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.
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!
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 is 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) 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.
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.
Just 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, one 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 Convention 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.
The Crab and Craft Beer Festival is one of the most popular events of the whole year.The Cape May Brewery and other suppliers add their best brews. Crab cakes and other shore delicacies are plentiful. There’s music and vendors, and fun. Come stay with us at Leith Hall and take advantage of this great day.
Visit the beautiful grounds of the Physick Estate and experience one of New Jersey’s Top Five Summer Festivals! This all-day festival features local craft beers to wash down favorite summer picnic foods — including steamed crabs, crab cakes, steamed shrimp, potato salad and more. Enjoy live music all day on the outdoor stage. Have fun with jugglers and acrobats, crafts vendors, a farmers’ market and more. Admission to the grounds is free. There will be a charge for food, beverages and some activities. Saturday, Aug. 9, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free trolley shuttle between Washington Street Mall and the Estate: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 8 p.m. back to Mall).
How do you define decadence in Cape May? Put together three of my favorite things – good food, good wine, and a cruise on the A.J. Meerwald. Hawk Haven winery has organized this wonderful event for next August 16th and again on August 23rd. You cruise on the gorgeous oyster schooner A.J. Meerwald. You feast on hors d’oevres provided by the Red Store of Cape May Point (chef Lucas Manteca) and Quahog in Stone Harbor. You quaff (or guzzle) wines from Hawk Haven. It’s a little bit of heaven right here in Cape May. The cost is $109 per person and you call (609)846-7347 to buy tickets.
Nothing’s Better Than The West Cape May Strawberry festival!
The West Cape May Strawberry Festival will be June 1 (rain date of June 2). Come out and enjoy strawberry smoothies, strawberry tacos, strawberry ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry barbeque sauce on ribs and chicken and of course, strawberry shortcake You can buy strawberry t- shirts, hats, jewelry, art work and stained glass – not to mention antiques, crab cakes, and birdhouses
There’ll be live entertainment all day with Robin Hippell (who used to be our assistant innkeeper at Leith Hall, and is a pretty mean jazz singer) and Amy Hufana from 10-12, The Too Trio from 12-3, the crowning of the Strawberry King and Queen at 3 p.m. , Mark Jacopec and his drumming troupe from 3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
One of the joys of the West Cape May Strawberry Festival is absorbing the atmosphere of West Cape May, with neighborliness, good feeling, and cooperation in a traditional small town setting.
The Carriage House Café and Tearoom at the Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May is opening for another season with a new chef, a new menu, and an expanded take-out service. You can have lunch in the former horse stalls of the Carriage House, where Emlen Physick’s horses used to munch away, or in the striped tent on the patio behind the carriage house. The tent is surrounded by gardens, with a view of the gorgeous Physick house.
If you want to have an elegant afternoon experience in the Cape Maytradition, you can have an “Elegant Afternoon Tea.” If you want a quick lunch and a rest after trudging the streets of Cape May, you can do that too. You can even take out a sandwich, salad, cake or fruit and eat on the picnic table near the carriage house. We’ll take care of breakfast at Leith Hall, now lunch is settled. All you have to decide on is dinner.
I made these chocolate peppermint cookies for tea at Leith Hall last week and Bill from Absecon paid me a great compliment. He said that they were the best chocolate cookies he had ever had, and he doesn’t even like sweets!. They are very easy to make.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
1 ¼ cup (2 1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups flour
¾ cup Dutch cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Icing – Melt together 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 stick butter plus 1 tablespoon light corn syrup. Add 1 tablespoon peppermint extract. Put one dollop on each cookie.
Beat 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.
This is a recipe for my breakfast frittata for Kaya, who is one of our oldest guests. Not that Kaya is old, but she and Rob have been visiting us at Leith Hall since we opened. I make three of these for a houseful of guests, and each frittata serves six to eight people. I use a nine inch quiche pan in which to bake them, so the recipe is easy to divide for a smaller group.
We just got back from vacationing in Portugal, where we heard the news that great, great, . . . grandfather, Richard III had been found. Congratulations to all of the Plantagenets out there.
Leith Hall Breakfast Frittata for Kaya
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
1 ½ packages Swiss cheese (I use Emmenthaler, but any Swiss will work)
Salt and pepper
3 quarts whole milk
Finely dice the medium size red onion and red bell pepper and sute them in a little bit of oil. (if you make one frittata, half of a red bell pepper and a very small red onion would be enough). Grate the Swiss cheese. You should have enough to thickly sprinkle in the quiche pan. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add a little bit of salt. The cheese already contains lots of salt. Use a lot of pepper. I use about ½ teaspoon of chervil per frittata. Beat in the milk. You can adjust the milk to make enough batter to fill your quiche pan. If you have a deep quiche pan, use more milk, but add more cheese, since the egg and cheese is what makes the batter solidify.
Sprinkle the onion and pepper mixture into a Pam sprayed quiche pan. Sprinkle on the cheese. Pour the egg batter. Bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes, until the top is slightly browned. It will solidify as it cools.
You could add a few green beans, cut up, or asparagus spears, or green peas, or corn kernels, or sliced cooked potatoes. You could add cooked shrimp or smoked salmon. You could pour it all into a partially baked pie crust and call it a quiche. You could use mixed gruyere and muenster to make it creamy. You could use light cream to make it rich.
Chocolate Valentine’s Day at Leith Hall in Cape May
What could be more romantic than Valentine’s Day weekend in Cape May? Valentine’s Day weekend in Cape May with chocolate, of course! We’ll be serving chocolate at breakfast and at tea, with raspberry and chocolate butter cream brownies, pumpkin bread with chopped bittersweet chocolate, buttery chocolate chunk muffins and chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies – a festival of chocolate.
Call us now or go online to make reservations for this coming weekend.