Beer, Beer, and Beer.

cape may beer

Beer, Beer and (more) Beer.

Beer, beer, beerI know that it’s early, but think about next September. Cape May’s first Harvest Brew Festival will be Saturday September 19th  from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.. Lots of craft beers at the Physick Estate; with local food, local produce, local wine – and local talent for entertainment. (four local bands!) There will also  be a farmers’ market, a crafts show, and activities for the kids.Beer, beer, beer

The Harvest Brew Festival will also take place during the week-long celebration of gourmandize called the annual Food and Wine Festival (September 11th through 20th). This is our nineteenth year for the Food and Wine Festival, and it never fails to delight everyone who participates. You already know that Cape May is home to some of the best restaurants in New Jersey, and this week gives them a chance to show off. The MAC website will give you lots of information beer, Beer, beerabout a Lobster Bake Dinner, grape picking at Natali Vineyards, a Chocolate Lover’s Feast, a Beer Tasting luncheon, and dozens more. Call us today or go online to make your reservation for the gluttony gala in Cape May!Beer, beer, beer

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Cape May Threatened

Cape May

Cape May Threatened

Cape MaySuzie and I were driving up the parkway two weeks ago  on our way to visit my doctor’s office in North Jersey. I looked up and saw a solitary, enormous, raincloud hanging over the wetlands. The cloud was immense and the landscape was extraordinarily wide. I tried to memorize the scene to paint later when I got home.  I just finished it. It’s the largest painting I’ve done in a few years; five feet wide and three feet tall. I’m pleased with the sense of depth in an essentially flat, featureless,  landscape. And the color of the wetlands before they really turn green in the Spring.

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Singer Songwriter Weekend in Cape May

Singer Songwriter Cape May

Singer Songwriter Weekend in Cape May

This Friday and Saturday  (3-27 and 28), Cape May will host its eighth annual Singer Songwriter weekend. Though the weekend is designed for singer-songwriters, giving them the skills and information to further their careers, the many performances in locations all around town make a wonderful experience for us audience members. Not only are there a lot of performers to choose from, all of the acts (except Congress Hall) are free!

Singer Songwriter Cape May
Dan Navarro
Singer Songwriter Cape May
Patty Larkin

Their website www.sscapemay.com has schedules for all of the performances and venues and descriptions of the musicians. Take a last minute vacation and get away to Cape May this weekend. Call us at Leith Hall and come visit.

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Prepare to Feast

restaurants, Cape May, dining

Prepare to Feast in Cape May

This Spring, prepare to feast at some new restaurants in Cape May. We know that many of our guests come to visit primarily to eat well, and this year will see some changes in the Cape May Restaurant scene. I’ll set some of those changes out here, and update the restaurants part of the website soon.

First, Cucina Rosa is no more. Their space will be filled by another Italian restaurant called That’s Amore. So if the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – That’s Amore will open in April. (I realize that if you are younger than I am, you won’t know that That’s Amore was a pop song in the 1950s)

Gecko’s is moving and changing, but not going away. You may know it from the location on Carpenter’s Street, right behind the mall and in front of SoMa Gallery. This April, it will be taking over the space formerly know as Higher Grounds, on Perry Street in West Cape May. It sounds like the menu will be a little less Mexican, but still feature several Southwestern items. I think that it will be more of a soup, salad, and sandwich restaurant, but I’m not sure. It will open in April and stay open all year.

The space formerly knows as Gecko’s will now be Yozu Sushi, which has been located in North Cape May for several years. They have a great reputation, and it will be nice to have a sushi restaurant so convenient to the Mall.

restaurants, dining, Cape May
restaurants, Cape May, dining

 

Purely as a scientific study, and for your sake, not mine, I’ll have to visit all of these this Spring and report back later. Or, come visit us this Spring and do your own taste-test and comment on this blog!

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Birders flock to Cape May for Autumn migration

Cape May Autumn migrationThe Cape May autumn migration – specifically the Hawk watch – runs from September 1 through Nov. 30th. October, however, is the peak period. In fact the 58th Annual N.J. Audubon Weekend/The Bird Show is October 28-30.

Audubon Migration Workshops

Experts are on hand at the Hawk Watch Observation Platform at Cape May Point State Park to help beginners identify the many species of raptors and birds which fly by on their way south. Their real job though, is to count the numbers of raptors. Cape May Point is a world famous migration capital. No place in North America offers more spectacles more consistently than Cape May, NJ and nowhere else will so many birds and so much birding talent be assembled in one place – at one time.Cape May Autumn migration

As an example, on Saturday October 4 alone, there’s a session on Fall Migrants at Rea’s Farm, a Photo walk, and fifteen other activities!! Go to their website to see the incredible variety of classes, workshops, and walks. You can ask for a packaged Early Birder Breakfast at Leith Hall to take with you, or you can return for our later breakfast seating.

Cape May Autumn migration

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Leith Hall Mexican Wedding Cake

Cape May bed and breakfast

 

We recently had two sisters as guests, Phoebe and Joann, who were a delight to talk to. Phoebe told me about a cake that she makes that isCape May bed and breakfast incredibly simple to make, very rich, and pleases all of her guests. She was right. She knows her stuff. It’s called Mexican Wedding Cake, though I suspect that it has nothing to do with Mexican weddings. It is made with an entire large can of crushed pineapple, and it looks like the batter will produce a light-colored cake. But it doesn’t. It produces a very dark, caramelized cake that is delicious when served with cream cheese icing.

Our recent guests, Erik and Lisa, had some and Lisa asked for the recipe – so here it is. Thank you Phoebe and enjoy it Lisa.

Mexican Wedding Cake

2 c. all [purpose flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2Tbs. Baking soda
1 tsp. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste)Cape May Bed and Breakfast
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple DO NOT DRAIN
1 cup. Roughly chopped pecans
9′ x13” metal baking pan, lined with parchment
350 F. 35 minutes

Cream Cheese frosting
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
1 Tbs. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste)
3 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar

To make cake, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Turn into the baking dish and bake.Cape May bed and Breakfast

To make icing – Beat all of the ingredients in an electric mixer in order, starting with the butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Spread onto completely cooled cake.

Try making this cake youirsself. It’s incredibly simple! Or, come visit us at Leith Hall and I’ll make it.

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Food and Wine, and Beer and Bourbon

Food and Wine

Food and Wine, and Beer and Bourbon !

Food and WineJust when you thought the Cape May season was winding down, the middle of September brings the Cape May Food and Wine Celebration. There will be spectacular dinners  like the Farm to Table dinner presented by the Red Store in Cape May Point and a Bourbon Tasting Dinner at Alethea’s Restaurant in the Inn of Cape May on the beach in Cape May.  The Chocolate Lovers Feast will be at The Blue Rose, oneFood and Wine of Cape May’s newest and best restaurants.  There will also be special dinners, tours, and grape picking at three of Cape Mays vineyards – Hawk Haven, Natali, and Cape May Winery.

Just imagine your stay in Cape May. The ocean will still be warm, the weather will still be ideal. There will be lectures and demonstrations, tastings from many Cape May restaurants at Food and WineConvention Hall; winery, brewery, and bourbon events,  samples and tastings, and feasting galore. You can go to the website of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts for a more complete list; and you can call or email us to make reservations.

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Dale’s Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

chocolate peppermint cookies

I’ve had a recipe for peppermint cookies on this blog before, but these are different from the earlier ones. Our guest, Dale, wrotechocolate peppermint cookies and asked me to post the recipe for last week’s peppermint sandwich cookies. They look like Oreo’s on steroids, but taste much better.

I make them medium size, then make sandwich cookies with the quick peppermint butter-cream.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

1 ¼ cup (2 1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 cups flour
¾ cup Dutch cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

chocolate peppermint cookiesBeat the butter and sugar together until they are fluffy. Beat in eggs and extracts. Mix the flour, cocoa, soda and salt together and beat the mixture into the butter mixture. Drop by tablespoons full onto parchment lined cookie sheets. I use a scoop to get exactly even size domes. Bake for 9 minutes at 350F. Cool on cookie sheets, then again on cookie racks.

For the peppermint cream.

1 stick (1/2 cup)  unsalted butter, creamed in an electric mixer

4 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon peppermint extract

a few tablespoons of waterchocolate peppermint cookies

Cream the butter ’till light and fluffy. Beat in the extract and powdered sugar, one cup at a time. If the mixture doesn’t make frosting, beat in water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is creamy and frosting consistency. You could add a tiny drop of red food coloring if you want the frosting to be pink. I seldom do.

chocolate peppermint cookiesWhen the cookies are thoroughly cold, put a dollop of frosting on one, then top with another and twist the sandwich to distribute the filling evenly. Keep cool ’till serving.

Or, the other wy to get these cookies is to come visit us at Leith Hall for a romantic weekend away.

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Chocolate Salami?

Yes, chocolate salami!

Usually I wait ‘till a guests asks for a recipe before making it a blog post, but this afternoon I’m making chocolate salami for tea, andalmond pound cake I can’t resist telling you how to make it. The idea is Italian, so it looks like a Genoa salami, though people make it all over Eastern Europe too, with slight variations.
I use a combination of Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips and some 70% Belgian chocolate from Trader Joe’s.

Chocolate Salami.

8 oz. unsalted butter
16 oz. chocolate
1 cup nuts, lightly crushed (Italians would use almonds and hazelnuts. I used pecans)
About 1 cup cookies, lightly chunked (Italians would use biscotti (cantucci) or amaretti. You could use any simple cookie like shortbread or digestives)
¼ cup rum, or coffee, or orange juice (I use rum)
Zest of 1 orange or ¼ tsp. orange extract.
1 cup raisins (Italians don’t often use raisins, but I like them)
½ cup powdered sugar for coating.

In Italy, the recipe includes raw eggs as they don’t have the salmonella problem that we do. This recipe has a little more butter tochocolate salami make up for leaving out the eggs.

Melt the butter, rum and chocolate together and mix. Mix all of the other ingredients together, then mix with the chocolate. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 ½ hours. Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil on your counter. Then lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on the aluminum foil. Turn the cold mixture out onto the chocolate salamiplastic wrap. Wrap with plastic wrap and shape it into a roll. Wrap the aluminum foil and shape again into a roll. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, unwrap the roll and dust with powdered sugar. Cut some slices and arrange them like an antipasto plate with the remainder of the roll.

Next, I’ll have to figure out some other trompe l’oeil sweets that look like savories.

Come visit us at Leith Hall and join us to afternoon tea!

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Fireworks – Fireworks – Fireworks !

Fireworks !

This year, Cape May will once again come alive with spectacular fireworks off the beach in front of Congress Hall. The show will begin at about 8  P.M.. Just bring one of our sand chairs down to the foot of Ocean Street, or walk to the right a block and enjoy the show. This year, there will also be lots of music surrounding the 4th.. June 30th will feature the Cape May Diamonds at Convention Hall, as well as  The Doctors of Rhythm at Rotary Park just beyond the Mall.  July 1, the Logond Honors Band  will perform Latin jazz and funk at 7P.M.

Fireworks

Just after Independence Day, John Clark Little Big Band will play on July 6 at Rotary Park.  Finally, on July 7th, is Cape May’s Independence Day Parade – which is the essential small town Americana parade. The Coast Guard Band will be there as well as three string bands – so those of you who are nostalgic for a Philadelphia childhood will feel right at home.  That evening, there will be two concerts – the Golden Eagle Band and the Fralinger’s String Band.

fireworks

images firework

Plan your summer getaway to Cape May and visit us at Leith Hall !

You can call us at (609) 884-1934 or go online at stay@leithhall.com

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