Visiting The Dominican Republic For Surf, Smiles, And Self-Reflection

dr 1.jpg

Before The Summer Season Begins We Head To The Dominican Republic

A few weeks ago, my family and I set off for the Dominican Republic. We were greeted by amazing people and found ourselves very much at home with surf, sand, smiles, and Moringa everywhere. everywhere! The trip was one that allowed me to truly reconnect with my creative intuition and to break away from the fear I’d been lugging around with me for a while. I also found that, like so many who have gone to the Dominican Republic before, I’ve fallen in love with the place and the feeling I have when I’m there. If you’re ready to fall in love too, read on to learn more about my trip.

dr 4.jpg

A Home For Many Expats And A Culture That Reflects That Beautifully

One thing you’ll probably notice about the Dominican Republic when you first arrive is the vast number of expats who this place their home. People from Scandinavia Haiti, Spain, the US and everywhere in between have come to add their influence to this gorgeous oceanside paradise. The climate is fantastic, the ocean is a kaleidoscope of different blue shades washing over one another with the tide, and with every wave crash you become all the more certain that you belong there. Sampling local produce like papaya or turmeric was (which you’ll soon find is used in everything and is an awesome addition for sure!) gave us that tropical feeling from the start. The food in the DR is very influenced by Spanish, French, and multicultural Caribbean style so there are plenty of empanadas, braised meats, and veggies,  

cyqY1hkc.jpeg

The Dominican Republic Loves Moringa As Much As Wave Of Balance Does!

We loved the papaya and empanadas, and we were also struck by how the Dominican Republic is culturally aware of the benefits of moringa. Moringa and the Dominican Republic, much like our Wave of Balance Moringa and Our hometown of Asbury Park, are a delicious and dynamic duo.  From smoothies to food toppings, Moringa is everywhere in the DR and so is hospitality! Lina, who works at the gorgeous El Encuentro Surf Lodge was amazing. While we weren’t staying at the Lodge itself, we were nearby and Lina made us feel so comfortable. She was truly welcoming and helped us to find anything (from yoga to great surf breaks to excellent meals at local joints) and we just couldn’t be more grateful. In fact, we even left some of our Wave of Balance Moringa for the amazing folks at El Encuentro Surf Lodge. So, they’ll be using our Moringa to ride their own waves in the Dominican Republic. If you want to learn more about the Surf Lodge check them out here and if you’re ready to try our Wave Of Balance Moringa line, you can find those products here. Ready to plan your own trip to El Encuentro? Check them out here.

dr 2.jpg

The Work and Impact of Mariposa On The  Women Of The Dominican Republic And DR Surf Culture

While we certainly loved visiting Lina and the team at El Encuentro (and eating our way through the amazing local eateries in the area), I’d be crazy not to mention Mariposa and my own experience of clarity from this adventure.

If you’ve read my travel blogs before, you definitely know that I don’t leave my humanitarian hat behind when I travel and Mariposa is one of the organizations I’ve fallen head over heels for in the Dominican Republic. The organization (You can learn more about them here.)

) works with women and children on everything from education, to health, to sustainability, to recycling. In fact, Mariposa makes the most of the Dominican Republic’s tourism draw for kitesurfing, especially in the Kite Surfing Capital Of the World in Cabarete. They repurpose the sail fabric to make travel bags and all sort of purses and backpacks. Mariposa cares for the environment by working on reef replenishment as well.

As I reflect on my own personal experience on this trip I found that surf culture is growing in the Dominican Republic. I visited the Encuentro Surf Break about 28 years ago, and I was the only one of my friends in the water. On this trip I found that about 50% of the surfers were women, and many were young women. I could see Mariposa’s influence, as they work to get kids on the coast involved in water sports, they focus on women and girls. They work to get young girls exposed to the resources around them.

eye-symbol-icon-71482.png

A Guided Meditation That Unblocked Creativity And Found Me Profoundly Grateful.

I also had the chance to push the pause button on my trip and took full advantage of that opportunity. I was lucky enough to be led through a meditation with a woman named Lola (onajourneyinwards  on Instagram). She had instructed a yoga class for us and we hired her to do guided meditation and yin class.

Before the meditation I was finding my intuition and creativity fairly blocked, or at least very challenged for the past year. Lola’s meditation opened me up and allowed me to see an eye in my visualizations that I can still see to this day whenever I need it. It was a simple drawing but helped me to see and unblock what was feeling so stuck for so long. Lola’s work helped me to take the anxiety and fear out of my mental state and over the course of that hour I found my mental block released. I felt more connected to myself and so grateful for that place and even, for a place I was beginning to miss.

This trip made me appreciate our restaurant pavilion by the sea even more. Lola’s mediation, Lina’s welcome, and finding myself in a place that understands the true meaning of hospitality all reminded me of our places in Asbury Park. The people of the Dominican Republic allowed us to feel like we were the only people they were taking care of, and that is the heart of hospitality that others should truly strive for and live out each day. Lina, El Encurentro, Lola, and the other amazing people we met on the island (including Myran Lindblom who took photos of us enjoying the surf and sand) understood and lived this idea fully.

dr end of blog.png

Home Is Where The Beach Is: Come Visit Us At Ours!

The welcome and true hospitality we experienced in the Dominican Republic allowed me to come back to this table by the window at Langosta and to feel as though there is no need to leave it right now. I find myself all the more committed to our work, to this beautiful ocean view, to my amazing team, and my phenomenal family. I’m glad to have new friends in the Dominican Republic and am so glad we got to visit. I’m sure we’ll be back sooner than we think.

But for now, it’s summer at the New Jersey Shore. And that means it’s time to make some amazing food, surf our hometown waves, enjoy the weather at our pavilion by the sea, and welcome our own visitors with the heart of hospitality that is rare by remarkable.

I hope you’ll come visit us at Langosta, Pop’s Garage, or the Asbury Park Yacht Club this summer and I can’t wait to meet you!

Marilyn's May Preview

Marilyn's May Preview

May, from where I sit, seems like such an amazing month.

There’s so much going on and so much good that will come of it all. From our Vehicle For Change Program, to volunteer opportunities with the Boys and Girls Club, To my Cook Book, Mushrooms, and Moringa Supplement Line, I’m giving you the rundown on everything that’s going on for my partners and I this May.

Our Spring Menu: A Collaborative Effort

The Spring Menu: On Full Display At Our Collaboration Dinner

christopher-jolly-547616-unsplash.jpg

On Wednesday March 27th we hosted our Collaboration Dinner at Langosta Lounge. It was en evening of wine, food, and friendship and I am so grateful to everyone who came to support the restaurant as we finish the curation of our spring menu.

What Is A Collaboration Dinner? 

The Collaboration Dinner is an opportunity for my team and I to showcase the items that we hope to place on our spring menu. We always hope to garner fresh perspectives and honest feedback so that we can tweak and improve the dishes before they hit the tables in the busy season. It’s a simply awesome chance to let locals, family, and friends know what’s new with my work, my team, and our community outreach.  It’s also a great chance to allow the people we know and love to connect with new people as well.

Big Things Coming This Spring!

This time around there was so much to share with our Collaboration Dinner attendees. Our Kula Farm and Kula Café efforts are growing and the farm will be catapulting into spring with the same joy and community-minded action it always offers. My new Moringa supplement line, Wave of Balance is launching (Our party favor gifts at the dinner featured a sample size of each supplement and you can learn more here) and I’m so excited to bring the tree of life to the community that fuels my life. The featured meals that evening featured mushrooms from Two River Gourmet Mushroom company. My new cookbook Feed This Community was on display and available for purchase at the dinner and, if you missed it, you can grab your copy here. I also had a chance to mention our Food For Thought By The Sea food truck and the Vehicle For Change Initiative to fundraise for the truck (To learn more about that click here )

With so much going on this season from mushrooms to food trucks, to cookbooks, we took time to pause, exhale, and enjoy the company of some fantastic people while tasting some new menu items. 

What’s For Dinner

One of the first plates of the evening was a Laissez Crab which included Creole spiced warm jumbo lump crab meat, delicately diced jalapenos, spicy creole mustard,  and house sourdough crostini  for dipping. The cheese was one I learned to make with my husband Scott at Bobolink Dairy Farm in Pennsylvania. We took with a renowned cheese maker named Nina White.

You can never have enough appetizers and so we also offered our guests some carefully cared-for Cuban olives. The olives were chopped with garlic, mixed with ricotta, and covered in panko. The soft, sweet, crunchy, lovely little bites make an awesome accompaniment to the rest of your meal.

One of the evening’s salads was what we affectionately call our Carousel Salad because it changes seasonally. The salad featured items grown right here in Asbury Park at our Kula Farm. The farm serves Kula café and other local restaurants who desire locally grown, organic vegetables and Lisa has taken the farm on like a dragon, as I said that evening. We’ll be hosting a Farm Dinner in April, so be on the look out for that!

Another salad that evening is what we call our Umami Salad. This offering featured a marinated Two River organic mushroom and broccolini salad with pickled grapes, miso Chinese mustard dressing, brûlée-ed burrata, and crispy noodles. Umami in itself is a full experience and this salad certainly follows suit.

One of the items we showcased that evening was a lobster pizza with corn and bacon.

We think those two words, lobster and pizza, just belong together. Be sure to try them and let us know if you agree!

An Entire Menu of New Tastes And New Connections

Our dinner entrees featured an Asian Chicken Marsala with spiced sake demi-glace, snow peas, a pepper sauté, and our very own Two River organic mushrooms. This unique take on Marsala featured a sweet but delectable sauce and aromatic mushrooms that glide on your palate and warms your heart as it does.

 A fan favorite that evening was our Ravino Lemon Mascarpone Ravioli. The local summer squash, heirloom tomato, carefully charred Vidalia onion, farm fresh thyme, black garlic rose velouté, and pine nut gremolata topping gave our guests the chance to experience an absolute adventure in Italian tastes.

Jalisco Steak made an appearance as well. This divine grilled and marinated skirt steak features caramelized onions, lobster potato cake, and corn equites. Juicy, cooked to perfection and expertly seasoned, this is sure to be a dish that you come back for.

If you’ve never tried Buffalo Cauliflower, I’d suggest you stop by Langosta this spring. Ours features Mazi buffalo sauce with cambozola blue cheese drizzle and Kula’s own micro celery is definitely worth the trip if you’re looking to spice things up.

Our collaboration dinner also featured General Tso Chicken  with farro, Two River organic mushrooms, bok choy, and a flavorful broccolini sauté. So, if you’re looking for an excuse to put down that take out menu, come see us instead.  

Surf and Turf, met Farm to Sea on Wednesday. Our dish features white miso and cilantro marinade, coconut, chili, ginger broth, carrot, and radish slaw, with lemongrass jasmine rice and fish sauce vinaigrette. This is a perfect dish for when you’re at Langosta on the boardwalk with a view of the crashing waves and the sound of the roaring ocean. You might even enjoy your Farm to Sea with your favorite wine as well. 

Speaking of Wine…

One of the toughest parts of curating a seasonal menu is the wine list. Tasting wine is a tough job and not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. There are thousands of wines from around the world that could be featured in our list and so we’ve taken to including our staff in wine research and including our Collaboration Dinner guests in the pairing down of that well-researched list.

Among some of the most notable wines of the evening were those from Sophie Bertin (Her wine label features a fossil from the place where the grapes in the wine are grown.) and Rumson Red from my very own Community Vines (A community-serving collaboration with the incomparable James Foley of SÉAMUS Wines and Shore Point Distributors. Click here to learn more ).  Needless to say, we are grateful for the help in tasting and exploring each of the wines and we can’t wait to share our wine list with you all!  

Langosta In Spring Time

Whether you’re having a drink with a friend or a family dinner to celebrate a milestone the team and I at Langosta are excited to welcome you and all of our visitors this spring.

Connect With Us! 

To stay in the loop with all that’s going on for us this season be sure to stay tuned to our website and blog and don’t forget to stop by and try our Spring menu!

kelsey-chance-575541-unsplash.jpg

See you soon!