New Jersey

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It’s often said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and when it comes to my home state, it’s definitely true. New Jersey gets a bad rap for all sorts of things, something I never really got when living there. We have beautiful beaches, mountains, farms, and access to New York City. I always thought it was just fine. But the more time I spend away, the more I want to visit. That definitely is mostly because of my family which has grown over the years to include my two favorite little people on the planet. I don’t think I would want to live there again, but I sure do like to visit.

My work schedule for the month of July and August this year is slow. There are exciting things on the horizon for Autumn, but for now, I have a little bit of time on my hands. Knowing that will change, I decided to spend this week working half days from my mom’s, spending the rest of the day making time for family.

When in New Jersey. . . you obviously have to hit up the Jersey Shore. Before the show, the shore was just a place I went my whole life. Since watching the show, I now pay more attention to my surroundings. There were lots of Snooki’s favorite “juiceheads” aka, super tan, super big and built, guys there this week.

Point Pleasant

The Jersey Shore holds fond memories for me from early ages, visits to Stone Harbor and Sandy Hook with my mom and later with friends. Prom weekend trips to Seaside Heights and Wildwood, and later nights out on the boardwalk, followed by dancing at Tradewinds, Jenkinson’s, and the Tiki Bar.

Tiki Bar
Kohr's Custard
Kohr's Custard image

Kohr’s Custard, soft, super creamy frozen custard, is one of my favorite sweets of all time.

Point Pleasant Boardwalk

Clowns were creepy then, and they are now.

Jersey Shore

But boardwalk food like fried zeppoles, funnel cake, and cotton candy can’t be beat. Jersey Shore fashion is pretty great too. . .

Jersey Shore

Pizza in New Jersey is just better than anything I have eaten in Boston. At Joey Tomatoes, I went with the cheese-less option, nicely topped with a thick tomato paste.

Point Pleasant pizza

And a trip to the Point Pleasant Aquarium is a cool, dark escape from the boardwalk, fun for kids and adults.

Point Pleasant Aquarium

New Jersey also offers lots of beautiful lakes and ponds. One day brought us to Spruce Run Recreation Area for lake swimming.

Spruce Run

When in New Jersey, you should check out some of the pretty green spaces and swimming holes. There are lots of them.

Spruce Run

When in New Jersey, I also really, really love local produce. We have the best in sweet corn, blueberries, and tomatoes, and I enjoyed those at my mom’s, plus a delicious heirloom tomato Caprese salad at Stage House Tavern.

heirloom tomatoes

Stage House Tavern is a new favorite of mine, and this pork tenderloin with figs, bacon, gorgonzola, and veggies was divine. A little too autumnal for my current summery tastes, but still. . .

Stage House Inn

I’m incredibly lucky that I get to work from wherever right now. I adore my family, and this week has been a lot of fun.

This weekend, I am going wine tasting in Long Island with my husband, his sister, and her boyfriend. My travel bug is definitely quieted this week. Smile

What are your weekend plans?

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Tags: beach, Dining out, family, Food, New Jersey, Travel

Trips to suburbia are always interesting when it comes to dining out. Not that fabulous dining experience only exist in cities, but when you head out to the burbs, there are definitely more opportunities for mediocre chains and bland, disappointing meals.

Luckily, hip, tasty suburban places like Delicious Heights exist. I visited my family in NJ this weekend, and we had dinner at Delicious Heights in Berkeley Heights, NJ. As always, I checked out the menu in advance and was seriously impressed with the choices available, both food and beverages.

Delicious Heights menu

The actual menus light up, very helpful for those of us with bad eyesight. The dining area at Delicious Heights is comfy but modern, with stone walls and a fireplace. The noise level was low enough that we could chat, but busy enough that our chatty one year old wasn’t a nuisance to fellow diners.

Because Delicious Heights had such a fun cocktail menu, I decided to stick to cocktails for the night. I started with the mango martini, a dangerously delicious mix of mango vodka and fresh mango juice and I think Midori. It came perfectly layered, and it was very fruity with lots of mango pulp. Yum.

mango martini

My sister had a wild berry drink that contained Sprite and some berry vodka, along with a bunch of berries to garnish. It was also dangerously delicious. Delicious Heights cocktails? A+

wild berry drink

Their homemade ketchup was pretty amazing too. My sister recommended that we share an order of sweet potato fries, and they were not shy with the ketchup on the side.

homemade ketchup

These were crispy with a hint of sweetness, just the way I like sweet potato fries.

sweet potato fries

I had a really hard time deciding what to order for dinner, but the grilled vegetable platter kept speaking to me. It came with a salad, and since I love a good wedge salad, went with that. This one was nothing special; I really love a tangy, flavorful blue cheese, and the dressing was kind of bland. But the lettuce was nice and crunchy, and the bacon a nice, salty addition.

wedge salad

Before my dinner arrived, I ordered a pomegranate martini. It was good, but tasted very alcohol-y, a big switch from my mango martini. I would stick with the mango the next time. pomegranate martini

My grilled vegetable platter was just what I wanted. It contained pita bread, brined olives, brown rice, and grilled mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, squash, and zucchini., topped with feta On the side were cups of tzatziki, hummus, and guacamole. I really ordered this meal because of those three. I ate as much as I could and brought the rest home. Sadly, they didn’t include the dips with my leftovers. Sad smile Don’t they know the dips are the best part?!

grilled vegetable platter

Overall, our dining experience at Delicious Heights was a good one. Next time I might order my second choice, a crab cake grilled cheese with avocado, but the grilled veggie platter really did the trick on this particular night.

We followed dinner by funfetti cupcakes with buttercream icing. Yum!

Sadly while eating our cupcakes and watching a Valentine’s cartoon with the kids, we learned of Whitney Houston’s death. I am much sadder about her death than I would have imagined, From dance recitals to college bars, I feel like there are so many Whitney songs that remind me of certain memories. I always liked I Wanna Dance with Somebody when I was younger, and It’s Not Right reminds me of a college weekend away. She was such a talented woman, and it’s sad to see such talent go to waste. Hopefully someday we will better be able to understand and care for addictions, whether they happen to a celebrity or just your average person.

Do you have a favorite Whitney Houston song?

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Tags: cocktails, dinner, Food, New Jersey

Jersey Shore

When you hear Jersey Shore, what do you think? Most likely, the MTV train wreck (that I watch regularly) crosses your mind. And there is definitely that side of the Jersey Shore. With all of the bad Jersey TV shows I watch (Real Housewives, Jerseylicious) and having grown up in NJ, I can definitely say I have seen some similarities in people from my home state. But obviously, not everyone (or even many people) are reality-TV ridiculous, and not all of NJ is a hot mess.

NJ has lots of beautiful parts, great restaurants, and clean beaches with big waves. And, of course, it has boardwalks like no other. This past weekend I went with my sister, brother in law, and niece and nephew to Point Pleasant, NJ for a seafood festival and some time on the boardwalk.

First we made our way through the festival, checking out all of the offerings. Stand after stand featured all sorts of seafood dishes from paella to oysters to fish and chips. There was pretty much any type of seafood you could want. There were also a ton of people.

Seafood Festival

I didn’t eat much before the festival and didn’t really choose my lunch wisely. I went straight for a lobster roll, which ended up being $14 and not very good. I spent most of the time picking out shells.

lobster roll

My sister was smarter, and once we got a table, she got crab legs. And she was nice enough to share the sweet, buttery meat. Isabella got fish and chips, and I had some of that too.

crab legs

Jersey Shore

The festival also included a band, a wine and beer tent, and lots of handmade crafts and jewelry for sale.

Point Pleasant

While the festival was fun for adults, it wasn’t as fun for the little ones, and we promised them a trip to go on some rides. It was blustery out, but the boardwalk was teeming with those sights and sounds that are summer at the Jersey Shore.

Point Pleasant Beach

Tacky as it may be, the boardwalk is a lot of good old fashioned fun, complete with really good junk food. We waited on snacks until after the rides.

Point Pleasant

Dippin Dots



Love, love, love.



We went on the train, and Isabella went on a few other rides while I enjoyed photographing the bright amusements against the cloudy sky. Despite being freezing, on our way our, I had to have one of my favorite Jersey Shore treats, a cone of Kohr’s custard. Richer, creamier, and more delicious than ice cream, Kohr’s is a must-eat on the boardwalk.

Kohr's Custard

Back in the car, thawing out and bundled up, my sweet 10 month old nephew and my niece both instantly fell asleep. Aunt Meggie was pretty close too. It was one of my most favorite moments in a long time. Years from now I might not remember everything we did that day, but I will always remember how I felt with these two little ones I love.

Have you ever been to the Jersey Shore? I know summer is almost over, but what’s your favorite boardwalk or fair treat?

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Tags: beach, boardwalk, crab legs, custard, Food, Jersey Shore, lobster, New Jersey, seafood, Travel

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