YDTR Chefs’ Favorite
Thanksgiving Dishes

It’s Thanksgiving week, and the beginning of Princeton’s most festive time of year. We are especially thankful for our dedicated chefs and the guests they look forward to serving every Thanksgiving at the Inn. Before all the hustle and bustle, they share their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, dishes and tips with you! Enjoy!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room Chefs

Left to right: Manuel, Jermaine, Edward

chef
“I have three kids at home, four sisters, two brothers – it’s a big family, and I’m extremely thankful for them. We’re a close bunch and see each other almost every day. Thanksgiving is nice, because I get to come home to my family, eat delicious home-cooked meals, and go bowling. A few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes include roast turkey, beef, stuffed chicken, and sweet potato,” said Manuel Torres, our Sous Chef of 27 years.

jermaine-turner-2
“I love being home with family, conversing, and having a good time with one another,” said Jermaine Turner, our Chef of 7 years. “I also make an awesome baked macaroni… I add evaporated milk, egg, salt, pepper, sharp cheese, mild cheese to roux, and let it slow cook at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, covered. Then I cook it for another ten minutes uncovered. It tastes like h-e-a-v-e-n.”

eddie-portrait“I’m thankful for the good health of my family,” said Edward Popp, our Banquet Cook of 8 years. “My mom also doesn’t let me cook on Thanksgiving, so it’s nice to come home to the traditional holiday dishes. You know – turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I love her cooking!”

chef-michael“On Thanksgiving, I like to watch football, spend time with family, and enjoy a late night turkey sandwich with stuffing, lettuce, and mayonnaise on a crusty Italian bread!” said Michael LaCorte, our Executive Chef of 4 years.

steve“My favorite thing is waking up and watching football. I’m a big fan of the Detroit Lions,” said Steven Fitch, our Sous Chef of 4 years. “I cook for family, and we have the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and my favorite – biscuits. I love gravy piled on top of everything!” Steve also makes home-made mashed potatoes, and the recipe is very simple and delicious. “I add butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.” For his turkey, he adds a lot of butter, and a dash of rosemary and thyme, before roasting it in the oven.

YDTR Chefs

We hope you enjoyed meeting our chefs, who will be serving Yankee Doodle Tap Room’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! The #YDTR wishes you a great Thanksgiving filled with food, love, family and friends!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

 

Preparing for Autumn with Chef Michael LaCorte

There’s something comforting about being seated in a historic booth surrounded by carvings of diner’s past, anticipating a rich and savory meal. When enjoying your Butternut Squash Risotto, you feel the nostalgia and wonder about the mastermind behind your warm and tasty dish. A chef’s journey is one filled with selfless time, energy and love, ultimately to provide you with scrumptious food to nurture your mind, body, and soul.

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

You may wonder, how does a chef become a chef? Some say destiny, some believe in luck and happenstance. For Michael LaCorte, it was a mix of both. He worked at a hospital during high school, but with a twist of fate, his friend encouraged him take a job at a local Italian restaurant. This opportunity, along with the generous mentorship from the restaurant owner, gave him the push towards becoming a chef – and never looking back.

Nassau Inn

Nassau Inn

Fast forward to 2016 – Michael’s fourth year as our Executive Chef. The new fall menu is on the horizon, and we were given a chance to interview him about the creative process behind his menu development. When putting the fall menu items together, there were important considerations to be made. Michael believes in tradition, locality, and seasonality.

  • Tradition: Our piping hot, flaky and creamy Nassau Inn Chicken Pot Pie is the ultimate comfort food for the soul. It tastes like home and has been a guest favorite for countless years. The braised short ribs, with its succulent taste and fall-off-the-bone texture, is another long-standing tradition. Indulging in a traditional meal is very soothing after a long day. You can always depend on the Yankee Doodle Tap Room to have comfort food that will put you at ease and fill your heart with delight!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

  • Locality: It’s important to get ingredients from the best, local places available. Just try the Apple Orchard Salad and you can taste the freshness of deliciously sweet and crisp local apples. Michael personally loves cheese, especially during autumn days. The gourmet cheese shop here in Palmer Square, Olsson’s Fine Foods, is a favorite source.

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

  • Seasonality: With auburn leaves outside and darker autumn evenings, we could use something warm, spicy and cheesy – Fiery Black Iron Chili with Wisconsin cheddar and our House Smoked Pork Chop are especially delicious this time of the year. We only use fruits and vegetables at their peak – just try our Sugar Beet & Bleu Cheese Salad, Roasted Pear Salad or Cauliflower Fritters all of which are busting with flavor. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. If you’re in a dreamy mood, go for the mason jar Pumpkin Pie, always a crowd pleaser Crème Brûlée with spiced pumpkin or Warm Apple Cobbler, all the perfect ending to your night!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

Autumn menu planning is an exciting mixture of divergent and convergent thinking. Michael and the chefs collaborate on creative ideas, and then finalize their plans. Before the menu is released, there’s a tasting at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room. All the new dishes are laid out on a big table for everyone to feast on. We can’t wait to try them and share the experience with you!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Making the Most of Your Wedding Room Block

We interviewed Jaime Wolf, catering sales manager at the Nassau Inn, who has been with us for 10 years! This is her version of Wedding Room Block Planning 101 for you.

Nassau Inn

  1. Tell your guests to save the wedding date and start reserving their overnight rooms before wedding invites are sent out. This way you won’t run into trouble if rooms are not available later on.
  2. If you are wondering what to pack for gift bags, some essentials include: water, Advil/Tylenol, a snack, and an itinerary (timeline for the weekend, breakfast arrangements, rehearsal dinner, transportation plans, etc.).
  3. Frequently Asked Question: “Can guests check in early?”
    Answer: It depends – but it’s safer to assume you can’t. Weekends, especially in towns like Princeton, can be busy and time may be needed for previous guests to check out and rooms to be cleaned.
  4. If you have a large room block, it is considered thoughtful to have a breakfast the next morning to say thank you to all of your guests! We have great breakfast packages and offer discounts for all in house weddings! Be sure to ask your Catering Manager for details.
  5. Encourage your guests to make time to explore. Princeton is a great place to stay and this is the perfect opportunity for them to make it a mini vacation or getaway. Site seeing, downtown shopping, dining and bar hoping are just a few of the reasons you need more than a day to take it all in!

Nassau Inn

Nassau Inn

Nassau Inn


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Our Tap Room Favorites

Our resident Monday morning Tap Room crew explained their best staff moments.

159NITP-390NITPLR-151Jules, who has been working in our Tap Room for 7 years, states, “Each day brings a new challenge.” She is willing to take these challenges head on – because as a Tap Room server, you are not just a server — you are a concierge, a guide, and more. Jules explains, “Sometimes the hardest part is playing all the roles.” After all, you really have to anticipate the guest’s needs to ensure a memorable experience. “It is always nice to have those regulars come in because you are able to form a relationship with them. And then it becomes more than just eating a meal. It becomes an entire experience, which is what we want for any guest,” Jules stated.

If you’re coming to the Tap Room for breakfast, Jules recommends trying our delicious Eggs Benedict or our amazing Pecan Pancakes.

Dana, one of our newer servers has been a Tap Room staff for ten months now, but has definitely made her mark. She believes that since the beginning, it had been easy to sell the food because it is so delicious. If feels like a family here instead of a business because of how everyone supports each other. She states, “One of my favorite parts of having new guests come into the Tap Room is explaining the history, because that’s what makes our restaurant stand out from all the others in downtown Princeton.” Dana also likes how you never know who you might run into – it could be a musician, business owner, or celebrity, because the population is so diverse.

If you’re coming to the Tap Room for lunch or dinner, Dana recommends you try our Princetonian Burger. You can pair it with any of our 19 beers on draft. The best time to come in and eat it around 12PM every day.

The Tap Room staff feel at home here, and they appreciate the cooperation between different departments to make your experience great.

So come join our staff for breakfast, lunch, or even a drink on the outdoor patio. We can’t wait to see you!


About the Author: Brandon DeChirico spent the summer interning at the Nassau Inn. He is a student at Widener University studying hospitality.

Edited by Lily Lee

A Brief History of Black Friday

Black Friday is fast approaching, and in Palmer Square, you’re bound to discover countless sales and killer finds you’ll want to purchase for your family and friends.

While the many shops at Palmer Square will be offering incredible deals that you might not believe, here are some historic facts about ‘Black Friday’ that are pretty unbelievable too.

Lion

  • The “Black Friday” tradition likely began in the 1920’s when department stores such as Macy’s and Eaton’s threw Thanksgiving Day parades to whet the appetites of consumers for a holiday shopping feast.
  • It was an unwritten rule that no store would try doing any holiday shopping advertising before the parades were over, making the day after Thanksgiving the official start of the holiday shopping season.
  • The term “Black Friday” first surfaced in 1951 to describe the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving in order to have a four-day weekend.
  • Around the same time in Philadelphia, the term was used by police, cabbies, bus drivers, and retail workers to to depict the horde of shoppers that descended into the city on the days following Thanksgiving.
  • In the 1980’s, “Black Friday” was marketed to have gotten its name as being the day on which retailers finally began to show a profit for the year (in accounting terms, moving from being “in the red” to “in the black”) after operating at an overall loss from January through mid-November.
  • Many merchants disliked the negative connotation of the phrase ‘Black Friday’ and tried to rebrand it as ‘Big Friday’.
  • The success of “Black Friday” inspired merchants to invent new shopping holidays such as Super Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Steps from Everything…

Aside

One of the many benefits of staying with us here at the Nassau Inn is our close proximity to first-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and history. Our guests truly appreciate being just steps away from everything. As evidence, here is a list of 10 popular attractions in downtown Princeton – along with the number of steps it takes to get to each one from here. So, tap on your activity tracker and let’s compare steps…  


1.) NASSAU HALL (425 steps)

Everywhere - nassau hallNassau Hall was built in 1756 to house what was then the College of New Jersey. It was the largest stone building in the American Colonies.

The name “Nassau Hall” was proposed by Governor Jonathan Belcher in honor of King William III, “who was a branch of the illustrious house of Nassau.”
Click here to learn more…


2.) PALMER HOUSE (633 steps)

Everywhere - Palmer HouseThe original owner was Commodore Robert Stockton (1795-1866), grandson of the signer of The Declaration of Independence. He married Maria Potter of Charleston, South Carolina and they received the house as a wedding present from her father, John.

When Robert moved across the street into “Morven,” the old Stockton homestead, he sold Palmer House to his brother-in-law, James Potter. (Later he built “Lowrie House” down Stockton Street for one of his children while his older brother-in-law, Thomas Potter, built “Prospect House” on the south side of the campus – both designed by John Nottman of Philadelphia.
Click here to learn more…


3.) PRINCETON BATTLE MONUMENT (633 steps)

Everywhere - Princeton Battle Monument

On January 3, 1777, the peaceful winter fields and woods of Princeton Battlefield were transformed into the site of what is considered to be the fiercest fight of its size during the American Revolution. During this desperate battle, American troops under General George Washington surprised and defeated a force of British Regulars. Coming at the end of “The Ten Crucial Days” which saw the well-known night crossing of the Delaware River and two battles in Trenton, the Battle of Princeton gave Washington his first victory against the British Regulars on the field. The battle extended over a mile away to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Click here to learn more…


4.) PRINCETON UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM (670 steps)

Everywhere - Art MuseumThe origins of Princeton’s art collections date nearly to the University’s foundation, thus making Princeton one of the oldest collecting institutions in America. The Museum and what is now the Department of Art and Archaeology—the second oldest in the nation—formally came into being in 1882, founded on a philosophy that positioned Princeton at the cutting edge of scholarship in an era when the history of art was a new academic discipline, largely confined to the more advanced universities of Europe. Click here to learn more…


5.) BAINBRIDGE HOUSE (686 steps)

Everwhere - Bainbridge HouseBainbridge House is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Princeton and one of the area’s best preserved examples of mid-Georgian architecture. Located on Nassau Street, the town’s busiest and most historic thoroughfare, it is situated directly across from Princeton University. Bainbridge House has been home to several Stockton families; it was the birthplace of William Bainbridge, hero of the War of 1812; in 1783 it was listed as providing accommodations for the Continental Congress; during the late 19th century it served as a boarding house for university students; and for more than fifty years it was home to the public library. Click here to learn more…


6.) MORVEN MUSEUM (844 steps)

Everywhere - MorvenHome to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and to five New Jersey governors, Morven has played a role in the history of New Jersey and the nation for more than 250 years.

After the Governor’s Mansion was relocated in 1982, Morven went through an extensive restoration and archaeological investigation. Morven re-opened as a museum and garden in 2004.
Click here to learn more…


 7.) PRINCETON CEMETERY (844 steps)

Everywhere - CemeteryThe Princeton Cemetery is a unique burial ground.  It is the final resting place for a President and a Vice President of the United States, most of the Presidents of the College of New Jersey/Princeton University and the Princeton Theological Seminary.  Scattered throughout the cemetery are the graves of soldiers beginning with the Revolutionary War, professors, politicians, musicians, scientists, business executives, writers, a Nobel Laureate, a winner of Pulitzer Prizes as well as those who have called the Princeton area home.  Take your time and enjoy the rich history of America captured here, and a small town’s place in that history. Click here to learn more…


8.) McCARTER THEATER (1056 steps)

Everywhere - McCarter TheaterMcCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts – the region’s leading performing arts center – has a rich history of artists who have graced its stage for over 80 years. Built as a permanent home for the Princeton University Triangle Club (who continue to perform at McCarter to this day) with funds from Thomas N. McCarter, class of 1888, the theater opened its doors on February 21, 1930 with a special performance of the 40th annual Triangle show, The Golden Dog. One of its stars was Joshua Logan, a junior and a sophomore named James Stewart was in the chorus. Click here to learn more…


9.) ALBERT EINSTEIN HOUSE (1267 steps)

Everywhere -The Albert Einstein House at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey was the home of Albert Einstein from 1936 until his death in 1955.

The house is a simple pattern-book cottage and in itself is of no particular architectural significance”.

Albert Einstein reportedly requested that this house not be made a museum, and the family did not want it to be recognized as such. Nonetheless it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and further designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1976. Click here to learn more…


 10.) CLEVELAND TOWER (1900 steps)

Everywhere - Cleveland TowerIts beauty often compared to that of Oxford University’s Magdalen Tower, the 173-foot Cleveland Tower flanks the main entrance to Princeton’s Graduate College. One of the principal structures of the Graduate College when it was dedicated in 1913, the tower was erected as a memorial to President Grover Cleveland, who, following his retirement from public life, was a trustee of Princeton University and chaired the trustees’ graduate school committee. Funds for the construction of the tower were raised by public subscription from “citizens of all parties in all walks of life from all parts of the United States.”  Click here to learn more…


 

 

 

 

To Brine or Not To Brine?

By: Keir DeFonzo

We all have our uncompromising ways of just how to prepare a Turkey for the big Thanksgiving feast. Some pride themselves on generations of family secrets to get their birds just to the right desire of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. There are lots of different ways to handle the main attraction on our dinner table. But one question to ask as we kickoff the holiday season is whether or not to brine your turkey.

Brine is a salt solution in which the turkey is submerged and kept chilled, in the refrigerator or a cooler, overnight, before being cooked. Some may argue brining a turkey is the only way to guarantee the juiciest meat. This especially occurs in the turkey breast which is notorious for being dry if over-cooked. Others feel that the brine will compromise the flavor since the ones we buy from the store already are high in sodium and have been pre-treated with brine before being sold.

With salt as the main ingredient, the solution will allow the salt to transfer into the meat overnight and act as a sponge to retain the juices and moisture. The bird will lose some of its water when cooking off in the heat; brine will prevent the bird from losing too much. The fun part of preparing the brine is that you can add herbs and aromatics to give the flavor a twist that will enhance the meal. For example, some people add bay leaves, rosemary or peppercorns. The options are endless. Having experience with the brine myself, I will say that once I started the tradition, I find there is no other way to go. Where I keep perfecting my technique is in the ingredients of the brine. One thing is for sure; my days of serving turkey that needs to be drowned in gravy are over! Turkey can now stand alone on the plate and compete with its rivals (the potato, the stuffing and the cranberry) for your taste buds attention.
One last tip I will share that I picked up along my cooking travels: place the bird breast down. The majority of the fat is actually in the back. By cooking your turkey face down, the fat will naturally create an additional baste for the white meat and create perfection!

Executive Chef Nino LaCasio’s Turkey Brine Recipe For an 8lb Turkey:
2-1/2 gallons cold water
2 cups kosher salt
11/2 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
4 tablespoons dried thyme
1 whole head of garlic, peeled
1 cup of pickling spice
2 tbsp Ground pepper

Whisk sugar and salt in water till it dissolves. Stir in other ingredients. Pour over turkey in a plastic bag and tightly seal the bag before refrigerating. Make sure turkey is fully submerged in the solution and let soak overnight. Drain Turkey and pat dry. Allow to sit one hour before roasting.

Pregnant in Princeton


By: Jaime Wess

Being pregnant in the summer has its major downfalls; especially being eight months pregnant! Any woman who has experienced this, can and will, back me up. However, I could not have picked a better location to work for convenience and relief from the summer heat and from the discomforts that come along with it.

First, let us focus on a pregnant woman’s favorite pastime. It isn’t a bottle of wine, nor lounging and relaxing in a hot tub; and it certainly isn’t high heel shopping … its Food!!! The only indulgence she gets to have anymore. But as great as it is to give in to a strong craving for something very, very bad for yourself, sometimes you have to rein it in a little. Princeton is perfect for finding a variety of delicious treats and lunches! My favorite, on days when it has been 100 degrees outside and far too humid to walk for a half hour, is Twist – the well known frozen yogurt shop located on Nassau Street. The offerings of different flavors, nonfat or low fat options and the variety of toppings keep me coming back! Continue reading

Behind the Red Door – A Haunting Nassau Inn Tradition

This post is co-written by Ashley Comaites

The annual Nassau Inn staff pumpkin carving contest is always a big hit. As the staff members ready themselves to gear up for the holiday season; they take a step back to enjoy a Halloween tradition shared by many.

Traditions are, and always will be, the forefront of team stability. Traditions are part of our historical essence, and as time progresses we hold on to as many traditions and as much history as we can. The Nassau Inn has an annual autumn employee contest that welcomes the fall and winter holidays with open arms!

The annual pumpkin carving contest is a time for the employees behind the red door to kick back, relax and enjoy some friendly competition. Stephanie Piccarillo, a reservations agent, says;

“My favorite part about the contest is seeing all the creativity that those of us who enter have and put into the pumpkins we carve. Some of the pumpkins we have had are just so amazing and funny! The whole contest is just a lot of fun and brings the employees together.”

In years past, fun employee rivalries have been brought to life; with pumpkins being carved to counterpart that of a fellow employee! Other favorites have included: Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas, silhouette characters and even our very own logo!

We personally really enjoy this contest, as it brings back innocent memories from our childhoods. Carving pumpkins always reminds us of simpler times. Bobbing for apples and running from door to door to collect candy was the greatest joy imaginable of the fall season! As adults, the door we run to now brings us inside a warm and hospitable place that we are always happy to share; so please join us this holiday season Behind the Red Door.

Our Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest was a Great Success! 

Congratulations to all of our winners; and thanks to all those who participated in making this year’s contest so fabulous.

Our friendly Front Desk Agent Holly Ween took first place.

Second place went to the always delicious pumpkin burger.

Team Nassau Inn

The historic Nassau Inn would like to welcome our newest  members of the Food and Beverage Management Team, Greg Newman and Carter Smith.

Greg Newman

Greg got his start in the field of hospitality while in college. While attending East Stroudsburg University, he was highly involved with the Campus Activities Board, planning numerous events for the students on campus. His interests lead him into a career in event management, where he worked as a stadium operations manager, a park ranger, an event coordinator, and dining services manager. Greg’s favorite part of hospitality is seeing the favorable expressions on his clients’ faces when an event goes well. Recently, Greg had the opportunity to be on the receiving end of his own line of work, when he married his fiancé of 5 years! The wedding was exactly what they were looking for. Greg is a beer fanatic; he would say he is an expert. Greg has recently posted, Beers with Newman, featured here on our blog. Continue reading