Jersey Shore: So tired of winter

I used to tolerate the winter season without many complaints. Now that I am old and retired, this combined with the pandemic really sucks the big one. I just pre-registered for vaccine shot and hope to get out of NJ to escape for a while. Like many others, I am tired of take-out but do so to keep the businesses alive. I hope that the tunnel light is just around the corner. Please be well and keep practicing safety.

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Boy, I’m right there with you!! A million times over!

Takeout is an okay option, but like you, I’m tired of it. It does help to replate everything on your own dinnerware. But really, I want my hot food hot, my fried items crispy, and my salad cool and crispy. That just doesn’t happen with takeout.

Really, when I think about it, I’m just tired of EVERYTHING this pandemic has dished out. HO has given me the opportunity to at least stay connected virtually with everyone sine there are no HO Downs in the foreseeable future.

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Upside, my home and property have never been more organized. My kitchen/pantry more utilized. My guitar practice more regulated. My reading caught up. My time more generous. My family and friends more focused on the important things.

Cleaning house, in more ways than one. I don’t dislike winter, I love semi retirement. I’m just grateful.

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COVID really changed everything for me. Everyone here knows I was a pretty avid food blogger reviewing restaurants before the pandemic. What I don’t think I’ve mentioned is that I recently gave up the blog. Have been increasing cooking at home and trying new things. My BF and I were both good before, but are even better now in the kitchen. We’re trying more complicated dishes and trying to replicate our restaurant favorites.

I found it too tedious to write about my cooking on Instagram AND the blog AND here. So I simplified things by saying good bye to the blog. I didn’t delete it in case I want to go back, but I’ve tried to get out of my own way by being more informal and leaning more into social media. People just do not want to read 1,000 word reviews and breakdowns anymore-- maybe some of you do, but the people here are much more passionate than the general public. I/we have also saved a TON of money. We get takeout once a week (maybe twice) but cook every other night. We also manage to look a little thinner. We compared pictures of ourselves this time last year before everything shut and my, it wasn’t pretty! Eating out once a week, maybe a bar visit for drinks and apps once a week, plus takeout, etc. I don’t know how we did it.

When this shit is over, I don’t think I will ever eat out with the frequency I did pre-pandemic. That being said, I do miss the restaurant scene sometimes. I’m a winter guy (hate the heat) but it’s more depressing than normal. Can’t wait for some dockside outdoor dining and drinks come summertime.

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The Fry Daddy, or a quick pan fry, is a must when ordering fried food to go.
I believe the tunnel light is just around the corner. Some things however are changed forever. Tough to keep up the good attitude when there is so much happening that is just so uncomfortable and heartbreaking.
There is no such thing as bad weather, if you have the right clothing. My ex Aunt in law showed me the beauty of winter trees. I also appreciate the 4 seasons but can certainly understand how it can affect a mood. Think Monmouth has had it pretty good past few years except for the current and past dreaded polar vortex. Last time it lasted into June!

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In my view curbside pickup is the silver lining of COVID. I love it. I hope it continues.

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I’m trying to remind myself of the plus sides like everyone has mentioned above. I’d add the delivery services of local 130 has been a pandemic win for me. Personally, I’ve worked out more consistently in the past year then ever before in my life. That certainly helps offset the increased intake of :wine_glass: :rofl:

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Well said by all and I totally agree. We’ve been doing take-out almost exclusively, but for a few outdoor dining experiences when it was warm. As I refuse to have to reheat our take-out, it has really limited our take-out selection to a 10-15 minute radius from home. Thankful that these small business/restaurant owners have persevered, but I really, really, really need some diversification. Going quite bonkers with a rotation of a half dozen or so places.

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For all the reasons discussed here, we just reactivated Blue Apron and Blue Apron wine club. Rationale is that we’re spending a fraction of the $ than we used to on dining/drinking out and it’s something to do. Our third week is being delivered tonight. So far, we’ve had 6 gourmet, freshly cooked, portion-controlled meals. Since I left them, they’ve added more choices, the ability to substitute (for example, add a protein to a vegetarian meal, replace tilapia with salmon), and Weight-Watchers-friendly meals.

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Most people think that working from home and sitting in front of a computer all day is a great alternative to no work at all. I agree that this was necessary and welcomed by those who no longer have a long commute to work. I personally did not care for this new approach as I did not feel productive or motivated sitting in my basement without directly interacting with co-workers. That is what I missed the most. I don’t miss the actual work :grin:

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I miss the personal interaction as a guitar teacher. Zoom only goes so far. I have taken a few online classes to great enjoyment. I hope you find some ways to feel better about limits…hopefully we all can get back to a new normal soon.

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I have deliveries coming from Walmart, Cajun Grocer, and Wild Fork. This way I am able to limit my trips to Wegman’s to once every two or three weeks and mostly for dairy, dough, and blueberries.

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I’ve decided since @gcaggiano Greg has retired from blogging that there is a lack of local food bloggers so I will be starting mine. It will be called NotGreg’s Blog. I’ve decided what I’m going to do is go to everywhere Greg went and then give my review because I’m NotGreg!!!

So other than becoming a cyber bully (by harassing people online like the above) I really haven’t done anything new or noble during my lock down. I did some outdoor dining but have only dined in 1 time and I was tricked into that. lol I have been doing a ton of take in and overall I’ve found it enjoyable but I do miss the “dining experience”. I bought a casual pair of shoes sometime around a year ago, I have yet to wear them because I don’t go anywhere.

I’ve come to the realization I’m not sure monthly trips into NYC for a great steak and cocktails at a roof top bar might not ever come back. It’s strange to think about how much was “routine”" that has changed. Down right depressing if you allow yourself to think about it.

Thus I try not to think about it and instead just bully people online now. @seal go grab me a drink and drop and give me 10 push-ups dammit!!!

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I guess Mrs. P & I are the outliers here. I have been working remotely even before Covid-19, and am cooped up in my home 5 days a week. Mrs. P is busy cooking, cleaning, and doing other chores all week. We always looked forward to dining out on the weekends with a nice bottle of wine, and no dishes to worry about.
Although, the experience is not quite the same as pre Covid, we have continued to dine out indoors in only restaurants that are following strict Covid protocols, and that we feel comfortable with. We have narrowed it down to about 6 restaurants in our rotation, plus a couple of others that we do takeout from. We usually dine very early at 5PM when there are no other customers for about an hour or so. The tables are very socially distantly spaced, and all of the servers wear masks. We bring our own wine and glasses, and open the wine ourselves, so we don’t have to worry about that. It’s nice to see some of our regular servers and they really appreciate the business during these trying times. Unfortunately we can’t give them a hug or a kiss, and can’t really see their faces. Restaurants are a lot cleaner than having large mask free parties at someone’s home. They are constantly washing their hands and cleaning tables, changing silverware between courses, changing tablecloths after each diner is finished. They now either have disposable menus or menus you can scan with your phone. A lot of them have installed special filters, and have air purifiers. We also make sure to wash our hands and wear masks.
Some of our regular restaurants are Il Nido, Drew’s, Belford Bistro, Café Panache, Bloom, and Bistro D’Azur. We also like Chengdu 1 Palace and usually have the whole huge restaurant to ourselves. I also order and pickup from Ammata Thai.
I am actually spending more money now at restaurants than pre-Covid because some prices have gone up due to customer capacity restrictions, plus I leave a larger tip. In the past I would never think of spending more than $40 for an entrée, but now find myself sometimes spending in the $50’s (especially with Il Nido). As long as the quality is good I don’t mind as much. I am just grateful that these restaurants are still open.

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We are lucky that Shanghai Bun is 5 minutes away. Also, Sichuan Cottage food stays hot in the time it takes to get back, and I get only dishes that reheat well (Three Pepper Chicken, etc.)–nothing with sauces that will thin out, or with vegetables like bok choy that will go limp. Some people may want more variety than a dozen different dishes of Chinese food, but we’re okay so far.

We are also buying pre-made dishes at Shoprite from Delicious Orchards–not great cuisine, but provides variety.

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This past year has been interesting for me, as I had limited my eating out over the last few years. I’m seriously missing the occasional dinners out, but more than that, having drinks at a good bar and seeing live music has been harder for me to ‘lose,’ although I know all of it will be back in some way–hopefully sooner vs. later. That said, there have been a couple of pickups at Sichuan Cottage when I’m really sick of my own cooking + a few good friends who have handed off everything from homemade cookies to schug (my new favorite condiment). I’ve also been watching Adeena Sussman and Michael Solomonov live streams and cooking demos ad nauseum. They both make Israeli and Mediterranean food approachable and they’re starting to feel like friends. (Or maybe I’ve been flying solo for too long?) :rofl: I’m most definitely looking forward to HOdowns once we can safely have them!

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We ate out indoors 4 of 5 days this past week, felt entirely safe, always early, and tip 80% on food…(not booze, I’d go broke). If you don’t feel safe, don’t go…but the fact that Carbone, Cote, Roberta’s, San Ambreous, etc…have all set up camp in Florida after being denied the capability to make a living in NYC means they feel safe. I go early, wear a mask, and we always get a table. Haven’t been eating out of the tin for the last 4 months. And we’re the youngest ones there half the time. The world keeps spinning. Make informed choices that work for you.

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Greg C, What’s the name of your blog. I’d like to check it out, John

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Hi John, it is/was eatingnewjersey.net.

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Thanks! This is a great resource!

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold