Eats & Reads: Maritime Parc and Water for Elephants Reviews

Happy Tuesday!

The past week has been a pretty eventful one. Nothing too major has happened, but I’ve been up to a bunch of fun “minor” things.

On Thursday, my friends/coworkers Camillia and Melissa and I visited Maritime Parc in Jersey City for a chef’s tasting – it was my very first one! (Not so much for Mel and Camillia … they’re seasoned in these). All in all, the experience was a good time but I’m not sure if I would return to Maritime Parc because most of the food was missing that “wow factor” for me. However, I certainly plan on doing another chef’s tasting in the future – it’s such a fun way to sample the best of the best that a restaurant has. One thing Maritime Parc did have on its side was location – it’s right on the water in Jersey City, looking out on the New York skyline. Besides having to navigate some cobblestone Liberty State Park roads, it was fairly easy to get to and had its own parking lot, too (any establishment that spares me from street parking in Jersey City gets my thumbs up). Here is a snapshot of what we ate:

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Durley Chine – gin, lemon thyme infused agave, lemon juice, soda
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Gnudi, lobster, lobster cream, squash, Brussels sprouts
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Butternut squash risotto, Brussels sprouts, crab, ham (my favorite dish!)
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Swordfish, fava beans, kale, rye berries, mustard broth
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Pancetta-wrapped halibut, white beans, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cardamom buerre blanc
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Strawberry rhubarb cobbler with buttermilk ice cream – superb!

Now on to some book action. This weekend I finished reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I decided to rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. I find the story’s topic fascinating – the life and hardships of those working in a Depression-era travelling circus – however, the way the story was carried out was a bit of a flop for me personally.

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The book follows a young Polish almost-Ivy League graduate, Jacob, and flip-flops between the 1930s circus days when Jacob works on the circus as a vet and present day, when Jacob resides in a retirement home. I felt a disconnect between the kind, gentle spirit Jacob is when he is younger and the bitter, old man he is in the present day. What made him become like that? (Note: in the movie, which I literally just watched, Jacob seems kinder as an old man, so I suppose this issue does not apply to the movie).

Also, the love story between Jacob and one of the show girls, Marlena, feels a bit shallow to me – I didn’t feel like their romance had much depth and was more based on how she was beautiful when she was all dolled up in her pink sequin outfit, how she was married to a complete asshat and how Jacob wanted to rescue her.

All in all, however, Water for Elephants was a fast, interesting read. I would recommend it if you’re looking for a fun (albeit not entirely upbeat) change of pace. I can’t lie, this book makes me want to do some research on old-timey travelling circuses, and it brought me a newfound love for elephants.

P.S. This was actually one of those rare times when I enjoyed the movie more than the book … for some reason, I felt like I got more emotionally invested in the movie, maybe because I could visualize the good and bad parts better (also there were fewer distracting sexual details in the movie).

In other news, this weekend Lawrence and I had a random beach date. We hit up Point Pleasant and ate a delicious seafood dinner at Spikes Fish Market & Restaurant, followed by ice cream cones at Kohr’s Frozen Custard. We also spent the day on Sunday with my family, which is always nice. It’s definitely needed, too, as my brother and his wife are going through some difficult times lately.

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Spikes Fish Market & Restaurant clam bake
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Om nom nom nom (I don’t trust you if you don’t like sprinkles)

Last but not least, it’s my BIRTHDAY WEEK!!! Yesterday I took the plunge and requested Friday off from work (that’s a semi-big deal for me because I have a complex where I feel super guilty about taking any days off, ever, unless I have an appointment or solid vacation booked. I feel guilty taking “me” days … which I really shouldn’t feel bad about. But whatever). On Saturday, I’m meeting family and friends at this cute, local lakeside restaurant called Lago and next weekend Lawrence bought tickets for us to do a fundraiser “paint and sip” event. The best part is that the event benefits the rescue society that I volunteer at, and we get to PAINT OUR OWN PETS!!! I cannot wait. I already know where our paintings of Miko and Zoe and going to go. 🙂

Have a great week!

 

 

 

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