Life is funny when it comes to traveling. In the last couple of years, I did not expect to travel into New Jersey as many times as I did. It just happened! I ventured North into Morris Country, down into Atlantic City and on to the Southern tip of Cape May. Once you leave the airport area of Newark, New Jersey takes on a whole different lifestyle. It is a slower pace, with interesting people and down to earth good food!
How I traveled and what I ate in New Jersey just made me more inquisitive of the local food. I am still in the need to eat at a couple of classic diners, try more seafood restaurants along the coastline and experience fine dining – all in New Jersey! It will happen, I am just waiting for that serendipitous moment of my return.
From eating crab everything in Cape May to throwing back Salt Water Taffy along the Atlantic City Boardwalk, my list of “What I ate in NEW JERSEY – A Food Journal”.
Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream
I love older family run places such as Cliff’s. I grew up on these types of establishments during the 70s – 90s in SoCal. Although Cliff’s is in New Jersey, it still was a reminder of how things used to be. I am aging myself on nostalgia here!
Cliff’s offers many delicious scoops of homemade ice cream. I tried the Maple Bourbon Chocolate and it was so delish. I loved every bite of it.
Location: 1475 US Highway 46, Ledgewood, NJ 07852
Giancarlos Bakery & Pastry Shop- Round 1
As soon as we walked into Giancarlos, I was surrounded by the memories of traditional Italian bakeries with all the little cookies, freshly made cannolis, cakes, etc. I wanted to buy a box of little things to take home. A habit I have done in the past with Italian bakeries in the places that I have lived before. I had no home at that moment because I was traveling, so I had to settle for a giant cookie. My cousin did buy a box to take home but I may have wanted my own.
Giancarlos not only makes delicious pastries and baked goods but they also offer appetizing sandwiches and housemade side dishes. My first time around, I split a giant Meatball Sub with my cousin. It reminded me of the Italian Subs we used to purchase at a little Italian Deli in Glendale, CA named ‘Mario’s’. I was having a nostalgic food trip!
Giancarlos Bakery & Pastry Shop- Round 2
I went back to the Succasunna area following the “Year of the Meatball Sub and Giant Cookie” to visit with my cousin. Guess where we went to again? Yes, Giancarlos Bakery for Round 2. This time we brought my Auntie who lives in Georgia, who was visiting as well.
We ordered scrumptious sandwiches made on fresh bread, Macaroon Cookies and giant Raisin Cinnamon Rolls! Just like my last visit to Giancarlos everything was flavorful, fresh and fantastic.
Location: Giancarlos Bakery & Pastry Shop- 410 Rte 10, Ste 10, Ledgewood, NJ 07852
Walia Ethiopian Restaurant
Walia is a flavorful Ethiopian restaurant in a lovely neighborhood of New Jersey. I dined here with my cousin and her family before dropping me off at Newark Airport. All of us were familiar with Ethiopian food, so it was nice to know that my family were as adventurous with food as I was! It was a a fun family feast eating with our hands.
Ethiopian food is served family style with a large injera (flat spongy bread) topped with different meat, vegetable or lentil sides. If you require more injera it is given on a separate plate. To eat, you use your hands and tear a piece of injera. Then pinch the delicious side dishes with your injera and eat. Everything was flavorful and most importantly, very healthy.
Location: Walia Ethiopian Restaurant- 11 Village Plz, South Orange, NJ 07079
The Twenties Restaurant- The Claridge Hotel
The Twenties Restaurant is a classic eatery inside the 1930’s Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City. The menu items on average range from $15-30 for sandwiches and entrees. They also serve a nice wine and champagne selection, so you can live it up in a classic tradition if that is your thing.
My dining experience here started off with a glass of crisp German Riesling. From there I moved on to the French Onion Soup with oodles of melted cheese. As for my main dish, I skipped the sandwiches and entrees but opted for the House Made Lump Crab Cakes starter with a side of Asparagus. Both were splendid. All of this with a wonderful window view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Location: The Twenties Restaurant – 123 S Indiana Ave, The Claridge Hotel, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Blue Pig Tavern
It is like stepping back in time when you enter the Blue Pig Tavern. The restaurant itself is set inside the Historic Congress Hall resort, you cannot miss this beautiful canary yellow stately building which is a block away from the sea shore.
As for the food… I ordered the Cape May Sea Side Omelet. Since crab and asparagus were in season, why not have it all wrapped up in an omelet ladened with hollandaise sauce? The omelet was fresh and excellent, I enjoyed every bite. The breakfast potatoes were crispy on the outside and seasoned perfectly. The English Muffin was an English Muffn, no biggie but the coffee was great.
Location: Blue Pig Tavern- 200 Congress Pl, Congress Hall Hotel, Cape May, NJ 08204
Carney’s has been around since 1979 and is known for their crab cakes. If a place is known for something then go for it! I went for it and the crab cake was incredible. Most crab cakes we get on the West Coast are lame. I’m sorry- not sorry but we really cannot make a crab cake.
I kept going with the Crab Theme and ordered the Loaded Crab fries, which as you can see were truly loaded! I had a difficult time finishing them but grew another stomach for their excellent bread pudding! Oh and how could I forget about that lovely Coconut Ginger Lemon Drop Martini to start. Carney’s is a wonderful Cape May casual dining establishment.
Location: Carney’s – 411 Beach Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204
According to my server at Margaretville in Atlantic City, they ran out of egg whites which made no sense to me! Not unless the egg whites come from a carton but couldn’t the chef separate the yolks from the whites? Other than that this breakfast was pretty uneventful but did the job. BTW- I am allergic to runny eggs that is why the big huff.
I have been to three different Margaritaville’s, in three different states and I have never been a fan. This Atlantic City location served breakfast, so I found myself “Waistin’ away again in Margaritaville.” Still not a fan!
Atlantic City Saltwater Taffy at James’ Candy and Fralinger’s
Salt Water Taffy is an artform! There are a lot of posers out there that say their little colorful candies wrapped in wax paper are true Salt Water taffy but they are clearly not. James’ and Fralinger’s taffy are not posers, the real deal is right here! Both candy companies offer perfect saltwater taffy in many different flavors, from fruit variety to chocolate variations. The taste and texture of their taffy is on point. They are not the sugary as hell taffy that you find in cheaper stores or at the grocery. Their taffies are simple and delightful.
Saltwater Taffy and walking on a boardwalk go hand in hand in any oceanside city; even beyond Atlantic City!
For my full Yelp Reviews:
Best buns on the beach- Not me but Madison! 😉 Advertising that you have the best buns on the beach gives one high expectations of this sea side bakery. Okay, I will say Madison has great buns but I am not sure if it is the best because I did not venture into other local bakeries.
The cinnamon bun I ordered was pretty huge. It was also freshly baked and served right out of the pan. I thoroughly enjoyed this rich and sweet cinnamon bun especially when warmed. It was so big that I ate off of it the whole day, so if you have another person with you just remember that ‘Sharing is Caring’!
Location: Madison’s Bakery- 701 Beach Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204
“California Tortilla! California Tortilla!” was what my cousin’s boys were chanting after they picked me up from the train station in Succasunna, NJ. Apparently this was a favorite place of theirs for tacos and quesadillas. I was very hungry so I ordered the Carnitas Verde Burrito. It was a fairly big burrito.
The best thing about California Tortilla was “The Wall of Fire”. I love hot sauces so this wall was right up my alley. It was just what I needed for that huge Carnitas Verde Burrito!
Location: California Tortilla- 275 NJ-10, Succasunna, NJ 07876
Chicken Nachos- Circle Bowl
Nachos and family fun just go hand in hand, don’t you agree? I was visiting my cousin in New Jersey during the summer time and Circle Bowl had great summer deals for the school kids. It was a nice way to keep the children social and out of the summer heat.
As usual, I needed to order food or a drink since I was sitting down in an establishment that served both. Since I was around children I figured food was the better option. 😉 So out came these loaded Chicken Nachos with cheese, hot sauce, lettuce tomatoes and several dipping sauces. I think I might have eaten all of the jalapenos!
Location: Circle Bowl & Entertainment – 1107 Route 46 W, Ledgewood, NJ 07852
Hotel food happens and when you travel a lot, it happens a lot! If I am in a remote location or travel tired, I will scout out the hotel food menu. If there is nothing I like, out comes Uber Eats or Postmates! While I was staying by the Newark Airport all I had the opportunity to eat was hotel food and it was not that bad.
At the Double Tree Inn, I found battered fish tacos and a side salad to tide me over before the Executive Lounge opened up. They were not too bad especially the fish tacos.
As for the Courtyard Marriott, there were various dishes that I ordered during my one night stay. The Brussel Sprouts were very good, as well as the Cobb Salad. The serving size was quite generous and I had to bring the leftovers to my room, for a later meal. I also sipped on a Coconut Collins, which was a nice cocktail for a Courtyard Marriott. Then for breakfast it was a breakfast sandwich and a cup of fruit- It was hotel food.
For my Yelp Review- Read Trixie N.‘s review of Courtyard by Marriott Newark Liberty International Airport on Yelp
Hilton Honors Executive Lounge
My advice is to get on board with the points membership from your favorite hotels. For over five years, Hilton Honors has been one of my favorites. Their perks are great from an upgraded room to the access of their Executive Lounges. With this lounge perk, I did not have to worry about dinner because there were several savory and sweet options, including a S’mores Bar. We were also given complimentary wine which is an even nicer perk- Thank you Executive Lounge.
I also received an Honors Reward gift of bottled water and warm cookies. If you do not have Honors Rewards, get it and receive those yummy hot cookies!
Alaska Airlines from Newark- First Class
First Class Flight Attendant: “Would you like a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary?” Me: “YES!” So I got both, not at the same time of course. I will say that both drinks made my flight back to Las Vegas an easy one.
My breakfast was airplane food which is not the freshest but it was decent. I know of some people would never touch airplane food due to how it is processed. Although my omelet with bacon and hash browns were not too bad. Plus I was given a little smoothie, yogurt and granola- not bad at all.
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property- Trixie Navarre