Best of the Shore 2010

And we do mean the whole Shore. From great Boardwalk eats to fancy boutiques, quiet places for a sunset dinner to rowdy bars for partying, we bring you the tops up and down the Garden State coastline, including the Jersey Cape, LBI, and for the first time ever, the North Jersey beaches. Come on in, the water’s fine.


SHORE GOSSIP 
  The local Starbucks serves up a lot more dish than just baked goods, darling. Chances are if it’s juicy and you heard it, you heard it here.   8005 Ventnor Avenue, Margate, 609-487-9989, starbucks.com.

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.

Somers Point

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.

OFF-THE-ISLAND WATERING HOLE 
  Inside the 130-year-old Anchorage Tavern (nicely remodeled after a fire, but still retaining its charm), it’s all about the bar, the game du jour on the TVs, and friendly chats over a beer with the regulars. Outside, looking out at the bobbing boats in the harbor from the front porch, you might actually think you’re in Cape Cod. A noisy, Jersey Cape Cod where there can be a lengthy wait for a table, but still …  823 Bay Avenue, 609-926-1776.

Ocean City

BEACH FOR DOG-WALKING
Shifting sands have created a narrow strip of walkable beach just north of the Ocean City-Longport Bridge. The bay side is favored by fishermen. The dunes are reserved for terns, herons and loons. But the stretch of sand itself is perfect for a rare walk with your beach-loving golden, Lab, ’doodle, etc. It’ll be hard to keep Bailey on her leash, but try. Those birds will thank you.

LUNCH AMONG LADIES   Relocated from Ventnor, cheery Ma France Crêperie has become the simply chic afternoon refuge for women-who-nibble and co-eds who’ve semestered in Lyon. Recommended eating: the crepe with mushrooms and gruyère or red-wine-braised duck; signature vegetarian onion soup; the dessert crepes with Nutella, of course.  506 9th Street, 609-399-9955, mafrancecreperie.com.

(CARIBBEAN) ISLAND FARE 
  We know what you’re thinking. We thought the same thing: Authentic Caribbean food in Wonder Bread Ocean City? Deeply earthy, spicy, dark-meat Jamaican jerk chicken? Exotic, irresistible, crispy-sweet plantains? Fragrant shrimp curry? We know. But trust us: 701 Mosaic is the real deal. You might not even mind that, this being a dry town and all, there’s no dark rum to turn the homemade ginger beer into a dark ’n’ stormy.  701 4th Street, 609-398-2700.

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