The nostalgia of the Evans' family annual vacation spot: Ocean City, NJ, includes many eating traditions. While some may refute the jersey shore as an adequate beach, preferring Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina or Florida, we cherish the peaceful, quiet north end of this therapeutic island and crave the spots that have become routine.
After enjoying a morning walk on "the boards," a highlight is meeting my sister in laws at 1 of 2 hot-spot, rivaling coffee shops for an iced coffee.
4th St. Cafe', on 4th & Atlantic, is an ideal location and favorite amongst the locals. I love sitting outside under the awning with one of their delicious baked goods and flavorful iced coffees. They make an incredible breakfast panini and if it's not too hot, I'll get the oatmeal. If that doesn't sound appealing because oatmeal is part of your daily routine at home, you may want to reconsider--it's extra special, made with steel-cut oats and your choice of peanut butter, flax seed, bananas and dried cranberries. 4th st. also serves lunch--(but we have another lunch tradition so I've never tried it!) With a laid-back casual interior garbed with local art, we most value their wide selection of unique baked goods (ie. orange chocolate chip muffin; banana lime coconut cake, etc.)
We also frequent
"Who's on First Cafe'.
Self-proclaimed as "the Original 4th St. Cafe'", they are now on 1st & Asbury Ave and baking up daily fresh scones. While they have a limited selection (2 different flavors & usually 2 types of muffins), the scones are top-notch & they serve la Colombe' coffee--also ideal. We prefer 1st street for it's ample outdoor seating and $.50 iced coffee refills!
A light breakfast leaves room for our favorite lunch spot. The Evans' Family certainly invests in Berenatos' Deli, 1st & Atlantic. When it comes to sandwiches in OC, they can't be beat. One of the main reasons is their fresh, ideal rolls...like the box says from their source, "It starts with the bread." Whether you prefer an italian or turkey hoagie or a cheese steak--you can't go wrong. Our favorites include the bbq chicken cheese steak or buffalo chicken cheese steak (with hot or sweet peppers). Depending on your appetite, a full can feed 2-4 people.
If we are not in a rush to hit the beach, we love eating out under their awning. By the way, you'll get the true Italian attitude from the owners--don't be offended--we've come to find it endearing.
What does the boardwalk have to offer? If you are craving a slice of boardwalk pizza, we recommend "Three Brothers" (944 Boardwalk). Manco & Manco, formerly known as Mack & Manco, may be the most well-known, but as far as quality and size--we consider this the best. They offer a variety of toppings and it's pricey & large--but feeds the whole family.
This year we finally visited the infamous
Smitty's Clam Bar. For those who are willing to cross the bridge, Somers Point has a good thing going--from the casual, family-friendly atmosphere to the waterside view of the bay, you'll enjoy a classic seafood experience.
I was thoroughly pleased with one of the daily specials, baked tuna with a sesame-soy glaze, accompanied by a corn salad. The rest of the party tried the classic oyster po boy sandwich and crab melt. While we went for lunch, rumor has it to expect a wait for dinner--but it's an enjoyable seaside atmosphere--food and service are worth the wait!
Vacation should include at least one dessert splurge. While the self-service, pay per pound yogurt craze has hit the Jersey shore, we are Kohr Brothers custard loyal fans. An enjoyable selection of flavors (where else can you get mint-chocolate, strawberry-banana, coffee-caramel or chocolate-peanut butter soft serve?) with the creamiest consistency. A simple and consistent product keeps the line moving quickly & pleases the entire family. (Secret: kid size is not on the menu, but is an ample smaller portion given upon request.)
Finally, one of the boardwalk's best kept, healthy secrets is Bashful Banana. Serving a broad menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts, this is truly the place to visit for fresh food, gluten free, vegan or special diet concerns. My favorite item on their menu is their unique Banana Whip. Made with just bananas, it undoubtedly has the consistency of frozen custard. A variety of other frozen fruits can be added and toppings include an all fruit fudge sauce. Thanks to Bashful Banana, no one is left out of the boardwalk cuisine! (Another special touch--the only known place to order a Green Mountain flavored iced coffee!)
This sums up a perfect day of Evans' family traditional favorites at our annual vacation spot. What are some of yours?