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Month: June 2009

Approach of the Tuna

Yellowfin tuna

Yellowfin tuna

On Tuesday, 6/23 Capt. Bittmann took a family out to the reef for a six hour charter. After a few hours of bottom fishing that produced several flounder and 30 Sea Bass, they decided to troll for Bluefish. Within an hour they caught 28 Bluefish. Lots of action and lots of fun was had by all.

The Tuna fish are now approaching our waters. There were incidental reports in the past week or so, but now we have a strong report from Capt.  Sowerby on the Hooked Up II. He caught 25 Yellowfin on 6/24…one weighed 37 lbs (pictured right).

Another sign of warming waters: on Saturday 6/27, Slammmer weighed a 13.6 Dolphin caught by Joe Laird of Gilbertsville, PA. Our 8-hour party boat Porgy IV weighed another huge Flounder this week:,9.8 pounds caught by Rick Moody of Philadelphia.

Do you want to join in on the action? Call our South Jersey Marina Charter Agent at 609-884-3800 for rates and availability.


Great weekend for fishing

Ethan SmithThe charter boat Top Shelf took the Alberti group out for a six hour trip on Friday, 6-19. They caught fish from the time they got to the spot until lines-in; Flounder, Tautog, Sea Bass and Trigger Fish were the species caught. Ethan Smith (pictured right) and his family ventured out on the charter boat Cape Queen and caught a real nice Trigger Fish. It weighed 2 lbs,12 oz.. Ethan couldn’t wait to get back to Phoenixville, PA to tell his fish story to his friends.

The Party Boat fleet continues to run daily. The Fiesta targets Sea Bass and Flounder and sails at 8 AM and 1 PM for four hour trips. The Porgy IV is an 8 hour boat and leaves at 8 AM. He has been concentrating on fluke and on Monday, 6-15 he weighed in a 10.8 lb fluke for angler Joe Budetta.


29th Annual Shark Tournament Results

South Jersey Marina held its 29th. Annual Shark Tournament on June 12 -13, 2009. There were 144 boats competing for a share of the total purse of $298,670. Predominately 3 species were brought to the scales: Thresher, Mako, and Blue Sharks. There were 39 fish weighed and the top winners are listed below:

Heaviest Shark: Fat Cat, 590 pounds
2nd: Common Sense, 567 pounds
3rd: Good Times II, 537 pounds

shark-tourn-028

Heaviest Mako: 100 Proof, 232 pounds
2nd: Miss Edna Jane, 212 pounds

shark-tourn-002

Heaviest Blue: Re Joyce, 265 pounds

shark-tourn-027

In an ironic turn of events, the tournament contender Hot Works owned by Paul Rys was disqualified. His crew had great difficulty getting the 631 pound Thresher Shark into the boat, thus causing him to miss the deadline for getting to the scales. This catch would have been the heaviest fish of the contest. There will be an application filed this week with the State of NJ to register it as a new state record Thresher.


Sharks Off-Shore

blue shark fishing cape may new jerseyWhen it’s June in Cape May, there are SHARKS in our off-shore waters. South Jersey Marina had the first Blue Shark weighed-in earlier this week. Nick Montzaris owner of the Bu-Buca brought in a 167 pounder. The angler was Harry Johnson of Fishing Creek, NJ.

Speaking of shark, our 29th Annual Shark Tournament is scheduled for June 11-14 and based on pre-registration applications, it promises to be a great event. Last year’s total purse equaled over $336,000. Mako, Thresher, Blue and Hammerhead are the most frequently caught species.

Our Charter Fleet is available to hire for this and all other tournaments held in the Cape May area. Call 609-884-3800 and ask for the Charter Coordinator for rates and availability.


Old Time Favorites

Geraniums are truly an old-fashioned summer plant. But, we do enjoy these old-time favorites all year long. I often put my geraniums in a large sunny southern exposure window of our family room in the fall. Beginning around Valentine’s Day when the days get longer they bloom and bloom. I love having the color and especially like the geranium scent when I water them on a warm afternoon. Now they are just covered with blooms and outside once more. The Victorians were also fond of bringing geraniums in for winter so I can imagine that the windows of Cape May had plenty. They were always a favorite seashore plant since they do so well in the sunny climate.

garden-pink-deniseBeginning with Memorial Day, red geraniums glisten in the sun, poppies blow in the breeze, and flags pop up all along the road. Many folks have childhood memories that come to mind when a holiday approaches or they see or smell a certain plant or flower. Memorial Day brings to mind red geraniums, poppies and iris or flags as my family use to call them. All three bloomed on ‘Decoration’ day the name often used for Memorial Day way back when.

In many other towns the parades are on July 4th. By then the geraniums planted in May are large, stocky and full of blooms if they have been watered twice a week. These plants are not demanding at all, but some food and water will make them spectacular.

Common Garden Geraniums or “Zonal Geraniums”

garden-geraniumsBright red geraniums are my favorites! Pelargonium xhortorum is the botanical name for geraniums produced from cuttings – the beautiful, red, crisp bloom. Most are compact in habit and have many blooms when there is a sunny spring. The plants originated in South Africa and have now become popular all over the world. Some have fancy leaves marked by distinct bands – or zones – of darker pigments, tri-colored leaves or leaves with silver or white markings. Many can be found with all types of scents in their leaves. Although the scented geraniums, as they are often called, do not have large or showy flowers, they come in scented like rose, strawberry, apple, mint and nutmeg. I often cook with them.

Now these plants are bred to have larger shatter-resistant flower heads as well as wide variety of colors, which makes them popular with homeowners for bright plants to bloom all season in sunny gardens. They make excellent choices for plantings in flowerbeds, hanging baskets, or containers since they provide wonderful colors all season long. They look especially nice on or near Victorian porches, as they are historic. Follow these few tips suggested by growers to keep geraniums looking good all season.

Caring For Your Annual Geraniums

1. Select a sunny spot since Geraniums perform best when planted in a location with at least 6 hours of full sun per day.

2. Water the plant when the soil becomes dry. Do not let the plant wilt. Try to keep water off the blooms as they often become brown or moldy if constantly kept wet. It is better to use a hose or soaker hose to water soil than an overhead sprinkler.

3. Feed the plant with a good time-release fertilizer. To keep them blooming use 14-Photo by Denise Cashin14-14 so that they get plenty of the middle number or phosphorus, which helps to make good blooms. Geraniums are heavy feeders

4. Container planted geraniums will need more frequent watering. And also require regular fertilizer applications throughout the season to perform to their highest potential.

5. Remove all faded blooms and any brown leaves to encourage continuous flowering all season.

You can also keep them year after year. I do. The trick is to mimic the dormant season the plant would go through in its native South African environment.

garden-fountainIn fall, before the first frost, prune potted geraniums back heavily and bring them indoors to a window in a cool room. (Many folks find a garage works well if it does not freeze) Keep the plant alive, but don’t encourage it to grow and wait until the leaves become almost droopy between watering. Step up watering the first of the year. Then from around Valentine’s Day to March, feed the plant every two weeks with a high phosphorus fertilizer (14-14-14 works for me) to encourage strong root growth and flower production. During this period also pinch the plant back slightly and bring it into a warm, sunny room. Increase watering as the plant begins to grow and you should soon have flowers.

Over-wintered geraniums that are not cut back will bloom in sunny windows, but they do tend to get tall. I had beautiful geraniums blooming in all my sunny windows again this winter. I loved them! You may also take cuttings from your plants and root them in a warm, sunny spot in a box of pro mix. After they root, pinch the cuttings back once or twice.

Add some nostalgia to your garden and plant geraniums. They will be beautiful by July 4th . You might even add a flag or two; it is that time of the year! See you at the parade!


Backyard Grilling

Kicking off the backyard barbeque, I mean grill. I mean that thing outside that cooks stuff.

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off for summer and the backyard barbecuing season. We often use the terms barbecuing and grilling interchangeably and this misusage of culinary terminology steams me like a clam in a hot tub.

By definition grilling is a dry-heat cooking method over an open grid, over high heat. This means that you need to use tender cuts of meat. Less tender cuts contain connective tissue, which requires moisture and slow cooking to break it down. The use of high heat also indicates that the cooking time will be shorter. Less tender cuts of meat come from worked muscles in animals. Worked muscles contain more connective tissue, but also contain more intramuscular fat (marbling), which means more flavors. Leg and shoulder cuts are less tender than the center of body cuts like loin or rib eyes. These cuts often cost more. Be cautious of stores selling round or shoulder steaks. When cooking over a grill on high heat they tend to have the consistency of shoe leather.

(Barbecuing is low slow cooking over indirect heat with wood chips for smoke, covered to create a moist environment, making it better suited for tougher cuts of meat, i.e. ribs hams briskets etc.)

Another misused bit of culinary terminology is London broil. Most often what is sold under this name is top round steak. While flavorful, this cut is done more harm by high-heat grilling. Let’s get one thing straight, London broil is a cooking method NOT a cut of meat. Originally flank steak was used, but more often than not stores sell 5-6 pound “London broil” steaks. The size makes this a roast not a steak. London broil has as much of a connection to England as Caesar salad has to Italian cuisine. The main keys in preparing this dish are thinly sliced, against-the-grain beef and a light marinade and sauce.

We cannot talk about grilling without mentioning marinades. Marinades serve two functions; they add flavor and tenderize. The second function is the one that is surrounded by myth and legend. People swear that by marinating meat for days it makes it tenderer. This is only partially true. Acids in marinades do break down connective tissue but it only penetrates a little way into the meat. That is why thin, flat cuts like chicken breast and flank steak benefit most from marinating. Marinating thick cuts of meat for long stretches of time yields a mushy exterior and bland interior. Yes, the injecting needles they sell will bring more flavors to the interior of the meat. They will also bring any number of bacteria such as E. coli from the outside of the meat to the inside. If you inject meat with marinades, you need to cook it to 155 degrees internal temperature. It does take time for marinades to work so, if you marinate that chicken breast for an hour before cooking, you are adding flavor, but it is no more tender than an hour ago.

Marinades consist of three basic components – oil, acid and aromatics. The oil serves two functions; it forms a barrier between the meat and air preventing the growth of bacteria, and it adds fat preventing the meat from sticking while grilling. Acids, such as citrus juices and vinegars, are the tenderizing component. They also serve a vital health component. Some studies show that a reaction between creatines in meat and amino acids, caused by high-heat, flame cooking, produce a cancer-causing agent known as heterocyclic amine. Marinating meats for one hour seems to reduce the formation of this compound. More flavorful and healthy, a double plus for marinades. The third component in marinades is aromatics or the flavoring component. This includes herbs, spices, garlic soy, etc. This is where the chef develops his desired flavor profile.

This summer when you get together and grill, enjoy more flavorful foods and healthier ones too. Marinate meats for at least one hour. Try the following recipes for Jamaican Jerked Chicken, Mojo Marinade for flank steak – far better than London broil, and Tandoori Chicken. Until next month, Bon Appétit.

Mojo Marinade for flank steak*

  • ½ Bunch cilantro
  • ½ Bunch parsley
  • 2 Green onions, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • ¼ Cup white vinegar
  • 6 Cloves garlic, crushed

Marinate for at least one hour before cooking.

*Marinade is sufficient for one flank steak or 4 New York strip steaks

Jamaican Jerked Chicken

  • 1 chicken, split in half
  • 3 bunches scallions, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chop parsley
  • ¼ cup chop cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 Scotch bonnet peppers, chopped, seeds removed
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup corn oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients in food processor. Pulse in 15 second intervals. Split chicken down back, removing backbone. Rub with kosher salt and fresh lime juice. Place in large plastic bag. Add marinade. Let sit 24 hours. Cook over medium grill 2 hours until chicken is done.

Tandoori Chicken with Roti (Flatbread)

  • 1 chicken, cut in eighths
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon garlic
  • 2 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 chopped jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

Combine oil and all spices in food processor. Puree until smooth. Rub on chicken. Marinate 8 hours. Grill over hot charcoal. Serve with Roti.

Roti

  • 2 cups cream of wheat
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 4 teaspoons oil

Mix cream of wheat and water mix to form dough. Add oil. Knead 5-8 minutes. Rest 1 hour. Break into 12 pieces. Roll on floured bowl. Cook on flat griddle turning twice. Press with spoon if necessary.


Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone 2009

who-header

Many of you have been asking for it. Well here it is.

CapeMay.com’s 2009 look at Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone and who’s turned it over to someone new. A couple of things to note – first off, there are several new stores along the way, but we won’t be able to tell you what they’re called because their signs weren’t up at press time. Secondly, this is obviously the year of the bakery. There are three, count ‘em, three bakeries new to the Island. So put another notch in your belts and get ready to sample. And last, but not least, we have a surprise for you, so read on.


new-shades

 

Let’s start our walk along the Washington Street Mall. Nothing new in the 500 block, but there are a couple of changes one block over. DelSol is gone and Shades of Cape May, also on the beachfront, has opened another location in that spot. Create-A-Bear has long been gone from the 400 block and store has been vacant for a couple of years now, but Beach Bums, a T-shirt emporium, is in. Beach Bums, is operated by the same owners of the T-Shirt Shop in the 500 block and on the beachfront.


new-wildberries
Over in the 300 block on Sawyer Walk, Wildberries is sadly gone and a caramel popcorn store is slated to go in.

 


new-arcade

 

If you meander across Perry Street to the newly named Arcade at Congress Hall, you will see that the real estate offices of Cape Advisers are gone. In its place is Victorious which has moved from across the hall.

Tommy’s Folly is expanding into the now vacated Victorious spot.

new-coffeeshopAnd make sure you turn left when you walk in – there you will discover a wonderful find. A coffee bar and bakery have gone in which Catilin, the coffee guru at Congress Hall, assures us offers goodies baked on the premises, fresh daily. Yum!

Further down the hall, Cape May Day Spa is gone (they are still at their Jefferson Street location) and is being replaced at some time in the near future by Sea Spa and Congress Hall Fitness Center.


new-gelato

 

Moving over to Washington Commons, home of the Acme Grocery Store, a shop which has been vacant for a couple of years, next to the Washington Commons Art Gallery, has a new tenant whose sign brags of offering the “Finest Authentic Gelato, made fresh daily with fresh ingredients.” Yum!


new-maggies

 

Maggie’s of Cape May opened sometime last summer in a space subdivided from the WashingtonCommons Gallery. Known for their wraps they boast  “New Jersey’s best shrimp salad.” So take them up on the challenge.


new-hotbagels

 

Moving on down to the beachfront to the Macomber Hotel, on Beach Avenue and Howard Street, The Green Room Café is gone. Cape May Hot Bagels is in.

New to the Macomber last summer was Astrology Boutique, whose hours of operation are a little erratic, but it looks interesting.


new-sammies

 

Also new to the scene last summer, Surfin’ Sammies Beachfront Grill across the street on the promenade. The Cape May Beach Patrol certainly sings their praises, if you’re looking for a review.

Nice to see that Tisha’s (owners of Surfin’ Sammies) and Pete Smith’s Surf Shop are still thriving, despite the problems with the still condemned and closed Convention Hall.


new-separatelyswim

 

Back across the street near the Beach Theatre, which is currently open for the summer season, one of the little clothing boutiques (sorry can’t remember the name) is gone and Separate Swimwear is in. Perfect location for that merchandise.


who-seasidesweets

 

Let’s move on down the beachfront to Carney’s and Cabanas. Sorry to say that after nearly ninety years, there is no longer a candy store at this location. Petroffs – remember the taffy pulling machine in the window? – left a few years ago, replaced by Seaside Sweets – now they are gone. The store is still empty.


who-ellarae

 

Not too many changes in the 300 block of Beach Avenue with one exception, The Leather Shop is gone due to the untimely death of its proprietor Gus Correia and Ella & Rae’s Summer Boutique is in. It looks like a nice “little black dress” kind of place. Check it out.


For your information, the Rusty Nail is still closed and undergoing MAJOR renovations. Plans to chichify the restaurant and the adjoining Coachman’s Motor Inn have been delayed and a more scaled-back renovation is slated for the newly named Beach Shack complex.

 


new-lisas

 

And that’s brings us to Broadway in West Cape May where we find two more bakeries – Ellie’s Bakery at 301 N. Broadway is in and Bakery Shoppe is out.

Over on Park Boulevard, Joe the Plumber has scaled back and his wife Lisa has moved in with Lisa’s Bake Shop, right next to our friend Steve’s Seaside Cheese Company. Double Yum!!


new-sushi

 

On West Perry Street, Simply Unique is gone. Simply Sushi is in. Simply Unique also occupied both side of the site and we have it on good authority that a coffe shop/natural food store comong soon.


New shops are going in at the site of the old West Cape May Video Rental, next to Perry Street Bakers. We are told they will be a consortium of antique and collectible dealers.

 

new-secretspotNow where should we go from here? Oh, Sunset Boulevard, a right turn off Broadway. Right across from the 7-11, are a cluster of three stores. Burt’s Grill is gone and a place we hear good things about, Secret Spot Café, is in.

Further up the road where the Teak Shop and Village Bike Rental places are, Art Gallery is opening – well that’s what the sign says “Art Gallery coming soon.”


new-birdhouse

 

And where those pretty little birdhouse-looking shops are, a couple of changes. Sea Level is gone. The Birdhouse of Cape May, which was four stores down, has moved up in the world and is in its place. The end store is still vacant.


new-farmersmarket

 

Sunset Produce on Sunset Boulevard seems to have gussied up their location. Their produce stand is primed and ready to offer New Jersey’s finest in Fresh Produce.


new-generalstore

 

Here’s the surprise – the General Store in Cape May Point on Pavilion Circle, which has been closed for several years because of flood damage, received approvals back in April to begin renovations and is making a comeback.

The store opened in the 1930s and  was the only place in the small community to buy a sandwich or pick up necessities such as milk and eggs. It also featured beach toys, fishing gear and a spacious candy counter. At one time, it also sold gas, but pumps were removed long ago. When the store will reopen is still unknown – by the looks of it – no time soon. Hungry residents could shoot on over to Cape May Point State Park, however, which for the first time is allowing two commercial vendors – one food and one bicycle rentals – to set-up I front of the Lighthouse.


new-firetower23

 

One new attraction on Sunset is the new World War II Lookout Tower, otherwise known as Fire Control Tower #23.

Fire Control Tower No. 23 was part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles.  Built in 1942, the tower was one of fifteen concrete lookout towers that helped aim batteries of coastal artillery, stretching from North Wildwood, N.J. to Bethany Beach, DE. Four were in Cape May County, N.J.-the towers located in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest were torn down and a third tower is located inside Cape May’s Grand Hotel, Beach and Philadelphia avenues. The tower is open to the public daily; times vary.


Well, that’s the scoop for the summer of 2009. Give the new kids on the block a try and keep patronizing the tired and true. If we’ve forgotten anyone, give us an email, adieu until next year.

 


Black Drum – They're Keepers!

bill-cummins-iv-drum-2The Black Drumfish season continues to produce a good variety of keepers. The average size ranges between 45 and 75 pounds. The bite has been good at all hours of the day and night and promises to go on into most of June.

On 5-25, Capt. Joe Pritchard on the Big Game had a family charter trip. They traveled here for vacation from Albuquerque, New Mexico and at the end of the day, they had 3 nice keepers including this one being held by one happy teenager.

Caveman Charters (Hooked Up II) fished some Drum trips this week and caught several nice size fish.

The 4-hour Party Boat (Fiesta) departs daily ay 8 AM and 4PM. They will be bottom fishing for Sea Bass and Flounder. Recent Sea Bass trips have been good on this boat. The heaviest one weighed was 4.8 pounds. The Porgy IV (our 8-hour boat) sails at 8 AM every day and is fishing further offshore on wrecks for Sea Bass. His success rate has been very good.


Cape May’s Elusive Baker

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Excerpt from “Cape May’s Elusive Baker,” Cape May Magazine, June 2006. Photographs of Michel Gras by Erin Kirk. Cake photographs appear courtesy of Michel Gras. Text by Susan Tischler.

cake-baguettes

It isn’t easy to catch a baker while he’s baking, especially one who specializes in wedding cakes. They are elusive, a bit reclusive and extremely focused, not to mention prone to working odd hours. Michel Gras of La Patisserie begins his day at 3 sometimes 4 – a.m. that is.

Often when he needs to try out a cake design he goes back to the bakery after dinner, around 7:30 p.m., and doesn’t return home until nearly midnight.

It is 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Church bells are ringing, breaking the silence of a warm, sunny morning. The door to the mysterious baking room, located in the basement of the circa 1872 building, is not readily apparent. It is down an alleyway between two buildings.  Then, the wind shifts and a familiar scent of fresh bread baking drifts down the alley.

The tempting smell can be traced to a door on the side of the building. If one opens the door just an inch to see if this is the one, all the smells of baking drift up the steps the way a fine perfume fills a room, teasing but never overwhelming. Walking down the steep steps, the blues music of Eric Clapton is the only sound.

It is a very large room and the baker is still nowhere to be found.

Then, a sound and there he is, pulling a tray of mini- baguettes from the large convection oven.

cake-cornmealSunday morning is not a wedding cake day, which means there are loaves of bread everywhere. Baguettes are stacked on cornmeal-covered trays waiting to be sent on the dumb waiter upstairs to A Ca Mia’s Bakery or delivered to area restaurants.

Bread loaves for slicing are cooling on racks. Rolled dough for dinner rolls is on a flour-covered baking sheet waiting to go into the oven. Lamb-shaped cakes with coconut coats sit eyeless, waiting for the finishing touches before they are sent on their way. In the meantime, a freshly baked cake is sitting on Michel’s work table, which dominates the center of the room.

“Taste this cream,” he says, rushing into the back work room where the mixer is. It is a sweet, buttery tasting cream – so light, that it is gone, melted away, before it can be scrutinized any further. This cream will be the primary ingredient for a strawberry shortcake Michel is preparing for a regular customer. The cake on the work table is the shortcake in question. Soon he will transform it into a lovely, dinner dessert.

Mrs. P. (the customer) is typical of Michel’s customers.

She called a couple of days ago and said she wanted a strawberry shortcake. Those were her only instructions because, as Michel says in his distinctive French accent, cake-rolls“She knows the cake will taste good but she allows me the creativity to make it beautiful as well.”

And that’s how he approaches a wedding cake. “I cannot be a copycat,” he says, balking at the thought. “I will try to do what the couple or the bride wants but I have to change things to make it my own. I make different cakes. I use a little more creativity. People generally like that, and that is good because it is what I like to do.”

When it comes to creating a wedding cake design, he says, “I try to do something I want to do and that people will like. Those cakes are an original, crafted just for them. Sometimes people don’t want to spend the money for that, but those who do recognize the work behind it.”

cake-decoratingMuch of the work lies in the design, usually a minimum of 12 hours for an original concept. He doesn’t plan the way an architect plans. He gets a general concept of what the couple wants and tries to go from there. But first and foremost, he decides, along with the prospective couple, on the structure of the wedding cake. Will it be round or square or square with a round top? Will all the tiers be centered or one or two set back?

Then, there is the taste and texture of the cake and of the icing as well. “I want to make a good cake, not just a cake which looks good,” he says.

cake-completedNaturally, a custom cake is more expensive. For those who do not want to spend as much money or who simply cannot afford it, Michel often duplicates a design he has already created. “It is like a painting, you know. The original costs more. The copy? A little less so.” The second cake can usually be made quicker and a little easier.

So, one wonders, how does a wedding cake maker get to be a wedding cake maker? It started back in Reims, France where Michel’s father ran a restaurant and got him an apprenticeship with the local baker who sold him his pastries. He worked there cake-undertheseafor three years of what he calls “hard labor.”

Michel came to Cape May in 1984. There has been a bakery at this location since its inception in 1872, so, although Michel brought a rich tradition of good food with him, he also inherited a traditional operating bakery.

Currently, the nuptial season in Cape May runs from April through November. Michel now averages 100 wedding cakes a year. Two years ago in April he made 12 wedding cakes in one month.

When all is said done, however, Michel’s greatest concern is with the taste. A pretty cake which is inedible is not a success. Locals love his custom-decorated birthday cakes – think of a moist chocolate cake thick with creamy, white icing, topped with an icing bouquet of purple irises. So, no one need wait for a wedding to appreciate his craft.

cake-michel-gras“Food is the foundation of the family,” says Michel. “When I go home to France, we never leave the kitchen table except to clean it and make way for the next meal or to take a little walk. Food brings everyone together.”

And what better way for the family to come together than with a wedding which features a wedding cake by Michel Gras?

Thinking about one of Michel’s creations for your Cape May Wedding? For more information and photographs, visit www.lapatisseriecapemay.com.


Annie: Going Up the Road

Cape May is a beautiful place to be married at any time of year…even in March. Our wedding date was March 28th, 2009. The weather that day was great and we were able to get some lovely shots outdoors from the church.

The wedding ceremony was at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Cape May Court House, NJ and the reception was at Atkinson’s Tavern, also in Cape May Court House. The vendors we used were Shamrock Limousine from my parents’ house to the church and reception; Cape Winds was the florist who did the incredible work on the bouquets; the cake was by Stock’s Bakery located in Philadelphia and the DJ was Destiny’s DJ. My photographer, Macy from Meacreations, was absolutely amazing! My co-workers have raved over my pictures and the lovely photo album that is included in the package. This was the best decision I made for my wedding. We have memories to last a lifetime.

Cape May is such a wonderful place in the world to get married. We are fortunate enough to live down here which is why we were married in this area. My family is from the Philadelphia area, so our cake came from a very familiar bakery that we’ve been using since I was a child. It was appropriate for us to use this bakery as the rest of my family has for their big events…and the cakes are delicious! I found the vendors through the local papers and on-line and was lucky enough to have found the best in the business. Shamrock Limousine was professional and on time for the big day. The flowers were brought to the church and to my home and were such beautiful flowers. You can tell that the owner of Cape Wind Florist has a lot of pride in the work that she does. Destiny’s DJ entertained my family at the reception which consisted of mostly 25-60 year old adults. Everyone raved over the music of the DJ who made sure to play music that was pleasing to all generations. I didn’t stop dancing for a minute…except to kiss my new husband!

There is not one single thing I would have done differently when it came to our special day. From the church, reception, photographer, DJ, cake and limousine everything was fantastic!! A wedding in Cape May is truly a wedding that will be cherished.