Vaccine

Back in the beginning of the year, when Covid 19 Vaccines became available in New Jersey for folks over 65, Susie and I actively started searching for appointments. At that point, one of the few places you could get the vaccine in New Jersey was at the Pharmacy Department at Shoprite Supermarkets. We loaded the Shoprite Pharmacy app on our phones, Ipads, and computer, and started every day by logging into the app on multiple devices, looking for appointments. At first we were stymied by the announcement that seemed to come up by about 9AM every morning that said, “All Covid 19 Vaccine appointments are filled. Try back again tomorrow.” That was the case till about the third week of January, when our neighbor Doc Anderson told us that he’d gotten an appointment on the app the afternoon before. We’d never tried beyond the morning when that announcement came up, so now we knew to try back later in the day.

The next day, signing onto the app in the afternoon, it appeared I’d secured an appointment for the following day at 2 PM, but there was a catch. The app said that I’d get a confirmation email later in the day, and that email never came. Again I can thank our neighbor Doc, because when I told him about not getting the confirmation email and said I was probably not going to go, he said to me, “I thought you were a New Yorker? Just go there tomorrow and act confident!” (Doc grew up near Mexico, New York, north of Syracuse) So, confidently, that’s exactly what I did, and got my first Moderna Covid Vaccine shot on the afternoon of Thursday, January 21, 2021! One down, one to go.

It took Susie a couple of more days of both of us signing into the app multiple times a day, but within a few days, we got her an appointment, and on Thursday, January 28th, Susie got her first Moderna shot too! Unfortunately, we didn’t get our appointments at close Shoprites, like the one we usually frequent in Somers Point, or the one just south of Ocean City in Marmora, but we got our appointments. I went to the southern part of Cape May County to the Shoprite in Rio Grande. For Susie’s, we had to travel a bit further to the Shoprite in Glassboro, NJ. They were a little bit removed from Ocean City, but we got the shots, and when we went to my shots, we got to have lunch from Arby’s in Cape May Courthouse. Coming home from Susie’s we got to stop at our favorite Italian Market, Bagliani’s in Hammonton. While we had to travel under an hour to our appointments, the appointment that our neighbor Doc secured was at a real far flung Shoprite. It was a Shoprite that necessitated him driving about 2 and a half hours to each appointment, but remember back to early January, and how scarce Covid Vaccine appointments were, and you’ll understand why Doc had no issue with the drive.

On Friday, February 19th (delayed one day because of an ice storm), I got my second Moderna vaccine shot at the Shoprite in Rio Grande, and on Thursday, February 25th, Susie got her second Moderna shot at the Shoprite in Glassboro. At that time, the CDC was saying, “Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final required shot,” which made Thursday, March 11th, two weeks after Susie got her second shot, our “Coming Out Day!”

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that since that Thursday we have been eating inside at two of our favorite restaurants (Charlie’s and Angelo’s) almost weekly, have hit the road again, leaving New Jersey for the first time in a year, have visited with all three of our children and their spouses, up and down the east coast, have seen our three wonderful Grandchildren in North Carolina multiple times, and have put over 3000 miles on our too long dormant leased Honda CR-V! We’ve also gotten to hug people, and be with friends and neighbors without fear. In short, we’ve gotten our lives back!! Twenty-first century science has created new ways to bring vaccines to the general public, in times that would have been unheard of 20 years ago…just another thing to be thankful for!

There are now multiple vaccines approved for use, and lots more places around Ocean City where you can get them. I just went onto the Shoprite app, and discovered that I can get a Moderna Covid 1 shot appointment at multiple times within the hour at our local Shoprite in Somers Point. The Mega Vaccine Center that they set up at the Atlantic City Convention Center is now available for walk-in shots, and I just read this morning that many states are asking for less than their allotments of vaccine, because those seeking shots has virtually dried up! I also read that in Ocean City, 58% of the population is vaccinated, while across the bridge in our mainland neighbor Somers Point, only 40% of the population is vaccinated.

We’re very fortunate that our entire family (but the Grandkids) are completely vaccinated, and the “worst” reaction seems to have been from our son Kenny who was laid low for about 36 hours. In the rest of our family, reactions have been very mild if anything happened at all, but really, I would rather have a reaction to the shot for a day or two, rather than continue to live in fear of maybe ending up in a hospital on a ventilator!

According to the CDC, those of us who are fully vaccinated can do virtually anything without fear, If we were to get Covid 19, it would be more like a bad cold than the life threatening illness it was a year ago. In their latest update, they’ve also said that those of us who are fully vaccinated can go without a mask in many circumstances! As a member of the generation that was the first to receive mass vaccinations for Polio way back in the 50s, perhaps I have more faith in science than some, but I will continue to listen to those who have dedicated their lives to the well being of the rest of us.

It’s been a tough year for everybody, and thank God we were not one of the millions of American families who lost a loved one, but life seems to get better every day. Seeing friends, eating in restaurants, and returning to normal. For example, Susie and I are looking forward to a week long visit with our two oldest Grandkids, Layla and Henry, in June. Grandma has been making lists of things to do with them since our son wondered if we’d be interested in an alone week with them. Just another reason to be thankful for the vaccine! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Thank You Science for giving us our lives back!

Angelo’s

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Susie and I are not the kind of people that eat out a lot, and when we do eat out, we tend to go to familiar places. I know that lots of our friends are all for experimentation, but for us, familiar settings, with folks that we know, and guaranteed food we like is more the way we eat out. (Not saying we don’t go to new places…just not that frequently!) In the 31 years we lived in Mineola, we developed this pattern, and on any given night of eating out, you’d probably find us at one of 4 or 5 places. Some people might call us boring, but we really liked the familiar surroundings of a known quantity.

That’s kind of the way our life has shaken out in Ocean City too. After years of vacationing here, before it became our permanent home in November of 2017, we’d eaten at many places, and several of them are still on our list of places we enjoy going to occasionally, but are not part of our weekly routine. Most weeks, our dining out is limited to three nights. On Saturday night we’re usually someplace with our regular OC Family group. Of the 3, this is the night that we are at different places and as close as we get to experimenting. On Tuesday night, most weeks, you can find us at the back bar at Charlies in Somers Point, eating and drinking with our good friend Sue, who bartends there on Tuesday night. Originally that was about it, but this past year, we’ve added another regular night to our week. On most Thursday nights, you can find us at Angelos Fairmount Tavern in Atlantic City, first having a martini with Michael at the bar, and then enjoying some good old fashioned, red sauce, neighborhood Italian food in one of this historic AC restaurant’s several dining rooms!

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Located on the corner of Fairmount Avenue and North Mississippi Avenue in the Ducktown section of Atlantic City, Angelos has been a fixture on that corner since Angelo Sr. and Isabella Mancuso bought a small bar with an even smaller dining room in 1935. Since then, for 4 generations of the Mancuso Family, Angelos has been a way of life!

The story goes that in the beginning, they sold two items…Fried Shrimp and Spaghetti with Meatballs. Over the years, the restaurant and the menu grew, and now you can find many of your favorite Italian American dishes, and your order will probably be cooked and served by someone in the Mancuso Family! Yes, this indeed is a Family Restaurant, for those dining there, and for the staff serving you. Since 1935, due to the ability to purchase adjacent buildings when they became available, the original small footprint of the restaurant has grown like topsy. There are now six dining rooms, but because of the nature of the expansion, they are all small and intimate and each has its own personality. They also have several large banquet rooms, and now the bar is larger than it was in the early days!

Speaking of the bar, as you sit at the L Shaped Bar, you will enjoy going back in time to old Atlantic City. There are pictures of pop celebrities of old, like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, Sports figures like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, a whole wall of “Who’s Who” from the Godfather movies, and Mancuso Family memories. There are also “wine” taps and beer taps, directly from the cold room! The bar is a cozy place to wait for the rest of your party, or to have a drink before dinner. Oh and as you sit at the bar, if you look down you’ll notice the tiled trough at your feet. Rumor has it that in the early days, when women wouldn’t be caught dead sitting at the bar, and it was strictly a male domain, there was no need to head to the men’s room if you needed to relieve yourself. I’d like to believe that’s true, but true or not, it makes a great story! Speaking of the Men’s room, the bar also holds probably one of Atlantic City’s smallest Men’s Rooms, but trust me, it’s better than using the trough!

The bar is also the gateway to Angelos. As you walk in the front door on the corner of Fairmount and North Mississippi, the bartender, who may also be making a martini, pouring wine for a waitress, and serving food to a bar patron, will call out to you, “Hey Folks…how many for dinner?” You see, Angelos only takes reservations for parties of 8 or more, so be you a corporate mogul or a vacationer from Brooklyn, you will give your name, the number in your party, and he’ll write it down on the clipboard and give you an idea of about how long you’ll be waiting! Find a seat at the bar, order one of their very reasonably priced drinks, and feast on the old AC atmosphere! Bars like this aren’t designed, they grow!

When your table is ready, the bartender will direct you to head through the door into the restaurant proper. Here you will be met by the hostess, and shown to your table, which may be in any one of their six dining rooms. From small rooms with about 6 tables, to larger rooms with family sized tables, from the Baseball Room, to the Fireplace Room (without a fireplace), each room is a little different, and has a unique atmosphere.

What isn’t different is the menu you’ll be ordering from. It is extensive, and exactly the Italian-American experience you desire.Take a look at their menu, and tell me if I’m wrong!

http://angelosfairmounttavern.com/menu.html

So let me tell you about one of our typical Thursday nights at Angelos. If Michael is bartending, he knows exactly what we want, but if it’s Dom or Gina or somebody else, we tell them we’re going to have a drink before dinner, and order our Grey Goose Martinis! We enjoy them, and love to soak in the atmosphere and people watch! The bar at Angelos is the perfect place to people watch!

When it’s our turn, we go up the steps and through the door and are surprised on what room we’ll be eating in! Last week, Megan stopped by and asked how our diet was going (yes…they tolerate us being no-carb in this decidedly carb intensive environment), Theresa, her Aunt, was our waitress and wanted to hear about my knee replacement. Victor started to bring us a basket of bread, till he realized it was us, and Patty, Megan’s Mom, stopped by to say hello. Do I love that…you know I do, but what I really love about Angelos, is be they Mancusos or not, this is a family, with the same staff year in and year out! That to me makes the experience just that more special!

Oh..so what do we, two no-carb folks eat in this wonderful restaurant? Well, without a doubt, we always start with the Angelo’s Cold Antipasto Salad for One (years ago, when we first tried to order this for two, our waitress..I think it might have been Rhonda, told us one was enough for two. Boy was she right!). Take a look at the attached pictures and tell me that doesn’t look wonderful! That really is enough for the two of us to eat for dinner, but we usually will splurge and have one or two (and that’s pushing it) appetizers for our dinner! Love their Eggplant Parmesan appetizer and the Shrimp Jammers are to die for!!

Another fascinating thing to look at when you’re at Angelos, is the numerous stain glass windows all over.

So that’s how we spend our Thursday nights. We head to AC and we dine with the Mancusos! Thanks for allowing us to be a member of the family, even if it’s just for a couple of hours once a week. We’re customers for life!!

Enjoy some old Mancuso Family pictures from their menu.

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