Saturday, June 27, 2015

Burger At Angles Café & Lounge Toms River NJ

Restaurant reviewed by: Jane Ong

Hamburger Toms River NJ

Today's another day that has lousy rainy weather and flash flood warning.  So we stayed in the hotel for dinner again.  We ordered the Ultimate Burger served with French Fries. ($12.00) This is a pretty good burger that  was made with a juicy 8 oz. Angus burger stacked with bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, grilled onion, romaine lettuce, and creamy Caesar sauce.  I love the big fat French Fries that were rich in potato flavor.  These were pretty good and fresh French Fries which were much better tasting than the ones in McDonalds' and even In-and-Out.  These big fat French Fries didn't have the rancid taste of old frying oil that I hate. I love them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spaghetti Bolognese At Angles Café & Lounge Toms River NJ

Restaurant reviewed by: Jane Ong

Spaghetti Bolognese

This is one of the dishes ($11.00) that I often ordered thru my room service.  This is another solid item at my hotel's restaurant here in Toms River.  The meat sauce is tasty and meaty.  It comes with a fresh roll. The pasta and the bread here are so much better than Il Giardinello Ristorante where I went and I couldn't eat anything there. The food at this hotel never disappoints me.  It's decent solid food that I can rely on whenever I feel like staying in and just order room service.

Restaurant: Angles Cafe Grill & Lounge
Address: 2373 Hwy 9, Toms River, NJ 08755
Tel: (732) 367-6400

Monday, June 22, 2015

Smoked Salmon Fried Rice

Content contributed by: Jane Ong

Smoked Salmon Fried Rice Recipe

I went to my friend's house in Colts Neck NJ again yesterday for yet another BBQ.  I would have declined the invitation but I just didn't know how to say no.  Afterall, I live in Los Angeles and my friend claimed if I didn't take this rare business trip of mine to visit her more, there wouldn't be opportunity like this once I leave the Garden State to return to the Golden State.  Oh well, I agreed, so I went even though I found her McMansion really boring and her BBQ and cooking just "bland".  When I got there, I suggested my friend to order some Chinese Fried Rice as a side dish to her BBQ steak (which tasted really gross, and they were from the big pack bought  from Costco).  I was however unable to find a decent Chinese restaurant that is within delivery distance.  Just why does my friend or anyone love to live in the middle of nowhere like this?  So I used the smoked salmon which she stocked up in her fridge, to make Fried Rice myself.  I guess living in a place like Colts Neck just means "more cooking at home", which means more "homework",.....

Makes 2 Servings

  • 2 beaten eggs 
  • 2 cups of cooked Jasmine rice (I don't like brown rice but you can do brown rice) 
  • 4 - 5 slices of Atlantic smoked salmon (I often used Scottish smoked Salmon) 
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped green onions 
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive oil 
  1. Heat wok with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat, stir fry the smoked salmon pieces until you can crumble them with the spatula, 1-2 minutes. 
  2. Push the crumbled salmon to one side of the wok and pour in the eggs, stir until the eggs are cooked and crumbled, 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Put aside the salmon and egg mixture on a plate, pour in the wok 1 tablespoon of Olive oil, and continue to heat on medium high heat for 1 min. 
  4. Add chopped green onions and stir fry for 30 seconds. 
  5. Add cooked rice and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Put back the salmon and egg crumbles to 3 above, drizzle soy sauce all over and stir for 30 seconds. Transfer to rice bowls and serve.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Prime Rib Dinner at Tiffany's After My First Visit In Seaside Heights New Jersey

Restaurant reviewd by: Jane Ong

Buy One Prime Rib Dinner and get another for free Tiffany's Toms River New Jersey

Coming from Los Angeles, my colleagues and I are very curious about the Jersey Shore.  So we paid our very first visit to Seaside Heights yesterday.  As much as we love hanging out in the beach towns all over California, we were not impressed by Seaside Heights.  It was disheartening to see it in person.  May be it was just the gloomy weather that made the town look particularly sad. We were there to attend the Hot Rod & Food Trucks event on Bay Avenue.  But after walking through a few miserable looking blocks (that resembled the high crime neighborhood we avoid in Los Angeles), from our parking spot to the event, our spirits were saddened enough that, not even the display of beautiful antique cars was able to keep us there much longer.  

I personally would very much like to stay at the event longer to try the food offered by  the food trucks.  But then my colleagues, who were so annoyed by the heat and humidity of the cloudy weather that they refused to eat standing around without proper utensils and comfortable seating. They insisted that we went to Tiffany's in Toms River because they heard about an offer of  "buy one Prime Rib dinner ($16.99 as shown on the above photo) and get another for free".  I was out-voted and I had no choice but to go along. 

restaurant decor

The restaurant is very huge and spacious inside, with the typical decor of a casual family restaurant. The interior is clean, comfortable and decently decorated.  I actually love the hanging lamps there.

Interior Design Restaurants

My colleagues picked Tiffany's because it's one of the few restaurants in this area that serve "alcohol".  I finally was able to have my "real" Pineapple Mojito. We read from the Asbury Park Press that the restaurant has until July 24, 2015 to sell the liquid license due to the State's citation on the restaurant's sale of alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated. So this Pineapple Mojito I ordered can be one of the last glasses served.

Pineapple Mojito Toms River New Jersey

The mojito tasted okay, not great, but not bad either.  As for my prime rib.  It was not a bad piece of meat.  But it was more like sub-prime rib to me.  It was edible when served at the restaurant and reasonable at such a discounted price tag. It was decent food compared to the awful food I tried elsewhere here in Toms River.  The vegetables were just too bland for our taste and we hate the plainly blanched snow peas.  Couldn't they be blanched in beef stock or something tasty instead of plain water, if they were to be served as blanched vegetables? I of course prefer my veggies to be seasoned and sauteed the usual California style. The mashed potato was the best item on my plate because it was well seasoned and it was real red potatoes mashed with real butter.  The mashed potato tasted good this morning as leftover but the prime rib tasted bad this morning as leftover. I guess the reason that the prime rib didn't taste good after one night in the fridge is because the quality of the meat just wasn't great to begin with.  It was then not properly seasoned when cooked.  It was pretty bland yesterday when I had it in the restaurant.  I had to constantly sprinkle salt on it but salt alone can't really add much flavor to a piece of steak that was long frozen.  The server offered to give me the A-1 Steak sauce, but I never liked putting this sauce on my steak, or any of my food. I'm just not a fan of A-1. I'm sure the great chefs in Los Angeles could have made this kind of steak work.   Unfortunately, restaurants here in this area don't seem to have that calibers of chefs.  This restaurant is not the place we plan on returning soon.  But we won't mind returning if we are in this neighborhood again and we are real hungry but knowing nowhere else to go. I wonder if the food at the food trucks back in Seaside Heights would have served us better food.  May be my colleagues and I shouldn't have left the Hot Rod event too early.

antique Corvette

This is one of the food trucks that I was very interested in trying but my colleagues were all turned off by the idea of standing in a long line under very hot, sticky and humid climate condition.  My colleagues seemed to be in grouchy mood and I wonder may be it was because of the gloomy overcast....They considered $12 for just one lobster roll sandwich was overpriced compared to the half-price Prime Rib deal they had in their mind.  But even not for the food, I would like to stay at the event a little longer so I could learn more about the beautiful cars there.

This Corvette is really pretty but what year was this car made?  I have no clue now because my friends pulled me out of the event too early.

The above cool antique car really caught my eyes. I would love to test drive it and take a photo with it. Again, what is the year and model of this car?

This pretty shiny blue car must be from the 1950s, right?  Sometimes it's just better to travel alone than travelling in packs because I won't have to be rushed by friends or family who may not share the same interest with me. So, if anyone of you happen to know the year, model and the estimated market value of any of the above cars, please let me know by commenting in the comment box below.  I would really appreciate.  I just want to know how many years will I have to save before I can afford one of these babies.

Restaurant: Tiffany's Restaurant 
Address: 270 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08753 
Tel:(732) 281-1036 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Low-Fat BlueberryYogurt With Peanuts

Content contributed by: Jane Ong

breakfast recipe Low-Fat Blueberry Yogurt With Peanuts

Recently, I've been having too many heavy breakfasts with eggs and bacons at various restaurants and my hotel here in Toms River.  This morning, I decided to go light on my breakfast by adding a pinch of Planters Low Sodium Roasted Peanuts to a cup of Dannon Low-Fat Blueberry Yogurt. This is one travel-friendly breakfast which I can whip up in any hotel. I love peanuts and I add them to a lot of my meals.  I feel very grateful that I don't have nuts allergy.  I just can't imagine not being able to have peanuts.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pigging-Out On Sushi Rolls In Toms River New Jersey

Restaurant Reviewed by: Jane Ong

Cucumber Avocado Roll, the Shrimp Tempera Roll, the Dragon Roll, and the Smoked Salmon Roll

Bingo!! My colleagues and I finally found a place in Toms River that serves decent sushi.  We were working in our client's office again near the Ocean County Mall when we took our courage to try out this spacious Japanese restaurant next to Applebee's which we swore we would never return.  After our previous bad experience with very fishy tasting sushi, we were really skeptical.  But extreme hunger beat our fear.  We are glad that we tried this place out.

 Like many restaurants here in Toms River, this restaurant doesn't have the liquor license, so we were unable to order sake or Sapporo beer.  I ordered a non-alcoholic Lychee Mojito, which was really Sprite  mixed with Lychee juice, served with mint leaves. It tasted pretty good but I wish I could have the alcoholic version.

Lychee Mojito

To play it safe, this time we decided to order only sushi rolls that didn't have any raw fish. As shown on the above photo from front to back, we had the Cucumber Avocado Roll ($5.00), the Shrimp Tempera Roll ($7.00), the Dragon Roll ($10.00), and the Smoked Salmon Roll ($5.00). These sushi rolls are so far the best sushi rolls we had tried in this area, even though we had only been to two Japanese restaurants here in Toms River so far.  The last one we went to was owned and operated by Chinese from Mainland China.  This one is operated by Taiwanese from Taiwan.  From my years of love affairs with sushi, the best sushi had been the ones served at restaurants that are run and operated by the Japanese.  Unfortunately, such restaurants can only be found in the big cities like Los Angeles and New York, not here in Toms River, New Jersey.  Sushi made by Chinese usually tends to be too sweet. It's often made with fish that isn't too fresh and rice that doesn't have the great taste and texture as the real Japanese sushi rice. More sweet sauce and sweetened mayo are usually used in sushis made by non-Japanese.  I personally much prefer the sushi made by Japanese chefs, but I'm happy to have found this place that serves rolls that are somewhat decent. But still, I don't think I will ever dare to try any rolls or sushi that has raw fish when I'm here in Toms River. 

While all the rolls we had ordered at this restaurant were pretty decent, our most favorite is the Cucumber Avocado Roll because it was made with very fresh and crisp cucumber.  This roll just tasted refreshingly good.  

Restaurant: Ichiban Japanese Fusion Cuisine Hibachi Steak House
Address: 1201 Hooper Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753
Tel: (732) 736-8868

Sunday, June 14, 2015

These Desserts Are For Display Only

Restaurant Reviewed by: Jane Ong

Tiaramisu Toms River Bakery NJ

My colleagues and I have been looking for a bakery in Toms River NJ where we can get good bread, cakes and more, because we just don't like the baked goods in ShopRite.  One day we stumbled upon a bakery in a strip mall after lunch. This bakery has vast display of numerous kinds of baked goods, from cookies to cakes to desserts.  The sight of the piles of colorful cakes and cookies made us hungry but we found it strange that we didn't smell that mesmerizing bakery fragrances we usually did at our favorite bakery back in Los Angeles. We didn't smell anything there.  The bakery at ShopRite actually smells better.

Despite our doubt, we bought a loaf of their "freshly baked" bread (which is cool in temperature) , a tiramisu (photo above) and a strawberry chocolate tartlet (photo below).

Strawberry Chocolate Tartlet Toms River Bakery NJ

We would have been the very happy customers if only we bought the bread and desserts for our photo props only.  But we aren't in the business of photography, so we were upset that these baked goods were not quite edible.  The bread didn't smell or taste fresh at all.  Biting into that bread reminded us of the stories that our grandparents told us about World War II when food was scarce and fresh baked bread was non-existent.

The tiramisu was beautiful looking but it didn't taste anything like tiramisu at all.  We didn't like the hydrogenated vegetable oil that was used to whip up the cream. (We could taste it.) We think this tiramisu was an insult to Italian pastry.  The strawberry chocolate tartlet was again an eye candy but not quite edible to us because of all the hydrogenated vegetable oil that was used to make the cream and the tart shell. The tart shell actually tasted somewhat stale to us, and it had a bad texture. The chocolate mousse tasted like something that was made up of low quality powder mix.  These desserts were no better than the ones at ShopRite which we didn't like because of the artificial tasting ingredients that were used.

We will not go back to this Italian bakery again.

Bakery: La Scala Italian Pastry Shop 
Address:1231 NJ-166, Toms River, NJ 08753 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fusion Chinese Buffet Is Slightly Better Than Fortune Buffet

Restaurant Reviewed by: Jane Ong

I'm not a big fan of low price buffet of any type because there are always kids and dirty customers who dropped the communal tongs and spoons on the floor and then put them back in the trays.  I often see kids and some very filthy adults use their hands to grab the noodles and even the stir fry chicken.  

I went to a Chinese buffet today because my colleagues insisted that it was okay to go after 2pm when the kids were still in school and then the other filthy people already ate their lunch.  They were right, we were the only people there today at 2:30pm.  This is the 2nd Chinese buffet we visited since we last visited that horrible and disgusting (in terms of food only, the decor and seating was decent) Fortune Buffet in Manchester Township NJ where I couldn't eat anything because everything just tasted bad to me.  This buffet is a little better than Fortune Buffet  because despite the very sandy spinach, the very tough roast beef and most of the items that just didn't taste good  to me, there were a few items that tasted okay. The salt and pepper shrimps in shells tasted okay and they were worth me the little extra effort to peel the shells off.  I grew up eating this kind of shrimps so I'm able to just peel the shells while eating without making my hands greasy.

Unlike Fortune Buffet where I had steamed white rice that was way under cooked, the steamed white rice here at this buffet was at least cooked and I had no problem with it.

The above plate contained all the items that tasted okay to me and they were: chicken broccoli stir fry, baked stuffed crawfish tail, string green beans stir fry, steamed white rice and salt and pepper shrimp in shell.  I didn't dare to try the sushi there because I had bad experience in having low quality sushi at cheap buffets that weren't fresh.  I was too afraid to try another round of bad and fishy tasting sushi.

There were also a few fruits that were decent: water melon, kiwi, cherries, orange. The coffee cream chocolate layer cake was not the best among those I had before, but it was better than any cake sold at ShopRite supermarket in Manchester Township. I am neutral as to whether I will come back to this buffet again in the near future because the food here isn't something that will make me crave for. But if I do return out of no other choice, then I will stick to the above few items only.

Restaurant: Fusion Buffet
Address:1256 Indian Head Rd, Toms River, NJ 08755 
Tel:(732) 286-6266

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie Is My Dinner Comfort Zone That I Have A Hard Time Stepping Out

Restaurant Reviewed by: Jane Ong

Chicken Pot Pie Perkins Toms River

As much as I want to be adventurous when I am dining out.  I often can't help ordering the same familiar dish that I like regardless of which restaurants I am at.  Tonight, I ordered chicken pot pie ($9.99) again even though it was my first time dining at this restaurant in Toms River.  

This chicken pot pie tasted quite good even though I think the chicken pot pie at Angles Cafe tasted a little better.  But I like this one a lot, it came out bubbly hot with the creamy white meat chicken soup inside, covered with a very fresh tasting and crispy pastry crust. It was yummy.  I don't know why I am not eating according to the season, since chicken pot pie is obviously a winter comfort food. I just love it so much though. This pot pie is a dinner set that came with a salad which was fresh and crisp.

House Salad Perkins Toms River

I'm adding this restaurant to my list of faves here in the Toms River area.

Restaurant: Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
Address:149 Rte 37 E, Toms River, NJ 08753 
Phone:(732) 473-1733 

Monday, June 8, 2015

OMG French Toast at Turning Point

Restaurant Reviewed by: Jane Ong

Delicious Wheat French Toasts Brick New Jersey

Good restaurants that serve good food are worth going back again and again.  Turning Point Restaurant at Brick is one of them.  As a visiting tourist in the Toms River area, I can't keep coming back here because there are all these dishes on the menu that I want to try.  Today I had the OMG French Toast ($9.85) with my usual coffee. This wheat  French Toast was topped with dollops of pumpkin cinnamon mascarpone, toasted pecans, caramel drizzle and chopped Virginia smoked bacon.  It was just so good. 

Restaurant: The Turning Point 
Address:505 Route 70, Brick, NJ 08723 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Missed The Circus But Ended Up Going For Vietnamese Dinner

Restaurant Reviewed by: Jane Ong

Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Fish Soup Toms River New Jersey

Not convinced that Manchester Township and Toms River are some of the most boring towns in New Jersey, I decided to go check out the visiting Kelly Miller Circus at nearby Lakehurst. Unfortunately, I had so much trust on the Google Map on my iphone that I didn't bother to look up the map of the circus' location before I drove out.  I thought I just needed to voice my command to the Google Navigation App on my phone and it would guide me to the Fuccile Sports Complex.   After all, Google had been able to get me around a lot of cities in the world, and it never failed me.  I was so surprised that Google was unable to map this particular sports complex in Lakehurst. Did Google not bother to put this place on the map because it assumed no resident in Lakehurt would be out looking for fun? The sports complex just isn't on Google map.  This is the first time Google failed to find a destination that I wanted to go.  So I got lost and I gave up looking for it. 

I went back to this Vietnamese restaurant that I like for dinner instead.  This time I ordered the Sweet & Sour Vietnamese Fish Soup ($12.95), which was a broth based soup made with tomatoes, chunks of salmon, bean sprouts, cabbages and pickled cabbages. It was full of flavors and very appetizing. It tasted pretty good to me even though not as good as the ones from my favorite Vietnamese restaurants back in Los Angeles.  

I also like the Vietnamese Fried Rice With Chinese Sausage ($10.95).  Chinese sausages, when sliced thin, have similar textures like pepperoni.  But in my opinion, the flavor in Chinese sausages is more dimensional than pepperoni.  This fried rice dish is one of my most favorite Vietnamese dishes.  No two Vietnamese restaurants make the same tasting Fried Rice.  I'm happy that I can have this dish here in Toms River and it was delicious.

Vietnamese Fried Rice With Chinese Sausage Toms RIver New Jersey

I realize that Vietnamese food here in Toms River is much more expensive than Los Angeles.  The better Vietnamese restaurants in Los Angeles cost 40% to 50% less than this place.  But well, this is one of a handful of restaurants I really like in this area of New Jersey, I am willing to pay more.  It's just interesting that the perception that cost of living in Los Angeles is more expensive may be not too accurate.  The average cost of dining out in Southern California and Los Angeles is certainly much cheaper than Manchester Township and Toms River.  The quality of restaurants is also much better in California.

But for anyone who is visiting Toms River like I am, I highly recommend this Vietnamese place.  It's one of the few decent restaurants here...

Restaurant: Vietnamese Cuisine 
Address: 1222 Rte. 166, Toms River, NJ 08753 
Tel: 732-349-7777

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie Is My Comfort Dinner Tonight

Restaurant reviewed by: Jane Ong

Delicious Chicken Pot Pie Toms River New Jersey

One of the things that California is much better than New Jersey is the weather.  I'm just not used to the weather here.  A few days ago, it was too hot, but it's now too cold for me.  It's gloomy, rainy and cold so I just want to stay in and not venture out to find a dinner joint.  Thank god this hotel has a decent restaurant in-house that I can always count on for a decent meal. I'm now having the chicken pot pie for dinner, which is comforting and delicious.  The soup is creamy and tasty.  The chicken is tender and also very well seasoned.  The chicken in this soup isn't gamy at all like the many chicken dishes I had elsewhere here in Toms River.  I hate gamy tasting chicken.   I love this chicken pot pie also because the pastry crust on top was so buttery and flavorful.  I highly recommend this dish, particularly on a cold rainy night like tonight.

Restaurant: Angles Cafe Grill & Lounge
Address: 2373 Hwy 9, Toms River, NJ 08755
Tel: (732) 367-6400

Monday, June 1, 2015

Winner Announcement: Homemade in No Time Free Cookbook Giveaway

Homemade in No Time Cookbook Giveaway
We had only 2 participants for the above free book giveaway. The winner for the above free book giveaway is: Susan.  We had already shipped the cookbook to the winner.  Please continue to follow us for our upcoming free cookbooks giveaway.