This french fries pizza (slice, $3) also sports bacon, some nondenominational "yellow cheese," and mozzarella. From its color, the sauce seemed less like classic tomato and more like a vodka sauce, though I didn't inquire into the particulars. The toppings adhere loosely: If you had hopes of combining two favorite snacks into a single order and still keeping one hand free, you've got another thing coming.
Pizza Mania 390 Midland Ave. (at Charles St.), Garfield, New Jersey 973-859-0855 www.PizzaManiaNJ.com
Up the hill on Palisade Ave., Holy Trinity Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church graces the Garfield skyline. The congregation was organized in 1892, and the current gothic structure was dedicated in 1926, but unsurprisingly, the demographics of the community have changed in the decades since, and sometime during the 1990s the church discontinued its Slovak service. Newer members of the community are much more likely to speak Spanish as a first language or, in the case of the fellows chatting on the sunny corner down the hill, Polish. Among the wares inside Krystyna: a poppy seed roll much like this one.
Krystyna Bakery 63 Belmont Ave. (at Palisade Ave.), Garfield, New Jersey 973-546-8060
A gentleman outside Delicious BBQ mentioned that beginning July 18, on Saturdays there'll be Filipino grilling going on in the Meadowlands parking lot. Only for a couple of months, I imagine, between the finale of the State Fair Meadowlands in early July and the kickoff of the big tailgating season in September.
The tousled noodles in my shio ramen (large; $7.99) were firmer than average; the roasted pork and other add-ins, including a fish cake, scallions, bamboo shoots, cloud-ear mushrooms, sesame seeds, and a pickled plum, were unexceptional. But the salt-flavored broth grew on me, and I finished off my ramen by drinking from the bowl.
Santouka In the Mitsuwa Marketplace 595 River Rd., Edgewater, New Jersey
Every picture tells a story, but I don't even know what it is that Oishinbo's griddle-mould impressed on my "creamyaki" ($1.50) — a crab, perhaps? Many of the other moulds are much more distinct, but no matter: It's the custard inside that counts.
Oishinbo In the Mitsuwa Marketplace 595 River Rd., Edgewater, New Jersey
This Istanbul-based mini-chain is one of the few places in town where you can find sahlep ($2.95). Prepared from the ground tubers of a mountain orchid, heated with milk (and sugar, I believe), then garnished with mellow Turkish cinnamon, sahlep is creamy, and clings slightly to the inside of the cup.
Sahlep is also a folk remedy for sore throats and (due to the appearance of the tubers) for male "lassitude"; for reasons more related to environmental conservation, the beverage now contains less root than it used to. Don't we all.
See also my dining brief on the Manhattan location in the November 25, 2009 edition of The New York Times.
Loading up the fixin's for halo-halo ($4.50), a dessert that you "mix-mix" with shaved ice and condensed milk. Ingredients, which vary widely, here include sweet potato paste; a paste of ube, or purple yam; white beans; and some sort of green gelatin. The fineness of the shaved ice is essential; in this instance, sadly, it was coarse enough to crunch at first, and then to stick together.
Fritzie's Bakeshop 23-23 Broadway, Fair Lawn, New Jersey 201-794-1522 At the Philippine Independence Parade and Street Fair
(This venue is closed.) This corner café by the railroad station sells housemade pastas and sauces as well as highly regarded breads and sweets. My mini ricotta cheese pastry ($2.95) was fine, but it should have been fabulous at that price.
A&B Ridgewood Bakery and Caffe 18 East Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood, New Jersey 201-612-6888
Also called Ridgewood Fisheries, this local provisioner has a small but well-varied selection of packaged goods, greens, and seafood; Japanese videos, too. Hatimitu lemon (340 ml.; $1.10) is more honey-flavored than lemony, but it has no carbonation, no sting.
Uwomaru 30 Prospect St., Ridgewood, New Jersey 201-670-0882