Thursday, September 25, 2014

Agricola, Princeton New Jersey

Midsummer I had the opportunity to lunch at Agricola, a relatively new farm-to-table restaurant in Princeton, NJ.

 

I'm not generally a fan of farm-to-table, as it is the restaurant manifestation of the humane meat myth, i.e., bullshit that makes people feel better about doing the wrong thing.  To that end, I give you exhibit A:


Might I remind Michael Pollan, champion of making people feel better about eating animals as long as it's after 6:00pm [correction: I'm getting Mark Bittman confused with Michael Pollan here #samedifference #notvegan (thanks, food feud!)], of two things:
  1. animals don't come from plants
  2. the alternative to eating things from a plant is to simply eat plants.
But, I digress.  If you're detecting my animosity, I should share that the first blogpost that appeared on the Agricola website in anticipation of their opening had a picture of a happy (live) chicken with vague references to what their food would be like.  So vague, in fact, that many people- myself included, left comments asking if the restaurant would be vegan and/or vegetarian.  They never addressed the inquiries in the time I was checking back and have since removed the comments from the site entirely.  I'm not saying they have to be a vegan restaurant, I'm just saying that I'm not the only person who equates smiling chickens to living chickens that are not at risk of being killed for food.

But, I digress again.  I was in the area and decided to see just what a farm to table restaurant could offer a vegan.


The cheery sign outside was not an indication of the greeting we received once inside; there was a confusing delineation between the bar hostess and the dining room hostess, which for us meant that since we were hoping to eat in the dining room, the bar hostess stood silently facing us while averting her eyes as we waited uncomfortably for our designated hostess.

Thankfully, our waitress was a gem from the get-go.  And I'm not just saying that because she recommended these fantastic drinks.  Left: blackberry bramble with greenhook gin, blackberry liqueur, blackberries, lemon.  Right: watermelon cooler with nj rum, watermelon, lime, mint.


Or because the dining room boasts pickling in action.


As it was the only vegan appetizer on offer, we went ahead and ordered the pickled and fermented vegetable plate to share, which was comically presented when the runner mis-identified most of the readily identifiable vegetables on the plate and even boasted some (celery?) that wasn't there at all.  It is a particular pet-peeve of mine when upscale restaurants do not staff appropriately, but this was a relatively minor foul.


We enjoyed, but it was missing the wow-factor- both in taste and presentation.

The drinks were generously liquored and at this point I was feeling a bit too woozy for mid-day.  I'm not sure why, but we had to specifically ask for bread even though the station was right behind us.  Is bread-upon-request a thing?


For lunch, I started with the carrot soup.  The waitress told us that their soups are usually vegan but to always alert the server because sometimes there is a creme fraiche garnish or some such that can be easily left off.  I make a mean carrot soup myself, but I still have to admit that this one was outstanding.


To accompany my soup, I chose the market salad, which was described as "whatever the farmer brings."  The possibilities seemed endless since I was seated facing the current offerings posted as swiss chard, leek, zucchini, chloggia beet, arugula, black prince tomato, french fingerling potato, kohlrabi, turnip, toscano kale, breakfast radish, black cherry tomato, fennel, curly kale, and brandywine tomato!


Yet somehow I was served an extremely small, relatively pathetic salad of romaine, with a few paper-thin slices of radish, 2-3 string beans, jicama, and beet.  Farm to table failure at it's finest.


Not pictured is VM's vegetarian flatbread, which she seemed to enjoy.


I asked about vegan desserts and they had some fruity sorbet that fell under the category of N.I.

On the plus side, there were these innovative light fixtures made of overturned crystal vases.


And these interesting decorations dividing the otherwise communal tables.


Removing the ridiculous way "farm-to-table" establishments have capitalized on the humane myth, I do think that Agricola has potential for vegans; but, the first step would be to welcome them by offering explicitly identified vegan items on the menu- and to make them impressive (i.e. not a sad, limp salad in a shallow, diner-like bowl).  Let us all keep in mind that a farm is not just a place to imagine your food leading a happy life up until meeting its demise to satisfy your selfish palate; it is also, ideally, where one would find land lush with veggies. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This is Not a Fitness Blog

I know what you're thinking: this obviously isn't a fitness blog.  But, in an effort to be a more fit, healthy example of a vegan being, I've been participating in an adventure of sorts.  I'm going to share the story; please indulge me.


This past spring I finally scheduled a foot surgery I'd been putting off since high school.  As the June date approached I had a lot of misgivings about the timing and specifics; so, after some last-minute advice and deliberation, I cancelled.  It was the right decision, but I told myself that instead of the surgery I was going to have to make extra good use of my unexpectedly mobile summer.  


By mid-August I was up for a challenge, though, and I decided to start the C25Kfree app I'd installed with the best of intentions…at least 2 years ago.
 

I am not a fit person by nature or nurture, but I am surrounded by people who not only exercise, but love it.  While I enjoy walks, swimming, and biking: all at a leisurely pace and in extreme moderation, my friends run the gamut from occasional runners to fitness class regulars to marathoners to triathletes.  I haven't read Finding Ultra but I can certainly understand the basic premise: feeling older than you thought possible and less fit than you ever expected.  So, C25K.  

I started deliberately with no intention of missing a day of the program.  When I found myself complying on my birthday weekend I barely recognized myself and knew I'd committed.  There were days when I felt like I couldn't believe I was able to do it and there were days when I was afraid I was in even worse shape than the targeted couch potato, but the weeks were going by and I never missed a day...never cheated.  Much like the inspirational (and sometimes 89-arugula supplier) Sheryl Yvette, I appreciate what my legs can accomplish.

I should mention that 89, as in all things, is my partner in this.  My friends had warned me not to over-exercise her, but seeing as she was pulling me through the brisk walks as well as the jogging portions of the program right along, I felt confident she was doing just fine.  If she slowed down- usually for a sniff, I'd say, "If I can do this, you can do this," and we'd continue.  While she certainly doesn't need the exercise as much as I do, she really enjoys the adventure of it all.  And so do I.

 

I've met so many more of my neighbors than I ever would have otherwise.  They wave, smile, chat (that's what the app's pause button is for), and just generally cheer us on from their porches, driveways, and cars.  Only a few weeks in two separate neighbors casually referred to me as a runner and I found myself embarrassed until my pal convinced me, "If you're running, you're a runner!" And not only are we runners, but we are visible members of our community.  The adult soccer team that practices near my house now knows to ignore 89's tremendous ruckus when we pass and when the nearby firemen want to get my attention they yell out, "Shoes!"  Bet you can't guess why.


89 and I have also met so many neighborhood dogs that it's been a huge boon to her species socialization.  She still barks ferociously at people on bicycles (sorry; I know it's startling and we're working on it) and parks her furry behind on the asphalt until strangers acknowledge her, but at least I think she's learning her left from her right as we turn corners.


I should also mention the part my fitbit plays in all this.  I purchased it in January and often struggled to steadily reach my minimum 10,000 steps at least 6 days/week since then, but this running has opened up a whole new world.  At least once a week I'm reminded of the old Nike commercials, "An object in motion tends to stay in motion.  An object at rest tends to stay at rest." (No offense, Isaac.)  I'm now in the running for a top spot (usually third) of all my fitbit friends on the regular.  Instead of hoping for a 7 day average of 70,000 steps I strive for 100,000.  I keep moving when normally I'd lean or sit.  People send me taunts instead of cheers.  And my fitbit congratulates me instead of telling me to "get moving": the true sign of success.


I also feel better.  My neck that has been uncomfortably stiff for years is not.  Joints that have cracked regularly no longer do so.  My posture is much improved and my lower back doesn't cramp anymore. As if all that isn't enough, I've even been led to believe that I'm being spruced up on a cellular level!

 

I have not lost any weight.  I'm not sure if that's why I started this, but it certainly hasn't happened yet.  But do you know what's more important?  I feel so much stronger…in so many ways.  Years ago I went with my boyfriend to learn self-defense from his karate instructor.  I left frustrated and defeated because neither of them had any idea what self-defense meant for a woman and I learned nothing.  Women are less likely to get punched in the face and have to fight back; we tend to get surprised from behind and have to react.  My new found strength- whether real or imagined, mental or physical, is one step in the direction of fighting back with confidence and having a chance to defend myself (or successfully run away) if necessary.

But back to more fun stuff: that sneakered pooch who truly makes this running business an adventure. As our pal Gone Pie would say, 89 "threw a shoe" one day mid-run and we had to retrace our steps uphill until we found it.  She also has the uncanny ability of relieving herself of number 2 when we're as far as humanly possible from a garbage can.  This is made all the more amusing by the fact that I bought a super-large pack of poop "bags" that, when you open them, are not sealed and so exist as nothing more than a square of plastic that I have to attempt to messily knot corner to corner. Let's just say there was one day when I coined the term "shit shirt" and leave it at that.  I still didn't quit!

 

In case you're wondering, in the process 89's shoes have protected her from unavoidable glass shards, stepped-upon bees, and other animal's puke- although they did nothing when she discovered a snake in the road; I had to rely on my own lightning quick leash reflexes for that.  Her groomer was also impressed that her pads and nails weren't showing any wear and tear from the exercise.  When I told her about the sneaks she recommended only some corn starch sprinkled inside and gave us the green light to keep on keeping on.

 

While I'm yammering on I do want to say that while I'm sorry that I haven't been able to participate in Vegan MoFo this year, I have been keeping busy- with this exercise business, for one thing.  I also started a new job over the summer and I've known for a while that some of my coworkers were planning to participate in a charity 5k scheduled for right around the end of the 6th week of my 9-week couch to 5k program.  In addition to never actually planning to run one (I've speed-walked a few in the past), I knew all along I wouldn't be ready even if I wanted to do it.  But in week 5 a coworker specifically asked me to participate.  It was probably out of pity, as she is way fitter than me and certainly didn't need the running companionship equivalent of a walrus that I would provide, but her offer was made in genuine friendship so I took a few days to deliberate.  "You regret the things you don't do more than the things you do" went through my mind more than once, but so did the thought of what I might look like panting and sweating around relatively new colleagues I hoped to eventually impress, not frighten.  While I was discussing the decision with a friend, he brought up the endurance aspect of running, which I'd actually never thought of before.  The more I contemplated the more I realized: I'm great at non-physical long-term sports like grudge holding, so I just need to consider the act of running in a different light that plays to my own personal strengths!

 

In these past few weeks I have also used running to quell some of my weaknesses.  I've learned along the way that the less of a big deal I've made of it- the less of a big deal it's been.  Yes, I have to come home from my long commute to quickly change and get (6) sneakers on in order to squeeze in at least an hour before it gets dark out (boo).  Yes, it involves more laundry and more hair washing.  But, big deal!  I don't think about it; I just do it.  And for those of you that think it requires money at the outset: I don't have fancy gear at all.  I did buy one pair of running pants but I found sneaks in my closet and usually wear my vegan tees.  I don't have a phone band so I hold it.  I don't have sport-sunglasses, so I squint.  Maybe I'll remedy some of this, but so far it has all worked out just fine, so perhaps I should stop over-complicating other parts of my life (like the salad-spinner).

 

And then, mid-week 6 after I'd already enumerated all of the reasons why it didn't make sense to participate in an actual 5k just yet, I had a great run at home.  Don't get me wrong; I don't love running.  I don't even think I like it.  While I'm doing it, I'm thinking how horrible it is.  What keeps me going are two things: 1) I'm not a quitter and 2) while I'm not physically doing it, I am really glad to know that I have and will again- if only to perpetuate the self-satisfaction…if that makes any sense.  

But there are a few reasons this particular run was great.  For one, 89 met a deer while we were warming up.  


Then, I ran two 10-minute stretches without dying (always the fear) and only minor audible grunting.  In the middle of that, there was an adventure.  An adventure within an adventure, if you will.  89 & I were just beginning our second, continuous mile when I saw a young woman jogging towards me about 3 blocks away.  Of course I immediately thought, "Thank goodness I'm on a running portion;" there's nothing worse than passing someone running while you're walking and you want to yell that you're just in between!  Then I noticed she was wearing an adorable dress and I thought of what a sweaty muck I must look like* in comparison.  At this point my ridiculous thought process was interrupted by a sparkling, bright-eyed, unleashed jack russell that shot out of a yard I'd never noticed as having a dog before.  Obviously 89 wasted no time mauling the pooch with kisses whilst simultaneously tangling her leash with my earbud wire in such a way that made it impossible to quickly or gracefully disentangle.  As soon as I managed to do so I picked 89 up to allow for an assessment of the safety of the situation, and it finally occurred to me that this dog does not live in this house after all.  Also, people do not generally run in dresses.  It clicked and, as any self-respecting dog-mom would do, I managed to hold 89 under one arm while nonchalantly petting the Jack until I could slide my other arm around him and pick him up on my opposite side.  Thankfully, he was amenable.  It all happened so fast and before I knew it, there was the young woman right in front of me- on the verge of tears, thanking me profusely for "catching" her loose dog that she'd chased for blocks in and out of the road. Needless to say, I felt pretty good.  We were certainly in the right place at the right time.  And why?  Because: running.  I'm no Hope for Paws, but it was pretty thrilling.


And that's ultimately why I committed to running the 5K when it was 2 days away- even though I was 3 1/2 weeks away from completing the app.  My adrenaline was pumping on the way there and I was really excited that 89 could participate with me.  I truly expected to do great- which, in my mind, would have been to be able to jog the whole course.  But, as it turned out…not so much.  Not even close, in fact.  The people I ran "with" were rock stars and I waved them ahead early on when it was already obvious I couldn't keep up the pace.  When I got to the sign that said "mile 1" I was beat already- and a little demoralized.  I walked about half of mile 2 and possibly a bit more of mile 3- not even close to the good showing my practice days had been at home the previous week.  To her credit, 89 the sneakered dog was raring to go the entire time; I really held her back and that made me feel quite a bit worse.  So too did the loops where I could see the majority of folks ahead of me who were already looping back.  At one point about halfway through, the course ran past the start where I could see all of the people who had already finished; ouch.


Thank goodness for the volunteers that made each person running past feel like an Olympic athlete; that was probably what kept me from leaving the course for the ice cream that I knew was only a short distance away (closer than the finish line).  In the last .1 it occurred to me that running obviously isn't my thing and I was wondering if I should even bother finishing the app and what I should try next instead.

 

And then the finish was in sight and the coworker who had invited me- along with her friends, were waiting for me with cheers and a bottle of water: not at all mad that they'd had to wait over fifteen minutes, but rather in solidarity of our collective completion; it felt good.


I don't know why I had such a poor showing; maybe I started out at the pace of a crowd that was much too fast for me (my personal pace is not very fast at all) and lost my mojo too early.  Maybe I truly wasn't ready.  And, of course, it's possible that I just didn't try hard enough.  Ultimately I did jog more than half, so I'm learning not to focus on my laments since my friends have all been kind, generous, and quick with compliments for the finish regardless of my place (not good I tell you).

I'm not sure what the future holds as far as 5ks are concerned, but I can tell you that by the evening of the race I was already mapping out my running days for the following week per usual- proving that I hadn't completely given up.

While I didn't experience any soreness that day or the next, the first running day after the race proved painful around the ankles, so perhaps I didn't punk out as much as I'd thought.  As for the app, I haven't missed a day but I have fallen behind as far as what is expected in terms of consecutive running minutes.  However, what I can tell you for certain is that I'm getting better each time.  What more can I hope for?  Perhaps to parlay that into other aspects of my life that could use some practice.

 

*it's important to note that if you're jogging in public, people will look at you.  Whether boredom, judgement, or curiosity; they.  will.  look.  Get over it!  Just remind yourself that YOU are out there getting it done; all they're doing is gawking.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cookman Creamery: MORE Vegan in Asbury Park

With all my jabbering on about Goldie's, you might be wondering if I am aware that there is a vegan-friendly ice cream store in Asbury Park.  To that imagined slight, I say, "What do you take me for- some kind of novice?"  I'll have you know that I've already been to Cookman Creamery a number of times.


Indeed, just a few blocks away from Goldie's is this mother/daughter-owned shop; I'd say the offerings are evenly split between vegan and non-vegan.


In essence, if you want it, they probably have a vegan version.

 

Every time I've visited there have been at least six hard-packed ice cream flavors: many of them satisfyingly kitschy (example: churro!).


They've also always had 2 soft-serve flavors on offer; my favorite so far: classic (and creamy) chocolate/vanilla.


But, let's be realistic; the cone above belongs to my friend.  This happened to be my first visit so I went for the whole shebang: the largest sundae available: made with cookie butter (speculoos/biscoff) hardpack and chocolate/vanilla twist soft-serve with peanut butter sauce, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry.  The PB sauce is not made in house, but the whipped cream is.


Don't let this sad-face fool you; she tried some vanilla.


I will admit that the sundae unexpectedly defeated me and I'm not sure why.  It is the only time in recent memory that I haven't been able to finish a dessert and you know I'm not shy.  So, on my next visit I ordered a more normal size small cup which was brimming with chocolate and vanilla soft serve with peanut butter sauce (sadly, they were out of whipped cream).


I'm not sure if this is something that they do all the time, but this particular cup had peanut butter sauce on the bottom of the cup in addition to the top- which is genius.

for me?

 If this is a thing, please keep doing it!


For the record, the friend who was with me on this visit ordered apple pie ice cream which so horrified me (I hate apples) that I neglected to take a photo.

Cookman Creamery also offers most, if not all, of their novelties in vegan versions: flying saucers, chocolate-covered bananas...


They even have a pop that is reminiscent of "cherry-dip;" I believe they said it was a raspberry sorbet coating.  Non-chocolate desserts aren't really my thing, but I have a friend that's been dying for a vegan version of this so I'll let you know if she tries it anytime soon.


On another visit 89 had a sample of the raspberry soft-serve, which was paired with peanut butter (peanut butter & jelly; get it?).  Needless to say, she was a fan.


And the time after that she got a taste of the pumpkin/vanilla soft-serve swirl from my friend and fellow blogger, Vegan in the Big Apple.


Not too shabby.

If you haven't been to Asbury Park recently, I highly recommend a visit to see what's new.  Besides great grub and desserts, you can walk to the boardwalk, take a ride on pedal-boats nearby, and visit the shops, galleries, and theaters within walking distance.

Did I mention Cookman Creamery also does cakes?  They do.  I've yet to try to test their travel-ability, but I'm sure as the weather gets cooler I'll be more likely to give it a go.

On a final note, Cookman (and Goldie's) are so pooch-friendly that 89 took it upon herself to break into this closed shop a few doors down.


Luckily no charges were filed.


Head on down to Asbury to see what's (vegan) to be seen!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Goldie's: Vegan in Asbury Park (beyond the choco taco...but, still... a choco taco)

You might recall how smitten I was with Goldie's after my first visit.  I've been back a few times since and the love affair continues; so, it was only fair to post a proper and more complete review- especially since the seasonal menu is expected to change sometime soon and then I'll be forced (!) to start the whole process again.


Goldies has soups and salads on offer, but I haven't visited yet where I didn't choose the house made chips with tomato/green chile salsa and pistachio-flax guacamole without being stunningly satisfied.


Seasoned and just the right amount of salt, these medium-thick chips make store-bought positively laughable.


The guac is creamy and filling- with just the right amount of crunch lent by the nuts.


Looks unassuming, but the salsa really packs a flavorful and perfectly textured punch.


As for drinks, I haven't made a bad decision yet.  This was a friend's sangria; I don't really like wine so I can't weigh in.


On this visit I again went with the strawberry limonada: strawberry-infused vodka (or tequila) with house made lemonade.  Refreshing and both sweet and tart without being too much of either.


Vegansaurus told me to order the yucca fries with cashew crema and I don't argue with Vegansaurus.  Crisp on the outside with a rich, creamily textured inside; I've never had anything quite like this.  Paired with the light cashew crema, this side dish is rich, rich, rich (the fries are also good dipped in the salsa- shhh!).


The chilaquiles (corn tortillas layered with chiles) onion, tomato, and daiya with grilled wild scallion salsa were totally different than I'd imagined, but really good.  I was for some reason expecting the Chi-Chi's cheese and onion enchiladas of days gone by (I realize that enchiladas are a totally different dish), but this was assembled as a shallow, Mexican lasagna that reminded me more of migas.  Post script: I love the little lime wedges that accompany almost everything on the menu.


The rodrigo (mushroom chorizo tacos) with potato, cashew crema, radish, fresh corn tortillas blew my mind.  For starters, anything that requires nothing more than your hands and mouth to indulge in is right up my alley.  And let's discuss the grilled, corn tortillas.  Goldie's has figured out how to make un-tearable, taco perfection with this trick.  As for the filling- wowza.  I'm not really familiar with chorizo, but the flavor it added mixed with the potatoes (!), cream, and crisp radish was completely ideal.  A must order in my book.


These are the little donkeys (pequeno bean burritos) with jalapeño hot sauce, lime; don't let the simplicity fool you.


The soft, flour tortillas are filled with the creamiest version of "refried" beans I've ever come across.  The heat comes from that seemingly innocuous swirl of jalapeño sauce that, when mixed into the delicious Mexican rice, is both steamy and satisfying.  This might be my favorite dish on the menu.


And, of course, a choco taco: waffle cone shell (looks like a pizzelle to me), spiced nuts, daily sorbet/gelato.  On this day the gelato was olive oil caramel (last time it was sea salt caramel), which sounds unusual, but tasted like good old caramel to me.


Interior:


Guess who wanted a taste…again?


And she got it: ice cream only!  No chocolate for dogs.


After 89 was satiated with her bit of choco taco, she took a nap.


This is how at home you feel at Goldie's!



Here's a groggy shot of us right before we left.


Till next time….


Some street art around the corner on Bangs.



The next time I visited was in the evening: offering a different perspective of Asbury Park and slightly worse food photography.


I chose the drink special: peach iced tea: vodka, white peaches, lemon and black tea.  It was a cross between sweet tea and a Long Island iced tea, both of which I'm partial to- with a subtle peach kick.


My friend ordered the cheese party (shiitake fundido) with charred tomato, daiya, flour tortillas.  I'm still regretting not tasting it; it looked like Mexican, cheese fondue perfection but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop at a taste.  He really liked it and our waitress on a later visit told us it's one of her favorites.


The heirloom beans, which were gorgeous and, alas, also not mine.


I ordered the dang quesadilla: squash blossoms, caramelized onion, daiya, corn tortilla, cabbage escabeche (see what they did there?).  First of all, I love me some quesadillas!  A (vegan) quesadilla without (vegan) cheese is like a cheeseless pizza: worthless.  These were terrific: the tortilla was crisp and the fillings mighty in every way.


The cabbage escabeche accompaniment was a terrific variation of kimchi.


Because my (human) dining companion knows what's up, we reserved our choco tacos at the onset of our meal.  They had a blood orange variety, but we chose…caramel!  89 patiently awaited the arrival of her new favorite dessert.


That face went from concerned frown to ice cream smile (she gets that from me)!


Choco Taco perfection once again.


This is what happens when 89 thinks you're not paying attention; that blur is her tongue trying to make a choco taco connection.


Full disclosure: we also ordered the cinnamon sugar doughnuts: chocolate ganache, strawberry habanero sauce. But, not really; let me explain.


When we pre-ordered our choco tacos within seconds of being seated, the manager shared with us that the doughnuts were also a great choice.  I would never argue such a matter, so we agreed amongst ourselves to order them…with the caveat of double choco tacos also just in case.  As it turned out, the doughnuts were so incredible that we didn't really need the choco tacos, but they sure were good anyway.


Double-munchkin size, the cinnamon sugar-coated orbs were served warm atop a shallow pool of amazing strawberry sauce with a hint of habanero zing.  At the time I had no idea, so when I used my spoon to break into the donut, I was rendered ecstatic to see it come out coated in creamy, chocolate ganache.  Another huge Goldie's win.


We'd had another great evening at the beautiful outdoor Goldie's space, although 89 faded as the night wore on...


And eventually flat-out fell asleep at the table.


We also got another glimpse of the beautiful, ethereal interior that evening, but have yet to eat inside!



My most recent visit was…very recent.

I couldn't help but to order the special saltwater taffy martini with vanilla bean, whipped cream vodka, coconut milk, and crushed sea salt.  


Served in a rounded, martini glass reminiscent of vintage champagne glasses, this drink exceeded my wildest expectations.  I hope Goldie's keeps the recipe on hand because I'm going to try to order this one long after it's no longer a special drink for the holiday.


I finally ordered the tamale ringwald (love it!!!): tamale with chopped spinach, roasted garlic, black beans, and chipotle sofrito.  I love to order things like this out: something I would never think (or have the capacity) to make at home.  The sauce was delicious slathered all over both the tamale and the bean accompaniment.  And, fear not about the cilantro; Goldie's is smart enough to use it in it's full-leaf form so that it's easily removable (and still looks purdy in photos).


I may have also had a strawberry margarita: house made infused tequila, triple sec, and lime.  It was good, but the limonada is still my sweet fave!


And then Goldie's was kind enough to send some of those amazing doughnuts to the table.  Thank you so much!


My view of the donut stalker; click here for the view from across the table!


They were as good as I remembered (maybe better) and now I really want to go back yet again before the highly anticipated new seasonal menu: what a conundrum!

Alas, no choco taco for 89 this time!


It was a beautiful day in Asbury (until it rained), so we took the pooches for a nice long stroll through town and along the boardwalk.




I could not be more impressed with Goldie's; they are consistently inventive without being pretentious,  friendly without an iota of exclusion, and wholly welcoming to humans and pooches alike.


They've hit every note of dining perfection and I wish them continued success.  As for me, I'll keep doing my part!