Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eating in the rain, we're eating in the rain...

The other bonus of staying at The Mainstay Inn in Cape May was the location.  It was in walking distance of the beach, the town center and lots and lots of restaurants.  We’ve eaten at many places in Cape May, so one of our goals for our mini getaway was to try two never eaten in restaurants. 
The first night we pulled out our ginormous umbrella and walked to The Blue Pig Tavern. 

We thought we would check it off the list since we have friends who often regale us with a humorous tale involving a date they had at The Blue Pig.
The restaurant is located in Congress Hall, a hotel that dates back to the 1800s. The original building was burnt to a crisp in a huge fire, and was then rebuilt in 1878.  The biggest positive of the restaurant is the atmosphere.  It definitely has that old historic charming feel that fit perfectly into the theme of where we were staying.  It felt special, but not too fancy or pretentious, and after a long day, it was nice to sit and have an unhurried, relaxed meal(especially one that I didn't have to cook). The rain tapping on the window, mixed with the glowing candle light, added a romantic flair.  

This photo is for Jason and Stephanie
The food at the restaurant, was a little hit and miss.  The bread, my soup, and the dessert were all quite good, but our entrees (I had the meatloaf and my husband had the veggie pot pie) and my husband’s scallop appetizer were just okay.

Since the rain hindered us from taking a romantic moonlit walk on the beach, we decided to check out the other areas of Congress Hall.  We were happily entertained by a hallway exhibiting past pictures and information regarding the hotel; we’re nerds like that.

Our absolute favorite was an old page from the local newspaper that had been framed.

One of the items on the page was an advertisement for Dr. Townsend’s sarsaparilla.  According to the advertisement, the sarsaparilla was a down right miracle drug, but our favorite claim was that, if ingested ,the sarsaparilla, “removes freckles and gives dull eyes animation and sparkle, which is of great value to unmarried ladies.” Good thing I’m already married since the sarsaparilla is no longer in production. I’m not sure if my eyes would be considered dull, but I am certainly rife with freckles.

 On our second night, we ventured out with our giant golf umbrella once again. While walking we passed a guy carrying a dinky little umbrella.  He nodded in our direction and exclaimed, “now that’s an umbrella (I wished he had said it with an Aussie accent for an added touch but maybe fake accents aren’t his thing).
410 Bank Street had been on my eating radar for at least a year or two. It’s often the little touches.  We were fascinated when we sat down because at first it looked like the plates were printed with the restaurant’s name, only to discover that the table had a layer of paper that was stamped and then the glass plates were centered over the stamp. 

I logged that idea in my noggin in the event that I ever have a fancy dinner party and own glass plates.
The food at 410 Bank Street was tasty.  I had a fantastic piece of sea bass over shrimp creole with veggies.  My husband had a steak.  The dessert was delicious.  It was key lime pie that had been kept in a freezer so that the filling was creamy and cold instead of some key lime pies where the filling is warm, soft, and mushy.  The key lime pie was also not overly tart, which I always appreciate.
During our meal, a couple was seated at the table behind us.  They appeared (due to accents and comments) to be from New York City.  They were an interesting source of entertainment for us.  They ended up not ordering anything off of the menu, but made up their own dishes that they wanted the chef to prepare.  The woman wanted a piece of swordfish, grilled.  It had to be grilled so that she could see the grill marks.  She stressed this at least 3 times while ordering, because, “I like to see grill marks on my food.” If they hadn’t been sitting so close to us, I would have joked and told the waiter that we wanted to see grill marks on our key lime pie. They had all sorts of other dietary wishes and I felt bad for the waiter, but he was nothing but polite.  After all of the complicated ordering was completed, the couple got into a tiff.  She was upset because they had recently moved, but she now regretted their choice of home because, she didn’t like that the housekeeper’s living area was in the house and now she decided she would prefer to find a new house where the housekeeper’s quarters would be on the property but not in the main house. He felt that it took them long enough to find a place and that their current house cost quite a bit, and he didn't think they could afford something with separate servant's quarters. She would not take no for an answer.  We left before ever finding out if they were able to come to a compromise.
 The next day, after checking out of the inn, we took a ride to Atlantic City to see what deals were happening at the outlets. We decided to keep things simple, so we ate at one of our favorite places, Bill's. 

Bill's is located on the boardwalk. It is open 7 days a week until 2am. If you have never been to Bill's, you should go at least just once for the experience.  Is it a complete dive? Yes.  Does Bill the owner look like Gepetto? Yes.  Is the food super yummy? Yes!

Bill's is known for being covered in...bills.
There is money everywhere,

even on the ceiling,
and the money comes from all over the world.
Sadly, Bill's no longer accepts your decorative money, but they still cook up some sweet grub. To be fair we always get the same thing, so I can't say for sure that everything on the menu is yummy, but we do love the gyro platter deluxe.

It's a build your own gyro platter with meat, pita, Greek salad, tzatziki sauce, and although you can't see, there is a big mess of fries under all of that meat. The food is always good and usually I can never finish an entire platter, even though I want to keep eating and eating.  I kind of want some right now, again.

Even though our bellies were filled with tzatziki sauce and meat, we wanted to have one more treat before hitting the road to go home.  Maybe it was more about extending our trip just another hour or so, but we stopped and got some gelato. 

We ate our gelato under the giant statue of Cesar, while discussing whether or not Cesar would care that he had a giant statue in a casino.

Finally it was time to get in our chariot and drive home.

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