WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TACOS ON THE RIVER

071216beachwalk3On a clear day, views from the deck of  BeachWalk Tiki Bar include the Highlands-Sea Bright bridge.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?A neighbor’s recommendation sent PieHole in search of a well-hidden oasis in Sea Bright.

“You have to try the crabby patty and crabby fries,” Fair Haven native Jeanettje McManus insisted, and the views are spectacular.

You wouldn’t know it looking at the place from Ocean Avenue: you see a modernized motel and parking lot. But tucked behind the BeachWalk Motel is an eatery dubbed the Tiki Bar. And what you get here are jaw-dropping views of both the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers that can go on for miles.
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SEA BRIGHT: BRUNCH MAKES A BEACHHEAD

061415amaviewThe dining deck at Ama, with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Below, a brunchtime bloody Mary. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061415ama1For many years, options for Sunday brunch, the 10-to-2 repast that invites an eat-whatever-you’re-in-the-mood-for approach to breakfast and lunch, were limited on the Greater Red Bank Green.

Our only choices were expensive buffets at Red Bank’s Molly Pitcher Inn and Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille, both of which required reservations and adherence to dress codes.

But the boom of new restaurants in Red Bank and Sea Bright has brought more a la carte options for brunch-seekers.

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SEA BRIGHT: GOING OVERBOARD AT EVENTIDE

050215 eventide2The pungent Garlic Shrimp, above, and the Drunken Clams, below,are customer favorites.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

050215 eventide4There isn’t a bad seat at the Eventide Grille, tucked away at the Navesink Marina in Sea Bright.

Mesmerized by the sun glinting off the Shrewsbury River, PieHole almost forgot the real reason we were here, until an insistent, growling stomach reminded us: lunch.

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SEA BRIGHT: DIVING INTO A BLOODY HOOK

040215 dive3Ashlyn Schmidt pours a spicy bloody Mary at Dive in Sea Bright. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

040215 dive2A sweet cocktail filled with tropical fruit is nice on a hot summer day, but with the strong spring winds still blowing sharp and cold in Sea Bright, only a hearty, spicy cocktail could quench PieHole‘s thirst.

Dive, a “coastal bar and food joint” on Ocean Avenue, offers a Sunday brunch and bloody Mary menu featuring a quaff called the Bloody Hook that makes the lips tingle and the throat burn with enjoyment.

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WHATS FOR LUNCH: SLIDERS ON SURFBOARDS

091914 woodys2Brisket sliders and an Orange Crush on a surfboard-themed table at Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092014 woodys sbMeeting a friend for lunch at the beach is one of the biggest perks to living on the greater Green. So, dispensing with the usual idea of running into Red Bank, we opted for the more relaxing sandy beach locale of Sea Bright, where Woody’s Ocean Bar and Grille stands among the reopened restaurants decimated by Hurricane Sandy almost two years ago.

Decorated true to its name, the driftwood and lacquered-surfboard styling gives this place a comfortable beach vibe. Upstairs, in a loft overhanging the bar, a long banquette with comfy little pillows made us feel like we were sitting on a sofa rather than a bench. The skylight adds to the outdoorsy ambiance. (For more on the design, check out redbankgreen‘s 2013 feature on designer Jeff Cahill.)
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SEA BRIGHT: DIVE BAR DIVES RIGHT BACK IN

091214 dive2A bright and colorful interior to Dive into in Sea Bright. Below, the vegetarian black bean burger. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091214 dive3 Dive owners and newlyweds Christina DiIorio and Steven Graniero  start and finish one another’s sentences.

“We called it Dive so people would feel comfortable to come here,” Graniero said. “Diving into Sea Bright, diving into the food, and just diving into the new place,” DiIorio added.

After Hurricane Sandy, Dive – which had been open only two years – was closed for 20 months. In that time, the couple worked on refurbishing the restaurant and got married. “We opened Dive on out honeymoon” in early July, DiIorio said.

They hired Sea Bright locals, Kyle Hopfensperger as executive chef and Daniel Ciameroni as sous chef. Both 29 years old, they have restaurant experience in the area, and either ride their bikes or skateboards to work. They have also been friends since they were two years old.

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SEA BRIGHT: SKIMMING THE SURF’S EDGE

Scenes from Sunday’s action at the two-day Skimbash 2013 held this weekend in Sea Bright. The competition is considered the premier pro/am skimboarding event on the Jersey Shore. (Photos by Peter Lindner.)

JAZZ & BLUES TOO HOT TO HANDLE

jazzblues-2011-1jazzblues-2011-2Torrid heat and humidity, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, made the early hours of the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival at the Middletown Arts Center a hard sell Saturday afternoon.

Formerly held in Marine Park in Red Bank, the festival this year splits its venues between Middletown, Long Branch and Asbury Park over three months. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

CBS DROPS IN ON THE OTHER SIDE OF JERSEY

roccaMo Rocca interviewed Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl back during shorts weather for an upcoming piece for CBS Sunday Morning. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

New Jersey, it seems, is always on the defensive. There’s the ‘Jersey stinks‘ stigma, and while we have the small luxuries of pork roll sandwiches and not having to pump our own gas, the Garden State can’t quite get past the perception that it’s a dump with mafia ties and is a breeding ground for ultra-tanned, fist-pumping troublemakers.

In reality, all one really has to do is stop looking at photo galleries glamorizing the bronzed figureheads and TV shows celebrating jaw-dropping indulgence and take a trip to a place without a boardwalk or parkway rest stop.

Like, say, Rumson.

CBS News did, and on an upcoming Sunday morning plans to air a piece showcasing all this affluent community has to offer: shoreline tranquility, a bustling business district, horse-and-carriage rides, speed-boating on the Navesink — you know, the typical wintertime stuff.

But the story is not that CBS made this discovery a half-year ago, nor was it interviewer Mo Rocca‘s yacht club-ish outfit, a pink Oxford and baby blue shorts.

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CELEBRATING HERITAGE, TALESE SLAMS MEDIA

gtalese_01Author Gay Talese at the Two River Theater Saturday for a Italian-American heritage event. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Jersey Shore” is for stupid people.

That’s what best-selling author and  journalist Gay Talese thinks about MTV’s wildly popular show that spotlights all the unsavory behavior of a pack of club-going, fist-pumping “guidos” and “guidettes.” As an American of Italian descent, Talese finds shows like “Jersey Shore” and “The Sopranos” unfair depictions of what it means to be an Italian-American.

On Saturday, when Talese appeared at Red Bank’s Two River Theater as the keynote speaker for the New Jersey Italian American Heritage Commission‘s annual gala, there was no question why, in his opinion, the Italian-American is laughed at rather than respected: the media.

“We should not be proud of the Italians in the media because they’re not there. Why? Because they didn’t educate themselves to be in the media,” he said. “The Italian image in the media today is rotten because there are no Italians to defend them.”

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WHILE INLAND WILTS, SEA BRIGHT SPARKLES

Remember the summer of 2009? When it rained the entire month of June?

Or how about the repeated snowstorms that got dumped on us this past winter?

Well, it may be hot now, but for beach lovers and boaters, the summer of 2010 is shaping up as a smactacular bonanza. That was in full evidence in the tiny burg of Sea Bright this weekend.

Photographer Peter Linder wandered the streets and strands of Sea Bright for redbankgreen on Saturday, and this is what he saw. And we get to enjoy it all over again!

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.