My roommate from college has a family beach home at the real jersey shore on Long Beach Island. I was first invited there about 5 years ago. It was during the summer and the island was packed full of people. Everyone was so friendly and nice. and dressed in tank tops and shorts. For the evening, it was a tank top with a hooded sweatshirt on top, and shorts.
My latest invitation to LBI was for Chowderfest 2013. My friend even offered to pick me up in Newark on her way down south. I was so excited to go back to the island. After our road trip we went straight to Kubel’s Too for dinner. We ordered a crab cheese dip for starters and I had the chicken sandwich with cheese and mushrooms. The food was delicious. We did a little more catching up and then fell in and out of sleep pretending to watch a movie in the living room.
The following morning we got up really early to beat the crowd at Marvel’s for donuts. They have a really old-fashioned machine that makes the donuts and there are only about 3 or 4 choices: plain, powdered, cinnamon, and glazed. I had glazed. It was really good. I highly recommend eating donuts for breakfast if you’re going to get them from Marvel’s.
Later we did some shopping and window shopping. All the vendors were set up under large white tents. We were able to find t-shirts and jewelry for good prices. We had lunch at The Chicken or the Egg (locals call it the Chegg). This was also the restaurant for an episode of tv show Man vs. Food. I didn’t have hot wings or anything. I had an amazing breakfast platter for about $8. Dinner was take-out from Barry’s Do Me A Flavor. Another delicious eatery on the island!
Sunday was CHOWDERFEST! I was so excited. Not sure if I was even a chowder fan or not, but what better place to find out? I think I had tasted chowder twice in my life before this day. Chowderfest consists of a “white” tent and a “red” tent. You pay an entry fee and are allowed to taste chowders all day and then vote on your favorite white and red flavors. There is live music and vendors also in the same area. We started at the white tent. After 2 booths, I was a fan of new england clam chowder. We actually tasted all of the flavors except Friday’s. We just weren’t particularly interested in their idea of chowder. Under the red tent, I was not really a fan. There were a couple that had good flavors but I don’t care for manhattan clam chowder. I tried them all though. Afterall, Chowderfest is only once a year and I wanted to be educated on what good chowders should be!
Before we left I cast my votes for Howard’s under the white tent and The Gazebo under the red tent. I later found out that Howard’s won! So I really know white chowder. The Gazebo did not place however, so I am not a red chowder expert. If you are anywhere in the NJ, NY, CT, or PA area, you must go to Chowderfest next October! It is a fun and filling experience.
In Paris, France, at a restaurant called La Perla, some friends and I met up for someone’s birthday drinks. I don’t drink so of course ordered food. I ordered a chocolate brownie. I was told they didn’t have ice cream and was surprised and disappointed but, hey, this is France!
When my brownie arrived I was still sad and said it would have been so much better with ice cream. My friend Deborah asked if I wanted some. I said, “Yes. Why? Do you have some?” She pulled a vanilla pop out of her purse and saved the day!! It was delicious. Thank God for foodie friends like myself!
Brownie from La Perla, ice cream from Deborah’s purse!
This trip was during August 2011. I was headed to Florida from New Jersey but had a connecting flight. I chose my connection location carefully. (Continue reading and you’ll see why.) I arrived at Newark EWR without incident and went through security. Of course my Jersey girl costume jewelry went off in the metal detectors and I received a friendly pat-down. After making a couple phone calls I boarded the plane. I chatted with a gentleman in my row. We talked about him living in Florida and me going to visit family there. He asked where I lived and we talked about Paris. He told me he hadn’t been there in almost 30 years. We had a few laughs at the expense of the cigarette smoking, skinny, wine drinking, French. A young lady then sat between us. We talked about her life. She shared that she will be a freshman this fall in college majoring in Art. She worked on a little drawing during the flight that was very good. The drawing was a girl character of some sort and she was putting wings on it.
Once in air all I could think about was my layover in Charlotte. Truth be told I thought about it when I knew I had to book my flight. I was excited to stop there to get some food. I love CLT airport. There are cute little shops that cater to your every need and whim. I remember about 3 years ago a coworker and I had a layover there on the way back to New Jersey. We decided to have a drink in Tequilaria. The name alone sounded exotic and wonderful! The drinks were pretty good too. We sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender until our delayed flight was finally ready for boarding.
During my most recent layover there, 1 month ago, I was looking for food. Burgers did not interest me and I settled on Chinese food. I looked for it on the giant directory. While walking towards the Chinese food, I noticed a long line. It wasn’t for the Chinese, it was right next to it. I looked up to see that it was North Carolina BBQ. With the line being so long I figured it had to be good. I glanced at the food behind the glass before getting in line. I saw a giant piece of meat that was being sliced. I had made up my mind after reading the menu. It was a tough choice between the ribs or the pulled pork but I opted for the pulled pork sandwhich with fried okra. I was so excited. I love Carolina BBQ!
The staff was very friendly. The food looked good but I hoped the meat wasn’t too dry. I asked them not to put bbq sauce on the sandwich (since I don’t eat it). The man at the end of the line reached in a food bin and put something on my plate. It was fried and in the shape of a wedge. I paid for my food and happily sat down.
The pulled pork was the best pulled pork sandwich I had ever had! It was soft and it seemed to have melted in my mouth. The fried wedge that I thought was a potato turned out to be a fried pickle! Even that was yummy too. I was a greedy person in heaven. I had bliss on my face as I held the sandwich with two hands and ate it.
I had told the man in my row about this experience and he said he may join me for a bite there before his next flight. We got off the plane and shared a delicious meal at Brookwood Farms. After finishing the meals, we exchanged names and wished each other good luck in travel and life.
Please stop at this place if you have a chance!! You will love it!
Paris in the Spring is beautiful, enchanting and a little crowded. Fortunately, there is a great solution if you are looking for a break from tourists or the bustle of city life. Getaway for the day and take a trip to the Champagne region of France! There are many quaint and beautiful towns to visit there.
Champagne houses offer tours for individuals and groups that can include Champagne tastings. During my trip I visited two champagne houses. The first was the house of Mumm. This champagne is relatively well-known. The tour guide was friendly and answered all of our questions. We were shown a film and then taken downstairs into the cellar to see the vats and old equipment and machines used for producing and bottling the champagne.
Following Mumm, we ate lunch at Le Cheval Blanc (The White Horse). The three course meal was delicious and the presentation was superb! We began with bread, cheese puffs, and champagne bien sur (of course)! The first course was jambon (ham) with spinach, walnuts and cheese.
For the main course I had the steak. Everyone was served red wine with the meal. The fruit tart for dessert was almost too pretty to eat!
We left there satisfied and en route to the next champagne house, Acueil. This one was more of a “Mom and Pop” champagne house and it was an even better experience.
Even though we had a translator because we could not understand all of the French, the proprietor made us feel welcomed. We toured the facilities, were given a lesson explaining how other companies buy grapes from him.
Finally came the champagne tasting. He and his wife even had a snack to go along with the champagnes. After tasting two champagnes, he insisted that we try the rose. We said, “Well, if you insist.”
Visit Reims and the Champagne region of France. You will enjoy the character and hospitality of the locals. Also, when in Champagne, drink champagne!
Look, a real breakfast!
Does anyone else love to eat? I do! I am greedy and prefer three meals a day with snacks in between. The secret to French skinniness is that they eat smaller portions, the food is expensive AND, they don’t have real breakfast here!
If you read my earlier post, French Culture Shock, you know I have touched on this shocking subject before. For breakfast we Americans like eggs, grits, bacon/sausage, homefries, pancakes/French toast, etc. In France breakfast is a croissant and a coffee or hot chocolate. A tasty snack, but where’s the beef??
Don’t panic yet. I have great news. There is a diner (yes a genuine diner) that serves American breakfast in Paris. The restaurant is aptly named, Breakfast In America. Being a Jersey girl, I know what a diner should be. Our state has more than anyone can count. I was skeptical going in thinking, this is not going to be good and its probably not a real diner.
I was pleasantly surprised! I ordered fried eggs, bacon, pancakes, and home fries. Best 11 Euro I have spent in a long time! I sat at the bar. There was old American music playing. Waitresses yelled out “Order up.” I felt like I was back at home.
The food was delicious. As my belt tightened I thought, “Am I getting full?” I ate real bacon! The pancakes were soft and cooked perfectly. Today was the first time I had seen an egg cooked in a restaurant. They usually eat the raw atop beef tartar (yuck).
For all you other homesick Americans in Paris or in France craving a real breakfast make your way to Breakfast In America. They are open every day and brunch is served all day on Sundays. The service was good and the food was great. I will be back on Tuesday. It’s not a special occasion or lunch date, just Tuesday.
– Happy eating : )