This is only one of three photos pertaining to food in this post. In fact, the only reason why I’m posting this is for future reflection purposes, aka for when I get bored and like to reminisce. I’ll try to keep it short.
So let’s rewind. Yesterday, the AVP tour stopped at Belmar Beach, which is conveniently a 30 minute drive away. It’s a beach volleyball tour that starts around in April and ends in September. The winner of this weekend’s tournament will receive a whopping $200k. Not bad for three days of work, eh?
Victor, Wendy, and I worked as statisticians. Not only did we get to watch some free pro-beach volleyball, but we also took the stats for seven matches. It was sorta like watching a movie at the beach with unlimited water, Gatorade, Chex Mix + other random food while getting paid. It was in one word, awesome.
What was not so awesome was the sun. We sat under the sun from 8am to around 4pm ish. I think it reached the high 80’s today, so we reapplied sunblock like after every 45 minutes. Result? I escaped burn-free though totally exhausted from all that sun.
Phil Dalhausser, 2008 Gold Olympic Medalist. I have no excuse for this blurry shot.
Getting back to the awesome part- AVP is the beach volleyball tour that you want to be on. Victor says that it’s what made Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers Olympic medalists. Essentially, they set up all the competitions for these pros to practice. Unlike basketball, baseball, or football, there’s no beach volleyball league of any sort. So AVP brings its players to beaches along the East and West coast during the summer (the tour) and charges spectators admission fees to watch while finding sponsors. It’s really a win-win for everyone in the end.
While popular names such as Misty May-Treanor and Phil Dalhausser were at the venue, there were a ton of other great players. My favorite of the day had to have been Katie Jameson and Tracy Jones, formally the Lindquist Sisters. At 5’6″ they’re considered really short for the sport. They’re at a huge disadvantage because it’s almost impossible for them to block up at the net. But they’re incredibly smart strategically and communicate really well. Their defense is impeccable and somehow find a way to go for the kill. They’re able to place their attacks exactly where there’s an empty gap. In other words, they give us short people some hope.
We were assigned to a woman’s court, so the rallys were a bit longer than the men’s (although we got fairly lucky because most games only ended at two sets). Most of the players actually looked like they were in their late 20’s and 30’s, which means there’s still plenty of time for everyone to play.
And then you have the men’s games, where every other second involved a ball being pounded into someone’s face. That’s some intensity there.
Around 1:30pm, we caught a break. By that time, it was so hot, the sand was literally on fire. Players pulled on their socks and one-by-one, the courts started getting hosed down. The sand quickly dried up within minutes though. We took a dip in the ocean after every game, thereafter. How convenient.
But yeah, that’s about it. Just alot of ripped bodies and jealously during those eight hours…
Last but not least- Strollos and their homemade Italian ice. Even though Wendy had to get back early for a graduation party, she insisted that Strollos was a necessary pit-stop, if that’s any indication at how good this place is. I’m conflicted between Strollos and Ralph’s. Strollos’ flavors are really limited, at least compared to Ralph’s and some of them were just a-okay. But what I really loved was the texture of the ice. Unlike Rita’s where you’re just literally getting minutely crushed ice with sweet syrup, at Strollos, it comes out of a soft-serve machine where the consistency is icy enough to be ice, but thick enough to retain the shape of swirls.
You can get either their ice’s or hard ice cream, but I’ve heard that the best is when you mix their ice with ice cream (like orange ice and vanilla). You can actually squeeze four flavors into a small! Some of their flavors include:
- Coconut: This was the creamiest of the four flavors I got and was really good considering how tart the blueberry was. But Victor agreed with me that it had some tones of peanut butter?!
- Strawberry: Not bad, but not great. Didn’t taste that strongly of strawberry, but definitely fruity if you’re craving that
- Mango: A creamy but distinct mango flavor. Goes well with the coconut
- Blueberry: Really REALLY tart to the point where it was sour. If you combine it with a creamier ice (like coconut) or get it with ice cream, I can imagine it working out really well
- Cherry: Surprisingly really good. I’m not a big cherry flavor person, but a big cherry fruit person (cherry flavor always reminds me of Children’s Tylenol). Anyway, it sorta tasted like real cherries!
- Peanut butter
There are a few more but… I can’t remember. I really am exhausted right now. I’m quite astonished at how I’m still awake. On a separate note, the owner of Strollos was convicted on tax evasion charges last year!
Anyway, now that I think about it, Ralph definitely has more exotic flavors (like cannoli, tiramisu, etc) and hits it right on the mark in terms of flavor, but I do love the consistency of the ice at Strollo’s. Luckily, they’re pretty far apart from each other, so it’s not as if I really need to make a decision as to where to go for ices.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to press the publish button and PASS OUT.
Strollo’s Italian Ice
500 Main St
Belmar, NJ 07719