Friday, June 22, 2018

Long Beach Island Excursion

This past week, the GF & I took a quick, mid-week mini-vaca and returned to Long Beach Island. Situated near the heart of Long Beach Township is Daddy O, the premier boutique hotel in LBI. With only 22 rooms, Daddy O's achieves a nice balance between sophistication and comfort. To start - think homemade chocolate chip cookies all day, valets that deliver picnic lunches to you on the beach, and a partnership with PRIV to offer on-site beauty & spa amenities.

And the rooms? Frette bathrobes, C.O. Bigelow bathroom products, flat-screen TVs, wireless internet, ultra-plush mattresses, and rain showers in the marble and natural wood decorated baths are what you can expect!

GM & Director of Operations Pete Palladino holding court at Daddy O

After checking in and getting ourselves situated, the GF and I came downstairs to Daddy O's outdoor garden area to enjoy cocktails. Riffs on standards like an Old-Fashioned were easily enjoyed. And what a rum selection! The bartenders here know their stuff and take their time to shake up a proper cocktail to suit everyone's needs. Try some of the tiki drinks - set ablaze before service, they're the perfect balance between booze and easy sipping. 
Clockwise from Top Right: Tuna Nachos | Lobster Quesadilla | Cheese Curds | Thai Chili Panko Shrimp | Crab Bruschetta

For dinner that night, we were excited to return to Plantation Restaurant in nearby Harvey Cedars. A few miles north on LBI, the restaurant underwent a full renovation last summer. The new interior is bright, inviting, and hints at Miami Beach. To start, we enjoyed a slew of starters, including a lobster quesadilla, the always standout tuna nachos, and who can say no to fried cheese curds? The special of crispy Thai chili panko shrimp were spot on and the crab bruschetta were perfect beach eats.

Clockwise from Top Right: Truffle Halibut | Viking Bay Scallops & Bacon-Pea Risotto | Grouper | Beet Salad

Plantation also had a special of truffle-crusted halibut with an accompanying Parmesan broth and gnocchi - clearly a hit. The grouper was well-cooked, with the light, lemon tartar really making each bite. We always enjoy the local scallops - perfectly seared, with a smoky risotto that was studded with plenty of bacon and peas.

Bottom Left: Bread Pudding | Bottom Right: Key Lime Pie

For all the sweet tooth's out there - Plantation has got you covered. Bread pudding with a salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream? Yum! And my favorite dessert of all-time - key. lime. pie. Nicely tart, with a graham cracker crust - this hit the spot. Needless to say, the GF and I went to bed happy (and satiated!) that night.

Daddy O Restaurant & Bar

Clockwise from Top Right: Shishito Peppers | Baby Kale Salad with Jumbo Lump Crab | Tuna Tartare

The next morning, I went for a run along the beach to prep for another day of eats. And eat we did (after a few homemade cookies for breakfast!). With beautiful weather upon us, we ate lunch at Daddy O's outdoor patio. The tuna tartare was nicely dressed and seasoned - but what really blew us away was the care in which the tartare was constructed. Check out those crisps! And yes, we are at the Shore. 

Clockwise from Top Right: Shrimp Tacos | Fish & Chips | P.E.I Mussels with White Wine | Kobe Beef Dog

You can't get more "Shore" than the mussels in a white-wine sauce or shrimp tacos. The standout for me though? The fish & chips - a perfect fry, with just the right amount of batter and a nice firmness to the fish, these really hit the spot. And the sesame dressing on the coleslaw was a home run for me. It's also accompanied by housemade Old Bay chips with a kick! And if you really want to do it up big? Check out that Kobe beef dog. Makes all other dogs feel inadequate and insecure, that's for sure!

Tucker's Tavern

Drinks at Daddy O Rooftop Bar | Shrimp Cocktail & a Dozen Oysters at Tucker's Tavern

After a few hours luxuriating at the beach, we enjoyed drinks on Daddy O's rooftop bar (the place to be after the sun sets in LBI!). We then went to Tucker's Tavern for our final meal before returning to the city. Beautiful hardwood throughout, Tucker's has plenty of space to host parties and celebrations. Fresh seafood abound, with oysters, shrimp cocktail, and tuna tartare to be enjoyed.

Clockwise from Top  Right: 8 oz. Burger with Short Rib & Cheddar | Tuna Poke | Onion Rings | Flounder Francaise

Tuna poke was fun, well-dressed, and nicely light. On the other hand, the burger was all heft - cooked mid-rare, with plenty of cheese and additional richness from the braised-short rib. Do order the onion rings - clearly homemade, with a beer batter that will hit the spot. Old-school flounder francaise was rich, with plenty of butter and lemon. 

And with a bit of a tan (burn?) and our bellies full, we went back home to Philly, albeit wishing we were staying through the weekend. I still can't believe I only recently discovered "the Shore" and certainly, LBI. Definitely consider it the next time you need to get away from the hectic nature of the city. You won't be without any of the dining or hotel options you're used to in Philly either!

FTC Disclaimer: Special thanks to the Fearless Restaurants Group for inviting us out to LBI and the Fearless properties. Regardless, my opinions are mine alone and, therefore, unbiased. 

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