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Pete and Elda’s Bar & Carmen’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant – The Best Thin-Crust Pizza on the Jersey Shore!

One of my favorite spots at the Jersey Shore in the Neptune area is Pete and Elda’s Bar and Carmen’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant. It is located in Neptune City at 96 Woodland Ave./Route 35. When people hear the name Pete and Elda’s Pizza they immediately think of one thing: the BEST thin crust pizza on the Jersey shore. They claim to have invented the thin-crust style pizza that has become very popular over the last couple of years. I don’t know if they invented it or not, but I do know that it is the best thin-crust pizza I have ever eaten.

When you enter the restaurant, you walk into a very large bar area- complete with big screen TVs showing all of your favorite sports. This is a great place to grab a quick snack, an after work cocktail, or just to watch the game with friends. You can also eat at the bar, where you will get 2 separate checks – one for the food and the other for the bar. They always have specials at the bar on both food and drinks.

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They have a very large restaurant area- but don’t let that fool you! If you go in without reservations, you could wind up waiting. I have been to this place over 100 times – I’m sure I have had everything on the menu numerous times, so here are a couple of my favorites. If you are looking for a hot appetizer, I would go for the Mussels in a red sauce. You get a pile of steaming mussels covered in a spicy marinara, served with bread. For the salad lovers in your group, I would definitely recommend the chopped cold antipasti -fresh garden vegetables, salami, and provolone cheese served with ice cold iceberg lettuce, chopped and mixed. You get a choice of dressings, but I usually just stick with traditional oil and balsamic vinegar. This will easily serve two adults. All of their hot and cold sandwiches areserved on fresh Italian bread – and if you are in the mood for pasta, they offer many to choose from. I recommend the linguine and white clam sauce – a big bowl of al dente linguine smothered in a delicious clam sauce.

But back to the pizza – they serve the crispiest, most flavorful pizza on the Jersey Shore! Of course, they offer all of the usual toppings. One of the fun things that Carmen’s does is give a free t-shirt to anyone who can eat a XL pizza alone – finish this by yourself, and you will join the very exclusive Carmen’s Whole Pizza Eaters Club. This promotion has been going on for years and is very popular – I am proud to say that I am a member of this club many times over.

Overall, this is a great experience. They have something for everyone, and a great atmosphere. It is kid-friendly, and they have a full bar for the adults. So head on over to Pete and Elda’s and Carmen’s Pizzeria for the best thin-crust pizza on the Jersey Shore!

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Some more great news for our vibrant Jersey Shore! On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released revised flood maps that shifted many homes along the Jersey coastline out of higher-risk flood zones. This is a big relief for many homeowners who were incorrectly moved into the most at-risk flood zone right after Sandy, and have now been removed from these “V-zones.”

The oceanfront Presidential is not located in a flood zone

The FEMA maps dictate how high homes need to be raised in order to protect against future flooding, how much they will cost to insure, and whether or not banks will be willing to provide mortgages. US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said the maps released right after Sandy’s destruction were “fundamentally flawed,” and “For residents in many of the areas affected by Superstorm Sandy, the release of these updated flood maps could be the deciding factor in whether they are able to stay in their homes or are forced to relocate.”

Homes located in a V-zone are required to be higher and to be built on stilts, while those located in an A-zone have a lower height requirement and are less expensive to raise. The insurance for properties located in an A-zone will also cost less. So, while the revised maps are not final and can still be challenged by local municipalities, the fact that many homes have already been put back in the A-zone is great news.

A Home in an A-zone

Here’s the other great news: many homes were in an A-zone pre-Sandy, and have remained in an A-zone post-Sandy…and a lot of them have very little Sandy damage, or even none at all. The other thing you may not know is that there are a lot of oceanfront and ocean view homes, condominium buildings, and high-rises that never have been in a flood zone at all. Many homes and buildings near the ocean withstood the storm with very minor incidence – in my opinion, these properties are even more valuable than before Sandy. Because let me tell you, I saw the fierceness of Sandy firsthand…if a property laughed in the face of Sandy, well then I say it’s Jersey Strong!

If you dream of owning a property on the Jersey Shore but are confused by all of the information that’s out there, feel free to contact me. It will be my pleasure to try to uncomplicate the conflicting information and help you find the perfect property for you.

For more information about Base Flood Elevation address research, click here

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This past Saturday night, we decided to check out Tre Amici al Piccolo Forno at 628 Ocean Ave in Long Branch. When I lived in Long Branch many years ago, this was one of my favorite places to eat a great traditional Italian meal. Over the years the name has changed – but I went back, hoping that the quality of the food and service didn’t change with it.

We had 7:15 reservations – and it’s a good thing we did, because the place was packed. We were promptly seated, and then they opened our wine and brought a plate of bruschetta to the table – always a very good way to start! The server told us the specials and handed us menus. For appetizers, they had a variety of salads, Italian cheeses, and some hot starters. The four of us decided on the Poached Pear Salad, the Imported Burrata Cheese plate, and a Caeser salad – plenty of food for the table. The Burrata cheese, which is a very creamy and smooth version of mozzarella, was served with garlic toast – it was excellent!

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After finishing off the delicious appetizers, we moved on to the main course. There was a lot to choose from, including Italian standards like Piccata, Parmesan, Marsala, and Francaise in chicken or veal, as well as steak, chicken, and fish entrées. Everyone at our table decided pasta would be the entrée of the evening: we had an order each of linguini with red clam sauce and with white clam sauce, a plate of homemade Gnocchi Sorrentina (potato gnocchi with mozzarella, pecorino and basil), and I tried the Pappardelle Bolognese (homemade pappardelle noodles with a meat sauce). Both linguini dishes came out loaded with clams in the shell over homemade linguini, the gnocchi tasted fresh, and my meat sauce was delicious – all four of us were very happy with our meals. The only problem we encountered was that none of us saved room for dessert! Tre Amici has a separate dessert menu, complete with different coffees – we didn’t get to try any, but I saw a piece of chocolate cake go by that looked delicious.

Overall we had a great meal, a fantastic experience, and good fun with wonderful friends. Everything from the bruschetta to the main course was just excellent. If you plan on going on a weekend, be sure to make reservations – this place is very busy. Also, they do not have a liquor license so don’t forget to bring your favorite bottle of wine with you!

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href="http://www.jerseyshorespecialist.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/9th-ave-pier-mini-golf-1.jpeg" />9th Ave Pier Mini Golf

Miniature Golf: One of the Jersey Shore’s favorite summer pastimes for both locals and visitors. In Belmar, on the 9th Ave Pier, a new mini golf course was recently reopened for its second summer on the Shark River. What a perfect setting for a mini golf course! So this past Saturday, I decided I needed to try it out.

My first impression was that it is so clean and new – the entrance stand where you get your clubs and balls, the grounds around it, and right up to the first hole. Just perfect.

Now, onto the golf. All the holes are in great shape. Since everything is brand new, you don’t have any worn out patches on the course like you would get on an older one – the ball runs true. The holes are all fun and include the usual gimmicks – water holes, two-tier greens, and the ones that look like they should roll straight in…but of course, they don’t! Don’t you hate when that happens?

9th Ave Pier Mini Golf

My favorite hole is one that gives you a choice: you can roll the ball over a bridge and guarantee that you will stay dry, or you can try to hit it through the water right at the hole – but there is no guarantee that the ball will make it across the water. High risk, high reward – I went for it! I hit the ball straight through the water and just barely made it. I wound up making the putt for a par. Great hole!

Overall, this is a fun course for everyone – no matter your age or your skill level. The cost is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for children. So, if you are watching the US Open on TV this weekend and you get the itch to do some putting, head on over to the 9th Ave Pier and give it a try!

It’s that time of the year at the Jersey Shore – time for sunshine, frolicking on the beach, fresh air, and even vegetable gardens! With everything that’s being discovered about Monsanto, GMOs, and the extremely loose government regulations, planting your own organic vegetable garden may be a good way to ensure the health of your family…or at least one aspect of it. You see, Monsanto has pretty much gotten their hands into every aspect of the food industry – growing your own vegetables is not enough to keep your family Monsanto-free, but it’s a good start!

tips for gardening on the jerseys shore

About three years ago my family decided it would be fun – and rewarding – to start our own vegetable garden. It’s become a family tradition – we even let the kids paint the garden box themselves so that they would truly feel it was their own. And because the families of squirrels, gophers, and bunnies have claimed our backyard, we wrapped a high wire fence around the box. I haven’t figured out how to get them to chip in for the mortgage, but the wire fence should at least keep them out of our vegetable garden.

If you have the room and dream of building a sprawling garden, by all means go ahead and live that dream. But if you have limited space or just want a more contained garden, that’s great too. What’s most important is that you make efficient use of your garden space – no matter how big or how small. For example, less watering, less weeding, and less mulching is required of densely planted gardens because they shade and cool the ground below. So, pick your favorite vegetables and go get started! We chose tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

If you want a truly organic garden, you will need to educate yourself a bit before you head to the nursery. If you plan to use seeds, you want to make sure the seeds are not genetically manufactured – Monsanto has its fingerprints all over many of the seeds sold in stores. By the same token, if you are buying plants you want to be sure they have never been treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. So, when you are buying your plants or seeds, be sure to ask someone if they are truly organic. Organically grown seeds are harvested from plants that have never been treated with chemical pesticides and never genetically modified.

Once you have your seeds or plants, you’re ready to get started! Here are some helpful tips to help you begin your own garden:

  1. Find a spot in your yard where your garden will be exposed to a lot of sunlight – while there are vegetables that will grow in the shade, those that grow in the sun are easiest to cultivate.
  2. Using a shovel, clear the surface – get rid of grass, weeds, and rocks. If you live in a rocky area, dig a little bit deeper and use extra potting soil so roots can grow easily.
  3. Plant your seeds or plants based on the directions on the packaging: make sure you space them as recommended and sow at the correct depth. If you buy tomato plants, you need to plant them deep enough that the soil is at least 1 inch up on the stem. This will allow for stronger roots.
  4. Be sure to feed your plants with an organic fertilizer formulated for full-sun vegetables. Follow the directions on the package – many need to be diluted.
  5. Water on a daily basis, either early in the morning or early evening. If you water when the sun is too hot, your plants will burn – but if you water too late at night, the water can pool causing them to grow mold.
  6. Make sure you weed your garden on a regular basis. It’s important to keep your garden clean – just a few small weeds can take over before you know it!
  7. Harvest your vegetables – this is the fun part! Make sure you pick your veggies as soon as they are ripe. Big vegetables may look impressive, but often won’t taste as flavorful. Also, most plants will yield multiple harvests if you give them the chance.

What are you waiting for? Go start that planting and feel good that your garden will produce healthy, bountiful, organic vegetables!

image from bloodhorse.com

Since its inception in 1870, the Monmouth Park race track has marked the beginning of summer for many Jersey Shore vacationers. Great champion race horses such as Alydar and Zenyatta have graced the famed Monmouth track.

Over the years Monmouth Park has evolved into a great family day down the shore. The Monmouth Park meet runs from May 11 to October 6, and every Sunday is family fun day at the park – there is something for everyone! You can enjoy pony rides, face painting, clowns, bounce houses, and live music. This year they even added the Bluegrass Mini Golf Course. The course is open on race days and the last round starts 45 minutes prior to closing. Admission is $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for children 12 and under, and children 4 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Add this to the awesome racing park attractions, and the kids will have a fun day at the track!

Of course, Monmouth Park will still accommodate adults looking for a day at the track as well – you can sit in the general seating area and root your horses into the winner circle trackside! There are 8,000 seats in this section, offered on a first-come first-serve basis. On this level, they have many casual bars and concessions.

If you are looking for a more upscale setting, you can move on up to the Clubhouse. Here, you will get a great view of all the action from upstairs. This area is great if you are looking to watch the races in an air conditioned atmosphere. In the clubhouse area there are also bars and concessions for you to enjoy, with waiters and waitresses who will serve you off of a menu.

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One of Monmouth Park’s most popular places to spend the race day is in the picnic area: you can bring your coolers and use one of the many charcoal grills.These are also on a first-come first- serve basis – and they fill up quickly! If this is what you want to do, get there early or you could get shut out. There are also large fenced off picnic areas that can be reserved in advance for large groups or corporate functions – but they sell out quickly as well.

The biggest day of the racing calendar at Monmouth Park is Haskell day. This year, this Grade 1 race is scheduled for July 28th. The million dollar race attracts the top thoroughbreds from around the country – it also attracts the largest crowds in NJ racing. If you are a racing fan, this is a day not to be missed!

Visiting the track is affordable, too: Clubhouse admission is $5.00, grandstand admission is only $3.00, and general parking is $4.00. If you have children under 12, they are admitted free.

Monmouth Park is not just another day at the races – it is a day for the entire family. If you are at the Jersey Shore, make it a point to spend a day at the track – it will be a day you will not soon forget!

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