2010 Jersey Shore Food Preview
BUFFET In a casino where bling-arific excess reigns, the Borgata’s smorgasbord — just $28.95 a person at dinner — strikes us as the property’s best bargain. Spot-on sushi, rich pulled pork, endless seafood, a generous smattering of low-cal spa fare, and unlimited trips to the homemade gelato bar make us feel fine about taking a place in the cafeteria line. 1 Borgata Way, 609-317-1000, theborgata.com.
SIMPLE CARB FIX We’ll never turn down a taffy spree at James’s or Fralinger’s, but for the sheer penny-candy-gone-wild, Technicolor buzz of it, the Pier-anchoring It’Sugar sweet shop is easily the highlight of any trip to A.C.’s boards. Promise your kid a make-your-own candy bar or a you-mix-it bag of M&Ms, and Junior will behave like an angel as you shop Gucci, the Apple store, Janie & Jack, Scoop NYC. … The Pier Shops at Caesars, 1 Atlantic Ocean, 609-289-4200, itsugar.com.
SALAD A few reasons why Seablue’s super-fresh, now-classic DIY concoctions taste so summer: 1. With options like Asian pears, 24-month parmesan, sultanas and crispy sunchokes, this is a control freak’s fresh dream — with a wine list to match. 2. When restaurants are in charge of the mix, you always resort to plucking out one ingredient. 3. It’s bikini season, and salad is all you eat anyway. The Borgata, 1 Borgata Way, 609-317-1000, theborgata.com.
SUSHI Fast, fresh, fairly economical and thoroughly unfancy, BYOB Yama is a rare find for raw fish basics (spicy tuna, salmon maki). 5305 Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor, 609-822-8007.
BAGELS Your traditional plain, egg, pumpernickel and onion varieties, along with a cornucopia of oddball others (a trail mix bagel?), are all served fresh, warm and chewy at the appropriately named Hot Bagels & More. And don’t forget to take home a tub of schmear. There’s a reason every Jew from Atlantic City to Longport is here every morning, people. Follow the leaders. 7807 Ventnor Avenue, Margate, 609-823-4144.
FARMERS’ MARKET After a hard-fought battle with a local grocer who shall not be named, the good folks at Steve & Cookie’s are finally exercising their right to bring Downbeach its very own alfresco fair of local food and produce. Margate Community Farmer’s Market, being in Margate, surpasses other beach towns’ versions, with vendors offering everything from Jersey honey to organic raspberries, made-to-order basil lemonade, classic Formica Brothers rolls and sushi-grade Barnegat scallops. 9700 Amherst Avenue (in Steve & Cookie’s parking lot), Margate, steveandcookies.com/misc/farmers.html. Thursdays from late June through August, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
ICE CREAM (OLD FAVORITE) The only thing missing from the 1950s–evoking Dairy Bar is Joan Blondell’s grizzled waitress wryly remarking to Frenchy, “There’s no use crying over spilt milkshake.” Order me a peanut butter sundae and get me Danny Zuko! 9510 Ventnor Avenue, Margate, 609-822-9559.
BUFFALO WINGS Coupled with an ice-cold beer, the meaty bones at Charlie’s may be the best just-off-the-beach appetizer you can eat. Do yourself a favor and order them done sloppy (that means lotsa sauce) and “tail gun” (mild, though they still pack plenty of snap); the “top gun” come with the warning “Hell Fire! No kidding!” We’ve had ’em, and believe us: They’re not kidding. 800 Shore Road, 609-927-3663, charliesbar.com.