Tag Archives: long branch

Stuck in the 90’s with you…the Inkwell Coffee House

12 Nov

Inkwell

As a teenager back in the mid-1990’s (remember those days?), my friends and I always went to the Inkwell Coffee House in Long Branch, NJ. 

It was pretty gross…sticky floors, dirty tables, heavy cigarette smoke, and goth-wannabe servers with the appropriate touch of ennui and disdain.  However, the Inkwell was open till 4:00am, made an amazing drink called “Dutch Coffee” (coffee, vanilla, cinnamon and butter…it’s good, you just have to be there), and offered “freshly cut apple slices” as a menu item. 

I can still hear the strains of Nirvana Unplugged, Patty Smyth and the Cure piped in on the jukebox, while my friends and I (attired in berets and decked out in black nail polish) cadged cigarettes from the older patrons (the 18 year olds) and complained about how our parents were soooo out of touch.   It was the official meeting place for white, suburban teens and suburban teen angst.  God, I miss those days.

Driving past the Inkwell last week, I noticed a sign that advertised free Wi-Fi.  I’ve been working on a grad project for the past few weeks, and have been looking for a study place that was not in my house, where I am easily distracted by people, house projects and my Yorkie.  I decided to give the Inkwell another try.

The place has since gotten a new owner, and has had a minor re-do.  Going up the rickety stairs into the “foyer” I was greeted with a large poster of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters from 1990’s classic Pulp Fiction.  “This is promising”, I thought. 

The clientele still has that touch of dirty I remember…mostly kids from nearby Monmouth University these days.  The music is piped in from an alternative XM channel.  Non-smoking restaurant laws have since gone into effect.  The coffee house now serves chai.  I think the board of health actually gives the Inkwell as passing grade now. And the Inkwell now accept credit cards. 

I sort of felt like a fossil…a relic from a storied chapter in the coffee house’s history.  The college kids bitched about class, bitched about their lovers and roommates.  I zoned out and typed until midnight. 

But they still serve Dutch coffee and sliced apples.   And the service still sucks.  And for me, those are reasons that still make me want to go to the Inkwell.

The Inkwell Coffee House is located at 665 Second Ave., Long Branch, NJ 07740. 732-483-0444 http://inkwellcoffee.com/

awwww yeah…it’s Jersey Shore Restaurant Week Nov. 4-14!

2 Nov

Jersey Shore Restaurant Logo

One of my favorite events on the Jersey Shore is Jersey Shore Restaurant Week (*), which is taking place this year from November 4-14.

As a Jersey Shore “Local” (year-round resident), I love the quiet months of October thru May, when summer tourists, summer residents and the “Bennies” pack up and leave.  Not that I don’t appreciate how they stimulate a mostly tourist-based economy, but I appreciate the silence, the shorter lines and the lack of New York license plates.

Jersey Shore Restaurant Week is like a “thank you” to the Locals and me.  In exchange for putting up with all the summer craziness, I get one week of access to over 65 amazing restaurants (that actually serve great food) at cheap prix-fixe pricing.

Continue reading

A Healthy Debate on a not so healthy food…Hot Dogs

21 Oct

Sometimes it seems like NJ residents can be more divided than a blue or red state!

-The Boss or Bon Jovi?  (No crossing party lines.)

-When you’re going to The City, do you mean Philadelphia or New York? (That designates if you are from South Jersey or North Jersey.)

-The Windmill or Max’s?

For long term Jersey Shore residents and tourists alike, the mere mention of Windmill Hot Dogs or Max’s Famous Hot Dogs elicits fierce, passionate arguments about which establishments serve the finest hot dogs.

Forget Coney Island’s Nathan’s franks…forget the New York City “dirty water dogs”…forget the Italian-style hot dogs popularized by North Jersey restaurants (Yes, there is a North Jersey, dear Virginia, but that’s a story for another time).    Entirely different entity.

Windmill and Max’s hot dogs are classic, open face grilled, charred and split open to perfection.   They are considered the classic “boardwalk” food staple.  Even this Jersey Girl who swears off most processed food, soda, dairy and red meat will succumb to this salty, mega-calorie, belly buster once every few months.

So let’s weigh the options:

A Max’s Fan Testimonial:

Best Dog around!
Max’s is near the beach in Long Branch. It is a big quarter lb Schickhaus beef/pork dog slow cooked on a griddle. Delicious and one of the best beef and pork dogs in the state. In fact, I would put Max’s right up there with the Galloping Hill Inn in Union as the best of this type. About a block away in Long Branch is the Windmill. They also have about a dozen other locations spread out across the state. I know they have one in Hazlet. A good dog with a very tough casing. I prefer Max’s. A little more flavor than the Windmill.
By John Fox: avid hot dog eater for 40 years.  Brings wife & children.  Lives in California

For Team Windmill

Zagat Readers 2008 and 2009 declare “There’s nothing better than a crackling hot frank off the grill at this NJ hotdog haven”

Playing both sides – Bruce Springsteen’s Rock & Roll Manifesto

“Our love of all things American…cheeseburgers, baseball and hot dogs at Max’s and the Windmill.”

If you ever find yourself on the Shore, be sure to taste test them yourself and decide for yourself!

Can’t get to Jersey?  Windmill will ship their hot dogs to anywhere in the country.

p.s. (I’m a Windmill girl, myself!)

%d bloggers like this: