Hi there! Before I dive into Part I of my foodie tour in Asbury Park, New Jersey, I must announce (with much excitement!) that this is my first post returning to food blogging. Things have been changing quite a bit around here, and as many of you may know, this blog USED to be “KimArt: For the Home,” an off-shoot of my embroidery business, KimArt Designs. I will explain my change a bit more later, but wanted to say – Where We Gather is my new home & I am overwhelmed with excitement (and a touch of anxiety) to bring new stories & recipes to you with a more solid purpose & mission. I hope you love what you find here, and you can read more about my mission on my About page.
Now, allow me to tell you about the AMAZING day I had yesterday with Neilly, half of the amazing duo that is Heirloom Kitchen, and Michael Persico, a photographer from Philadelphia who focuses on food, lifestyle & interiors. The plan for the Heirloom Kitchen’s Food Tour & Photography Workshop was to visit 5 amazing spots in Asbury Park, New Jersey, learn more about these wonderful spaces, and get hands on with photographing some of their dishes. Of course, we got to eat everything too, and that was just the icing on top of the cake!
Stop 1: Cafe Volan
Our meet up spot and first stop on our food tour was Cafe Valon, where co-owner Paul Cali shared his reasonings for opening Cafe Valon, which he jokingly attributed to drinking so much horrible coffee. On a more serious note, Paul described his passion for coffee in a way that I didn’t know I had been waiting my whole life to hear. He described “coffee culture” to be romantic. For years I have been searching for a way to describe the way coffee brings people together, the way I feel when my husband makes me a beautiful latte … the skill & precision that goes into really good coffee – and in about one minute, Paul spoke to my soul!
Pictured above: a delicious & wonderfully crafted latte from Cafe Volan
Not only did Paul passionately describe his love for coffee, but he also educated our group on where Cafe Volan sources its ingredients, and how his business supports farmers. Over the years, as I have become more educated on ethical sourcing, sustainability, and farming, I see the value in paying more for a quality cup of coffee. In a world where there are .99 cent coffees and $2 lattes, Paul’s openness and willingness to spread coffee education is refreshing & necessary.
The vibe in Cafe Volan is very relaxing & most definitely inspired by surfing and the coast. The wooden tables and construction of the bar is earthy, a tad rustic, and filled with character. This is definitely a wonderful place to go to experience delicious expresso with friends while also supporting a local business built on good ethics & a community mentality.
Stop 2: Cardinal Provisions
Our second stop caught my eye just from the beautiful exterior. Cardinal Provisions is definitely eye-catching and will stop you in your tracks in the middle of Asbury Park. To top it off – what’s great is that Cardinal Provisions delivers on beauty and delicious food more than you could even imagine.
Utterly charming and beautiful inside, I immediately admired the architecture within Cardinal. Even more charming was the beautiful story told to us by Cardinal’s pastry chef. Cardinal was built on a lot of love & support from family & friends, with family members and other local businesses contributing to the unique signage, lettering, tables, and interior design.
I absolutely loved the vibe at Cardinal. On top of having delicious and visually mind blowing dishes, they focus on seasonal and local ingredients, and you can tell a lot of care & creativity went into crafting their menu. The freshness of the ingredients and various colors and textures really made for a unique and memorable experience. What’s more – this is a breakfast/brunch/lunch spot – BUT they also host pop-up dinners – which I will definitely be keeping an eye out for.
Pictured above: Gravlax – beet-horseradish cream cheese, house cured salmon, capers, red onion, herbs, everything croissant at Cardinal Provisions.
Pictured below: Everything croissant
If I didn’t have bathroom-envy before, now I do.
Also, let us have a moment of silence for the most mind-blowing chicken & waffles I have EVER had in my life. I can honestly say, I truly do not think I can ever have chicken & waffles elsewhere, after diving into Cardinal’s version. I will just let the photo speak for itself:
I mean… how can you not want to eat this…?!
Cardinal, thank you so much for your inspiring story. I cannot wait to go back …. very soon!
These are my highlights from Part I of our food tour! Please stay tuned for Part II!
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Heirloom Kitchen: www.ourheirloomkitchen.com
3858 Route 516
Old Bridge, New Jersey 08857
Michael Persico: www.persicophoto.com
based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cafe Volan: www.cafevolan.com
510 Bangs Ave
Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712
Cardinal Provisions: www.crdnal.com
513 Bangs Ave
Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712