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The Town with Two Zip Codes

Many of you reading my blog may not know that in the period between selling Beach Lake Bread in 2007 and resurrecting it as Beach Lake Bakery in 2012, we were living in Montclair, New Jersey. (Brian still spends most of the week there, where he works at his other business, selling bakery equipment.) Montclair is not the kind of sprawling, suburban strip-mall town one typically associates with New Jersey. Sometimes referred to as the town with two zip codes, it is essentially divided into two towns, Upper Montclair—where you can shop at Talbots, William-Sonoma, and Gap—and Downtown Montclair, the main business district. It is home to the Montclair Art Museum, a YMCA with two swimming pools, the recently renovated Wellmont Theater (where we went to see The Moody Blues and America), and eighty restaurants, most of them within walking distance. A bit of demographic trivia: This town of approximately 38,000 also has the highest percentage of racially-mixed couples of any town in the whole country!

Getting back to food (one of my favorite topics), since moving back to Beach Lake, I miss the luxury of choosing what type of meal to have for dinner without having to make it myself. In Montclair, I could run across the street to the local Indian restaurant for fresh pompadoms and Chicken Biryani or take a five-minute walk for sushi or souvlaki. Another of our culinary favorites is Mancinni’s, a tiny establishment on Bloomfield Avenue, one block over, that is owned by a young Englishwoman, where they bake their pizza in a coal-fired oven. I would rate it as one of the best pizzas I’ve eaten and would recommend this restaurant to anyone who happens to be driving around New Jersey looking for a great pizza. Of course, I think the pizza we make with our own pizza balls is pretty darn good, too. Back in January, we threw a small pizza party for some of our friends. We fired up one of our ovens and we all made our own pizzas. Aside from being great fun, some of the pizza-topping combinations were out of this world!

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