Gone Mulin' for Her Man

I have a confession: I'm originally from New Jersey. I know, I know, I'm one of them, but I'm working hard to make this less readily apparent. For starters, it's been 8 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days since the last time I said "yous guys". And I make sure to use the long-A sound when complaining of my car's broken radiator, or the long-E sound when requesting more syrup. As you may have guessed, I don't get many opportunities to showcase my newfound linguistic flexibility.

Despite my best efforts to "talk right", my accent usually betrays my origins within several minutes of conversation. Yep, as shocking as it may be to people in the northeast not from Brooklyn or Boston, we all have an accent. Not necessarily that fake wannabe-Italian Soprano's accent either (although there's tons of that in northern New Jersey -- it used to just be one or two lonely guys in an Iroc talking that way, but now that the show has somehow made it cool, it's pervasive) but just a very obvious northeastern accent. People who travel a lot around the country, or who have lived in different regions are well aware that we all have accents. People who stay in the northeast and live rather sheltered, regional-centric lives, fall in the trap of thinking everyone but them has the accent.

And of the three things I miss least about New Jersey, right at the top of the list is... ding, ding, ding... you guessed it... that New Jersey accent. It's enough to make my skin crawl sometimes.
  1. New Jersey accent
  2. Toll booths every 8 miles
  3. Visible air
So imagine my surprise when a new "authentic" New York deli opened up in a nearby shopping center and our waitress was imported from northern NJ to work there. Well, actually, I don't know if they flew her out there just to work the late shift at this deli-cum-diner, but she was most assuredly of New Jersey upbringing. The overly loud voice, the smacking of the gums, the HAIR! In other words, I wished she would have just gone away.

I had just picked my wife up from the airport. She was back east visiting family (also in New Jersey) so we decided to give this place a try for a late, light, dinner. The menu was huge, in a good way. They were sporting every kind of hot and cold sandwich you can imagine, on a variety of different types of breads, with a fair amount of typical NYC Jewish fare thrown in for good measure. I think the place was called "Famous Goldberg's" so that latter point was of no surprise. Besides, if I were to make a list of things I miss most about living in New Jersey...
  1. Crisp autumn weather
  2. Good Jewish delis

So, aside from the waitress giving us her best Spinal Tap "the volume of my raspy voice goes to 11" impression, I was actually pretty psyched to be there. The various new and old dill pickles were promptly served to us right after sitting down, the place smelled right, the menu was huge. It was all good.

And so all was right in my world until I flipped to the back of the menu and looked to order a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich and found that it was not an option. The horror! I flagged down the waitress, "Yo, Rita!" -- just kidding -- and asked her about the omission. She didn't know what it was. Turned out she wasn't from Jersey after all. She simply had a sinus infection.

And just as I was getting really disappointed, my wife leans over across the table and tells me that she brought something back from New Jersey for me. I had no guess. With all the flirtiness of someone with a really juicy secret to tell, she informs me that she has 6 pounds of John Taylor's Pork Roll in her carry-on bag.

For those who don't know, Taylor Ham (aka pork roll) is a New Jersey delicacy. Now I know that the words "pork roll" and "New Jersey delicacy" may be slightly off-putting, but you've got to trust me. On a hard roll (aka Kaiser Roll) with some eggs over hard, American cheese, and a healthy smothering of ketchup, there is nothing better. Cut some slices about 1/4 inch thick, fry them up till the edges start to char a slight bit, and voila! You've got one awesome breakfast sandwich!

And yes, you can order it online and have it shipped to you, but it's expensive. You really should just go to New Jersey and get it from a small sandwich shop or delicatessen. My favorite place to get it when I go back to visit family is a spot called "Burger Express" in my hometown of Carteret. The funny thing about this place is their giant rotating sign -- one side simply reads "Fried Chicken" and the other "Cheese Fries". Knowing the true name of the place is a sign you are definitely from Exit 12.

For those less inclined to travel to NJ anytime soon, I implore you to buy some online. This place seems as good a place as any to order it http://www.jerseyporkroll.com/

And now to complete the list...

  1. Crisp autumn weather
  2. Good Jewish delis
  3. Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches

1 comment:

Criscipline said...

I find it ironic that mom made me a 'bangin' (How Jersey) pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich Sunday morning. It was on fresh ciabatta bread though. She burned my pork roll just right and yes, there was a very generous pile of ketchup on it. The cheese was melty and yellow american just like it should be.

After two weeks of strict Weight Watching, I thought I was going to vomit and gave the last bite to the dog. I felt sick for an hour or two. Yes, it was worth it.

Philadelphia has been experiencing crisp Autumn weather the past two days.