Category Archives: Yum Yumzz Reviewed NJ:

Talula’s – Asbury Park, NJ

Something aboPeanutPimpMama1-300x300ut this place makes me want to give it a giant hug. I’m not sure if it’s the cutesy interior or the fact that they have amazing vegetarian options served by plaid-shirted hipsters. Maybe it’s the fact that the food is presented on plates that could have been part of my grandmother’s china. It’s really easy to feel at home in this no-fuss cafeteria style (seated) pizza joint that knows how to shake up a tasty cocktail. If their windows did not face Cookman Ave., I would imagine you would see a red barn with fluffy little sheep munching on grass, butterflies fluttering through the sunshine, bunnies stealing carrots from the garden as the cows stand (tails wagging) just waiting to be milked by little Talula in efforts to bring you that special farm-to-table freshness.

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For now we’re in Asbury Park, NJ and that’s okay because Talula’s brings something new and refreshing to the scene. It’s a great alternative to our old standby Porta and you can hit it up on the way to the parkway! When you finally get a chance to pop in I suggest you start your experience off with a “Gin and Jam” pictured above: gin, lemongrass, simple syrup, homemade cranberry jam and lime. As soon as my cocktail arrived I knew I was in for a special treat. The tiny spoon filled with homemade cranberry jam sent me over-the-moon with excitement. They were smart to add this petite little stir-in which adds a kitsch yet feminine twist to this cocktail. It gives the customer a sense of control and purpose with the ability to add a little more flavor as they go along. They can now be part of the “mixology” because you know “mixologists” work here. Gone are the days of bartenders. Any proper restaurant only hires a mixologist these days.

imageFor our starters we ordered the Tuscan Kale Caesar and the Whitefish Toasts (pictured above). The salad was nice and crunchy with preserved meyer lemon, fried capers with Pecorino and sourdough breadcrumb bits on top of nice leafy greens, but the toast was by far my fave. The fish was layered on top of a generous slather of creamy avocado and dressed with citrusy-goodness on crunchy toast. Mmm tangy and savory… It was all happening.
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Our next plate to arrive was the bowl of polenta made with farmer’s ground corn and topped off with a poached egg, goat cheese and nettle purée. It was an interesting change to see polenta come out as a porridge rather than caked or fried. Sadly when PeanutPimpMama returns she might have to give this one a miss. It was a little flat (womp womp). A+ for presentation though! It’s a very attractive plate, I just wish it would taste half as good as it looks.

imageBefore your pizza arrives, the guy in the blue hat dances in the kitchen in front of the brick oven for twenty some odd minutes. We were entertained while we watched and excited about this integral part of the pizza-making process. It was finally time to see what Talula was made of. We ordered a small Rocket pie since we thought we had enough food to feed a small army. The Rocket has fresh mozzarella with olive oil, lemon, aged gouda and garlic topped off with fresh greens. (There were lots of fresh greens as you can see.) When you bite the pie they tend to fall off and completely miss your mouth. Meat Eaters: Don’t waste your time with this and go straight for the “Beekeeper’s Lament” if you know what’s good for you.

imageWe ended things on a sweet note with the Milk & Honey Panna Cotta pictured above. This dreamy lil mason jar was topped off with honey gellée, oat amaranth crumble and bee pollen brittle to add a slight crunch. No, that’s not a crouton on my spoon. Of course my Dad ordered their ice cream flavor of the day which was gone in seconds. No meal is complete without dessert in this family.

Come watch the hipsters bring it home to Asbury Park. It’s like a little taste of Williamsburg on the Jersey Shore.

~PPM

For More Information: www.talulaspizza.com

Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Cape May Fish Market – Cape May- NJ

PeanutPimpMama1-300x300I ran a half marathon the other day and the truth is that I hadn’t run for about three weeks prior to that. My cousin and I had flown to L.A. to run in the Asics marathon in March. After my return I came down with a nice flu and lots of fun NYC weather combined with familial obligations kept me from my training routine. My knees needed the break and so did my mind. I had enough of feeling like a hamster on a treadmill all winter long. Now the nicer weather is finally here and all of the runners are hitting the pavement in Manhattan. Every single time I see one pass I think to myself, “What on earth possesses you to do that here, or in general?”

 

imageThere it is, real evidence that I showed up for the April Fool’s Half Marathon in A.C. (tutu and all). It was nice to be there with the sun shining. My last run in A.C. took place in the Fall and the area had turned into a “sight for sore eyes”. It’s clear that the economy has had a drastic impact on the city and I’m not a fan of being on the beach during the off-season in the first place. There is something dreary about it… It makes me a bit sad.

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I was literally running on five hours of sleep with the commute from NYC the night before. I guess I have to be happy with my 20-second decrease in time. Oh those precious seconds that feel like all of eternity when you see that twelfth mile sign. It’s all good. When it was finished we took some silly pictures on the beach and I was able to gorge myself on tortilla chips, guac and salsa at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. While our free marathon bevvie was a Land Shark, I had to have a Margie at the after party. I never sipped a cocktail so slowly in my life.

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Maybe I was too busy shoveling chips into my pie hole? All of those crystal covered salty tortilla chips sent me straight to salt-heaven! It’s not challenge for this girl to replace that mineral. (PeanutPimpMama <3’s Salt 4eva.) That guac tho… I could taste it all day.

imageThat evening my parents and I drove down the parkway (to exit 0) for an early dinner at The Cape May Fish Market located in the Washington Street Mall. I was excited to try their New England Clam Chowder and was instantly drawn to their Lobster Roll which gets many notable mentions online. The chowder did not let me down with it’s velvety texture that was choc full of clams, potato and hints of savoury bacon. The lobster roll, while accompanied by deliciously seasoned and chunky fries needed a little help in the lubrication department. I might be a bit spoiled by NYC lob-rolls, but the lobster was a bit chewy and the melted butter in my ramekin was flat. I feel like some type of aioli or mayo would have helped the situation…Butter the roll at least? Otherwise the slaw was solid but could have done with a sprinkle or two. After a bite of their buffalo shrimp my sources say that we might have caught them on an off day. Womp Womp* Times are tough on the shore when it’s not high-season. My Dad ordered the best dish of the day, the Fried Flounder Sandwich served on a kaiser roll with pickles and chips. For a refreshing starter take the wedge salad and skip out on the crustaceans…They aren’t cheap!

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I need to go back in the Summer. I can’t wait for Cape May in the Summer. I can’t wait for Summer. Did I mention how much I love sunshine and Summer? No no really it’s true!


~PeanutPimpMama (Will Run 4 Foodies)

For More Information: www.capemayfishmarket.com

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Agricola – Princeton, NJ

PeanutPimpMamaAs if dealing with the aftermath of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s wasn’t enough to pack on some holiday bulge… Having a birthday in January may get you jipped with combo-gifts but the non-stop excuses to eat all of the delicious things (post-holiday) are seemingly never-ending. I was so excited that my little cousin Samantha was able to join me for a celebratory dinner near her new residence in NJ. She had lots of good news for me that evening. Between our birthdays, her engagement and soon to be Masters-graduate status, it’s safe to say that we had a lot to cheers to.

The Experience:

It has been a really long time since I’ve done any type of research on the presently bustling scene in Princeton, NJ. I haven’t really spent any time there since my days at Princeton Ballet in 1999. After texting around for some recommendations (by my Matawanian-transplant pals) and googling, I stumbled on Agricola – located on 11 Witherspoon Street just off the main drag (Nassau St.). Agricola’s concept provides a “community eatery with locally sourced foods,” a market-table concept by “A farmer, a  risk taker and a tasty food maker”. This is very much apparent in their menu which features wholesome American-fusion dishes with earthy yet adventurous flavor combinations that provide a healthy and organic experience. There is no skimping on the hearty factor here as portions are very generous. Go ahead, try and leave hungry.

When entering Agricola, one is greeted by a warm smile from pretty hostesses. You might notice them for a hot second before getting sucked into the curious décor behind them. With a late dinner reservation, there were plenty of tables available. We were seated in the back room adorned with Victorian- era ceiling medallions when these guys (pictured above) made a short appearance. No clue what these fried balls were filled with but we wanted to eat them until they were whisked away. It was someone else’s appetizer featuring a cocktail menu used as a grease blotter! Clever approach to suggestive selling.

My cousin and I decided to share the Shibumi Farm’s Mushroom Flatbread: oregano, great road farm egg, chili flakes and Parmigiano-Reggiano (pictured above) and the Kale Salad which “Insta’d” way nicer than the non-filtered image I caught with dim lighting. The kale salad felt as if we were “Doing a body good” with its reputation as a super-food. Basic in its presentation, it was a straight forward salad (no frills) but every leaf was so crunchy and green they seemed to be individually plucked by Kale-Fairies. The flat bread pizza was something straight out of a Riviera Cafe. Throw a sunny-side-up egg on a pizza and I’m sold! Why do egg yolks make everything better? I suppose we should ask the French. They are so good for shoving a sunny-side up egg on a rando-plate.

Although stuffed to the brim, I chose their pan seared tuna steak served over whole grain organic rice. The tuna was nice, but by the time it arrived I was full and unprepared for the steakiness of the tuna steak and the bulk of its fibrous foundation. The presentation was nice and overall it was a wholesome dish. Wholesome is definitely the word…Did I say wholesome yet?

Dessert, there really is always room for one no matter how much pain you’re in. Pictured above: The Jersey Cranberry Apple Crostada with oatmeal-almond streusel and brown sugar ice cream. What a nice combination of sweet and tart with a hint of wintery-spice warmness.  It was another superbly filling course. Basically, I wanted to roll out the door when this was over.

The crostada complimented my Blood Orange Old Fashioned containing:Bulleit Rye, brown sugar and Angostura bitters which was served hot to my surprise. I much preferred this to my first cocktail The Great “Dirt” Farm Martini. While the martini had a cute spin on the traditional dirty martini by using pickled vegetables in lieu of olives, the Old Fashioned was an all-around more flavorful experience with impeccable timing for the dessert course.

imageLast but not least, the bathrooms must get a mention. While I have always been a fan of quirky bathroom experiences, I appreciated the euro-foot pedal at the sink. It felt a bit old-world. Then again, Princeton has always fancied itself as a posh town priding itself on its Ivy League University.

imageThis was juxtaposition at its finest with the neighboring Dyson Airblade… Who doesn’t love to dip their wet paws in that and watch their skin peel off their knuckles?

imageCousin’s night out on the town was a true success and shall be repeated soon. That evening Samantha discovered her new found love for kale and asked me to be one of her bridesmaids this upcoming Fall! With another exciting event on the horizon PeanutPimpMama dreams of all the future yum yumz to come.

That sums up another episode of food and my life around it. Until next time!

~PeanutPimpMama

Address: 11 Witherspoon St. Princeton, NJ 08542  Phone: (609)921-2798

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Destination Dogs – New Brunswick, NJ

PeanutPimpMamaI’ve been known to eat my way through my travels. It might be the number one reason I leave the tri-state area. (No shame) When I read the bios for the owners of Destination Dogs I kind of feel like I know these guys, (or maybe I should) since we seem to share some common life/food motives. Before my days of globetrotting began, my friends and family often ventured to New Brunswick for a mini-city destination. It offered a University-friendly bar and restaurant scene while providing just enough city grime and a plethora of venues to entertain the Rutgers students and beyond.

So what is Destination Dogs? I was last here in 2010, and what used to be a drab and common watering hole has now turned into a kitsch concept yet to be done in Dirty-Jerz.

The Experience:

Priding themselves on “Gourmet sausages inspired by the world’s best cuisines,” This bar serves delicious micro-brews with a menu choc-full o’ comforting appetizers and hot-dogs you can order straight off the menu. Feeling like a pain-in the ass? No worries, DD gives you an option to “Pilot” your own dog to your liking!

Each Ready-To-Eat dog attempts a unique experience of toppings indigenous to various exotic lands. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for the menu’s brain storming session! Pictured Below: The Slumdog Meal-ionaire (Inspiration: India) Note the corresponding acronyms of each airport next to all of the dogs from different lands.

Since my cousin Kristen (a local nurse at RWJ and DD patron) frequents this joint “on the reg” along with a lot of RWJ’s staff, I let her drive and call the shots on the order. She knows my vegetarian parameters in a restaurant whose concept is based around animal links and bi-products. I started off with their delicious deviled eggs, duck fat fries (shhhhh not vegetarian friendly but daaayum good) and later moved on to their “SLUMDOG MEAL-IONAIRE” featuring a veggie dog with samosa topping (ie. potato log) topped with red curry-sauce and scallions. I appreciated the Indian-flare but it was a little on the dryer side. An extra red-curry sauce was necessary. (Next time PeanutPimpMama will be building her own hydrated dog.)

They get an A+ for the homemade chips= thick and crunchy yum yumzz!

Since I knew this would be one of my last NJ dining experiences for a while (Insert sad face here) I decided to go the distance. After the eggs, fries and dog I ordered their cheese tasting. While the local cheese selection was absolutely appropriate, no missing accoutrement went unnoticed. The plate came out half dressed with the selection of domestic cheeses, some apple slices and bread. They were out of olives, plus I had to ask for my side of cornichons. I felt the bread was a bit redundant considering I just downed an entire dog with it. Perhaps a lighter and less voluminous cracker could have substituted nicely? Also, taking into consideration the sharpness of the cheeses a spread was needed. I’m glad I requested a side of the spicy brown mustard… DD, I take my cheese plates seriously!

Nothing washes down cheese like a St. Feuillien Belgian Saison in a can.

For another “culinary experience on a bun” I shall return!

<3~PeanutPimpMama

Address: 101 Patterson St. New Brunswick, NJ 08901  Phone: (732)993-1016

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Maloney’s-Matawan, NJ~ (All Things Pumpkin 2013)

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We’re all thinking it as we step out of our homes into this sticky-icky weather. It can’t possibly be Fall! It’s September 13th and while I may have given in to my first pumpkin coffee of the year last weekend, today’s coffee was iced and coconut flavored. I’m sucking down suntan lotion while Starbucks has launched their PS 10 campaign. I can’t believe I’m actually writing about my most favorite Fall topic. The All Things Pumpkin 2013 Report will now commence:

 

I’ve been meaning to write about Maloney’s for ages. In 2008 I started working at a famous Greenwich Village staple called Peculier Pub which carries well over 350 imported and domestic beers. When I first heard about the likes of Maloney’s opening up in Matawan I was shocked. I thought it a bit ambitious for the town and a complete rip-off of our entire beer menu. (How could they push all of those beers consistently without the demand?) Five years later and the bar is still in business. They have since streamlined their menu (predictable) and now offer 100 drafts and operate with a “no bottles” policy. While 100 beers on draft may be quite impressive they dare to call themselves “The largest beer bar on the East Coast.” (I’d check your references Mr. Bartender.) That’s a Bold BOLD statement.

I was intrigued when I was invited to the launch of their first pumpkin brews (for the season) release party. That’s right I said it! First it was Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and now the pumpkin beers are here! Maloney’s Southern Tier promo brought the crowds in by 6:00pm Wednesday night with the unveiling of Southern Tier’s Warlock Imperial Stout and their famous seasonal Pumking Ale. Early birds went home with a Southern Tier goblet for their beer sipping enjoyment. Sadly getting out of work at 5:30 Wednesday didn’t cut it. I missed out on the glass, but I made sure I got my pumpkin on.

The Report:

The Warlock Stout: I was really looking forward to this and it was nothing short of amazing. Part of Southern Tier’s “Blackwater Series” it’s one of four delicious dark beers that happens to be brewed with pumpkins. Malty, spicy and pumpkiny would be my choice of adjectives here! Meant to be sipped out of a goblet, its kind of like dessert in a glass. Their website even recommends pouring it over some vanilla ice cream. YUM.

Now priding itself as “The biggest beer bar on the East Coast” (lies) they have about 5-6 pumpkin beers on draft at any given time. What does this mean for you? Pumpkin flights on demand all Fall/Winter! I’m not sure what the forecast is for their taps this year, but I know so far they’re starting off strong with Southern Tier’s Warlock and Pumking.

French onion soup may not be ideal with pumpkin flavored beer, but it’s a solid item on their menu. After living in Europe for nearly four years, I can make a meal out of a crock of French Onion soup. There is something so comforting about the hot and salty beef bouillon base, half pound of melted Swiss cheese, and an island of soaking baguette and caramelized onions.

The most famous appetizer that I see come out of their kitchen on a very consistent basis are their loaded Irish Nachos. Another PPM recommendation! They are actually made out of POTATO chips (instead of your traditional corn chip) but you can find most of the other normal goodies on top including black beans, house made salsa, lettuce and lots of melted cheddar cheese. Sour cream is served on the side for dipping and you can also choose from pork, beef or shredded chicken to add to the Pile O’ Goodness. It’s a super tasty snack to have by your side if you plan on guzzling beers and a great size for sharing.

For more information check out www.maloneyspubnj.com  Get out there and get your pumpkins awn!

~PPM

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Ganga Asian Bistro n’ Sushi – Matawan, NJ

peanutpimpmamaIf there was ever going to be a restaurant to put Matawan back on the foodie map this could be it. Today dear friends, I bring you Ganga Asian Bistro n’ Sushi located at 532 Rte. 34- right on the boarder of little old Matawan and Old Bridge. With Indonesian management, this restaurant offers an Asian-Fusion menu (so 2001 of them) with “NYC standards” and continues to impress their well dressed bridge and tunnel-ers clan by keeping up on their game! You can expect nothing but the best quality at Ganga, which is why it has become a Friday night favorite for Mom and I.

The Experience:

For locals entering this establishment which formerly housed a series of failed Asian restos is a very impressive moment. The drastic transformation of the space wrecks any negative stigma or association anyone may have had with this venue. On any given weekend the dining floor will be buzzing with customers, servers and an open sushi bar serving as the main spectacle of the house. All of this movement creates a sense of curiosity for diners within this mini Tao-like setting.  The overall vibe is quite sexy with its chic interior decor, dim lighting and loud techno-lounge music they have even managed pump to into the toilet stalls assuring that no guests hear themselves think.

The Bar:

Ganga offers a variety of cocktails (muddled, shaken and stirred) along with sake and plum wines. The bar staff are friendly,efficient and open to suggestions! Don’t see your favorite drink on the menu? They are delighted to accommodate. With the choice to sit at their high-top tables or the bar itself, they provide a fun and energetic space to imbibe. You can sip your wine and see where your stomach takes you while gawking at scintillating platters of sushi and maki rolls.

Recently the Friday night Ganga ritual with mom has consisted of a late night snack and the sipping of my favorite plum wine Choya! I often refer to the plum floating in my martini glass as “my boozy fruit roll up.” Go on give it a bite… Watch the pit.

The Yum Yumz:

The peppered tuna appetizer is a must-have. When you roll up in there at 9pm from a long day working in NYC you don’t require a lot of food. Dim-sum style is the way to go. It’s a good amount of fresh tuna served in a puddle of ponzu sauce and garnished with roe, cucumbers and a seaweed salad. Guilt free I promise!

The Shrimp Shumai sail in on a kitsch little boat. They’re bite-sized delights covered in a supple noodle and served with a ginger-soy sauce for dipping. I could eat twelve alone. I could also taste them in my mouth for twelve days to follow.

While Mom is usually a huge fan of their crispy duck salad, she switches it up occasionally for the Indian Pancake pictured above. Once again another delicious dish with a flakey yet chewy pancake and a spicy curry chicken sauce for dipping, spreading, spooning… Whatever your lil’ heart desires.

Their appreciation for aquatic life must not go unnoticed. No worries, the fish in the tank do not end up in your sushi roll.

More Info. is available at www.gangaasianbistro.com

~ PeanutPimpMama

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Pucker – Asbury Park, NJ

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While basking in the sun at my favorite beach Asbury Park, my cousin and I were cooking like two eggs in a pan. With an early start to the day and two more hours ahead of our heat-soaking threshold, we needed a quick and delicious way to refresh and imbibe. She had the brilliant suggestion to get lemonade and so we found Pucker. They have not one, but two Pucker stands on the boardwalk squeezing the life out of little lemons solely for your enjoyment.

The stand on the Southern end of the boardwalk is small and unassuming with a big lemon on the front and a yellow umbrella. You get the hint. The other one (the main one) also serves delicious fries in a paper cone. These fries are twice-fried giving them that Belgian Pommes Frites quality with a plethora of dipping sauces. (PPM likes to dip things in sauces and appreciates a selection.)

The Experience:

It’s fun watching the lemon works go down. There they are, in a bucket just waiting for their execution. Each cup gets a freshly pressed lemon, some “mystery juices” are poured out of giant vats and last the Puckers Peeps shake em up with all their might. You have four flavors of lemonade to choose from: Regular, Blood Orange, Mango or Strawberry. I figured for my first Pucker experience I would go with a basic lemonade to see if it was quality before graduating to the others. I was afraid of anything being remotely syrupy or thick on a hot day.

Not gonna lie, there was slight buyers remorse. I know it would have been the other way around where curiosity would have killed me if I didn’t go with the original. The Blood Orange was bangin… Two delicious lemonades for 6 bucks! End of Story.

Pictured Above: PPM enjoys a Pucker Lemonade wearing a 1920’s male inspired swim suit brought to you by Lightly Salted (on sale for $65.00). Hat purchased at Robert Legere Design ($15.00).

For More Information about Pucker Visit www.puckerasburypark.com . They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare!

Pucker Up!

~PPM 

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Hoagitos- Asbury Park, NJ

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You know when you’re young and you start learning about foreign languages? You seem to spot vocabulary where adding “ito” or “ria” to the end of nouns works in one or two cases. Afterwards you start adding it to everything even if only for purposes of self-amusement. Meanwhile your new found words don’t actually have meaning, but they sound like they could. Last you have created an entire new Romance-Inspired language concocted solely for your friends and family to enjoy. 

 

Hoagitos brought this to mind when I saw it for the first time last Saturday at Asbury Park. A food stand with a self explanatory name… Why of course! Ito= little and Hoagitos= Little Hoagies! Hoagies they are… Little they were.

While the stand is not much to look at, the managers at Hoagitos are smart. They’ve decided to pack a punch with their little stand. Their tactics? They bombard the masses with guerilla marketing by slapping their little Hoagitos Mascot everywhere you can look. You’ll even find him hiding out on the beach ticket booth right across the way. You can take your very own Hoagitos Mascot home along with a take away menu. Help a brotha out and slap him somewhere noticeable!

At four dollars per Hoagito, we’re talking about a very filling snack… so filling it’s guaranteed to keep your wallet full too!

(PPM likes that)

Pictured Here: The “Veggie”

The menu is slightly limited for vegetarians, but they’ve done their civic duty buy offering their “Veggie” Hoagito. This delightful little sandwich features a marinated and grilled Portobello mushroom, a nice fresh piece of Mozzarella cheese, grilled peppers, caramelized onions and fresh basil tucked away in the smushy little “bun-ito”. I would say you only need 1-2 sandwiches to be satisfied. One did the trick for me on a hot Summer’s day!

 Others may require more…

Don’t forget to visit these guys at www.hoagitos.com where you can learn more about these fun little “sandwichitos” that pack a lot of big taste! You can even like them on facebook and watch their updates on twitter and Instagram!

“Too good to have just one.”- Hoagitos

Peace, love and Hoagitos

~PPM

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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APYC @ Lightly Salted-Asbury Park, NJ

 

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I was so sad to hear the rumor that Lightly Salted was gone for good. I know Sandy had really taken her toll on our beaches, but it seemed that everything was coming back strong. The storefront where our favorite little surf shop used to exist had been boarded up for weeks now. Little did we know they were executing some big plans. Still a bit unfinished, Lightly Salted now has RE-OPENED their bar APYC (Asbury Park Yacht Club- No Yacht Required) just at the entrance for your enjoyment. It’s a one stop shopping place for food, drink and new beach threads!

The Experience:

There’s no denying that this bar is a little rough around the edges much like its staff. They play it cool at this establishment…Very cool. What you see is what you get and they want to make it clear that if you need anything beyond that, you can waltz your purdy little arse next door to their neighboring bar for anything your foofy-self might require. It’s all basic (mostly Mexican) beers here at APYC and a small yet strong selection of liquors. Don’t ask for cocktails as requiring a mixer is seriously going overboard.

So I’m nosey. I sat down and asked if they had any delicious cocktails. I was informed that, “We only have beer and liquor here.” Meanwhile I’ve been on a serious Malibu kick. I know… Tastes like college right? Turns out they only have Malibu Black which will burn your nose-hairs if you’re not careful. I saw some Bloody mix substance hanging out in their refrigerator in a bucket and had to ask if Bloody Mary’s were available. I was reluctantly met with the response, “Yeah, I think we can do that.” I wanted to know if the Mary mix wasn’t for Mary’s what was it for exactly? Turns out it’s for the Micheladas. So, a Michelada I had. I had to mention that Micheladas were definitely categorized under “delicious cocktails” in my book. I made an instant BFF for with that comment… Really it was love.

After my Malibu Black and Pineapple the transition over to spice was a bit much. I made it work. I passed it around for a taste tester and this customer agreed, “The Michelada is tasty and refreshing! A little too much debris at the end to swallow.” While she wanted to remain anonymous her feedback was appreciated. They could go lighter on what tastes like pure cocktail sauce at the end or perhaps garnish it with a shrimp? (I would insert a wink emoticon here if I could.)

As we sipped our Mexican beers we agreed that Asbury Park has turned into the New Jersey shore’s equivalent to LA’s Venice Beach, minus the marijuana shops for self-medicating purposes. It draws quite the alternative crowd these days.

APYC has a NO FOOD (no fuss) policy. However food can be brought over from the owner’s neighboring restaurants Langosta Lounge or Pop’s Garage to enjoy. It’s where you want to go if you just need a quick (AFFORDABLE) beverage and a mini break from the sun. After all, an impulse beer is always the most refreshing after a successful shopping spree. PPM Thoughts: Keep in mind ordering your drinks here might be a bit like pulling teeth, but it’s a love-hate experience. This place has spunk that anyone has to appreciate.

I’ll be back anyway APYC. You haven’t seen the last of PeanutPimpMama!

~PPM

APYC located @ 2nd Ave. Pavilion in Asbury Park, NJ

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Victoria’s Cozy Corner- Matawan, NJ

peanutpimpmama

On Saturday morning we decided to head out for some breakfast. It was a beautiful and sunny day, the kind that makes you feel like you should be out “doing something special.” We mulled over our Matawan breakfast options of Dunkin Donuts, The Diner, Starbucks, Papa Ganache and then finally it dawned on me…It was time to re-visit Johnny’s Cozy Corner. I hadn’t been there since us grand kids tried to force our grandmother to go to church every Sunday in the summer of 2008. It was our sweet revenge for an entire mandatory adolescence of Sunday School. Her treat was a Johnny’s tuna melt for behaving herself. (When she did.)

The Experience: Victoria’s Cozy Corner, not Johnny’s… Still Cozy?

We sat down at the already-set tables and were greeted by a very friendly waitress. My first thought: “Not much has changed around here.”

The reddish-orange booths looked exactly the same, like a time warp. They still had stale decorative dishes hanging up behind the bar of the dining area (circa 1930).

Even the very mugs our sweet waitress was pouring our daily brews into were the very coffee mugs I remember sipping out of when I was 14 years old. My girlfriends and I would pop into Johnny’s for a blueberry muffin at 6:00am before high school would start. That muffin made being a “walker” worth it. How twee… We are 31 now.

Why isn’t this place just as full as Starbucks on any given weekend? Could it possibly be their lack of technological advancements? The owner takes up valuable real estate at the counter with her massive laptop and about twenty wires stuffed into a phone jack for internet. (Assuming she has internet) Meanwhile the only thing in this restaurant that suggests it’s actually 2013 are the angry signs prohibiting cell-phone usage. (Excuse me: Eliminating) Seems that Victoria wants to keep the internet all to herself. Wi-Fi anyone? How about something to draw a young crowd in to spend some dollars like a jukebox and some home-style combo meal deals?

It could easily be 1995 with Johnny still cooking in the back poking his little head out of the kitchen on – the – hour. In fact everything was so exact I tried to strike up conversation with Victoria. I wanted to know whether the place had been passed down or family run. How else would she know all of Johnny’s secrets? Maybe she was Johnny’s daughter?  All I got was a weary, “No”. I was only asking for good reason.

I guess next time I’ll have to keep the conversation purely about that wicked scooter she has perched up against the vacant high-top tables…

The Food:

The breakfast was spot on. I ordered a mushroom cheddar omelette. The eggs were nice and fluffy and my cheese nice and cheesy! The hash browns could have used a little salt and pepper. Since the shakers are on the table there was no harm done there.

We also ordered a simple plate of eggs (sunny-side up) with bacon. Those eggs sure were sunny and the bacon nice and chewy! Both dishes automatically came with hash browns and toast. With free-flowing bottomless coffees, two apple juices and two generous places of food, you really can’t beat the price of $21.00 inc. sales tax. I made sure that the waitress received a 25% tip since she actually likes to participate in friendly banter.

I’m not going to be the first (or the last) person to say this. Victoria has no idea what she’s sitting on. The cozy corner has so much potential that Matawanians have fantasized over it for decades. I can’t count the amount of people that wished they had the capital to take this place over and turn it into something big. It’s a sin how much wasted potential it has.

Final thoughts: You would think when someone takes over an institution in such an intimate town they would feel compelled to tell their story but most importantly keep the memories alive. They should share in excitement with the locals and respect the fact that everyone holds a little piece of this place in their heart. You do not take over a historical luncheonette without one romantic bone in your body.

I wanted to take more pictures of the inside of Vicky’s but she assured me that I had enough. She told me that “I took a whole slew of them already.” I kind of thought the part where I gave her my business card and told her I was excited to blog about her restaurant might tip her off on my appreciation for this nostalgic place… So much for that.

Sorry Vicky, it will always be Johnny’s Cozy Corner to me!

 Sincerely,

~PeanutPimpMama

Phone: 732-566-9787  Address: 135 Main Street Matawan NJ 07747

Read about Victoria’s Cozy Corner on The NJ Patch (Submit a picture if you’re quick enough to get one!)

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