I'm thinking of starting a blog series called "Know Your Enemy: New Jersey" in honor of co-worker and pal Philly. In August, Phil will move back to Nueva York and leave behind our fair state. But I hope that he'll leave with a better opinion of it than when he initially came. And that's why I'm dragging him around to some of the state's highlights while I still have the chance.
I didn't always love New Jersey - in fact I mostly hated it until I was about 19 or so. I had really wanted to go to NYU for college, but for financial reasons, I got "stuck" at Rutgers in New Brunswick. It was my time in New Brunswick, surrounded by a bunch of Jersey-lovers, that began the warming process.
A couple of weeks ago, Dan asked me if I had told Phil about the Grease Trucks, because they would be right up his alley. And that's the god's honest truth. The Grease Trucks, just in case you've never known a Rutgers grad, are literally about four or five food trucks that are parked in a lot off of College Ave (the main drag of the campus). They serve up your typical burgers, fries, and so on, along with falafel and the what not (the owners are all of Middle Eastern descent). But the real draw are the "Fat" sandwiches. It all started with the Fat Cat, which is two cheeseburgers served on a long roll with french fries, ketchup, mayo, lettuce and tomato. Over the years, more and more sandwiches have been added, most of them named for students. For instance, a Fat Darrell is chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, marinara sauce, lettuce and tomato all crammed on a roll. The price? $4.50. A bargain, if you ask me.
So, I brought Phil down to New Brunswick, which is always a fun trip for me given my many happy memories there. And obviously, given Phil's predilection for fries and meats, he was a fan of the Trucks. Specifically, we ate at Mr. C's, which has been around since I started school there nine (jeez, has it really been that long?) years ago. I had a fat cat, Phil had a Fat Moon, which consisted of chicken, egg, bacon, french fries.... and maybe some other stuff, but I can't remember.
New Brunswick is much quieter in the summertime, something that I always loved about it. But there were still plenty of kids milling about Voorhees Mall, taking classes. I remember driving down College Ave with my former apartment-mate Devon, about a year after we had moved out of town. "Ohhh, college boys," Devon sighed as we moved past groups of cute guys walking down the sidewalks. "There's nothing like college boys," she said. And it's true. No where else do cute boys travel in packs. I thought of that last night, and felt a momentary pang for lazy summer evenings in New Brunswick, watching baseball, eating Thomas Sweet ice cream, grabbing a slice at Skinny Vinnie's or just sitting around the kitchen table and talking with Elana, Lauren, Dev, and Jerusha. It's only a momentary pang, though.
Also, allow me to throw this out there. While looking for Grease Truck reviews, I stumbled across this asinine article from the Daily Princetonian. Rutgers and Princeton have a long-standing rivalry from their early days (mostly, it involves stealing a cannon.... I know, it's a dumb story) but now, they just think they're better than us and we think they're assholes and everyone goes home happy. Anyway, read this article about two Princeton girls heading to the Bruns for a night on the town.... I can't believe they think the walk from the train station to Union Street is sketchy. How awesome would it be to drop these debutantes on Clinton Street in Newark? Ahh, a girl can dream.