Fried Fish & Patacones (fried plantain)
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What: Sometimes called Taylor pork roll or Taylor ham, thanks to the Mr. John Taylor who created it, pork roll is a large log-shape hunk of meat, sliced and eaten grilled or fried, most commonly on a round sandwich roll with cheese and egg. Though it originated in Trenton in the late 19th century, it’s so ubiquitous on menus across the state that the 40 miles between Trenton and the Shore are of little consequence.
Where: We like the pork roll sandwiches at the quaint Allenwood General Store (3208 Allenwood-Lakewood Rd.), a luncheonette-cum-antique shop in Allenwood where the bustling, homey interior is crowded with for-sale curiosities and even the young waitresses call you “love.” Here, the popular pork roll, of which the store claims to sell 180 pounds per month, comes from Trenton, as it should. Order at the counter—the restaurant operates on the honor system; you pay before you leave—then grab a casual wooden table inside the license-plate-bedecked dining room or outside in the small garden.
When: Mon-Sat, 5am-4pm; Sun, 8am-2pm. For breakfast or lunch, pork roll is part of a balanced New Jersey diet.
Order: The pork roll and cheese sandwich ($4) or the state’s favorite breakfast: pork roll, egg, and cheese (pictured; $4.50). Both are yummy, salty comfort food. We counted four generous slices of pork roll on our poppyseed-sprinkled rolls, effectively containing the gooey, yellow American cheese. If you’re really feeling naughty, consider the Jersey burger, which adds pork roll and cheese to your beef patty ($5.30), or the P&L Custom: pork roll, egg, cheese, home fries, sausage, and bacon on a hard roll ($9).
Good to know: AGS is located right on the 5.4-mile Edgar Felix bike path, which you can ride or jog between leafy Allaire State Park and downtown Manasquan (see How to Burn It Off). It’s the perfect way to combat that pork roll and French chocolate calorie bomb!
Alternatively: Nearly every New Jersey diner, including OB Diner (1519 Richmond Ave., map) in Point Pleasant Beach, has pork roll/Taylor ham on its menu, so take your pick. Another Jersey Shore spot we particularly like for its historic atmosphere as well as its pork roll (plus excellent egg dishes, homemade pastrami, and baked breads) is the family-owned Frank’s Deli (732-775-6682; 1406 Main St., map) in Asbury Park, where the locals-only crowd could potentially include Bruce Springsteen.
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