Princeton, New Jersey is renowned for its quaintness, its university, its cool record store (the Princeton Record Exchange), fun-loving Skull and Bones type social clubs, and its proximity to New York City via mass transit. However I also was cued into the fact that this burgh boasted a terrific hoagie Shop named Hoagie Haven (242 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ).
A Big Disappointment
After taking the NJ transit train to the Princeton stop I disembarked and first perused a few vinyls at the record store. After grabbing a Clash import that I had never seen before I was on a total high. Adding to this feeling of euphoria was that this town was merely just a stop-over on my way to Philadelphia to catch a game of professional base-balling.
I needed to check out the hoagie spot before heading to the game because there is nothing better than going to the ballpark with a huge hero underneath your arm that forces everyone else in the stands to salivate and stare at your grinder with extreme envy.
As I approached 242 Nassau, I noticed that there was a large crowd both inside and out of the shop, also that the shop itself didn’t appear to have any seats or tables. The crowd consisted of mostly college kids and a few teens fueling up before football practice. This seemed like a good sign… The menu was quite large. It boasted cheesesteaks, meatball parmigiana, gyros, all kinds of hoagies, roast beef, turkey, Italian subs… the usual fare for a hoagie shop. Whilst on line I noticed the first red flag: NO SOPRASATTA ON THE MENU! Yikes. Get real folks. I thought we were in Jersey, what gives?
A Huge Letdown
Okay, so I ordered an Italian sandwich: capicola (pronounced gabba-ghoul here in Brooklyn) provolone cheese, ham, and salami. The man behind the counter asked if I wanted “everything on it” naturally I said yes. To my chagrin, I noticed that he did not add any hot peppers, salt, pepper, or oregano. When I told him to please do so, he seemed slightly perturbed, as if I was asking him to give me his first-born child. Listen turkey, when I order a sandwich don’t give me back-talk. Just do your friggin job and throw some oregano on my sub… CAPICHE?!?
How was the sandwich? At first appearance, it looked pretty good. It was well larger than my newly-purchased LP, and came amazingly in the same paper bag that a loaf of freshly baked Italian bread would come in… Well apparently judge this book by its cover! If you like a huge loaf of bread, with a few 2nd rate cold cuts strewn atop it (completely flat, which was also reminiscent of the taste), be my guest. I’d rather go to any corner deli in NYC, NJ, or Philly and get the real thing instead.
Negative Proof! That’s all she wrote for you Hoagie Haven.