Growing up in Central Jersey (yes, it IS a thing), I stand by my açaí bowls, pizza, and bagels. I have a Rook Coffee decal on my car and even one on my desk. After shipping up to Boston for a higher education, I was immersed into a New England food culture that was "wicked" different from what I knew. This is how moving just 285 miles from home can alter your cuisine:


tea, alcohol, beer
Jillian Parinello

No, Dunkin' is not a thing here in New England. It is Dunks, and it means a lot to my friends from Beantown. It wasn't until I was laughed at while ordering my "medium cold brew with cream and sugar" that I truly understood how iconic this New England franchise is.

Luckily for me, my roommate who is a New Englander thru and thru, from her Tom Brady obsession to her usage of the term "bubbler," cleared up some things for me. When ordering coffee at "Dunks" in New England, if you want cream and sugar, just say you want it "regular." Also, how 'bout this utter innovation by the New Englanders, sticking their plastic iced coffee cups into styrofoam hot cups?! Though I laughed the first time I witnessed this one, I quickly realized EVERYONE did it, and now, well, I do it too.

#SpoonTip: Succumb to the "so New England" thing of putting the styrofoam cup around your iced coffee cup. It tastes better.

Pizza (Or Lack Thereof)

pizza, meat, pepperoni, bacon, sauce
Libby Perold

Ugh. Coming from someone who follows a strict gluten-free diet, even I can feel the ungodly lack of authentic pizza eating away at me. In Jersey, there's an original pizza parlor on every corner and at least thirteen in my hometown. The slices are big, they're made from scratch, and quite frankly, they all taste good. Here in Mass, Domino's is the way of life. Small little pieces with sweet tomato sauce constitute "pizza." Yes, you can hear every Central Jersey Italian cringing.


chowder, shrimp, crab, lobster
Jessica Citronberg

Ah, the one thing that screams "New England" half as much as the Gronk cutout at Dunkin' Donuts. While there are variations of chowder back home, I had the pleasure of enjoying my very first chowdah at Quincy Market. And let me tell you, it was a spiritual experience.

As great as chowder can be at any dining hall in the greater-Boston area, I HIGHLY recommend "pahkin' ya cah" near Faneuil Hall and hitting Quincy Market for not only some authentic clam chowder, but also a highly aesthetic Instagram opportunity.

Ben & Jerry's

peanut butter, caramel, cream, ice cream, ice
Eileen Wang

Another #blessing from the Northeast. A very favorable trend I have observed in the little time I've spent in New England: Ben & Jerry's as a SHOP. Like, hello, where have you been all my life, you lovely establishment?! Before Bentley, "Ben & Jerry's" to me meant some cartons in the freezer section of Stop and Shop. Amazingly, there are locations scattered across New England. And for our Bentley friends: there is a location in Harvard Square! 

#SpoonTip: Ben & Jerry's is extremely gluten-free friendly. They have numerous flavors that are GF and the servers are generally very knowledgeable.

Meanwhile in New Jersey...

Açaí Bowls

sweet, milk, cream, chocolate
Jillian Parinello

Oh boy. These bowls are the LIFESTYLE back in my neck of the woods. Tragically, many of my local friends here in Waltham have no clue what I am talking about, so allow me to break it down for you.

Açaí bowls, most popularly to be found at the coveted "Playa Bowls," a chain of açaí bowl vendors across the Jersey Shore. Playa is sorta the cream of the crop when it comes to these bowls. Or, I guess, the juice of the berries in this case?

Anywho, a smoothie is blended thick as the base of your bowl. Traditionally, the base is the açaí berry, but innovative folks like those at Playa use strawberries, pitaya, kale, and even coconut as the base. Next, they top 'em with any kind of fruit your heart desires as well as granola, honey, and even peanut butter and Nutella. Voila! Welcome to the Jersey Shore.

#SpoonTip: Playa bowls may be the most Instagram-able food there ever was.

Rook Coffee

ice, milk, beer, coffee
Jillian Parinello

A coffee shop that truly defines "next level." Rook supplies the Jersey Shore with the richest tasting cold brew that pairs nicely with a fresh Playa bowl. Rook is well-known for the iconic little birdie on their cups that also appears as a bumper-sticker for most basic Jersey girls. 

Moving away from home, no matter how far, always comes with a lot of goodbyes and even more hellos. Believe it or not, that goes for food too. Despite the Dunkin' Donuts coffee that now runs through my bloodstream or even my declining pickiness when it comes to authentic pizza, one thing is for sure: You can take the girl out of Jersey but you can't take the açaí bowls, I mean, Jersey out of the girl.