The Mount Rushmore of New Jersey Foods
If we were to create the Mount Rushmore of New Jersey delicacies, you'd have to include the pork roll egg and cheese sandwich, bagels, pizza, and chicken parmesan.
The first three choices are obvious. All you have to do is move out of state for a while, and you'll quickly understand what a treasure these foods are.
I learned to live with shrimp and grits while we lived in South Carolina. They look at grits the same as we look at pizza. You can put almost anything in grits. To be honest, it's pretty good, but it ain't Jersey pizza. They have many places that try to make a Jersey pizza, but it isn't the same.
Pork roll egg and cheese is another example of a Jersey food that's hard to replicate. Oh sure, it's available if you look, but it just isn't the same. It's like they use some no-name pork roll. And what's with the rolls they use? It ain't Jersey.
Then you have bagels. Some say New York bagels are the best. They say it's the water that makes the difference. There may be some truth to that, but Jersey still has great bagels. Down South, they don't boil them. It's like eating a roll with the center cut out.
Finally, some might include the sub/hoagie. Not to take anything away from those fine sandwiches, but if you are jonesing for a sub, there seems to be a Jersey Mike's all over.
This brings me to my final choice, chicken parmesan.
I know what you're thinking, you can get chicken parmesan anywhere. That may be true, but chicken parm just seems so Jersey. Go for dinner with friends, and at least one person is going to order chicken parmesan.
Order Italian out, and let me ask you, is there anything better than opening that round, silver tin, and seeing a bed of angel hair layered with a bright red sauce and a couple of beautiful chicken breasts smothered in cheese and sauce?
But there's more. Is there a more versatile dish than chicken parm? I like the chicken lightly breaded, but some don't bread it at all. The traditional sauce is red with a healthy dose of garlic, but I've had it with vodka sauce and even a white sauce. As if that isn't enough, if you're on the go, how bout a chicken parm sandwich?
If you have a place you think has the best chicken parmesan in New Jersey, leave a note in the comments section for a future story.
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