You cannot imagine how long it takes to get a great shadow shot. You set up and then you realize you are in the picture, you try again and they are in the picture, you try again and the pose is gone. Solution:shoot 1000 shots and you will get something great.

Here we are just along two different beaches-one on the Atlantic and the other on a canal.

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So here are the meats and potatoes of the matter.

First of all we had a room across the street from the beach.

room with a view
I am on the boardwalk looking at the place.
I liked that place, easy beach access. We arrived at 6:30 in the morning and killed a few hours:driving around, (me) learning the ways and means of manual cars, and finding a place to eat breakfast.

We ate breakfast as this hotel (THE GRAND) on the strip adjacent to the beach. It was a like having breakfast in Manhattan (pricing expected). It was a buffet: cheese blintzes, cobbler, bagels, biscuits, toast, pancakes, sausage, bacon, waffles, eggs, Eggs Benedict, cereal, yogurt, fruits, and usual beverages. We ate a little of all we wanted, trying to pace ourselves.

The staff came by often enough to ask how were were doing and to refill coffee. They looked like your typical diner gals. Our section was 3/5 full (two sections in restaurant as well)by the time we were done. The bathrooms were clean and had an anti room. That is always nice. As for the tidiness of the place in general, it looked like they were taking care.

While finishing up, my fiance was talking to me and well, I dozed off in front of him. Serious i-tis. The food was that filling and decent enough for two hungry people.
Would we ever eat there again–yes.

For dinner we decided to check around. We already had a reservation at one place but after seeing a restaurant menu while we were walking, we decided to go there. It was Restaurant Week in Cape May so there were a bunch of Price Fixe options. We settled on the Merion Inn. (106 Decatur Street at Columbus Avenue)

I got the table while my other half parked. We were trying to make it inside the special window–before 5:30 or after 9:30. We found a table next to the front –actually in the corner of the porch, with lots of natural light eaten up by plant life. It was very quaint and we noticed that we were not the only price conscious people.

Our table was 2 x 2 feet. With all the stuff already on the table (lamp, dinner settings, water) when we got there, I was imagining what it would be like with plates and cups.

In the corner–lining up with the corner of the room, there was a lamp/candle things. We realized after a while that it was indeed a real candle–and the curtains were 3 inches above–hello, fire safety. We finally decided on our meal.
Me: Tossed Garden Salad (check how that arrived-

decent except for the dressing on the cup
, Him: Jersey Shore Clam Chowder (fitting)

So he finished and I was still cleaning finishing up. Not even 1/2 a minute passed and the waitress came back with our food. By the way, I was not finished. So that she could put down the large ass filled plates, I picked up the salad bowl in my hand and kept eating.

need I say more
I thought that common sense would have kicked in and she would have taken my food back, even before that, she should have waited till we were both done, then cleared away the plates, then brought the food–performed her own Cape May interpretation of service. Also our Reislings came in a small carafe. We were to pour those ourselves. Well she wanted to make room and just poured the drinks for us, filling the glasses and taking the carafes away. Thanks mom for doing that. What was the flipping RUSH!! It was not like there was a line of people. We were on the porch and there was a whole inside with seats for 40 or so people.

Another waiter came by and observed the scene. He was apologetic, but did not do what I though he would do–alert her and show her up in front of us. She did not even come back to apologize. She came back intermittently to ask how was the meal. She was oblivious to what she had done.

The food was okay. In the beginning, when first tasting my food, I was waiting for some heavier flavor. About half way through, I finally was able to really taste the sauce.
Me: Veal Scallopini w/Pancetta, spinach and fontina

veal scallopini/scallopine

Him: Grilled Skirt Steak w Tomato-Shallot Jam, Gorgonzola Potatoes Au Gratin & Bacon-Onion Demi-Glace

His meal was decent–grilled anything is usually good. He had a potato pie of a sort and that was good–gorgonzola cheese made it tasty. I liked his meal.
By the way, there was a lot of food. We tried to finish it. Mind you we started with soup and salad and bread. I was like a whale after this.

We did not even have room for dessert–my favorite meal.

Would I visit again. Well, maybe, I have to see the real menu first. Also the waitress really struck me. In the end we left her 1/2 of the normal tip. I insisted on none but my other half said he would do half and leave a comment–compromise.

I would give the food an 5.5. It was average, with some times of goodness. The breadbasket had muffins–banana nut was excellent (8).
For service I would give a 4.
Cost, well I think it hovered closed to 60. (2 people-apps, entrees and wine) 7

Follow my next entry, where I do day 2

Memorial Day that was not

This was the first year I did not attend a memorial day anything. Boo WHOO. So I decided to just make it a culinary exercise day or rather weekend. First let us go with the empanadas. , I have these on my menu but have not actually mass-produced them or done them in an easy fashion. The first time I made them, I made the dough from scratch. Lets just say, if the King of Myanmar wanted me to make them from scratch for him for authenticity, I would. If someone wanted to pay for that time, I would be doing them all night. But, as we know, that “isht” takes a day to make so that will not occur anytime soon. So I went to C-Town and bought empanadas skins. I used some pantry ingredients: walnuts, guava jam and Comte cheese. I cut the skins in half, filled them, sealed them, egg washed them and then made up a time. 20 minutes is usually a good guess to cook pastries, and as a rule you then check and gauge the amount of time you will need to completely cook. I did two halves and one whole. Wow the whole puffed up. I can imagine this filled with ground meat and cheese–for lunch or dinner. I can also imagine, an apple filled one.

Then I got happy and decided to buy some ribs. I was absent-minded and forgot that ribs cannot be done in an hour.

In the past I cooked ribs at school and my mom also made ribs at home. There are a few schools of thought. There is the marinate them then throw them on the grill school. Then there is the boil them and then finish them off in the oven. Then then there is the just let them cook in the oven for 3 hours.
If you want to weigh in on what has worked for you–please leave a comment.

So I went with option two. I went a little up market though. First I salted and black peppered the ribs. Then I added cumin and some Cajun seasoning. I threw some other stuff in there and then I let it sit. I decided to open a bottle of beer, and I took the last of a bottle of red wine. I put all of this in a pot and barely covered the ribs. It was not enough so I added some seltzer water, mandarin flavored and I also added some mandarin juice. I let all boil for about 45 minutes. The key is to have a really thick boiling liquid so that the flavors mesh into the meat. I put very little water as that is like straight boiling-boiling out the flavor.

After I put them in the oven on top of a grill, and let the meat cook for 1.5 hours over a pan. 45 minutes in, I flipped the meat. For cooking time it could have gone for about 1 3/4 or even 2 hours so it would literally have fallen off the bone. The last 1/2 an hour I based the meat with my bbq mix. This is when the sugar in the bbq sauce can be a problem. You can add water to the pan or more water to the pan.

We had the ribs ,, a few days later and for my first run at ribs at home, I would say maybe a 6. I have a few more notches to climb to reach my satisfaction level.

Till then, share your ribs stories, successes and failures.

Cape May #1

A historic little beach town at the southern tip of New Jersey. There are some amazingly restored and preserved houses. The colors are pleasing. The people are mindful of the “vacationers.” You have to pay for the beach-yeah I said it. There is even a 711–just one. There are no Dunkin Donuts and no fast food joints. There are little food places but not a numerous as you might think.

I got my first lesson in manual cars. That is how quiet the road was at about 6:45 am in the morning.

Enjoy these photos. In a few days check back, I will give low down on the food and things to do.

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