- Cape May NJ Travel Guide and Vacation Planner Blog

Month: August 2012

The Cove is featured in Coastal Living

Coastal Living Magazine recently named the Cove Beach as one of the top 21 Best Beaches in America. But the Cove has had its problems over the years. One day it’s there. The next week it’s gone. City Council recently approved, in a 3-1 vote, an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for replenishing the Cove and Third Avenue beaches.

Off shore dredging will begin in November and run through March. Then everyone will cross their fingers and hope it sticks.

8th Annual Best of Cape May

The Best of Cape May celebrates the best that Cape May has to offer locals and visitors! Winners are chosen entirely by you, our readers. This survey takes about 10 minutes to complete.

If you aren’t sure of a business name, provide as much information as possible (such as a neighboring building) and we’ll try to figure it out. Happy voting! best of cape may

2012 Best of Cape May Survey Rules

  • Voting for the Best of Cape May is open August 1, 2012 through August 28, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
  • One submission accepted per person.
  • Give one answer per category. Do not write “It’s a tie.” Answers with multiple responses will be thrown out.
  • Your full name and a valid email address must be supplied for your submission to be accepted. We will not publish your name or email address. We will never sell or rent your information. You will not be added to any mailing lists.
  • Answer all required questions. Failure to respond to a required question will disqualify your entire submission (this includes writing “n/a” or “I don’t know”). Required questions prevent voting by people who have never visited the Cape May area.
  • Ballot stuffing is not tolerated (e.g. voting only for the same business in every category OR voting only for businesses that you own/work for) and will get your entire submission disqualified.
  • You may vote for businesses that you own and/or work for as long as you answer the survey according to the rules.

Summer Pictorial

Summer is in full swing. Cape May’s streets are crowded with bicyclists, surreys, and horse-drawn carriages, and some sights of summer bring a smile to your face no matter how old you are. Walking the Washington Street Mall, it is almost impossible to pass by the Original Fudge Kitchen and not partake of a “free sample.” Kids love simple pleasures like playing in the water fountains and  getting an ice cream cone. Visitors and locals alike can be seen sitting on the Mall benches or dining outside – watching the people go by.

During the day there are so many things to do and so little time when you are on vacation. Standing in line along Jackson Street for Hot Dog Tommy hot dog is a the top of the Must-Do lists. Walking down to the Cove Beach at sunset, with the lighthouse in the distance, watching the sun set is right up there as well.

And for those who life a more active time – paddleboarding, surfing and boogie boarding are the tops. And at night, a walk along the Promenade often leads to an evening at the Arcade or a concert in our brand spanking new Convention Hall.

Those who vacation with their pets need not feel left out either. More and more accommodations and restaurants are pet friendly. Just this summer The Blue Pig Restaurant’s outdoor venue at Congress Hall and the Rusty Nail on Beach Avenue have opened up to pet friendly dining. Zoe’s across from Convention Hall on Beach Avenue has always been pet friendly.

There’s something for everyone in Cape May. From all of us to all of you, we hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and your stay here in Cape May.

Harvesting new flavors

Harvesting new flavor

Not sure if it is a sign of age or the summer heat, but lately I have been eating lighter. Light is a relative term, I’m not talking about eating the supermodel seven course meal of six grains of brown rice and a bottle of Fiji water. For me, vegetables and fish are no longer on the endangered species list in my kitchen. Living in New Jersey helps since both great produce and fish are locally abundant. Eating healthier shouldn’t be an act of self-deprivation. Healthy cooking no longer means food that is void of flavor and has the texture of Styrofoam packing peanuts. The culinary conundrum is how to create palate-pleasing flavors without relying on animal fat, cream, butter and bacon or, as I call them, the basic four food groups.

Not all fats are equally bad for you. I have recently overcome my fear of avocados, probably caused by bad guacamole during a tequila binge in my 20s. Grilled fish with avocado is a union of two beneficial fats that actually tastes and looks good. Avocados can be sliced or diced and put in a foil pouch with fish, hot peppers, coconut milk and spices and cooked on the grill. The food is actually steamed in its natural juices creating a healthy mélange of flavors and textures. Grill-steaming is a low fuss way to create meals that retain all the nutrients and flavor of the ingredients without having to add fat. There is also the added benefit of not having to battle fish sticking to the grill and falling apart.

Another ingredient that elevates the flavors in a dish without raising your cholesterol count is peppers. From sweet red to fiery serranos and earthy anaheims, peppers add depth and dimension to your dishes. A favorite Jersey pepper is the Italian frying pepper. Sure they add zip to sausage but slice a few over a bluefish fillet with a few cloves of garlic some lemon slices a little olive oil and a few sprigs of oregano then steam in the trusty foil pouch. It’s a meal your guests can’t refuse. Fresh-from-the-garden Jersey tomatoes and day-old bread morphs into panzenella salad combine with fish, a bottle of Pinot Grigio or San Giovese and maybe a Sinatra album and you now have a romantic fresh-from-the-garden dinner.

One of the joys I have rediscovered in trying to cook from the garden or farmers market is to let the meal come to you. Rather than plan the meal, then make my list, and then compete with the throngs at the supermarket, I can peruse the locally grown harvest and the food tells me what to cook. This month seek out your local farm stands and listen to your inner chef. Here are a few recipes to get your creative juices flowing. Listen to the food. It has a lot to tell you. Until next month, Bon Appétit. endmark

Bluefish Pepperonata

(Serves 4)

  • 4 6-oz bluefish fillets
  • 4 long hot peppers, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (2 per fillet)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 8 pieces thinly-sliced lemons
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and fresh pepper
  • Several splashes of white wine
  1. Place foil shiny side down on your workspace and lightly oil it.
  2. Place fillet skin-side down on foil.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  4. Layer with lemon slices, garlic, onions, peppers and rosemary.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and a few splashes of white wine.
  6. Fold foil so it is seals tightly.
  7. Place on medium grill. Close lid.
  8. Drink wine for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Open packet carefully. Slide on plate and drink more wine.

 Curry and Avocado Mahi Mahi

(Serves 4)

  • 4 6-oz mahi mahi fillets
  • 2 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 8 sprigs cilantro
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 8 scallions, sliced on bias into half-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 12-oz can coconut milk
  1. Lightly oil foil and place fish on top.
  2. Rub with fish sauce and curry paste.
  3. Arrange remaining ingredients.
  4. On top drizzle with coconut milk.
  5. Seal packet.
  6. Place on medium grill for ten minutes.
  7. Carefully open each packet. Slide on plate.

Note: these recipes are identical except for the ingredients. You can make endless variations using what your garden and farm market has available. Fennel, zucchini, mushrooms, etc can all be added to different fish or even chicken and cooked using the same method, Let your ingredients inspire you.

Tomato Panzenella Salad

  • 2 large jersey tomatoes cut in one-eighths
  • 1 red onion thinly, sliced
  • ½ cup basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled seeded and sliced
  • ½ loaf ciabbatta bread cubed
  • ¼ cup shaved ricotta salata cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil (This is the recipe where you use the good stuff)
  • 3 oz red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In large bowl combine all ingredients except cheese.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Let stand at room temp 30 minutes.Add cheese and serve

Pickled in Poland

Many have asked how to make old-time dill pickles. I am sharing an old article with hopes it will inspire some to make them. My son Joe recently made a crock that we have all eaten already. New Jersey farms, especially here in the south, have great pickling cucumbers now, and the dill is lush in most gardens. Call around if you do not have them in your garden and make sure you use FRESH ones.

The smell of dill pickles is reminiscent of many things, but mostly of my two visits to Poland in mid-summer. In Poland many refer to mid-July to mid-August as the season of Ogorki. Recently I picked more than a dozen delicious cucumbers from my garden. The plants have responded well to the drip irrigation ted put in and are producing beautiful pickles. When I smell dill or pickles I usually think of the large crocks in my Babci’s (Stella Grochowski) basement. She had a small grocery store / butcher shop in Franklinville, NJ from the late 30s until the early 60s and often made these crocks of pickles for her customers. My Dad would tell me that the local kids loved to go into the cool basement and grab the pickles, often before they were done. In fact my Dad loved them best before the full fermentation had occurred.

As a young wife and mother I often tried to make these big crocks of pickles. I usually put them on the hearth so that any of the brine that might bubble over would not hurt anything, The only drawback was that the entire house smelled like a deli. Pickles made this way need to be refrigerated or put in jars and processed once they are finished. In Poland during the “season of the ogorki,” the smell of pickles and dill is in the air. I love this smell and try to make pickles, even if just a few jars. I usually plant ‘pickles’ rather than cucumbers with seeds from Poland and hope that they mature while the dill is at its peak.

There are probably as many recipes for dill pickles as there are Polish housewives. I don’t remember my Babci using any vinegar in her brine, just water and salt, but today most recipes have at least one cup of vinegar to every 10 cups of water. I have been told that this is to compensate for the lack of acid in the city or softened water.


  1. Wash the pickles well and then soak them overnight, covered with water (3 gallons of water to one cup of salt).
  2. Drain them and either pack into sterilized quart jars or a ceramic crock or bowl.
  3. Layer them with a generous amount of dill and garlic.This has to be covered with brine, usually 1 cup of salt to 20 cups of water and 2 cup of vinegar that has been brought to a boil. If this is in a crock, be sure everything is covered and then place a glass or china plate over and cover with a clean dish cloth.
  4. Taste one after 4 or 5 days. If done, either refrigerate or seal into jars.
  5. The pickles put in the jars for winter use should also be covered with brine and then sealed with two part jar lids and processed for the given time (usually 20-30 minutes in boiling water that covers the jars and allowed to cool and seal).

In looking over many recipes in Polish cookbooks, I notice that they are all different. Some use vinegar. Some don’t. Some add onions, others horseradish, some red pepper, some alum, some a peach pit or grape leaf. I have tried all of these things. I just like lots of dill and garlic!

I’d love to see your recipe. Please email it to me if you’d like. All recipes will be acknowledged and appreciated with free dill or hollyhocks seeds from original ones I brought from a trip to Poland. Happy Pickling! cape may wedding ideas

lorraine-kieferLorraine Kiefer has gardened all of her life. She is a garden writer, floral designer and professional horticulturist. Lorraine teaches many classes at Triple Oaks nursery and Herb Garden in Franklinville, NJ. Email for garden help or leave your questions below!

Attention! To Safety First! Seriously.

Last September I wrote an article entitled, “STAY with me! STAY!” about safety at the beach. Review and reminders of safety for your dog(s) at the beach is very important, especially since we are in the throes of an exceptionally hot and humid spring and summer, and I’m guessing fall! I have already been made aware of a few situations where dogs have become ill due to ingesting too much salt water, or “dining” on something on the beach which should not be ingested – even by the curious canine. Both of these situations are serious enough to more than likely require a trip to the vet. Both situations are potentially fatal and both situations are totally avoidable!

I love to take my dogs to the beach, and they love going to the beach. Guinness loves to smell, anoint, and swim. Jameson loves to explore and steal Guinness’s ball when he’s almost to shore. But, in her exploring, Jameson often finds what she thinks are “tasty” morsels and will sample or devour almost anything. So she needs very careful watching, and being on a long lead – reeling in. She has had a multiple stay in the emergency clinic on fluids because she found and ate something in our own yard.

SO, when you take your dog to the beach, and you know your dog better than anyone, be attentive! The whole idea of having your dogs go with you to the beach is to have fun – together. That means watching your dog and keeping the activity level high enough to avoid “beach dining.”

Even more important, prevent your dog from drinking too much salt water – called “salt water intoxication” or “salt water poisoning.” Bring plenty of fresh water for your dog – and you – to drink, and if your dog starts drinking the salt water, change the activity or take them away from the water and sit for awhile under an umbrella. If you think your dog has ingested a lot of salt water, check for signs of “salt water intoxication” ‒ lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or drooling. Get fresh water into the dog and if the dog won’t drink, this may require a trip to the vet for intravenous fluids since the dog must be rehydrated ASAP.

The water is warmer in August and September, but watch for jellyfish as the water warms. The water has been warmer than usual this year, so the jellies may arrive earlier than usual. A minor sting will be annoying and painful, but a more serious sting, or tentacles/stinging in the mouth, can be more serious. Symptoms of serious stings for your dog and for you would involve difficulty breathing, possible vomiting, and possible coma. With a serious sting, you need to get your dog to a vet immediately, especially if the dog has ingested any tentacles.

All of this may sound dangerous and foreboding, but it truly is great fun to go to the beach with your dog. So go to the beach, take your dog, enjoy, and…. Attention! To Safety First! Seriously! cape may dog friendly beaches

Note: During the summer, only beaches in Lower Township along the Delaware Bay welcome dogs. See a map of dog-friendly beaches

GOOD READ OF THE MONTH: Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult. A brilliant story of the nature of family ‒ both human and wolf. How family can be torn apart and how family can be brought together. A story of hope. This story is riveting and the book is expertly interwoven with facts about wolves and wolf packs. Informative and emotional. This is a good read!