New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13

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saps
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New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 1:16 PM
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Went to NJ on business this past week. Stayed right where I-80 intersects the Garden State Parkway.

Not really roadfood, but ate at Goodfellas on 1/11 and LuNello's on 1/12. LuNello's was top notch (3rd time there, a favorite of a customer) and Goodfellas was decent, despite the cheesy name.

At Lunello's we had braised octopus in marinara, baccala, zucchini flowers and oysters. My entree, orrechiette with sausage and broccoli rabe on a garlic/olive oil was top notch, although the pasta could have been a bit more al dente. The menu is expansive and their must be about 15 specials per night. Attentive and fun service, a good all around place. It is in Totowa off of Union Blvd.

On 1/12, stopped at White Manna. Great place and atmosphere. Burgers are hot and juicy, like white castles if they were made with fresh ground beef. It's chaotic at lunch time, but the staff gets the orders right and you pay after you eat on the honor system. A must stop if you are in the area.

I'm heading back this week on Wednesday again and will be sure to stop at White Manna for lunch again.

aleswench
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 1:28 PM
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Thanks for the report. I always appreciate NJ reviews. We'll have to try Lunello's. I work near there. If you'd like other suggestions for NJ Dining, let me know what you are in the mood for and maybe I can point you in the right direction! Sue

Michael Hoffman
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 1:39 PM
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God, I have enough trouble figuring out my way from I-80 East to the northbound Garden State -- and southbound to westbound on the way back. How does one develop the courage to even attempt to look for a place to stay at that spot?

saps
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 1:45 PM
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Sue- I'll take any recs that you have. I'm back out there Wednesday and thursday of this week.

Hoffman- The ramp to the hotel (Marriott) off of the highway is an adventure in itself. I'm always guaranteed to miss a sign or take a wrong turn when I'm in Jersey

Michael Hoffman
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 2:06 PM
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I can't tell you how manay times over the years I've ended up on the George Washington Bridge after missing the damned ramp to the Garden State. Coming back isn't quite as confusing, if you remember to get over to the right and use that toll booth.

aleswench
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 2:56 PM
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Geez, I get confused and I’ve lived here all my life…I know what you mean!

There are many places that I could recommend in NJ, but I’m going to tell you a few places that you will be relatively close to. The first you would have to drive about ½ an hour up Route 80 West to Exit 30, Howard Blvd. in Mt. Arlington. It is called Pub 199. Here is a write up I did a while ago, but never did post it on Roadfood for some reason:
“Friday night we went out for dinner at Pub 199 in Mt. Arlington, NJ. We have been there before, but have not dined in their new addition part of the restaurant. This proved to be an experience - it is a huge dining hall with a massive stone fireplace and vaulted ceiling. As for the decor...let's see...we counted 22 deer, 3 bears (one black, two brown), 4 mountain goats, an Elk, 2 cougars, 6 fox, a beaver, and a couple of mink, pheasants and quail. I have never seen so many dead stuffed creatures in one place in my life. There was even a "lucky" table where you could dine right next to a life size coyote (oh I forgot there were about 5 of those as well....) taking down a deer. And while this type of decor is not my taste, I didn't find it disturbing enough to let it ruin my meal. Which is the best part...

Pub 199 is known for their seafood - most notably, the clams. The owner, who can be found on any given night doing anything from directing traffic in the parking lot to checking on tables to make sure you are satisfied, owns his own fishing boats and supplies his own seafood to the restaurants. The original room, before the addition, also boasts of yet more unfortunate beasts...Marlin and various other sea creatures. There are huge mirrored etchings on the wall depicting the captain and his boats.

From the menu you can order a combination of either 2 dozen clams and a lobster, or 2 dozen clams and a 22 oz. strip steak - for $18.95. Swear - $18.95. They have other items on the menu such as king crab legs, burgers, fried chicken but we can usually never get past the combo choices. This time around though, I did the 2 doz. and a bacon cheeseburger on someone's recommendation and it was very good - the bacon outrageous, actually. Bob got the 2 doz. and steak and it was excellent. We also got an order of the wings (hey.we were hungry!) and they were great as well. All this, plus a pitcher of beer ran us $50, plus $10 tip. SO worth it.

The only thing worth noting, and I am not sure if this is a bad thing or good thing - the noise level is well... LOUD. So many people in there and all chatting away. We didn't mind it at all..I actually think that more noise actually creates more intimacy because no one knows what you are talking about....”


We just went there again Saturday night and split a 7 pound lobster and a couple of dozen clams. The 7 pounder cost us a mere $55.00 and was outrageous. If you like seafood, and don’t mind the aforementioned atmosphere, it is well worth the ride.

If you are in the mood for steak, there is Steve’s Sizzling Steaks on Route 17 South in East Rutherford. If you go, ask for Blaze (one of the owners) and tell him his friend Sue from High School says hello.

There is also a steakhouse in Rutherford on Park Avenue called Mignon’s that we love. A little pricey, but it is a BYOB place and you save a bundle on alcohol.
Here is their website:

http://www.villagerestaurantgroup.com/mignon.html .

I reviewed it here: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=834&whichpage=6&SearchTerms=mignon%27s


Then there is the whole plethora of NJ Hot Dog Joints. You are within driving distance of a good number of them. Rutt’s Hut, The Hot Grill, Callahan’s you name it. If you are interested in any of those I can get you directions.

If I can think of anymore, I’ll let you know, or if there is something specific you are craving I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction. Sorry this post is so long…slow day here for me with the Holiday!

saps
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 3:34 PM
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Thanks Sue-

I'm going to go to Pub 199 on Wednesday night when I get in. This place sounds right down my alley. Do they have a bar there? I'll be alone, so I'll prefer to eat at the bar if possible.

I've been to Rutts and the Hot Grill, but if I have time, I'd like to try an Italian hot dog on Thursday if you have any recs for that. i don't mind driving a bit.

Thanks,

John

aleswench
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Mon, 01/16/06 3:51 PM
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OH! One other thing very important!! Pub 199 does not take credit cards – you need cash. They do have an ATM there, though. I think you will be very happy going there – and I’m tempted to say we’d join you if you wanted company, but after eating more butter than I should have in a month this past Saturday with the lobster, I can’t say we’ll go again this week in good conscience. They do have a bar there, but I’ve never noticed anyone eating at it. I’m sure it can be done, though. I truly hope you enjoy it – it’s an experience!

As for Italian Hot Dogs, the only places I have been are in Elizabeth, Tommy’s Italian Hot Dogs and Jerry's. They are right next door to each other. We visited them on our last hot dog tour. If you search the 2005 Hot Dog tour you can find info. That’s kind of a long haul for you though. Maybe John Fox would have another suggestion for you that I’m not aware of. I hope you have a great trip, and if I can think of anything else I’ll let you know….Damn, I’m jonesin’ for those clams now….

saps
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Tue, 01/17/06 10:41 AM
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I'd be happy to invite you guys out, but I'm probably not going to eat until around 9:00 p.m. My last two inbound flights to Newark were fairly late, so its hard to plan around that.

ScreenBear
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Tue, 01/17/06 11:16 AM
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Saps,
If you're up for an Italian Hot Dog, I heartily second John Fox's continuing opinion that Charlie's, Kenilworth, N.J., is the best example of this indigenous comfort food. And, it's only 5 minutes from the Garden State Parkway, exit #138. Don't miss this if you can help it. Let me know if you want exact directions.

Mike,
if you really want some fun, drive Route #22 in Eastern NJ. It's like driving 50 mph through a mall. I'm used to it, so my real bugaboo is route #3, near the intersection of #46 and a whole bunch of infrastructure insanity that makes it seem like a driving video game.
The Bear

saps
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Tue, 01/17/06 12:50 PM
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Screen Bear, I'll take those directions. I'll be driving back up toward Saddle Brook near lunchtime from Holmdel, NJ.

Thanks,

John

saps
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Thu, 01/19/06 2:06 PM
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I went to Pub 199. As usual, my 1:30 flight was delayed until 3:00, canceled, and I got on a 4:30. Made it to Pub 199 at 9:00. Absolutely great rec. I ordered the 2 dozen clams and lobster. It was so good, I ordered another 2 dozen clams. Thanks again for the rec- Great place.

aleswench
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Thu, 01/19/06 2:15 PM
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YAY!! I'm so pleased that you liked it! We do the same thing with ordering more clams lol - so did you get to eat at the bar? Did you count all the dead animals??

ScreenBear
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Thu, 01/19/06 3:52 PM
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Gee Saps,
Sorry, but I didn't look back onto this topic until now.

In any case, for next time maybe, get off exit #138. Make a left. You'll be on the Boulevard. Go a couple of blocks to the major intersection of Boulevard and Michigan Avenue. Make a left onto Michigan Avenue. Charlie's is one block on the left.

I guess I was hibernating.
The Bear

saps
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Thu, 01/19/06 5:21 PM
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Screen Bear-

No problem. I got mapquest directions, but I added an unscheduled meeting in North Jersey that had me humping. Having dinner tonight at Arthur's Landing in Weehawken w/customers.

ScreenBear
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Thu, 01/19/06 8:29 PM
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Saps,
Glad to hear it. Hope Arthur's Landing is a hit. I always go by the place when taking the ferry into NYC...but never tried it.
The Bear

ganache123
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Fri, 01/20/06 7:08 PM
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Does anyone have the exact address for pub 199? I am going to be driving through new jersey next month. We usually take the new jersey turnpike. Also, how are the clams prepared? are they raw?

saps
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Fri, 01/20/06 10:34 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by nancyb

Does anyone have the exact address for pub 199? I am going to be driving through new jersey next month. We usually take the new jersey turnpike. Also, how are the clams prepared? are they raw?



199 Howard Boulevard in Mt. Arlington, NJ. I believe is was about a mile off of 80.

ken8038
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Sat, 01/21/06 8:58 AM
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<<I'm going to go to Pub 199 on Wednesday night when I get in. This place sounds right down my alley. Do they have a bar there? I'll be alone, so I'll prefer to eat at the bar if possible.

<<I've been to Rutts and the Hot Grill, but if I have time, I'd like to try an Italian hot dog on Thursday if you have any recs for that. i don't mind driving a bit.>>

Well, since you've already gone to Pub 199 (which by the way IMHO had gone somewhat downhill after expansion to the extent that we've not been there in nearly a year, when we used to go every few months. Based on your reports it sounds like it may have been just "growing pains"), on the same road just North of the I80 exit you would have passed Davy's Dogs, real good chili dogs. Eat in (small) or take out. ---Ken

ken8038
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Sat, 01/21/06 9:02 AM
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Ooops, I just re-read your post, you were looking for Italian Hot Dogs this time, I don't think Davy's does that. For Italian Dogs, I'd go with the 2 places in Elizabeth mentioned above. From Newark airport it's only a 10 minute drive, but I suggest you do a mapquest or something, Elizabeth can be very confusing in the inner city parts. Then again, if you can negotiate the I 80/GSP exit, you should be able to find your way in and out of Elizabeth.

---Ken

aleswench
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Tue, 01/24/06 4:50 PM
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Ken - I'm curious as to where you spend your dining out dollars now, being that you aren't going to Pub 199? We are from the area and always looking for good places to eat up there. I also think you should try the Pub again - it really was great when were there last - about 2 weeks ago.

And NancyB - I think it is too much of a hike from the NJ Turnpike to Mt. Arlington, but that's your call. The clams are steamed and served with butter. I don't know of any alternative to seafood off of the turnpike, but if I think of one I surely let you know!! Sue

p.s. have a safe trip!

ganache123
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Wed, 01/25/06 3:58 AM
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is pub 199 closer to the garden state than the nj turnpike?

ken8038
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Wed, 01/25/06 9:46 AM
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<<Ken - I'm curious as to where you spend your dining out dollars now, being that you aren't going to Pub 199? We are from the area and always looking for good places to eat up there. I also think you should try the Pub again - it really was great when were there last - about 2 weeks ago.

Yes, we plan to give it another shot based on what I've read here.

We're not actually from that area, we're about 45 minutes away in Central NJ, but our dining range is anything we can get to in under an hour, so we do get up that way sometimes. Another place we like up that way is Ken Lockwood Tavern, on Rt 206 in Byram, about 5 miles north of I 80, a little further out on 80 from the Pub 199 exit. Nice cozy stone walled tavern and dining area, fairly simple menu. There's a much more upscale Italian Restaurant upstairs called Barone's, but we've never tried that. Here's a link:

http://www.barones.com/Lockwood.htm

aleswench
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Wed, 01/25/06 12:11 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by nancyb

is pub 199 closer to the garden state than the nj turnpike?



Yes - you would take the Parkway to Route 80 West to the Pub. If you don't mind my asking what are your plans? You can email me - maybe I can let you know of other things to do in the area to make the drive worth your while...Sue

aleswench
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RE: New Jersey Trip Report 1/11-1/13 - Wed, 01/25/06 12:15 PM
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Thanks Ken! We'll check them out!