Tuesday, June 12, 2012
A Trip to the Belmar Seafood Festival
The gang and I spent this past Sunday afternoon at the 26th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival. It was a great time dampened only a little bit by the heat and the huge crowds. One of the perks of living at the Shore is to be able to jump in the car and drive to a festival like in just few minutes. There is music, craft and other non-food fenders, and a giant wine and beer tent, but of course the real draw is seafood.
Some of my favorite Belmar area seafood restaurants were there including Mr. Shrimp (my current favorite) and Ollie Klein's (the fish I grew up on when the owner was the chef at Evelyn's which has sadly departed from the Belmar restaurant scene.) There were some higher end representatives including Mumfords, 40 North Oyster Company and Anthony's of Little Italy. However at an event like this, the key is to eat seafood you love in as close to it's natural state as possible. The highlight of my eating adventures was a platter of 4 cherrystone clams and 4 nice plum oysters. What made it taste even better is that this delectable plate of raw mollusks cost me only 5 bucks. It was pretty impressed with the shuckers. The guy who was preparing my plate told me that he shucks about 2000 briny packets a day.
Nick joined me in his own feast of raw mollusks. Bria chose a platter of seared tuna, coconut shrimp with a side of rice and arugla. Becca had a crab cake sandwich and a buffalo shrimp taco. Christine enjoyed a New Jersey speciality, deep fried crunchy soft shell crab on a sandwich with lettuce and tarter sauce.
There were some great choices for deserts if you were interested. Nick opted for a deep fried oreo which was shared among the group. Becca had a crape folded over a ricotta and chocolate chip filling. For me, being the frugal guy that I am, I was thrilled that 7 Eleven had a truck there giving out free, pretty generous samples of slushy.
If you plan to attend the Belmar Seafood Festival next year, I would give you two hints. Try to go on Friday night. The attendance is a little lighter and according to one of the worker, this years festival had the largest attendance in it's history, so on the last day, crowds were definitely bordering on intolerable. The second hint is to park in at the Marina or train station and use the free shuttles provided by the festival. I am looking forward to enjoying some of the other great foodie and fun festivals this summer. It's great to live at the Jersey Shore. Enjoy!