Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer Eats on Seven Mile Island

One of the best things about this blog is food- sampling and reviewing it. I recently was in Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey, two fabulous beach communities along the southern Jersey Shore, with ample places eat, stay, play, and shop.

After Memorial Day it does get a bit quiet and many restaurants offer a fabulous event- Restaurant Week! If there’s one thing that I know, it’s food. 

Recently, I decided to enjoy the fabulous offers of Restaurant Week here on the island, and I was greatly pleased. 7 Mile Restaurant Week was held June 3-12 with over 30 restaurants with unique offerings for the week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I began with lunch at the Windrift where my friend Di and I enjoyed salads, chicken tenders, French onion soup, and guacamole. 

The ‘drift view adds so much to the lunch experience, and people were just getting into the swing of things as more patrons arrived for drinks and apps.

After a walk along the beach in the afternoon, the next logical step was dinner time! We decided to dine at the Whitebrier, a place my friend hadn’t been to yet. 

We sat outside, and with the sun setting over the gardens in the courtyard, it was beautiful.

There’s a new chef, Derek Clayton, at the WB, and he put his own spin on things- which I enjoyed. We began with sushi, and that hasn’t changed- fresh, flavorful, and fun, the WB’s sushi is a menu people always come back to enjoy. 

Next, the chef brought out cheddar and ale soup with barely grain salad. Both of these sounded a bit heavy for me, but in the spirit of adventure, I jumped right in and was happily surprised. 

The soup- encompassing sharp cheddar with the local 7 Mile IPA and homemade sourdough croutons was just enough for a cool summer evening- having the IPA cut through the cheddar with a slightly bitter, mild, bite gave it a really smooth flavor.

Then we tried out the barley grain salad. Since I’m trying to eat more whole foods, this fit right in. 

Served chilled, the pearled barley tower with fresh veggies and a lemony mustardy sauce was exactly enough- the way an appetizer should be.

Dinner entrees were bangers and mash, moules frites, or Scottish salmon. 

Di and I went for the salmon, which was incredibly flavorful over a beer- blanc reduction, which is a hoppy twist on the classic burre blanc sauce. 

Beer and butter happily melded with quinoa, squash, and kale (all healthy things I wasn’t sure I’d dig) but I did. 

And the salmon was perfectly prepared- light and flaky and delicious.

The moules frites incorporated Prince Edward Island mussels doused with beer broth and fries- another ingenious flavorful combination of slightly bitter beer, hearty russet potato fries, and sweet PEI mussels. 

We didn’t try the bangers and mash, but had I had any room left, I would have ordered them too because they sounded amazing.

I loved the beer theme with all the entrees, and the chef said they are adding a few of these to the menu for the summer, like the Scottish salmon.

Finally, it was time for dessert and coffee- and the Guinness stout chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream was the absolute perfect way to end the night. 

Less sweet with a smooth dark chocolate taste that was just enough sweetness.

After all this, my friend Lor invited us out for drinks and munchies at the Chair, (Bobby Dee’s Rock ‘n Chair) but alas, I was too full, and after just one drink off we went home.

But, I always wake up early, and at 7am, I was at my favorite summer breakfast place- Stone Harbor’s Bread and Cheese Cupboard. 

“Welcome to a new season!” I announced to the ladies as I walked through the door! 

Summer yay- and my favorite early morning treat for my early morning ritual- walking to the Cupboard for ham & provolone rolls and coffee (and don’t miss their amazing sticky buns- best on the island), then walking to the 96th street beach to watch the sun come up and see the dolphins frolicking in the salt water. 

It’s always a perfect morning.

That night was dinner at Marabella’s, Italian was on the menu. 

Beginning with cheesy delightful mozzarella sticks- one of my favorite apps, and this fried mozz was delectable.

Then we moved on to salads, and Di made sure her pasta was gluten free, and Matt, the chef and a friend, came out to chat with us and ensure it was exactly up to par for her. 

I had linguine and clam sauce, and it was amazing- fresh salty clams, buttery sauce over silky linguine.

Dessert was coffee and in-house-made cannoli of course- sweet and creamy studded with chocolate chips.

Now that the season is in full summer mode- definitely check out all the fabulous restaurants the island has to offer- from stuffed hoagies at Seven Mile Island Deli on 31st and Dune, to Green Cuisine for salads and quiche on 96th, sushi at the Whitebrier on 20th, crepes at Crespella Gourmet Creperie on 96th, linguine and clams at  Marabella’s on Third Avenue, French Toast at Brian’s Waffle House at 24th and Dune, Sax for and the freshest seafood at Oceanside.

Story and photos by engchik with additional reporting by DL Cooney. Thanks to the Whitebrier and Marabella's.

Thank you to Jen K!

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