back for a night cap and to get ready to check out. In the morning I had to pick up these incredible lamps from a store at the foot of the bridge on the New Hope Side.

You Are coming home with Me!

Both the Artists Studio and this shop of glass wonders are must stops when roaming the streets of New Hope.

With our bags packed expertly in the trunk, we headed over the bridge for an afternoon of brunch and shopping. It was the warmest February day and the streets were filled with laughter and giggles and earnest conversations.

The Famous Green Bridge!

Our first stop was a beautiful crafts shop called Foxy Red and in it I found the perfect thank you gift for a neighbor who was feeding my family of cats. Her little boys helped out and I wanted to buy them something for their hard work.

We entered this Foxy Red ( and it was in here that it all came to light how remarkable people are. How Hope is really around us and the future will only get brighter.

Everyone was gabbing with each other as bright rays of light streamed throughout the shop filled with beautiful treasures.

I learned about ‘Collagen from within’ as the store owner wrapped my gift and my friends chatted with others to find our brunch destination.

These two twin towns on the Delaware is where the heart of America began to beat. Where the first steps of realizing freedom versus dreaming about it were realized. In these cobblestone streets and alleys, people like those in these shops, stood up and fought the American Revolutionary war.

In this journey, I was excited to see how New Hope would change with ordinances lifted and life scrapping its way back to human life. In that beautiful shop with my gift being wrapped and restaurant recommendations flying from every direction, I felt Hope! A new sense of optimism and affirmation that we people really are quite incredible.

But Brunch beckoned… And off we went to find Under the Moon.

Historic Under the Moon

This charming bistro had a wrap around porch and the temperatures were beginning to rise under the bright sun. Charming doesn’t capture the rustic beauty of this restaurant with original floors and beautiful fireplaces. The staff, while a bit overwhelmed with the crush of people on this 60 degree President’s Day were still super smooth, friendly and accommodating and the food was good. The drinks were better. I had smokey MezcalTini and an expertly made Pomegranate Gin Collins.

Waiting for the Spring!

We then strolled through Lambertville. An incredible mix of eateries, Galleries, Antique shops that range the gamut from Big and expensive to places you only think exist in a book.


Shops filled with art and some things that someone once loved and someone may again or maybe not. From dolls that could star in Annabelle 2 to statues carved from single pieces of wood and paintings only a mother would love.

Not sure I’d Buy this one!
Cherubs of Past and future
My Old House

After roaming a myriad of galleries, we didn’t want this inspired weekend to end but we decided to head for a departing glass of wine at the Lambertville Station. A restaurant we have all enjoyed on previous visits that is located at the foot of the Green bridge and has history on its side.

The Canals
The Famed Lambertville Station: Amazing Food and History
Happy Faces

We all left Lambertville New Jersey and New Hope Pennsylvania with big smiles, warm hearts and hope. All of us, have journeyed through the unknown for two years and we still don’t know for certain what is around the corner.

But fear is being replaced with optimism and a can-do spirit. And Hope is all around us. Come on Corner, we are ready for you!

Getting Out of Dodge…

Choo Choo…

Ever have this feeling? The need to go off to a new place to get one’s mind off of the pressures from the week? I’m sure you have and it’s harder to do in these Covid-19 times. Even the simple task of travelling makes one think twice about safety and sanitation. Something we never worried about before March 2020.

During my last few weeks, working as a consultant to a NYC restaurant, I’ve been amazed by the resolve of restaurants and small businesses to survive. I live in a small town bordering Asbury Park, NJ but most of my consulting work occurs in the once great city of New York. It’s inspiring to see people (which is what a business is) adapt to rules and regulations that are ever-changing. We have gone from no business to creating street dining rooms on the streets and the people who work these restaurants do it with all of the pressure that has been a central part of these Covid Times.

Like many great leaders in the restaurant and hospitality business have said, the passion of a great restaurant is distilled into that theatre metaphor: The Show must go on!

Behind the scenes we work to make our dining rooms beautiful, clean and safe. We work with our teams to learn steps of service and the importance of tying the service techniques to warm hospitality that embraces and coddles each guest. Behind the curtain, we work on recipes and fine tune our ingredients to create the perfect plate for each guest.

Let the Sun Shine In!

But today’s new stage is much different. While we still smile and welcome each guest with warmth, our audience is much smaller and the stage is now set on the street. No longer is our dining room a set place with beautiful art, flowers and ambience. Now, our stage is smaller and either on a street or courtyard or a little bit of both. The allowance of 25% indoor dining has re-opened some of our indoor space but many guests are too fearful of the inside. So we work hard to create a sense of normalcy on the streets and sidewalks and work even harder to ensure our guests feel a sense of safety inside. This is what restaurant people do. We work to make it work.

But behind the front stage, we are also working to make the numbers work. We look at revenue that is 25% to 50% of our year over year totals. We are working tirelessly to control costs in a world of added costs from planter boxes to a designated bathroom attendant. Our margin of error is even smaller now and with the coming of winter, our number of seats may shrink.

It’s an incredible struggle that makes you want to scream. But you cannot. Instead, where we once had answers that had certainty, our certainty is challenged each day. And this is why on Saturday the urge was to get out of dodge! To go to a place to clear the mind.

Off to Lambertville NJ and New Hope Pennsylvania we went. A little tourist therapy on a beautiful fall day. Located only 60 minutes from Asbury Park, NJ or 90 minutes from New York City, the twin towns of Lambertville and New Hope offer an amazing day trip escape to a cultural, historical and gastronomic destination.

Before departing, we of course checked out the Covid Regulations for Pennsylvania and the rules were similar to New York and New Jersey so it was an easy assimilation to our new Normal. As New York City is a ghost town due to the Covid rules, I thought that this area would be quiet but still give us a break from the world we live in.

Classic Car Parade

Was I wrong. I thought I had been transported to Disney World. The streets were packed full of families, children, men and woman enjoying the beautiful Saturday Fall day. A perfect day really. We were first met with an old classic car parade after visiting a local Farmer Market, Old Homestead Farm in Lambertville.


We then started to explore the streets. Everyone was wearing masks. Some not perfectly, but everyone was following the rules to the best of their abilities. Every restaurant, store and gallery entered were sanitizer ready and most important, welcoming. Some galleries and stores had limits on the number of guests allowed, but the store owners and workers wanted us there and welcomed everyone with big smiles. It felt like old times, except for the masks!

George Washington Rallying the people

Most important, it felt alive. We watched George Washington rally the people, met Ben Franklin and were amazed at the efforts put in to create a Halloween Paradise for those who love Halloween.

Lambertville Station Restaurant- Party of 3?
Halloween as It should be!

This feeling of ‘life’ is something I’ve felt at the Jersey Shore most of the summer. While New Jersey has some serious lockdown rules, the towns were encouraging people to enjoy the shore and enjoy life. This is something that I’ve yet to feel in New York City.

But going to New Hope made me feel that New York will come back at some point. It needs to come back to life and we need the government to begin to encourage life to come back to NYC versus the constant sense of doom, gloom and we are going to shut you down again. If you can have beautiful, masked crowds exploring the streets of Lambertville and New Hope, you can certainly have people coming back to the great city of New York. There is no reason that life is still stuck in New York as the rest of the world enjoys life.


What I love, when I travel is food. But I also love exploring the galleries, shops, provision and farmer markets and New Hope and Lambertville are filled with the all of the above


Built on the Delaware River, the history of these two small cities dates back to the revolutionary times. The buildings are art in and of themselves. The streets are lined with Art Galleries and Antique shops. In between are coffee shops, provisions and restaurants. There is truly something for everyone.

Good Old Benjamin Franklin!
Brother, can you spare a dime?

One of the most fun things to watch, of course, are the people themselves. Laughing, smiling, walking hand in hand. The vibrancy of life gives me hope that we will get through Covid. But it also underscores the earnestness we all have as business people. We adapt quickly to situations and challenges. As business people we work to find the way to YES, even in the worst of times.

People Living Life

We ate at a few spots. Beer and Fries at an Irish Pub, dinner at the Lambertville Station and when we returned home, some local goat cheese bought at Savour with some crispy baquette.

Great Cheese at Savour!

Our server at Lambertville Station was quite amazing. He was an old school server you cherish as a manager or owner. Always in motion. Always pouring wine. Always positive. He was delightful to speak with about life in the time of Covid. He was, like so many of us in our business, working as hard as he can to make it work. He said people want to eat and while they were only at 25% capacity indoors and full outdoor terrace seating, his team had worked hard to maximize the space. Something we are all doing. His positivity was a delightful and inspiring end to our beautiful day trip.

Lambertville Station

With only a few more weeks of Fall on the calendar, do yourself a favor. Get out of Dodge and do a great weekend or day trip to these wonderful towns on the river! It will refresh your mind, body and soul and you may make some new friends while there!

Get out of Dodge! My new best friend.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Ah, the memories of summer will often include a picnic of fried chicken. But fried chicken is wonderful at any time of the year.

Start by sourcing great chicken. Try to find chickens that are ethically raised, with no hormones or antibiotics or super food. If your chicken’s thigh is the size of a breast, and its breast is the size of a whole chicken, put it down and find another brand.


  • chicken


  • Clean, dry and cut up the chicken. (Yes, dry it. All proteins you use should be dry, with no water or stickiness to it. While this chicken will eventually get coated lightly in buttermilk, it still needs time to sit and marinate in the spice blend before you add that buttermilk, and you want that chicken dry so the spices stick to it.)
  • Prepare your spice blend. I use the following:
    – 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
    – 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
    – 3/4 tablespoons of crushed black pepper
    Now, you can add other herbs and dried spices as well. Many folks like paprika or crushed pepper or thyme. If you love the flavor, add it, but do it with care. If you want both oregano and thyme, do a tablespoon of each. Balance the flavors and recipes.
    Coat the chicken thoroughly with the spice blend and then let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Add a full quart of buttermilk and 3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly. Mix well with the chicken, making sure it is all coated. Place in the fridge and let sit for 2–4 hours. (Do not go above 4 hours—remember, the salt is absorbing into the meat of the chicken, and if you let it sit and sit, you will taste only salt.)
  • Once party time approaches, remove the chicken from the fridge to allow it to warm up a bit. Now, the fun (and messy) part begins.
    First prepare your flour mixture. I use:
    – 1 full cup of all-purpose flour
    – 2 teaspoons of salt
    – 1 teaspoon of pepper
    – 2 teaspoons of oregano
    Also set up a dry baking pan to place the chicken before frying. Once you have this station set up, you are ready to start to coat the buttermilk-soaked chicken with the flour.
  • You can use your hands or tongs (recommended, as it gets very messy). Remove one piece at a time from the marinade, and let the excess buttermilk drain off. Place in the flour and thoroughly coat, front and back, before placing it on the baking pan.
    Repeat with all chicken pieces. Take care not to lie the pieces on top of each other, and DON’T pack them tightly on the pan. (Use two pans if necessary.)
  • Prepare your oil in a large pot. Have your thermometer ready as you want the oil to heat to 160ºF before you start frying, and you do not want to burn the oil!
    Once the oil reaches frying temperature, add the chicken, one piece at a time, skin-side down. Do NOT crowd the chicken. (I generally fry two or three pieces at a time.)
    Do not move the chicken around. Let each piece fry for 3–4 minutes, then gently turn to the other side. You are looking for a golden-brown color. Use your thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken before removing from the oil—the internal temperature should be 160ºF.
  • Once done, place in a bowl lined with napkins to absorb the excess grease. Then move to a large platter and serve!
Print Recipe

Garden Cucumber Tomato Terrine

The key to this summer terrine of deliciousness is the quality of the ingredients. In spring and summer and even into the early fall, everything should be sourced from a farmer’s market or you own backyard farm!

This dish is so simple and features the tastes of the summer farm as well as echoes of the Mediterranean.


  • cucumbers market fresh
  • tomatoes market fresh
  • feta cheese
  • 4 oz apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp turbinado sugar (or white sugar)
  • fresh mint
  • fresh basil
  • olives (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Start by gathering your ingredients: beautiful, freshly picked cucumbers; the very best tomatoes (as I’m a resident of New Jersey, I love the beefsteaks); and feta cheese (bought at your favorite Greek Provisions store or cheese shop).
  • Peel the cucumbers and place them in a baking pan where they can lie flat. Separately, mix together the apple cider vinegar and sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved into the vinegar, pour it over the cucumbers, add mint and/or basil, and refrigerate for one hour, occasionally moving the cucumbers around so that all sides absorb the vinegar.
  • After the hour has passed, drain and slice the cucumbers, saving the vinegar mixture.
  • Wash and slice the tomatoes.
  • In a small mixing bowl, layer the cucumbers and tomatoes with your feta cheese (bought at your favorite Greek Provisions store or cheese shop).
    Remember the bottom layer will become the top after you flip the mixing bowl onto a plate. I generally start with a layer of feta, followed by a layer of cucumber (adding a sprinkle of the reserved cider vinegar mixture), then a layer of tomatoes (adding fresh herbs or pesto), and repeat until the whole bowl is filled. As you are building each layer, make sure they are flat and even, and fill in any holes.
    Once built, place in the fridge until the party is about to commence.
  • When almost ready to serve, remove from the fridge. Take a large plate and place it over the top of the mixing bowl. Flip it over, holding the two tightly together, and then slowly lift the bowl.
    Add olives, basil, more feta and (what I love) a basil/mint pesto sauce. You can also drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and some pepper and salt.
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Korean Chicken BBQ

The summer barbecue is one of the most wonderful warm weather activities. My favorite way to barbecue chicken is inspired by Korean flavors I grew up with when my mom would surprise us with some Korean delights. The red bean paste is one of my favorite things in the whole world and it adds the right kick to this barbecue recipe.

The chicken can be prepared on either the stove or the grill! I have included instructions for both methods.


  • 24 pcs chicken thighs and legs
  • 12 oz brown sugar
  • 8 oz Korean red bean paste see notes for recommendations
  • 8 oz ketchup
  • 8 oz soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced


  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir. Let sit for at least an hour at room temperature and make sure the brown sugar fully dissolves in the liquids. If you want a spicier version, add fresh sliced long Asian chiles or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Clean and wash your chicken, then thoroughly dry it. (You don’t want to dilute the sauce with water.) Add the chicken to the sauce, ensuring that it is coated on all sides. Cover and marinate for at least 2 hours. (I prefer to let the chicken marinate overnight. It really increases the intensity of the flavors.)


  • Place the chicken pieces directly onto the grill and cook on both sides until the outside is caramelized, but be careful not to let it burn.
  • Once both sides are done, transfer the chicken to a sheet pan, cover with the remainder of the sauce, and place the pan on the grill. Let it cook until it is fall-off-the-bone tender, about 45 minutes.


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Heat a large sauté pan and coat the bottom with a small amount of oil. Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down, and cook on both sides until the outside is caramelized, but be careful not to let it burn.
  • Once both sides are done, transfer the chicken to a sheet pan, cover with the remainder of the sauce, and place the pan in the oven. Let it cook until it is fall-off-the-bone tender, about 45 minutes.


As you see in the photo, I serve this just like bulgogi. I will have traditional Korean kimchi and condiments on the side, along with long red-leaf lettuce.
I place the chicken over sticky rice. (See the recipes for sticky rice as I love to add beans, corn or other market fresh vegetables into the rice.)
Guests can eat the chicken as a platter or create Korean-style lettuce wraps by putting rice in the center of a lettuce leaf and topping it with chicken.
Where to get red bean paste…
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