Keyport International Food and Music Festival Day 1

June 28, 2008

My plan was to go to Espresso Joe’s in Keyport for lunch today.  I got in the car and headed over to Keyport.  When I turned onto Front Street, I saw that it was blocked off and, much to my pleasure, a street fair was going on.  I love street fairs!  So I found a parking spot on a side street, and walked up Main Street.

Lining both sides of the streets, vendors of all kinds were selling their wares… clothes, jewelry, accessories, candles, specialty items, and more.  Then I saw signs that said 1st Annual Keyport International Food and Music Festival.  Wow! I had NO idea this was taking place, yet something was drawing me to Keyport today.  I love happy surprises!

I was definitely excited to be there.  Looking ahead I noticed the food stands set up so I made a beeline in their general direction.  There was your typical selection of standard American fare such as hamburgers, hot dogs, cheesesteaks, french fries, and the like.  There was also Mexican, Caribbean, Greek, and some other ethnic foods represented as well as a seafood stand by Keyport Fishery.  I saw a BBQ stand, but I think I was too early because it didn’t look open to me.  The guys were still tending the smokers.  They happen to open them when I was passing by and it was filled with ribs!  I began to salivate, but decided to keep moving to a stand that was open and ready for business.

I came upon the Caribbean stand – Blossom’s Catering.  Caribbean food is usually too spicy for me, but I was feeling adventurous today.  I mulled over the menu while the guys were still prepping to open.  I was told not everything on the menu was quite ready yet.  I asked about the curried goat since that certainly piqued my interest and he said it was ready.  Having never had curried goat before, I asked to try a piece before buying and he was happy to oblige.  Wow, it was tender, not chewy, a little fatty.  The curry sauce was spicy and ultra flavorful, but not hot.  Winner!  I got that with a platter along with rice & beans and collard greens.  He put some hot sauce on the greens, but it did not deter me.  I still ate them.  Everything was wonderful!

I sat down in the middle of the street where they had set up a seating area.  There was an old-timey band, The Happy Tones — complete with an accordian player — playing a bunch of old polka-ish tunes.  Ahhh, I couldn’t have asked for a better lunch!  My mouth was a bit overwhelmed by the spiciness and the hotness of the greens, though, so after I finished eating I walked over to Espresso Joe’s (my original destination) to get a cold coffee drink.  I ordered a large Iced Mocha Latte and while I was waiting for my drink, who happens to walk in but Drew of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro.  I’ve never met the man in my life and I haven’t eaten at his restaurant yet (it’s on my list, promise!) but when everybody said “Hey Drew!”, I just knew.  A few guys were asking him what food he tried.  He, too, sampled the Caribbean and said it was quite good.  I decided to jump in the conversation and reported that the curried goat was excellent.  Impromtu foodie talk with a well-respected local chef.  I love it!

Anyways, Espresso Joe’s is great.  I love independent coffee shops and cafes.  This is one thing I wish Matawan had. I stayed away from the computer station and decided to chill out and read the paper instead on one of the red, hand-like chairs.

After I finished my drink, my body and mouth duly cooled off, I decided to go back outside.  I strolled the vendor area again, but nothing struck my fancy.  A Beer Garden was set up on Main Street, but it was even too early for me to start drinking.  Beer + heat = I would have been laid out in no time!  So while I was certainly craving some good German beer, I decided against it.

Behind the Beer Garden, I noticed a consignment shop called Tuesday’s Child.  I love consignment shops so I decided to go inside and have a look.  I actually found a nice pair of navy blue dress pants on the $1 rack that were my size!  I tried them on and they fit perfectly so I got them.

I figured since I was in Keyport, I should check out the waterfront before I go.  So I sauntered down there.  They had rides for the kids and games set up.  It was a perfect day for a summer festival and even though it was early in the afternoon, there were plenty of people out enjoying the festivities.  I walked up and down the Bulkhead taking in the view of the bay and the boats.  It didn’t take long though and the sun/heat was starting to get to me, so I made my way up to Front Street and headed back to my car.

When I got home, I was wiped out!  I actually took a 2 hour nap.  Haha.  I’m tempted to go back tonight to sample some BBQ!  If not tonight, then I think I will surely go tomorrow for Day 2.

If you’re in the area, go check out Keyport’s International Food and Music Festival.  It’s a great idea and I hope it’s a great success to everyone involved.


  1. Wow, funny how I saw the festival mentioned in the paper today. I just got a chance to read it as we were stuck close to home having a yard sale all weekend herer in Matawan. Then I cam on line to check my eamil and saw your review. I was thinking of heading over but we a re still haing storms. I hope they were not rained out today. You must try Dews BB, it is great. Keyport is a great little town, but I wish the same for Matawan. I have pics of my son and his little girlfriend in those red hand chairs that a photog friend took of them last year, so cute.

    We need an anchor store like trader Joes in Matawan to get us hopping as a great little town!

    Thanls for the great review>>>

  2. Sarah,
    I haven’t made it over yet today thanks to the storms. Looks like they’re slowing moving north, though. I decided to make my own BBQ chicken and grilled veggies. Very good if I do say so myself. If it indeed lets up soon, I’m going to head over and get some dessert! Perhaps funnel cake or zeppole!

    Trader Joe’s in Matawan would be AWESOME. The old C-Town would be a PERFECT spot for it. Matawan has a lot of potential to be a hip little town.

  3. Marilyn!

    We just missed each other at the festival. I stopped by Drew’s on my way over to say hello to him and he had just gotten back and gave me the lowdown on the food. My mother and I headed over and I tried a fish taco (pretty good) and beans and rice (ugh) from the Mexican food stand. Nice little day! Next time we need to meet up!! Keyport has a few festivals throughout the year.


  4. Dani,
    You should have tried the Caribbean stand! So good.
    Anyways, like I said, I had NO idea this was going on, or else I would have posted to Bayshore Friends sooner to organize a meetup. I posted on BF on Saturday, even posted a message with my number! But nobody called me. :(

    I went over after the storms let up, but only stayed for about an hour. It wasn’t as crowded because the rain kept people away. I will be posting again to follow up as soon as I can.

    In any case, I’m looking forward to the next one. I love festivals and street fairs. I wish Matawan had more of them.

    I would have introduced myself to Drew, but I didn’t want him knowing who I am before I try his restaurant. I want an authentic experience and don’t want anybody know I’m “reviewing” the restaurant. Know what I mean? :)

  5. Well, we’ll have to do a meet next Keyport one. There always seems to be one going on. Definitely not enough in our area. AH has one going on, drove by it yesterday, but it’s more of a carnival with lots of rides.

    I understand about Drew. Make sure you get there and Trinity though! I’m craving both of them right now!

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