Monday, July 14, 2008

Ocean City, NJ, Part 1

Early Friday morning, we headed over to Giant Supermarket to pick up lots of yogurt (our friend Larry Cravetz from Beachcombers has pointed out that this American spelling of the word is preferable), kosher chicken and some other odds and ends. While we were at that shopping center, we stopped into Bed, Bath and Beyond to try to find the type of fat-wheeled cart that we have been seeing at Beachcombers to carry paraphernalia to the beach. They were sold out. Someone had told us that they purchased their cart at BJ's. We decided to call BJ's and they told us there were only two left. We put one on hold and since we would have had to wait 20 minutes for Costco to open, we decided to head there first. Since we don't have a membership, we called Adele who does and agreed to babysit Ava with Saul and the girls while Adele and I went to pick up the cart. I also picked up a special beach chair for Sami (Hannah Montana) that was just her size. She had been very good-natured when we bought Izzy a little giraffe chair just for her. They were closing out a camp-type beach chair with a sun canopy that I knew Saul would love. So far, I have been very pleased with my purchases. Going to the beach with all our stuff has been a "piece of cake." Then we headed to Costco for last minute supplies for Shabbat dinner and our vacation. We finally all had lunch at Costco and headed home with our groceries, chairs, and cart.

Saul and Izzy headed off to Beachcombers after setting the table while Sami elected to stay home with me and prepare dinner. First, we made black and white rice. Then, we made the dough for challah. Then we made 100 matzoh balls together. Then we made snickerdoodle cookies. While Sami was rolling the balls of dough in cinnamon sugar, I made chicken paprikash. Jess and Alex arrived about 4 p.m. and Alex made Israeli salad and a mesclun salad with avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, hard-boiled eggs, etc. and also prepared a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. I had taken chicken soup out of the freezer to defrost and we added our freshly made matzoh balls to that. When all the snickerdoodles were finished, we made chocolate chip cookie dough and Sami began scooping it onto sheets to be baked. Sami and I made our challot dough into four small braided loaves instead of two big ones to take on vacation. Together, we said the prayer for challot and burned our small piece in the oven. Larry Shipper arrived early also and helped with taking cookies in and out of the oven. With all the organized help, we were able to light candles and sit down to a delicious dinner together by 7 p.m. In between all that, I finished up all our laundry.

Saturday morning, we spent several hours packing. Miraculously, we were able to jam everything into the two SUV's. Saul and I headed out with the girls around 12:30 p.m. Alex doesn't travel by car on Shabbat so the kids didn't arrive in Ocean City until midnight. By then, we had managed to unpack all the clothes, organize the kitchen and make all the beds. With our navigator in our Honda Pilot, and information from our XM Radio traffic report, we were able to avoid the "code-red" traffic on the Atlantic City Expressway and had a delightful drive on back roads that haven't changed much since my childhood. We even passed a beautifully-maintained orange-colored Weber's Root Beer drive-in restaurant that my Uncle Jack used to take me to visit on our way down to Atlantic City when I was a child. We were ecstatic with the condition of the apartment we had rented during the winter. It was spotlessly clean and very well supplied. We had chosen this one on an excursion with Ari after trudging in and out of about six apartments until it seemed we couldn't tell the difference between them. We took the girls for what turned out to be a below-mediocre dinner on the boardwalk, bought them ice cream and tucked them into bed for the night.

The weather was delightful on Sunday. I got up at 6 a.m. with the girls, gave them breakfast and finished organizing the kitchen with all the things Jess and Alex had brought. By 7:30, I sent the girls to wake everybody and we were all biking on the boardwalk by 8:30 a.m. We were excited to find that our old haunts remain largely intact here. We used to take two-week vacations here in July with the whole family from 1976 until 1983 when we built our house in the Poconos. We always used to stop at Brown's at the end of the boardwalk for freshly-made warm donuts coated with "sand" or cinnamon sugar. We waited for an hour in line on Sunday morning just to sample them again. The anticipation made them all the more delicious. By 10:30 a.m., we had returned from biking, changed into bathing suits and were on the beach frolicking in the ice-cold ocean. We left the beach at 12:45 p.m. and while the girls took two showers (one outside for the sand, and one inside) Alex showered and prepared a delicious lunch of lentil fajitas and fresh salsa. The girls gave us no argument when we sent them to nap after lunch. I didn't feel particularly tired when I laid down, but slept for four hours until dinner time. Alex made veggie pasta with tomato sauce and parmesan, and a large salad for dinner. We took a very long walk almost to the end of the wide part of the boardwalk during which the girls had their first encounter with feeding seagulls breadcrumbs.

We bought them softserve ice cream at Kohr Brothers, another institution here, and walked back to our apartment on streets off the boardwalk. We put the girls to bed and hung around watching t.v. for a while, then one-by-one headed off to bed ourselves. I was too tired to blog last night and we only have a wifi signal available in the back areas of our apartment, so it took a while to get the laptop set up in a position where I could be comfortable using it.

Today, I again arose early to give Izzy breakfast (she awakes with the dawn) and prepare for the rest of us. It seemed like it was going to rain and we wouldn't be able to bike, but around 7 a.m. the sun appeared to be breaking through the clouds and I sent the girls to wake up their parents. We were on the boardwalk on our bikes by 8 a.m., but this time we didn't wait around in the line at Brown's. We hit the beach by 9:30 a.m. and stayed until noon. Today for lunch, Alex whipped up jasmine rice in his rice steamer and a chickpea, trumpet mushroom and vegetable coconut milk curry. The girls headed off for their naps without complaint and fell asleep with their arms wrapped around each other. I slept for two hours this afternoon. After some reseach on restaurants in the area, we decided on a place called Scully's about seven blocks away. Their sample menu showed an incredible array of salads and Alex will only eat "cold contact" foods when dining out. Our choice was fortuitous as everything we ordered was exceptionally and surprisingly delicious, generous, unpretentious, and inexpensive. The service was efficient and warm.

After dinner, we headed for an ice cream parlor called "Johnny B Good" for a children's Karaoke night. Neither Sami nor Izzy was interested in singing, but among the usual off-key performers, we were entertained by a little girl about six years old named Lola who was very talented and surpassingly cute as well as an adult woman who should be on American Idol. On our walk back, we were treated to a luminescent pink sunset. The rain held off and today was absolutely wonderful! Everyone has been checking in on Mom and, with the exception of setting off the burglar alarm accidentally, she has been okay. She has kept her cell phone by her side at all times so far as promised. She managed to convince Aunt Ruth not to come to stay with her fearing that the driving would be too much for her sister. Hopefully, she will continue to fare all right for the next two weeks.

1 comment:

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