Empty plates and a generous tip for our Greek waitress who waited on all diners with the grace of a figure skater - what a pro.
Jersey loves its greasy pizza, cheesy-steaks and roasted red peppers, but last weekend, at the Suburban Diner in Paramus, my husband was introduced to an ingredient that goes into the Jersey Sandwich. A “Jersey” combines egg, cheese and Taylor’s Ham. Charlie didn’t know about Taylor’s Ham, having grown up in Buffalo, but as a staple in my childhood home, my experience and expertise and the promise of salty, fatty meat substance provided my husband with enough drool-factor to go ahead and order Taylor’s ham with his eggs over-easy.
Sold in a wide roll like salami, or available pre-sliced in a small box, my mother would skillfully insert three tiny slits around the circumference of each slice. As a kid, I imagined this was to prevent the meat from curling at the edge; I looked it up on wiki to confirm that this is true. Or maybe she told me about the curling; I forget. But my mom definitely had a knack for explaining food stuffs. Like when she told my sisters and me that an egg is a chicken’s period. Ewwww no way! Thanks, Mom.
Full shot of diner with me hiding on the right
I recently bought an iPhone. As I waited for my order at the Suburban, I got carried away and took a few photos inside the diner; Charlie helped. Smartphones make photographing strangers easily incognito, not that easy makes the photo-taking appropriate behavior. Our waitress, a big Greek woman with a mop of wild dark hair, a sweet smile and an adorable accent would have wowed any 70-year old guy . . . the space between her front teeth and faint mustache, in this imaginary older man’s mind, might even be considered “sexy.” I haven’t included a photo of her here – that’s just inappropriate AND rude.
But when three gentlemen with shiny black hair strode by our table wearing polyester jackets and took their seats at the back of the diner, they were far enough away to make photographing strangers seem legal. I clicked like a model’s photographer. Work with me, baby, work with me.
“Paramus crew” brunch. Were they eating a Jersey Sandwich?
These men seemed as close to being a crew as if I were on the set of the Soprano’s; or hanging out on the Philly streets in 1980. But they didn’t seem scary; they were, after all, only eating breakfast. If they were real tough guys as I imagined, they would have ordered Taylor’s ham, egg and cheese all stuffed inside a hard roll, a Jersey Sandwich.
Getting back to our own breakfasts, Charlie greatly enjoyed his Taylor’s ham served with eggs, rye toast and giant mound of hash browns covered in a crispy scrim of carcinogenic delicioso. Over-sized breakfasts are the norm in Jersey. Charlie ate it all. He’s not part of the “Paramus crew,” but that’s okay 'cause my guy has it all over those wise guys. (Happy Anniversary, Charlie.)