Tag Archives: Hunterdon County

Curiosity Doughnuts

What you are about to read is the story of how one family came to find Curiosity Doughnuts and how it has changed their perspective on breakfast forever. Keep searching locally and you too can find the next treasure in your ‘hood.     

You know the type of weekend morning I’m talking about. You wake up later than expected, still cannot function properly and have no desire to put even an ounce of effort into preparing breakfast.

That was us this morning.

On top of that, we’ve been crazy busy since returning from vacation a few days ago and haven’t had a chance to restock the pantry. Add it all up and it is all about dad grabbing the keys and making the breakfast run.

None of us were in the mood for the old stand-by, the bagel, and Dunkin Donuts wasn’t going to cut it because well, they’re not good. My daughter suggested a trip to the Stockton Market, a weekend-only market just one town over from us, that offers up everything from fresh local vegetables, flowers and local fare which includes a number of killer bakeries. We hadn’t visited in a few months and it made sense to make the trek again.

She and I jumped in the car, me looking like I was recovering from a two week bender when in reality I fell asleep at 10:30 the night before watching Better Call Saul, and headed to just one of our favorite local establishments. I may have looked all banged up but the payoff was going to be worth it.

And it was closed.

Not open until 10:00 AM and it was 9:15.

No wonder we found such a prime parking spot. Son of a … what do we do now?

Right before we pulled away in a panic, we noticed that the cafe attached to the market was open. Ok, that could work, so we got back out of the car and ventured on in.

LIFE CHANGING MOMENT ALERT

We quickly scanned the 4-5 kiosks that were open for business but were immediately drawn in by the last spot on the left, near the back of the store.

Curiosity Doughnuts

Curiosity officially piqued.

As we approached the Curiosity Doughnuts counter, we were greeted not only by the sweetest woman, but a display of doughnuts that made us both swoon.

curiosity donuts

I’m talking authentic looking roundish pillows of doughy deliciousness that smelled like heaven if it were inhabited by yeast and butter and sugar and happiness. Breakfast plans solidified.

Choices included cinnamon-cardamom-sugar (Jamie’s fave), maple glazed, chocolate devil’s food cake, vanilla glazed, chocolate glazed, lime zest, tutti fruitti and some killer combo of butterscotch and crushed pretzels topping (my fave). I’m sure I’m missing many others but it’s so difficult to take it all in when you are stuck in a doughnut stupor.

We ultimately settled on ordering eight different doughnuts which if my math is correct, equals two per family member. I wanted to order more but some how managed to show some restraint. As we were ready to depart, the owner, and an immediately likable chap, offered some just-made-custard to my daughter because you know, why not, and she enjoyed it on the ride home. Nice.

Speaking of the ride home, we were tempted to sample the doughnuts during the drive but ultimately agreed that this was too significant of an event to not experience together as a family. It almost hurt to wait.

After the ten minute drive home, Jamie and I skipped into the house, thrilled to share our find with my wife and son. As I opened the Curiosity Doughnuts box and revealed our treasures,

Curiosity Doughnuts

there was a five second silence as we all allowed the scent to engorge our noses and take us to a simpler time when all that mattered was a good doughnut.

They were the

GREATEST

DOUGHNUTS

OF

ALL

FRIGGIN

TIME

That is no exaggeration. OMG … no scratch that … OMFG.

Our lives had been changed forever.

I’m still an amateur food reviewer, so the best I can describe it was warm, crunchy on the outside and moist and cake-like on the inside; it almost made a popping sound as I bit into it. Imagine the best doughnut you’ve ever had and then add on at least 25% more deliciousness.

Curiosity Doughnuts

After wolfing them all down, I grabbed the laptop and started to research this company. Without regurgitating the details here, I highly recommend that you read the following links which further aid in the appreciation of their creations.

Elevating a Munchie to Amazingness

NJ doughnut shop offers fried treats a la mode

America’s newest doughnut destination

Did you read both? You really should, as it is interesting to learn that:

  • The owners currently live in New Hampshire and commute to Hunterdon County, NJ each weekend.
  • The owners are the authors of multiple cookbooks.
  • The owners are food scientists and consult with chefs all over the world.

And much more so one more plea to go back and read the Curiosity Doughnuts links above.

I’ve also come to learn that the owners now make fried chicken along side the doughnuts and after reading this article, Fried Chicken Joins the Party, I’m literally drooling all over the keyboard.

So one final reminder, the doughnuts are to die for.

donuts 6

My daughter fully endorses them.

donuts 4

And my dog, Mia cannot stay away from Curiosity Doughnuts as well.

donuts 7

If you all ask nicely, I’ll kindly ship them to you anywhere in the world, for a very small fee. They are THAT good.

Butterfly hunting at the Horseshoe Bend Preserve

I know it is cliche, but it is also dead on – Some of the coolest and most interesting things are in your own backyard.  

When I read the following article this past weekend, it all hit home as I felt excited yet stupid all at the same time:

Horseshoe Bend Preserve is Home to Gray Comma Butterfly

First off, a little background. I literally live right down the street from this park/preserve and have never been there. How that is possible, I don’t know. I wish I had a bunch of valid excuses, but I don’t. I’m just unaware, dumb and lazy.

But even worse than that, is how clueless I was about the battle/negotiation that has been going on for years over the preservation of this land. You can read about all of the details here, but the short of it is that there was approval to build 70+ homes on this land before the Hunterdon Land Trust stepped in and aided in the preservation.

I vaguely remember seeing the battle in the newspapers/media over the years, but not once did I educate myself on the details of the negotiation. And that is a shame. I can pontificate all I want on land preservation but here was a chance to step in and get involved and I didn’t do that. Strike two against me.

So now is where I step in and avoid strike three. It is time to explore and enjoy this treasure and I did just that over the weekend immediately after I read the article above, specifically the phrase – “the big butterfly news of the year”. Are you kidding me? This is the only spot where the Gray Comma Butterfly has been spotted in New Jersey? I am on this and will locate one myself. It reminded me of a search I attempted as kid to find Bigfoot in the woods, except this is a little less terrifying and life altering (long story).

So off I went with camera in hand ready to spot me some rare butterflies. In addition to the Gray Comma, I was also looking for a White M Hairstreak and a Sleepy Orange.

Nothing was going to get in my way.

Upon entering the preserve, you immediately take in the vistas of the Delaware River Valley:

It was stunning and worth the trip just for the views.

I found a spot to park along the side of the road and realized I was the only one around within miles. My Bigfoot nightmares were creeping back in but I fought them off and ventured on.

There were a number of available paths to travel down and I had no idea where to begin:

I eventually settled on the main passageway figuring I was less likely to get lost and eaten by coyotes if I kept it simple. Upon entering into the “forest” I was immediately taken by how the sunlight filtered through the trees:

It was beautiful and a reminder of how this blog started simply as a diary of my own garden but now has given birth to my love of photography. I am light years away from grasping all of the intricacies of photography, but I can tell you “filtered light in the woods” was something that never crossed my mind even three or four years ago.

Just like with yesterday’s post, I was totally digging the early stages of the changes in foliage color as we enter into Autumn:

I may have only hung out in the preserve for 45  minutes or so, but in that time, a whole lot of lightbulbs went off. Besides the aforementioned photography love, I was reminded that plant life is a lot more interesting and diverse beyond the nice clean plants I’ve added to my own garden. I couldn’t tell you the names of any of the plants I cam across in my little sojourn, but I feel determined to change that:

But enough of my life altering discussions, we were here to find those butterflies and become famous better educated. I hunted high and low for any signs of critter activity and the first thing I spotted was this caterpillar that I’ve yet to identify:

Pretty cool but I need more details before I can determine if it was “special”.

But ladies and gentleman, the moment we’ve been waiting for. Did he or didn’t he find the mysterious butterfly?

I am happy to report, after running around like an idiot for minutes on end, I am 95% sure I found the elusive creature. I couldn’t get a perfect shot but I think I got enough to prove that I was a successful butterfly hunter:

What do you think? Let’s compare to a good photo I found online:

  
I think I nailed it right?

I’m liking this A LOT so watch out for more “hunting” in the near future. Not to mention, enjoying what my part of the world has to offer and getting frggin involved once and for all.

Good times.

John

Hurricane Sandy aftermath, including a deer brawl

We are without power, have a few trees down and a wet basement after Hurricane Sandy passed through last night into this morning.

But we are safe and the damage is very limited. We were lucky unlike so many others. We have read a lot about the destruction via Twitter and have seen a few pics, but haven’t truly seen all that went down. Our hearts go out to all that were so deeply affected by Sandy’s wrath.

Just now, we were witness to two bucks brawling right in our backyard. Maybe they needed to get out some energy after the storm:

  

We actually thought that they were fighting to the death and started to approach them only to scream like mad when they both ran right at us in a frothy frenzy.

Hopefully will be back up and running soon.

John

  
        

A fantastic Hunterdon County weekend

We look forward to this same weekend every year. 
The first weekend following Thanksgiving is when we cut down our Christmas tree and sample all that beautiful, scenic Hunterdon County, New Jersey has to offer. We’ve done it every year since we moved out here. Last year was an eventful one which you can read about here if you are so inclined. No such drama this year.   
Rosemont Tree Farm has always been our tree farm of choice and this year was no different. The selection of trees is overwhelming and the kids can get lost within minutes. Here they are before running off in different directions:  

As is always the case, the kids could not agree on a tree so we had to threaten them in order to come to a mutual decision. Threats carry a lot of weight this time of year with Santa’s arrival on the horizon and I make sure to take full advantage of that. That is called leverage or good parenting.

We finally identified our tree and were ready to take her home:

And guess who kicked some major booty and cut her down?:

Hours later the tree was defeated and victory was mine (Note how over the whole thing my daughter is):

Beautiful tree with needles like knives. Guess who forgot gloves and still has bloodied fingers? This tough guy, who is hiding it well as this photo was taken:

The tree was stuffed in the car and we headed out to lunch down on the Delaware River. It was an exceptionally warm and sunny day and a great time to be outside:

This year, we hit up the Frenchtown Cafe, a local favorite. This place is always on the money. Click on the photo below and you can read all of the positive reviews that have been posted. Lines wind out the door on weekend mornings but it is worth the wait:    

Did it all end there? Hell no. That night, we made it out to the town tree lighting and even brought our ageless 12 year old dog, Casey, who I’m pretty sure made at least 50 people smile. She has that way about her:

Santa arrived dramatically via firetruck and my son reluctantly posed with him after making sure none of his classmates were around. My daughter, on the other hand, ate it all up:  

It was the perfect weekend that felt like it was right out of a Lifetime movie … without the murder or sordid affairs. Good times indeed:    

John