Here's me sharing the randomness that happened today:

- Stalked Food Celebrity Eric Ripert: While leaving my company's NYC office and heading back to Jersey City, I went down an escalator and low-and-behold found French chef/owner of the renowned Le Bernadin Eric Ripert a few steps away from me. Of course, I pretended to play with my phone to take some quick shots. Yes, I'm that girl. No, I didn't have the guts to even say hi. Yes, I'm creepy.

Eric's on the left side on this ridiculously narrow escalator.

- Ran my first 5-mile run: Maybe it's because I've had a lot on my mind or the fact that I downed 4 mugs of green tea before putting my sneakers on. Whatever the reason, I was able to run 5 miles under an hour tonight. Not the fastest time, but that's my longest distance done without any breaks. 

What? No food pictures? Hey, it's only Monday; we've got the rest of the week! Figured I'd try to post stuff other than food porn for a change. :) 

Listen, Jersey City, I know we just celebrated our One Year Anniversary together. It's been a good year, a great year, actually. I know that what we got going on right now is a good thing.


...I think we need some time apart.

No, it's not you! You've got beautiful views, a charming personality, and...your food scene. Your food. Goodness, your food makes me wanna settle down here.


It's the summertime, and I think this would be a good time for ME to...start visiting other places.

And, while we're at it, I have a confession: I've BEEN seeing other places.

Like, last week I snuck out for a weekend road trip and went to see my friend Heather and her family in Pennsylvania. It was - literally and figuratively - a breath of fresh air.

I sunk my teeth into a delicious burger topped with crab imperial at Station Taproom:

Surf and Turf Burger - Beef Meets Crab Imperial. Glorious.

I discovered new trails at a local park with Heather.
All this beauty with minimal bug bite damage

I devoured a bowl of delicious mussels and bacon.

Miraculously, I did not drool over this bowl.

I even had time to enjoy peach ice cream at Margo's Old Fashioned Ice Cream and take a couple group selfies:
Happy to celebrate the first weekend of summer!

This wasn't the first time I've strayed away from you. Before Pennsylvania, I went to Paris and Vienna for a week, and took a 12-hour road trip across New Jersey, gorging myself on barbecue. 

(Shameless Blog Plug: I will be posting about these trips soon. I promise.) 

You have to admit, it's not like you even notice when I'm gone. You've been too busy being fabulous, and other people are falling in love with you, too. I know.

Despite all of this, I don't want to break up. Far from it. I think all of this will only strengthen our relationship. And just so you know, even though I'm gone from time to time, I'm always coming home to you.

xoxo, Jersey City. 

I like walking around Jersey City.

Whether it's to and from work or home, rushing to get through my errands, or heading to some mode of public transportation, I'm relying on my two feet to get me from Point A to Point B. When I think about it, though, I do most of my walking when I go out for my occasional stroll around the town. Often, there's no agenda, just a general idea of what blocks I want to explore. I've stumbled upon some of my favorite spots in Jersey City by aimlessly wandering around. (However, if you do see me out there with a lost expression on my face, help a girl out.)

One of my recent discoveries was E. Tittlemouse & Co, a "Badass Thrift Boutique + Art Gallery" and my to-go-to place where I can just play dress up in pretty clothes and admire their beautiful collection of  art and vintage pieces. It's truly a gem. As if this store couldn't get any better, they take it up a notch by collaborating with other wonderful local businesses to create unique events at their shop.

My friend and I were lucky enough to grab spots to their event with Milk Sugar Love, maker of deliciously addictive baked goods and ice cream. At the event, Emma Taylor, the sweet genius behind Milk Sugar Love, shared her tips on how to make basic ice cream and magic shell at home. For folks like me who wanted to leave the ice cream making to the pros, Emma also walked us through how to use store-bought ice cream to create delicious treats like cakes and sandwiches by using molds. She even taught the audience "Ice Cream 101" by introducing some basic terminology. (Do you know what a variagate is?)

(Ice Cream) Class is about to begin. 

To top it all off, at the end of the class, Emma was kind enough to give everyone a highly coveted pint of ice cream. I grabbed the Hazelnut Chip (FACT: Hazelnut is my favorite ice cream flavor. So, score!). Surrounded by racks of beautiful clothes at E. Tittlemouse and listening to Emma talk about her passion for ice cream, it was inspiring to see what one can accomplish when they work hard to follow their dreams and do what they love. Tasteful clothing and tasty ice cream - the makings of a delicious event.

Now, if you'll excuse me. I have some more of that Hazelnut Chip to enjoy. No worries. I'll just walk it off later.

E. Tittlemouse & Co. 
246 Bay Street, Jersey City
(201) 434-8949
NOTE: Check out their next event "The Art of Being a Gentleman" this Friday, June 6th. It'll be a night of whiskey, cigars, grooming, fashion, and art!

Milk Sugar Love
Officially making their home at:
19 McWilliams Place, Jersey City
NOTE: For the week of June 2nd, check out where they'll be here for store hours and cart location:

I've never been to Puerto Rico, but I have family from there.

Okay, so we're not blood-related, but I consider myself so close to my friend Ari that we're practically sisters. Four years ago, Ari and I hit it off after I introduced her and her daughters Damia and Laria to dim sum in Philadelphia. After that, we became inseparable as we continued our food adventures across Delaware and Pennsylvania. Yes, that's right. We became family over food. Isn't that the best kind of family?

Anyway, my friend/sister Ari and her girls made a day trip to visit me in Jersey City earlier this month. The agenda that Ari had in mind mainly consisted of finding some food spots that could satisfy their craving for Puerto Rican food. Surprisingly, Delaware seemed to lack that. (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice.)

We were lucky enough that Ari brought her car AND was willing to drive around NYC and Jersey City for the day. (She's a brave girl, folks.) So, we crossed the Holland Tunnel and eventually made it to Brooklyn, heading to our first stop: Moore Street Market, one of Brooklyn's oldest indoor markets and supposedly "the place to be for everything Puerto Rico w/o leaving New York" (as quoted by the ever reliable Yelp). We ate delicious fried foods that I never had before:

(It's like a mozzarella stick, but better.)

(Fried doughy goodness made of yucca or plantains stuffed with meat and love)

Before passing out in a food coma, we got a couple food staples, like a bottle of Mayoketchup and a couple cases of Malta India. (You know I love food souvenirs, right?) We took a walk down Graham Avenue (also known as "Avenue of Puerto Rico") where we stopped by a bakery for some pastries and made a pit stop for Damia and Laria to enjoy piragua, which is shaved ice but better because one of the flavors tastes like ice cream. Genius.

We headed back to  Jersey City and made a pit stop at Supremo Supermarket where we grabbed more items that Ari couldn't get back in Delaware. Then, exhausted from all the walking and eating (It's hard work, people.), we took an afternoon break at my apartment to watch episodes of Criminal Minds and make these delicious grilled cheese sandwiches with the bread and cheese we bought at Supremo:

Quality Time w/ The Family

Miraculously, we somehow found room for dinner and decided to check out a Puerto Rican restaurant  in Jersey City called Restaurante Delicias de Puerto Rico. I'm drooling just reminiscing about this meal:

Mofongo (Mashed Green Plaintains) w/ Fried Pork 

Yellow Rice w/ Pigeon Peas

Steak w/ Onions

I've never been to Puerto Rico, but after this fun-and-food-filled day trip I want to go...NOW. Hopefully, one day I will. For now, I'll settle with enjoying a taste of it in my backyard with my family.

Special Shout Out to Ari, Damia, and Laria: 
Thank you for for all your visits and adventures. I'm grateful to have been "adopted" by all of you. xoxo

Moore Street Market
(TIP: You'll find a countertop where you can just sit there and eat delicious fried goodies. Make a stop there and get the bacalaitos, which are codfish fritters that I enjoyed so much that I didn't even stop to take a picture.)

Supremo Food Market
(TIP: Ari introduced me to this delicious bread. Ari, if you're reading this what was the name of the bread?! It was made with butter...or was it lard?)

Restaurante Delicias De Puerto Rico
(TIP: Get...everything. It's so cheap. You can eat for a family of four and not break the bank!)

NOTE: The following blog post is my "formal" entry to join The Star-Ledger's Munchmobile crew. To learn more about the Munchmobile and the contest, click here

To "Eat & Be Mary" readers: Your support would mean the world to me. Please feel free to leave a comment, letting the selection committee know that they NEED to save me a seat on the Munchmobile.


I wasn't always a fan of New Jersey. Blasphemy, I know, but hear me out. This is a good story.

Even after growing up in the Meadowlands area with easy access to about 5 malls, some of the best diners in the country, and Medieval Times, I still wanted out, badly. After graduating college, I took the first job that gave me a ticket out of the Garden State. It took five years of living in Connecticut and Delaware to make me realize what I had left behind: good food.

Now, don't get me wrong; my time away from New Jersey was something I'd never take back. I got to see what was beyond the Turnpike and stumbled across some culinary gems in the process. However, the most important thing I found during this whole experience was my ability to connect with people through food. Food is essentially my love language (Someone call the author of "The Five Love Languages" book and tell him that he missed the sixth one.).

Whether it was asking my neighbors for recipes, reaching out to my co-workers for restaurant recommendations, or inviting people from church over for dinner, food was always the common denominator. As nerve wracking as it was taking the first step towards connecting with complete strangers, in the end, I was rewarded with friendships with people who were just as passionate about food as they were about their local communities. Living outside New Jersey made me a firm believer that food is the best "people-connector". After five years away, I was ready to come back and put my belief to the test in my home state. So, I returned, moved to Jersey City, and I fell in love...with New Jersey, not with anyone in particular (That's a whole other blog post for another day.).

Like all modern day love stories, mine started with help from the internet. No, was not involved, but I did use social media and user review websites to get reacquainted with New Jersey. I met other Jersey City residents at Meetup gatherings. I scoured Yelp reviews for highly rated eateries. I used Facebook to reconnect with old hometown friends who showed me what had changed and what had stayed the same (Goodbye, Jim Dandy's in North Arlington. Hello, Topaz Thai in Belleville.).

Eventually, my "online phase" of getting to know New Jersey led to some pretty interesting "first date" experiences. My parents and I enjoyed getting together at least twice a month to check out a different Filipino restaurant just to get back in touch with our roots.

Typical Filipino Lunch at Max's Chicken in Jersey City w/ Pop and Mom. 
We eat dessert first in our family (halo-halo in this case).

When funds ran low (because I ate out often, of course), potlucks with friends became the new brunch get-together and gave me an excuse to turn on my stove.
Fact: Jersey girls can cook. 

Even when taking the risk of dining by myself just to check out a new restaurant, I made a new friend as we dined at the countertop (Shameless plug: Read blog post "Getting Lucky at Sam AM".).

News of my foodie-ness even spread around work where one of my coworkers supported my bacon obsession with my all-time favorite tumbler:

They know me TOO well at work. 

And during all these adventures, I somehow managed to sneak into this ad for last year's New York City Wine & Food Festival (Yes, I'm bragging.):

That's me in the blue shirt,
trying to keep it together next to Iron Chef Morimoto.

I've been attempting to capture this new-found love for my home state and these food connections through my "Eat & Be Mary" blog. In hopes that I would continue sharing stories about my food obsession and too-funny-to-be-true social experiences, my friend from Delaware created this blog with complete conviction in me and my writing. Sure, it's not the best blog in the world. It's not updated frequently, the writing isn't riveting, and 97.2% of the pictures came straight from my iPhone. Yet, it's been a catalyst for me to get out there, explore, eat, and be myself. I get to show that it's not just about the delicious delicacies that New Jersey has to offer; it's also about the amazing people I've met along the way over a good meal.

Jersey City has been the perfect playground for these adventures. It's getting itself on the food map (See here, here, and here.). My new zip code's even got its own Buzzfeed article. JC's made it, folks. 

But Jersey City's just the beginning. I'm ready to add a couple new chapters in my love story with New Jersey. I want to go beyond where PATH trains can't take me, and I think hitching a ride on the Munchmobile can help with that. I'm willing to talk to complete strangers. I'll share my food! (That's actually a lie. I'm an only child. You know the drill.) I'll even try to parallel park the Munchmobile (That's lie #2. Is that vehicle even covered by insurance?).

From one Jersey fan to another, I'd be extremely honored if the Munchmobile was part of my story. 

Thrilled with my February Foodie Penpal experience (and the overall fact that we can still get get mail through the US Postal Service), I decided to sign up again for a Foodie Penpal in March. I had the wonderful experience of being paired up with Tracy, the brilliant mind behind The Fit Eat! Check out her fabulous blog and get inspired with her posts on fitness, fashion, and food. (I plan on making her Healthified No Bake Cookies this weekend, and, no I will not be sharing them.)

Treats From Michigan!

All the way from the Midwest, I got a box full of treats, some of which I was already a big fan of and others which were quite new to me. As soon as I got to my apartment, I sat down on my floor and ripped opened the package. In the box:
- Brookside Pomegranate Dark Chocolates: My February Foodie Penpal had sent me a a bag of Brookside Acai Dark Chocolates, which I gobbled up in record timing. I actually squealed when I opened my March Foodie Penpal package to find a bag of Brookside Pomegranate Dark Chocolates! 
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch: To represent midwesterners love of cereal
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: Tracy, how did you know that I was a big fan of dark chocolate?!
- VitaCoco: I drank this as I was going through the rest of the box. It's actually one of my favorite to-go-to drinks whenever I need to get hydrated. 
- Amy's Organic Vegetable Barley Soup: I always wanted to try this brand.
- Chicken Rice Medley: Mmm...comfort food
- World Peas: Not only were these deliciously addictive, but the snack's name was just so darn cute. 

This month's Foodie Penpal exchange was another great success. Thank you for these healthy and delicious munchies, Tracy! I will definitely continue to check out your blog for more nutritious recipes and tips on how to stay fit and healthy. 

Like getting mail? Like getting food in the mail? Like meeting new people through food...that you the mail? I think you get my point here, people. If you're interested, sign up for the Foodie Penpal program at Lean Green Bean's website and start connecting through good old-fashioned mail. 

The Fit Eat

Lean Green Bean's Foodie Penpal Program

I think I'm suffering from a food hangover...which started last Thursday...which means I'm on Day #4 of said hangover. Don't laugh. A food hangover is a legit condition. told me so:

Last week's social calendar pretty much explains how I ended up in this sorry state. I was lucky enough to have a couple different food-filled events on my agenda. But being lucky actually had less to do with eating delicious food and more to do with the fact that I got the chance to hang out with other food-loving people.

One of these events was the Village Voice Choice Eats. I had purchased my ticket to go to this annual tasting event almost 2 months in advance. There was so much good press about it, and an old college friend from NYU had already grabbed VIP tickets because she had such a good time when she went last year. I had to go.

With promises to meet up with this friend at the venue, I made sure to get there on time. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the other HUNDREDS of attendees had the same intention of being punctual. I waited a solid 45 minutes outside in the brisk 30 degree weather before finally getting inside. 

Already feeling defeated that I had missed valuable eating time, I quickly ran to the first booth I saw and just started eating anything I could get my hands on. Some of NYC's best cuisine was being represented with over 60 booths at the venue.

Brisket, curry, meatballs, egg tarts, cheeseburgers...My heart wanted me to stop at every booth, but my stomach had only so much room. And by the time I hit my 10th booth, I felt myself hitting a wall. Before losing all consciousness in food coma, I remembered that friend I was supposed to meet up with. I shot her a text and within minutes she was there, already offering to get me a plate of food from the VIP lounge. What a true friend.

With more food and now a friend by my side, I didn't feel so overwhelmed and it was good to get a break from gorging myself. My stomach was grateful for the break.Then, to my surprise, my friend spotted other old acquaintances from NYU. It was a mini-foodie-NYU reunion!

While we were together, we talked about our favorite foods at the event. We discussed other great foodie events and restaurants with delicious multi-course meals. And right before the event officially ended, we even got our picture taken at one of the photo booths, and I won a free round of bowling! It was so unexpected and such a great surprise to have this mini-reunion. And, although the food was scrumptious and plentiful, the part that I enjoyed the most about the event was the time I got to re-connect with these old friends who, too, shared in my love for food.

...also, I got to take home enough leftover for at least breakfast and lunch the next day. Score.

If you're planning on going to the Village Voice Choice Eats event in the future (I know I'll be there next year!), here's my advice to you:
- Get VIP tickets. Sure, it's about $20 extra, but they get you in an hour early, which gives you more time to actually savor and enjoy the food as opposed to scarfing it down and stuffing as much of it as you can in your purse, which is what I did. Lesson learned.
- Go with friends. Along with making a good memory, you can actually be strategic when coming to this event and designate people to go on line, hold plates, and push through the hungry mobs.

Village Voice Choice Eats Annual Tasting Event

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