10 Places In North Jersey To Eat This Summer

10 Places In North Jersey To Eat This Summer

You will not be disappointed.
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As a Jersey resident and self-proclaimed foodie, I believe it is my duty to compile a list of my favorite hot-spots for everyone to enjoy this summer. Sure some are well known, and others fly under the radar, but all of these North Jersey eateries are worth the trip. From breakfast to dessert I have covered all the basis of pure deliciousness. These following restaurants should make everyone's summer bucket list:

1. Cyndia's- Totowa

This one is definitely underrated, but ranks as my favorite breakfast spot. Cyndia's is a fairly new and welcoming restaurant that has a unique menu and an attentive wait staff that will make you feel like family. For breakfast, you can't go wrong with any menu item, but Eggs Oscar is a home-run for sure. I'll let you in on a secret, their lunch menu is just as delicious (find out for yourself). Also their fresh squeezed OJ, ugh so good.

2. Montclair Bread Company- Montclair

A very popular spot, and for a good reason, it's DELISH. You can't go wrong with their doughnuts, and their lattes are served in Mason jars. Yes please!

3. Oakland Diner- Oakland

Much more than your average diner, the food is top notch! everything is fresh and delicious, it's the perfect go-to for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

4. Cuban Pete's- Montclair

A perfect summer dinner spot; the outdoor dining area will make you feel like you are on a tropical vacation. The food is delicious, I recommend the paella, ropa veja, empanadas and everything else on the menu (It's all too good, I can't just pick one!). Also, if you bring your own bottle of wine, they will make you up one mean sangria (Anyone else need this right about now?).

5. Bruno Bruno's- Wayne

While you can't go wrong with anything on Brother Bruno's menu, you NEED to order their dessert pizza. This pie is a local favorite. Split the pie up any way you wish and choose from almost a dozen dessert options, you can't go wrong!

6. Harold's Deli- Edison

Warning: Do NOT go here for a light lunch..Come hungry people! For all the pastrami lovers of the world, if you haven't had the pleasure of eating here, get in your car and go there, right now (and bring friends). The sandwiches (if you can call them that) are enormous. Also, a slice of cake is $15 but can feed an entire college campus and then some (seriously bring friends). Even better yet...they have a pickle bar. What are you waiting for?

7. The Hot Grill- Clifton

As the hot dog enthusiast that I am, I strongly suggest that you try this Jersey icon. What should you order you ask, two hot dogs all-the-way, go back for a third if you wish, whose judging?

8. Eurogrill- Caldwell

This place offers real-deal Portuguese barbecue (I'm not Portuguese, but it's delicious, trust me!). You can't go wrong with anything on this menu (so try it all!).

9. The Fine Grind- Little Falls

The Fine Grind is a cozy little coffee shop that hosts open mic nights, live music and various vendors. Walking into this coffee shop will make you want to spread out on one of their couches and pop open a classic novel (or maybe your laptop). Why is this place perfect for summer? They are famous for their Frohos-Frozen Hot Chocolate that is! They are absolutey worth every calorie and are offered in many different flavors (FYI: Elio's Raspberry Kiss hits the spot).

10. Curly's Ice Cream- Riverdale

Last but not least, my favorite ice cream stop. Their flavors are unique and really hit the spot on a warm (or cool) summer night! Order Chocolate Raspberry Truffe, you won't be disappointed!

Cover Image Credit: Yelp

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Living With Celiac Disease

Kids would put food in my face and tease me about it, they'd tell me that my symptoms weren't real and that I was just faking it for attention; I even had adults tell me this too.

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At the age of eight, I experienced horrible stomach pain, weakness, and illness. I was doubled over, and I didn't know why I'd felt so horrible. It wasn't the kind of pain you feel when you have the flu, or when you have cramps. It was a different kind of pain, but I knew it wasn't good. My parents didn't know what was wrong with me either. The only thing my dad had suspected was that perhaps I was intolerant to gluten.

For those who don't know, gluten is found in many food items that primarily contain grains or are often high in carbs. This isn't to say that all foods with carbs or grains have gluten, but they oftentimes do. Gluten is a protein within wheat that is the primary ingredient in cake, pizza, and bread. It is even sometimes in food that you would never suspect, like Twizzlers. It's also synonymous with ingredients like monosodium glutamate, malt, barley…etc.

I tell you that to tell you this:
At eight years old, I was told I had celiac disease. Which just means that my body is unable to digest and break down gluten, preventing me from absorbing vital nutrients.

My dad found out later in his life that he was gluten intolerant after many years of breakouts and complications. He had ascertained the idea that maybe I had also carried this gene and that was why I was in so much pain. Each time we digest gluten, our body attacks our small intestine, killing off what is called villi. My body was in so much pain because I was eating gluten.

After taking gluten products completely out of my diet, I felt 100% better. I was no longer in intense pain, I no longer had rashes, and all other symptoms went away. From then on, I had to watch what I ate, as if I was on a life-long diet.

As you can imagine, this was a ton of responsibility for me as an eight-year-old because I now had to constantly check every label there ever was, make sure that the food I was eating at school didn't have any sort of gluten in it, and I was also now a novelty at school. Kids would put food in my face and tease me about it, they'd tell me that my symptoms weren't real and that I was just faking it for attention. I even had adults tell me this too. They thought I was being hypersensitive.

I had to remember everywhere I went that I had to avoid eating gluten. Do you know how hard that is? It's in so many things. When I was young, not many people knew what celiac disease was. There weren't any gluten-free alternatives out there, so I was eating lots of rice, beans, and salad. I had a very limited food palette. I could no longer have the amazing foods I enjoyed like pizza, garlic rolls, cake, or even ravioli. Although it seems odd, ravioli and spaghetti-o's were my favorite then and I was no longer able to have them. It crushed me.

Having celiac disease was hard as a child because when I went to birthday parties, I couldn't eat most of the food they provided. I couldn't enjoy birthday cake or the pizza that most people ordered. I always had to bring my own food and explain why every time. It seems silly, but I often felt left out. Not being 'normal' because of my allergy made me feel like an outcast. You'd think you wouldn't feel like that, but it generated a lot of those negative feelings because I was a burden to feed due to my allergy.

Fast forward 13 years later, I still have to be careful of what I eat. Celiac disease is something I'll never get rid of. It's a part of my DNA, and there's a good chance my kids will also carry the gene and deal with the same issues.

I don't usually tell people I have celiac disease because I can sometimes get away with having trace amounts of gluten and still be mostly okay. But when I accidentally eat gluten, I pay the consequences. There are times when I accidentally eat it and feel like I can't get out of bed because of the stomach pain. I joke that the pain is so horrible that I feel like I'm dying, but it really does feel severe in the moment.

Being gluten intolerant, I spend quite a bit more money on groceries because I have to find gluten-free food and it's way more expensive. Because gluten-free became a fad diet, more places began offering alternatives and it was easier for me to find foods I liked. When I find gluten-free goodies that aren't normally gluten-free in restaurants, you bet my eyes light up! It's exciting but also a relief.

Being gluten-free has oftentimes felt like a curse, but it's also a blessing sometimes.

The upside to this is that researchers are looking into developing a pill that will help those with celiac disease digest gluten easier and/or subside symptoms completely. So hopefully soon, I'll be able to eat the foods I once loved without feeling ill.

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