Picture Perfect: “The Real Jersey Shore”

This week, our picture perfect moment comes to us from photographer, Karan Kauchhur.  Kauchhur is not originally from New Jersey, but he has become enamored with the beauty of our Garden State – especially the beaches.  He’s shared many beautiful photos and thoughts about New Jersey with me over the last few months through this blog, on facebook, and by email.

It is now my great pleasure to share with you a collection of Kauchhur’s photographs called “The Real Jersey Shores.” Enjoy…

To see more work of his work, or to learn more about Kauchhur, you can visit his website.

Happy Sunday!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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Kickin’ Off Jersey Shore Restaurant Week

Here's what I wish I was having for lunch today!

For a lot of people, yesterday marked the beginning of baseball season.  For me, it also marked the beginning of Jersey Shore Restaurant Week!  Mom’s birthday celebration continued at the beautiful Dauphin Grill as we sampled amazing appetizers from many of Jersey shore’s most fabulous restaurants.  My favorite dish of the night, by far, was a crab cake sandwich from Klein’s Waterside Cafe in Belmar.  The crab cake absolutely melted in my mouth and was served on a sweet and savory roll.  I could have gone back up to their table for seconds…and thirds.

Other favorite dishes of the night came from a restaurant I’ve been meaning to visit since it opened last year, Trinity and the Pope in Asbury Park.  Their cajun-creole inspired dishes, like Shrimp and Grits, were spicy and convinced me that I really do need to get over there soon for a full dinner!

With Mom, just before we discovered how great those crab cakes were!

I bumped into some old friends at the event and made some new ones as well, like Random Cravings blogger, Holly Burchaell of Monmouth County and Russ Bey of Ocean. Conversation at our table was as great as the food, and we all enjoyed trying some “new” things.  For me, the Rabbit Stuffed Pasta with Marscapone and Truffle Oil (yes, rabbit!) was my something new from Tre Amici.  I was surprised at how delicious it tasted.

And there was more, so much more!  Harpoon Willy’s in Manasquan, Shipwreck Point in Pt. Pleasant, Bay Head Cheese Shop, Matisse in Blemar, Spicy Cantina in Seaside Heights, and Brando’s in Asbury Park all brought scrumptious appetizers that have made their restaurants move up to the top of my “to do” list for this summer.

Beautifully presented (and tasty) dish from Brando's.

Believe it or not, but at the end of the night, I still managed to find room for dessert.  (I admit that I’m usually pretty good at doing this!)  Cookies with creamy fudge bottoms from Sweet Bottom Cookies and mini cupcakes from Sweet Tease topped off a fun food experience.

As I mentioned, this was just the first day the event!  My next stop during Jersey Shore Restaurant Week will be at The Mill in Spring Lake Heights this Sunday for the Great Jersey Shore Martini Contest. Hope to see you there!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Photo Essay on Bradley Beach, NJ

When we think of travel, we often think in terms of visiting new locations and exploring the unknown.  However, travel can also be exciting when we return to a special destination.  This summer, that special travel destination for me has been the beach at Bradley Beach, NJ.

Quiet morning on Bradley Beach, NJ. (photo by Melissa Morris)

Early this summer, after getting to Bradley Beach around 9:00am and staying until about 4:00pm, I was hooked.  I’ve been back to this beach numerous times – more so than any other beach.  (Actually, more so than most other places this summer.  My usual quest for new adventures has given way slightly in order to soak up as much of this seasonal opportunity as I can.)

A sailboat off the shore at Bradley Beach, NJ. (photo by Melissa Morris)

Morning is my favorite time of the day – no matter where I am.  Waking up with the entire day ahead of you is a feeling that can’t be matched at any other part of the day.  So, relaxing on the quiet beach, sipping a cup of coffee, with views like the one above, is the perfect way for me to start my day.

A man takes his kayak out at Bradley Beach, NJ. (photo by Melissa Morris)

Since visiting the beach is a special treat for me, I like to watch the people who live nearby and are lucky enough to make the beach a part of their daily routine (like the man in the picture above).  Some local people run or take their morning strolls on the beach along the water.

Mid-afternoon on Bradley Beach, NJ. (photo by Melissa Morris)

Even when the beach gets more crowded here, there is still a certain sense of calm.  I like to feel that I have space around me when I’m on the beach.  I think it’s nice when you can’t fully hear anyone else’s conversations – they’re just background noises – and the only sounds you hear clearly are those of the waves.

If you look closely, you can see a faint rainbow in the center of the clouds. (photo by Melissa Morris)

A fun thing about sitting on the beach is that though you don’t move, your view constantly changes.  The tide ebbs and flows, ships and boats pass by, planes fly banners overhead, and clouds continuously dance in the sky.  It’s like a never-ending show put on for you as long as you want to stay and watch.

A camera-friendly seagull. (photo by Melissa Morris)

Of course, seagulls are part of the beach experience.  (I don’t mind them – as long as no one nearby is feeding them!)  Their curiosity amuses me when they walk the perimeter of my belongings, checking out the situation and looking for food.  And when you have a camera with you (as I do), whether soaring though the air or grooming themselves on the beach, they make pretty interesting subjects.

A day at the beach is not complete without a good book. - this one is prompting me to plan a trip to Washington, DC! (photo by Melissa Morris)

This year, I’ve done most of my summer reading on Bradley Beach.  Once my coffee is finished and I’m settled, I can easily get lost in a book for a few hours.  It seems somewhat ironic though, to think of a travel destination as a place you go to only to intentionally leave once again through a book.  But really, reading books in many ways is similar to traveling, and like a special travel destination, when we’re really lucky, we come across a book we want to visit over and over again.

If you’re interested in spending the day on Bradley Beach, a daily pass at Bradley Beach costs $7 per person and since there’s about half the season left, beach badges are $35 (the full season was $60).

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Jersey Shore???

I haven’t watched it yet, so I admit that there isn’t really much I can say about the show.  However, from what I’ve read (and seen) in magazines and heard through conversations, this “reality” show isn’t doing much for the reputation of the New Jersey that I know and love.

I sigh and shake my head a little in knowing that the show was re-signed for another season.  I guess I really have my work cut out for me now!

New posts about the real New Jersey, my New Jersey coming soon!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl