Chinese New Year is upon us. While the American New Year doesn’t really have much significance other than a few parties the night before and a big ball dropping, the Chinese New Year has been around for centuries and is celebrated in grand fashion. Beginning Friday, Feb. 16, it runs for 15 days and features gift giving, fireworks and gourmet family dinners.
Perhaps the most fun aspect of Chinese New Year (from an American perspective anyway) is that each year is named for one of the 12 different animals of the Chinese Zodiac. And as luck would have it, 2018 is named after a particular favorite animal for most humans — the dog, which symbolizes loyalty, sincerity and kindness.
“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” – Max Muller
So, for those of you itching to celebrate the Year of the Dog right here in South Jersey, here are a few ways to do just that.
Dig in at area restaurants offering deals for Chinese New Year.
For the entire month of February, Eastwind will offer a special Chinese New Year menu. The list of items features everything from savory entrees such as their Spirit of Prosperity — a whole lobster in ginger and scallions — to dessert (red bean soup), with something to suit every guest. Eastwind is located at Resorts Atlantic City,1133 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to ResortsAC.com for more info.
Lillie’s Golden Nugget
In honor of Chinese New Year, Lillie’s at Golden Nugget will put together a new menu. Specials created for Chinese New Year include pig feet, whole chicken, whole fish, lamb belly stew abalone and oyster with black seaweed. Lillie’s is located at Golden Nugget Atlantic City, 600 Huron Ave., Atlantic City. Go to GoldenNugget.com for info.
Harry’s Oyster Bar
In honor of the Year of The Dog, Harry’ s Oyster Bar at Bally’s Atlantic City will offer a giant foot-long hot dog topped with pickled cabbage yu mei. But grab this quick because it won’t be around for long! Harry’s Oyster Bar is located at 1900 Pacific Ave. in Atlantic City. For more info, go to HarrysOysterBar.com.
Buddakan celebrates Chinese New Year in traditional style, with some amazing Chinese dishes including Peking duck and crispy fish. In addition to the food, they will give away red envelopes — a tradition for Chinese New Year — that contain mystery gifts. 1 Oceanic Terrace, Atlantic City. Go to BuddakanAC.com.
Gone to the dogs
These spots offer a whimsical way to honor the Year of the Dog.
Absecon Lighthouse is one of the most picturesque spots in all of South Jersey, and it’s also dog friendly. That’s right, dogs are welcome to climb the many steps all the way to the top of the tower in order to enjoy the majestic views right along with you. Absecon Lighthouse is located at 31 S. Rhode Island Ave., A.C. Go to AbseconLighthouse.com for more info.
Dogtooth Bar and Grill
While the name alone seems like a good enough reason to stop in for a pint and a bite, Dogtooth Bar and Grill is as dog friendly as they come, so feel free to bring your best four-legged friend in anytime. Dogtooth Bar and Grill is located at 100 E. Taylor Ave. in Wildwood. Go to DogToothBar.com for more info.
Cape May Whale Watching
Bring your hound on the high seas for an adventure he or she is not soon to forget. The Cape May Whale Watching fleet sails from March until December and they welcome dogs to join in on the fun of checking out the massive marine mammals with their owners. All dogs must be well-behaved and leashed at all times. Cape May Whale Watcher is located at 1218 Wilson Drive in Cape May. For more info go to CapeMayWhaleWatcher.com.
Cape May Peanut Butter Company
What better way to let your dog know that it’s his or her year than with a treat from Cape May Peanut Butter Company? With locations in both Cape May and Smithville, this paradise for peanut butter lovers offers — you guessed it — peanut butter dog treats! Forget the pet aisle at your supermarket, this stuff is the real deal. Your canine will thank you for it. Cape May Peanut Butter Company is located at 516 Carpenter Lane in Cape May. For more info go to CapeMayPeanutButterCo.com.
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Consistently the most interesting and beloved portion of Ocean City’s annual Doo-Dah Parade — and that’s saying a lot considering this year’s grand marshal is none other than Erik Estrada of CHiPs — the Boardwaddle includes of hundreds of floppy-eared Basset Hounds strutting their stuff along the parade route. Many of the hounds are in costume and others are up for adoption through Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue which sponsors the event. The parade will be held at noon on April 14. For more info, go to TriStateBassets.org.
Looking to do a weekend in A.C. with man’s best friend? Showboat has got you covered. One of the only major hotels in Atlantic City to allow guests of the canine variety, Showboat will happily accept pooches up to 75 pounds. Showboat Hotel is located at 801 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to ShowboatHotelAC.com for more info.
Wildwood Dog Beach
While some beaches allow dogs in the offseason, at Wildwood’s beach between Glenwood and Maple avenues, dogs are a year-round thing. Can’t find it? Just look for the 25-foot tall fire hydrant! The beach is open daily from 6 a.m. until dusk. All dogs must be kept on leashes. Go to WildwoodsNJ.com for more info.
Those looking to add a bit of culture to their celebration of the Year of the Dog will enjoy Fool Moon’s production of “Sylvia,” coming in June. “Sylvia” is a romantic comedy that tells the story of a man, his wife and their dog. What could be more perfect? Gateway Playhouse is located at 738 Bay Ave. in Somers Point. Go to GatewayByTheBay.org.