Thursday, July 17, 2014

Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor July 2014

In what is becoming a yearly tradition, Theresa and I met up with Jacob for the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor on Thursday July 17th. Our group is a little bit larger this year than usual though. We've got Ian in tow of course, plus we've got Rita and her two kids visiting from Michigan.

The Stroll and Savor has grown so popular that instead of just being 3 months (June, July and August) it is now May - September. From the Belmont Shore website:
Belmont Shore's most popular event is a summer long "taste of Belmont Shore", with over 45 restaurants offering the best of their menus. Enjoy an evening strolling 2nd Street, savoring food from around the globe, and listening to talented local musicians as you stroll with your family, friends, and dogs (yes, we have treats for dogs too!).

Parking nearby isn't usually a problem if you arrive early enough and before too long we were ready to explore the Belmont Shore.

First up, we need tickets. Ticket books give you 12 tickets for $10, so each ticket costs ~$0.83. Most items cost 2-4 tickets and we've got a few people with us, so between Jacob and the five of us, we started with 3 ticket books, but before the night was over ended up with 5 ticket books.

Tickets in hand, we're ready to spend them!

We always start on the North West end which always means we start with dessert first. The Frosted Cupcakery has my personal favorite the Salted Caramel Hi-tops, along with T's favorite red velvet cupcakes, and a newcomer this year in the cookies and cream cupcake.

Normally these cost $1.45 each and at only 1 ticket per cupcake ($0.83), you're getting a deal!

The Frosted Cupcakery is always a good start. Sadly my favorite store We Olive that sold lemon gelato topped with balsamic vinegar is no longer around. Oh well, on to the next stop!

Nick's on 2nd had my absolute favorite item last year that I'm still talking about. It was a Belgian waffle sandwich with a crispy piece of fried chicken, sausage gravy, topped with large pieces of bacon and drizzled with syrup. Let's see what they've come up with this year.

For only 3 tickets ($2.50) you get 3 fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs and a small side of coleslaw.

No comment on the coleslaw, but the ribs were tender, tasty and delicious. If I have tickets left over at the end of this, I know where I'm coming back to.

Right next door was Yen's Sushi and Sake Bar where T picked up a fried gyoza for 1 ticket. I tried a bite and it was pretty good.

Nothing for me to eat here? Fine, I'll just chew on my sunglasses.

Next up is La Creperie Cafe where for 3 tickets you could get a strawberry and chocolate filled crepe topped with whipped cream.

Another part of the stroll and savor is all the live music. Every few blocks is a live band entertaining the crowd.

The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was next with some sweet treats for everyone. Jacob spent 1 ticket on a chocolate covered Oreo.

I spent 2 tickets on a pretty small piece of chocolate covered bacon.

Ethan decided on a chocolate covered pretzel rod. Everything was yummy!

More of those sidewalk musicians entertaining the crowd.

We've certainly had a lot of sweet treats already. What's next? Well how about some gelato?
Paradis had 5 different flavors of gelato. With either 1 scoop for 2 tickets or 2 scoops for 3 tickets, Ethan and I wanted to try both the strawberry and the salted caramel. We asked the scooper if we could get the 2 scoops for 3 tickets and told her our flavors. She even offered to put them in separate cups for us, which I thought was very nice of her, until she said "that'll be 4 tickets." Sigh. Come on, we told you we wanted the 2 scoops for 3 tickets.

Our last stop on this side of the street was Domenico's. Here they had a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Whether it was a salad for Rita (2 tickets), chicken pasta for Aubrey and Ethan (4 tickets), or ground pepperoni topped pizza slices for Theresa, Jacob and me (2 tickets).

I had seen others with the ground pepperoni pizza slices and knew I had to try it.

Enjoying the pasta.

Finding a shady spot to eat for a couple minutes.

Well we've really enjoyed this side of the street and we've still got another half to explore! Here's hoping we'll be able to find just as many tasty treats on the other side!
By now it was 6:30pm and it was starting to get crowded. Navigating with the stroller was a little more difficult.

Once on the other side of the street, we stopped at one of Theresa's favorite spots. Taco Surf has street tacos that Theresa has been wanting to find something similar closer to our house. This time though, she wasn't as thrilled with them. Did the price go up? 2 tickets for 1 tiny street taco?

Natraj Cuisine of India was probably the best deal we found of the day. At only 1 ticket for each item, Theresa and Jacob both got Chicken Makani, rice and half a piece of Nan for 3 tickets. It was a full plate of food for just $2.50.

And it was tasty too!

Finally I'm getting something.

When you see a line like this, you know they've got to have something good.

And sure enough, they had food worth stopping for. Panama Joe's was featuring chicken enchiladas, Tijuana street dogs, and jalapeno bacon mac & cheese for 3 tickets each. I knew which one I was leaning towards, but I wanted to confirm it was good. I saw someone eating the mac & cheese, asked how it was and they said it was divine. Good enough for me!

Ethan and I got an order to split and we agree, it was fantastic. Spicy from the jalapenos and super cheesy. This and Nick's ribs were my favorite dishes of the night.

Only one more stop for us on this side of the street. I had asked Rita what her favorite item from the past couple years was and she remembered a delicious bruschetta but wasn't sure where it was from. Turns out it was La Strada Italiano where it could be had for 1 ticket a piece.

Delicious like usual.

Time to check our pockets for leftover tickets...
Ethan and I knew where we wanted to spend ours. Straight back to Nick's on 2nd to get one more order of those fall-off-the-bone ribs, but oh no! When we got there at 7:30 (2 hours after the event started and 1:30 before it would be over) they were all sold out.

Well I know something that travels well and is good anytime. We used all our remaining tickets at the Frosted Cupcakery and we were all happy.

Walking back to the car and away from all the people, Ian finally gets out of his stroller. Such good behavior from him for being in his stroller for nearly 2 hours.

All-in-all I think it was a very successful day at the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor. There were so many tasty foods to try and we had a great time walking around and exploring.

There are still two more times to visit the Stroll and Savor this year, August 13 & 14 and September 17 & 18. If you're in the area, I highly recommend you check it out!

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