I suppose that title is somewhat misleading since I actually slept all the way from Atlanta to New Jersey last week!
I basically closed my eyes in The Dirty South and woke up in Dirty Jerz but hey whatever, it’s catchy so I’m sticking with it.
If you’re a Beastie Boys fan, you’ll get the reference.
Anyway, welcome back to #DoubleFML FatDarrellPalooza!
As mentioned, I just returned from a trip back to my home state of New Jersey!
Believe it or not, it was actually a little chilly there for the first few days, so packing was a nightmare. I had to include everything from coats and hoodies to shorts and tank tops.
My bags were stuffed to the limit so didn’t even have room for my prerequisite Timberland boots and Yankee fitted baseball cap so thankfully I didn’t get a ticket for violating the dress code…
Maybe we shouldn’t have complained about that chilly weather though because look at us now!
That escalated quickly, huh?!
The entire East Coast is sweltering right now! Ha, “sweltering.” Great word lol remind me to use that one more often.
But seriously, it’s steamy in here! To the window, to the walls, till the….nevermind. 😜
HOTlanta is definitely living up to its name lately though. But this isn’t about Hotlanta, this is about the land of big hair, spray tans and cannoli.
So, let’s crank up the A/C and dial up the “not so way back” time machine to last week as I share some of the highlights from my trip!
A Storm’s Coming…
Here’s the status I posted on Facebook to let my Jersey fam know I was in town. It also served as a fair warning since I did in fact eat all of the snacks…
An Italian Sausage and a Chili Dog from G&G’s Hot Dog Truck in Red Bank!
I then took a brief pause to mourn the empty lot where the Steak and Ale of Middletown once stood. RIP. 😢
My friend Catherine Duda also baked me these incredible brownies!
And although I forgot to take a photo, I pulled about 6 rounds plus dessert at Grand China Buffet!
I also visited my best friend Priscilla who’s a server and bartender at Tre Pizza in Brick, NJ!
Since she hates taking photos in her work uniform, I’m offsetting the picture we took together with one of her supermodel shots from behind the bar!
Happy now Priscilla?! 😂
Oh yeah, and although this is more of a southern dish, I also tried Alligator for the first time at Delta’s Soul Food Restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ!
…after while crocodile
What you may have heard about this dish is correct, it really does taste like chicken…but chewier.
I wouldn’t order it again, but it wasn’t bad at all.
I only ate a few of them though.
Between the other 4 appetizers my brother ordered, plus the complimentary cornbread and my entrée (and later dessert), I had enough distractions!
They didn’t go to waste though since my little nephew Domonick absolutely loved them! He ate nearly half the alligator bites, several wings, a few cheesesteak eggrolls and then he stole 2 ribs and several bites of baked mac and cheese from my entrée!
Yep, he’s definitely related to me lol. #greedygang
Although it was great to see a few friends and sites while I was in town, the main event was my niece’s graduation from Rutgers University!
It was surreal seeing the little girl who used to eat plants and Chapstick walk across the stage with degrees in Political Science and Africana Studies! It’s amazing to see the woman she’s grown up to become so I’m very proud of you LaNaya!
I’m also proud of my brother and myself for our successful push for her to go to Rutgers since she was born!
My brother was the first, I was the second and LaNaya is the third in our family to graduate from RU!
Dom? Put that alligator bite down and let’s talk…
Although it was hot outside and the sun hates me (Alexa: order more sunblock. aloe vera and tea tree oil…), it was a beautiful ceremony featuring an inspirational commencement speech provided by the twin tandem of NFL stars Devin and Jason McCourty of The World Champion New England Patriots (Rutgers class of 2009)!
It was a great speech, highlighted by their shoutout to the Rutgers University grease trucks and fat sandwiches. So um yeah, you’re welcome fellas 😉
Random student who noticed me taking photos: Ha, that’s awesome, you could probably pass for that guy and get free food and stuff if you shaved the beard!
Me: Ha, ya think?
Random student who noticed me taking photos: Absolutely! You should say you’re his brother or something like that!
Me: Yeah, something like that… 😉
Of course, with all the gluttonous eating, I had to hit the gym at least a few times…or buy stretch pants.
Both hotels I stayed at had surprisingly impressive fitness rooms!
I took over one gym around 12am and called it my Midnight Workout Club! A few random guests even decided to join me!
While we’re on that subject, we might as well segue into today’s fitness tip!
Although you can’t really out-train bad nutrition, you can at least offset some of the effects by staying active while you’re on vacation. I also made sure to pack protein bars and protein cookies for healthy snack alternatives to counterbalance some of the crazy foods I was having the rest of the time.
And since I managed to maintain my baseline of activity even while on the road, once I returned home, I was able to jump right back into my routine.
Aside from the gym smelling like brownie frosting and marinara sauce whenever I sweat the first few days, you’d never know the difference!
Do you have a fitness question, goal or accomplishment you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!
The fitness center wasn’t the only thing I was impressed with at the hotel though!
This may not be the flashiest picture but what you’re looking at is the heated toilet seat at my suite in the APA Hotel in Woodbridge, NJ!
I never knew I wanted a heated toilet seat before, but now that I’ve experienced it, I don’t think I can live without it! It was incredible!
My only issue was that the control for the bidet feature was a bit too close to the temperature control!
Don’t ask how I figured that out…but um yeah, let’s just say I was VERY alert and awake all day after that mishap! #CleanAsaWhistle
They even have a remote for it, like a video game or something! I’d imagine it must feel like playing Battleship but on the toilet as you try and find the perfect angle… pew! pew! pew!
The entire suite was incredible so I probably should have taken photos of that but I was way too distracted by the bathroom!
They even had one of those rain faucets in the shower. Ahhh….
If I had more time, I was going to have a creepy photo of myself blown up to place inside of the picture frame over the toilet to see how long it would take for someone to notice!
But alas, I ran out of time before having to switch to the other hotel to join my family once they arrived in town. Next time perhaps…
While the hotels were incredible, my car service sucked.
Since I may still partner with this brand in the future and don’t want anyone to lose their job, I won’t put them on full blast here or on Yelp but boy do they deserve it!
From their rude phone demeanor and customer service to the cancellation of the shuttle ride that I reserved, this was the worst car rental experience I’ve ever had in my entire life!
Then, despite having a reservation, I had to wait nearly 30 minutes for them to unapologetically pull up with a filthy car that even had bird crap on the windshield!
The gas was also supposed to be full but they only provided me with a half tank!
To partially make up for it, they told me that I could bring it back empty so that’s exactly what I did!
I almost screwed up though because the tank was smaller than I thought.
In New Jersey, you don’t pump your own gas, which is normally a luxury but not in this case.
I didn’t want to make the attendant keep adding small amounts so I could check the level since he was busy, so I put in way too much.
There was absolutely NO way I’d give the rental company more gas than they gave me though so I didn’t care if I had to syphon it out with a hose, I was determined to take that level back down!
I woke up extra early that morning and literally took the car for a joyride all the way down the shore!
I also did circles around the parking lot and left it running as much as I could to get that gas level as low as possible!
Petty? Yeah. You can call me Tom Petty. Petty Rubble or whatever you’d like but I don’t suggest they call me for a customer satisfaction survey.
Had I not prepaid for that horrible experience, I would have left and gone with the company I used for the last day of my trip. Lesson learned though. Never again!
Anyway, aside from my old college, I also dropped by my old high school!
Since I was late to school every morning back in the day, this is the window I used to climb through during the national anthem while my homeroom teacher wasn’t looking!
That worked every year except for my sophomore year when they moved our homeroom to the second floor. I almost got suspended for being late so many times but thankfully we were back downstairs the following year.
Did I mention that I literally lived across the street? Ha, whoops.
I wanted to drop by the office to buy some hats and tees but they were taking too long to answer the phone for “the creepy old guy taking photos outside of the building” so I bailed. ☹ (Tammy, Dana, hook a brotha up!)
I also managed to swing by to visit a few friends who work at the local car dealerships including this one with an Incredible Hulk statue and an Iron Man Marvel tribute car in the showroom!
Hmm, does it come in black?
Before I left the area, I also had to drop by The World Trade Center and my old offices on Wall Street.
When I last visited The World Trade Center 2 years ago, it was quiet and empty so this was a completely different experience.
Look at all those stores!
Although it’s great to see everyone moving forward, it still felt weird to see a farmers market and bustling mall with happy shoppers eating churros.
I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but after living through 9/11, it was definitely a surreal experience.
It was also surreal passing this street sign in NYC on the way to the Towers since it truly brought my trip full circle…
Anyway, I had a great time in NJ and NYC as usual.
It was a rushed whirlwind of a trip that was mostly to support my niece, so I didn’t have much time to see everyone or everything I wanted.
For those who I missed, it wasn’t intentional but I hope to be back soon!
In the meantime, feel free to drop by The ATL but if your car has leather seats, you might want to pack a spatula to help when your thighs stick to them.
Did I mention that it’s sweltering out there?
No Sleep Till Brooklyn – Beastie Boys
Graduation (Friends Forever) – Vitamin C
Twerk – City Girls ft. Cardi B
I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran ft. Justin Bieber
Just Us – DJ Khaled ft SZA
Do you have another song that fits today’s themes or that’s just so great we should check it out anyway? Tell us in the comments below!
Once again, congrats to entire graduating class of 2019 but especially my niece LaNaya for holding down the fort at Rutgers for the past 4 years. I can’t wait to see where life takes her next!
Actually, I know where life is taking her…to Denver, Colorado to work on her Masters.
At least she won’t have to worry about the heat there!
This article was from just last week..
Um yeah, you might want to invest in a heated toilet seat too Nay Nay!
Anyway, before we go, let’s check out the foodie holidays that occur between this and next post!
Brisket, biscuits and Macaroons, oh my!
Eggs and Rotiseree chicken too? Yeah, it’s going to be a great week.
In case you missed last week’s list, we posted it on the Fat Darrell Facebook page and in our foodie group, Phenomnomnomenal, so if you’re not doing so already, follow me on social media by clicking the logos on the main menu!
Also make sure to drop a comment below before you go! The private messages are great and all but before you slide into my DM’s, please slide into that comment box first!
Anyway, that about does it for this week folks. Thanks again for dropping by!
Until next time my friends, May the Fork be With You…
“Courage is knowing it might hurt and doing it anyway. Stupidity is the same. And that’s why life is hard.” – Jeremy Goldberg