Archive for the 'food' Category

One More Shore Dinner

Sunset on Sandy Hook Bay

Sun setting over Sandy Hook Bay

We did it! We snuck away last weekend on a SUNDAY night to have dinner down the shore. Now if you know my husband, you know that he NEVER does anything anymore on a work night. *grin* I remember when we used to go out bowling with friends on Monday evening, starting at 9pm once the leagues were done. Hard to imagine that now. We were both going to be working from home on this Monday, because we had a kidney stone follow-up appointment. When he suggested heading to Inlet Cafe in Highlands, NJ, I was thrilled.

Highlands beach

public beach at Highlands, NJ

We drove down with no trouble. I took the local way, not the Parkway, for those of you who know what I mean (and care about which road is which *grin*). Of course we took the convertible. We’d scoped out the parking the last time we were here, and I headed for the little municipal lot I’d noticed then. Although there were cars there were still spots. It only holds perhaps 10 cars maximum, maybe even only 8. What I hadn’t realized was that there was a BEACH behind the lot. There is a small gazebo, and a small beach. If you don’t mind swimming in the bay (as opposed to the ocean), there’s no reason to head over the causeway to Sandy Hook. All of a sudden the allure of renting in the Highlands became much clearer. There are a lot of cute looking restaurants and cafes in that area, as well as the Twin Lights (the historic lighthouse situated on the bluffs above the bay).

view from our table

view from our table

It’s only 2 blocks over to the Inlet Cafe. They have a corn hole game set up, 2 large lawn swings, some benches, and of course a great view of the water, in case you have to wait for a table. They have 3 dining areas – indoors, outside under a roof but with open sides (the bar was there), and then outside at tables along the water. Of course we opted for outside. We had a table right along the water and it was perfect. Like many of the restaurants there, they had a dock so you could motor up in your boat, moor, have your meal, and head out again. I always enjoy watching the boats come and go.

swans by table

motor or paddle right on up!

The drinks were great, the food extremely tasty. That is why I’m posting a food picture. I had the tuna tacos and Jim had steamers. That’s my ‘chick drink’ martini – vodka, chambord and pineapple. I do appreciate getting a good-size drink, but it shouldn’t be filled to the brim. Use bigger glasses so that I can have the proper amount of liquid without losing half of it every time I lift the glass. 😦 That’s probably my only complaint of the evening.
Fish tacos and martini

I want to call out the wait staff as well, and the hostess – both pleasant and professional. My husband had left his fork on his salad plate and so had no fork when his entree arrived. I was looking about for our waiter, wearing that familiar “diner in distress face”. 🙂 Another waiter went by quickly, arms full of dirty dishes. He might have been 2 steps past me when he stopped, backed up and asked if I needed anything. He brought a new fork in under 30 seconds. Now THAT is good wait staff.
sign post

Before we left I wandered down to the dock to get better pictures of the swans. I know they thought I had food, so they posed for me, hoping for a reward. Alas, I’d eaten MY dinner. As we were leaving, we wandered over to see the lawn swings, and the sign post and check out what else might be there. We were easily 6 feet from the hostess stand as we headed to our car, but she called out to us, thanking us for coming and wishing us a good evening. Again – she could have ignored us, as the waiter could have justifiably ignored us. But I went back to chat with her about how much we enjoyed the meal and how management should be aware of that waiter’s professionalism and concern.
swan and reflected lights

We got back to our car and the little municipal lot was now full. As I was about to unlock the doors I felt eyes upon me. Next to us were 2 LARGE dogs. They looked like happy friendly dogs – a lot of snuffling the window and drooling – no growls or barking. I’m not sure they’d have FIT in my car!

guarding their car

Car Guardians (St Bernards?)

I am not sure the restaurant is open all through the winter. I seem to remember being told that they close for a month or two. In any case, we really, really enjoyed Inlet Cafe and will be heading back there for the food, service and view!

more swans and water

Great ambiance. Water. Swans. Boats. Pilings. Shore.

Watermelon Radish

watermelon radishes

I was searching all over for the White Balsamic Vinegar that I like – Bellino Italian White Vinegar. I went to Shop Rite, Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s, and even, as a long shot, Walmart. I was prepared to find it online when Shop Rite returned it to the shelves. Yay!!! As is my wont, I did check out the fresh produce in many of those stores – you never know what will look appealing and special. I was in Whole Foods when I saw “Watermelon Radishes“. I LOVE radishes and snack on them all the time. I’ve found the large organic ones are almost sweet as well as tart and crunchy. I’d never heard of a watermelon radish. I did what you would do – pulled out my phone and did a search. 🙂 I bought 4 of them. They are indeed an absolutely gorgeous color inside. The ones I had were a bit firmer and perhaps less flavorful than some of the regular red-and-white radishes, but they were still very tasty. I munched on one as a snack, and tossed the others into a green (and now pink) salad. For your viewing pleasure, and as a suggestion for enjoyment if you encounter them in your store, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Watermelon Radishes!

Summer Bounty

produce still life

Friday was Farmers’ Market day. We’d eaten pretty much everything in the refrigerator. The caterpillars had my herbs. There were no ripe grape tomatoes on my plant. I definitely needed someone else’s produce if we were to have salads and snacks. It was glorious weather again, no hurricane near us yet. So I grabbed 2 bags and headed up to the market.
farmers' market pet vendor

I almost thought that it was going to be that rarity – a day when I saw no one I knew. I’d already picked up a few things when I realized I was staring at my next door neighbors. 🙂 We stood about chatting, as one does at the market. Larry took photos of us. This is apparently his “new thing” – documenting his life. Hah! He’s only half-way there. He needs to add commentary!
von thun's stand

As we chatted my good friends Matt and Janice came up. Their block was having their annual block party that weekend (yes, we went – it was great). Matt was walking about with a big huge watermelon and Janice had a sack full of eggplant for parmigiana. We’d probably have talked a lot longer, the market is so conducive for chatting, but Janice had an appointment she had to attend.
farmers' market sandwich board

I had finished picking my cukes, radishes and tomatoes when I heard someone calling my name. It was Bruce, who does occasional fix-it-up work for me. I hadn’t seen him in ages, it seems. I guess having a new kitchen cuts back on repairs. 🙂 We agreed we’d meet up at the block party.
baker's bounty

We had plans to go out to dinner with friends that night, so I didn’t need to do any food preparation once I got home. I decided to make a still life portrait of my purchases. The only thing not immediately recognizable are the pickles. Dr. Pickle is always at the farmers’ market. Thank goodness. Nothing like a good half sour pickle for a snack!
Dr Pickle


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