Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hometown Food

Do you have a special memory of a particular dish that you have only found in your hometown? Or a special vacation treat, like Johnson's Peanuts located on the boardwalk of Ocean City, NJ?

Well, I took a trip home to NY this past week and enjoyed a culinary stroll down Memory Lane.

My first stop was Gene's Fish Fry. Oh, my -- how delicious! My friend ate the clam roll. The fish fry is breaded and deep fried haddock smothered in chili sauce. I've never seen that style of fish fry anywhere other than the Capital District of NY.

My next stop was to Jack's Drive-In on Main Street in Wynantskill. Yes, check your atlas. That's my home town. Jack's is a local institution and has been around for 60+ years. It's a traditional drive-in and it closes come winter. You can smell the aroma before you even see the little brick building.

They only serve burgers and hot dogs, sodas and milkshakes.

I had a cheeseburger and fries. Yum!

But it gets better.

After one bite, the ingredients ooze out onto your plate so you get to scoop them up after you're finished with the burger.
That's the point. The burgers are supposed to be greasy and covered with caramelized onions and drenched in ketchup. It's a taste of childhood.

Of course when we travel to Long Island to visit family there's a whole other set of food traditions. The best of course is Grandma's meatballs. Like my father-in-law says, "If you want great Italian food, go home!"

6 comments:

Jan Parrish said...

Great. I didn't come here expecting to be tempted by delicious food. LOL. I'd like to try the fish fry.

heather said...

Oh, my friend, you did not just bring up Johnson's and Ocean City. My mouth waters at the thought. This past summer, they had a new flavor--almond. Yum. I could go on and on about Jersey food I crave. We plan our trips there by food (not family--but the thing about Jersey people and family especially, they understand and join the fun). If you're ever in South Jersey, stop by McMillan's bakery in Haddon Township. Seriously. Best bakery in the world. I even eat partially hydrogenated oil there. You know it's good for that.

Megan DiMaria said...

Jan, I had been craving a fish fry for YEARS!

Heather, almond? Mmmm. I can close my eyes and remember the all-embracing fragrance of Johnson's.

~Megan

Jan Parrish said...

Please visit my blog and consider posting the slide show of Baby Jake to remind everyone to pray.

D. Gudger said...

I don't do fish, but those burgers look good!

My fave thing about "back home" in NEPA is the pizza.

Is your hometown pretty much unchanged by time? NEPA seems to be in a time warp, which I kinda like. Since your hometown is in that region, I was wondering if you notice d that too?

Anonymous said...

When my husband Chet and I went to his ancestral stomping grounds in Ohio last spring, we ate at a restaurant called Cupee's (something like that!). His mom remembered how she and her boyfriend/new husband used to go there for dates. It is an old-fashioned hamburger stand with that Cupee doll still intact on the front! - Marla Lindstrom Benroth