Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article
Print Date 9.24.2021
By Judy Brenna
And just like that ((snaps fingers)) Summer 2021 is over. Cornstalks and “Hello Fall!” signs are popping up all over and humans are salivating for everything pumpkin spice. It’s the time of year when every product known to mankind comes out with pumpkin spice whatever, from beverages and desserts to air fresheners, toilet paper, canned ham and chapstick ((insert severe eye roll emoji here)). It’s also the same time of year my body involuntarily shudders. I don’t hate pumpkin spice per say. I’m a traditionalist, after all, so I think certain things should have their respective place, like vegetables belong in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator, underwear should be worn under the pants, and pumpkin spice belongs in pumpkin pie, and so on. I personally never understood the mania. When Starbucks first came out with the “Pumpkin Spice Latte”, I thought it was interesting and a brilliant marketing strategy, but I personally was never a fan. I get it though. People go gaga over the Fall. And it’s not just about the spice. When it’s cold we long for the warmth, and when it’s so darn hot all we ache for is cooler weather, comfort food, and warm beverages. We also tend to repeat history ((I’ll spare you my long diatribe regarding society and politics)), so maybe it’s us as a species tapping into the spice wars of our forefathers, and our primordial need to conquer empires. ((Random fun fact alert)) Did you know that nutmeg was such a coveted spice that the Dutch traded some of their land on Manhattan Island to corner its supply. Also, the people of Oman used cloves as currency and considered them to be as precious as oil. The demand for cinnamon caused actual wars between the Dutch and Portuguese in 1638. People literally died for what people douse in their coffees and candles today. Nutty. But I digress. The pumpkin spice craze is a real thing, and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. So, hike up those leggings, pull on that puffy vest, put down your bottle of Grey Goose, and get ready for some hot spots where you can find this phenomenon and other fall flavors in our county.
If you haven’t downloaded the Dunkin or Starbucks apps, you have handfuls upon handfuls of locations all over this great county. From Margate to Hammonton, to Galloway, to Port Republic, to Mays Landing, to Egg Harbor to 5 locations just in Atlantic City, you can grab your Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, and if that’s not your jam, they’re featuring their new Iced or Hot Apple Crisp Macchiatos any Starbucks location. Not a fan of Starbucks? Try the pumpkin spiced latte over at Dunkin.
If you’re more of a coffee-house kind of person, you should definitely try Ventnor Coffee, located at 108 N. Dorset Avenue, in, you guessed it, Ventnor City. Ventnor Coffee is open seven days a week from 7 am to 6 pm, and in true coffee house form, serves hand-crafted, organic coffee and latte beverages, teas, and fresh baked pastries, and offers live music events with local talent, plus they even host open mic nights. This might be your big chance! Ventnor Coffee is a truly awesome spot, with a great vibe, to chill, enjoy some great coffee, and hear excellent live music.
If you’re looking for something "next level", head over to Barista’s Coffee House, located at 199 New Road, in Linwood, NJ, for your fall cravings. When they say time stands still at Barista’s they aren’t kidding. Owners Mark and Debbie Becker have created the perfect “neighborhood” atmosphere coffee house that draws an eclectic mix of soccer moms, academics, intellectuals, professionals, artists, students, and yes, the “basic” species ((google it)). Offering amazing gourmet breakfast and lunch items, (which, by the way, everything is freshly made to order), as well as a humungous coffee menu. It’s legitimately dizzying, just looking at. And hold onto your britches, they even have gelato. What on earth are you waiting for, stop reading and get over there right now. Mark and Debbie are dedicated artists to their barista craft. It is this level of commitment that has earned Barista’s Coffee House the title of the “Best Cup of Coffee in Town.”
And lastly, a little know place in Northfield, NJ, Mazza’s Farm Market and Coffee House, located at 815 West Mill Road. Mazza's Farm Market has been a local treasure for South Jersey since the 1960's. Around 2011 the Clemente Family took over and expand the Seasonal Farm Market into a year around destination. Using their experience in their local food communities, they curate a seasonal selection for their customers, serving local favorite soups, sandwiches, pastries, homemade pies, and you guessed it, comforting fall coffee beverages. Here’s what’s particularly special about Mazza’s: it’s a small family run business, and all their pastries, pies, cookies, and soups are homemade daily, with that magical ingredient, love. And another fantastic feature, you can order virtually anything they offer online. You can most definitely satiate that fall craving here and then some. They have a saying over at Mazza’s, “come as strangers and leave as friends”. And it’s the truth.
I have decided to stop resisting the pumpkin spice craze and I will stand up and embrace my Uggs with honor. So, ((as I mount a headdress of fallen leaves and antlers, and stand atop a giant bale of hay, surrounded by a thousand gourds)) I will raise my venti sized latte with honor, and toast to the gods of Autumn. And so should you. Also, keep a look out for fall specials at ((shameless plug)) Deauville Inn in Strathmere for all your Autumnal food and beverage needs ((wink wink)). Until next week, folks… #stayjerseystrong!