Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Red Bank Trilogy

Over the past six weeks, my friend Shannon and I have made several trips to Red Bank, NJ. It's pretty close to the shore and will always hold a special place in my southern heart. I've heard The Boss even has a place close by! There is such an amazing mix of shops and restaurants that even after this many trips, I'm already anxious to return! We decided that since there is usually so much walking involved, we're going to wait until the spring. The farmers market will be back on the weekends too.

Back in 2004 when my future husband brought me up to New Jersey for the first time to meet his parents, he ended up taking me to Red Bank for the day. Back then, there were a few more cool places that I loved that unfortunately closed down. There are still a lot of great places though. Nowadays, there are several high ends stores and chains (Tiffany & Co and Urban Outfitters) tossed in with independently owned shops that have been around for decades. Over these past few years, my friends and family have been establishing our own history here.

When the Alvino clan came over from Italy to New Jersey, they first settled in Red Bank. True fax. Nowadays, you might spot my inlaws dining at The Broadway Grill or browsing around in this shop...

My father-in-law is an avid coin AND stamp collector. He has given this guy a lot of business over the years. His collections are very impressive.

This is another fantastic place for hobbyists, gamers and the forever young. They sell everything from Madame Alexander dolls, seriously old school toys and board games. Chris was impressed with their selection of Settlers of Catan expansion sets. Geek alert!

The first time we ventured over, Shannon insisted on this place for lunch.

The pizza is tasty but she had been raving about their famous fries...

They are the perfect hybrid between a chip and a fry. I've never had them like this before! If the food isn't enough to get you in here, maybe the fact that you can play vintage arcade games and sit next to a picture of old people shooting the bird might be more of a draw. Don't believe me?

I want to be just like them when I get old.

An important part of my own history also took place in Red Bank.

I had my first real bagel here. This place is small and dark and cozy. People come in and out for coffee, sandwiches and the seriously tasty namesake. I got to come back on our second trip earlier this month and relive the magic. I know I've raved about the place close to us and they do indeed have good stuff. They're just different here. Much more crisp on the outside. When I go in, I find myself wanting to roll up my sleeves, go behind the counter and work some dough. I used to love those Lender's Bagels that you could get in the frozen section at the grocery store when I was growing up in the south. I haven't had one since I came here.

Right across the street is a reasonably good thrift store and right next to it is another cheap place to get clothes and accessories. It's a consignment shop that has a good selection of vintage jewelry. Leave yourself some time to hunt. I scored a gorgeous pair of black leather gloves and a killer brooch here. You'll know you're in the right place when you see the polyester rainbow...

What else does Red Bank have to offer? There definitely was no shortage of hip clothing shops before Urban Outfitters opened up. Backward Glance and Funk & Standard have been serving the community for years. Both are fantastic places to look when you feel like you haven't got a sassy stitch to wear. It's a great town for antiques. There are two huge havens right across from the Galleria. There is also a well stocked record store.

When we were there yesterday, we had plans to go to Carlos O' Connor's for Mexican food but we waited a bit late and lost our chance for a table due to a bunch of reservations. We ended up down the street and waiting outside of the Eurasian Eatery for a table. The place is absolutely tiny so it took a while for us to get seated. We found out later that John Prine was in town and that's probably why the restaurants were so packed. I was grouchy from being cold and hungry, the delicious food immediately lifted my spirits. I'd been told that the place was quite vegetarian friendly but I was still pleasantly surprised. Their menu is all over the place from dumplings to falafel to pasta dishes. I ordered the black bean moussaka and it was everything you could possibly want from a meal if you're cold and hungry. Despite the vast array of things I would love to try the next time we go back, it's going to be difficult not to order that again!

Despite the yummy dessert menu, we skipped out after dinner and walked back towards the Galleria where we'd parked because Shannon was clever enough to make us reservations at The Melting Pot for chocolate fondue. It was the perfect ending to another great Red Bank outing. Two tips I'd offer anyone planning a trip: bring some cash because these smaller places to eat like Bagel Oven or Mr. Pizza Slice prefer it. Also, if you're planning on sticking around for dinner, make reservations!!!!

Eurasian Eatery
110 Monmouth St
732- 741-7071

Bagel Oven
72 Monmouth St.

Mr Pizza Slice
10 Monmouth St.

The Melting Pot
2 Bridge Ave.

Here's a list of some other places to eat.

Funk and Standard Variety Store
40 Broad St.

Jack's Music Shoppe
30 Broad St.

Nearly New Shop
70 Monmouth St.

Toymasters Inc.
62 White St.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for including the old folks picture!