Asbury Park Oyster Fest 2013..

When is an “Oyster Fest” not an “Oyster Fest”? Maybe when the event is held in Asbury Park.  In two weeks the Red Bank “Guinness and Oyster  Festival” will be held in Red Bank. Then, I will have another “oyster fest” to compare this one to.  I am not complaining. It may sound like I am getting ready to rant about the Asbury Park Oyster Fest 2013, but I am not. Tonight’s blog is a “review” of the festival. I spent over twenty years in the seafood industry and have worked a few of these festivals. I am no expert. I am a consumer with an opinion. And we all know about opinions. They are like, ummm (your butt), everyone has one, nobody wants to hear it..

Parking was a challenge for those attending the festival. I guess that is good for the city of Asbury Park. We drove around for 15 minutes until we found someone leaving a metered spot. Parking was three dollars for three hours. No big deal.  Entrance to the festival was three dollars (a  theme?). The entrance fee benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Asbury Park. A good cause, just a fee.  We (my DW and I) entered the festival around 5 pm on Saturday. I had my trusty camera to record the event. The first order of business was to find the beer truck. We had walked past about a dozen food trucks (some I would guess made famous by food tv) and had not found the beer truck. We saw a women with a beer and I asked her where the beer truck (s) were.  She was kind enough to point out that they (three) were in the complete opposite end of the festival.

We changed directions and walked towards the beer trucks looking at the various vendors and planning our eating adventure (post-beer truck).  As we stood in line we met the person with the best job at the festival.  As you waited in line, someone (a man) would come up to you and check your id. He had the discretion of looking at you and deciding, or asking to see your id. These guys enjoyed their jobs. I would guess they (at each of the three beer trucks) were single and working on meeting women. Me, they had no interest in my id. My DW and every other women in line, they got to show some id or the id checker spent a minute or two talking them up. I could do that job!

After we go our beer (wine for my DW) we continued our search for oysters (Asbury Park Oyster Fest, remember?). We found two vendors shucking clams and oysters. One had a huge line of people waiting. The other had a manageable line of people waiting.  In my mind an oyster fest would include more than two vendors selling shucked oysters. There was no choice of the type of oyster.  How many and how much were the choices. We got a dozen clams and a dozen oysters and found a spot to set our plates down and enjoy our feast. They were nice and cold and really good.

We also sampled a serving of Lobster Mac and Cheese. I will make this at home one Sunday for dinner.  What we got was good but, our portion was the last in the pan and may have been a little light and dried out. It was good. But for a ten-dollar snack, ouch, it was pricey.  And, here was another festival where they really did not have an ice cream vendor. There was a frozen gelato vendor, that was it. After we were done eating we went up to the boardwalk and found an ice cream place there. We sat on a bench on the boardwalk for almost an hour Saturday night watching the waves and the people walking the boards.

We saw a wedding on the beach as we were walking the boards. My DW and I have rarely been to Asbury Park. We live about an hour south so the trip up and back needs to have a reason.  We enjoyed our visit and will be back again as tourists.

Pictures, well of course!  Here is a link to entire folder via Drop Box.




Tuesday that feels like a Monday..

I spent most of the day out of whack. Here in the US, Monday was a legal holiday.  Everyone in our family had the day off.  That made today the first day of the work week for all of us. Except for DS2 who is more part-time than full-time until the we get closer to July 4.  DS1 walked in the house at 9 pm after leaving for work at 6 am. And, he was driving the company truck.  I guess going home from your last delivery is better than heading back to the yard, then driving home. It probably saved him more than an hour tonight.  Hard work is good for the young. It builds character and serves to motivate you to move up in the employment food chain so you don’t have to work so many hours.

Our Memorial Day dinner was steamed little neck clams, cheeseburgers and cheese noodles. There were about 75 clams in the pot Monday night. The five of us sat down to eat and the clams were gone in less than three minutes!  That part of the meal was nearly a contact sport. The burgers and noodles came a little bit later and the sharks were more behaved. There was no lacrosse last night for me. The indoor league starts back up next Monday night. Tonight we (DW and I) attended the last adult school yoga for the school year. Adult school yoga will start-up in late September or early October. Tomorrow night we will (weather permitting) play lacrosse outdoors in Manalapan.

Here is a picture from September 2011 where we took part in walk over the Manahawkin Bay Bridge. Enjoy!



No recipe needed, I guess..

Tonight’s dinner was a straight, off the cuff, wing it, kind of meal. For me, a recipe is a guideline – possible ingredients  and the proportions of one ingredient  in relation to another. Much like a science experiment. This morning we stopped at Sally’s – Ahern Fish Market on the way to the grocery store. I was in the mood for a seafood dinner but, I was not sure what I wanted.  I know the owner and the employees from a previous life when I worked in the wholesale seafood business. I usually take a look in the case to see if anything catches my eye. Today they had three small mako shark steaks, and none in the back. At that point I decided it would do something with those shark steaks.

After grocery shopping we stopped back at the fish market. We bought the mako, some swordfish, blowfish tails, clams and mussels.  Still, no direction. I was thinking about making a Cioppino, which is a seafood stew with a red sauce. I wanted something with a white sauce. In the end I made the following for dinner. I cooked some pancetta in a frying pan. Pancetta is an italian bacon. This gave the pan some flavor. I cut up the swordfish and mako into bite sized chunks. The blowfish I cut into two slices, removing the bone. After the pancetta had cooked I added the seafood to the frying pan. I added some Tony Chachere’s seasoning.  While this was cooking I made a roux with flour and butter. To the roux I added seafood stock from the grocery store and some white wine. How much of each? I was winging it!

I took the sauce, the seafood and added them to a larger pot. Then I added the clams, the mussels and some greek seasonings. I put a lid on the pot and turned the temperature down. I cooked some brown rice and when the rice was ready, the clams and mussels had opened. Oh, while the rice was cooking I added some fresh spinach, scallions and fresh parsley. All of which came from the garden.  

The meal was a hit. DS1 and DS3 grabbed some sour dough bread to soak up the sauce.  My DW enjoyed it as well.  DS2, he is working this evening from 4 to 10 pm. I saved him a plate. 

Here is a picture of DS2’s dinner. He did not get any mussels since he does not like them.  The mussels are in a leftover dish waiting for tomorrow or Tuesday.


2013-05-26 19.12.15

Post birthday, birthday..

Yesterday, was the birthday of my oldest child. Did I mention in yesterday’s blog that I never wished him a Happy Birthday yesterday?  I did on Face Book, not in person. By the time I figured out that I forgot, he was out for the night with his friends. His friends did have a party for him.  Tonight we had our party for him. His two friends from Ohio were still visiting the house after their (and our) lacrosse tournament this weekend. We had clams, steamers, burgers, fresh mozzarella, potato salad and cake. Hmmm, cake.  There will be pictures down below from the candle part of the Happy Birthday event.

DS2 is in Philadelphia tonight. He is attending a concert. The band that he went to see is called Sigur Ros. He has been talking about going to this concert since some time in the Spring when the concert was announced. Me, I have no clue about their music. I’m sure I can go on You Tube and find some of their songs. He stopped at Whole Foods for a late lunch and sent a picture that will appear at the bottom. He also sent a few pictures before it got dark.  He is planning to sleep at my cousin’s house outside of Philadelphia and drive home in the morning.

My DW and I went to the tournament this morning and watched DS1 and DS3 play. It was cloudy and humid this morning. They lost their game and the tournament was over. Maybe they will do better next year. For DS3, this was his first post high school tournament. He said that he enjoyed the experience.  Links to the pictures from the tournament can be found here (Day 1) and here (Day 2) .  DS1 is # 22 with the red helmet. DS3 is # 2 with the gold helmet.

Tonight there are quite a few pictures to share.  Enjoy!