Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ocean City NJ Boardwalk, Treat Week #3

George's Candies on the Ocean City Boardwalk

The Scarborough Inn's first annual - and totally unofficial - "Treat Week" continues the celebration of just some of the delicious goodies to be found on the Ocean City Boardwalk - with today's choice...

Treat # 3 George's Candies - Macaroons

Located at 700 Boardwalk since 1954, and today offering many other options, our choice for a special confection is George's Macaroons.  Traditionally made of egg whites, sugar, and coconut or almond, their version is simply delicious.  In fact, Atlantic City Magazine describes these cookies as "...the quintessential macaroon with a crunchy outside...(and)...soft and chewy inside."

Enough said!  Make sure to sample the Macaroons at George's Candies.

INNsider Tip - Macaroons need to be carefully stored to preserve their freshness, click here.  But mine never last that long!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ocean City NJ Boardwalk, Treat Week #2

Johnson's Caramel Corn

This week, the Scarborough Inn is celebrating our first annual - and totally unofficial - "Treat Week."  This is a celebration of  the special Treats and Sweets commonly found, and enjoyed, on the Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk.

Treat #2 is Johnson's Popcorn!

First offered in 1940, Johnson's Popcorn continues to be a perennial favorite with Jersey Shore vacationers.  Although there are other choices, our personal favorite is the Caramel Popcorn.  To quote their website, the "...aroma of hot caramel tossed over giant kernels of popcorn has lured millions of visitors to Johnson's Popcorn."

There's nothing like strolling the Ocean City Boardwalk clutching a giant tub of warm, sweet popcorn to share with family and friends.  With three locations, you are never far from this delicious treat - visit 6th. Street, 8th. Street, and 14th. Street - all on the Boardwalk.  In addition, you can order online year-round. 

INNsider Tip - Sign up on the Johnson's Popcorn website to receive coupons & special offers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ocean City NJ Boardwalk, Treat Week!

"Shriver's Gelato" on the OC Boardwalk
OK, OK, I admit it, there is no such thing as an official "Treat Week."  But when you think of visiting the Ocean City Boardwalk, all kinds of delicious sweets and treats just naturally come to mind, don't they?  So during this week leading up to the Fourth of July, we'll be focusing on just some of the scrumptious goodies available along our wooden way (presented in no particular order; they're ALL good). 

Treat #1 is...Shriver's Gelato

For many years, Shriver's has been justifiably famous for their home-made Salt Water Taffy, Fudge, and other tempting confections.  More recently, they added Shriver's Gelato (846 Boardwalk) - and it instantly became very popular!

Gelato is Italian-style ice cream and the Shriver's version features flavors imported from Italy.  It tastes rich, creamy, and decadent, but is actually lower in butterfat than American ice cream.  The gelato is beautifully presented in glass-fronted freezers and is available in an array of flavors - from traditional favorites to gourmet delights.

So celebrate your own personal "Treat Week" (whenever you visit the Jersey Shore) and try some unforgettable Shriver's Gelato on the Ocean City Boardwalk - only a short walk from the Scarborough Inn!

INNsider Tip: To learn more about gelato click here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dirty Food! NOT at the Scarborough Inn

Pineapple - one of the "Clean Fifteen"
The EWG (Environmental Work Group) just released the 2011 Shopper's Guide to Produce. This includes the "Dirty Dozen" - the twelve most contaminated (as in pesticide-leaden) fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle...and most likely in your fridge, too.

How did they decide which items to add to this list?  From the article..."after analyzing 89,000 tests conducted from 2000 to 2008 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Food and Drug Administration, EWG developed a guideline for which fruits and vegetables contain the highest amount of pesticides and therefore should be bought organic..."  The #1 culprit on the "Dirty Dozen" list is.....apples.

This is why we continue to make a concerted effort to search for fresh, local, and (hopefully) organic produce for the Scarborough Inn menu.  It is not always easy to locate reliable sources and, of course, there is the cost factor, but we are totally committed to this search.

The good news is that EWG also has a list of the "Clean Fifteen" - foods least likely to contain harmful substances.  Both list are available on a little card that can be downloaded, placed in your wallet, and taken to the grocery store or farmer's market for easy reference.  Sweet!  The more we all demand clean produce, the more will become available.  EWG Shopper's Guide here

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ocean City, NJ Beaches - Dawn to Dusk

Ocean City NJ Beach - close to the Scarborough Inn
Our Ocean City, NJ beaches are beautiful any time of day - any time of year!  Enjoy a little Jersey Shore virtual beach visit whenever you need a little R&R.

And when it's time to visit Ocean City, for a REAL vacation getaway, contact us at the Scarborough Inn - we'll be happy to welcome you to our bed and breakfast - less than a 5-minute walk to the Ocean City Beach.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ocean City NJ, Horseshoe Crabs

Ocean City NJ - Horseshoe Crabs
Recently, I was surprised to see Horseshoe Crabs on a tiny, pebbly beach along the back bay in Ocean City.  Most times, these ancient sea creatures select beaches along the Delaware Bay for their yearly mating and egg-laying ritual.

What attracted my attention as I took my morning walk, was a raucous group of seabirds frenetically scrambling around at the edge of a small sandy area along the bayfront.

"What could they be doing?" I wondered, "what are they so excited about?"

And then I realized what was going on.  A few Horseshoe Crabs had lumbered onto that small patch of shoreline and were trying to lay eggs.  To the birds, it was a gourmet breakfast.  I hope some of the eggs survived though, because these crabs are a unique and important species.  They were featured in a brief video on CBS Sunday Morning in their natural habitat.

Farm Fresh Produce: What's in Season?

NJ Farm Fresh Produce
New Jersey, known as the "Garden State," is home to a succession of seasonal farm fresh products. We are delighted to use these at the Scarborough Inn for Breakfast and for Afternoon Refreshments, too.  We even have a small garden at our bed and breakfast that supplies the kitchen.

This year, we have planted a selection of herbs and we recently added several varieties of tomatoes.  One unique variety of tomato was developed by Rutgers University and is renowned for its delicious flavor and suitability for growing in New Jersey.  It was difficult to obtain for awhile, but is experiencing a surge in popularity and, as a result, is easier to find.  I can't wait to see how the "Rutgers Tomato" performs and tastes!

Right now, New Jersey farmers report strawberry season is ending and new crops are appearing.  These include peas: English, snap, and snow varieties, plus several kinds of beans - the familiar green and yellow string beans... and purple beans.  Yes, they really are purple.

I just started reading a book called, The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love (Kristin Kimball).  It is a very personal look at the movement to re-create family farms that supply a wide variety of naturally raised fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats to a community.  It also includes this recipe for fresh-from-the-garden peas.

Peas in Milk

2 cups milk (they use whole, farm-fresh milk)
2 Tbls. butter
2 cups shelled peas
salt & pepper to taste

few mint leaves, finely chopped (I'll try this, but I'm not sure about the mint)

Shell the peas and set aside. Heat the milk and butter over medium heat in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.  Add peas, salt, and pepper, and gently simmer until the peas are bright green.  Remove from heat, add mint (if using) and correct seasoning.

On Essex Farm, they serve this with boiled new potatoes as lunch.

Next time you visit the Scarborough Inn, we hope you'll enjoy the farm fresh produce and/or locally made ingredients on your plate!

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INNsider Tip:  If you're lucky enough to find fresh Purple Beans in your Farmer's Market, serve them raw to appreciate the unique color.  Cooking changes their color.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Jersey Farmers Market

Ocean City Farmer's Market
In Ocean City we are fortunate to have a weekly Farmer's Market on the Tabernacle grounds from July through the end of the summer.  We can conveniently purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers to use for Breakfast and/or Afternoon Refreshments at the Scarborough Inn.  And we are thrilled to do so!  We provide the very freshest produce for our guests while supporting our local farm families.

Recently, I received a ballot from America's Farmland Trust to vote for "America's Favorite Farmer's Market."  Of course, I voted for the Ocean City, NJ Farmer's Market.  If you would like to do the same, use this link to cast your ballot.

If you would like to know more about American Farmland Trust, you can visit their website here and join the effort to support and protect our nation's farms.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jersey Shore Restaurants, Ethnic Foods

In Ocean City we have a wonderful, small cluster of ethnic restaurants all located on 9th Street between Central Avenue and Wesley Avenue.  This unique grouping of Jersey Shore restaurants offer different ethnic foods - all on one block.  Within a few yards of each other, you can sample foods from Greece, China, and France!

Enjoy Greek specialities from Katina's Gyro Restaurant (501 9th. Street), an extensive selection of Chinese favorites from Szechwan Garden (503 9th. Street), and the continental cuisine of Ma France Creperie (506 9th. Street).

Best of all, these fun eateries are all less than a 10-minute walk from the Scarborough Inn, so a delicious international meal is always an easy option for dinner!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast: Natural Toiletries

Natural ingredients
Natural toiletries are a luxury we provide for guests of the Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast.  Formulated from natural ingredients like domestically-sourced vegetable oil and fragrant essential oils, our soap, shampoo, and body lotion are free of artificial colors, paraben, and sulfate.

Our signature toiletries are even more unique this year with the addition of lovely packaging that echoes the colors and designs of our website, and the ambiance of the inn.

Enjoy these all natural products the next time you visit and purchase guest soaps in the shape of scallop shells from the inn Gift Shop to enjoy at home or for thoughtful gifts.  Other carefully selected gift items are also available for purchase in person or online.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ocean City NJ Vacation, Guarded Beaches

Ocean City NJ Beach, Memorial Day
Our local beaches are consistently ranked among the top in the nation and are an important part of any Ocean City NJ vacation.  The Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCPB) plays a very important role in insuring that a fun day at the beach...stays fun.

During the early part of the season, not all beaches are guarded, so when heading for a day of surf and sand, check with us at the Scarborough Inn, online at the city website, or by phone 609-814-WAVE (9283) - although when I tried the phone number the information was outdated.

INNsider Tip - Beach tags are required when you use the Ocean City beach; we supply them free to guests (with a refundable deposit) 2 tags per room or suite.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jersey Shore Restaurants: BEACH CLUB CAFE

Beach Club Cafe
1282 Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ 08226                                            
(609) 398-7700

You may remember the old Scout song about, "..make new friends, but keep the old.."  Well, it was a great pleasure to re-discover an "old friend" recently that Scarborough Inn guests will find very appealing!  I'm talking about chef Stephen Nicoletti, who is operating the Beach Club Cafe - a great Jersey Shore Restaurant right on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Ambience - Situated right on the Boardwalk on a raised deck, the cafe has a beautiful view along the wooden way, plus a panoramic sight of the beach and ocean - the perfect location for those who want a delicious dinner with a side of romance.

Service - On our recent visit, the server was efficient, knowledgeable, and cordial.  Great service contributes to a pleasant dining experience and Tara is a definite asset.

Food - In a word - scrumptious!  Everything we ate was beautifully fresh, expertly prepared with a judicious touch, and nicely presented.  Dinner includes a choice of soup or salad, entree with sides, a roll and butter.  The selection is extensive - mostly centered around chicken, pasta, and a variety of seafood.

We both choose salads for starters and these were crispy romaine with a nice variety of dressings.  Chef Steve treated us to a cup of Maryland Crab Soup that was outstanding - creamy, yet light with plentiful bits of crab, and seasoned perfectly.

For the entree, Gus selected Clams Casino Capellini.  This was kind of a deconstructed clams casino with all of the traditional elements intermingled with imported pasta and piled high in a serving bowl, topped with a mound of herbs and seasonings. Delicious to look at and to taste!

I selected a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake which was delicately flavored and redolent of sweet crab with a side of Lyonnaise potatoes - lightly crisp on the outside and tender within. We both enjoyed a side of sugar snap peas which provided simple, bright flavor and color to the plate.

We shared an absolutely decadent homemade Chocolate Cappuccino Cake.  It was richly flavored with smooth chocolate and just a hint of mocha from the cappuccino and topped with real whipped cream.  (Thank goodness we walked home! I'm sure that removed the calories.)

Price - Most entrees are less than $20.00 making eating at the Beach Club Cafe a rich experience without the high prices.*

Details - There is seating indoors as well as outside so inclement weather should not deter you from enjoying the wonderful food and ocean-front atmosphere.  Children are accommodated.  I did not see handicapped access, but call to inquire.  Credit cards are accepted.

Parking could be a problem - none is provided - but not for guests of the Scarborough Inn.  We provide complimentary, on-site parking for our guests and the cafe is within walking distance of our bed and breakfast.

INNsider Tip: Take advantage of the *Early Bird Special" - 15% off any dinner entree from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  Bring along a sweater or light jacket, it can be chilly near the water - no matter the season - and take a camera to record the gorgeous setting. I think this superb Jersey Shore restaurant will become a favorite.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ocean City, NJ, BEST Boardwalk 2011

Ocean City NJ Boardwalk Amusements
New Jersey Monthly recently named Ocean City's 2.5 mile Boardwalk the BEST in the state!  Of course, I agree.  In an article about the best Jersey shore beaches, our shoreline-hugging wooden way is celebrated for: morning bike riding on the boards, fabulous pizza and oceanfront dining, amusements and attractions.

I would add that Ocean City's boardwalk also features great shopping plus relaxing strolling and people-watching.  It is a venue for entertainment, too, both in the historic Music Pier (concerts, plays, shows) and on the Boardwalk itself (street performers, art exhibits, parades.) It is also clean, attractive with decorative lighting and seasonal flowers, and safe - all assets that contribute to a thoroughly enjoyable time.

The Ocean City Boardwalk is just a 5-minute walk from the Scarborough Inn and no vacation getaway is complete without at least one visit.  Read the complete article from New Jersey Monthly here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Garden State Wine Growers Association

Cape May County Tasting Room
"Garden State" wines are gaining an excellent reputation due, in part, to the institution of the QWA or Quality Wine Alliance program.  In 1999, New Jersey (like Italy and France) instituted a quality wine alliance program that insures all wines sold to consumers meet set quality standards.

An article on the Wine Growers Association website explains that "...New Jersey wines must pass a rigorous review process before they earn the coveted QWA designation. Wines submitted to the New Jersey Commercial Wine competition are reviewed by an independent review board consisting of certified wine judges, wine editors, wine distributors, liquor store owners, and experienced wine reviewers. Wines that meet or exceed the rigorous review process are awarded the QWA designation."

Guests of the Scarborough Inn B&B are invited to explore Cape May County vineyards along our local Wine Trail.  Many wineries host special events, wine-pairing dinners, or festivals at different times of the year.  Ask us, and we'll be happy to supply you with maps, directions, and information.

Add some Garden State Wine to your Ocean City New Jersey Vacation - Cheers!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ocean City Activities, Annual Flower Show

Flower Show  - 3rd Prize
A favorite among many Ocean City Activities, is the Flower Show to be held on the Music Pier (on the Boardwalk) June 3, 4, and 5, 2011.  Staged by the Garden Club of Ocean City, this annual event is being presented for the 39th time.  This year's theme is "Dancing with the Flowers" and includes a number of interesting Artistic Design divisions, plus a Horticulture division.  There's also an associated Trade Show on the adjacent loggia of the Music Pier.

I had an opportunity to participate in one of the Artistic Design divisions last year.  It was great fun, but I also gained a new appreciation for floral designers.  It's not easy to create a beautiful arrangement that fits a particular theme, and frankly, I've never learned all of the techniques and traditions of professional floral design.  However, I was proud of the final result and won Third Prize in my division (In the interest of full disclosure, I should confess that there were only six people in each division, but still...).

This year, the Ocean City Flower Show will be held on the following days and times:  Friday, June 3 (2:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.), Saturday, June 4 (10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.) and Sunday, June 5 (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) Admission is FREE; donations are accepted.

For guests of the Scarborough Inn B&B, the Music Pier is about a 5-minute walk from the inn so enjoying this Ocean City activity is easy and convenient!