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Connor: What would you like to do this weekend?
Me: Hmm…well, we’ve talked about going to Asbury Park…
Connor: Let’s do it!
Who goes to the beach in the middle of February, you ask? Well, that’d be us. I’d never been to Asbury Park before and wasn’t about to let a little cold weather and windchill get in the way of us exploring a new town…ok, so I had one moment of wussing out before we left…which I will chalk up to having to fill up the tires on the car without gloves and the rude gas station attendants. But I digress.
We started off the morning with brunch at Toast. When Connor suggested it, I took one look at the menu, saw red velvet pancakes, and was immediately hooked. We both got scrambles and a single pancake (red velvet for me, chocolate chip for Connor). So good! After brunch, we went meandering down Cookman Ave, stopping in a few shops here and there. Got two Springsteen albums at a record store, like ya do. Then our meter was up, so it was time to move. On to Kane Brewing!
So we first discovered Kane at Winberies in Princeton. As they started popping up at other places in the area, the more we tried, the more we really liked it! And since they’re close to Asbury Park (and their beers are not available in liquor stores), we decided to go check them out. We got a sampler of Solitude (Belgian dark strong), Hop Head Triple IPA, Simplicity (Belgian strong), and Malus (Belgian strong w/local apple cider and spices). Then we got a second taster of HopLab Triple IPA and Silent Night (imperial stout with coffee). Apparently we picked a really good day to go—the latest batch of HopLab: Triple IPA was fresh from the tank AND they had a special barley wine bottled for Valentine’s Day, Vengeful Heart. They have a really nice little operation up in Ocean Township and are certainly growing. Can’t wait to see what else they brew up!
Beer tasting at Kane. Check! Now, it was time to check out the boardwalk. We parked near the Convention Hall (they were having a special Valentine’s Day Bazaar inside) and walked around the Hall and outside along the boardwalk. Since we drove all the way out there, I decided we should at least go check out the ocean instead of just looking at it from the boardwalk. At this point in the afternoon, it was 15 degrees with a windchill of -6. Yes, you read that right. So down to the water we went…that lasted about 5 minutes. The chill really set in and our hands were like ice! We all but ran back up the sand dune and back to the car. I managed to get a few fun black and white shots.
We drove back to Cookman Ave (and thank goodness for the heated seats in my car!) and checked out Johnny Macs (free pizza, woo hoo!). My, my is it an eclectic bar! Then we stumbled upon a brand new restaurant called Skratch (they just opened one day earlier!). We each got a Kane (naturally) and split some mussels (in salsa verde w/garlic, yum!) and chicken wings. Both were great. Next time we come down here, we’re definitely going to return, plus there’s a speakeasy in the basement that looks really sweet!
And there you have it. Our winter day trip to Asbury Park, NJ! You can bet we’ll be back when it’s a little warmer…like at least 50 degrees. 🙂