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  • Writer's pictureSasha DuBose

Hot Suburb Summer

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

And by hot, I mean really hot. The only thing hotter was the collab of the summer with your favorite Food Studies majors, aka @snackwithsash and @tastygracies! I was so excited when Grace agreed to visit me in Maplewood. She has been spending a lot of time in Bergen county because of her work with Oishii Berry (which y'all should totally check out), but I needed to show her what Essex county is all about.

Despite the heat, it was a gorgeous day in Maplewood. Our day started with Ken and I meeting Grace at the train station, excited to try the omakase berries she graciously brought for my family and me to enjoy. Oishii's strawberries did not disappoint. They were sweet, luscious, and absolutely delectable - I ate them all the way down to the leaf. The views of Memorial Park completed my perfect bite.

Ken (standing left) and Sasha (standing right) excitingly holding a white bag with "The Omakase Berry, Oishii" in red text.
Me and Ken excited to try the Oishii Berries!

Sasha (a Black femme with short blonde hair) wearing a red checkered embroidered button up is surrounded by lush greenery and looking lovingly at the omakase berries.
Me admiring the most gorgeous strawberries ever. I am also excited that I dressed the part :)

After savoring my omakase berry, it was time to hit the town! Maplewood Village is my favorite place to shop around or grab a quick bite. We weaved in and out of stores and made sure to stop at my old favorites: Palmer's Bakeshop for a quick bite, A Paper Hat for the cutest stickers and pins, and Mt Fuji for lunch! At Palmer's, I went for a classic combo: a salted corn muffin and an iced lavender latte. Grace tried the garlic and cheese biscuit (imagine a red lobster biscuit but 1000 times better) paired with an iced lavender latte, and Ken ordered a brownie.

Regardless of being a local, even I discovered some new spots yesterday! We shopped across the village until we were shopped out and ended up at Mt Fuji for lunch. Y'all know how I feel about a Mt. Fuji lunch bento box, and that is what we all ordered. Additionally, Grace and I split a Black Pearl Roll, which featured spicy crunchy salmon, apple, and avocado, topped with yellowtail, scallop, and black sesame sauce. It was absolutely divine! This will not be the last time I have apple in my sushi.

Sasha smiling and holding a salted corn muffin
Me in my happy place, aka Palmer's Bakeshop

Five Rolls of Sushi plated with Black sesame sauce
Mt Fuji's Black Pearl Roll

Following lunch, we headed home to cool off. I finally got to show Grace my vintage cookbook collection, which she thoroughly enjoyed. We lounged around the house and decided to order from Wonder for dinner. You cannot have a New Jersey suburbia experience without a mobile restaurant in your driveway, so it was a perfect way to end the evening. Tejas Barbeque was phenomenal! Grace ordered the brisket which was so so succulent, and I ordered the pastrami sandwich, which is slowly becoming my new go-to! I added the pickles, red sauce, and coleslaw we ordered on the side onto my sandwich, which really took it to the next level. I always appreciate it when I can taste the butter in something, and Tejas' cornbread definitely delivered in that department. The tenderness of the cornbread kept me coming back, but it was the floral quality of the orange honey butter that made my last bites memorable.

Two of my vintage cookbooks are shown - on the left is "favorite Seafood Recipes of the New Jersey Shore" and on the right is "Beautiful Cooking with Kretschmer Wheat Germ"
Some of the cookbooks in my collection!

Top Left - Cornbread with Orange Honey Butter, Top Right - Pastrami Sandwich on Marbled Rye Bread with Pickles and Red Sauce on the side, Bottom Center, Two succulent slabs of Brisket with pickles and red sauce on the side.
Insane spread from Wonder & Tejas Barbeque

After another walk around the neighborhood to digest, I bid Grace adieu so she can return to the city girl lifestyle. I am glad she took some time to treat herself in Maplewood! I hope she returns, but in the meantime, who wants to visit next?



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