5 comparisons NJ vs. Hawaii

Now that our trip is coming down to an end, I am so sad. Yet I feel as if I've slowly rejuvenated from the craziness of packing and to do lists I left back in Hawaii. While here and every time I come back to NJ, there are always those... "that would never happen in Hawaii"... moments where the stark contrast between the states becomes glaringly clear. Here are just 5 notable comparisons:

1) Food

If you were to ask me 5 years ago, when I first moved to hawaii I would have said that NJ food is hands down better.  Now I've come to realize that certain foods are better in Hawaii and some (many) foods are better in NJ.

Foods Better in NJ
-Italian Food: In NJ you are either Irish or Italian. To the point where growing up in NJ I thought all white people were either Italian or Irish and WASPs were only on television. NJ has the 2nd most Italian Americans in the U.S (Connecticut is 1st surprisingly) and Italian food is its staple. Its what makes NJ, NJ.

-Pizza: Hands down better in NJ. Good pizzeria pizza is one of those things pple in NJ take for granted. You think the whole country has amazingly delicious pizza sold by the slice on every block until you venture outside the NY NJ area. I remember my first week in Hawaii asking someone where is the best pizza in town and they said Sbarros... I wanted to cry.

Our favorite pizza place Brooklyn Brick Oven Pizza (in NJ).
"Its hot!" says Joey as he devours his slice.
Made in a brick oven.. the way God intended pizza to be made.

-Diners: Another thing we NJ-ians take for granted. Theres nothing like a great diner where you can get great breakfast food, a decent burger, and a good slice of pie all for at an afforable price. Haven't been to any good diners in Hawaii. Been to good breakfast places, decent burger joints, and dessert joints, but a one stop shop all at a good price in Hawaii? Pipe dream.

One of our favorite diners in NJ... Candlewycke Diner

-Sandwhiches: A good sandwich .. is something so simple yet so hard to find. In NJ Joe and I love Italian hoagies and hot sandwiches like the Ruben. Ralph's in East Rutherford we think makes the best hoagie. My husband walks in and Ralph instantly recognizes him. Just a good Italian hoagie with salami, ham, shredded lettuce, O&V salt pepper oregano all on a toasted sesame seed  sub roll.  For hot sandwhiches we love Juniors in the City. In Hawaii when you hear sandwiches the only frame of reference is Subway.

Italian hoagie.. so good!

Now thats a Ruben!

 Did I mention cheesecake is better too.... I have dreams of this!

-Chinese Food: Now I don't mean authentic Chinese food, that actual Chinese people eat, I mean the Americanized takeout kind. We have yet to have any good Chinese take out in Hawaii. They only like the authentic stuff. How do you know its Chinese takeout vs. authentic? Takeout places have deep fried pork egg rolls. They don't exist in Hawaii.

Korean food: NJ and NY Queens area definitely has the best Korean food. I think because fresh vegetables and spices are key to any Korean dish and in NJ things are going to be fresher.  Every time I eat Korean food in hawaii I often think its a shadow of what it could or should taste like. Then I come to NJ and think... that is perfect.

Food thats better in Hawaii

-Pho: When I left NJ all the food I just mentioned were the typical things to eat. Now I come back and everyone is all about Pho in NJ. Sorry would not touch the stuff here. I'll stick with the place that has been cooking and selling  it since forever.

-All You Can Eat Kalbi: Did you know Kalbi is Hawaii's number 1 food? I know that I said Korean food is better in NJ because of the fresher ingredients but I notice thats not the case for meat. Hawaii has great all you can eat Kalbi places and the meat I think is actually better quality than NJ Kalbi places. There are some exceptions but all around Kalbi All You Can Eat is an amazing deal in Hawaii.

-Sushi: You know Hawaii is probably the only state where you can eat sushi when you are pregnant? I remember when I was pregnant and reading that sushi was off limits but I asked my Dr. and he said it was ok. The high mercury fish are off limits like tuna and mahi mahi etc. I asked another Dr. why that is and she said it is agreed in the medical community in Hawaii that it is ok because the sushi is fresh. She said she would never recommend eating sushi when you are pregnant in the east coast. Interesting right? So lets just say my children ate a lot of sushi via umbilical cord. While here we had sushi that we thought was amazing when we lived here. Now we have it and its like ehhh aiight. Sushi at some places in Hawaii is heavenly. I remember the first time I had Omakase, when you have the sushi chef crack his creative nuckles and give you the freshest and the best... O.M. G... its so fresh you don't need to chew it, just melts in your mouth.

Toro (fatty tuna belly)... Omakase changed my life.

Ramen: In NJ and NY people suddenly love Ramen and rave about Ippudo and such but Hawaii's populatin is 1/3 Japanese and has one of the highest concentrations of Japanese people outside of Japan, they love and need their Ramen and it is o so very good. If its good enough for all the Japanese people in Hawaii its good enough for me.

I'm sure there are plenty of foods I left out but mentioned above is the scope of my palate.

2) Strangers: Definitely people are nicer in Hawaii. I remember when I first moved to Hawaii and I was walking down the street and a stranger walking in the opposite direction toward me, made eye contact and said "Hi". I was like "What the creeper..." I notice I would stand on line and people would strike up a conversation about how long the line was or what to buy at the store and I'm like "Excuse me, did I ask?" Then I started to like how friendly and kind people were and slowly acclamated myself to the Hawaii ways. I can easily talk to strangers and its not strange to strike up a convo with someone just because your sharing an elevator. Coming back to NJ I sometimes get turned off by how rude people can be. I noticed in NJ, you live like everyone, except people you know, are like ghosts in the movie Ghost with Patrick Swayze. You know they are there but you don't acknowledge them ever except if you really need something. I prefer the strangers in Hawaii.

3) Service: Service is terrible in NJ. I went to Micheal's the craft store and bought a bunch of glass jars for Kaitlyn's Dol. When I was getting rung up the guy at the register asked the girl working beside him "Do I need to like wrap each one of these??" uhh yea that would be nice! I watched as he put a few pieces of packing paper between some of the jars and then shook it and said "See none of the glass is touching" too bad I heard glass clanging together. I get home to open the box and what do I find... broken glass. NJ service for you. When I first moved to Hawaii I couldn't believe how people would over extend themselves to accomodate you, it almost made me uncomfortable. Now I'm like "I'm paying, you help me" a given right? You'd think.

4)Driving: Hawaii driving used to drive me nuts. People driving slow. People stopping to let everyone in. Now I have totally acclimated. Driving around North Jersey these past few weeks at times was nerve wracking, people driving crazy, cutting me off, weaving in and out of traffic... i'm like "What is the rush??"

5) Things to do for the kids: This is a tough one. I've been a handful of playgrounds in NJ during our time here and I can't help but think about how great they look. From what I can tell most of them were top of the line Little Tikes playgrounds, many of them worth over $150,000 plus (I have playground experience randomly). All the playgrounds in Hawaii, quickly age and fade. You drive around the island and everywhere you see faded, boarded up playgrounds. Though the weather is optimal for playground fun, the intense Hawaii sun beating down day in and day out is no match for any playground's constitution. From what I've seen I'd say NJ playgrounds are better.

That's the George Washington Bridge in the back

There are many things for kids to do in NJ though its hard to compete with Hawaii's all year round weather and programs. Beaches? Hawaii hands down. I took Joey to the lake and he asked me why the water was brown.. "Because we are in NJ".

I'm sure there are other categories but it is late and way past bedtime. Love NJ but also ready to head back home to Hawaii where the food is not as good in some ways, but the people are nicer, and the sun shines down upon us in the land of perpetual bliss =)

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