Posted tagged ‘Food’

You Know You’re in NJ When…

November 16, 2010

You know you’re in New Jersey when you’re driving around and you see something like this:

That’s right, a pork roll van.  The incident happened a couple days ago.  I was driving on Route 35 and all of the sudden, I realized I was behind a van advertising pork roll.  So I stalked the van until we were stopped at a red light and took the picture.

For those who don’t know, pork roll is the official processed meat of New Jersey and one-third of the famous pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich that this state is famous for.  Despite the advertisement, the website theporkrollstore.com is nonexistent.  But a quick search tells me that the real Pork Roll Store is located in Allentown, NJ.  I’ve always heard about a store in Allentown that has the best pork roll – I guess that must be the place.  Anyway, where else can you be driving down the street and see a van advertising salty processed pig?  Only in the Armpit of America.

For more information about this true mystery meat, go here.

My Halloweekend

November 3, 2010

I have a big Halloween surprise for all of you. Let’s just say it involves Snooki and a pumpkin. I’ll try to get it out by the weekend.

But for now, I’ll just talk what I did this past weekend. We had long planned to get a big group together to go to Jenks down in Point Pleasant. Though usually guido central, Jenks is actually pretty fun on Halloween. So, while that was the plan on Saturday, we wanted to stay local and go somewhere in Belmar on Friday.

Though no one else was really dressing up on Friday, I wanted to resurrect a costume I did a couple years ago: a goth/emo/hipster guy, black nail polish and guy-liner included. After getting dressed, I was told that my jeans were too baggy. My wonderful girlfriend then offered up her pants. Miraculously, I managed to fit into them. Though I felt uncomfortable wearing a wig, make-up, and FEMALE JEANS, I think the costume came out pretty good: (more…)

My First Trip to Sussex County

October 22, 2010

Sussex County: Just the tip of the armpit.

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Sussex County for the first time.  Nestled up in the northwest corner, Sussex County is geographically New Jersey’s northernmost county but culturally its southernmost.  It is known for its mountains, farmland, small towns, and country folk.

The reason for the trip up north was for a friend’s birthday.  Driving up to Sussex County, I couldn’t believe the scenery and almost forgot that I was in New Jersey.  The gently rolling hills full of trees seem more typical of Pennsylvania and upstate New York.  And the signs advertising not one, but two mining museums made me think I was in West Virginia or Kentucky.  But all of the strip malls along the way served to remind me that I was still in the Armpit of America.

Another reminder was the numerous signs talking about this one diner – apparently the best diner in New Jersey.  Diners are a dime a dozen in this state and usually fall into one of two categories:  perfectly average or not so great.  Each one claims to have the best of something, whether pancakes, burgers, or omelets.  But for a diner to claim to be the best at everything?  I was intrigued – but I’d have to do my investigations another day.

We arrived at the birthday party and were greeted by some of the redneckiest rednecks I’d ever seen.  And I mean that in the nicest possible way.  Everyone was really nice and friendly, just a little more country than any other people I’ve ever met in New Jersey. (more…)

An Evening with Michael Pollan

October 9, 2010

Hahahah never heard that one before....

Back in September of 2001, I was a nerdy, overweight freshman at Rutgers.  During that first semester, I took Expository Writing 101 (AKA Ex-Pos), the dreaded freshman writing course.  The first assignment for that class was to read an essay about genetically engineered potatoes and write a paper about it.  The author of that essay was a certain Michael Pollan, a fact I only remember because I thought how funny it was that a guy named Pollan wrote about plants.

Before the teacher handed back those first assignments, she said most of the class did pretty poorly.  She explained how that can be expected on our first papers and that we shouldn’t get too discouraged; we can only get better.  When she handed my paper back, I was shocked by my grade.  It was a B+.  That’s when it happened.  It was at this point, dear reader, that your humble narrator realized he could write.  Since then, I’ve pursued writing educationally, personally, professionally, and blogally.

So where am I going with all this?

Nine years (holy shit) after that fateful day, I heard that Michael Pollan was giving a talk at Rutgers.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to hear the guy who indirectly launched my writing career at the place where it started.  So, this past Wednesday, I headed up to the College Ave gym, where the talk was being held.  On the way, I passed the Rutgers Student Center.  There was a big sign in front of the building saying there was going to be a memorial for Tyler Clementi that night.  The sign also said that both New Jersey senators, Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, were going to be there.  I thought about ditching Pollan and going to this event for no other reason than the remote chance that I could convince one of the senators to sit down for an in-depth interview for this little old blog.  But they clearly had something more important to do that night. (more…)

Belmar: The First 48 Hours

September 6, 2010

Two days ago, I moved out of New Brunswick and into a beautiful oceanfront apartment in Belmar. Though New Brunswick will always have a special place in my heart, having lived there for five years, I’m happy to leave that city behind. One can only take so much dirt and crime and shady people. While the Armpit of America has more than its fair share of these things (hence the nickname), Belmar is a safe haven from such deviance. Or at least it’s relatively safe compared to elsewhere in the state.

Saturday afternoon, I rented a U-Haul and the woman and I brought all my stuff to the new place. After spending a couple hours unloading (somehow the two of us were able to carry two couches up a flight of stairs), we drove back to return the truck. We didn’t get back to Belmar until 10:30, at which point my roommate, his girlfriend, and three of our friends showed up. We ordered a giant pizza from 3 Brothers Pizza and spent the next couple hours setting up. Since we didn’t have cable, and still don’t as of right now, we tapped into my DVD collection. The Robot Chicken Star Wars episode and Yellow Submarine were the DVDS of choice. Though we talked about hitting up the bars, everyone was too tired and sweaty from moving to go out, so we just hung around until 2:00 before going to bed.

Sunday was spent shopping around at the saddest little Shop Rite (hard to explain but it’s just depressing) and K-Mart and finishing unpacking and everything else. When it was dinner time, we decided to try something different and went to Kaya’s Kitchen, a completely vegetarian restaurant run by hippies. (more…)