Every Sunday from 9am to 2pm, the Galleria parking lot in Red Bank, NJ showcases a range of crafty artists, nurturing florists, and of course, a vibrant spectrum of reds, greens, oranges, and blues (fresh produce!). I’d like to say that the greatest thing about the market is the people who you get to meet, but that’d be a complete lie. In fact, if you ever go, avoid the stall that sells “Native-American inspired” jewelry, run by an oversized woman who wears long draping dresses reminiscent of a tie-dye experiment gone wrong. Don’t let her fool you- despite her long dirty blonde hair and green eyes, she’s married to a ‘full blooded’ Native American who will give you a good whipping if you take any pictures without permission. Oh, and she’ll read you like a ‘Sears catalog.’
Have I lost you? Only Suki and Jaime could possibly understand what I’m talking about. But nothing in those quotes are fabricated and if you dare find out for yourself, casually take a picture by her booth and you’ll feel her wrath.
Getting back to the market itself, grab yourself a cup of coffee at Red House Roaster. They sell a mean $2 iced coffee and coffee by the pound (Jersey Devil blend- $10, Mexican Fair Trade Organic- $11, El Salvador Santa Rita Natural- $15). The guy was even kind enough to pull out a bucket of their beans, so that we could get a waft of that wonderful aroma.
Then, make your way to Papa Ganache, a bakery known for their biscotti and all things sweet. We sample the Chocolate Macadamia and gosh, it just makes me want to bake in 90 degree weather.
I definitely would have gotten one of those had I gotten a hot coffee. But at that point, we were all ready for brunch.
You must also visit Papa Gino. He puts together a mean roasted red pepper and mozz sandwich right in front of you. Then he offers a piece to everyone- even if you’re not interested. That happened when he startled this lady, who had no idea he was offering her free food.
His stand also sells artichokes, olives, sundried tomatoes, and roasted peppers, all for $5. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, you know, a true Italian.
After the market, we headed downtown. It was a tad bit of a trek, and besides Jaime’s blistering feet, I’d say it was pleasant. Well, as pleasant as it gets walking down a lazy street of cars passing by.
The three of us wanted a traditional American brunch. Eggs, toast, pancakes- that kind of stuff. We walked around and really couldn’t find any other place other than River’s Edge Cafe. We were really surprised at how quiet it was on a Sunday morning. We imagined the streets would be bustling with families and kids.
River’s Edge Cafe reminded me of a little bed and breakfast. Inside, white picket fences adorned the wall and crisp white tableclothes rubbed against your legs like worn sandpaper. We felt a tiny bit out of place (though the three of us, we’d always be out of place). The crowd seemed to be a bit ‘older.’
Jaime’s options were limited as she’s a vegetarian and isn’t that fond of cheese. We picked the Top Gun for her and although it offered three cheese, Jaime only wanted Swiss. It looked pretty average for an omelet, but it didn’t hurt that it was served with home fries.
Cinnamon Raisin or Thick Sliced Egg Bread, served with home fries ($6)
Suki and I knew right off that we wanted to split brunch. You know how if you crave something sweet and order pancakes or french toast, halfway through the meal you crave something savory? We anticipated that so she ordered the French toast and I the Sundance Eggs.
We thought the description for the french toast read “Cinnamon Raisin WITH Thick Sliced Egg Bread,” but nope. When the plate came out, the toast was sliced in the normal width and both of us were a bit disappointed. Now looking back on the menu, that was a lapse on our part.
The french toast was still pretty good though. It was slightly crunchy on the edges and soft in the middle. It’s impressive how the whole thing didn’t get that soggy considering how thin the bread was. It would have been a better idea to serve a side of fruit instead of home fries, considering syrup doesn’t go well with potatoes.
Sundance Eggs: Potato skins filled with scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, & bacon, topped with our three cheeses, served with toast and home fries or fruit ($9.50)
This, I thought, was the highlight of the three. First off, any dish that has the two words “potato skins,” is an automatic win. Top that off with eggs, BACON, and not one, but THREE types of cheeses and, holy smokes. Do I even need to describe to you how it tasted? And they give you a full potato so you get two open faced skins loaded with all those toppings.
Suki and I thought it’d be more prudent to go with fruit since she already had the home fries. We split the dishes equally in half and it was a great idea. Even though the potato skins were amazing, there was no way I could have stomached all of that. It would have just been too much.
For all of our dishes, we ordered pumpernickel toast. It was decent, but not great. Some of the slices were a bit burnt. Still, the best pumpernickel bread I’ve ever had is at the Cheesecake Factory.
After brunch, we wandered outside where there was a random car show. They had all these antique cars (that’s the Model-A up there), but also showcased new models like the ETV (Extra Terrestrial Vehicle) where all four doors, the hood, and the trunk opened vertically up so that it looked like a giant beetle ready for take off.
The area’s definitely worth exploring (more) on the weekends.
35 Broad Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701