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What I'll miss most in Jersey and the NY Metro Area


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#1 Jason Perlow

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:01 PM

If you've been following my blog, Off The Broiler and my posts on eG Forums for the last 10 years, you probably know I've covered a lot of ground when it comes to food and dining in New Jersey. It's been a hell of a ride, to be sure. Jersey has a ton of great food.

But my Jersey glory days are coming to an end. My wife Rachel and I have sold our home in Bergen County, and we are packing up shop. At the end of this month, we're moving... to Florida. Broward County to be exact.

While I am very excited about the change of venue and scenery, and extremely interested in pursuing the local food scene there, I am going to miss a ton of things in NJ, even though I will probably be travelling back here at least several times a year.

Here are some of my favorite things:

1) Top Notch Italian-American Food

Northern NJ residents have access to a ton of great Italian-American food, whether it is in Jersey itself or in nearby NYC, particularly in the Bronx on Arthur Avenue.

2) Pizza. See above.

3) High-Quality Asian Cuisine.

No question Jersey excels at Asian food, particularly Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese and Thai cuisine. While it exists in Florida, the state appears to have something of a "hybrid restaurant syndrome" where you see things like Sushi combined with Thai, Chinese mixed with Vietnamese, etc. Jersey excels at specialization.

Jersey also has a ton of great Asian supermarkets. Florida has some, but not to the extent what we have here.

4) Decent bagels.

It's pretty much a given that Florida's bagels are going to suck in comparison and I may have to end up getting them FEDEXed or learn actually how to make them.

5) Deli.

Yes, Florida has TooJay's, but it's not in the same class as say, Hobby's Deli in Newark or any of the good Italian delis in North Jersey. All of the decent delis in Miami, like the Rascal House, are long gone. No pastrami which is even remotely comparable to Katz.

6) Newark's Ironbound / Paterson Main Street / Fort Lee-Palisades Park / Iselin

Yes, Florida has no lack of great Latin American restaurants, and Miami has an amazing Cuban community, but it's not the same as the melting pot that is Newark's ironbound where you can get some of the best Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian food in the entire country.

Similarly theres nothing in Florida that's even close to Main Street in Paterson where all of the major Middle-Eastern cuisines are represented. Or the incredibly authentic Korean food in Fort Lee and Palisades Park. Or the Indian food in Iselin or Jersey City. I could go on with similar cultural enclaves that just don't exist in South Florida.

7) Vibrant restaurant towns

There's certainly fine dining in Florida, but there aren't "Restaurant towns" like you see with say, Montclair, Ridgewood, or Red Bank. The towns in Florida are giant sprawling things rather than population-dense, so you have to drive a lot more to get what you want.

8) BYOB

I loved being able to shop at local liquor stores, and bring my own wine to restaurants. It was one of the reasons why I became so interested in wine and kept my own collection in the first place. Now I'm just going to keep barely enough wine to drink for stuff I cook at home, because in Florida virtually every restaurant has a liquor license. However, the flip side is I won't be able to necessarily depend on the quality of a restaurant's beverage program.

Edited by Jason Perlow, 11 June 2012 - 02:03 PM.

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#2 Fat Guy

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:15 PM

I would add:

9. Hot dogs. NJ is surely the leader.

10. Indian food. The Edison/Iselin area is the best place I've been in the US for Indian food.

I just wanted to make sure you'd miss an even 10.

Make it 11: White Manna.

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#3 Jason Perlow

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:20 PM

I would add:

9. Hot dogs. NJ is surely the leader.

10. Indian food. The Edison/Iselin area is the best place I've been in the US for Indian food.

I just wanted to make sure you'd miss an even 10.

Make it 11: White Manna.


Yeah, no question about the dogs, although that's something I take advantage of less frequently than everything else. I love Jersey-style rippers though, even though my favorite place, Callahan's, closed a number of years ago.

Indian Food in Florida is not nearly as dire as it sounds. There's a ton of new Indian restaurants opening up, particularly from Jersey Indian expatriates. If that makes sense at all.

I don't want to talk about White Manna. I have issues.

Edited by Jason Perlow, 11 June 2012 - 02:20 PM.

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#4 weinoo

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:20 PM

Indeed, you will miss all of those things in Broward County.

For pizza, check out the chain Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza...they turn out a respectable pie every now and then and I believe their original location is the Ft. Lauderdale one. Great service staff and great attitudes too.

I find the bagels at certain S. Florida bagel places to not necessarily be any worse than bagels are now in NYC...and is that a compliment?

Deli is fairly awful.

Take solace in the fact that there are Whole Foods markets to shop at.
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#5 Jason Perlow

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:22 PM

Indeed, you will miss all of those things in Broward County.

For pizza, check out the chain Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza...they turn out a respectable pie every now and then and I believe their original location is the Ft. Lauderdale one. Great service staff and great attitudes too.

I find the bagels at certain S. Florida bagel places to not necessarily be any worse than bagels are now in NYC...and is that a compliment?

Deli is fairly awful.

Take solace in the fact that there are Whole Foods markets to shop at.


I heard about Anthonys. The company actually contacted me already. LOL.

Deli is definitely going to be a major, major challenge. I might actually have to attempt to make my own pastrami. That could be interesting.
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#6 Chris Hennes

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:24 PM

Deli is definitely going to be a major, major challenge. I might actually have to attempt to make my own pastrami. That could be interesting.

The recipe in Modernist Cuisine is unbelievable, I've got some short ribs in right now.

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#7 Jason Perlow

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:29 PM


Deli is definitely going to be a major, major challenge. I might actually have to attempt to make my own pastrami. That could be interesting.

The recipe in Modernist Cuisine is unbelievable, I've got some short ribs in right now.


Mhyrvold's book? That would be a very expensive pastrami if I had to pick up that volume. Maybe I will ask him for the recipe. :) I heard Ruhlman's recipe in his charcuterie book was very good as well.
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#8 Chris Hennes

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:33 PM

Mhyrvold's book? That would be a very expensive pastrami if I had to pick up that volume. Maybe I will ask him for the recipe. :) I heard Ruhlman's recipe in his charcuterie book was very good as well.

That's the one. I liked the recipe in Charcuterie, too, it's definitely good: but the MC is... well, unbelievable.

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#9 janeer

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:31 PM

Ha! I've been missing pizza, Italian, delis, and bagels, since I went to college in the 60s. It's something to look forward to when I go back for the holidays.

#10 gfweb

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:42 PM


Mhyrvold's book? That would be a very expensive pastrami if I had to pick up that volume. Maybe I will ask him for the recipe. :) I heard Ruhlman's recipe in his charcuterie book was very good as well.

That's the one. I liked the recipe in Charcuterie, too, it's definitely good: but the MC is... well, unbelievable.


So what's the MC recipe's unique points?

#11 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:12 PM

Really, you can't get good deli/bagels in southern Florida? Miami used to have Wolfie's which was wonderful, but closed now I understand. Still, with all those retired Manhattanites? There's gotta be someplace!

#12 Jason Perlow

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:17 PM

I hope so. I'll find out soon enough anyway!
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#13 Chris Hennes

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:12 PM

So what's the MC recipe's unique points?

Unsurprisingly there is a 72h sous vide cook involved, which is probably its most unique element, but the flavors of the brine and the rub are superb, and the attention to detail in the recipe writing means it's actually possible to just follow on down the recipe step-by-step and get a fantastic product. Have a look at the couple examples in our Modernist Cuisine topic for details. IMO it's better than anything you're getting at Katz's (or whatever your NY/NJ benchmark is).

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#14 Jason Perlow

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:28 PM

I am intrigued but that requires a Sous Vide machine... Price of the book notwithstanding, ($450) That could get very pricey if you want one that could hold an entire brisket!

I mean, I could hire a person to send me several pounds of pastrami from katz every week for a year and it probably would still be cheaper... lol

Edited by Jason Perlow, 11 June 2012 - 09:29 PM.

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#15 Jason Perlow

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:29 PM

Wait, 72 HOURS? What about the brine?
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#16 CaliPoutine

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:32 PM

Jason,

Not sure where you're going in Broward County, but I grew up in Plantation( and just returned from a week vacation to Ft. Lauderdale) and let me tell you, there are good bagels. The best bagels I've found( and I've tried a lot) are at Sage Bagel and Appetizer shop in Hallandale Beach. There is great NY pizza there too. Forget about Chinese food, it pretty much sucks there.

There are a couple of good delis. Pastrami club in Lauderhill comes to mind. I've had some great Italian food too.

So many places have closed in the last couple of years. Broward County has been hit hard.

You'll be able to find some great seafood restaurants too.

Edited by CaliPoutine, 11 June 2012 - 09:34 PM.


#17 CaliPoutine

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:39 PM

I'm just not that impressed with Anthony's. I guess its the "new" and different thing in SoFL, but I've had much better Coalfired pizza here in Socal. I had some anthony's a couple weeks ago and the pizza was soggy and overly burnt in spots.

#18 jmolinari

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 03:34 AM

I'm told by my uncle that Nick's New Haven pizza is an acceptable, better than nothing, substitute for Pepe's....

#19 Jason Perlow

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 05:24 AM

Jason,

Not sure where you're going in Broward County, but I grew up in Plantation( and just returned from a week vacation to Ft. Lauderdale) and let me tell you, there are good bagels. The best bagels I've found( and I've tried a lot) are at Sage Bagel and Appetizer shop in Hallandale Beach. There is great NY pizza there too. Forget about Chinese food, it pretty much sucks there.

There are a couple of good delis. Pastrami club in Lauderhill comes to mind. I've had some great Italian food too.

So many places have closed in the last couple of years. Broward County has been hit hard.

You'll be able to find some great seafood restaurants too.


Hey Randi -- great to see a familiar face :)

This is definitely good news and I'll have to check some of those places out. As to Chinese, during our last house hunting trip I found some really good places just outside Ft. Lauderdale serving legit Cantonese food and Dim Sum, and also some decent Vietnamese stuff. So the situation isn't quite as dire as I thought.

As to businesses closing -- I definitely noticed the retail vacancies but Jersey has been whacked equally bad.
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#20 NancyH

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:30 AM

Sounds like you won't be far from Delray Beach. My folks winter there, so I've gotten to try a few decent places. For deli, try Glick's Kosher Market. I had my first noodle knish there - super carby, but so delicious! Their potato and kasha knishes are also excellent, as are their smoked fishes, and they bake savory and sweet in house. The salads are freshly made from scratch. Even though they are kosher, they sell both meal and dairy items.

We also enjoyed Delancey Street Deli Restaurant, 14590 S. Military Trail, Delray Beach (no website, 561-495-4422) a couple of years ago. They are "Jewish Style" (aka not kosher) - but did a nice knish (just don't let them reheat it for you in the microwave!) which featured beautifully caramelized onions. The kosher hotdog was expertly grilled, though the sauerkraut left me a little flat. I blogged about them here.

Another favorite is The Bagel Tree, (561) 498-9758, 6580 W Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33446 - it takes me right back to the coffee shop at the Nevele (in the Catskills). Though they lose points for carrying only Nova and no belly lox (you can get the belly lox at Glick's), the food and atmosphere are definitely worth a visit.

Jason - would you share the Asian goodies that you found?

Edited by NancyH, 12 June 2012 - 08:38 AM.

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#21 flourgirl

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:37 AM

If you've been following my blog, Off The Broiler and my posts on eG Forums for the last 10 years, you probably know I've covered a lot of ground when it comes to food and dining in New Jersey. It's been a hell of a ride, to be sure. Jersey has a ton of great food.


My aunt made the same move as you, from Jersey to Florida. She GREATLY missed her bagels and pizza, forget about it.

Good luck to you

Edited by flourgirl, 12 June 2012 - 08:38 AM.


#22 Jason Perlow

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:08 AM

Jason - would you share the Asian goodies that you found?


Yes. If we're talking Broward, there's a hardcore Chinese restaurant in Lauderdale Lakes called Silver Pond (no relation to the NY/NJ ones). It's in an asian shopping center with an asian bakery and an asian supermarket. We ate there and had some really good authentic dishes. I've also heard good things about a place called Hong Kong City in Tamarac for Dim Sum. I've also heard good things about Pine Court Chinese Bistro in Sunrise.
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#23 weinoo

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:51 AM

I'm just not that impressed with Anthony's. I guess its the "new" and different thing in SoFL, but I've had much better Coalfired pizza here in Socal. I had some anthony's a couple weeks ago and the pizza was soggy and overly burnt in spots.

It's so "new" that it's 10 years old :wink: .

Just like with many of the better pizza places, you can certainly run into a stinker every now and then. But for an overall South Florida pizza experience (especially dining in the restaurant), it's pretty acceptable - I also have a confessed weakness for the occasional chicken wings cooked in that same oven.
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#24 weinoo

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:57 AM

Sounds like you won't be far from Delray Beach. My folks winter there, so I've gotten to try a few decent places. For deli, try Glick's Kosher Market. I had my first noodle knish there - super carby, but so delicious! Their potato and kasha knishes are also excellent, as are their smoked fishes, and they bake savory and sweet in house. The salads are freshly made from scratch. Even though they are kosher, they sell both meal and dairy items.

We also enjoyed Delancey Street Deli Restaurant, 14590 S. Military Trail, Delray Beach (no website, 561-495-4422) a couple of years ago. They are "Jewish Style" (aka not kosher) - but did a nice knish (just don't let them reheat it for you in the microwave!) which featured beautifully caramelized onions. The kosher hotdog was expertly grilled, though the sauerkraut left me a little flat. I blogged about them here.

Another favorite is The Bagel Tree, (561) 498-9758, 6580 W Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33446 - it takes me right back to the coffee shop at the Nevele (in the Catskills). Though they lose points for carrying only Nova and no belly lox (you can get the belly lox at Glick's), the food and atmosphere are definitely worth a visit.

As someone who has been dealing with Delray Beach for some 25 years, when my parents first moved down there, I'd say Glick's is somewhat passable for certain things. And certainly passable for anything kosher.

There used to be a coffee/bagel place a little further west on Atlantic right around Hagen Ranch, but since that closed Bagel Tree has become the defacto bagel joint.

The problem with anything in Delray is that it's way too much of a schlep from Lauderdale to be useful for a quick run out for bagels.
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#25 weinoo

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:08 AM

Now, going the other way (south towards Miami) there's a really great Russian grocery on NE 79th St called Marky's. Make sure you outfit your car with a good Coleman cooler to keep stuff cold on your shopping jaunts!

For local seafood flavor in that area, Captain Jim's on S. Dixie Highway fits the bill. It's a market and restaurant - a bit divey but whatever they've got freshly caught is worthy.

And then you're not gonna that way without checking out Little Haiti.
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#26 Jason Perlow

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 11:04 AM

Viewed at a local bagel shop in Englewood, NJ. So wrong.

Posted Image
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#27 janeer

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:18 PM

Yes; when you see the words "bigger" and "fluffier," you know it's not a real bagel anymore.

#28 paulpegg

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:10 AM

Jason,

You can always find a great meal at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in North Miami. This place makes up for all the mediocre places in Florida. We did his deep fried pig's ears at our March Event after I got him to give me the recipe.

Good luck in your new home from all of us at Les Marmitons NJ.
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#29 CaliPoutine

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:30 AM

Please try the bagels from The Sage in Hallandale Beach( but dont eat their matza ball soup, they use spagetti for the noodle). The bagels are consistently voted best Bagel in Broward. The bagels are chewy and dense. I actually cut them into 3rds when I'm at home and toast them. They are so dense, that sometimes its hard to scoop them.