A Day in New Hope, PA

Hi everyone! We are long overdue for a post – four months overdue, in fact.

Matt and I have been extremely busy with life lately, but we haven’t forgotten about our blog.

Aside from work, we’ve been enjoying fall in New Jersey (even though the weather hasn’t been particularly autumnal).

A few weeks ago, we took a day trip out to New Hope, PA and Peddler’s Village. They had there annual Scarecrow Competition and Display set up with likenesses from Game of Thrones and Disney movies, among others. We walked around and popped into the many different shops in the area. For lunch, we went to Hart’s Tavern which was super cozy (and the food was great). We shared the roast turkey sandwich with sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy, and the grilled vegetable wrap.

After, we drove into downtown New Hope and took a walk across the bridge to Lambertville. The entire area is filled with eclectic shops and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Have you ever been to New Hope? What are some of your favorite things to do there?

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A Little Lunch Date at Wang Sushi

Yesterday, Matt and I went out for lunch at a great little spot called Wang Sushi. They advertise themselves as Asian Fusion, so they offer a little bit of everything. One thing in particular I really enjoy is that they offer bubble tea (because it’s usually pretty hard to find around here).

We decided to stick to the lunch menu, which is offered from 11 AM to 3:30 PM and comes with white rice and your choice of soup. Matt got the Korean BBQ pork and I got the pork mei fun (which actually doesn’t come with rice since it’s a noodle dish). We both got hot and sour soup.

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I also ordered a honeydew bubble tea which was super fruity and refreshing. It also had a bunch of tapioca balls, which made me happy. The soup was tolerably spicy, but full of flavor. It had chunks of tofu and wisps of egg throughout the broth. Matt ordered his dish extra spicy, but as I tasted it, I decided it was markedly less spicy than authentic Korean food – but it was still very good. My pork dish was also delicious. There were chunks of carrots and green onion, and everything was very well-seasoned.

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Even though we had lunch portions, Matt and I were both very full by the time we left. So, we decided to take a drive to Island Heights and walk around near the water to help us digest. There were so many gorgeous Victorian houses to look at, too. Eventually, we sat in the shade for a while and watched the water until we decided it was time to go home.

How did you spend your day?

A Day in Cape May

Today, Matt and I took a day trip to Cape May with our friend Brian. Cape May is located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and is famous for its beaches and colorful Victorian architecture. Although the sun was hiding, it was still warm enough to walk around and explore.

Before we arrived at the downtown area, we stopped at the Cape May County Zoo. The admission is donation-based, so it’s a very budget friendly activity. In addition to all the exhibits, the zoo also has a zip line, train, carousel, and rock wall. We got to see so many different animals including giraffes, zebras, reptiles, and amphibians (among others).

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By the time we left the zoo, we were all starving. A quick Google search pointed us in the direction of the nearby Bellevue Tavern, where we decided to have lunch. I got the Black & Blue Burger with crumbled bleu cheese, red onions, and Creole mayo on a brioche bun with a side of French fries & coleslaw. It was huge! The patty was cooked perfectly for me (medium rare) and the sauce was very flavorful. Matt got the Hot Roast Beef Sandwich with au jus, horseradish, and hot peppers. I tried a bite and the meat was incredibly tender and extra juicy.

Finally, we drove down to the Washington Street Mall to park and walk around. We stopped in at the Iron Pier Craft House for a drink: Matt got a margarita, I had an orange crush, and Brian got the Slack Tide Cedar Plug IPA. They were located right across from the beach had some good happy hour specials.

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We did some more walking and looked at all the beautiful Victorian houses. I noticed the Red Cottage, where I’ll actually be staying this fall for my very good friend Kate’s bachelorette party (it looked gorgeous). There were so many cute shops to pop into including one selling Swedish goods, toy stores, candy and fudge shops, ice cream parlors, and much more! I bought some almond crunch from one candy shop and could not have been happier.

We had an amazing day, but it would have been great to spend more time in Cape May. Hopefully, we’ll get to go back soon!

Have you ever been to Cape May? What are some of your favorite places to go?

Great Local Eats: Mexico Lindo

This afternoon, Matt and I made an impromptu visit to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for lunch. Mexico Lindo, in Brick, is actually where we had one of our first dates. We discovered it last summer while on the hunt for a good burrito. It’s small and easy to miss, but once you’re inside you feel like you’re in a good friend’s kitchen.

The staff, particularly the owner, is incredibly friendly and accommodating. Each time we’ve gone to eat there, he has gone out of his way to make genuine conversation with us. While Matt and I were looking over the [extensive] menu, we were brought tortilla chips with fresh, flavorful salsa. To drink, we ordered some tamarind-flavored Jarritos soda. Not too sweet, but very refreshing.

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For lunch, Matt ordered the poblano burrito with mole sauce. It was literally the size of his arm and stuffed with chicken, fluffy yellow rice, beans, and poblano peppers. The mole was rich and chocolatey. So tasty! I had the shrimp taco platter. The tacos came in corn tortillas with yellow rice, refried beans, and a tangy salsa verde.

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We left completely satisfied, practically in food comas. There are so many other things I would love to try on the menu. Some of our other favorites are the shrimp burrito and the pork verde burrito. When we went last summer, we got to eat outside on their patio. It’s modest, but there is something so satisfying about eating great food outside. Additionally, the prices are reasonable and the portions are very generous.

Unfortunately, Mexico Lindo doesn’t have a website, but I’ll leave the info below in case you’re in the area and would like to go there:

Mexico Lindo

2063 NJ-88

Brick, NJ 08724

What are some of your favorite Mexican dishes? Feel free to share with us!

Tia Tries Blue Apron

Last night, I had dinner with our friends Alex and Bryan. Unfortunately, Matt had to work so he wasn’t able to join us.

Alex was excited because they recently started using Blue Apron. She told me that their first three meals were free, and with their current plan they get three meals per week. Blue Apron has a two person option as well as a family option (for four). I’ve heard good things about the meal delivery service from other friends, and I was looking forward to seeing what it was all about.

On the menu was spinach and fresh mozzarella pizza. All the ingredients were fresh and individually packaged: pizza dough, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta salata, oregano, green pepper, shallot, tomato sauce, and red pepper flakes. Each meal comes with its own recipe card. There were even full color pictures and wine pairings. I also saw nutrition facts for each meal as well as some other literature about food.

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Alex and Bryan prepared everything together. I tried to help, but mostly ended up drinking wine (I brought over a yummy red moscato). What I thought was interesting about this recipe was that the sauce didn’t actually go on the pizza, but was instead reserved for dipping as per the directions.

When everything was ready, we sat down to eat. I think we were all pretty impressed with how the pizza came out: the dough was nice and crispy and I loved all the fresh veggies on top.

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What I liked best about my Blue Apron experience was that the recipes are ones you might not typically think to make while cooking at home. For example, Alex mentioned that she and Bryan made kale quesadillas with fried egg one night and shiitake miso burgers another. I feel like it really allows you to explore new foods. What I didn’t like was how much package waste was leftover. While it’s great that the ingredients are pre-portioned, there was a lot of plastic to throw out.

Have you ever used Blue Apron before? What are your thoughts?

*This post is not sponsored by Blue Apron.

Date Day in Asbury Park

Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Matt and I have both been very busy with work and haven’t had many days off to spend together. However, we were finally off on Wednesday and decided to spend it in Asbury Park doing what we do best: eating.

We slept in before Matt made a little light breakfast of fresh Italian bread, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic. It was just enough to get us going. Although the air was a little brisk, the sun was shining. We hopped in the car and made a shopping pit stop before continuing to Asbury.

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When we got there, it was pretty foggy, but we decided to take a stroll to the boardwalk anyway. There wasn’t much open. Even so, we walked all the down to the Convention Hall to check out the shops. Asbury Park Roastery’s Boardwalk Cafe was open and we got two big cups of cold brew. It was excellent coffee.

After we walked back to Cookman Avenue, Matt and I were a bit peckish, so we stopped in at Brickwall. We ordered the deviled eggs and six middleneck clams (they were only $1 each). I loved how briny the clams were, and adding a little lemon juice made them even better.

Once we were finished, our next stop was Taka, where Matt recently started working as a sushi chef. They have happy hour from 3 to 6. We each got a Sapporo draught for $3 and Matt got a large hot sake for $6 (but I really don’t like sake). For food, we ordered the kara-age (Japanese fried chicken). It was served on a bed of cabbage and the sauce was sweet and spicy. We also decided to get an order of house made chips and guacamole as well as beef negimaki (thinly sliced beef with scallions and teriyaki sauce). Everything was so delicious!

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We walked around town some more, even though it was getting colder out. Matt and I weren’t starving, but we still wanted to have some food at Pascal and Sabine: a European-style brasserie which a few of Matt’s coworkers had recommended. The interior was beautifully decorated – sleek and dark with moody lighting. Our server, Jeff, was knowledgeable and attentive making our dining experience absolutely impeccable.

For cocktails, I had Sabine’s Mimosa and Matt had the Spiced Paloma. We shared some charcuterie: pork pâté en croute and Sainte-Maure goat cheese. It was presented beautifully with honey, jam, candied pecans, apples, tomatoes, cornichons, and pickled mustard seeds. For a small plate, we ordered the pan-seared sea bream with creamed wild mushrooms. The fish was prepared perfectly and the sauce was rich and full of flavor.

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We left feeling incredibly satisfied. What a wonderful day!

What are some of your favorite local restaurants? What do you like to order when you go there?

Celebrating St. Paddy’s… with Ramen!

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Yesterday, Matt and I planned to go out and have a nice, big Irish breakfast and some beers. Too bad when we got to the pub, there was an hour an a half wait. We moved on to Plan B, which was another pub less than ten minutes away. It was also crowded, but we got our beers and waited about 30 minutes for a table. After realizing how incredibly overpriced the menu was, we got up and left.

After a little more driving, we found ourselves at Squan Tavern in Manasquan. While they weren’t offering any St. Patrick’s Day specials, they did have some good lunch deals. We got a cheese pizza for $5 as well as a chicken parm sub (also $5, but I added fries for .99). The pizza was honestly some of the best we’ve had in the area. It was very well-seasoned with thin, crispy crust. The sandwich was good, too, but the fries were definitely not crunchy enough. I should’ve stuck with the potato chips that were originally included.

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Overall, we thought it was a good deal and would  go back again for the pizza.

For dinner, Matt wanted to get creative with some Irish-inspired ramen. His mom had been cooking corned beef and cabbage all day, so he planned on using some of the meat. He also made a shoyu broth from the juice. A few days before, he made an Irish style kimchi with cabbage, red cabbage, and scallions, and let it ferment. The ramen also included pickled mustard seeds, scallions, a caraway rye crumble, and a sweet mustard sauce. It was one of the most unique dishes he’s ever cooked for me and I really loved it!

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The rest of the night, we got to relax and watched some Twin Peaks together.

How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? What traditional (or non-traditional) foods did you eat?

 

 

 

A Korean Food Oasis in Edison

Today, Matt and I decided to have a little adventure and visit the H-Mart in Edison, NJ. For those of you don’t know, H-Mart is a supermarket chain that specializes in Asian groceries (predominantly Korean). It wasn’t too far from Ocean County and as we pulled into the parking lot, we realized that there were several Korean restaurants, a jjimjilbang, a Daiso (which is a popular discount store in Japan and Korea), and a Paris Baguette (one of my favorite Korean cafes) in the same shopping center.

There was a large food court and a beautiful display of Japanese and Korean snacks as soon as we walked in. The produce department had a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Near the back of the store, the seafood department boasted tanks and tanks of live fish. Many of the containers were even self-serve. It was really nice to see products I hadn’t seen since leaving Korea. Matt and I loved looking at the snacks, ramyeun, and cookware. There were cosmetics, clothing, and accessory shops. We also might have bought a super spicy ramyeun bowl to try.

After making our way through H-Mart, we were getting hungry for lunch. We looked in the window at a Korean BBQ buffet, but it was a little more than we were looking to spend this afternoon. Matt and I ultimately settled on So Kong Dong Tofu House. He had really wanted to get the naengmyeon (cold noodle soup), but we were told it was a summer specialty. Instead, Matt got the “very spicy” seafood tofu soup and I got the hot stone bibimbap. Our meal was served with cabbage kimchi, cucumber kimchi, marinated fish cakes, bean sprouts, and a lettuce salad.

Everything was delicious. My bibimbap was piping hot, and I let it sit before mixing everything together so the rice could get a little crispy on the bottom (that’s totally the best part). Matt’s soup came with lots of shrimp, clams, and silken tofu. Out of all the banchan, my favorite was definitely the cucumber kimchi. Matt’s was the fish cakes.

When we finished lunch, we went to another Asian grocery called 99 Ranch Market. It wasn’t as big as H-Mart, but it also had a pretty big selection of products. Inside, there was a CoCo Bubble Tea. I got the winter melon and Matt got traditional bubble tea. Mine was sweet and unexpectedly cinnamon-y, but I like it.

Do you like Korean food? What are some of your favorite dishes?

Let’s Do Brunch: Matt Talks Eggs Benedict

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Matt getting excited about Eggs Benedict!

Eggs Benedict is a staple of brunch dining and, in my opinion, one of the most versatile of all egg dishes. It might even be more versatile than the omelette! The concept seems like a simple one: eggs, some sort of protein (usually a type of ham), toasted English muffins, and Hollandaise sauce. However, given these simple constructs it allows the individual cooking to get a little creative and maybe even bend some rules.

I have always had a fond interest in this saucy, buttery dish. I have actually created several variations, but today I’d like to share with you my most recent, and perhaps most succulent: Sweet Chile Shrimp Eggs Benedict.

Now, Eggs Benedict may seem like a simple, easy to prepare dish on the outside – but do not be fooled. There are a few classical French cooking techniques present in this dish that may pose a challenge to the amateur cook. The perfect example of this is the Hollandaise sauce. This gorgeous, buttery beauty is one of the 5 Mother sauces in French cuisine, and certainly the most fickle. Seeing that it is a simple combination of butter and egg yolk leaves very little margin for error. This sauce can break or curdle on you in a heartbeat, so be wary, but don’t let this discourage you!

Have you ever made Eggs Benedict before? Do you keep it classic, or get a little crazy?

Sweet Chili Shrimp Eggs Benedict

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 12 41/50 count raw cleaned, shelled shrimp
  • 4 (1″) thick slices of crusty Italian bread
  • 6 eggs
  • Scallions sliced lengthwise
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Sweet Chili Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp. miso paste
  • Cornstarch slurry to thicken
  • 1 tbsp. neutral oil (like vegetable oil)

Miso Sriracha Hollandaise:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 oz. clarified butter
  • 1 tbsp. miso paste
  • 1-2 tsp. Sriracha (to taste)

Directions:

To start, gather your eggs. You can’t have Eggs Benedict without them. In this case, they are going to be soft boiled. Classically, the eggs are to be poached, but this method is more efficient in regards to both time and energy.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and place 4 large eggs gently into the pot. Make sure not to crack the egg as it will ruin the shape and, potentially, the entire egg. Cook them at a rolling boil for 6 minutes. Then, place them in an ice bath and peel the shells off when they have cooled. Set aside in a bowl for later use.

Next, it is time to make the sweet chili sauce for the shrimp.If you are using fresh shrimp, make sure that you have them deveined and shelled. If you are using frozen shrimp, you can buy them shelled and deveined.

For the sweet chili sauce, first place a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Next, add in the oil and let it get hot. Add the chili garlic paste and stir quickly. Wait 15-20 seconds, and then add the sugar. Mix with a wooden or plastic spoon until dissolved. After the sugar and the chili paste are bubbling nicely, add the soy sauce and miso paste. Stir until the mixture bubbles again, and then add your cornstarch slurry. Only add enough to thin the sauce. Then, allow it to thicken via the cornstarch.

After the starch has come together, add the shrimp and saute them until cooked thoroughly. If your sauce gets too thick, add a little water to the pan. You want it to coat the shrimp, but not evaporate away and burn in the pan.

Now that two of the four main items are prepared, it’s time to prepare the bread. Make sure you have a fresh loaf of bread – preferably one with a thick crust, like Italian bread. The slices should be a little less than an inch thick. The bread can be toasted, but it can also be left soft and chewy in order to absorb all of the sauces.

Now for the hard part: the Hollandaise.

The first step to any Hollandaise is tempering the egg yolks. In order to do this, separate the yolks and the whites. In a small metal bowl, prepare the yolks by breaking them with a whisk. Turn on one of the burners on your stove and slowly add a little heat to the bottom of the bowl while steadily whisking. Do this until the egg turns a lighter shade of yellow. If this method seems too complicated, the same thing can be accomplished with a double boiler.

Once the yolk is tempered, slowly start whisking in all of the butter. Make sure to add the butter in parts – ideally three or four. If you add it all at once, or aren’t whisking swiftly enough, the sauce will separate.

Once you’ve succeeded in making the Hollandaise, whisk in the miso paste and Sriracha.
The only step left is to compile all of the items in the appropriate fashion. Using the bread as your base, layer the shrimp, egg, and sauce on top. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!