Grounds for Sculpture and Downtown Princeton

I know this blog is usually for sharing our foodie adventures, but Matt and I decided we had to write about the day we spent at Grounds for Sculpture and exploring downtown Princeton.

For those of you who don’t know, Grounds for Sculpture is a 42-acre sculpture park and museum located in Hamilton, NJ. They have life-size replicas of famous paintings as well as an expansive permanent collection of contemporary works.

There are so many different styles of art located throughout the gardens as well as many hidden surprises to discover along the way. At times, it was difficult to determine what was a sculpture and what was real life; it was so fun and surreal! I lost track of how many times Matt and I would come across something and I was completely in awe.

One of the best parts of visiting Grounds for Sculpture is how interactive it is. You can actually touch and climb on many of the pieces (unless otherwise stated). There are many opportunities for unique photos – something I always enjoy.

While there is a lot of ground to cover, there are plenty of places to sit and relax as well as a full service restaurant, two cafes, and a snack gazebo. The Van Gogh Cafe was decorated like Starry Night (Matt and I took a break there to enjoy some cold drinks and an almond croissant).

In my opinion, some of the best replicas were that of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, Manet’s Olympia, Munch’s The Scream, and Wood’s American Gothic.

After spending over two hours walking around, Matt and I took a drive to Princeton. We stopped in at Princeton Record Exchange (excellent selection if you’re a music collector) before soaking in the beauty of the University campus. We also stopped at The Princeton University Art Museum, which has a very impressive collection. Some of the galleries included European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Art of the Ancient Americas.

Now, we’re completely exhausted and ready to have some dinner while doing nothing for the rest of the night.

What are some of your favorite local museums and gardens to visit?

 

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?

 

 

 

Food with Friends

Yesterday, I spent the day up in Sussex County with my friend Amanda since Matt had to work. Whenever I visit, we always make a point to get breakfast together. This time, we went to the Sparta Classic Diner with our friend Chris. You really can’t beat a good New Jersey diner.

I ordered the French Toast Tiramisu Tower, which came with strawberries, bananas, mascarpone cream cheese, raspberry sauce, and chocolate powder. Now, I don’t usually order sweet breakfasts, but I was craving one and this totally hit the spot. I loved how much fresh fruit actually came with it, and the French toast melted in my mouth. Amanda got the Short Rib and Egg Tacos, which came with a healthy portion of fresh guacamole. She let me try them, and they were pretty out of this world. The meat was so juicy and tangy. Finally, Chris got the Lumberjack Pancakes, which came with eggs, bacon, and sausage.

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After breakfast, Amanda and I just spent some time catching up. We stopped by her job, Electric Land Tattoo, and then we went to the mall to try and walk off what we ate for breakfast!

We weren’t too sure what we wanted for dinner, but eventually settled on Indian. We went to The Clay Oven in Ledgewood. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures because it was a little fancier than we had anticipated and I felt a little awkward doing so. But I’ll tell you all about what we ate anyway!

To start, we got the assorted vegetarian platter appetizer which came with samosas, veggie pakora, and paneer pakora. Everything was delightfully crispy and very well seasoned. We were also served a complimentary crispy bread which came with two spicy sauces and a side of marinated onions. Delicious.

For entrees, I got the Chicken Makhani and Amanda got the Lamb Vindaloo. The chicken was cooked in a buttery tomato-based sauce. It was so tender! The lamb was served with potatoes and Amanda said it was exceptionally spicy (and she loves spicy food). Both entrees came with seasoned rice. We also got a side of garlic naan. It was crispy, chewy, and slathered in a delightful garlic spread.

For dessert, we tried rasmalai (cottage cheese dumplings in sweetened milk) and gulab jamun (golden brown milk powder dumplings in syrup with pistachios). The rasmalai was served almost frozen. They were rich and creamy, but not too sweet. The gulab jamun were almost like an Indian zeppole. They were very soft, but a little too sweet for us. Amanda also got a mango lassi, which was super thick and fruity.

How did you spend your Saturday? Did you eat anything good?