MAPS | Morris County, Northern N.J. map now live

View Morris County and Northern New Jersey in a larger map

While I continue to expand all of my Google maps, I’m loathe to admit it’s taken me six months to get a map for my native Morris County, N.J. going. Here, at last, is just that.

Included are lots of favorites — Stewart’s, the iconic Dover hot dog stand I’ve loved since childhood; Sammy’s, the Ralston steakhouse that’s a wonderfully-kept secret; Schroth’s House of Silver in Montville; Sussex Meat Packing in Wharton; King’s Supermarkets, the Black Horse Inn in Mendham — and I’ll keep on adding as I think of them.

Of course, there are some sad absences, great businesses that have gone the way of the Dodo. Among these are Epstein’s, the terribly gracious department store that dominated the Morristown Green for most of the 20th century; Roots, the impeccable tailor that had shops in Morristown, Summit and elsewhere; Scandia Deli, Guido’s, Annie Fink, Dover Photo, The Quality Shop, Ken’s Steakhouse, the Heslin House, the Harlequin Cafe, the Trinity Pub and a host of other businesses that made Dover and Wharton great alternatives to the county seat. Alas, they’ve all gone.

This is my 11th map and previously featured locations include Buffalo, the Lower Hudson Valley, the North Country, Albany, Vermont, Cape Cod and Tucson.

Take a gander. I guarantee you’ll find a host of great places to explore.

COCKTAILS | There’s more than Roses for Applejack

ApplejackThe Applejack Cocktail, made from a Pegu Club recipe.

The signature cocktail for Applejack is the Jack Rose, a favorite of my grandmother’s that’s enjoyed a nice revival in the last few years. But there are certainly other ways to use Applejack.

One we found was the Applejack Cocktail from the Pegu Club. Another Audrey Saunders miracle, the Applejack Cocktail gets right to the point: it’s all about tasting New Jersey’s finest contribution to the cocktail world. Smelling faintly of apple juice, this drink tasted a lot more like a whiskey cocktail than I’d expected. If you’ve got a bottle of Laird’s lying around for those occasional Roses, give this recipe a whirl.

2 ounces Applejack
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon twist

Combine the Applejack, syrup and bitters in a shaker and stir briskly for about 30 seconds to chill. Serve over a lemon twist in a cocktail glass. Enjoy.

BRIEFING| Drumthwacket to sit empty (again)

Good morning. Thanks to those regular readers who’ve become fans on Facebook. Join us there and look for regular updates in your newsfeed.

• Chris Christie, governor-elect of the Garden State, will follow his predecessor’s example and won’t live at Drumthwacket, the stunningly gorgeous executive mansion in Princeton, the Times reports. Christie, who calls Mendham home, will commute to Trenton so as to not disturb his childrens’ educations (Mendham, admittedly, has swell schools, though they may go to equally-swell-but-private Peck. Don’t know.). Drumthwacket has been the governor’s mansion since 1981, succeeding equally historic Morven.

• In other historic house news, it seems Historic Hudson Valley, keeper of Kykuit, Sunnyside and other historic sites in and around Tarrytown, is trying to figure out what to do with Montgomery Place, a 434-acre property in Annandale-on-Hudson that’s home to a historic 1802 mansion. Rumors have flown all fall that the house, closed to the public since 2006, may be sold to raise cash for the nonprofit preservation network. The Times reports.

• Jude Law, that dashing English thespian, isn’t very neighborly, the Post reports this morning. Law, who’s living next to an NYU dormitory that primarily houses freshmen, has allegedly taken to throwing fruit at his academic neighbors: “He noticed we were there and we started waving at him. Then he went inside and came back with two oranges,” freshman Neha Najeeb told The Post. “He threw them at our window, but he missed.” Law then went back inside and returned with two additional oranges, she said. Oh, New York.

• And from New York Magazine, Lou Dobbs: Free at last, free at last.

COCKTAILS | The Jack Rose and Antoine’s Smile both delight

The SmileJerseywoman that she was, my grandmother had an abiding affection for Jack Rose cocktails. Coming of age during prohibition in the 1920s, the first liquor she might have tasted could have been “Jersey lightning,” or unaged applejack.

With this in mind, I’d been meaning to pick up a bottle of either applejack or calvados for the better part of a year. Two weeks ago, on a liquor run to Stew Leonard’s, I came across Laird’s and struck. The Laird family has been devoted to apples and their distillation since 1698, when William Laird first distilled applejack in Monmouth, N.J. In 1780, the Lairds became the first licensed distillery in America and today, they continue their family tradition at Scobeyville, N.J., a hamlet in Monmouth County’s Colts Neck Township.

With Laird’s added to the bar, we whipped up some Jack Roses with Charles Schumann’s recipe, which calls for a blend of apple jack, lime juice and grenadine. They were swell. Last night, we tried a variant, Antoine’s Smile, a specialty at Antoine’s, the New Orleans institution.

I’ve never been to Antoine’s — call me a Galatoire’s or Arnaud’s man — but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the place or its bar. After all, it’s the oldest family-run restaurant in the country. The Smile is allegedly the creation of Antoine Alcatoire, who founded the venerable restaurant on Rue St. Louis in the 1840. The Smile substitutes the Rose’s lemon juice with lime and yields a much subtler and frankly, more sophisticated result.

Still, we strongly recommend both.

2 1/2 ounces applejack
3/4 ounces lemon juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Dashes grenadine

Mix all ingredients over cracked ice, shake thoroughly and serve into a cocktail glass. Garnish, if you like, with a slice of MacIntosh or Empire.

For the Smile, substitute the lemon juice with lime juice and drop the sugar.

FRONT PAGES| GOP claims gubernatorial seats in N.J., Va.

Good morning. As you know, Republican candidates won the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia last night in decisive contests. Mayor Bloomberg narrowly won a third term and Doug Hoffman, the Lake Placid accountant running on the Conservative line in the 23rd New York Congressional District, fell to Plattsburgh attorney Bill Owens, a Democrat.

Here are some New Jersey front pages:

And a collection from Virginia:

BRIEFING| Hazing, Tanzanian toads and tenting troubles for Moammar Qadafi

Good morning. Welcome new readers — our traffic has skyrocketed since the Mannella interview went live. Here are a few things well-worth your reading:

• Sydney, Australia’s leading city, was engulfed in a kind of nuclear winter yesterday as it was lashed by a record windstorm. Bloomberg reports. See a photo now at Gawker.

• Scandal in the suburbs: Female freshmen at Millburn High School, which enrolls students from tony Millburn and Short Hills, N.J. are apparently clamoring to get their names enrolled on a “slut list” created by their senior counterparts. “It’s basically vulgar,” the principal tells the Times. Basically?

• Did the Cops and NewsCorp collaborate to disrupt protesters who distributed fake copies of Da Post that warned of epic climate change? Maybe. For more on the whole thing, check out this video:

• Moammar Qadafi, who hasn’t yet found a place to erect a tent for his stay in the metro area, isn’t allowed to crash on the Donald’s lawn either. The Journal News reports.

• And finally, my dear friend and fellow journalist Maura O’Connor is gaga about toads. Rare and endangered Tanzanian toads. She’s raising money through Kickstarter, a new non-profit platform for freelance journalists, to travel to Tanzania to report on the reintroduction of Kihansi spray toads. The species were evacuated from their native Tanzania in 2001 to specially-created arks at the Bronx and Toledo, Ohio zoos. Read more and please support Maura’s effort.

• And, in the event you missed it:

Protect Insurance Companies PSA from Will Ferrell

DINING| Stewart’s is a summer tradition in New Jersey’s Morris County

Stewart'sStewart’s, a staple on U.S. Route 46 in Dover, New Jersey, doesn’t exactly look like much. Still, it serves some of the best hot dogs your writer has ever encountered.

My earliest memories of Stewart’s, the famous root beer chain’s drive-in a few miles from my New Jersey home, are from either the summer of 1984 or the summer of 1985, before the stand built its semi-enclosed shelter. I remember having a hot dog and a small root beer. Both tasted the same when my father and I had lunch there last week.

The place is a delicious little pocket of Americana and a longstanding tradition in western Morris County, where the stand is considered the gold standard of fast food.

The menu is simple: Stewart’s Famous Root Beer or Orange Drink is served along side hamburgers, delectable hotdogs, Philly cheesesteaks (I had a penchant for these in the 1990s that ended badly), scramburgers (sloppy joes) and sides of onion rings and fries. The atmosphere is equally basic as a few clusters of plastic, outdoor tables and chairs huddle around the building that houses a tiny kitchen, serving area and rest rooms. If you don’t care to eat outside, carhops armed with those old-fashioned change-counters on their belts, will serve you in your vehicle. Just turn on your headlights for service.

I believe the Dover location opened after the war, some time in the 1940s. I know it was there for much of parents’ childhoods in the 1950s. The chain was founded in 1924 in a stand built by Frank Stewart, a school teacher, in Mansfield, Ohio. Today, the chain is largely focused in New Jersey, with additional locations in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio. For more, visit Stewart’s Inc.

The Dover Stewart’s is usually open until Columbus Day on weekends (In my childhood, signs near the men’s room indicated that the stand was closed on the Lord’s Day. I don’t know if this is still the case or not.) and, if the weather is good, through till Halloween. Don’t miss the root Beer (also divine in floats with soft-serve vanilla ice cream) and don’t miss the hot dogs.

446 U.S. Route 46 East
Dover, New Jersey 07801
(973) 328-0070

StewartsThe menu at the Dover, N.J. Stewart’s is displayed on the stand’s roof.

ARCHIVE| Morristown School, 1964-1966

PrepMontageThis montage illustrates life at the Morristown School during the 1965-66 year.

It’s the start of the first full week of school and I thought it a good idea to mark the occasion with some photos from the 1965 and 1966 editions of the Salmagundi, the yearbook of my alma mater, the Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, N.J.

The school was formed in a 1971 merger of Morristown Prep and the Beard School, a girls’ institution in Orange, N.J. Despite that, it can be said that the Prep simply went co-ed. Its governance structure and traditions still dominate the school’s culture.

Looking back over these pictures, taken during the Prep’s heyday of the mid-1960s, I’m struck by how much was the same when I was there 30 years later.

For a look at life at the Prep in the 1920s, click here.

CLIP| ‘Goodbye, Columbus,’ 1969

FRONT PAGES| Massive N.J. corruption sting nets 44 arrests

SLToday’s Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper.

Three mayors. Five rabbis. Two assemblymen. Knocked-off handbags. Black-market organ sales.

As the Times reports in this morning’s paper, it’s a tale of “…furtive negotiations in diners, parking lots and boiler rooms; of nervous jokes about patting down a man who turned out to indeed be an informant; and, again and again, of the passing of casha — once in a box of Apple Jacks cereal stuffed with $97,000.”

Oh, New Jersey, my native land, how I love thee.

Yesterday’s arrest of more than 44 individuals, including the mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, sent depth charges through the metropolitan press corps. The story served up a perfect meal for the mighty Star-Ledger, which feasted on it, the largest single corruption sting in the history of a state that knows a thing or two about sleaze.

It doesn’t get any better than this story.

See complete coverage from New Jersey’s largest newspaper here.

Take a look at today’s metro front pages:

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