Back from the Beach

July 30, 2011 at 9:00 am 1 comment

I am back from vacation and, after a month of traveling, it certainly feels great to be home! I have one more week to relax before school starts, and then it is back to the grind! It is crazy how fast a summer will fly by when you are having so much fun! But before I reminisce about a vacation that is not quite over, let me recount one that is!

sista friennnz

My family has been vacationing in Cape May, NJ for decades. Some of my earliest family memories are from these beaches, or from the campground that we have always gone to. The Depot is not really that special – the sites are small, there is no pool, the bath houses are basic, but this place holds a special spot in my heart. We love it because it is only a mile from the beach, so we can throw our chairs and towels on our backs and bike to the beach. I remember days when we used to have three campsites, with sand toys strewn everywhere and family dinners that stretched late into the evening. Now it is just my immediate family left in NJ and we have matured past the days of sand toys, but some traditions have not left us. We still stop at Duckie’s Farm Market for corn (for more than one dinner), still go to Sunset Beach to marvel at the concrete ship and search for diamonds, still walk the beach with distance measured by space between piers, and still sing that old song “On the Way to Cape May” even if no one knows the words. This trip was filled with many more family moments, and reminders of family moments from the past.

A highlight of this vacation for me was the food! In celebration of my mom’s 50th birthday, we enjoyed dinner out on the town, twice! The first was a girl’s night out to Bella Vida Cafe – right down the street from the campground with a menu that boasted a number of vegetarian/vegan options. My mom and sister had been eyeing the restaurant with me in mind for the whole week before I joined them at the beach. It was such a fun foodie find! In a town filled with seafood dishes, their options all had a fresh, flavorful spin, be it through a fruit salsa or some sort of unique glaze. Plus, it had so many vegetarian options that it was hard to choose what to eat for dinner!
Island Style Christina I settled on the Island Style Christina – rice and beans with plantains and fresh mango-pineapple salsa. So many great flavors that reminded me of my time in the DR!
coconut grouper My mom and my sister both chose the Coconut Encrusted Grouper, of which I stole a bite or two. It was delicious, but accurately described by my sister as a little too sweet. Not too much to stop everyone from clearing their plates though! We finished off our night on the town with window shopping, which usually drives my dad crazy. Good to have a girl’s night out once in a while!

Birthday celebration part 2 – a day trip to Lewes, DE. My mom has always wanted to take the ferry that runs between Cape May and Lewes, but has never gotten around to doing so. We decided that her birthday would be a perfect time to do this! Lewes is a tiny town with a much different feel from its sister. It is smaller, more quaint, and less crowded than Cape May – perfect for a day of exploring. We filled the afternoon with more window shopping (Dad was drug along this time but put up without complaint – a birthday present in its own right!). My favorite store was Lewes Gourmet, from which I purchased a cinnamon grinder and a jar of No Sugar Added Beach Plum Jam. Beach plums are a tiny fruit that grow wild in the marshes, usually too sour to eat but make great jams! After tiring ourselves out with shopping, we sat down for a late lunch/early dinner (linner?) at The Wharf. We enjoyed sitting out on the water, and chose the restaurant for the location and not the menu. Shouldn’t have been fooled by the plastic chairs and patio furniture – the food was absolutely excellent.
IMG_4063 We enjoyed Thai-stlye calamari for an appetizer – definitely not your ordinary calamari! It was lightly fried and then drenched in a sweet and spicy chili sauce with jalapeno peppers. I savored every bite!
IMG_4064 For my meal, I enjoyed an Ahi Tuna Salad – a seared tuna steak served over Romaine with edamame, peanuts, wonton strips, and a light peanut dressing. It was possibly the best salad I have ever eaten.
IMG_4065 My parents enjoyed the crab cake sandwiches, the option I almost got. The crab cake was huge and was all crab and no filler, but I enjoyed my meal too much to even try a bite! They both loved the sandwich, though!

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I had so much fun trying fresh spins on seafood in places I wouldn’t expect. There is always a good foodie find, even in small beach towns! And what better way to celebrate a birthday than with great food at the beach?

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