Archive for Food

Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park

This post is a long time coming. I first heard about Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park earlier this year. I’ve now been there several times and it has quickly become my new favorite place to dine. My first time was for an Oscars Night Dinner a few months ago. I wanted to check that out, especially since they were giving away swag bags to diners. So I headed there with my sister and one of her friends. I loved the decor as soon as I stepped in, kitschy (spelling?), warm and inviting. Great decor, comfy booths with a great ocean view.

We started with the fried olives appetizer. These were little balls of fried heaven. They were green olives with cheese fried and served with a delicious lemon basil mayo. The warm bread was also great. It had a different, almost sweet taste to it, can’t put my finger on it. That was accompanied by some olive oil with roasted garlic and red peppers.

My sister and her friend both had the Skirt Steak, “marinated and roasted –sliced and topped with spring onions . Served with rice and beans – Grilled asparagus and a side of spiced fruit salsa” It was actually served with a Spanish potato cake. I’m not sure know if it noted that change on the menu. I tried the steak and it was cooked and seasoned perfectly. And that potato cake? Luscious.

I had the Langosta Caldo Verde (the paella on the website menu): “In a not so traditional cilantro broth with mussels, shrimp and seafood mixed with chorizo and vegetables over Ruby’s special Mexican rice and spice roasted garlic aioli toast points.” It was more seafood than rice and it was great. Not too spicy, 3 large mussels, lots of shrimp, a few scallops, and other white fish.

For dessert, the two girls had the the pu pu platter, which was essentially smores. It had some fabulous dark chocolate, one with cranberries and one with pistachios, marshmallows, graham crackers, peanut butter cups, and strawberries.

Now for the slight negatives…Service was a bit shoddy. The waitress was overall friendly and nice but not on the ball. When first sat down I ordered a club soda with lime, it came out with lemon. She was no where in sight so I asked the busboy for lime. He brings me back a plate of lemons. OOOOkay….So I gave up on the limes. She also forgot to bring my sister’s friend’s tea. She wasn’t really around to get her attention much either for these two issues. Empty glasses were left on the table after new ones were brought as well.

And the kicker…During dessert I asked if we were getting our “swag bags” as noted in the email I received. She didn’t seem to know what the deal was and said the wait staff didn’t really know what was going on. Oh boy….Then we got ONE bag ONLY because I paid $10 to participate in the Asbury Park Film Initiative’s Oscar Raffle (swag bag was pretty cool though – mostly candy, but a candle, glass work, pottery, and the actual bag were neat). So I”m thinking I missed something in email. When I got home it says “Attendees receive swag bags….” So a bit misleading and unorganized.

But I loved the food so much I went back again (and again and again). After that first timer, service was always fabulous.  I’ve been back for lunch, breakfast, tapas and drinks. Each time was fabulous. I freakin love this place. The menu is different, creative, exciting. I absolutely love love love the decor. The vibe is chill and I feel right at home here. I noticed that as the Summer moves along, it’s getting more and more busy. I overheard a group say on Friday afternoon (while I was enjoying some tacos at Pop’s Garage next door, owned by Langosta) that they were completely booked for Friday night. Good for them. I want to see this place around for a long long time. Furthermore, they have some sort of special event going on every night!

Sundays – Jazzy Brunch and Lobster Bakes, Monday – Bistro Prixe Fix, Tapa Tuesdays, Mexican Wednesdays, Tiki Surf Nite Thursdays, Funky Fridays with DJ’s and Serenity Saturdays. They often have live music as well.

Langosta Lounge Website

On the Boardwalk across from The Stone Pony in Asbury Park

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Aaarrggghhh! Pirate’s Den, Brigantine, NJ

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Last weekend my friend Agnes and I headed down to my favorite sinful place in NJ – Atlantic City, of course. These two broads hit up the casinos one night to celebrate my 21st birthday! Okay, who am I kidding, 34th. It’s all good. After having a disappointing dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s in the Borgata Friday night, Saturday morning we were desperate for a good breakfast. Now, for the most part, breakfast is limited to buffets and the such in AC and they typically, in my experience are not that good. I called my mom who suggested I head over the bridge into Brigantine to Pirate’s Den for breakfast.

Since she couldn’t tell us exactly where it was, and the fact it was pouring with low visibility, it took us a little while to find this charming little place. It’s so small and inconspicouous you can miss it. Despite the heavy rain and lack of beachgoers, there was still a wait to get a table. It’s not too small with a good amount of tables, but I can imagine on a sunny summer day, the wait would be more than our ten minutes.

They have your standard breakfast items but also offered up some unique ones as well, such as Bananas Foster French Toast, Eggs Benedict with Crabcakes, and a few smoked salmon choices. Agnes went with the traditional Eggs Benedict and I went with the Smoked Salmon, Tomato, and Red Onion Omelet. I ordered my home fries with onions as well. Portion sizes were huge! We both ended up taking half of our food home. Very good, down home food. Really good. My only complaint was there was tooo much onions in my home fries – the whole top layer was onions. Now I know. Service was quick, friendly, and attentive. Very kitchsy, beachy decor. Reasonable prices as well.

I would most definitely hit this place up again next time I’m in the area. Not sure if they are open in the off-season though. Definitely worth a trip away from the casinos for a great breakfast.

Pirate’s Den
1219 E Brigantine Ave
Brigantine, NJ 08203-3201
(609) 266-1927

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Serious Eats: New York

Check out my guest blog post on Serious Eats: New York edition! Love love love this site and all of it’s sister sites! Hopefully, I’ll be contributing more there in the future….

I wrote up a quick review on my favorite bakery, The Flakey Tart in Atlantic Highlands….

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Product Review: Pineapple Jerky

So being that Father’s Day is a couple of weeks away, I thought I’d share with you a great idea for a gift for dads. Not saying all men like jerky, but the majority I know do. I, personally, am not a fan. But then again, I never had pineapple jerky…

I received this product from the folks over at Jerky.comand approached with hesitation for a couple of reasons. First, as previously mentioned, Foodiedani is NOT a fan of jerky. In fact, the smell of some of the jerky my husband eats makes me nauseous. And secondly, it is made with honey, which I have a slight allergic reaction to when I eat. But alas, I’ll try anything once and it smelled damn good. Tropical. Sweet. I took a wee bite to not offset my weird allergy and I was pleasantly surprised. It was just dried fruit. It was good. Me likey. I left the rest of the stuff to the husband, since he is the jerky fan and he said he could eat this stuff every day.

Take a look over at the site. They offer interesting versions of meat jerky as well and gift baskets.  A neat gift for father’s day.

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Greasy goodness…

The folks over at A Hamburger Today just posted a story about White Diamond in Linden, NJ.  It was on the front page of Serious Eats, one of my fav foodie sites. I grew up in Linden and spent many late nights chowing down on those little buns of heaven. Check out the story. If you live nearby and haven’t gone there, I suggest a road trip. I know I’ll be taking one. How could I forget all about this place?!

pic courtesy of Serious Eats and A Hamburger Today

pic courtesy of Serious Eats and A Hamburger Today

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CUPCAKES! My journey on the Munchmobile….

As I mentioned in my last post, I was one of the fortunate few chosen to be a guest muncher on The Newark Star-Ledger’s Munchmobile! Recap: The Munchmobile is a weekly feature story that has been going on for the last 12 years. Pete Genovese, a food writer for the paper, takes a group of people, aka Munchers, on the BIG DOG – a vehicle with a hot dog on top. They go in search of the “Best Of” whatever in NJ, based on readers submitted answers.

All of the Munchers for this year (feature runs from May to September) were given a list of foods we would be trying out this season and you had to submit your top four choices. Well…if anyone knows me, they KNOW that I am a cupcake snob. I make, what I consider, freakin awesome cupcakes from scratch. I consider cupcakes one of my five major food groups (along with peanut butter, chocolate, salmon, and avocados). I dream of owning my own cupcakery. I know cupcakes.

I arrived at The Star-Ledger at 7:30 am this past Saturday morning and got all giddy when I saw the Big Dog! There were four readers, Pete, his camera guy Tim (one of the funniest dudes I may have ever met), and a feature writer from the paper. We had to sign some release forms, which I didn’t read, but maybe said something along the lines of they weren’t responsible if I became diabetic after today’s trip. Then we listened to the Munchmobile rules, such as NO eating the cupcakes until pics have been taken! Hmmm…I have that rule myself when eating out (my poor family and friends…). Then we were off! Where to? Well, we had no idea until we pretty much pulled into each destination!

First stop, C’mere Cupcake in Hackettstown. So is 9am too early for a cupcake? Oh HELL no. Cute little bakeshop in a strip mall. Has a great turquoise velour couch with a zebra striped pillow. I ordered the Red Velvet and Peanut Butter. The goal was to pace myself, just taste slivers and pass them around. So I had a system I was going to instill. Take pic, cut in half, check out the innards, take pic of the innards, taste cake, taste icing, taste icing/cake together. JUDGE. OK, first up, the peanut butter one. Cake (chocolate flavor) was airy and spongy, but a little dry. Icing definitely tasted like peanut butter but it was too peanut buttery for me. How could that be considering it’s one of my food groups? I want buttercream icing on my cupcake damnit! It was dense, it was more like just peanut butter on top of the cupcake, but hell it tasted good. The Red Velvet didn’t fare as well. As soon as I cut into it, I noticed the difference from the chocolate cake. It was too dense, not light and airy, and the chocolate flavor was too subtle for me, it was nice and red though. The icing was yummy too. C’mere Cupcake had a perfect icing to cake ratio as well. Nice atmosphere too. I tasted a few others, no standouts, but the rest of the Munchers really enjoyed the mint cupcake (dani doesn’t do mint cupcakes. or coconut. or lemon.).

Next stop – Clinton! River’s Edge Bakery. Ummm…have you ever been here?! This town is too freakin cute! And lots of antique stores. Oh you better believe I’m going back here. This place was super cute. They had a separate upstairs seating area overlooking the river. First up, Red Velvet. Again, red, but chocolate flavor? Hello? Where are you? Icing – yum. Also tried the Cookies and Cream. Now. I make awesome C&C cupcakes. I do a chocolate cake, this was vanilla. It was overall ok, but I needed more C&C flavor. Also tried the Espresso one (another one I make pretty damn delicious). This was just okay for me. The real winner here was the smaller chocolate ganache cupcake. Ding! This was fabulous. I wasn’t a fan of the icing design here. It was swirly as you can see from pics. It didn’t cover the entire cupcake. Slather that stuff on baby!

Now we start heading South. I see signs for Trenton. My heart starts to pitter patter. Could we possibly be going to my favorite cupcake place in NJ? The place I frequented weekly when I worked five minutes away? Oh yes. As we got closer, Pete says “Dani, I think you know where we are going!” SCORE! That’s right. We hit up Sugar & Sunshine Bakery in Plainsboro. Heaven on Earth. Pete was also familiar and a fan of this place. I tell the rest of the Munchers – trust me on this one. Here’s where my tummy ache came. At the other two places I was able to pace myself. Not here. I was borderline out of control. Stop! I’m turning into a cupcake. First of all, they win for presentation. They ice their cupcakes so beautifully and with such care. And then create this little indentation swirl on top and sprinkle in either crumbs or colored sugar. This place also had the best icing to cake ratio. Standouts here were everything. My favorite of the day here – strawberry. Strawberry cake with strawberry icing. FRESH strawberries in here. As one of the other munchers said – it tasted like Summer. Red Velvet here was the best of all the stops – despite it not really having the red color. ALL the cupcakes were light, airy, spongy, moist, and flavorful. This place is worth the drive for me. I heart you Sunshine and Sugar. And it seemed overall, the whole crew thought this place had set the bar. High. Real high.

Last stop of the day for half of us was Brownie Points in Summit. Super cute, but no seating, but there is a park across the street. We had your basic choc and vanilla ones here but another Red Velvet, a Banana Caramel, a Mint, and some other pastries in there for variety. Red Velvet fell into the mediocre category as the first two places. Everyone liked the mint one better in Hackettstown. The Banana Caramel had some pretty yummy icing on it and everyone enjoyed it. The standout here wasn’t cupcakes but the Duffin! A donut in the shape of a muffin. Damn that was fine.

After half of us departed, the remained three hit up two more places. You can read the teaser at the link in the first paragraph. The full article will be in the paper and online on May 29.  It was such an awesome experience. I thought I could never eat cupcakes again after that, but I’d love one right about now. Furthermore, this convinced me that I could totally open up my own rockin cupcake place. Thanks to Pete and his Munchmobile for this unique experience!

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It’s Alive….

Yeah, I’m still here. Barely keeping afloat with the hustle and bustle of life.  I can’t believe it’s been a few months since I posted. I do miss my little blog but life sometimes gets in the way.  I was able to post a lot more at my last job because I had an hour for lunch but at my current job I only get 45 minutes and most of it is spent working through that. I also have been writing and editing for my sorority’s national magazine and am helping launch an e-newsletter. But never wanting to give up my little blog, I’ve been taking pics of my food still in hopes of one day posting them.

So soon, cross your fingers, I will have some new posts up. But I will damnit post after this Saturday. A VERY special Saturday. You see my long-lost friends, I’m going on the Munchmobile. THE Munchmobile. The Munchmobile is a weekly column in NJ’s Newark Star-Ledger newspaper. For the last twelve years, Pete Genovese has been taking average NJ folks out every week during the summer season all over NJ in search of the best of (fill in the blank). I was able to score a coveted seat on this Saturday’s trip in seach of cupcakes, which of course are one of my five basic food groups. So I’ll be traveling all over the state of NJ this weekend searching for the best cupcakes in a van with a hot dog on top. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.

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