Tag Archives: NJ

Pine Barrens Glamping in Brendan Byrne State Forest

We opened the door to the cabin and stood silently, our mouths agape. In years visiting the woods, we’d never seen anything like this.

A beautiful brand new cabin!

The bunks were feathery soft. The carpentry was stunning, each board fitting together perfectly.

No sleeping on a bare floor tonight!

This is Brendan Bryne State Forest in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. This unusual ecosystem of pine trees and sandy soil is home to many rare plant and animal species, including 274 kinds of moss!

My friends and I unpacked our gear and started a fire, grilling up steaks and salmon burgers. Sitting around that fire, the concerns of daily life faded away like the smoke.

After a fine night’s sleep in the cushy bunks, we wolfed down ham and eggs and set off for a hike. The hiking is easy in the Pine Barrens, with flat terrain and well groomed trails.

We wondered at the beautiful conifers and placid ponds, often content with saying little.

As we made it back to camp, our friend Victor* pulled up! He had been tied up Friday but didn’t want to miss this wonderful weekend entirely.

Together, we cooked burgers, apple gouda sausages, and even a savory chili over the flames. We joked and laughed, untroubled by the need to get home at the end of the night.

Come Sunday morning, we all sat around after breakfast, reluctant to begin packing. It would mean the trip was over.

But pack we did, already planning our next visit.

Brendan Byrne has both cabins (with plumbing and electricity) and “shelters,” which was the simpler cabin we stayed in. I found it more than adequate, and at about $50 a night for Jersey residents, it’s a steal!

Now is the perfect time to visit the Pine Barrens!

The weather’s getting warmer but the ticks have yet to emerge. Enjoy this unique world while you can!

More on New Jersey:

Is this NJ’s Most Beautiful Spot?

The Mafia’s Hoboken Fortress

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

*not his real name

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Classic Coffee and Cake in North Jersey

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Mocha cake

What could be more classic than coffee and cake? After a recent dinner out, my wife and I stopped at Paris Baguette in search of this venerable combo.

We found cases filled with some of the most beautiful, artistic cakes I’ve ever seen. They’re so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them.

Almost.

Tiramisu cake

We ordered a tiramisu cake and cappuccino for her and mocha cake and a small coffee for me. They were ready in no time and we sat down at the handsome marble tables, ready to feast.

The tiramisu cake was novel with a deep espresso flavor. But the star of the show was my mocha cake.

My fork sliced through the rich icing into a deliciously moist, crumbly interior. I closed my eyes as I chewed, transported to chocolate heaven.

The finely brewed coffee was a perfect counterpoint to the chocolate. We sipped and relaxed, content as could be.

As we finished up, I noticed my wife furtively eyeing the dessert case. I mean, you only live once right?

So she grabbed a scrumptious twisty donut thing whose name I don’t know, holding it triumphantly in the air like a trophy. Oh, and a mini cheese cake for the morning, too.

Who’s counting?

In addition to numerous locations across northern New Jersey, you can find Paris Baguette in New York City, Philadelphia, and numerous other locations across the country. Stop in for delicious coffee and baked goods in a relaxing atmosphere!

More on food:

Our Man in Hunan

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

Manhattan’s Burger Baron

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Jack Ciattarelli’s $10 Billion Budget Cut

New Jersey has an election tomorrow, pitting Democratic Governor Phil Murphy against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli.

While researching who to vote for, I came across a startling piece of information. From NJ.com:

Ciattarelli has vowed to cut $10 billion in spending from the budget. But he has not outlined what programs he’d slash.

That got me wondering: how big is the state budget? Would cutting $10 billion be a little, or a lot?

It turns out the total state budget is $46.4 billion. A $10 billion cut would mean slashing 22% of the state budget.

That sounds drastic. If Ciattarelli had clearly outlined wasteful spending we should eliminate, I’d feel a little better about his argument.

But the total lack of clarity on what state services will get the axe concerns me.

Would this mean no more buses, closing state parks, or the end of free community college? We have no way to know because the candidate hasn’t told us.

The question is, do we want to find out?

More on New Jersey:

Murphy’s Innovation Agenda

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

A Hidden Castle…In New Jersey?

Photo: “File:Jack Ciattarelli.jpg” by NJTVNews is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

The Kings of Cuban Coffee

Last summer, as the lockdowns were lifting, my wife and I sat at a little table on bustling Bergenline Avenue. I lifted a tiny cup to my lips and tasted some of the boldest, most flavorful coffee of my life.

The place was Sweets and Cortaditos in North Bergen, NJ. It sits near the top of the lively shopping street near leafy Braddock Park.

This small shop serves the most outstanding cortaditos and cafes con leche I’ve ever had. The signature cortadito has a deep, rich flavor complemented by the smoothness of steamed milk.

It goes beautifully with a slice of creamy cheese cake or a delectable cupcake.

Originally from Belleville, Sweets and Cortaditos opened its North Bergen location in 2016. From what I can tell, it’s been an incredible success. A steady hum of customers pass in and out, dainty coffees and satisfying treats in hand.

Sitting at the outdoor tables, painted after the Cuban flag, and listening to a street festival play Cuban music made us feel like we were in Havana. At a difficult time for our neighbor Cuba, it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy a bit of their culture close to home.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

More on food and Cuba:

How to Get Internet to Cuba

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

I just had a jelly donut. And it changed everything.

You guys are going to start thinking I work for them. I don’t. But I could be persuaded for enough free donuts.

Francesca’s Bakery has locations in Clifton and Pequannock and also pops up at farmer’s markets across New York City. It was at a farmer’s market in midtown that I first encountered their scrumptious baked goods.

As you bite into their jelly donut, your mouth enters a cloud of cinnamon sugar. The outside is crisp and sweet. The inside: pillowy, soft and moist.

When you reach the jelly, you’ll find an intense flavor of fresh strawberries. And don’t worry, they don’t skimp on the jelly.

Other fine offerings from Francesca’s

With Hanukkah coming up, I can’t think of a better place to get the traditional jelly donut. I may be a gentile, but something tells me I’ll be scarfing a few anyway.

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on food:

NJ’s Best Apple Cider Donut

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

The Best Bakery in NYC (It’s Not Levain)

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Move Over, Cake Boss: There’s a New Sheriff in Town

Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery may be the Cake Boss, but there’s a new sheriff in town. 

Recoleta is an Argentinian bakery in Union City, NJ that makes some of the best cake I’ve ever tasted.  When I walked in for the first time in 2019, I noticed 3 things:

1) The beautiful interior, filled with comfortable couches and chairs

2) The engrossing pastry case, replete with the traditional pastries of Argentina

3) The prices, which are from another era. Most pastries are little more than a dollar, and slices of cake are around $3.

As you bite into a slice of their chocolate cake, you glide through a thick layer of velvety buttercream into moist spongecake pervaded by cocoa.

With a satisfying cup of coffee at your side, and a mere $4 and change gone from your wallet, you can gaze out at lively Bergenline Avenue and watch the people go by.

I can’t think of a better way to pass an afternoon.

If you’re in the area, stop by Recoleta…before TLC does. 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on food:

THE BEST MEXICAN FOOD IS IN…NEW JERSEY?

NJ’S BEST APPLE CIDER DONUT

THE BEST BAKERY IN NYC (IT’S NOT LEVAIN)

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

NJ’s Best Apple Cider Donut

On Wednesday, my wife’s coworker gave us the most meaningful of gifts: two apple cider donuts. Considerate husband that I am, I ate them both.

They were the best I’ve ever tasted.

Francesca’s Bakery, with locations in Clifton and Pequannock, makes donuts, danishes, babka and much more! They even appear at numerous farmer’s markets in New York City, including one near the United Nations where my wife first encountered their delicious baked goods.

The apple cider donut is generously sugared, airy, and rich. Biting into it evokes a candied cloud.

Get several. One won’t be enough.

Francesca’s was started in 2009 and gets its ingredients from nearby farms. Everything is fresh, and it shows.

If you’re in the area, check it out! And if you’re not, you can even order their rugelach by mail!

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on food:

THE BEST MEXICAN FOOD IS IN…NEW JERSEY?

NYC’S KING OF SUGAR: POSH POP BAKESHOP

DUNKIN DONUTS: THE DEFINITIVE TOP 3

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

How AMC Crazy Is Your State?

After an incredible 17-fold rise this year, AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. has become one of the hottest stocks in the market. But which state is the craziest for this meme stock?

It turns out my home state of New Jersey is #1 in the country for searches of “AMC” as a proportion of all searches, per Google Trends data from the last 12 months. Kansas, the company’s home state, is #2. (The darker the state, the more AMC crazy it is.)

Play around with the map at the link above and see where your state ranks!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

More on AMC:

HOW SHORT SELLERS COULD EVADE THE NEW NSCC RULES

AMC HAS 35,000 TIMES THE FAILS-TO-DELIVER OF AMAZON

SHORT SELLERS LOSE $44 BILLION IN 30 DAYS

Photo: The AMC in Times Square, NYC, taken this week by yours truly!

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account. I will also get a fee waiver for 90-365 days, depending on what type of account you open.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! I’ll also get 5% of however much you spend, at no cost to you.

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.

Dunkin Donuts: The Definitive Top 3

Where I live in Northern New Jersey, Dunkin Donuts is an institution on par with the Giants or the Catholic Church. And since I’m willing to accept even the hardest jobs in the service of you, my readers, I decided it was time to clear something up.

What are the best donuts at Dunkin Donuts?

I conducted an extensive research program at my local shop. And I’m happy to announce I’ve identified the definitive top 3:

Number 3: Apple Crumb Donut

Gooey apple jam gushes out of this pillow of sugar as you bite into it. Not quite sure what the crumbs are, but they’re a great texture contrast. Don’t ask any questions. Just eat it.

Number 2: Old Fashioned Donut

I used to think it was boring. No. Classic. Its simplicity and straightforward flavor is the Platonic ideal of a donut. Dunk this in coffee, if you want to fully experience life.

Number 1: Double Chocolate Donut

Boston kreme used to be my true love, but now I’m cheating with double chocolate. Don’t tell anyone.

Its dense, cakey middle absorbs iced coffee beautifully. Together with the satisfying crackle of the chocolate frosting, you’re well on your way to a glorious diabetic coma.

What are your favorites? Leave a comment and let me know.

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on food:

THE BEST MEXICAN FOOD IS IN…NEW JERSEY?

NYC’S KING OF SUGAR: POSH POP BAKESHOP

THE BEST BAKERY IN NYC (IT’S NOT LEVAIN)

Photo: “Dunkin Donuts” by JeepersMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! And please leave your comments at the bottom.

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account. I will also get a fee waiver for 90-365 days, depending on what type of account you open.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! I’ll also get 5% of however much you spend, at no cost to you.

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

On a quiet side street in Union City, NJ is a small storefront. Inside: some of the best Mexican food in the country.

La Piedra del Sol is run by a lovely family from Oaxaca, Mexico, a region known for its cuisine. While we often think of California or Texas as the best places for Mexican food in America, I submit this may be the best Mexican north of the Rio Grande.

Chips and salsa are no afterthought here. Everything is housemade.

I first tried this wonderful restaurant on a frigid Valentine’s Day night. The shrimp fajitas oozed flavor. The guacamole was creamy and delicious. Simple chips and salsa were an incredible experience: multiple salsas with deep, rich flavors and crispy tortilla wedges, all housemade.

Guacamole served with flair!

Service is attentive and friendly. Everything is done in-house. As the end of our meal came, the owner sent out a delicious tres leches cake, free of charge. It was moist, milky, wonderful. This happened to be one of the last meals out my wife and I had before COVID, and it was memorable.

I visited again on a recent evening and the food was better than ever. I’m very grateful the shutdowns didn’t force this wonderful spot out of business.

La Piedra del Sol is open every day but Sunday and in addition to wallet friendly prices, it’s also BYOB. If you’re in the area, you’d be crazy not to visit.

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on food:

THE BEST BAKERY IN NYC (IT’S NOT LEVAIN)

I ATE THE BEST BURGER OF MY LIFE OUTSIDE IN THE DEAD OF WINTER

HOW I LEARNED TO COOK

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. using the buttons at the bottom of the page. This helps more people find the blog! And please leave your comments at the bottom.

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account. I will also get a fee waiver for 90-365 days, depending on what type of account you open.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! I’ll also get 5% of however much you spend, at no cost to you.

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.