Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eat like a local...

Some of you who know me in real life know that I work near the Jersey Shore; the real one, not the one with people that have day-glow skin, super-high hair, and very well ironed t-shirts. Yes, I know how judgy I sound - I don’t actually care though because the shore town where I work is sort of like my second home now and although there are bars, clubs and upscale restaurants all around to attract the visitors the locals know that the good places to go don’t feature fist pumping and techno. So if you promise to not overindulge on the spray tans and hair gel I’ll tell you where you can get some of the best grub, or at least some of my favorites, when you visit Jersey. Fair warning though, if you act up, please know the locals are making fun of you.

1. Max’s Hot Dogs (Long Branch): My friends Amy and Sara, a born shore girls, both told me Max’s individually after I went on too long about the real reason I had considered applying to Pitt for graduate school (The O-Dog). Max’s isn’t a lot of frills but the dogs are good and the drinks are cold. And for those of you that need a little “class” with your hot dog - Martha Stewart has voted them best hot dogs in the country.

2. Wang Sushi (Toms River): What’s your favorite Asian cuisine, Chinese, Japanese, Thai? Can’t chose than you should definitely visit Wang Sushi is the ultimate Asian Fusion restaurant, the menu is huge, included all of the above, plus some Indian and Vietnamese and everything is made fresh to order. I have to admit that one of the reason’s I love this place is that my friends and I have gone so often that they don’t kick us out when we get loud and they’ve let us have birthday parties where we’ve taken up almost every table in the place.

3. Shut up and Eat (Toms River): Who doesn’t love breakfast? I’m not sure if I know how to describe Shut up and Eat, it’s friendly (you walk in and everyone says ‘hi’), eclectic (nothing matches from place settings to furniture), and the fact that I just had the “Elvis” (a friend peanut butter and banana with bacon) 4 days ago and am still thinking about it, makes it one of the best places that I’ve eaten. For a real review check out this 2009 review from New Jersey Monthly.

4. Horizon Diner (Manahawkin): You can’t not go to a diner in Jersey, we are the diner state. Healthy (aka large) servings, reasonable prices, and yes killer food make this a must visit. And the Chicken Pot Pie, which has a bottom crust and big chunks of chicken, will either demand your reverent silence or make you go on about how good it is each time the wait staff comes to check on you.

5. Greenhouse Cafe (Ship Bottom): Let’s say you have special dietary needs or you’re a vegetarian or you just want to sit down and eat somewhere that’s not directly on the beach - you want to visit the Greenhouse Cafe. They have a large, eclectic menu that can please just about anyone any time of day. I have yet to be disappointed.

And finally if you really want to go upscale:
6. Bistro 44 (Toms River): The menu, which changes daily, is American with French influences. The staff is friendly and provide great service. The fact that I can get Creme Brulee for desert at both lunch and dinner is wonderful, and, because I know you really want to be impressed - can’t believe the creme brulee didn’t do it for you , the chef was a winner on Food Network’s Chopped.
Click here if you want to watch his episode.

There are lots of other little spots here and there that I love, but this list will hopefully give you a real glimpse to food at the real Jersey shore.


Kristen - 2ndgenlibrarian said...

She doesn't lie. There are some great places on this list, and the ones I haven't been to yet are definitely going on my must visit list.

Gigi said...

Thanks Kristen.


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