Summertime and the Livin’ is Tasty: Favorite summer eats

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It wouldn’t be summer without ice cream from Nina’s Waffles and Ice Cream.

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It wouldn’t be summer without ice cream from Nina’s Waffles and Ice Cream.

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By Allison Musante
   What’s the best part of your Jersey shore vacation? It’s probably not the crowds. It’s definitely not the traffic. It’s got to be the food! From sweet treats to handheld feasts, beach bites are simple, delicious, and best enjoyed in the company of your friends and family. No matter which beach you spend your summer laying on, everyone looks forward to those must-have boardwalk treats every year. As the season draws to a close, there’s still time to savor your favorite summer treats, whether or not you’re braving the Jersey shore traffic.
Shore Favorite: Iced Coffee
    Worth the Traffic: Rook
   With nearly a dozen locations in New Jersey, Rook Coffee has taken over the Jersey shore java scene since opening its doors in 2010. Devotees of Rook rave about the cold brew and how easy it is to grab and go — simply text your order to any one of the Rook locations and skip the line when you arrive. For more information, go to rookcoffee.com.<br>    Stay Local: Grover’s Mill Coffee House, West Windsor
   When the craving for an ice-cold pick-me-up strikes, stop in at Grover’s Mill. What’s its secret to the most delicious iced coffee? Coffee ice cubes! By freezing their brewed-in-house coffee, these ice cubes chill your drink and refill it as they melt. Genius!
Grover’s Mill Coffee is located at 335 Princeton Hightstown Road, West Windsor. For more information, go to groversmillcoffee.com.
Shore Favorite: Ice Cream
   Worth the Traffic: Kohr Brothers frozen custard has been a boardwalk staple since the first location opened in Coney Island in 1919. And it’s no wonder why, with locations on nearly every major boardwalk from New Jersey to Maryland. Life just doesn’t get any sweeter than a creamy vanilla-chocolate twist piled high on a waffle cone smothered in rainbow sprinkles. For more information, go to kohrbros.com.
   Stay Local: Nina’s Waffles and Ice Cream, Princeton. At Nina’s, you’ll never have to choose between sweet and savory. Nina’s authentic Belgian waffles are crispy, buttery, and served hot with your choice of toppings. On the savory side, choose from barbecue pulled pork, served on a Mac & Cheese waffle, or slab bacon, served on a Yukon gold mashed potato waffle. On the sweet side, make your own waffle sundae or ice cream waffle sandwich with any one of Nina’s small-batch artisanal ice creams. The ice cream is so velvety and rich, you’d never know it’s low-sugar and egg-free. Nina’s Waffles & Ice Cream is located at 252 Nassau St., Princeton. For more information, go to ninaswafflesofprinceton.com.
Shore Favorite: Pizza
   Worth the Traffic: Mack’s Pizza, Wildwood: There are hundreds of places to grab a hot cheesy slice of pizza at the Jersey shore, but one place in particular outshines the rest. Mack’s is a family-owned pizza parlor on the Wildwood boardwalk that has been serving famously delicious thin-crust pies for more than 50 years. Done simply to perfection, a slice from Mack’s is crispy with just the right amount of cheese and a zesty sauce—what more could you ask for? For more information, go to mackspizza.com.
 Stay Local: Nomad Pizza in Hopewell and Princeton highlights its love for locally sourced organic ingredients on its menu of thin-crust pizzas. Served piping hot and sliced tableside, Nomad’s pizza pies don’t skimp on toppings or on flavor. For the adventurous, try a pie topped with pork and fig jam, gorgonzola and pear, or shiitake mushrooms and caramelized onions. Or, stick with the classics, from four-cheese to pepperoni pies, and the most outstanding meatball parmesan sandwich you’ll ever have. Nomad is also the perfect choice for dining al fresco on a warm summer evening, and because their pizzas are made for sharing, a great option for dining with your best pals. Nomad Pizza’s Princeton location is located at the Princeton Shopping Center, 301 N Harrison St., Princeton; nomadpizzaco.com/princeton.html.
Shore Favorite: Boardwalk Fries.
   Worth the Traffic: Tater’s, Ocean City. Nothing says summer like a bucket of hot, salty fries smothered in malt vinegar or cheese sauce. At Tater’s on the Ocean City Boardwalk, they do it right — fresh cut and fried in peanut oil. The only decision you need to make is whether to top these delicious spuds with cheese sauce. Tater’s is located at 652 Boardwalk, Ocean City.
   Stay Local: DIY Boardwalk Fries. Making your own boardwalk fries is all about the technique. Try this recipe for copycat fries and enjoy the taste of summer all year long.
   Ingredients:
2 pounds of russet potatoes
   Peanut oil for frying
   Salt or Old Bay seasoning
   Directions:
Scrub the potatoes clean but don’t peel them
   Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
   Let the potatoes soak in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes
   Drain and rinse the potatoes in cold water until the water runs clear
   With paper towels or in a salad spinner, get the potatoes as dry as possible
   Heat 3 to 4 inches of peanut oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat (about 300 degrees F)
   Fry the potatoes for about 3 minutes, until halfway cooked
   Transfer the potatoes to a paper-towel lined baking sheet to soak up excess oil
   Increase the oil temperature to about 365 degrees F
   Fry the potatoes for another 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through
   Return the potatoes to a paper-towel lined baking sheet to soak up excess oil
   Immediately season with salt or Old Bay seasoning to taste.
   Secrets of the Perfect Crispy French Fry:<br>    Starchy potatoes like russets work best for frying because their thick skin gets crispy while the inside stays fluffy
   Don’t skip the step of rinsing and drying the potatoes before frying—this removes excess starch to make the potatoes extra crispy
   Peanut oil is key. Its high smoke point lets you fry at a higher temperature, which reduces greasiness, and its neutral taste lets the natural potato flavor shine through
   Use a thermometer to gauge your fry temperature
   Remember to salt fries immediately after frying — hot fries hold salt better than cold fries
Allison Musante blogs about food at www.the-hungryeditor.com. Follow her @TheHungryEditor.