Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Jersey weekend

I've been hibernating this winter since coming back from Paris it seems. Desculpe. (See, I'm semi-making an effort to learn Spanish....). So now that I'm back in NYC lets do a Jersey post. 

Jersey is where we went for President's day weekend. My mama's house first, where of course we stopped by Taco Bell. Don't hate, the Taco Bell near mama's house is really good, and fresh and their fresco tacos do in a pinch since rarely is there anything to eat back home thats not pre-packaged/processed especially when eating a cold cut Polish/Russian sausage and a yogurt is the equivalent of dinner. 

Next was JP's mama's house where she does not reside at the moment (+1 for beach house in Mexico). 

I think Player kinda remembered me even though he hadn't seen me in over a year, but you know, something about dogs having really good memories....regardless, he was super happy to see us and even happier to be taken for a walk or two on the beach although he did get a sticky-thorn type thing in his paw that made him bleed but we got it out and he was fine. 

Here's Player on the super-windy beach.

Here's Player with squinty eyes. 

Here's Player getting his belly rubbed by yours truly.

After watching Toy Story 3 with JP (who hadn't seen it before and held a grudge against me for seeing it without him) and his brother EP, getting some eye drops from CVS because one of my eyes was bright red from allergies, and visiting Tia C but finding no chamoy salsa at the store, we drove down to Cape May where we had dinner reservations at The Ebbitt Room. By the way, I blame Mittens the cat for my allergies, even though Mittens was locked in a room the whole time and didn't come near me. And Mittens is not her real name but a bagillion times better. JP's top names for cats that we will never have are Mittens, Kibbles and Sprinkles. Dog names are harder to come up with.

Back to The Ebbitt Room. It's a fancy-schmancy place in an old Victorian house that is now The Virginia Hotel. I don't know what was up with the waitress, but it seemed like she thought the three of us were a bunch of punk kids. After ordering a round of cocktails (which the waitress semi-messed up), we got three appetizers and three entrees. I think that made her be a little nicer to us. That, and the bottle of wine we ordered following our cocktails. Then again, if I'm in a nice restaurant and planning to spend that kind of money, the waitress shouldn't be snooty to begin with. I don't know when you go to a restaurant and expect a level of service that just isn't achieved and then ruins your meal. That happened at Rat's back in October/November.

The food was good overall, but there seemed to just be too much stuff going on. I was underwhelmed by the appetizers. A spicy ahi tuna tartare came with orange segments, hearts of palm, cucumber, avocados and plantain chips. I can't say much about it because I didn't try it.  

The calamari with lime-ginger aioli and micro greens were light in batter (rice flour maybe?) but a little greasy and definitely too chewy. The seared scallops with cauliflower puree were nicely seared and meaty, but the puree was way too sweet.

My main of duck two ways with beet risotto was good but nothing to write home about. On one side I had a duck leg confit, and on the other side a rare duck breast (maybe it was a magret, it was pretty fatty...). I did like the duck but the risotto wasn't creamy and a little dry. And then I don't know what was up with the clump of greens in the middle of my dish.

JP ordered what I wanted to get originally - an apple and brie stuffed pork-chop with roasted root vegetables and tarragon-cranberry jus. I thought he wouldn't like it because of the brie but it was barely noticable. This was actually quite tasty except the pork was a little dry...perhaps because there was barely a bone there?

EP had grilled prime 10oz NY strip steak which came with butternut squash and goat cheese gratin, a chili and red wine poached coffee and coffee demi. Whoa, lots of stuff on a plate. The gratin was delicious but I'd call it more a lasagna than a gratin. Although I don't know if there was pasta in it or just potatoes. There was definitely something other than squash and goat cheese. And the poached pear was really good. Just not sure how all of that goes together.

For dessert, we shared the special of the day, a steamed sticky toffee pudding, as well as a panna cotta. The pudding was delicious, but never have I seen a panna-cotta not in a vessel...it was almost like a cheesecake! And it came with a biscotta and other stuff. Everything about this restaurant just screamed that they were trying too hard and putting way too much stuff on one plate. Good but I'm not sure the prices are justifiable...

The next day, after pancakes and tater tots and toast and sausage at a diner, we of course went to eat TACOS. Full disclosure: Comercial Mexicana (no relation to the public company of the same name down in Mexico) in Wildwood is owned by Tia C. Although the prepared food part in the back may or may not be called Ricos Tacos. I still can't figure it out.

You proceed to the back past the wall of chilis and spices, and past the refrigerated (and non-refrigerated) cases of Boing and Jarritos (by the way, a bottle of Jarritos has 220+ calories, so you're better off getting a Mexican Coke) to the counter with the refrigerated cheeses, and order. Your choice - burritos, tacos or quesadillas with a ton of different meats (asada, barbacoa, pollo, lengua if you're into that kind of thing). I, of course, went with the chorizo tacos and picked cilantro and onions as my topping (you can also get lettuce, tomato, sour cream and queso). Comercial Mexicana has ample seating in back (8 booth-type things? And a jukebox!) so we sat ourselved down and waited. But not for long. Four tacos with double-tortillas. 

The tortillas are really good but I actually left the second tortilla from each taco on my plate...too much for me. Along with your order, you get limes, a red salsa (heavy on the dried chiles) and a tomatillo salsa. I preferred the cleaner, lime-ier tomatillo salsa to for an acidic kick to the chorizo. 

JP ordered the enchilada tacos but topped them with the lettuce/tomato/sourcream/cheese - I think they would've been better with just cilantro and onions, the way EP got his. Much cleaner and you can taste the meat flavor better. 

Then we went to get a slice of pizza (what can I say, we're fatties) at Sam's Pizza on the Boardwalk. Apparently they burned down a couple years ago and rebuilt but miraculously their really cool old-school cash register survived the fire (insurance fraud?). This was the pizza that two (three?) summers ago burned my tongue. I'm still not a fan - mainly because the sauce on the pizza is too sweet and you can clearly taste the dried oregano in it. Too bad Britton's Bakery wasn't open. I could have totally finished my weekend glutton-fest with an apple fritter. At least I finished it with some Bent Spoon ice cream the next day.

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