As a proud Jersey girl who just got back from a long, delectable stay there (with a suitcase loaded with bagels), I'm wondering if a couple things I'm already craving again are available anywhere here, more than just decently replicated. I've lived in L.A. for nine years, and while I accept and adore L.A.'s various chow strengths, I'm still hoping to find the following:
1. A sandwich known in North/Central NJ as a sloppy joe (not to be confused with the "Manwich" variety, which I grew up totally mystified by): meat, such as roast beef, cole slaw, and russian dressing on rye bread. (Langers could do this probably, right? I've just never had roast beef there.) Or any good sandwiches with russian dressing, which are so common at NJ delis.
2. A red-sauce Italian place with really, really delicious food, not expensive at all. I suddenly find myself dying for stuffed shells! I've tried different places over the years (such as Palermo and Anna's) that just didn't cut it for me.
I'm on the Westside, so greater L.A. area would be ideal; I can't imagine driving more than an hour for these types of things, though maybe I would if I got desperate.
If there are any ex-NJ hounds who have some ideas to share, I'd be more than grateful. Most of the time I graciously acknowledge that not being in NJ means not getting NJ specialties, but I still hold out hope...