‘Taste of Weehawken’ set for Tuesday Annual library fundraiser brings host of culinary delights

For the last two years, Weehawken native Lorraine Wuillamey attended the extremely popular “A Taste of Weehawken” fundraiser for the Weehawken Free Public Library and wondered whether she could be a part of it.

“I walked around and I was literally chomping at the bit,” Wuillamey said.

Wuillamey has been in the food preparation business for the last three years, owning “Lorraine’s Table,” where she goes to clients’ homes and prepares healthy full-course meals in their homes. So Wuillamey definitely had experience in the field.

But unlike most of the restaurants and caterers that participate in the fundraiser, Wuillamey is a business of one.

“It is a big undertaking, being only one person,” Wuillamey said. “But after going for the last two years, I really wanted to do something.”

So Wuillamey contacted the organizers of the event, and sure enough, “Lorraine’s Table” will be one of the 30 or so businesses that will be donating their goods and services Tuesday night in the sixth annual culinary feast for a cause.

“Lorraine’s Table” is one of a handful of new businesses chipping in for the cause, which enables the library to support interactive programs for patrons of all ages at the library that would not necessarily be part of the general operating budget.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to support the library and support Weehawken,” Wuillamey said. “I was born and raised in Weehawken and I would do anything for the town. But it’s also a good way for me to get the word out about my business. It’s good for the exposure and it’s nice to be in the company of some great restaurants that I love to go to all the time. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

Wuillamey promised to make a fine pork tenderloin dish for Tuesday’s extravaganza, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Food Court.

There is a special hour-long preview price of $50 that entitles the customer an extra hour of food and wine tasting, as well as to be eligible for door prizes, including a trip to Aruba. General admission begins at 7:30 and those tickets are priced at $25.

Other delicacies

Several of the business owners and chefs were on hand last Thursday to promote the event. Some have been staples of the fundraiser since its inception. Others, like Wuillamey, are newcomers.

Take for instance Khadija Introna, a Weehawken resident who has a catering business called New York Caftan that specializes in Moroccan food.

“It’s all about bringing the culture of Morocco to America,” said Introna, a native of the country. “Not many people know much about Moroccan food.”

Introna plans to prepare a dish called “topin,” which is lemon chicken with olives and almonds. She also bakes her own Moroccan cookies.

Decha Paluxgawong just recently opened Nittaya Thai Restaurant on the corner of 19th Street and Willow Avenue in Weehawken. Since he’s only been in business six months, Paluxgawong is excited to be a part of the event.

“I want to meet as many people as possible, since this is our first time in this,” said Paluxgawong, who will prepare Thai noodles and other original Thai food for the event.

Another newcomer is George Politis of GP’s Restaurant in Guttenberg. Although GP’s has been a staple of North Hudson fine dining for more than 30 years, the restaurant has finally become a part of the “Taste of Weehawken” scene.

“We’re very excited to be a part of it,” Politis said. “We’re excited to meet the owners of the other places, because most of the year, they’re working just as hard as we are in our restaurants.”

Eugene Flinn, the owner of Amanda’s and the Elysian Café in Hoboken, is a long-time resident of Weehawken.

“Our kids have always enjoyed coming to [the] wonderful library,” Flinn said. “It’s one of the nicest libraries in the state and we want to keep it that way. It’s a great event for the community and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, there’s always so much great food.”

Weehawken resident Arthur Imperatore, who owns both the NY Waterway ferry system and the famous Arthur’s Landing restaurant, has always been a big supporter of the event, so says head chef Michael Haimowitz of Arthur’s Landing.

“We have been participating from the start and we will always continue to participate,” said Haimowitz, who said he will prepare a dish of yellow tail ceviche served with sweet peppers and a cilantro salad.

Wine tasting

Keith Black from Vigneto Wines and Liquors will once again hold a wine tasting seminar as part of the event, which was hugely popular last year.

Chef Paul Dillon, who hosts the popular “Let’s Cook” television show on the Comcast network, will bring his Hudson County Community College Culinary Arts Institute students to the event once again as well.

Weehawken artist Anna Yglesias once again created the original artwork that is being used for promotional posters and literature.

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by the Weehawken High School Jazz Ensemble and Classjazz.

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner is pleased with the amount of support the event has received.

“It’s a great community event,” Turner said. “The people are able to avail themselves to a wide variety of restaurants and foods. The event keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. We are able to raise a good amount of funds to provide programs at the library that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford.”

Some of those programs include Art and A Capella, which is an evening of art and music, author signings, small music performances, book clubs for both adults and children, Story Time reading programs for toddlers, and special events like Harry Potter Scavenger Hunts for children.

“It’s one of the biggest events we have in the town,” Turner said.

Wuillamey has only one fear.

“I just hope I don’t run out of food,” Wuillamey said.

The sixth annual “A Taste of Weehawken” will be held Tuesday night, April 25, at the Food Court in Lincoln Harbor, 1200 Harbor Boulevard in Weehawken, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the special preview hour. The cost of the special preview hour ticket is $50, with general admission beginning at 7:30 p.m. for $25. For tickets and other information, contact the Weehawken Free Public Library at (201) 863-7823. Please make all checks payable to the Weehawken Library Building Fund.


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