By Jerry Del Priore
Every once and a while I’ll take a break from covering and watching sports to grab a mouthwatering meal out of my comfort zone of Brooklyn, New York.
In fact, my taste buds have no limits—I’ll go wherever there’s great fare available for me to savor and devour.
My latest food ventures took me to the Garden State, where I ate some delicious meals at a few wonderful places.
Here are five fantastic New Jersey food establishments.
While there may be fancier, more expensive places for Italian grub in New Jersey, pound-for-pound, Arminio’s has some of the tastiest food around.
Being from the Borough of Kings, known for its great pizza, I needed to see how the Chatham restaurant measured up by the slice.
Much to my surprise, the pizza was rather delectable. I also had a scrumptious Mediterranean Salad — marinated grilled chicken, feta cheese, calamato olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, over crisp romaine lettuce, with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Natale’s Summit Bakery – 185 Broad Street, Summit, NJ
When it comes to great New Jersey family-owned institutions, Natale’s Philly Fluff Cake, a dusted sugar pound cake made with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, is what has distinguished it as a worthy bakery to visit, make no doubt about it. People come from all over the tristate area just for one of these amazing concoctions.
Natale’s, in business since 1938, sells so much of the Philly Fluff Cake, that it packages it in boxes, ready to go, fresh and all, as it flies off the shelves, with zero time to get stale.
Natale’s also offers up other delicious baked goods: Devil Dog Cake, Chocolate Soufflé Cake, Cappuccino Cheese Cake, and Apple-Pear Cobbler.
ZinBurger Wine & Burger Bar – 1900 State Route 10, Morris Plains, New Jersey
With locations all over the East Coast (Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey) and growing, I visited the eatery in Morris Plains, New Jersey, which has an overwhelming inviting atmosphere, indoors and outdoors, fit for dining on any gorgeous, sun-kissed afternoon.
I order a Big Bad Blue – Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, Bacon Onion Jam, Baby Arugula, Fried Onion Stings & Dijonnaise.
Yes, the hand-crafted angus burger was as good it sounds, and even better with a side order of creamy Wasabi Coleslaw. I washed it down with a pint of Blue Moon suds, complementing a fantastic meal.
ZinBurger also serves splendid wines, as well as decadent, frothy shakes, and cool craft brews.
Marie’s Italian Specialties – 641 Shunpike Road, Chatham Township, New Jersey
Marie’s was a must-try on my New Jersey foodie list. After being featured on Guy Fieri’s TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, on the Food Network Channel, in 2011, business has been booming, according to our server, Dylan, who said it was a slower day than normal and recommended making a reservation on my next visit.
And for good reasons, as the flavorsome eatery packs in the patrons on a regular day.
I enjoyed the Marie’s Brick-Roasted Chicken Salad – Organic mixed greens, apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, goat cheese with balsamic vinaigrette, plus brick-roasted chicken.
Yes, the chefs actually roast chicken with a brick fixed atop of the poultry. Mind you, it adds an undeniable, special savory taste to the unsuspected fowl. Who knew?
I also sampled the Eggplant Parmigiano Sub, which was quite appetizing. I’ll have to indulge on The Sacred Swine — featured on Fieri’s DDD, Italian pulled pork, creamy polenta, broccoli rabe, and vodka sauce served on Italian bread — on my next visit.
However, I passed on the complimentary cannoli. Next time, though.
Morrocan Kebab & Falafel – 242 Morris Ave, Springfield, New Jersey
I am accustomed to eating Israeli falafels, which are usually kosher. But Morrocan Kebab & Falafel’s version is right up there, as it’s Halal, any food or object deemed permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law.
Tasty and filling, it complemented the Beef & Chicken Shawarma (an Eastern Mediterranean meat preparation cooked on a rotisserie) I buzzed through. A diamond in the rough, it’s affordable menu just makes it that more pleasing on the palate.