Friday, March 1, 2013


Y'all. It finally happened. I went to NEW JERSEY.  I don't know why New Yorkers hate on Jersey so much because my experience in Jersey was GREAT! Maybe it's kind of like how I am always hating on Oklahoma. Sibling rivalry.

Two years ago, when I got wind that New Jersey had Dairy Queen, my lil' Texan brain immediately began devising a way to get there. Dairy Queen is the Texas Stop Sign, after all. I owed it to both myself and my home to try out a non-Texan DQ. So finally, a couple of weekends ago, the day before President's Day, my friends Keith (who is from NJ and facilitated the whole trip), Patrick, Hanna, Eliana, Maya, and I all squished into Keith's car and made the trip through the magical tunnel into the world of New Jersey.

Our journey began with a classic New York Sunday brunch at Moonstruck, one of my favorite diners--it's very dependable (i.e. it's always open and I've never had to wait for a table) and they make REALLY good French toast. I will say that we first tried to go to Veselka, but there was a 45-minute wait, so we settled for Moonstruck, and somehow I feel that trying to get a table at Veselka and giving up and going to another diner is part of the quintessential NY brunch experience.

So anyway, after a delightful brunch full of hearty witticisms and inside jokes (and BACON), we made our way to Keith's car and headed for Jersey. I can't tell you how strange it was to be in a car with these people, especially one driven by my friend and not an angry cab driver. This NEVER happens! We don't drive here! It was fantastic, though. As we whizzed through the streets of Manhattan, I said to all the people walking on the sidewalks, "WE'RE IN A CAR, SUCKERS!!!!" ...Yup, I was psyched.

Eliana, Maya, Hanna, and I (the only girl whose name does NOT end in "a") slightly cramped but very excited to be riding in a car.

So we went to see Keith's brother in a play called "Omnivores." We were a few minutes late (Moonstruck couldn't handle the amount of brunch we ordered and therefore took a while to bring it all out), but the play was still really good! And Keith's family was really nice! Being around a family, I have to say, made me a bit homesick. But in a warm, fuzzy way, because I had my friends there, and blah blah blah warm fuzzies get on with it Kirsten.

New Jersey landscape.

Next we headed to Keith's hometown, about an hour from where the play was. Our first stop when we got there... DAIRY QUEEN. NJ DQ and TX DQ are two VERY different enterprises, but both are still respectable. The main similarity is the deliciousness of the treats and the jankiness of the building (and I say that with fondness...jankiness is part of the DQ experience).

See? Jank but still appetizing.
First of all, you need to know that Dairy Queen is known as the "Texas Stop Sign." Everyone made fun of me when I told them this, but any Texan can verify. Also, I couldn't stop singing "DQ! THAT'S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT TEX-HAAAAS" in my best country-singer voice, and they thought that was made-up, too. So anyway, in Texas, for you poor souls who have never been to a Texas Dairy Queen, we have not only dip cones and blizzards, but also FOOD. Delicious, greasy food. There's the DQ Dude (a chicken fried steak sandwich), jalitos (fried jalapeños that you dip in ranch), and of course, your standard chicken finger and/or steak finger basket (are you sensing a theme here? I'll give you a hint: the theme is FRIED. Which is coincidentally the theme to my life.). NJ DQ does not have a food, only ice cream. And it's not so much a restaurant as a roadside stand with benches to sit on. But it's still delicious.

Keith laughing at Eliana & Maya for being foolish enough to get ice cream in freezing weather.

I got a Chocolate Xtreme blizzard, which is my go-to at Dairy Queen. Despite the fact that it was 25 degrees and I couldn't feel my hands by the time we got back in the car, I was positively GIDDY.

A look of pure joy at this delicious frozen treat
Then we hung out at Keith's house and watched Wall-E and played with his ADORABLE DOG and ate pizza and generally had a great time. It was so lovely to get out of the city for a bit and enjoy each other's company in a very different, very spacious setting. I do love New York, but it's nice to be able to see the sky and breathe and remember what nature is. It was the perfect day-before-President's Day getaway!

This picture is somehow so fitting as to each of our personalities.

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