What's a Girl to Eat Down Da Shore?Ocean City, New Jersey, our family has been vacationing here for 20 years and we love it! Lots of activities abound like surfing, swimming, fishing and boating. But when it comes to food, it seems our choices are limited to pizza, burgers, ice cream and popcorn. Don’t get me wrong, I love these shore staples, just not every night. So what is there to eat down the shore?

Venturing on the boardwalk one night, I decided to investigate Pure Taco (1138 Boardwalk). I have been eyeing this spot since it opened last year. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out I was speaking to the owner; he was more than happy to tell me about his restaurant and food philosophy. He makes premium tacos using only the freshest ingredients; they are open for breakfast and proud to say Gluten Free. Wow, something different that is delicious and nutritious, yeah, yeah, yeah! Your choice of traditional classic chicken, ground beef or grilled steak served as corn tacos, nachos or on top of a field green salad. Everything is grilled fresh and he makes multiple sauces like Orange Peach Habanera Pepper and Guacamole a few times each day. I found another place on the Boardwalk called Clancy’s by the Sea (1244 Boardwalk), an adorable restaurant that offers outside patio seating overlooking the beach and ocean. This is not the same old shore food; it is old-fashioned shore standards with a new twist. My son loved the lobster/crab cake with cognac sauce and my daughter adored the broiled flounder with lemon chive butter, both served with fresh steamed veggies and rice on china with silverware. Bashful Banana was a recommendation from a friend who is a Vegan and it was a great find. Try their homemade veggie burgers and banana split whip ….yum, can’t believe it’s not dairy!

Other favorites down the shore include Tony Luke’s in Wildwood. That’s right, if you haven’t heard, Tony Luke’s is now in Wildwood Crest (6200 New Jersey Ave). My favorite sandwich on the menu is the chicken cutlet and broccoli rabe or spinach with provolone cheese served on a crispy roll. When you visit, tell Nicky (Beebop) Lucidonio, longtime family friend and co-owner that Chef Jacquie sent you! No trip to Ocean City would be complete without a few visits to The Clam Bar at Smith’s Marina (910 Bay Ave, Somers Point). Oh you may know Smith’s by a few names like: “that clam bar in Somer’s Point” or “Schmitty’s”, but trust me everyone knows it has the best New England clam chowder, fried clam strips and fried flounder sandwiches around! The Clam Chowder is creamy, chunky, and full of juicy, plump clams and potatoes; piping hot, just how soup should be served. Our kids love the casual atmosphere and you can dine in bathing suits, cover-ups and flip flops. No need to worry if fish is not your child’s favorite, they make incredible chicken fingers, which my daughter loves! Nothing gives me more satisfaction and pleasure knowing I broaden my children’s gastronomic palate by exposing them to healthier versions of “fast food” made great. The fact that they like it too makes it even better!

I decided on an early departure to avoid traffic. The kids and hubby decided to stay down and enjoy a few more hours of sun, glorious beach and boardwalk. On my way home I just had to make one last pit stop, sans family, to “Schmitty’s” for their incredible New England clam chowder. The ride home was great, no traffic, roof down, lots of sunshine and blasting Pink Floyd tunes, I chugged the whole quart of soup! Oh now this is truly heaven and it didn’t bother me one bit it was registering 107 degrees outside…now that’s good soup! Wherever you travel, always look for healthy food options. They’re out there! Do you have a favorite restaurant down the shore you would like to share? Let me know!