Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Things I Like: Summer in the Jerz

Summer is officially here! And I know this not because I’ve participated in any of the typical activities that mark the season—attended a Tripe-A minor league baseball game; turned a peach into ice cream; watched aliens chasing a robot chasing The Hulk in a summer blockbuster; or screamed my head off after leaping from a dock into frigid Maine water-but because I paid my first visit to the Jersey shore. Now when most of you hear “Jersey shore” I know what you’re thinking…

Money laundering, toddlers with fake tans, housewives with bad tempers and worse credit, governors with wide girths, youths who attend a university called Karma. But I swear, these people represent only a very small (sizable) portion of the population. Jersey also has this:

And this:

The beautiful Jersey shore. Not JUST the playground of the yahoos you see on tv, it’s also is the home of many responsible adults who swarm upon the majestic seaside every summer to tan, frolic, and eat.

I was lucky enough to spend a fun weekend with friends on Long Beach Island: a barrier island which will most likely be underwater one day, but for now, is still home to a thriving vacation community. I spent a couple of weeks on LBI almost every summer of my childhood and so I have a soft spot for its many charms. I would be lying if I said most of the weekend wasn’t spent eating. There was also bobbing in the waves (the water is so warm this year! unusually mild summer? global warming? does this mean there will be more sharks?) and other assorted activities (sleeping, tanning, a little biking)…But the main activity was “what are we eating for lunch/dinner/breakfast?”. Sometimes this question was posed while we were still eating the meal prior to the one we were discussing. Do you ever do that?

One of my favorite places was the Harvey Cedars Clam Bar. A horseshoe shaped counter manned by two very efficient waitresses who shucked oysters and poured and served while a line formed at the door. There were fried clam strips with a fresh horseradish spiked cocktail sauce (above) and raw oysters:

Mussels loaded with marinara and grated parmesan, served with hunks of bread to soak up the briny sauce that collected in the bottom of the bowl.

During the day there were pina coladas on the beach while reading The New Yorker (it took me the whole friggin’ weekend to get through a 40,000 word article on the angst of Ben Stiller…now I’m realizing it may have been the pina coladas which caused slow reading).

And at night, there were  ice cream cones and (because LBI is in the orbit of Philly) cheese steak sandwiches (yes, I ate a cheese steak AFTER I already ate dinner) at a wonderful place called Barry’s Do Me A Flavor.

I forgot to mention breakfast at a place called Uncle Will’s Pancake House where the kids sit in high chairs shaped like pigs in overalls and where I ate a short stack of Jersey blueberry pancakes with a Taylor Ham blanket (you may also call this a pork roll, depending on where you were born and raised):

It was an epic weekend of eating and good times with lovely friends. So please, if you’ve misjudged the Jersey Shore in the past, please reconsider. Why not go for a visit! Leave The New Yorker at home. Bring your appetite.

*Many of the photos in this post were taken on Instagram–my new obsession!! If you’re on Instagram you can follow me at: devilandegg.

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