HotDog Tommy’s ~ Cape May 2

OK, so let’s get one thing straight ~ I don’t eat hot dogs! Well, to be really honest with you, I only eat HotDog Tommy’s hot dogs once a year on our annual pilgrimage to Cape May, New Jersey. I can hear you talking right now, I know, I know ~ who really cares about hot dogs and what is the hype?  The answer is: I have no clue! But, these are damn good, 100% all Angus beef dogs of delight.

On any given summer day, you will wait and I mean you will wait for up to 45 minutes and maybe even longer. Not since Carrie Bradshaw ate cup cakes at Magnolia Bakery in NYC on Sex and the City,  have I heard of such non-sense, waiting in line to pay for food on a 95 degree sweltering summer day? Bet your bottom dollar you will too! Tommy has become a bit of celebrity in this tiny beach town. The locale is one block off the beach, Jackson Street at Beach Avenue in a tiny space. Don’t worry, you won’t miss it, you will see the line down the block.

Tommy is decked out with his signature Hot Dog hat and brightly and multicolored high top sneakers. Always friendly, always cracking a joke, Tommy pleases even the crankiest customers. His darling wife, Mashed Potato Mary works in the back and makes the best “Stuff-In-A-Cup” including The Potato Tornado and The Summer Shower along with so much more. Tommy and Mary have been whipping up the best cheap eats in Cape May for 10 years now!

So, basically, I’m saying the next time you are in Cape May, stop by the dog stand and meet Tommy, order a “Big Bad Dog” Chili Cheese, Chop Suzy, Shaggy Dog, Texas Tommy or the Black Russian Dog just to name a few (and don’t forget a Smiddle Frozen Coke ~ delish!) and sit yourself on the beach to enjoy your newly found obsession. But, be very careful ~ the sea gulls of Cape May know all to well how good Tommy’s dogs are, they’ll snatch your dog right out of your hand!!

Hours:

From 9:57 = HotDog Heaven

until 6:01 = Doggies are done

Photo source: Anna Sullivan Photography

Charming Cape May, New Jersey ~ Part 1 2

When I was a little girl, I remember counting down the minutes until we would arrive in Cape May to spend a month by the Jersey shore. It was a time of great innocence, freedom and exploration. Back in the 70’s, my 8 siblings and I would roam the streets of Cape May as if we owned the town. We would spend our days in the sand, digging for sand crabs and catching as many waves as we could muster. My fondest memories of my childhood are from our annual trips to Cape May. Thanks goes out to my parents who gave up so much so their children could experience this summer treasure!

I will share with you over several posts, my favorite beach resort. In this post, I’ll give you a quick peak at the outstanding Victorian architecture and of course, “the beach”!!

Victorian Charmers on Beach Avenue

Still to this day, I find myself once again counting down the days until I arrive in Cape May to recapture the tranquility and peace I find at the shore. Now living in the mountains, I do yearn for the salty air, seafood in abundance and pure joy of sinking my feet into the sand while drifting off to imagine what lays beyond the shore and the crashing waves. After all, I did crew on private yachts for several years and I experienced the grand ocean as close as a human can by crossing her majesty twice each year.

Cape May, the “Summer City by the Sea” has the second largest collection of Victorian homes in the nation after San Francisco.

As you can see from my photos, fun is had by all in Cape May from the seasoned veteran beach go-ers to the wee babies like the twins below that captured my heart. Ride the waves, build sand castles, ride bikes, stroll on the boardwalk and play skeeball at the Arcade, savor an ice cream cone, find seaglass at the Cove beach, climb the 199 steps to the top of the lighthouse or just relax and enjoy the serene ocean view.

Please enjoy my Cape May! It’s truly a magical place. And come back to learn more about the “Nation’s Oldest Seaside Resort” in my next posts.

The Main Stay Bed & Breakfast, Built in 1870

Morrow’s Nut House, since 1956

Stockton Row Homes on Gurney Street

The Cove

Cape May Lighthouse

The “new” Convention Hall

The Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast, Built in 1880

Photo source: Anna Sullivan Photography

Hub’s Hints: S.O.S. 2

HUB’S HINTS – “SOS” – SAME OLD STUFF

Are you tired of the “SOS” (same old stuff) or “SOC” (same old considerations)?  I have cleaned this up a bit!  If you are one of those people who is becoming increasingly less interested or satisfied with the “SOS”, wines that you have been purchasing and consuming; please allow me to provide a few, affordable recommendations that would (I believe) stimulate and reinvigorate your interest.

While traveling on the road and dining in the great outdoors, campers are often frustrated and bewildered regarding what style of wine to take on over the road excursions.  Most everyone has specific brand preferences when it comes to hard liquor and beer but, remain a bit uncomfortable regarding what type of wine / wines to take on a trip.  As a result, many consumers settle for the “SOS” / “SOC” or, the standard commodity wines available in general distribution.  There are literally thousands of wines available world-wide that would complement the camping / dining experience but, the following are my “NTSOS” (Not The Same Old Stuff) recommendations that you could enjoy at home or, on your next trip.

Generally (with the possible exception of Monica Bennett from Just 5 More Minutes, who creates extravagant and delicious gourmet dinners at camp sites across the Northwest (visit her site for inspiration and information), the type of food consumed while camping necessitates lighter, softer and less austere style of wines that would complement a wide range of foods.  The following selections (two white and two red wines) would be a welcome addition to your provisions on your next outing.

WHITE WINES ~

GRYPHUS SAUVIGNON BLANC, CHILE

Gryphus is named after an ancient mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head and talons of an eagle.  This extremely pleasant and satisfying Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Valle de Rapel in the Central Valley Region of Chile.  The hand selected fruit is harvested exclusively from the hillside and mountain top vineyards, 2,000 feet above sea level.  This micro-climate is heavily influenced by the Andes Mountains and cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean.  A long cool growing season at this elevation allows the fruit to gently ripen and achieving a flavorful complexity.  Each of the Sauvignon Blanc lots is fermented separately by renowned winemaker Andreas Caballero.  Hands nurtured and carefully crafted, the final blends are assembled to insure a delicious layered fruit complexity and consistency with each vintage.  Gryphus brings Chilean white wines to a new level!  This wine competes favorably with high quality wines of pedigree and reputation and provides an alternative to escalating prices for California and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

DESCRIPTION: Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, bright and vigorous with a full ripe mouth feel and balanced fruit aromas, possessing a zippy, zingy acidity and pleasant minerality.  The wine is clean and fragrant with flavors of pineapple, peach, pear and tropical fruit.

FOOD: Consume as an aperitif or with Asian inspired dishes, sushi, delicate sauces, grilled fish and chicken.

*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $8.00 to $10.00 per bottle.

VINHAS ALTAS VINHO VERDE,  PORTUGAL

Portugal is most well-known for Port.  Also as of late, dry red wines that are made from the same grape varieties that are used for Port have become very popular.  Vinho Verde is a light and fresh style of wine made in a region in the north of Portugal. Although this suggestion is white, wines from this area can be red or rose also.  Vinhas Altas comes from a Quinta (single estate) in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal.  Enoport, the producer of Vinhas Altas owns several single estates in the prime production areas of Portugal and the fruit for this Vinho Verde comes from the best quality vineyards.  Vinhas Altas employs a unique and special advanced technology that utilizes a process called “dessulfitador”.  This involves freezing the must right after harvest and unfreezing of the juice for each vintage.  The process preserves the youthful and fresh characteristics, ensuring vibrant aromas and a crisp refreshing taste profile.  Vinhas Altas is one of only two wineries in Portugal utilizing this very special technology.  Vinho Verde can be served as an aperitif of will complement lighter dishes.  Pinot Grigio fans will enjoy this special wine.

DESCRIPTION: Made from a combination of Arinto, Loureiro and Trajadura grape varieties.  The wine is clear and brilliant with greenish tones.  It is delicate and fruity with flavors reminiscent of pitted fruit possessing a tropical subtlety.  Slightly herbaceous, fresh and clean with citrus and white pulp nuances.

FOOD:Mediterranean, Chinese and Japanese cuisine – light dishes and grilled fish.

*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $8.00 to $10.00 per bottle.

RED WINES ~

CAMINO DEL INCA MALBEC, ARGENTINA

Malbec has gained a considerable following and is the current rage in America.  Malbec seems to be the new Merlot and consumers enjoy the approachability and soft flavor profile of this variety.  The majority of what has been available for general distribution has been from Mendoza, in the central portion of Argentina’s wine production area.  However, Inca (named for the ancient civilization that once ruled this area) is located in Salta-Cafayate in the Calchaqui area in the extreme north – one thousand kilometers north of Mendoza.  The grapes grow high in the Andes Mountains, 6,000 feet above sea level and the vines are nourished be pure snow-melt of the Andes winters.  The altitude (these are some of the highest vineyards in the world) provides pure unadulterated sunlight, a cool climate and a long gentle growing season.  These factors give the grapes a unique, distinctive and more concentrated flavor profile.  The winery founded in 1870 and has been producing quality since its inception.

DESCRIPTION:  100% Malbec from hand harvest fruit, with a structure and acidity of Bordeaux.  Rich and flavorful but easy-drinking, gracefully balanced, pleasant ripeness, robust red fruits, plums, raspberries, blackberries with a hints of licorice and earth and, a lingering sweet tannin finish.

FOOD: Grilled meats – hamburgers, sausages and brats.

*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $7.00 TO $9.00 per bottle.

PAUL JABOULET COTE DU RHONE “PARALLELE 45”, FRANCE

The Jaboulet family is one of the most respected wine families in all of France.  They have been producing wines with pride and passion and for almost two centuries in the Rhone Valley.  The enduring quality and high esteem is a result of a constant and consistent pursuit of meticulous vineyard management and winemaking excellence.  Paul Jaboulet Aine produces a full complement of exceptional wines from most ranges, domains and appellations in the Northern and in the Southern Rhone.  One of my personal favorite wines from Paul Jaboulet is: Hermitage “La Chappelle”, Grand Cru.

This Cotes du Rhone takes its name from the 45th parallel that runs through the cellars of Maison Paul Jaboulet.  The proprietary wine has been produced since 1950.  Parallele 45 is a genuine, quality oriented reflection of the appellation.  This wine will surprise and please!

DESCRIPTION: Produced from 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah using controlled temperature fermentation and matured stainless steel tanks.  The wine posses a deep, attractive brilliance, it is well-structured, round, flavorful and elegant with an aromatic red fruit and a spicy finish.

FOOD: Grilled and roasted meats – flavorful cheeses

*APPROXIMATE RETAIL RANGE: $10.00 TO $12.00 per bottle.

Considering stock available in the U.S. market, there can be different vintages available different markets.  Search for recent, fresh vintages (2010 & 2011 whites / 2009 & 2010 reds) of the above mentioned wines.

I am not purposely avoiding wines from America.  There is a plethora of fine quality wines produced in this country and I will be covering a number of them in future posts.  But for this contribution, I thought you might find few imported wines interesting and compelling.  I am confident that you will enjoy these selections at home or on your next camping excursion.

Sincerely,

Hubs

The Humphrey Hughes House Bed & Breakfast 5

Over the next few posts, I want to introduce you to another one of my favorite places, Cape May, New Jersey!! Cape May is our nation’s oldest seaside resort located on the southern tip of New Jersey.  I’ll start with our favorite place to stay in Cape May ~ The Humphrey Hughes House ~ “For Ladies & Gentlemen on Seaside Holiday”! I’ve been so fortunate to have stayed at this magnificent B&B each summer for over 20 years. When Hub’s and I arrive at the HHH, we feel like we are home. We are welcomed back each year by the inn’s owners and our dear friends, Lorraine and Terry Schmidt. Lorraine and Terry have run the inn impeccably since 1987. Not one detail is overlooked, the home is spotless, cozy, friendly and inviting with its Victorian charm. And the accommodations our outstanding in every way. I almost want to keep this my little secret but, I must share!! The secret is out. Our visit wouldn’t be complete without a romp with the resident pooch, Oliver. A stunning silver standard poodle who is just a love!

Built in 1903, the HHH sits one block from the glorious Cape May beaches. It has been restored to absolute perfection. With its wide, expansive wrap around front porch where guests enjoy breakfast each morning, one can lounge in the afternoons reading a book watching the trolley’s go by and enjoy an aperitif in the evening. The Humphrey Hughes House is a true Victorian gem. The home sits in the middle of the historic downtown district of Cape May. The HHH is walking distance to all the best restaurants, shopping and entertainment that Cape May has to offer. I will be sharing oodles of information with you in my next few posts!

Now let’s chat a bit about the breakfast that each guest enjoys each morning of their stay ~ can I say “Wow”!!! Lorraine goes above and beyond each morning to create not only the most delicious creations but, goes just a bit further with her delightful presentation. Hubs and I love good food and Lorraine’s breakfast never disappoints. Lorraine also has a cookbook which can be purchased by calling the HHH at 609-884-4428. Below is a sampling of our divine morning treats!

A big shout out to Lorraine, Terry and their fabulous staff for always welcoming us back to this little slice of heaven on the Jersey shore! Visit The Humphrey Hughes House in charming, historical Cape May, New Jersey!

Photo source: Anna Sullivan Photography