What is your ideal summer scene?
For me, two things come to mind: food and the beach. Or, more accurately, food at the beach.
Thanks to Fearless Restaurants, I got to experience my ideal summer scene for two days straight this past week, all completely free of charge. I was truly living the dream, being served gourmet food and drinks in my favorite place on Earth.
Lori and I both grew up spending our summers in Long Beach Island, NJ at our grandparents’ house in Beach Haven Crest. The island is my second home, and some of my best memories were made on that 18-mile stretch of sand.
It just so happens that Fearless Restaurants, a conglomerate that includes some m2mm favorites like White Dog Café and The Deck, holds several establishments throughout LBI. Jaimi Blackburn, Fearless’s super-awesome Director of Public Relations, was kind enough to invite us to celebrate the start of summer during an overnight stay in LBI. Unfortunately, Lori was busy adulting, so I packed up my boyfriend as a backup plus-one and headed to the beach for two days.
The event started at Daddy O Hotel, a 22-room boutique hotel boasting a modern, urban chic interior. Quite contrary to our ever- bustling, family-filled shore house, Daddy O offers quiet, peaceful luxury and endless amenities. It is the perfect fusion of Jersey-shore tradition and lush indulgence. And the beds are significantly less sandy.
The evening began with a cocktail hour at Daddy O’s outdoor Rum Bar, where we sipped on some specialty cocktails including a Tikitini, a Banana Daiquiri, Queen Anne’s Revenge, and the ‘O’ Cocktail. Here, we first met some of the other influencers at the event, like @AlexandMike, @Camille_Mola, @Philly_Grub, @PhillyChitChat, @VisitPhilly, and more! All had been invited to this all-inclusive event thanks to our influencer-status and large blog followings. Jaimi really rounded up the A-Team for this one.
Next, we dined at Plantation, another one of Fearless Restaurants’ LBI establishments. Plantation’s interior was recently redesigned and it is absolutely stunning. The new interior is colorful, lively, summery, chic and swanky – the perfect mix of modern and classic. And, not to mention, the perfect backdrop to what turned out to be an even more perfect meal. We started with the spicy tuna nachos – a great first bite of the weekend. For entrees, we had the local tuna, served with a crisped rice cake and mango salsa, as well as the seafood cippino over pappardelle noodles. For dessert, we split the mango cheesecake. Everything was incredible, and went back to our cozy hotel room satisfactorily stuffed.
The next day, we woke up, ate some complimentary hotel breakfast and took a stroll on the beach. With a slight breeze and a strong sun, it turned out to be the perfect beach day. After devouring some shrimp tacos and a watermelon-feta salad outback at Daddy O, we headed to the beach to read.
After a few hours in the sun, we made our way up to Daddy O rooftop bar as two human-lobsters. Here, we enjoyed a coral margarita and a Moscow mule before heading over to our final meal of the trip at Tucker’s Tavern. Tucker’s is one of our LBI family-favorites, as my brother and sister used to work there a few summers back. We particularly love their lacquered wings, served with Thai chili mayo and crumbled blue cheese. Naturally, we had to order those. After all, it’d been a long winter without them. For dinner, we had MORE tuna – this time, the flash seared variety with Thai peanut sauce, and the Viking Village Dayboat Scallops, served with bacon-sweet pea risotto. Both were absolutely delicious – a true toss-up for which was the best meal of the weekend.
After the meal, we sullenly bid our new influencer-friends farewell and left for my grandparents’ house a few miles down the island. How convenient, and how incredibly lucky, to have such fine dining options right down the road for the summer. We’ll be back soon – next time, with the whole family.
Now THAT is my ideal summer scene.