Southern Jersey Shore

I don't want you guys to feel devoid of my creativity/gluttony just because of a DVR malfunction. Therefore, a few days ahead of schedule, I bring you The Jersey Shore.

I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with a lot of people and say that there are plenty of delicious dining options in my home state--just ask my buddy eNJoy!  Yeah we have phenomenal sub shops and diners coming out the wazoo, but we also have fancy pants places with unbelievable cuisine worthy of any big city stage.  In this particular version we're in the South, but sometimes we're not

The first stop, while delicious, was least impressive.  We left early Saturday morning to avoid traffic, so as it neared lunch time I Yelped from the car to find Vinnie's Italian Deli in Minotola, NJ (near Vineland for the Jersey Geographers, also known as Near Nothing).  The place is obsessed with broccoli rabe.  We didn't think to share one sandwich, and instead I got the chicken breast with red peppers and J got the hot roast beef and provolone.  The roast beef was more like a brisket, falling apart in a totally delicious, greasy way.  And it was absolutely bursting with sauteed broccoli rabe.  This sandwich was huge and filling.

Vinnie's Italian Deli on Urbanspoon

On to dinner--when I need to go out in NJ I ask eNJoy where I should go.  She knows everything there is about fine dining, cheap dining, weird and exotic dining...you name it.  She wrote about Los Amigos and I took that as my cue.  I was happy to make an OpenTable reservation from my spot on the hot beach.  This place is downright cute.  It's long, narrow, and tall, although we sat downstairs and I wasn't sure what the deal was with the upstairs.

Only complaint: the guac app was TINY! Donde esta the enormous molcajete from all the other restaurants I go to??  I liked the salsa.

M and T got the fish tacos--they were salmon and tuna.  H tried them and declared them to be tastier than her softshell crab tacos.  Imagine that!  I crown them prettiest dish of the day.

E went with the chicken enchiladas with salsa verde and a creamy cilantro inside.  These had some kick, but it didn't last long enough to be uncomfortable.  Very tasty.  If you're not a refried beans person, be sure to specify that you want black beans--no one asked us!

Two of us got fajitas, me and D--she had the chicken, I had STEAK!  MEAT!  My dish was just delicious.  Simple, clean, flavorful.  I was really really happy.  I couldn't even finish it, which is very unlike me.

Los Amigos on Urbanspoon

OK so then it's Sunday.  In the morning I had a big old DD iced coffee to ensure a wonderful day.  And off we went to the magical land of Brigantine, (summer) home of one of my best friends and a place that stores lots and lots of old memories.  Just a few short miles from Atlantic City, Brig is a residential area with cleaner, quieter beaches and the best sandwich you'll ever have.  Granted, it might just be the best sandwich because you walked the 4 blocks to Ernest's from the beautiful white sandy beaches.  But let's all decide on our own, huh?

Notice: "Go Phils!"  We're not in North Jersey anymore, folks.  And by the way, get an unbelievable milkshake next door, maybe as an appetizer while you order and wait for your sandwich.

Check it how that sign says "Expert Deer Butcher."  Yes. Now do you want to see some hardworking bread?  Bread that's really earning it's paycheck, if grains were to do that?  Okay, here we go.

You can get whatever you want at Ernest's--you want turkey, lettuce, and mustard on a Kaiser?  No problem.  More than a dozen iterations of cheesesteaks and grilled chicken sandwiches?  You got it.  But what about the honest to goodness Italian deli part of this deal, the kind that makes me wish we never moved away from Italian Store.

The first picture above is the Ernie Special, $6.69, prosciutto, salami, sharp provolone, roasted peppers, tomato, oil, oregano.  They are not messing around.

The second is the Stormin Gorman, $6.69, turkey breast, prosciutto, provolone, hot peppers, mayo.  We heard about half a dozen Stormin Gorman's ordered in maybe 5 minutes standing close to the counter. Seriously, I tried to take a bite and get the top AND the bottom, and my jaw could barely handle it. 

Share with a friend, if you're generous--these babies are enormous.  And try to avoid the urge to go bobbing for pickles in the big barrel o' brine.  Take a few home to slice up among friends.

Ernest & Sons on Urbanspoon

The rest is a blur of shining lights and screaming fans.  Hope you had a great 4th, I know I did!


  1. I will totally agree that NJ has some of the best sandwiches of all time. But my beef with NJ is that I'm always at a loss for sit-down, fine-dining-type places whenever I amble back home.

  2. I love this post for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that it is only possible because I got to see your face! And it was near my face! And those faces had sammich in 'em!

  3. Kim - They are hard to find, sometimes, it's true...and it really depends where you are. In the real suburbs full of housing developments and not much else, you're hard-pressed to find anything beyond strip malls of chains. But the occasional Indian gem or seafood haven is around, and there should be a mid-sized city close enough (hi New Brunswick!!!) for some sit-down goodness. It's no DC though.

  4. gosh, i didn't realize how much i miss those sandwiches until i saw a picture of one of them.

  5. Can you believe the last time I was at Ernest's I was a vegetarian? Oh my, it seems like a crime now.

  6. You loved your veggie sammiches (at the time... I bet they're good... wouldn't know... soooo much meat to be eaten.
    And Vik, if I remember correctly.... Italian sub, but add pepperoni and hot peppers?