829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shad Fest 2012

Lambertville, New Jersey on Sunday, April 29, 2012.  The second 
day of 2012 Shad Fest.  I'm sure the vast majority of visitors today
had no intention of having shad, but the writer had only one thing on
his mind.  And it turned out to be more difficult to get some than he 
had anticipated.  Go figure.

I didn't pry for an answer, but apparently the shad harvest sucked
this year.  So all of my visions of shad corn dogs and shad and chips
and shad sushi and shad pad thai and shad wellington and shad pho
and shad ceviche were all dashed in an instant.  We locked our bikes
to a wrought iron fence and took off to find some good eats, despite
the bad news about the shad shortage.

There were multitudes of local merchants, and one of the only tables
to really catch my eye was Mamoucha Soaps.  There's something
 about showering with handmade soap.  I'm  partial to the citrus
scented soaps and I took home 3 different bars.  Say what you
want, but when I smell good, I feel good. 

So I thought the shad tacos would be a slam-dunk.  They weren't.
They could have been a little more creative than broiled
shad (if that's what the fish actually was-I'm thinking due to the 
shortage they subbed tilapia after they 86'd shad) and cabbage 
with vinegar on it.  On a blue corn tortilla (ooh ahh).  Exotic.
Hook line and sinker and I had two for ten bucks.  Douche.

We shoulda taken a ride on the steam ferry 'Splash'.  If it cost 4
tacos it would still have been worth it.

On the way back to the bikes, I noticed this little market featuring
a few shad dishes, though the one I'd have gone with, Shad Po' Boy,
was sold out.  With a Post-It exclamation mark. Beer-battered fish 
on a roll with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.  Who knew it would 
be so popular.  I knew we should have gotten there earlier.


  1. Sorry I missed the festival this year.Just got home, 950 Mi day one 500 day two, tired. Talk to you soon.

  2. When I was a resident, you could walk from one end of Lambertville to the other and not find any fancy, artisanal soaps.

    Our simple burg was still the homely sister to New Hope and had few visitors - which was fine with most of us. The Shad Festival was one of the few things that drew tourists (Oh no - people!), so I usually managed to not be around for it.

    But I don't remember much talk of or cooking of or celebrating of or eating of shad once the festival was over. Maybe, like Lambertville, it's an acquired taste.

  3. I think the festival that is there now is "shad" in name only! A few years ago we finally made it to the festival but found the shad festival to be nearly shad-less! After asking around (most vendors looked at us like shad???) we did finally find some "around the corner, down the alley, through the door, up the steps..... only to find what shad we ate really wasn't worth the effort. Not complaining, but haven't been back since.

  4. Just what I suspected - a sham of a shad festival.

  5. There was however an awful lot of sausage and peppers, souvlakis, and funnel cakes. I bet a shad funnel cake wouldn't be so bad...with tartar sauce.

  6. I loved the festival and loved catching shad. It was the roe that was the prize of the fish and I think Andrew Zimmerman would have puked his guts out if he ever tasted the stuff.

    But the festival was always fun just so you did not eat anything shad related. The T shirts where always a hit, did you buy one Baydog?

  7. Baydog - Just askin'... were you late to the shad fest because you stopped off for a half-hoagie (again) before mounting your bike for the 20-mile ride to Lambertville??

  8. I starved myself to save room for the shad chow har kew and Thai green curry shad roe that never materialized. Shoulda just had a Haven Hoagie beforehand. And you said 'mount'.

    Doug, I have to limit my penchant for T-shirt buying. And anyway, I didn't see one shad-related T-shirt for sale. I did see shad iced tea though.

  9. Yes, I said 'mount', in reference to your manliness.

    And it's 'Hoagie Haven', a popular spot favored by (my) young ladies when in Princeton.

  10. Gee, thanks for the correction. I've never darkened their doorway before. Not.