Feb 202019

…no really, I’m asking YOU.

So, we found ourselves in Newark, NJ again for the third time in just over half a year. That’s a lotta Newark, you guys. It’s easy for me to sit here and be like, “Boo hoo, Newark sucks”  but I realized that’s not very fair. Just because they not have a bustling tourism scene, Roadside America has little to mention about it, and YouTube isn’t overflowing with “Things to do in Newark” videos, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a shit-city, so if you know any hidden gems, please let me know because I’m sure we will end up there again sometime this year since that’s where all the Kpop artists want to perform.

(I will say that their street art is pretty fire, especially when compared to Pittsburgh’s bleak urban artscape. Step it up, P-burgh. We have the goddamn Warhol Museum here for shit’s sake, make Andy proud!)

But for this particular trip, we really only had enough time to grab a meal, so we ended up in nearby Jersey City, which is a place I wouldn’t mind spending more time when we’re not in a concert-rush, because it seems to be a pretty chill city. We went there specifically to eat at Pet Shop, a total hipster dive bar that also happens to have an extensive, full vegetarian/vegan menu. Henry walked into this experience with low expectations because he’s worse than me when it comes to pre-judging, but the vibe was super friendly here and we had an amazing waiter who was also the bartender and reminded me of someone famous but I’m out of the American loop so I can’t place it right now.

It’s called Pet Shop because it used to be a, you know, pet shop. Allegedly. THIS IS WHAT THAT BASTARD YELP SAYS. I’ve been stalking this place for quite some time though. I wanted to go there the last time we were in the area, last September, but it’s technically a bar so you can’t be lugging in your children after a certain time, you know? But this time we were there for a late lunch and it was perfect.

Oh for God’s sake, this menu. It was a tough choice, but I got the reuben, Chooch went with the Impossible Burger, and Henry predictably got the sausage and peppers sandwich – I stole a bite of his sausage (lol he wishes) and it was heavenly.

But my reuben was SPLENDID and I don’t think I’ve ever actually ever said that word out loud before unless I’m being sarcastic. The fries were wonderful too! I was worried because they were thick (that’s what Henry wishes she said) and typically the thick ones get on my nerves because of the inner-texture, but these were just a perfectly-crisp delight to behold.

We were at the SILENT TREATMENT portion of our road trip.

My reuben stuffed with housemade seitan! I love a good faux-meat sandwich.

Chooch loved his Impossible Burger too, and Henry just mumbled, “It was fine” when I asked for a sausage review. What a little bitch.

65% of the reason I wanted to go to this place was specifically to get a shitty picture under the neon birdcage. Two dumb girls were sitting under it, nursing their hipster drinks, from before we got there to literally right before we left. I think the one girl knew I wanted a picture because we kept making eye-contact and Henry was like, “I’m not sitting here any longer, just ask them to move” and I was like, “NO YOU” but then I went to the bathroom and when I came out, Chooch was sitting there and even brought my phone over with him so we could get it over with and leave.

But afterward, Chooch and I both wanted to take pictures of this cool monster ice cream mural we saw on the way into Jersey City, but after driving around in circles for a bit, Henry deduced that it was not accessible by car, but Chooch figured out which building it was on so Henry let us out of the car and we ran amok in some deserted, industrial part of town like two hooligans while a cop drove past.

We had to trample through a run-down loading dock to get to this mural but it was worth it.

Scary, but worth it.

You never know what you might stumble across in areas like this, even in broad daylight! DEAD BODIES DON’T CARE WHAT TIME OF DAY IT IS, OK.

He came so close to actually licking the wall and I almost puked.

Meanwhile, some guy was on the other side of a moving truck, working on a car, and I was so scared when I saw him, that I went running back to Chooch and then stepped on a piece of sheet metal which made a loud noise as it snapped back and Chooch hissed, “YOU’RE GOING TO GET US MURDERED” and then we ran back to the car, passing the cop on the way, and Henry was like, “WOULD YOU TWO ASSHOLES STOP ACTING SO SUSPICIOUS, THERE IS A COP OUT THERE” and of course Henry would know that, he probably bought him donuts! HE IS SO HOT FOR COPS.

Back in Newark, we checked into our hotel (TRYP by Wyndham, actually not a shit-hole/drug den, good job, Hank!) and ran around like dummies taking pictures because it was one of those try-hard boutique hotels where every single corner is Instagram-worthy. The guy at the front desk was totally scattered and spoke in such a bombastic, casual manner that I actually thought there was a hidden camera somewhere especially when he kept calling some hotel employee on the phone named Jazz and ended one of the calls with a quick “I love you” which made me crack up and then he started grilling Henry about football and if there’s one thing Henry LOVES it’s emasculating himself by admitting that he doesn’t watch football like all the other big strong men.

The whole check-in process was just weird and frenetic. I liked it.

Later that evening, Chooch and I were in the stairwell like creeps and heard the front desk guy yelling “fuck that shit!” to one of the other workers and we were like OOH DRAMA but he didn’t even flinch when we came barreling out of the door and into the lobby. That guy is really living life as his truest self.

And then we went for a walk around downtown Newark, which was completely underwhelming.

This shirt is mine as soon as Chooch grows out of it.

And then we went to see Red Velvet, which I will recount in mind-numbing detail for you another day.

But yeah, Newark. Not even Roadside America has any good tips for this place so if you know any townie secrets, please spill the tea! Even if it’s just a good place to get ice cream or a cool pawn shop to get shanked behind, I don’t care!

Say it don't spray it.

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