Friday, August 15, 2014

Kale Salad Saves the Fried Oreo Day at Champ's in Rockaway

As you'll probably recall, I visited some friends in Rockaway recently.  As a result of careful planning It just so happened that my visit coincided with one of the weekends that Champ's had set up shop.  Yep, that Champ's!!!

Nestled amongst standard beach fare [UPDATE: in reality I had no idea what else there was; I only had eyes for Champ's.  It's been brought to my attention that there was actually vegan-friendly Uzbek food, so I stand corrected.] at the Beach 97th concessions was vegan, cruelty-free Champ's doing what they do best: making mouths happy.


 Check out their beachy menu!  The only thing missing was fried oreos.

The whole set-up was adorably and indisputably Champs-y.


I went a little crazy: pineapple sweet tea, waffle fries, and a corn dog, but I wouldn't change a thing.




Truth be told, I wouldn't pass up a vegan corn dog anywhere.


My friends had already visited them a couple of times already, so they handled their own orders with a little more restraint than I did.  Theirs:

The beach slaw veggie burger with added roasted pineapple (and shared waffle fries because I do share sometimes [UPDATE: I've been informed that these fries actually came with, but I've received confirmation that I did also share my order of fries, so I'm not a liar!]).

Double jalapeno veggie dog with non-blogger applied ketchup.

And, well, there's no way around this: kale saladI love kale as much as the next person, but even I was perplexed.  You might be thinking that ordering a kale salad at the beach is a sucker move.  Normally I'd agree with you.  BUT, the recipient of said kale salad went on to redeem herself in no uncertain terms, so forgive her momentarily as you await the story of her redemption.

This is where we enjoyed our Brooklyn grub freshly prepared in Rockaway.

A very tired, sleepy, salty dog alternated using each of our legs for pillows.

We were having a great time, but I couldn't let it go.  Although we were all full, I couldn't stop thinking about the fried oreos.  My pals had enjoyed them just the week before and I thought it was a given.  But, this week, by the time we got there, Champ's had sold out and had depleted their back stock of oreos.  WAAAAAH!  But, we could not be defeated.  All we needed was oreos and this is America; you're never far from oreos!  Kale-salad-at-the-beach easily confirmed that they did, indeed, have the batter.  So, we journeyed to the nearest bodega (a matter of blocks) and KSATB filled a bag with un-fried oreos that we then delivered to Champ's... exchange for fried oreos; it was a victory of epic proportions!


Imagine the pride we felt when "fried oreos" were added back to the chalk menu because of one girl and a dream.


They were just as I'd remembered: imagine a funnel cake pocket...


...filled with melty, sweet, oreo goodness.


Know that if you partook of fried oreos at Rockaway Champ's a couple of weeks ago, it was probably due in no small part to my friend: none other than kale-salad-at-the-beach, who can now add this to her list of varied and impressive lifetime accomplishments.

Note: we also asked Champ's to deep fry some peanut chews for us.

That didn't work out so well.

Definitely stick with the oreos, which are ironically listed under the kale salad.

PS: while in Rockaway we also visited Fort Tilden for the MOMA PS1 "Rockaway!" exhibit.


89's first time on the sand

UPDATE: my content editor and host sent me the fabbest photo of 89 at the Patti Smith installation!

absorbing the culture

89's so glad she's wearing protective footwear

We had a great day- even passed an 89 Street!

It was exhausting (did I mention 89 threw in the towel during our Ft. Tilden walk and needed to be carried?), but exhilarating and we had a great time.  Yes, all one day.

heading home

Kindly reserve your horrified comments about my having indulged in both Champ's and Rockaway Taco in the same 24 hour period; I feel guilty enough (no I don't).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Good Goldie's is Actually Great

A friend and I were recently in Red Bank and realized we had plenty of time to kill before he had to be at a concert, so we made the short trip to Asbury Park to see what was to be seen.  It's changed a lot in just the last few years: particularly in the realm of vegan food.  The place we were most interested in was Goldie's, a new and upscale vegan restaurant that's been receiving rave reviews for their seasonal menu ever since opening.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but when we came upon the restaurant there was something so welcoming about it that I implored my friend to "just have a drink," and he agreed.

While I did peek inside to get a glimpse of the stunning dining room, on this visit we remained outside because our third was of the canine variety, albeit vegan as well.  The waitress did not hesitate to bring out a bowl of water, which we really appreciated because it was very hot.

I had the limonada: strawberry-infused vodka (choice of tequila if you prefer) with housemade lemonade and my dehydrated friend went with a seltzer to start.  The waitress could not have been more gracious in helping me choose a drink.  I wanted something fruity, sweet, and refreshing; this was the perfect choice, although I have my eye on a few others from the drink menu in anticipation of my next visit.

As you might imagine, we ultimately couldn't bear to sit outside of this extraordinary newbie restaurant without ordering something.  We decided to share an order of their superbly creamy and inventive pistachio flax guacamole, which contained a happily indiscernible amount of cilantro.  To make it even better, it came with an extremely appreciated generous portion of thick-cut, housemade chips.  Housemade chips!  In addition, the waitress kindly helped my friend choose a beer that he really enjoyed.  I make a mighty fine homemade guacamole if I do say so myself.  But this guacamole (and chips!) made me question why I would ever even bother again.

Truth be told, it was so hot that the refreshing beverages and small plates were plenty satiating.  Buuuut, I happened to know from another friend that there was something rather special on Goldie's menu for dessert: a choco taco with a waffle cone shell, spiced nuts, daily sorbet/gelato.  It just so happened that the gelato on that particular day (housemade for Goldie's from the gelateria across street) was salted caramel.  Who am I to argue when the universe is sending me those kinds of signals?

Let's be honest.  They could have served me a veganized, lowbrow, choco taco and I would have been satisfied.  But the choco taco I received was utter dessert perfection.  To start, the taco shell was a pizzelle.  A pizzelle!!  The gelato was a subtle, creamy caramel that had the perfect melting point (i.e. did not drip all over).  The chocolate was divine and the perfect thickness, the nuts added an impressive crunch and flavor, and the raspberries and sugared lime set everything off perfectly.  Overall, each detail and proportion was ideal; I get the distinct sense that that's just the way Goldie's does things.

Needless to say, particularly on the heels of some extremely disappointing experiences at other upscale restaurants, Goldie's impressed me in every way.  Every detail was attended to in the outdoor seating; the waitress could not have been more kind, efficient, or accommodating; and the food was the best I've had in a very long time.  I am looking forward to returning very soon (I'll need at least one more choco taco before the menu changes) and often (keep in mind that their menu is seasonal!).  Goldie's is definitely worth the trip.

While I was admiring the succulents, 89 tried to lick this cactus.