Monday, September 1, 2014

Goldie's: Vegan in Asbury Park (beyond the choco taco...but, still... a choco taco)

You might recall how smitten I was with Goldie's after my first visit.  I've been back a few times since and the love affair continues; so, it was only fair to post a proper and more complete review- especially since the seasonal menu is expected to change sometime soon and then I'll be forced (!) to start the whole process again.

Goldies has soups and salads on offer, but I haven't visited yet where I didn't choose the house made chips with tomato/green chile salsa and pistachio-flax guacamole without being stunningly satisfied.

Seasoned and just the right amount of salt, these medium-thick chips make store-bought positively laughable.

The guac is creamy and filling- with just the right amount of crunch lent by the nuts.

Looks unassuming, but the salsa really packs a flavorful and perfectly textured punch.

As for drinks, I haven't made a bad decision yet.  This was a friend's sangria; I don't really like wine so I can't weigh in.

On this visit I again went with the strawberry limonada: strawberry-infused vodka (or tequila) with house made lemonade.  Refreshing and both sweet and tart without being too much of either.

Vegansaurus told me to order the yucca fries with cashew crema and I don't argue with Vegansaurus.  Crisp on the outside with a rich, creamily textured inside; I've never had anything quite like this.  Paired with the light cashew crema, this side dish is rich, rich, rich (the fries are also good dipped in the salsa- shhh!).

The chilaquiles (corn tortillas layered with chiles) onion, tomato, and daiya with grilled wild scallion salsa were totally different than I'd imagined, but really good.  I was for some reason expecting the Chi-Chi's cheese and onion enchiladas of days gone by (I realize that enchiladas are a totally different dish), but this was assembled as a shallow, Mexican lasagna that reminded me more of migas.  Post script: I love the little lime wedges that accompany almost everything on the menu.

The rodrigo (mushroom chorizo tacos) with potato, cashew crema, radish, fresh corn tortillas blew my mind.  For starters, anything that requires nothing more than your hands and mouth to indulge in is right up my alley.  And let's discuss the grilled, corn tortillas.  Goldie's has figured out how to make un-tearable, taco perfection with this trick.  As for the filling- wowza.  I'm not really familiar with chorizo, but the flavor it added mixed with the potatoes (!), cream, and crisp radish was completely ideal.  A must order in my book.

These are the little donkeys (pequeno bean burritos) with jalapeño hot sauce, lime; don't let the simplicity fool you.

The soft, flour tortillas are filled with the creamiest version of "refried" beans I've ever come across.  The heat comes from that seemingly innocuous swirl of jalapeño sauce that, when mixed into the delicious Mexican rice, is both steamy and satisfying.  This might be my favorite dish on the menu.

And, of course, a choco taco: waffle cone shell (looks like a pizzelle to me), spiced nuts, daily sorbet/gelato.  On this day the gelato was olive oil caramel (last time it was sea salt caramel), which sounds unusual, but tasted like good old caramel to me.


Guess who wanted a taste…again?

And she got it: ice cream only!  No chocolate for dogs.

After 89 was satiated with her bit of choco taco, she took a nap.

This is how at home you feel at Goldie's!

Here's a groggy shot of us right before we left.

Till next time….

Some street art around the corner on Bangs.

The next time I visited was in the evening: offering a different perspective of Asbury Park and slightly worse food photography.

I chose the drink special: peach iced tea: vodka, white peaches, lemon and black tea.  It was a cross between sweet tea and a Long Island iced tea, both of which I'm partial to- with a subtle peach kick.

My friend ordered the cheese party (shiitake fundido) with charred tomato, daiya, flour tortillas.  I'm still regretting not tasting it; it looked like Mexican, cheese fondue perfection but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop at a taste.  He really liked it and our waitress on a later visit told us it's one of her favorites.

The heirloom beans, which were gorgeous and, alas, also not mine.

I ordered the dang quesadilla: squash blossoms, caramelized onion, daiya, corn tortilla, cabbage escabeche (see what they did there?).  First of all, I love me some quesadillas!  A (vegan) quesadilla without (vegan) cheese is like a cheeseless pizza: worthless.  These were terrific: the tortilla was crisp and the fillings mighty in every way.

The cabbage escabeche accompaniment was a terrific variation of kimchi.

Because my (human) dining companion knows what's up, we reserved our choco tacos at the onset of our meal.  They had a blood orange variety, but we chose…caramel!  89 patiently awaited the arrival of her new favorite dessert.

That face went from concerned frown to ice cream smile (she gets that from me)!

Choco Taco perfection once again.

This is what happens when 89 thinks you're not paying attention; that blur is her tongue trying to make a choco taco connection.

Full disclosure: we also ordered the cinnamon sugar doughnuts: chocolate ganache, strawberry habanero sauce. But, not really; let me explain.

When we pre-ordered our choco tacos within seconds of being seated, the manager shared with us that the doughnuts were also a great choice.  I would never argue such a matter, so we agreed amongst ourselves to order them…with the caveat of double choco tacos also just in case.  As it turned out, the doughnuts were so incredible that we didn't really need the choco tacos, but they sure were good anyway.

Double-munchkin size, the cinnamon sugar-coated orbs were served warm atop a shallow pool of amazing strawberry sauce with a hint of habanero zing.  At the time I had no idea, so when I used my spoon to break into the donut, I was rendered ecstatic to see it come out coated in creamy, chocolate ganache.  Another huge Goldie's win.

We'd had another great evening at the beautiful outdoor Goldie's space, although 89 faded as the night wore on...

And eventually flat-out fell asleep at the table.

We also got another glimpse of the beautiful, ethereal interior that evening, but have yet to eat inside!

My most recent visit was…very recent.

I couldn't help but to order the special saltwater taffy martini with vanilla bean, whipped cream vodka, coconut milk, and crushed sea salt.  

Served in a rounded, martini glass reminiscent of vintage champagne glasses, this drink exceeded my wildest expectations.  I hope Goldie's keeps the recipe on hand because I'm going to try to order this one long after it's no longer a special drink for the holiday.

I finally ordered the tamale ringwald (love it!!!): tamale with chopped spinach, roasted garlic, black beans, and chipotle sofrito.  I love to order things like this out: something I would never think (or have the capacity) to make at home.  The sauce was delicious slathered all over both the tamale and the bean accompaniment.  And, fear not about the cilantro; Goldie's is smart enough to use it in it's full-leaf form so that it's easily removable (and still looks purdy in photos).

I may have also had a strawberry margarita: house made infused tequila, triple sec, and lime.  It was good, but the limonada is still my sweet fave!

And then Goldie's was kind enough to send some of those amazing doughnuts to the table.  Thank you so much!

My view of the donut stalker; click here for the view from across the table!

They were as good as I remembered (maybe better) and now I really want to go back yet again before the highly anticipated new seasonal menu: what a conundrum!

Alas, no choco taco for 89 this time!

It was a beautiful day in Asbury (until it rained), so we took the pooches for a nice long stroll through town and along the boardwalk.

I could not be more impressed with Goldie's; they are consistently inventive without being pretentious,  friendly without an iota of exclusion, and wholly welcoming to humans and pooches alike.

They've hit every note of dining perfection and I wish them continued success.  As for me, I'll keep doing my part!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Contest Time: Win Chloe's Kitchen!

I've been meaning to run another contest for some time now [UPDATE 8/25/14: winner announced at end of post], but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do a convoluted, "like" me in 12 places, "like" everyone else involved in 12 places, "share" everywhere kinda jam.  Maybe one day...  For now, here's A (soy) Bean's idea of a contest (you can still like us on Facebook and Instagram if you're so inclined):

I looked out my window the other day and saw this; 
I immediately started laughing.  Then I was hungry.

The FIRST person* to leave a comment letting me know explicitly why I had that response wins a copy of one of my favorite cookbooks: Chloe Coscarelli's Chloe's Kitchen, which is- admittedly, totally unrelated to the contest question.


I won an extra copy of this book at the Vegan Bake-Off and have just been meaning to share the wealth.  With her new cookbook available for pre-order, there's no better time to enjoy the classic that started it all.

So, good luck and have fun!  This isn't a trick; there is a very specific, winning response. 

*contest is open to US residents only; I reserve the sole right to determine what constitutes a winning response and will update this post to explain the answer when the contest has ended.  Play nice!

I knew the winner of this contest would either be a resourceful person or a Cinnamon Snail enthusiast like myself.  Lucky for me, the winner is both.

The Wild Man Ned Stevens' Marshmallow Pecan Gutter Cleaner cookie first appeared on this blog on October 3, 2011.  Just five weeks later I introduced you to Ned's nubian cousin (the chocolate version).  Again on June 26, 2012 it appeared alongside the Mint Matlock. And, 13 months later, a mention in the comments of the norberweiberberweiberhydrafab post in a discussion about The Cinnamon Snail's knack for originality in the naming department.

I was hoping someone out there was a Ned Stevens' Gutter Cleaner devotee like VM and would get it immediately, but I'll forgive VV her craftiness since I know she's also a loyal Snail fan.

Thanks for all who entered; I appreciated the funny comments!