A mix of burgeoning urban centers, the bright lights of Atlantic City and laid-back coastal retreats, New Jersey boasts varied culinary treats to match its demographic diversity. In other words, eat international if you want, or stick to simple, simply delicious, in smaller towns along the shore.
For fresh it’s hard to better the seafood selection available at atmospheric restaurants just a few skips from sandy beach, serving up the likes of scallops, succulent lobster, butterfish, flounder and fluke. And Atlantic City isn’t just home to casinos, it also boasts bags of superb salt water taffy. Venture away from the beach and discover some of the state’s other claims to fame, from Campbell’s Soup, of Camden origins, to M & Ms (from Mars), or Old Trenton Crackers, first made long ago in Trenton, of course. Also Trenton in origin is the Taylor ham, or pork roll, a popular addition to the breakfast sandwiches of those in the know.
Newark’s ironbound district abounds with Brazilian, Spanish and even Portuguese dining options, but there are also plenty of old-style diners to chose from both in Newark and across the state that dish out more traditional American fare. For something truly unique, head to Paterson, the home of the Hot Texas Weiner, New Jersey style. For those unfamiliar with this twist on the hot dog, think all beef dog, split, grilled and served on a club roll with a special sauce and assorted condiments.
Looking for a beverage that says “local”? Try a glass of wine from one of the state’s 30 odd wineries, like Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay, or a Victorian Blush at the award-winning Cape May Winery on the coast.