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Victorian Cape May, Part 2: A Tale of Two Doilies

On Sunday we decided to try a tiny taco joint we'd spotted while biking around West Cape May the previous day, Key West Tacos. In ten trips to Key West I've never actually eaten a taco there, but if you think I'm turning down a plate full of corn chips on some technicality, you're crazy.

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Though not much bigger than a walk-in closet, the decor is unique and funky, much like Key West itself.

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You'd think Stoner Beverage would sell something a little stronger than 7-Up, no?

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The ten different type of tacos here are overstuffed with the filling of your choice, plus cheese, lettuce, island slaw, and pico de gallo, making a delightfully cheesy, slawy mess all over your plate -- and your lap, should you be daring enough to pick one up.

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They're served with the aforementioned corn chips and a tasty Mexican version of dirty rice.

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Everything was fresh and delicious, so Angel and I made like a couple of contestants at a hot-dog eating contest and devoured every bit, in about 10 minutes flat.

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Also, for those of you still concerned about the Great Napkin Shortage of 2011, I am happy to report that Cape May has thankfully been spared.

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Afterwards we biked around for a bit in a doomed effort to be able to button our pants, taking in a number of interesting sights.

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Mark my words: This homeowner's wife is either dead, or wearing the Hope Diamond on her finger right now.

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If you are parked at a 10-hour meter and still find yourself in need of a five-minute grace period, perhaps what you really need is a new watch.

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You know how I occasionally wonder aloud on this web site about why on earth I ever got married? Well, here's one reason: Angel's willingness to pose with a random clump of freakishly large mushrooms . . . without even asking why.

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I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.

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Of course, you can't bike around Cape May without taking in its many "painted ladies," which can put a smile on anyone's face . . . particularly if they're named Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams.

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Among all the Victorians, somehow this gorgeous Mexican-style house just, er . . . snuck in. I know, I know. But my last name's Gonzalez, so it's okay.

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Anyone who matches their porch chairs and their golf cart to their house is A-OK in my book.

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Later that afternoon we decided to check out Reggae Sunday at the Rusty Nail, located at the new Beach Shack hotel. The folks behind the Beach Shack took what was an outdated, slated-for-demolition motel called the Coachman and brilliantly capitalized on the current craze for all things retro by renovating absolutely . . . nothing.

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Wood paneling? Check. Old-school newell-post bar stools? Check. Attached-bench picnic tables? Yep, they have those too.

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The Shack draws a well-groomed crowd.

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We'd no sooner kicked off our shoes, buried our toes in the sand, and ordered a round of drinks, when these two tiny humans plopped themselves down not two feet away from us.

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After some looking around, I finally spotted mom and dad, seated on the opposite side of the restaurant out of both sight and earshot, enjoying their drinks in relative peace. At first I was surprised that Mom would leave her kids alone with two strangers, but after an hour of listening to these two making truck noises, it finally hit me: She was hoping we'd kidnap them. Nice try, lady.

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After that trauma, Angel and I immediately retreated back into our coccoon of safety.

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That evening we had reservations at Louisa's, a postage-stamp sized place that's known for its ever-changing chalkboard menu and made-from-scratch desserts.

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Jersey tomatoes were in season, so I had mine with feta, while Angel went with the fresh mozzarella.

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Louisa's specializes in fresh fish, so Angel and I ordered roughly the same thing for our entrees, too: The mahi-mahi, his blackened with lime Srichacha sauce, and mine simply grilled with basil mayonnaise.

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It is probably wonderful for your husband to gaze lovingly at you like this after many years of marriage, but I wouldn't know . . . since he's actually staring at my dessert.

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I went with the Jersey peach crisp with toasted almonds, while Angel tried the blackbottom pie. Both were served with a generous dollop of real whipped cream, which was delicious, but not as much fun as squirting the stuff from a can directly into your mouth.

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On our last morning we decided to take a walk along the Promenade down to Cove Beach, where you can also find the aptly named Cove restaurant, a tiny spot that's in perpetual danger of being buried by the dune.

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We decided to stay awhile and take in the view.

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Later we rode down to the opposite end of Cape May for lunch at the Pier House. The new houses at this end of town are designed in the same style as town's original Victorians, presumably with the added benefit of being able to plug in a hair dryer without blowing a fuse.

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It is a sad state of affairs when someone's garage is way nicer than your actual house.

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At first glance, the Pier House wouldn't seem to have much going for it: an out-of-the-way location on Beach & Pittsburgh, an outdated web site, and an exterior that looks like a Swiss chalet. But to miss this place would be to miss one of the best meals you're likely to have in Cape May.

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Angel started with the Pyrat Punch, and the only thing you need to know about how potent it was is that he was afraid to finish it. You know how strict the cops are about drinking and bicycling.

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For our lunch entrees, I had the Mad Greek salad, which was similar to a Greek country salad -- no lettuce, and bursting with red and yellow tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, sharp feta, and a hint of mint, and finished with a simple dressing of pungent Greek olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano.

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This salad made up for every single tomato I didn't get to eat at the Tomato Festival.

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Angel went with the Mediterranean chicken sandwich. Imagine juicy chicken marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano; creamy melted feta; red onions and bitter arugula; and the ripest tomatoes you've ever tasted, all squished together on buttery, grilled Texas toast.

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We're already planning our next visit, and next time we'll order two of those sandwiches, to avoid ending up in divorce court.

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Sure, the patterned upholstery here might give you a seizure . . . but, really, where in Cape May is that not the case?

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Next up, we're headed to Charleston, SC , so hit the "Subcribe" button in the upper right corner and you'll be the first to know whether it's possible to devour Chucktown's famous 12-layer coconut cake in one bite!

Posted by TraceyG 05:25 Archived in USA Tagged new_jersey cape_may jersey_shore key_west_tacos rusty_nail beach_shack pier_house

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Comments

I have (sadly) been to Cape May many more times than I have been to Anguilla - and I have never seen it look more appealing than in your two travel reports - amazing!

by Suzanne

Oh, how I love watching you eat! Beautiful photos and hilarious commentary as always!!

by vicki_h

<Crossing fingers that Greg does not read *this* particular piece>. We have a somewhat artsy-creative guy next door and I don't want a replica of that fish since I know Greg can't afford the Hope diamond, LOL. Also Miss Tracey, I'm afraid you're going to have to choose between napkins and an afternoon sans rugrats. Prissy says bring napkins from home & enjoy a peaceful wine haze!

by Donna

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