Run Away to (Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus)

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus has been coming to Trenton for decades. It’s the biggest circus in the world, long promoted as “The Greatest Show on Earth”. No longer politically correct, the circus has announced it’s phasing out the elephants by 2018. So this year may be one of the last to … Continue reading Run Away to


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Way Out West Trenton Avenue (Non Solo Pasta Ristorante)

Non Solo describes itself as serving “southern italian cuisine”: the menu provides most of the red-sauce “Italian” classics boomers will remember from their childhood: plus about a dozen veal or chicken dishes ranging from the omnipresent Francese to more exotic preparations like Saltimbocca or Romano. There’s also a fair selection of sea food, salads, and a nice selection of specials (15 on the day we visited).


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98 Miles Off-Broadway (Philadelphia Live Theater)

Philadelphia has its own, unique, and very rich theater scene. It’s an easy drive from Trenton (under 40 minutes door-to-door, usually). Yes, there are presentation houses that book current touring companies from Broadway shows (at near Broadway prices). But there are also many, many outstanding theater companies that produce their own stage plays using predominantly … Continue reading 98 Miles Off-Broadway


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NE of the Border (Aurelio's Cocina Latina)

Aurelio’s serves the best Latino cuisine in Princeton. There are something like half a dozen restaurants in Trenton that are as good or better, and at least 2 in Hamilton. Still, operating an inexpensive restaurant with good food in Princeton is no small feat, and if you like Aurelio’s, you owe it to yourself to start exploring Trenton restaurants as well.


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East meets Mid-West (Michael's Diner)

Michael’s is a decent diner that supports a very good salad bar.  If you enjoy salad bars, you can get a great salad and a good, filling, fresh-cooked meal for not a lot of money. It’s open 7 days, early and late. NJ diners, collectively, should be a national institution. Where else can you get … Continue reading East meets Mid-West


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Squirreled Away (Squirrels Nest Cafe)

OK, I admit to loving dives. Especially ones like this where the sensibilities of the owner, even wacky ones, are plain to see. It reminds me of the places I used to eat growing up, from a time when most restaurants were owner operated, and McDonald’s were found only in California. In Manhattan, you might … Continue reading Squirreled Away


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Country Comfort (Hamilton's Grill Room)

Jim Hamilton, a Broadway set designer turned restaurateur, started Hamilton’s Grill (“HG”) more than 25 years ago. As you’d expect from a set designer, place and settings are impeccable. The restaurant is tucked away on a quiet alley. HG’s menu has been farm to table long before that term entered popular consciousness. The menu changes seasonally, and there are always a few specials. The food is simple, but exceptionally high quality and perfectly presented, featuring grilled seafood and meats. Unusually for a restaurant of this quality, it’s BYOB.


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On the Beech (Carson Road Woods)

Carson Road Woods is a superb, 183 acre swathe of preserved farmland less than 15 minutes from downtown Trenton. Unlike many such preserves, the land has several miles of walking trails, and some stunning stands of trees. The preserve is a mix of woodlands and open fields, with mowed walk-ways along the margins. In a few places, trails are cut through stands of trees, including, notably, a stunningly beautiful stand of beech.


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Man Bites Dog (Captain Paul's Firehouse Dogs)

Captain Paul’s proves that inventive entrepreneurs can make a go of even unlikely business concepts. Take the hot dog. Many spurn it as an overly processed, heavily salted, highly fatted anachronism. American cuisine at its worst. One of the culprits (though perhaps not the primary one) in a cuisine that has achieved the highest rate … Continue reading Man Bites Dog


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A Highly Opinionate Guide to Worthwhile Places