Umami: Food and Philosophy For More Fun And a Balanced Life

Umami By The Sea

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Last August Naoko Wowsugi visited Asbury Park to present The Umami Taste Development Center. She took the participants through a process of meditation and taste bud stimulation that they won’t soon forget and it was something I look back on fondly. Naoko offered that “By stimulating our taste buds, epiphanic realizations can then channel other senses, opening new avenues of appreciation for the universe. I am seeking to awake umami sensations toward a deeper understanding of our responsibilities for ocean conservation.”There was an air of joy and excitement as well as balance and contemplation that washed over the beach that afternoon and it was certainly unlike anything else I’d experienced to that point. I was cooking for the event and was also a participant. Sitting on the beach and participating in this amazing event was not only transformative for me, but it also allowed Naoko to get excited about something I adore as well. Naoko Wowsugi got excited about the 2 River Mushrooms that we brought for the umami tasting portion of the event. This eventually became the Fungus Amongus Project, Naoko journey with mushrooms.

Since then, Two River Mushroom Company continues to grow and I continue to reflect on the intersection between the human experience, taste, and community. Just as the Umami Taste Development Center allowed Naoko to embrace the mushroom in a new way, her event allowed me to contemplate umami and balance in a deeper way as well.

“By stimulating our taste buds, epiphanic realizations can then channel other senses, opening new avenues of appreciation for the universe. I am seeking to awake umami sensations toward a fuller understanding of our responsibilities for ocean conservation.”

Keeping Our Balance

Balance and umami show up in my life each day in so many different ways. Balancing being a wife, mother, chef, entrepreneur, community leader and activist, friend, boss, neighbor, and creative soul seems to be my daily balancing act. But it has become far more than an “act” for me because I am consciously pursuing the balance of my life, every day. As a chef, I know that umami is a sincere matter of balance as well. Too much salt, too sweet, no texture, too chewy, to soft, too anything can change the experience of the dish.

Just as it is in cooking, imbalance in life can be a challenge. The truth is that we may not always know intellectually that our life is “out of balance” but we can no doubt feel it first, When our life has gone out of balance we can physically or emotionally sense a missing quality (just as we can taste a lack of savory flavor in a soup broth). If you’re missing some quality in your life you’re not fully integrated, And you will feel it.

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The Rebalancing Of Life’s Flavor (This Is The Fun Part)

So what does it mean to find balance again? Well, I’m no philosopher (at least not yet). But for me it means taking stock of what is going on. Where am I with things like family, friends, community, spirituality or faith, my career, my finances, my creativity? How does my body feel? How does my mind feel? What can I sense is different? Where do I desire to change? Why?

While this takes the temperature of what is going on, I then need to take action to address the balance. Just as with my cooking I may need to add or withdraw an ingredient, so too with my life. Where can I say “hell yes!” and where can I offer a respectful but firm “no”? Where can I add in something to spark my creativity and where can I put aside time for family? Do I need to make changes that I’ve been putting off? Do I need to keep going with a tough and challenging endeavor? How do I want to feel? How can I have more fun? Where can I go to get creative? Where will I go on my next adventure?

You see, not all of these questions are terribly serious (I’m always up for suggestions for my next adventure… Let’s go!)

But they are important. The umami, the balance of our lives is what gives them depth, flavor, and meaning. It is my hope that you will take on this new challenge, take stock of what is needed to deepen your own flavor and bring it into balance, and that you’ll join me as I do the same. We can make this idea a reality by living lives in pursuit of our own personal balance and umami.

We’re Always Finding Our Balance

If you’d like to learn more about Naoko Wowsugi you can check her out here
If you’d like to learn how to bring more balance to your body, be sure to explore my Moringa supplement company, Wave of Balance here
Curious about our local Mushroom Gourmet Mushroom Company, Check them out here

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The Coastal Pavilion: Why It's The Perfect Spot For Your Next Dinner On The Boardwalk (And So Much More)

The Fun And Magic Of Your Next Boardwalk Experience

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If you know anything about me by now, you probably know that I love the magic that happens when food, drinks, and community come together.  It’s not simply our amazing staff’s service, our decadent food, or the buzz of the boardwalk and roar of the ocean. It’s the space where we come together as a community and the truth is that when we do that we each experience that energy in different ways. There’s something indescribably awesome about that interplay and it’s something I’m truly passionate about creating.

Have a Day (Or Night) That Fits You Just Right

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While I love the combination of food and community that happens in our coastal pavilion (the place  that Pop’s Garage, Asbury Park Yacht Club, and Langosta Lounge call home), I think there’s an important point that’s often overlooked when it comes to describing this experience: The fact that it’s not one-experience-fits-all. That’s perhaps my favorite thing about our pavilion: Your experience is uniquely your own.

This create-your-own approach to the dining experience is available at the pavilion each time we open our doors.

Want a quiet dinner by the sea? Come on an off night and you may even have the place nearly to yourself.

Stoked to hear live music from the best local artists? Head on over for an evening when we have entertainment.

Looking to hit brunch before the beach? We’ve got you.

Ready to host that engagement party or fiftieth birthday? We’d love to host you here!

There is not one singular right way to visit the pavilion. The menus and drink lists are seasonal, the salad follows suit, and the welcome you’ll receive from our staff is always warm (Whether it’s the dead of winter or the sweaty end of July).

We love that not everyone who visits the pavilion is visiting for the same reason. We welcome your “drinks with the guys night” with the same joy we offer our family of twelve dinner guests and we’re passionate about bringing you an experience you’ll remember regardless of why you’ve joined us at that moment.

It’s Always The Perfect Time To Visit

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The experience you’ll have here is one that combines relaxed and eclectic visuals and decor with the sounds of local artists, and the taste of world-class vacation-inspired food. It all connects to create this sort of experiential umami, a balance of each of life’s flavors. Admittedly we’re awe-inspired every time it happens. And we can’t wait to share it with you.

The pavilion concept brings that undeniable Asbury energy, couples it with a customized dining experience, and serves memories with every meal.

We hope you’ll come and join us tonight!


Experience Vacation-Inspired Dining At Langosta Lounge

The Langosta Food Philosophy

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The Langosta Lounge Food Philosophy is that of taking vacation-inspired dining to a new level. Your vacation-inspired plate could bring you a taste of Iceland or the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, or Portugal. No matter where your selection takes you, our dining experience ensures that you’ll have the chance to connect with the culture of the place and the passion of the people who have cooked that dish or dishes like it for generations. We place great value on the history of the food, the traditions of that culture’s approach to the meal. We know that food is not simply something to eat, but rather it is a celebration of community, history, and tradition. At Langosta Lounge, we bring the food back from our vacation and present it with the soul of the dish intact. We connect each dish to our local culture and our local purveyors who have the products locally and we deliver that balanced, unified, and truly one of a kind experience to you.

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Food That Reflects The People Who Make It

The food here at Langosta Lounge is inspired by the people who make it. It is inspired by people who grow it cultivate it and the locally sourced items are our way of creating a greater sense of community. We love our local purveyors and we support local farms and businesses.

Our restaurant team is involved in everything from drink/wine list curation to menu design, to new dish creation and suggestion. We love our staff’s perspective and love the collaboration and learning that happen when they take ownership of their section, their lists, their menu items, and their work here at the restaurant.

While we think that's pretty special in its own right, the food at Langosta Lounge is also inspired by the people who originally made it. There are recipes on the menu that were inspired by people we’ve met on our travels. Some of them have been so kind as to give us the recipes for some incredible dishes and we’re certain that means you won't find them anywhere else. In fact, some of those recipes haven’t left our kitchen until recently, with the release of my cookbook (which you can pick up here).

When you visit Langosta you’re going to experience food that reflects the amazing people who create them and you’ll also find dishes that transport you to the very places that inspired them.

Dishes Inspired By Our Travel Experiences

Aside from my husband, two bright and creative daughters, and my role as a chef,  my other great joy is traveling. (Combine all of those things and you have a pretty stoked woman right here!)

As I’ve traveled I’ve picked up countless recipes and innumerable memories. Traveling sparks my creativity, soothes my restless wanderlust, peaks my curiosity, and helps me to come back to balance along the way. I truly feel at home in the world. I’ve felt some piece of myself echo a calm sense of belonging in nearly every place that I’ve travelled and I love to bring that sense of global community back to Langosta.

When you order your meal at Langosta you get to jet set off to a new place and find food that is inspired by the culture and ingredients that make that place so special. Your palate and your mind can travel far away. And yet you can share that very new flavor surrounded your old friends and new.

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Fueled By Purpose And Connection

The food philosophy at Langosta is one of purposeful selection and true connection. Whether your ideal evening is a quiet dinner with a glass of locally sourced red wine, a cozy booth full of sushi and catching up with old friends, or a bustling family gathering with plates and plates to share, we can offer you those experiences here at Langosta and it’s our great joy to do so.

Come Visit Us On The Boardwalk!

If you’re ready to travel around the world without leaving the Jersey Shore, we’d love to have you. You can learn more about Langosta Lounge here!

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