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Central Jersey, NJ


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I am hopefully going to be working at one of them and I will let everyone know in case anyone finds themselves in Central Jersey (you know, car broke down on the way to NY or something) you can stop by, let me buy you a drink and fill me in on the DC scene.

Be careful of what you ask for - it may come true!!

We're actually stopping off in Edison, NJ on our way to Montreal in a couple of weeks. Edison is just 4 miles away, across the river from New Brunswick. Maybe we can get together for a belated "going away" drink then!

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As a Jersey girl myself (yes, Central NJ) I am guessing that two of your priorities are Stage Left and The Frog and The Peach. Sadly, what NJ is missing most is a good board like this one.

They say that Rafferty's has great burgers. Haven't been there myself.

For great, traditional thin-crust pizza, go to the Chambersburg section of Trenton. De Lorenzo's [since 1938]. The one on Hudson [is closed, I'm sad to say - see one of numerous articles here.] Be prepared to stand in line. Outside. You know you are in the "real thing" when you see them tossing the crust, wearing ribbed muscle t-shirts, there are pictures of "Saint Son" all over the place, and there's an old Italian lady of indeterminate age, who's looked exactly the same for the past 30 years, overseeing everything.

Here's an article about De Lorenzo's.

Folks seem to like the Italian restaurants in the Burg [a local name for South Chambersburg], but I have never found them to be worthwhile. They seem to like John Henry's but I thought it was dreadful. A salad that was long past its prime (mushy, browned greens), veggies right out of the can, dried out seafood with gloppy saucese .

People will tell you to go to Pete Lorenzo's cafe [also closed, I'm sorry to say] (across from the Trenton train station) for great steak. It is an institution. The State House pols and their buddies hang here as do most of the lawyers. Well, yeah, it is aged but it is old-style steak. Filet mignon or sirloin. In the days before RTC/RTS, I would have recommended it, but now...meh. It is an experience, though.

There's a WFM in Highland Park and NJ has Wegman's. Tell Beth that there is (was?) a good women's clothing store, albeit NJ style, not DC lack-of-style, in Highland Park, too.

Ellen

As the man said,

[Yes, I know, it should be Springsteen, but ...]

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As some of you might know Beth and I will be leaving DC for New Brunswick in less than a week.

i lived in new brunswick before moving to dc...some of the places that are worth going to (in my opinion):

clydz (for martinis)

makeda (semi-expensive ethopian)

tumulty's (only for the burgers, though - i would pass on rafferty's)

kimchi hana (the best korean bbq - in south plainfield, nj)

omega diner (on route 1 - for 24 hour diner food with free wi-fi)

ale n wich (my favorite dive-ish bar on the corner of hamilton and louis streets)

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As a Jersey girl myself (yes, Central NJ) I am guessing that two of your priorities are Stage Left and The Frog and The Peach. Sadly, what NJ is missing most is a good board like this one.

Haha. Those are the two places I sent my resume. I am also considering Cafe Soho. I am going to wait until I can get up there and do a full scouting report. I looked all over for a board and the best available is chowhound tristate.

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Panico's On Church Street. Even if the decor is somewhat dated (and the prices high for the neighborhood,) their daily osso buco special is out of this world.

We got pizza at Panicos (pizza counter not restaurant) for lunch when we were looking for apartments. I was surrounded by construction workers getting into it with the oven guy on how to move the pizza around in the oven. I was seriously considering a long term relationship....

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You will find the greatest greasiest burgers in the known universe in Highland Park at the White Rose System. If it's still there, you will also find awesome ice cream in an old fashioned setting, complete with real soda fountain, at the Corner Confectionary, also in Highland Park.

[As much as it kills me to say, the Corner Confectionary in Highland Park is Closed.]

Incidentally, my second real job was as a soda jerk at the latter. Yay, ice cream!

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There's a WFM in Highland Park and NJ has Wegman's. Tell Beth that there is (was?) a good women's clothing store, albeit NJ style, not DC lack-of-style, in Highland Park

We went by the Wegman's and someone else told us about the Whole Foods but I couldn't find the location on the Whole Foods website. (Or do you mean just a general whole foods store NOT the Whole foods chain?) [blake, this is what I found on The Whole Foods Highland Park]

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We went by the Wegman's and someone else told us about the Whole Foods but I couldn't find the location on the Whole Foods website. (Or do you mean just a general whole foods store NOT the Whole foods chain?)

Sorry - it's actually in Princeton, on Route 1, really too far to be practical. Though you will soon find that "Princeton" is a label applied to everything north of Cherry Hill and South of Metuchen, much in the way that Potomac covers the entire northern half of MoCo.

Ellen

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For great, traditional thin-crust pizza, go to the Chambersburg section of Trenton. De Lorenzo's. The one on Hudson. Be prepared to stand in line. Outside. You know you are in the "real thing" when you see them tossing the crust, wearing ribbed muscle t-shirts, there are pictures of "Saint Son" all over the place, and there's an old Italian lady of indeterminate age, who's looked exactly the same for the past 30 years, overseeing everything.

Here's an artlcie about Di Lorenzo's

We've driven from Reston to DeLorenzo's on Hudson [sigh, Closed] with the sole intention of the trip to eat pizza. It was worth it.

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We've driven from Reston to DeLorenzo's on Hudson with the sole intention of the trip to eat pizza. It was worth it.

Delorenzo's was fantastic. Perfectly crisp crust. The sauce didn't so much taste or feel like a "sauce" as it did fresh tomatoes loosely smashed with light seasoning. Good cheese - just the right amount of elasticity without tasting like the processed stuff in bags. We had a half and half with sausage on one side plain on the other. The sausage was in big chunks, on the sweeter side with a tiny hint of kick and very moist.

Since moving up here, everytime we have to go somewhere I grab a slice at the nearest pizza joint. I have been sorely disappointed and was starting to wonder what all the hype about NY and Jersey pizza was about. I still prefer the two amy's brick oven variety but this place did restore my faith a bit.

Fair warning, bring a rape whistle. I am talking to the guys as much as the girls.. They now have a police officer permanently stationed at the restaurant but he isn't there for decoration. You have to wait for a table outside so if he isn't there or you have to walk from your car don't say I didn't warn you. And this is coming from someone who lived in West Baltimore for awhile. Beth and the newly pregnant girl I was with were not happy with me for insisting we go to this place. I think they were both expecting two amy's.

Anyways, when we walked by the cop said "First time in Trenton. (notice the period as opposed to question mark) What the hell are you guys doing down here?" Seriously. I am not making this up. We talked to him for awhile and he says it is really bad around this place. He pointed to a group of kids across the street and said he arrested two of them a few weeks ago for mugging someone around the corner. Nice.

Also beware they have no menu, don't take credit cards and didn't seem to answer the phone. We asked the waiter how much the pizzas were about halfway through eating it (we realized that a. they didn't take credit cards and b. we only had about 25 in cash) and he said he had no idea because he had never paid for one and left it at that. Don't get me wrong, I actually liked the hostile environment, I just want to give anyone thinking about a trek an idea of what the place is like. Anyways, I should wrap this post up now. Great great pizza, rock bottom price (large 1 topping and 3 sodas for 20 bucks) and lots and lots of, um, character.

p.s. I would bet a weekend of tips that a shady guy in a suit comes by and picks up an envelope of cash from this place every Friday. Maybe a bad Jersey stereotype but go to this place and then tell me it doesn't happen...

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Two words: Grease trucks.

For the uninitiated: Wikipedia

I would certainly second this recommendation, and if you want to sit down and have a beer with some greasy food, I would recommend Stuff Yer Face [since 1977] on College Ave. Whenever I find myself in Central New Jersey (less and less these days), I have to make a stop to get a Stromboli. My favorites are Roni & Sausage, Fireman's, or the Italiano. [All listed on the previous Stromboli link.]

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My cousin and her girlfriend took me to Donde Luis, a Costa Rican restaurant in Trenton, NJ. She blogged about it a few weeks ago.

Wow- great.

We had the sopa marinara- a seafood soup served with rice, the Carne_asada, the chicharron con yuca, tinto tacos, and a seafood ceviche. Everything was delicious and fresh.

It was helpful having a Spanish speaker present, but everyone there including the chef were very welcoming to us.

Donde Luis

346 Emory Ave

Trenton, NJ

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Was in Jersey over the weekend and went to Harold's NY Deli in Edison, NJ for a ridiculous, gluttonous meal. The place is like Carnegie Deli with oversized deli sandwiches. However it is in the burbs so the tables are better spaced and there is even more food. The popular thing to do seems to be to get the giant sandwich that "serves 3-4 people" (really a 2 meat sandwich of this size could feed 6) and then you go to the "world's largest pickle bar" (try the health salad and hot and spicy pickles) which also has bread and you all divy up the giant sandwich into smaller ones you make yourself (or take alot home). Sandwiches come with pretty good side dishes of cole slaw. The corned beef and turkey were good, but the pastrami was really good. The huge platter of onion rings was really good too. We also got a potato knish, which like everything else is super-sized. It is the size of a dinner plate around and about 2-3 inches tall in the center - and despite the big size, still very tasty. Definitely a place to go in a group. I hear the desserts aren't as good. They have oversized cakes, cheesecake, cookies, etc and a huge 2 foot long eclair (which is what we had and it wasn't that great - had bavarian cream instead of the usual custard inside). The cheesecake may be better.

Here is the website: http://www.haroldsfamousdeli.com/ (check out the rotating pics to see what I mean about the sizes)

I hear there are often long lines, so be prepared to wait a bit.

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Was in Jersey over the weekend and went to Harold's NY Deli in Edison, NJ for a ridiculous, gluttonous meal. The place is like Carnegie Deli with oversized deli sandwiches. However it is in the burbs so the tables are better spaced and there is even more food. The popular thing to do seems to be to get the giant sandwich that "serves 3-4 people" (really a 2 meat sandwich of this size could feed 6) and then you go to the "world's largest pickle bar" (try the health salad and hot and spicy pickles) which also has bread and you all divy up the giant sandwich into smaller ones you make yourself (or take alot home). Sandwiches come with pretty good side dishes of cole slaw. The corned beef and turkey were good, but the pastrami was really good. The huge platter of onion rings was really good too. We also got a potato knish, which like everything else is super-sized. It is the size of a dinner plate around and about 2-3 inches tall in the center - and despite the big size, still very tasty. Definitely a place to go in a group. I hear the desserts aren't as good. They have oversized cakes, cheesecake, cookies, etc and a huge 2 foot long eclair (which is what we had and it wasn't that great - had bavarian cream instead of the usual custard inside). The cheesecake may be better.

Here is the website: http://www.haroldsfamousdeli.com/ (check out the rotating pics to see what I mean about the sizes)

I hear there are often long lines, so be prepared to wait a bit.

Ahhh. Harold's.. story goes, that Harold was the original GM of the Carnegie deli in NY. Decided to go to NJ, pay less rent, offer even bigger portions (20 egg omlette) etc..... Make sure you only go to the Edison one. There are two others same name , but not the same. He makes everythng, but the bread and the pickles in house.

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Had a truly fantastic meal tonight at Trinity restaurant in Keyport. It's a cool location - a 130 year old, renovated church - with a chef who is putting out far more creative and intricate food than I have seen just about anywhere else in Jersey: Corn bread accompanied by a compound butter rife with honey and bacon; a playful 'Mozza Ball' Soup (a perfectly creamy smoked tomato soup with crispy balls of fried mozzarella and pesto oil); a burger that matches the size of a hellburger and rivals it in terms of flavor, texture, and toppings; and the list goes on. Plus the prices are reasonable, they run some great specials (Wednesday's are half priced wines by the glass, along with discounted bottles), the service is totally on point, and they really ran with the church theme. Just check out the layout of their menu and you'll see how.

Now I wish I'd tried the Root Beer Glazed Pork Belly...I guess it'll have to wait until the next time I get back up here.

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Hubby took me to a birthday meal reminiscent of birthdays long ago.  Growing up my sister married into a Greek family who had a very well known red sauce Italian restaurant in Deep Creek Lake.  We spent lots of nights there, lots of birthdays it was a great place.  Minus the decor and lake front views, Marco Polo in Summit NJ is very close to this restaurant.  Similar menu, same salad plates, kind of the same feel, similar food, same sprawling parking lot to fit all the cars on a busy Saturday night.  Really nice owner, servers.  This was Hubby's Silver Tree growing up, and in a way going to Marco Polo reminds us both of our childhoods.  Now if only they had Andes mints as their dinner mints, it would be prefect.

But it is still there, unlike Silver Tree, and it is still good.  The homemade balsamic dressing, the meatballs, chicken parm.  Mmmm.  We have twice now on our way home from NYC stopped to eat here or get take out.  It has never let us down.  I have never had a dish there yet that wasn't good.  When you get to go they pack you bread, butter, napkins, utensils.  It's just a great place.

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