Treat Your Tastebuds to Taka


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 entrées.

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.


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 entrée 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. 🙂


Taka is located at 660 Cookman Ave in Asbury Park, NJ.
Check out their web site for hours, specials & more at

A Little Bling Anyone?

In addition to my love of travel and fine cuisine, I also have a little “thing” for jewelry.  It started long ago, influenced by my maternal grandmother who never left the house without her favorite pieces.  The bulk of my pre-motherhood career years were spent working for a jewelry manufacturer, where I was able to get my fill of silver, gold, diamonds and more… plus travel on a regular basis. Destinations like Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Toronto, Atlanta, Orlando & more were the norm… I even spent a week in Switzerland at the largest jewelry & watch show in the world.  And in all those places?  Amazing food to boot!

So once my son was settled into a full-day school routine, I felt the call to get back into the business.  I needed flexible hours and didn’t have too much time to spare, so I started looking at some direct sales companies.  Quality and customer service were of the utmost importance to me, and certainly Sterling Silver would be a bonus.  My perfect match? Silpada Designs.

Original Silpada Founders, Teresa & Bonnie (center) with their 2 girls, Kelsey & Ryane :)

Original Silpada Founders, Teresa Walsh & Bonnie Kelly (center) with their 2 girls, Kelsey (L) & Ryane (R) 🙂

Started by two moms, who met when their daughters were in the same kindergarten class, this Kansas City based company was the perfect fit.  I’d been to, and hosted a few parties, so I knew how it all worked & was pleased with the company policies and support. Bonnie & Teresa’s 2 daughters (the ones from kindergarten!) have recently taken on the roles of Co-Presidents & introduced a new Fashion Jewelry line, as well as a brand new scarf & bag line, to the original Sterling Silver Collection.

Every July, Silpada holds their National Conference for 4 days in Kansas City (here’s where the travel & food work their way in…).  I can’t say I was ever thrilled with the idea of going to the middle of the United States, in the middle of July, but I’ve found it to be a wonderful city with lots of great restaurants!  I just got back and want to give a shout out to our 2 favorite eateries…

IMG_20150715_192323On our 1st night in town, after a long day of traveling, I couldn’t wait to chill out at the Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen on Walnut St.  Who doesn’t love being able to order wine by the “taste”…  and have some great food to pair it with!  They have a nice outdoor seating area, but with temps in the 90s on this trip, we opted to sit inside & cool down.  We started with 3 tastes each, of our favorite reds, followed by an array of fresh, flavorful plates.  Everything was amazing & we rolled out completely stuffed & satisfied yet again. 🙂

Our trip to Kansas City wouldn’t be complete with a visit to La Bodega, on Southwest Blvd and our 3rd time here did not disappoint.  We LOVE the atmosphere at this chic little Spanish tapas restaurant and even though we had to eat at the bar (forgot to make a reservation!), the meal was still delightful.  They offer an amazing wine & drink menu to complement a delicious assortment of hot & cold small plates.  We enjoyed several fancy cocktails in addition to mussels with chorizo, grilled shrimp, scallops wrapped in Spanish ham, baked goat cheese & more… total yum!!!


Sheraton Crown Center Lobby

We stay at the Sheraton Crown Center when in town, with easy access to the Westin & its Crown Center Shops.  The hotel bar offers great service (shout out to Tamara) and its own delicious menu.

This trip is always a great refresher, both on the business and personal level.  I’m excited to share Silpada’s exciting new Fall Collection and offer the business opportunity to anyone who’s ever thought about starting a little something on the side.  Check out my web site, for all the info or to order up a little “bling” of your own!

And stay on top of all the latest specials, promotions, sneak peaks and more on my Facebook page: Kristin Matteo’s Silver Scene.  Thanks & have a “Sterling” Day!