A Mother (and Cape May Food) Like No Other


I really can’t use words to describe what my mother means to me. In fact, there are moments in my life that (I’ll be the first to admit) I’m just not good to her. I’ve flipped out at her for forgetting something that I should have remembered, mumbled the answer to her question to get her off my back, and mocked her for her excessive snoring problem (which is actually a GIANT issue..but that’s another topicfor another time). We all have done it to our moms, right? You all know what I am talking about. But here is the difference between my mom and your mom….mine is better.

She has stood through an 8 hour line so I could try out for American Idol. She has traveled to Chicago with me just so I could go to the National Sweets and Snacks Expo last year. She has given up refinishing her deck so that I could have cute shoes and pretty dresses. She has supported my baking ventures and let her whole kitchen go to ruins while I clogg up every cupboard, shelf, and empty space with sprinkles, icing tubes, and baking pans. She was there for every musical, every soccer game, every track meet, and every (sad to watch) junior high basketball game. She has been my biggest supporter in academic honors. She has become a second mother to every single friend that comes through my door and last but not least, she has turned her world upside down to make sure that every single person and their brother votes for me in the wgrc talent contest (If you would like to…text 233845 to the number 22333 before Thursday at 9pm-that was for her :) Basically my momma is the best. No question.

All that being said, I knew that something REALLY big needed to be done for  momma for her 50th birthday. So, I got to thinking. I knew that one of her favorite places in the world is in Cape May..particular Cucina Rosa. So, I devised a plan to kidnap her from her office, have the car packed, and just leave..for two nights in CAPE MAY!

Everything was going as planned. I had set up an imaginary photography gallery for the next day and the hotel was booked. Everything was great until my proud mother decided that she should share with the world about my wonderful accomplishments as a photographer and all of the people that could be invited to the gallery! Oh joy! My mother was doing something that was in her natural inclination to do. I should have known. So after days of lying straight to her face and even having her pray for me for an event that wasn’t even real, the day finally came.  Everything went perfect. Dad picked her up, she met us at my school, and we left. She never knew. Success.

So why am I going on and on about all of this. Well, other than surprising my mother, I knew that the food would surprise me…as it always does. Cape May food as something magical about it. It’s fabulous. So here, here my friends, is a documentary…a FOOD documentary of my momma’s birthday weekend in Cape May.

Well, Cucina Rosa was closed on Thursday (for a private party), after throwing a tiny temper tantrum, I got over it, and we found another restaurant called Tisha’s of Cape May. A restaurant that I had never been to. Instantly, the menu made me salivate, and my normal personality kicked in. “Mom,” I said, “I’ll eat bad if we eat here.” (I tend to eat very little, so I taunt her with this statement sometimes) So, what did I do? I convinced my mother (on her 50th birthday, nonetheless, to eat at a restaurant that I had chosen, not her. (Not one of my proudest moments)

Getting past my selfishness, we had fabulous meals. (All except for daddy, who ate like an anorexic 14 year old. You see, he’s on a diet and has lost 50 lbs. so far. His new goal in life is to order a grilled chicken salad from every restaurant establishment in the continental United States. He’s doing great. But in all seriousness, I will not be sharing any of daddy’s meals, because you see, they just weren’t that interesting. I love you daddy, you are doing so well with your diet :) )

Mom clearly had the best meal. Veal, filled with fontina and spinach, over-top Yukon gold smashed potatoes, asparagus, and a sauce made from capers. Divine. I ate half of it…yeah. I’m sounding ridiculously considerite of my mother’s birthday at this moment.

Mine? Yes, homemade gnocchi with spinach, grilled chicken, and a light gorgonzola sauce. (Light..HAH!) It was so rich and delicious, but I got so full that I could hardly finish it. (Maybe because I ate mom’s?)

Jared’s. Grilled Salmon topped with shrimp, over a bed of linguine in a spicy-sweet Asian sauce. He ate it up, and his eyes rolled back into his head. He got a bit sick that night from the salmon. But it must have been amazing, because he said he would do it all over again.

This next restaurant might be a bit familiar to some readers. My favorite breakfast place in the world. (At this point, I’m beginning to think that it’s MY birthday)

Bread basket, filled with the most fabulous breads I have ever in my life. They were so good, only this piece was left. I know, I was reluctant to eat that moldy-looking bread too. However, like always, I made Jared sample it. His eyes rolled back into his head AGAIN! It tasted like chocolate chip cake batter…or something! I’m going to have to try this tactic…make something look like crap so other people don’t eat it. Oh..these people are good.

Heehe, good ole’ amazing blueberry pancakes. They’ll never get old to me.

BUT! I have a NEW favorite!!!! Vanilla batter waffle with pecans. (Also my mom’s) Are you sensing a trend in my eating habits? Next time I go back, I will bathe in syrup while eating this waffle. Sorry, that might have been a bit graphic.

And then there was the sausage. This was single handedly the best sausage link I have every tasted in my life. It wasn’t even mine..it was Jared’s.

And…I might have licked clean this pumpkin spice muffin paper. What? It was spectacular. Please, please, please, please, go here. If you are ever in Cape May, NJ GO TO MAD BATTER on Jackson Street.

Friday night=Cucina night. Cucina Rosa, my mother’s favorite restaurant int he whole entire world. Enter the best meal I have ever eaten…in my life.

The classic: grilled Parmesan garlic bread with hot peppers.

My mom’s favorite tomato bisque soup. So good….because of all the cream. (I let her eat that..mostly herself)

This incredible spring salad: mixed greens, strawberries, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, and house-made balsamic vinaigrette. FABULOUS. I licked the plate clean…it was very unlady like.

Jared and mom ordered this: Veal piccata. Their favorite thing in the world.

Ahah….this….this was pure bliss. It was better than cake (SHOCKER!!), it was better than Amatos bread, it was better than Graham Slam ice cream, it was better than any Olive Garden dish. Chicken oreganata: Pounded chicken breast topped with breadcrumbs, oregano, olive oil, Parmesan, and a whole lot of love. The veggies and the chicken made sweet love in my stomach.

And as if we did not have room in our cholesterol-clogged arteries, enter the world of the dream sundae. Chocolate fudge iced brownies, Hagen Daz vanilla bean ice cream, strawberries, fresh whipped cream, and chocolate syrup. It was gone is 2.58 minutes. Impressive.

Then, two hours later, Jared and I were like…”hey, we need ice cream!” (Like we haven’t had it in the last 7 years). So…we might have gone to Dairy Queen…and I might have licked that blizzard cup clean. No judging please.

Oh, here’s daddy. He was sooooo super excited for his grilled chicken salad..haha.

Mom..don’t hate me. But, I’m sure you won’t. You’ll probably forget you saw this in about 8 minutes. Love you!

Thank you momma, for being the wonderful person you are. I wouldn’t change anything about you, except your snoring.