When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Spiked Lemonade!

My Weekend In Pictures. It's just like the quote of not having the best of everything but making the best of everything. Overall we had some delicious food, amazing craft beers, and memories that will last our lifetime.  Friday afternoon we started our weekend off at Ideal Farm And Garden on Route 206 where two of our listeners, Ann and Ruth each won $75 shopping sprees.  They added a ton of beauty to their homes for sure.  Our weekend dining actually got a head start last weekend when I accidentally went high end on a steak purchase. I didn't see the price and the two New York Strip steaks totaled at $38!  Granted at a restaurant those steaks would likely be in the $70 each range, but there was some initial sticker shock. Since Awesome Girlfriend Megan and I were trying to stay on a budget, we decided to do our nice fancy vacation dinner on my deck with those steaks Friday night.  Meg and I did our usual go to Longhorn seasoning, and it was phenomenal, per usual.  We then gained energy after our mini food comas from those delicious steaks, making an appearance at our favorite Campus Moonshine Tiki Bar.  We hung out with our besty Jasen and Spot, who I think has more fans at Tiki than anyone else.  He's a rock star.   

Saturday was the big day.  Despite being together for over two years, this was the first time Awesome Girlfriend Megan and I have ever gone away together alone.  With me getting her every other weekend, and then us trying to visit Boston seeing my family as much as possible, it just hadn't happened until this weekend.  Meg planned this one day vacation getaway in Asbury Park for us several months ago.  She has always been a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, so this is her Graceland basically.  We had an amazing day and night there last September with our besty Jasen, so of course we had to return.  We went to the beach, and it rained on us, often sideways at times.  All last week Meg was devastated about the weather forecast.  We desperately wanted to go away somewhere, where she wouldn't be bugged on her phone and me on mine, and relax on a beach.  

As we know, quite often life doesn't go according to plan.  If you go to Cape Cod, and it rains your day is basically done.  That is not the case in Asbury Park, with their plethora of fun bars and breweries.  We tried basically all new places and they were wonderful.  We first checked into Oceanic Inn, which was definitely more shady than the Empress we stayed at last September.  The clerk at his desk said "oh let me check to see if your room is clean and ready."  The nearby coworker said "Oh it's finally clean now, that was a major pain in the neck to clean!"  YIKES.  We did not want to hear that!  Ewww gross.

I then took Awesome Girlfriend Megan's hand and we started adventure seeking in Asbury Park immediately after that awkward comedy gold moment.  I took her on an impromptu whim to Asbury Lanes, where Springsteen just played last week.  Asbury Lanes is GORGEOUS and we highly recommend it.  They built this place well!  From the shiny new bowling lanes, to my personal favorite American Flag display that was build from red, white, and blue bowling balls, this place has an amazing energy and vibe.  We absolutely loved it.  

We then did our own Asbury Park self guided Brewery tour.  Walking 15 minutes where the rain seemed to be in our face no matter which direction we walked, the breweries were our lights at the end of our tunnel.  Our first brewery appeared to be an abandoned warehouse in a shady gated parking lot.  Talk about a clever disguise!  We've been trying for two years to find a great craft beer worthy of bringing home to my Dad (Padre,) who's a craft beer lover.  While Meg and I have enjoyed copious amounts of IPAs brewed here in Jersey, we haven't found that one which is "Padre Worthy."  I'm happy to report Asbury Park Brewery came through in the clutch!  We enjoyed their "XPA," "Sea Dragon," and Stout.  The vibe was amazing, one of our favorite breweries of all time.  The owner loves David Bowie, named his dog after him, and even has a cool mural of Bowie in the brewery.

We then went to Dark City Brewery, where the beers were okay and decor was alright.  Great lesson here about researching online, Dark City had much better reviews - but Meg and I preferred Asbury Park Brewery hands down.  From then we ventured off to Wonder Bar, another old Springsteen staple.  We enjoyed the Asbury Stout there while they were PACKED.  Apparently Wonder Bar was doing a local music initiative contest, which had plenty of parents there cheering on their kids.  

After quick break in our shady hotel with delicious pizza from Luigi's (we took brochures trying to remember which one we did and loved in September and Luigi's was the best!)  Meg and I got to see our buddy, Bouncer Rich who works at Anchor's Bend in Asbury Park, right on the beach.  The weather wasn't conducive for rum buckets in the sand like last summer, but we still had a blast.  We immediately hit it off with Rich last September, and keep in touch year round thanks to Facebook.  He's hilarious.  We then were able to see our dear friends Lori and Judy.  They used to live in Highland Lakes, and have since made the brilliant decision to move into Asbury Park.  Not only did Lori and Judy come out to have a drink with us and catch up, they then took us to the Biergarten Rooftop Bar overlooking a river.  Gorgeous views with delicious beers all around?  YES PLEASE!  Meg had to pee as we were leaving, they insisted we visit, see their place and play with all of their puppies.  This is where Meg had so much fun playing with all of their puppies, that she forgot to pee there.  You can't even make this up.  We then later tried again breaking into Stone Pony, where the front door bouncer wouldn't let us in without tickets to the show.  Ah well.  Maybe third time will be our charm for entering Stone Pony.

Awesome Girlfriend Megan and I are so blessed, we even have amazing friends all the way down the shore.  Even though it rained, we were able to try all of these new places.  Of course the weather turned warm and absolutely gorgeous on the beach as we were leaving.  Welp Welp.  Meg spotted dolphins swimming, I had never seen dolphins in the ocean.  They were magnificent and beautiful.  Well, we could only see their fins, but they were awesome!  We then went to a place in Annandale on Beaver Ave called "Cryan's Tavern."  Meg hadn't been there since she was 10 years old, and we had so much bringing her down memory lane.  We then ended up back in Vernon at our Campus Tiki Bar and hung out with wonderful friends, like Nat, Edward, and Bill.  Even though it rained on our parade, Meg and I were reminded as long as you're with loved ones, it doesn't matter.  If we relaxed on the beach, Meg and I probably wouldn't have ventured all the way off to those wonderful breweries plus other fun new experiences.  Everything for a reason, right?  Even though it wasn't the way we originally planned, our one day getaway vacation will still give us memories for a lifetime.  We had another amazing weekend, and I hope you were able to as well.

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