Last Tuesday I flew down to New Jersey for work. On most of my business trips to NJ I try to visit as much of my family as I can! I used to live in NJ for all of elementary school and most of my extended family still lives down there. So while I hate to travel there for work I love it at the same time! Once I arrived in Newark (very late, thanks to a delay) I picked up my rental car and drove out west towards the Delaware Water Gap. I was getting together with my grandmother (I call her Graya), my grandfather (aka Poppy), my Aunt Lenore, cousin/god-daughter Courtney, my Great Aunt Barb, and my Great Uncle Tom for dinner at a restaurant called The Forge. Phew... that's a lot of family!
Here's a cute picture of my god-daughter. She wanted to take a photo of me while I took one of her. She's so adorable!
I started with a salad with balsamic.
Then we all shared some calamari
For dinner my aunt and I shared two entrees that we couldn't decide between. Sometimes you can't just pick one!
The first entree was risotto with lobster and asparagus
The second was spaghetti with crab, shrimp, and spinach in a garlic, olive oil sauce
They were both very good but HUGE! My aunt ended up bringing home more than half of each entree! I'm sure they made delicious leftovers!
That night I stayed at my Graya's house along with my Aunt Barb and Uncle Tom who were visiting from Maine. Graya had made lemon bars for Easter. I don't get to indulge in my grandmother's delicious goodies all too often so I HAD to have one!
Then for a little night cap my grandmother opened a bottle of Cherry Heering, a cherry brandy, that was at least 30 years old. I had to take a picture, or two, of the old bottle.
The next morning I woke up to Graya already cooking bacon. She is great in the kitchen! My love of food started with the family traditions that she and my great-grandmother (aka Babci [pronounced Bopchee], Polish for grandmother) used to make. I had a fabulous breakfast! Two eggs over easy, two slices of bacon, and two slices of my favorite rye toast that you can only get in NJ! I've talked about this delicious rye toast before, here! Of course I forgot to take a picture! I was busy eating before I had to run out of the house to make it to work by 9AM.
At lunch I ran out to a local bagel deli, Kettleman's Bagels, for a turkey sandwich on an everything bagel with chive spread (or as my Jersey mother calls it chive SHMEAR)! This is my favorite sandwich of all time! Again, it's only a sandwich that I would get in NJ or NY because it's the only time I can get a really good bagel! Anyway, Wednesday was beautiful so I sat outside in the sun while I ate lunch!
After work I stopped at Smoothie King for a Skinny Peach Slice Plus smoothie (peaches, papaya, strawberries, soy protein, carbohydrate mix, nonfat milk, and honey). A "skinny" meant that they left out the turbinado which is a sweetener which saved me 100 calories! The smoothie was really good! I wish there was a Smoothie King in Boston! There were so many options I wanted to try them all.
Once I had my smoothie I steered my rented Toyota Corolla to the Jersey Shore. I don't mean the TV show but if you've seen the MTV show you know that it took place in Seaside Heights. Growing up I used to spend every weekend in the summer at my grandparent's house in Seaside Park which is a couple blocks away from the Seaside Heights boardwalk. It really is beautiful and I swear my experiences are SO different than the show! Going over the bridge from Toms River to Seaside I always roll down the window and inhale the salty air. This trip was no exception! I went over the bridge, memories flooding, and picked up my grandmother to take her to dinner! We headed back over the bridge to Toms River to go to Rivoli's. The place needs a remodel but other than that it was great! We started with a salad for the table that was lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
Along with the salad we got a delicious, warm crusty bread. I love warm crusty bread!!!
For my entree I got the pistachio encrusted tilapia in a garlic sauce over mashed sweet potatoes and veggies. I also didn't realize that the garlic sauce was going to be a cream sauce. I was slightly disappointed about the cream but it was still delicious just HUGE! Again, my grandmother had more than half of both of our entrees to bring home for leftovers.
When we got back to her home the sun was setting over the bay. Seaside is on a peninsula. My grandmother lives on the bay side which is literally a 2 block walk west of the beach on the ocean side. It's such a great place to visit. The best part about my grandmother being on the bay side is that the sun sets over the water. Wednesday the sunset was beautiful!
While we watched the sunset my grandmother and I had little sundaes, another little tradition! We both had vanilla ice cream with a little caramel sauce on top! Yum!
After dessert it was time to head back to my hotel. I had another early morning of work. I said my good byes and rolled down the windows for my final trip across the bridge.
After a good nights sleep it was time for the hotel's breakfast buffet. I had a little of everything I love for breakfast foods.
Fruit, yogurt, and granola
Oatmeal with a little brown sugar and raisins
One scrambled egg and one slice of bacon
Now that I was fully fueled for my morning I headed to work. Before I had to leave for my flight I grabbed a quick catered lunch at the office. This is the spread that I got to pick from. I ended up getting a turkey and pepper jack cheese sandwich with a bottle of water. I passed on cookies and chips because I was still a little full from breakfast!
When I got home Thursday night Matt and I went to Scollay Square for a quick dinner. I had a grilled pear salad and then we split the buffalo chicken mac and cheese with a Blue Moon to wash it all down. Matt tried to take a photo on his iPhone but it was too dark in the restaurant.
Then Friday night, after a full day of work and a mini side "work" trip to the Natick Collection and The Met Bar & Grill, we went to our company's beer hour for a beer. After my one beer we headed to Shabu-Zen for a Japanese hot pot dinner with our friends. Of course I forgot to take pictures. However you can see some photos from the last time we were all there, here! For dessert my friend and I grabbed ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery before going in to the theatre to see "Hot Tub Time Machine"! It's a great movie, I definitely recommend it!
Last week was a great week! I hope you all had as much fun as I did!