Our first vacation fish, and other standout moments of summer 2021 | Pamelas Food Service Diary – SILive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. This August saw a few true firsts for our family including a mostly uninterrupted two weeks away from Staten Island. We spent our time in Ocean Grove, N.J., a wholesome town that reminds me of childhood summer vacations where time passed at a happy, slow pace.

But what a point in history to be away from the restaurant beat with news unfolding back at home of the must-show vaccination cards at catered events and to access indoor dining. A time thats supposed to be recovery from the pandemic hardly feels as such this week from whats happening abroad to what our world looks like right here in a seemingly divided and angry New York City. It has been a wild week to be back to writing stories, to say the least.

So Im going to pull us back to our little world in the Garden State where we hardly drove the car, bet over Backgammon or Gin Rummy games and watched the boob tube only for baseball. We played Iron Chef with a few fresh catches and cooked from the inventories of either the cheese shop or the only deli within the confines of Gods Mile, the venerable Pathway Market.

The Pathway Market (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

My husband always takes his fishing pole on vacation. By some small miracle this is the first time hes actually caught something in the surf. As a result we had a few meals of summer fluke thank you, Dave and even sauteed some mussels our boys hunted down on the beach. Our younger guy took an evening boat trip on the Golden Eagle out of Belmar with dad on the high seas and they came home with enough bass for a few dinners.

James Cavagnaro on the Golden Eagle in Belmar, N.J. with a bass (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

Ocean Grove reminds me a bit of my own West Brighton neighborhood with that sense of community and everything within walking distance. In the mid-1800s the Methodists laid it out beautifully like a K. Hovnanian housing development. Its like a Greenbriar II retirement village where my grandmother used to live, just with a town center as the Great Auditorium, a tabernacle, youth center and the aptly named Tent City interspersed with these various handsome buildings.

Our kids have made friends over the years with other children who spend their summer in the tents. And from them weve been introduced to their parents who also have become friends. Going back there is like Old Home Week.

As the sun sets on Pilgrim Pathway, so must a vacation end. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

Just as the sun sets over the Pilgrim Pathway and it becomes closing time for Jimmy and Dee at Ocean Groves resident convenient mart, so must a vacation come to an end. But that doesnt mean its peacefulness should as well.

With this fresh sense of Ocean Grove calm, Im going to savor the last of the tomatoes in our garden and embrace a new season ahead writing about pumpkin spiced everything. I will not honk at anyone in front of me malingering at a traffic light. I will not throw a shoe at those squirrels who run along the fence eyeing the only sunflower in our yard to survive sometimes-violent whiffle ball games.

And I promise not to delight in chronicling the fall of any politician who has made restaurant reporting so painful in the pandemic. But come Monday, it will certainly start keeping me busy.

Pamela Silvestri is Advance Food Editor. She can be reached at silvestri@siadvance.com.

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Our first vacation fish, and other standout moments of summer 2021 | Pamelas Food Service Diary - SILive.com

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