A family trip to America for my sister, Elianne’s, wedding. We started off positive with this big pre-flight meal at the Chinese restaurant at Incheon Airport: spicy chicken, spicy seafood soup, soybean noodles, dim sum, glass noodles, fried shrimp and dumplings.
We were delayed 12 hours from Incheon, waited an inexplicable and befuddling two hours for our rental car at the never to be recommended JFK Budget rent-a-car, drove the dark, empty NJ Turnpike and grabbed a delicious WaWa hoagie at 2 a.m. before we could finally get a quick shower, conk out and enjoy the week together.
The stress of travel behind us, we started with the rehearsal dinner Friday night, the ceremony and party Saturday and hangover brunch on Sunday. Everything moved quickly, with lots of introductions, dancing and laughing. My littlest sister married to a great guy and newest member of the family, Brian.
My oldest friends from high school came over so we could lovingly insult each other and give plenty of bro hugs while tossing the pigskin.
The next morning after an impromptu four wheeler ride from our generous neighbors, we packed up for the shore (but not before stopping at King of Prussia mall for a quick shop and burger at Five Guys).
It was July 4th and the requisite beer, burgers and dogs were a welcome treat. The fireworks went off later under a foggy sky while Jordan and I sat alone on the misty beach.
The crab traps pulled in, the sky an ominous wave of dark, but the view will eventually get you the amazing sunset you crave. Avalon, NJ is a magical place.
In the morning, we stopped into Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, a local favorite for decades. Jordan got the Hollandaise special, and I opted for a little scrapple, hash browns and eggs.
It’s foolish to go to New Jersey without sampling some pizza. One of my favorites is Mackrone’s pizza, a family business and staple of South Jersey. We ordered the “Rio Grande” which had everything. It was outstanding, comparable to any of the great pies in the country. The sauce is the stand-out, but add in quality ingredients and soft dough, brilliant. We finished it off with little Italian Water Ice from the arcade.
In Wildwood, we ate at the delightful Harbor View Restaurant during the brilliantly backdropped sunset. The food wasn’t showstopping, but it matched the scenery well.
After dinner, the boardwalk was calling our names, or maybe it was just telling us to, “WATCH the Tramcar please!” James and I rode the greatest ride I’ve ever done. The 160 foot high Skyscraper. It is a feeling of pure terror, needing to be ridden to understand. We also ate some frozen custard and saw the future of our presidency presented in a standardly embarrassing and over-the-top manner. Enjoy the distinctly combative ‘Murica t-shirt selection.
Avalon beaches are amazing. The sand is soft and the water is cold.
We went back to Wildwood, to the The Crab House. We are always unable to settle on one thing, so I ordered the sampler, and Jordan got the high end version. This place was excellent. The fried shrimp was coated with a mixture of hot sauce and Thai chili, which was a perfect mix. Drinking Corona outside, on a picnic bench, with my lady beside me and talking with the family about this and that, it was a wonderful finish to our beach days.
Jordan, James and I left early, driving up the Garden State Parkway New York bound. We had one night in The Plaza Hotel before driving to JFK and flying home to Seoul. It’s a chandelier type environment, the way I imagine early 20th century opulence. They’ve redone it and added enough hip young employees to attract various clientele. The lobby was full of monied people moving slowly the way only rich people can. The room was beautiful, huge bed, bathroom sparkling and the robe was thick and heavy. I felt important in my gold lace robe, laying legs splayed watching SportCenter on my king bed. I bought a new laptop at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, which was literally buzzing with excitement. We walked through Central Park, then napped a bit in our lovely suite. Dinner was at Rue 57, affordable and didn’t disappoint (except the lighting was too sexy for good pictures). Dining on delicious Kobe meatloaf, chicken scaloppine, crunchy truffle fries with a delightful bottle of California white before we headed up the midnight elevator to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.
At the airport in the morning, we only had time for a greasy McDonald’s burger, a fitting, but depressing final meal in America. We did agree McD’s is better in America though. Ciao for now!