Guilty Pleasures and the Princeton Food Scene

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**A repost about the food scene in Princeton.  Yum and yum.

In my last post for PrincetonScoop, I wrote about running to get in shape for bikini season. As I looked for races to run, I came to the conclusion that Princeton really is a healthy town. There are lots of wonderful sidewalks and trails to train on and there are plenty of places to pop into after a long workout for a healthy snack. There are more than enough places around to buy workout clothes and special sneakers and hi-tech gear for other outdoor pursuits. As the warm weather rolls into New Jersey, we are more than prepared.

Yet here it is, the beginning of May and race season, and I have hit a wall. I am sick of lettuce and healthy raw almond snacks from Trader Joe’s. I feel good about myself for all my running and working out and I am just tired of beating myself over healthy choices. Sometimes you really just want to cut yourself some slack. That is exactly what I am going to do this spring because having a healthy body means having a healthy mind too. There are lots of days that I just can’t tie up those sneakers or imagine lifting even a one pound weight off the ground. So I’m going to give myself a pass and indulge. Indulge in all the fantastically unhealthy but oh-so-delicious delicacies this town has to offer. This is by no means an extensive list of the greatest unhealthy indulgences of Princeton’s food scene but a brief tour, kind of like a Man V. Food challenge.

Let’s start at the heaven of greasy indulgences: Hoagie Haven. Kids have often proclaimed that they miss the Haven more than their own families when they go away to school. This college kids’ late night go-to is perfect for purchasing the most overstuffed sandwich possible that makes every dieter cringe. Nothing could be more nose-thumbing to the Weight Watcher’s points system than their infamous Phat Lady sandwich. Laden with everything from French fries to mozzarella sticks on soft-as-a-pillow hoagie roll, it gets even better when you can pop in and order it after some cheap drinks at the Ivy Inn. Another combination of two utterly delicious foods is the carb-heavy pasta pizza at Iano’s Pizzeria. One slice of pizza combines the goodness of rigatoni on a soft and delicious Sicilian slice topped off with cheese and sauce. It’s practically two meals in one! For a little more sophistication (we are in an Ivy League town after all), drag your happy and satiated self down to Palmer Square and the Bent Spoon. Step up to the counter at this funky little ice cream shop and say “Yes, please!” to their super rich hot chocolate. It amounts to little more than melted chocolate in a cup, at least from what I can tell, and it’s so good you’ll want it even in the hottest days of August.

Now that you’re on this journey of anti-calorie counting, grab a heaping plate of breakfast, lunch or dinner at PJ’s Pancake House. The Sunday lines can’t lie about the deliciousness of this Princeton institution. Grab your fork and dig into a huge stack of pancakes and don’t even think about those running shoes. And while you’re at it, finish off the meal with a huge banana split less than a block away down Nassau Street at Thomas Sweets.

Give yourself a break from the guilt and the healthy snacks this spring. Be happy with yourself and all the hard work you’ve put in to get to that healthy place. Let yourself indulge in some of Princeton’s best guilty pleasures and bring out the running shoes tomorrow.


Kendall Haring is a native Princetonian and is living in the area again after attending college outside of Washington, DC. She loves her job planning activities for seniors at a local assisted living, volunteering and exploring New Jersey and beyond. She believes in waking up happy and positively impacting everyone she meets. You can read more about her journey to lead a positive life and just have fun at The Lemonade Stand