For the Foodies…

As you know, I thoroughly enjoy taking pictures of my food. If something looks delicious, or I just know it’s going to taste amazing, I like to capture the moment! I don’t post them all because honestly, I don’t want to be that annoying BUT as I’m going thru my phone this morning, I’ve come across a few plates that really deserve some air time… So here’s a breakfast, lunch & dinner wrap-up for ya from some local favorites!

20161207_085550This classic breakfast sandwich comes from none other than the infamous Frank’s Deli in Asbury Park. There’s just something about that egg, meat & cheese combo that completely covers all the bases. I strayed from the typical Jersey pork roll, and went with the ham (it sounds healthier, doesn’t it?) but the flavor satisfied just the same. And that lightly grilled roll was worth every poppy seed I had to pick out of my teeth ūüėČ

20161207_085637This right here is one of the best lunches I’ve had in ages… The Lobster Cobb Salad at Toast in Asbury Park went way beyond my wildest expectations. First of all, it’s gigantic. Secondly, everything is incredibly fresh & the lobster chunks were to die for. Topped with a small drizzle of the Poppy Dijon Vinaigrette, I’m embarrassed to say, that I devoured the entire bowl. This really is a great twist on a classic salad.

20161207_085713I’m giving the chef special kudos for this dinner I enjoyed at Yvonne’s in Neptune City. ¬†I had a craving for scallops, but wasn’t in the mood for the way it was offered on the menu. ¬†I did like the sound of the Mediterranean Pasta however, so I asked if I could have these pan-seared Thai Sea Scallops added to that dish instead (I apologize… I know I’m a pain!). ¬†But they happily accommodated my request and I was able to enjoy the shellfish I wanted atop a delicious combo of penne,¬†sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, spinach, garlic, feta and olive oil. ¬†OMG – Yum!!!

I wouldn’t recommend eating all 3 of these meals in the same day unless you have the metabolism of a teenage boy, but rather, spread them out & treat yourself to several glorious days of delectable eats!

Frank’s Deli: ¬†1406 Main St, Asbury Park, NJ,¬†(732) 775-6682

Toast:  516 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park, NJ, (732) 776-5900

Yvonne’s: ¬†1311 Route 35 South, Neptune City, NJ,¬†(732) 775-9004

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Breakfast Worth the Wait in Asbury Park

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I love going out to breakfast (or any meal really), but there’s something about that late morning meal on a weekend that I especially enjoy. This week I returned to “Toast,” a spot that I had tried a few years ago that was good, but hadn’t really left me ohhhing or ahhhing at the time. Well, I’m happy to report that certainly wasn’t the case yesterday!

screenshot_2016-09-26-10-20-02-1Arriving at prime time on a Sunday morning (around 10am), we were told there would be a 15-20 min wait. Luckily, they take your cell number & text you when your table is ready, so you’re free to roam around Asbury Park while you’re waiting. Once we got our call, we were seated quickly & handed the delicious menu to peruse.

I immediately spotted the Eggs Benedict, of which they offer a few varieties including a Crab Cake version (which I saw pass by several times) and a Smoked Salmon Benedict, which I always adore. Yesterday however, the highlighted “Huevos Rancheros” caught my attention. I love this dish and you just don’t see it very often, so my selection was easily made.

img_20160925_112029The food took a little while to arrive, but we enjoyed the bustling atmosphere and our warm drinks (a tasty¬†Pumpkin Spice Latte for me) while we waited. ¬†And it was worth it… ¬†My two over-easy eggs, covered in Mexican cojita cheese, sat upon a crispy tortilla surrounded by a delicious variety of beans, tomatoes & fresh cilantro. Every bite was a treat. My son devoured a giant Belgian waffle topped with fresh strawberries, and my friend enjoyed her “Bacon & Brie” omelette. Delish!

Toast is only open for breakfast & lunch, but the menu offers a wide variety of options, and all items are available all day. I can’t wait to go back & try the “Lobster Cobb Salad” and I’m sure that the “Smoked Salmon Benedict” will also end up on my plate before too long!

Toast is located at 516 Cookman Ave in Asbury Park, NJ.
Current hours are Wednesday thru Monday, from 7:30am to 3pm.  During the off season, they are closed on Tuesdays.

Visit their site for the full menu (www.toastasburypark.com) and their Facebook Page for daily specials and more!

Treat Your Tastebuds to Taka

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I’d been wanting to check out Taka’s new spot on Cookman Ave in Asbury Park since their move there over 2 years ago. We were big fans of their location on Mattison and somehow they just fell off our radar. Well, I FINALLY got my chance this week, as a special treat for my birthday dinner and let me tell you… it will not be long before I am back again!

This spacious new location combines a contemporary Asian feel with traditional Japanese artwork and modern furnishings. The atmosphere is welcoming and the space is well laid out with a central bar area, plenty of seating areas for quiet conversation, a large main dining room and a great outdoor patio for the warmer weather. The lighting provides a calm feeling and the decor offers a bit of a zen quality – in other words, I loved it.

IMG_20160321_190223-1I recommend starting with one of their unique cocktails (I tried the Asbury Green Tea & my husband loved his Blackberry Margarita) or choose your usual favorite from the well-stocked bar. If you’re looking for sake, I think you’ll be impressed with their extensive selection. The menu is described as Asian-Fusion, and offers a wonderful variety of apps, sushi & delicious entr√©es.

The “Matsuri” was a perfect way to begin, with a sampling of Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon and delicious Guacamole served with homemade tortilla chips. The Miso Soup was also a winner, as was “my usual” – the Veggie Tempura.

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I have to admit, we always come for the sushi, but one of these days I’m going to have to break down & get an¬†entr√©e¬†because they all sound so good! On this trip, I stayed on course and discovered yet another wonderful new sushi item… The Beach Roll. ¬†Screenshot_2016-03-23-09-49-46-1-1-1This one features tuna (I opted for the brown rice), rolled with hiyashi wakame (a seaweed salad), cucumber & crunch, and then topped with a perfectly spicy wasabi sauce. ¬†It sounds fairly simple, but the combination was amazing and that one roll was all I needed after stuffing myself with appetizers!

Screenshot_2016-03-23-09-36-54-1As I mentioned, it was my birthday, so I was “nudged” by our very pleasant and helpful server, to select a dessert. ¬†I’m a big fan of their Green Tea Cheesecake but was so full that I opted for the gelato, knowing that my son would gladly share. ¬†He chose his usual Chocolate Overload (a dark chocolate delight) and I went out on a limb with the Black Cherry Pistachio, which turned out to be the perfect complement. ¬†After a lovely¬†performace¬†of “Happy Birthday” by the accommodating staff, I blew out my candle & then rolled myself to the car – always the sign of a good meal. ūüôā

 

Taka is located at 660 Cookman Ave in Asbury Park, NJ.
Check out their web site for hours, specials & more at http://www.takaasbury.com/

Gelato… Wine… & Cheese… Oh My!

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So my favorite gelato spot in Asbury Park has just gotten even better!
“Lola’s European Cafe” (formerly Casa di Dolce) on Cookman Ave, is now serving their authentic Italian¬†Gelato along with… wine, cheese, specialty cocktails, whiskeys, coffee, paninis & desserts… all in a beautifully redone, rustic retreat. ¬†Taste buds beware… it’s all amazing!

And it’s gonna be a hot spot this summer, with seating both inside & out. ¬†So get in now before the crowds take over!

HOURS (as of 6/5/15):
Tue & Thurs: 12:00 pm Р9:00 pm
Fri & Sat: 12:00 pm Р10:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm Р9:00 pm

And for the whiskey lovers, check out this great event coming up on June 9th!  lolas-event

Taste of the Tropics in Asbury Park

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It was finally sunny & warm enough on Saturday to enjoy a nice lunch outdoors, so we headed to Cubacan on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. ¬†I had been once before & loved it, but somehow just never made it back… what a mistake!

We braved the cool breeze coming off the ocean and sat outside, taking in the gorgeous view. ¬†First up: Mojitos, of course. ¬†IMG_20150502_132844I usually shy away from the “flavored” varieties because they end up being too¬†sweet, but that was not the case here. ¬†Thanks to a fresh fruit puree, the flavors we tried (passionfruit, pineapple & mango) were absolutely delicious. ¬†They offered just a hint of the fruit without overpowering the actual lime/mint combo that makes mojitos so tasty! Oh… and we tried the classic lime version as well – equally as good¬†ūüėČ

Ceviche Sampler

Ceviche Sampler

Now onto the food… Unfortunately, I’m a sucker for Ceviche and absolutely loved it the last time I was here, so I had no choice but to order it again. ¬†The menu offers 4 different types of fish:¬†Rock Shrimp, Red Snapper, Spicy Tuna & Rum Cured Salmon, each prepared in their own unique sauce. ¬†Or you can order the Sampler and select 3 of the 4, which is what we did. ¬†We passed on¬†the shrimp and¬†enjoyed the other 3, served with perfectly salted, light, crisp Plantain Chips. ¬†This was a big portion… more than enough for 2 people to share.

Traditional Cubano

Traditional Cubano

For something a little heartier, we decided to try the Traditional Cubano Sandwich to complete our Cuban Experience. ¬†That delicious blend of roasted pork, smoked ham, swiss cheese, pickles & mustard, on toasty, pressed bread & served with a nice side salad was “Perfecto” in my book. ¬†No time for coffee or dessert on this visit, but I’ll definitely be returning soon to look for some new favorites! (Although, I’ll still have to get the Ceviche!) ¬†You can check out their extensive menu here,¬†on their Facebook page, to get your own taste buds flowing…

Eating outside on the Boardwalk is amazing, but I should also mention that the indoor atmosphere is equally as pleasing… Cuban music, palm trees and tropical decor truly make you feel like you’re away on vacation. ¬†Inside or out, it’s definitely worth a visit.

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A perfect day for a seat outside!

1/2 Price Drinks & Apps at Moonstruck

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Stop by¬†Moonstruck,¬†on Lake Ave in Asbury Park, on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays from 4-6pm and enjoy a cocktail,¬†some delicious appetizers & great service… all at 1/2 price!

This time of year I love the¬†classy, cozy atmosphere of the 1st floor lounge, but I also can’t wait to get outside on one of their beautiful porches once the weather warms up!¬† Moonstruck offers something for everyone and will be packed as soon as¬†the summer season is upon us, so take advantage of this awesome special now – it’s well worth the trip!

Another "happy" Happy Hour for some "Ladies of Embury Avenue" - Stacey, Susan, Me, Jane & Betty :)  Cheers!

Another “Happy” Hour for some “Ladies of Embury Avenue”… Cheers from Stacey, Susan, me, Jane & Betty ūüôā