A Taste of Germany at the Jersey City Biergarten

So I don't often write about happenings in Jersey City, mainly because there aren't many. Don't get me wrong, there are some fabulous restaurants and happy hours (more on those to come at a later date), but there's just not much 'going on' in the traditional sense. And while I'm generally not into rushing the end of the summer, I basked in the cooler-than-usual (and very windy) August weather and kicked off the Fall season at Zeppelin Hall, an indoor/outdoor restaurant and biergarten.

Located a short walk from the Grove Street PATH station, this enormous facility is a hidden gem...if you don't know it's there, you'd never find it. Don't fret over crowdedness - Zeppelin seats up to 800(!) outdoors and up to 250 indoors.

Just a small shot of the biergarten

Featuring 144 beers on tap, there are 3 ways to order - half liter, full liter, or flights (a 5-piece beer sampler, if you will). I went with a half liter of Staropramen (a Czech beer that I discovered in Prague), but this was before discovering the flights. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake which will be rectified on my next visit, as I like to think of myself as a taster.

The full v. half liter...somehow Shaun still drank his faster than me...

Foodwise, I went with the tradition bratwurst on rye, complete with saurkraut and mustard. Zeppelin Hall truly brought back remnant flavors of my trip to Germany in 2006...a week of eating and drinking nothing but bratwurst and beer.

So maybe it's not quite the standard of a cold Kolsch and Koln brat, but for place tucked away in Jersey City? I'll take it. If you're in or around the city this Labor Day weekend, kick off Octoberfest and welcome Autumn with open arms.

Spring Date Series: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

The two shiny new baseball stadiums are rejuvenating the ballpark experience for city dwellers. Our Date of the Week (DOW) is grabbing your hat and jerseys and heading out to the new Citifield for a Mets game. Leave behind your team prejudices in favor of having a fun night outdoors. After all, I always prefer Yanks over Mets, but I’m in a split team household and quite frankly I haven’t been to the new Yankee Stadium yet (and yes, that review will be coming next week).   This week, the Mets play at home from May 6 through May 13 against Philly, Pittsburgh and Atlanta and we recommend taking advantage of the long home stretch (I’ll be there May 6!). Hop on the 7 train out to Citifield, take a peek at the new stadium, and spend the evening yelling your head off and doing the wave (come on, you know you want to). About 1000% better than Shea Stadium, Citifield has an old, rustic baseball park aura, where I felt as though I was walking into a game from baseball’s past. Don’t skip out on exploring the stadium, especially the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.     

Of course, the new pricing scheme is that different quality games go for a different quality price. So, when the Mets play the Yanks (I mean, who DOESN’T want to go to that game?) even the ‘cheap’ seats could run up to $30 a ticket, and that’s if you can score them. However, this week the Mets play the Phillies (last year’s World Series Champs. Ack.), you can score $19 seats. Perhaps not the most glamorous seat in the house, don’t fret as the new stadium doesn’t really have a ‘bad’ seat. I was there in the 500 section on April 24th, and here’s the view from our seats:    
Going after work? Bring a couple of Red Bulls and bag o’chips to share for the ride out to Citifield. After all, you MUST get hot dogs once at the game. While there’s only one Shake Shack and Blue Smoke location, Nathan’s hot dogs and fries are available throughout the stadium, even from your seat! Hurrah! A word to the wise: ditch the uber long lines at Shake Shack and Blue Smoke for the real thing in back in Manhattan.   

Budget Breakdown: 
Approximate Ticket Cost: $35 total 
Subway Ride: $4 per person, roundtrip (but ‘free’ with a monthly Metrocard!) 
Bud or Bud Light Beer: $6 
Nathan’s Hot Dog: $4.75 
Nathan’s Fries (to share): $4.75 
Ice Cream in Helmet Cup (my personal favorite, also to share): $6 
Total Date cost: Under $100