A glorious sunny day on the boardwalk at Ocean City with my cousin. The smell of salt air mixes with the that of pizza, hot dogs, and French fries. Cups of lemonade await, half a lemon on the bottom of each one. But what am I hoping to find? Fralinger’s salt water taffy, of course, whose mottos is “Sea air and sunshine in every box.” Maybe it’s the retro box picturing a bathing capped cutie in the surf. Or could it be the candy itself? I stock up and grab one of the little brochures on the way out. Later on I read about the legend of how salt water taffy came to be in the 1880s in Atlantic City (a gust of sea foam washed over the taffy-making equipment). When Joseph Fralinger got into the game, he started with my favorite flavor, molasses. Now there are over 50.
My weekend visit to the south Jersey shore also included a lovely dinner at Sofia www.sophiaofmargate.com in Margate. The restaurant, with its Greek-based menu, is stunning, with some of the prettiest outdoor dining areas I’ve seen. The building is warm stucco with wrought iron trim, balconies festooned with flowering vines, and urns of flowers lining walkways . Water plays in fountains, a theme that is carried over into the sinks in the restroom, to good effect. The dining areas inside are cool, dark, and comfortable, the perfect refuge after a hot day in the sun.
When a place is decorated within an inch of its life, can the food live up to it? Mostly, yes. We enjoyed grilled octopus, huge scallops, pomegranate-glazed lamb chops and whole grilled fish. A simple dessert of a crepe wrapped around vanilla ice cream with orange liqueur and berries was the perfect ending.