The Speakeatery: Sandwiches in Asbury Park

Yesterday, Matt and I went to Asbury Park (along with my friend Brit from college) to watch the LGBTI Pride Parade and Festival. We were a little hungry and decided to go to a relatively new restaurant, The Speakeatery, where Matt’s friend Jake happens to work. It’s a cute little place with an old-school feel. Orders are taken at the counter and there is even chalk board in front of the seats for guests to draw on.

18952722_10154821795833074_4258770589373837533_n

They offer deli sandwiches, specialty sandwiches, salads, soups, and a variety of sides. It took us all quite some time to figure out what we wanted since everything sounded so good!

I got the Pickle Focker, which was made up of pickle brined fried chicken, pickles, bacon, pickle slaw, and dill shallot aioli served on a round roll. I also added fries for $1. This sandwich absolutely did not disappoint. First off, it was so big I could barely take a proper bite. The chicken was incredibly juicy and I loved the flavor that the pickle brine gave it. The shoestring fries were also piping hot and very well seasoned. There was also enough for the three of us to share.

18814173_10154821796248074_1110033956546407460_n

Matt got the Angry Al Capone: ham, prosciutto, hot capocolla, pepperoni, hot cherry peppers, and provolone on a hero roll. I only took a little bite, but it was very good from what I tasted! Finally, Brit got the Pork Chop Express: garlic and herb shaved pork chop, broccoli rabe, and provolone served on a soft pan baked hero. She said it was delicious.

18839204_10154821797073074_2347514494639518969_n

We all agreed that we would definitely go back. Next time, though, I want the Hand Grenade: smoked bone-in BBQ rib, baked bean puree, five cheese mac-n-cheese, house whiskey BBQ sauce,and cole slaw. How amazing does that sound? (Also, click here to see a video about the sandwich.)

What’s the best sandwich you’ve ever had?

Shut Up and Eat!

Yesterday, Matt and I decided to have breakfast at a Toms River favorite: Shut Up and Eat. As soon as we got out of the car, we saw a sign letting us know that this little spot has won Best Breakfast in Ocean County for ten years in a row! Now, that’s impressive.

When we got inside, the waitresses (who were dressed in pajamas) greeted us cheerfully and told us to have a seat. The walls were decorated with eclectic knick-knacks. It was so fun to look around at everything.

Next was the hard part – deciding on what we wanted to eat. The menu was incredibly extensive, with everything from breakfast classics to “shoe-sized schickhaus dogs” and “the bread filled with stuff section.” I loved how every aspect of dining here was whimsical and fun!

Matt and I started with two BIG cups of coffee (in mismatched mugs, of course). I went with the stuffed french toast (with cream cheese, strawberries, and chocolate chips). Matt decided on the South Toms River scrambler with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and avocado. It also came with toast.

18121420_10154704877168074_5607733263641424875_o

The portions were huge. So huge, in fact, that I had to take half of mine home (and that never happens). Even so, the french toast was phenomenal – crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside. It was exactly what I was craving. We left feeling so satisfied, and can’t wait until next time!

Shut Up and Eat also serves lunch and their hours are 6:30 to 3:30 Monday through Saturday and 6:30 to 3:00 on Sunday. They’re located at 804 Main Street in Toms River, NJ 08753.

Are there any award-winning breakfast spots in your area? What’s your favorite thing to get there?

Tapas at Europa South

Yesterday, my friend Kate was in the area for a wedding dress fitting. Since she lives up north and we don’t get to see each other too often, we decided to make a day of it.

We took a drive to Asbury Park to visit Matt at Taka (and indulge in their happy hour specials). Then, we went across the street to Cookman Creamery for some ice cream. I got cookie butter and lemon cookie. Kate got cookie butter, too, as well as peanut butter crunch with whipped cream. It was quite possibly some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had – so rich and creamy. Cookman Creamery also offers a wide variety of vegan and gluten free options, which is great!

The absolute highlight of our day, however, was dinner at Europa South in Point Pleasant. Kate and I really ended up there by accident, mostly because we both had to use the restroom. It was packed, but we got a small table in the bar area. They offer an extensive tapas menu (at the bar only) and we looked over everything carefully before picking three things to share: fried calamari, Prince Edward Island mussels, and pan amb oli with Serrano ham.

18095228_1297628703646588_7375325163610439680_n

We also ordered a half pitcher of white sangria and had a basket of fresh bread with butter. Everything was presented beautifully. The mussels were seemingly never-ending, cooked in a buttery white wine broth. The calamari was hot and crispy, served with a sweet chili sauce. Finally, the pan amb oli, might have been the tastiest thing on the table. There were thick pieces of Serrano ham atop fresh bread with olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes. Just wow.

While the food was incredible, it wasn’t even the best part of our experience. What we didn’t know when we walked in was that there was live music and dancing. It was wonderful to eat and chat while hearing a live singer and watching couples on the dance floor. And, better yet, the whole bill was only $44!

I definitely have to go back here with Matt. It would be perfect for a date night.

 

 

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).

17952711_10154688556933074_7469690867630261868_n

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.

17990937_10154688557288074_5907764922917417095_n

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.

IMG_20170412_154830_814

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.

IMG_20170412_160958_094

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!

Hot Empanadas and Cold Drinks: Jersey Shore Edition

There is something beautiful about things wrapped in dough: sweet things, savory things. And they’re usually better when they’re fried. That’s exactly what Matt and I were craving today, so we hopped in the car and went to one of the Empanada Guy food trucks. The one we went to was located on Chambersbridge Road in Brick, NJ, in the parking lot of the Ocean Ice Palace Ice Skating Rink.

received_10158276524990582

 

Empanada Guy has nine food trucks in total and one brick and mortar restaurant located in Freehold, NJ.

We ordered the chorizo, pulled pork, and guava and cheese empanadas, and a side order of the sweet corn tamales. The tamales were fresh from the fryer and everything else smelled so good. We grabbed our bags and sat in the car, with the top down (it was 73 degrees today!).

 

First, we unwrapped the tamale from its corn husk. It was soft and steamy, and we poured hot sauce on top. The sweetness of the masa and the acidity of the hot sauce combined perfectly. Next, we tried the chorizo empanada. The filling was bright red and the dough was crispy. It was a little spicy, but not enough to deter me (Matt, on the other hand, loves spicy food). After that was the pulled pork. It was super juicy and meaty. Adding some salsa verde made it even yummier, too. Finally, it was time for the guava and cheese. The guava paste was sweet and tangy, and the mozzarella cheese was oozy and delicious. There was no disappointment with this meal at all.

After lunch, we took a drive up to Asbury Park where we went to Asbury Festhalle and Biergarten. I had the Blanche de Bruxelles and Matt had the Hacker-Pschorr Dunkel. We were able to sit at the roof garden and, although it was a little windy, the sun was shining and got to relax. We spent some time checking out a few shops before stopping in at Bond Street for another drink. Matt had a PBR and I had a cranberry vodka. Bond Street is definitely a local dive, but the atmosphere is chill and the drinks are cheap. We really love going there!

Moving on, we took a walk down to the boardwalk and ventured out onto a jetty. It was so nice being able to put our toes in the sand and being surrounded by beautiful, crashing waves in February. Another day off well spent.

What are some of your favorite food trucks and bars to go to in your area? What makes them great?