By ROBIN WOODS
for Montclair Local
Love is in the air, Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, and in the words of comedian Jim Gaffigan, “Without Valentine’s Day, February would be … well, January.”
I started on my quest for something healthy and tasty for Valentine’s Day. Aileen Entenza and her husband Daniel opened Daily Dose Montclair on Nov. 27, 2020. The couple looked for the right place to open their shake, energy drink and high-protein treats business, deciding on Montclair.
“It’s a great town, has great opportunities, curious people and some New Jersey Transit traffic,” Aileen said. Daily Dose opened within three weeks of renting its Glenridge Avenue location, a bold move considering all of the challenges facing business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The menu includes specialty shakes, 200-250 calories each, with 24 grams protein, 21 grams vitamins and minerals to keep you and your sweethearts hydrated and in good shape. The Chocolate Lovers, Fruit Lovers or Sweet Lovers shakes are all dairy-free.
“We played with different recipes using soy protein to make our shakes and energy drinks,” Aileen said. “We have separate blenders for shakes containing nuts, such as Snickers and Peanut Butter Cup. The Peanut Butter Cup is a bestseller.” Daily Dose also serves coffee and latte drinks.
My 11-year-old taste-tester tried the Captain America energy drink and loved the red, white and blue colors, the blueberry and strawberry flavors. You can add fruit popping bubbles (bobas) to your drinks, or sip on the Under the Weather drink, citrus-y and filled with vitamins C and D.
The high-protein mini donuts are adorable, made in house daily with a special electric machine. The tasty one-bite morsels come with up to two toppings, with caramel and chocolate drizzles for a touch of sweetness. Pick up some high-protein waffles, topped with blueberries and strawberries, with maple syrup and caramel, to serve for brunch in bed.
It’s time to look and feel good, with a trip to a female-owned and -operated barber shop. Emmy Feyeux opened Virile Barber & Shop on June 22, 2020, once nonessential businesses could open again during the pandemic. There are two male barbers in the shop, and Emmy said, “It’s a man’s world. I trained as a barber, which is unexpected for a woman. Ninety-five percent of my customers are male and 5% are female. I’m the mom of the shop and make customers feel comfortable in their own skin. It’s kind of like therapy for my clients, and I give good advice.”
Even if you’re working from home or hibernating for the winter in your sweats, a trip to Virile can help you look stylish, or purchase a gift certificate as a nontraditional Valentine’s Day gift for someone on your list. Clients must make appointments in advance and wear masks inside the shop. There’s nothing better than having your hair washed and conditioned, along with a comforting scalp massage and hair styling. Shave your head if you wish or update your look, and spend some quality time in the comfortable back lounge, a large area with TV available, along with chess sets and books.
Jack, Emmy’s dog and mascot for the shop, will keep you company in a safe, quiet atmosphere that complies with all COVID-19 regulations.
Togetherness is wonderful, but having some alone time on Valentine’s Day can make the heart grow fonder.
The Searchers sang about “Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey,” and it’s time to get to the way most of us celebrate Valentine’s Day. Amin Deroui has desserts and pastries ready for you to savor from Mattarello Bakery & Cafe. He opened the business on Nov. 14, 2020, and is working seven days a week to bring us authentic Italian baked goods and more.
Amin chose the location next door to the old Bellevue Theater, and said, “You have to take educated risks in life. I got a good deal in what is not a normal environment. If you have a good product, then you will succeed.”
Make an in-person visit to the bakery and choose from heart-shaped cookies, specialty cakes and mousses flavored with red raspberry, keeping with the sweetest-day theme. Mattarello means rolling pin in Italian, and Amin, who was born in Morocco and raised in Spain before moving to Montclair, will help you put your rolling pin away.
“One of our bestsellers is our lobster tail pastries,” he said. “The lobster tails have about 100 crunchy layers, with a filling of French cream, a custard folded with whipped cream. It tastes like a cloud in your mouth.”
Don’t despair if you or your sweeties are vegan or sensitive to dairy and gluten products. The Chocolate and Lemon Caprese cakes are made from almond flour. Classic cannoli with fillings will make your day. Of course, there’s coffee available, too, in an exotic Italian blend of beans or just as a good old Caffee Americano.
Munch on mini vegetable quiches, sip savory soups or bite into a perfect panini. Online ordering, curbside pickup and delivery are also available within five to six miles of Montclair directly from the bakery. Fifteen different cakes are always ready for you to choose from, no advance ordering necessary.
Be healthy, look your personal best and enjoy the sweeter side of life on Valentine’s Day and always.
In this article:
Daily Dose Montclair
41 Glenridge Ave.
Virile Barber & Shop
112 Forest St.
Mattarello Bakery & Cafe
254 Bellevue Ave.
Robin Woods is a local girl-about-town writing about activities, stores, restaurants and interesting people that catch her eye. She’s written memoirs and music and fashion columns for various New York City newspapers.
She received the Shirley Chisholm Award for Journalism in 2015, as well as winning the 2019 Director’s Award in the Essex County Legacies Essay Contest, along with first place awards in 2017 and 2018.
Got something you think should be in Robin’s Nest? Write to us at: email@example.com.