Where to Eat? Always the question of the day in Cape May.
There are lots of new choices for this year in Cape May – as well as our existing favorites. On Carpenter’s Lane in the Carpenter’s Square building, a new Mexican Restaurant called La Doňa is opening – and the owner, Lucy Corvino, is from Oaxaca, so we have high hopes.
Another new restaurant is Asian Legends, in the Acme supermarket area. Suzie and I have eaten there four times already and I can testify that it’s the best Chinese food in south Jersey, and would be really good restaurant in New York. Coming from me, that is high praise indeed. I’ve had broccoli with hot garlic sauce and Szechuan spicy beef and loved them both. Suzie had mackerel sushi and sushi rolls and loved them both also. Last week, we ate here, then drove to New York and ate Szechuan food again. Asian Legends was just as good.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. No, I take that back. It was just the best of times – at the Cape May Dickens Christmas Extravaganza. If you like a little culture with your Victorian vacation, consider coming to the Dickens Extravaganza, December 6, 7, and 8th. Dr. Elliot Engle has had a mini-series on PBS, and is a wonderful, entertaining speaker. Sunday evening, there will be a talk about Edgar Allan Poe and Dickens. Monday is a talk about Winston Churchill and another about the Bronte sisters.
Tuesday, Jay Friedlin of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship will lead a discussion about Nicholas Nickelby. Later, there’s a talk about Railways in the Victorian age. The afternoon and evening are filled with a fascinating talk about Dickens and the Jews, followed by a Dickens Feast at the spectacular Washington Inn.
Come stay with us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast for the full Extravaganza package. $435 Is the cost for the three night package for one person and a room and breakfast at Leith Hall. $631 is for a room, breakfast, and two participants in the full package. Give us a call for discounts on partial Dickens packages.
Can you Swing Dance? Can You Lindy? Can you Samba? It doesn’t matter. Tom Cupp will be there to teach you how to move with the best of them to the music of 1940s big band jazz. Suzie and I have been to the Naval Air Station Wildwood Big Band dance and it wonderful ! Young airmen and nurses dance, flip, and amaze. We just do a less athletic Lindy Hop.
Dance the night away
There’s food, music, and dancing from 7 P.M. To 10 P.M. Tom Cupp will teach Swing, Ballroom and Samba for us newbies; and prizes will be awarded for great 1940s costumes. Call at 609 886-8787 for tickets or go to their website and order on line.
These days, the Cape May news seems to be all about beer. Aside from the two festivals; the Craft Beer and Crab festival two weeks ago, and the Brew Fest this week – both at the Emlyn Physick Estate hosted by MAC, The Cape May Brewing Company has been in the news. First, they got a coveted status as a Jersey Fresh product for their honey porter, made with Cape May honey. Second, they’ve been in the news for their new beer brewed in honor of Pope Francis’ visit – You Only Pope Once or YOPO a pale hoppy beer designed to go with Argentine beef.
In our other hoppy news, Historic Cold Spring Village will soon be giving the Cape May Brewery some competition. Anne Salvatore (and her husband Dr. Joe Salvatore) are re-erecting an 1804 century barn. They have their permits from the State and are planning on brewing historic beers like spruce beer made with spruce sprigs and honey porter. If you drive by the village, you can see the barn going up near Seashore Road.
Last week, I blogged about beer, so this week I’m going to blog about. . . Beer!
This is the most popular event of the year in Cape May – the Craft Beer and Crab Festival, Saturday, August 8, from 11 to 6 P.M. There are crabs, of course, and pulled pork barbeque, as well as burgers and dogs. Come hang out at the Physick Estate and listen to music all day long. The performers include New Pony, Shady Side, Audrey and Chris, Radio Neon Duo, and Sean K. Preston. Bring the kids to be entertained by the Give and Take Jugglers little circus.
I 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.
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 about 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!
LEITH HALL’S GREAT MIDWEEK SPECIAL 30% off the second night, now through mid-June
Midweek Special. Not only are there wonderful things to do in Cape May for the next month, but now it’s cheaper! We are offering 30% off your second night during the midweek. Remember, for us the weekend is Friday and Saturday night and the midweek is Sunday through Thursday night.
From May 24 through June 11 is the Cape May Music Festival, with Irish music, The Atlantic Brass Band, and a tribute to our own George Mesterhazy – featuring many musicians playing favorites from “The American Songbook.”
May 31 through June 7 is Restaurant Week in Cape May, with a host of food-related activities. There’s a progressive dinner, with each course in a different restaurant. There are contests among the chefs and waiters, a many special events with classes and demonstrations by the star chefs of Cape May. When you add Cape May’s wine and craft beer to the mix, it’ll be a fantastic experience.
This recipe is for Jiheon. We had cream puffs for teatime yesterday. I filled them with sweetened whipped cream and iced them with very strong bittersweet chocolate icing. This paté à choux recipe is the simplest one I’ve ever seen, and it works perfectly.
1 cup water 1 stick (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter 1 cup flour pinch salt 1 heaping Tbs. Sugar 4 eggs
Heat the water, butter, salt and sugar in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Don’t keep boiling the water as this will change the amount. Take the saucepan off the fire and dump in the flour. Mix vigorously with a whisk until the flour is incorporated. Put back on the fire and continue mixing for a minute. The dough will stick together a little and leave the sides of the pot. Take off the fire and dump into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Beat. Then beat in one egg. Then a second. Then a third. If the batter falls from the beaters when you lift them, you’re done. If it sticks, beat in the fourth egg.
Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Or, use a large spoon to make even size mounds. Preheated 425 F. oven. Bake for ten minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F. and bake for twenty minutes more. The cream puffs should be brown rather than tan.
Hints- 1 -When you make the mounds of batter, don’t leave little points on top, as these will burn before the cream puffs are crisp. 2 – When you take the cream puffs out of the oven, pierce each one on the side to let the steam escape so they don’t get soggy. You can also return them to the turned-off oven for a few minutes to crisp them. 3 – You can make them without an electric mixer by beating in the eggs, one at a time, with a whisk.
For the whipped cream, I used a cup of heavy whipping cream and a quarter cup of confectioner’s powdered sugar. Confectioner’s sugar has a little bit of cornstarch in it which helps stabilize the whipped cream. When it is whipped, add a teaspoon of the best vanilla extract you can find. I use vanilla bean paste which has bits of vanilla seed in it. I fill them using a pastry bag fitted with a small pastry tube, but you can use a plastic zip-lock bag in a pinch, or even cut them and use a small teaspoon to fill them.
So, you’re considering visiting Cape May for the second weekend of Spring Festival, May 8, 9, and 10. As we described in the last post, there are dozens of things to do – but no, you want more. Well, we’ve got it. That weekend is also our first Coast Guard Community Festival. Cape May has just been designated a Coast Guard Community. We’ve always been very close to the folks at the Coast Guard base. Lots of Cape Mayers are Coast Guard spouses and retired career Coast Guarders. This May, were going to celebrate the Coast Guard in Cape May.
There will be tours of Coast Guard boats, fishing boats, the Cape May harbor, and a search-and-rescue operation. There will be a barbeque, dinners with entertainment, as well as exhibits of Coast Guard stuff. Visit the Cape May County Chamber’s website for more information. Also, you can go to the Coast Guard’s Channel Community – their social media blog; or email email@example.com.
Don’t forget the Spring Festival events while you’re soaking up our maritime heritage; chocolate tasting, winery tours, crafts and collectables, and several lunches with entertainment. This is going to be one of the busiest weekends of the Spring – in terms of things to do. (Or, you can do nothing: watch the sunsets, walk along the beach, gorge on tea treats, and read – it’s up to you.) Don’t miss it!
If the barbeque picture is what’s catching your eye, look at the Leith Hall blogpost for two weeks ago. Cape May has three new restaurants to add to the dozens of great places to eat already here. Look at our websites restaurants page.
Cape May’s annual Spring Festival is next week – and this year there are lots of spectacular activities. There will be the Spring Festival Crafts and Collectibles show, as well as several tours like Cape May After Dark, Chocolate Tasting Tour, and Historic Haunts Combo Tour.
The Self-guided Winery and Brewery Tour and the Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery Tour, and the Winery Cellar Tour and Tasting may all sound like the same thing, but are really three very distinct experiences – at different wineries and with different presentations. You can link to the Mid-Atlantic Center’s website to get details and sign up for activities.
My favorite part of this year’s Spring Festival is an exhibit of paintings by Alice Steer Wilson, who was a great painter who lived in Cape May. Her watercolors were extraordinary and in the same league as Winslow Homer’s or John Singer Sargent’s.