I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boardwalk at Seaside Heights: Gettin my Swell on Bro

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I do not fist pump. Ever.

I grew up, went to school and college in New Jersey. I know what a jug handle is, someone else always pumps my gas and I love my pork roll. However as I child, I was deprived of vacations and trips down to the Jersey Shore. My Mom hates the beach and is a plays the Asian women stereotype of avoiding the sun. I joke with her that she would love to rock a burqa because covered head to toe, the sun is not going to come in contact with your skin and she laughs, but she is secretly entertaining the idea. Anyways, trips down to the Jersey Shore never really happened for me until High School, which was the first time I went down to the shore during prom weekend specifically Seaside Heights and Park. Granted, it was raining and dreary the whole weekend, but I realized what I was missing all these years and that the boardwalk and the beach is a quintessential summertime experience. 

Unfortunately, thanks to MTV the Jersey Shore, especially Seaside Heights has left a bad taste in Jerseyians mouths, the taste of Red Bull and vodka to be exact. It has in the past few years been invaded by overly tanned, Ed Hardy/Juicy wearing 20 something year olds fueled by HGH and Jello shots. Such shows as the Jersey Shore are not only an embarrassment to all residents of New Jersey, but the United States. I cannot tell you the second I mention I am from New Jersey when I am travelling anywhere; I am asked if such people as those seen on the Jersey Shore exist. They ask the question in the same intonation as if they were asking me if I had seen some lost tribe in New Guinea and if they really do eat people. Despite the negatives that surround the Jersey Shore, every summer, I have always been down to the Jersey Shore for day trips (I mean, during the night, it is like Guido central, it’s like I am Legend) and it is always a fun time and plus you cannot beat the fair and boardwalk like food. Sure I love eating bone marrow marmalades and sweetbreads but sometimes you cannot beat a soft served custard cone with the cool salty breeze coming in from the Atlantic. Couple Quick Reps and onto the food after the Jump!

 Starting off my first trip down the shore, I always like to go and get myself a soft shelled crab sandwich. Granted that soft shelled season is over but it is some kind of weird tradition I have, so screw you seasonvores. The sandwich is simple but oh so delicious. The crab is thrown into the fryer and then thrown onto a soft Italian roll with a simple piece of lettuce that pathetically sticks out and with a wedge of lemon and a pre-packaged dipping cup of tartar sauce. Unable to resist temptation and knowing the end result I dive right in and devour it which results in rooftop mouth burn. It is well worth the pain, but without pain you will not know what pleasure feels like. 
The lettuce only feigns nutrition

Next up I decided to hit up Steaks Unlimited for cheese steaks and cheese balls. Steaks Unlimited is popular for the inebriated crowd because it is open for 24 hours and has what all craves for when walking a straight line is a challenge. Steaks Unlimited most notable appearance was again, on MTV on an episode of True Life: Jersey Shore in which the main protagonist, needing sustenance encounters another alpha Guido male and almost gets in a brawl over cheese balls. Regardless of its late night popularity, it is popular with the all people, all hours sober or not. I wanted to go with a classic cheese steak, wit whizz and with onions, the way I usually get it, but since I was sharing with my buddy that is not well versed in cheese steak practices, loads it up with peppers, onions and mushrooms. 
Cheesesteak bread pocket thing
 Also Unlimited does not do whiz and goes with white American cheese. What makes the cheesesteak different here at Steaks Unlimited is the bread. It is not on your typical elongated roll, it is served in a half-circled bread roll. The best way I can describe it is a bread-version of a pita pocket but a bread pocket. The bread pocket made me apprehensive and make a cheese steak diehard gawk but I kept an open mind and do what I always do, eat through it. The bread pocket works well for what they are doing here, the cheesesteak is chopped up into mishmash and the bread pocket keeps it altogether, it is soft and fluffy and a perfect sponge for soaking up all the juices. The cheese steak was good, but their chopped up method disguises the cheese which barely discernable in the sandwich, the Cheese balls which people obsess over are interesting. I am unsure if I really like them. Each little nugget ball is filled with cheddar cheese and the outside is crispy and stays crispy for a good 10 minutes. The cheese in the middle as it cools down goes from a nice melt to a chalky paste. Overall I was underwhelmed by my Steaks Unlimited experience; maybe I need to be under the influence in order to enjoy it or a fire hazardous amount of hair gel and a shirt two sizes too small. 

Needing to salvage the Steaks Unlimited experience, I had to get some sweets in me and as much I love fried everything, I wanted to live to see another day and luckily to my surprise I found out that Stuff Artisan Cannoli from the Lower East Side and Waffles and Dinges have both opened stands right up on the boardwalk. I got 3 mini cannolis at Stuff Artisan. Made with a ricotta filling they not only do a traditional cannoli well, they also do fun and whimsical ones such as a birthday cake and cappuccino flavored ones. 
NYC taste on the boardwalk

Looks the same, taste different

I opted for a original cannoli, a banana crème and the birthday cake. The Banana crème was subtle and smooth and the birthday cake was the right amount of balance between ricotta and icing flavor. The shells, even on a hot Saturday afternoon were perfectly crisp. Finally, a boardwalk trip would not be complete without a cone from Kohr’s which is located throughout the boardwalk. Their soft served custard is what they are notable for and of course I had to get it dipped in chocolate. The Chocolate dip is essential for the board walk because it forms a protective shell around the ice cream, slowing meltage. 

Kohr's custard
My inaugural trip to the Shore was good and the boardwalk, despite the Guidos and people that need to learn what a shirt is, is still a place that I will continue to come to time and time again because it is fun and sometimes I just want a bag full of zeppoles or slices that are the size of my head. I have made the decision that this year, I will finally eat salt water taffy, I have never had it and I think I am due for some.
Steaks Unlimited
21 Ocean Ter
Seaside Heights, NJ 08751

Kohr’s Frozen Custard
Grant & Boardwalk
Seaside Heights, NJ 08751

Park Seafood
1808 Boardwalk
Seaside Park, NJ 08752

Stuffed Artisan Cannoli
176 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002
(Located in the arcade Market on the Boardwalk)

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