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Long Beach Island


mbalaver
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Any LBI folks out there? I'm heading there for a couple of weeks, and am wondering if there are any hidden gems of restaurants or markets I should know about (especially south of the causeway). We've been going there since the '60s, so I know the usual suspects, but wonder if there are places I don't know about (or new ones). We cook, mostly, so places to get good fish, meat, and produce are appreciated (the Acme is great for cold cuts and Tastykakes, but I think I was thwarted when I tried to buy lamb there last year). My brothers and sisters with small children could particularly benefit from good restaurant recommendations, since they have so many in-house babysitters at the beach. My sister liked a place called Sweet Vidalia last year, but she said it has closed.

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Any LBI folks out there? I'm heading there for a couple of weeks, and am wondering if there are any hidden gems of restaurants or markets I should know about (especially south of the causeway). We've been going there since the '60s, so I know the usual suspects, but wonder if there are places I don't know about (or new ones). We cook, mostly, so places to get good fish, meat, and produce are appreciated (the Acme is great for cold cuts and Tastykakes, but I think I was thwarted when I tried to buy lamb there last year). My brothers and sisters with small children could particularly benefit from good restaurant recommendations, since they have so many in-house babysitters at the beach. My sister liked a place called Sweet Vidalia last year, but she said it has closed.

Did you find anything interesting? My family stayed in Harvey Cedars from about 1986 to 1996 and we still go back to visit "Old Barney" on occasion, including this last summer. Next time we go, it might be worth a stop at some place slightly more sophisticated than a soft-serve window :)

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We're just back from a short trip to LBI for a family reunion.  For securing provisions, we did quite well at Murphy's (9 South Bay Ave).  I had figured we'd go to the Acme, but this was very close to where we were staying, while the Acme was 3 miles away. I cannot imagine that the Acme would have been better.  We had already carried in a fair amount of groceries but had no problem finding anything we needed there, including prosciutto from the deli, imported brie, and raspberry and mango sorbets.  The cantaloupes they had were really juicy and delicious. (One family member bought 2 every day for breakfast, and they also worked well as an appetizer with the aforementioned proscuitto.)  I'm fairly confident that their tomatoes and corn would also have been top quality, but we purchased those items at Foster's Farm Market several blocks up the street and were quite pleased with their produce. 

We didn't have much chance to eat out but did hit three places.   The big winner was The Chicken or the Egg at 207 North Bay Ave, open 24/7 in season, for breakfast all day and more.  Kitsch done well and food done even better.  We'd gotten positive feedback from family members who hit it first (including a 6-year old fan of their pancakes) and, yeah, it was very good.  I had a Florentine omelet ($8.99), while my husband went whole hog with the New Jersey Devil ($9.99) two eggs, three slices of Taylor Ham (pork roll) and spicy pepper jack cheese on a grilled jalapeno cheddar bagel , served with Home Fries (surprise your home fries with with peppers, onions, jack/cheddar for $2 extra).  I already had too much food of my own but tried a little of this, and it was spicy!  (He got the full treatment on the home fries too.)  On a longer trip, I would definitely hit this multiple times.  We luckily arrived at a good time and there was quite a line (stretching outside) when we left.

Not a fair comparison because it was a small happy hour sampling, but The Marlin at 2 South Bay Avenue won a little bit of my heart.  I stopped in briefly during happy hour, disappointed they hadn't been open at lunchtime when I wanted to go, and I liked the place.  I knew I had a huge dinner coming up, so I only ordered a few clams on the half shell (no minimum order @ 75 cents each) from the happy hour menu.  The clams were clean and well-shucked, served with horseradish, cocktail sauce and a bed of fresh Italian parsley over ice.  I regret not being able to have a full meal here. Good and friendly service, playing a mostly country soundtrack over the PA.  They appeared to have a decent beer selection but I went with a Bud Light (domestic pints, well drinks, and house wine $4 at happy hour).

The bottom rung at just average was Buckalew's.  We ended up there when The Marlin, catty-corner, was not open for lunch.  It felt like a college town bar or like maybe something you'd find at Dewey Beach (reminded me of a now nameless place we once had a late lunch upon arriving at Dewey many summers ago).  The kind of stale beer and whatever smell doesn't seem obvious late at night, but it was odd at lunchtime on a sunny day.  We were among very few customers there.  I felt wary of the raw bar and ordered my burger medium (The Hawkeye Burger Pecanwood smoked bacon, crumbled blue cheese, sauteed onions and chipotle mayo $15).  The burger came out medium rare and was fine, if excessively gloppy from an OD of chipotle mayo.  It came with OK fries. My husband got a very small bowl of Tomato Basil Bisque ($7), which was OK.  He liked his three Roasted Vegetable Tacos (Vegetarian) Black beans, corn, red onion, seasonal squash and cabbage topped with queso fresco, lime crema and cilantro ($12), but they were no match for the homemade Tex-Mex food we had back at the rental house that night.  Our server was...OK.  She spent a lot of time talking to the other servers, but that was understandable given that they really had no customers.  We decided this place could benefit from a visit by Robert Irvine (does he even do that show anymore?), but I'd stop in for a late night drink and bar food.  

Honorable mention to the Brain Freeze ice cream stand (200 block Centre St.), for convenience, if nothing else.  The peanut butter swirl was good but the banana tasted like artificial banana flavor (if there wasn't any, they did a good job imitating it). I wanted to try the custard but weren't there long enough to get to it.

This has been "My Summer Vacation, 2016."

 

 

 

 

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