After much success in Englewood, last week we rolled out to our second farmers market of 2011 in Hasbrouck Heights--a market that I did last year (and filmed a scene at for "My Big Friggin' Wedding").
All the familiar faces from last year were there--except the camera crew--including George the fruit guy with his enormous Asparcolas Acres produce stand and "Johnny Cookies" and his Italian treats, who we were set up right next to.
So far, out of every event we've been doing, it seems that these farmers markets are consistent, reliable venues for us. Back in the day, a lot of people had their own home gardens, but now almost every neighborhood has these markets--providing people with Jersey-grown tomatoes and basil plants--basically giving them their own backyard garden experience without the time-consuming work of getting your hands in the dirt.
My purpose for being there allow people to get the "Sunday dinner experience" on a weekday...in this go-go fast world, providing working moms and dads the opportunity to take home a hot dinner of my meatballs is a real satisfying thing. My philosphy is, if you can't cook every night, at least eat a "homestyle" meal. And if people are visiting me instead of the Golden Arches, I have accomplished my goal.
Hasbrouck Heights is a small market, located on the Boulevard and Central Avenue in the small town where my parents have been living since the mid '90s. It's a second home to me, and there's a real sense of community there. It feels really good to serve as the resident meatball guy and give folks something to look forward to every week. And that's what both Englewood and Hasbrouck Heights are for Johnny Meatballs On A Roll--local spot where we can set up shop and always be two places where you will be able to always find us.
We love to travel around across the Garden State and beyond for all our different festivals, but we also love to now have these regular spots where we see our weekly regulars. So until we open up a storefront or cafe someday, at least from now until the fall, you can come "meat" us in Heights every Tuesday and Englewood every Friday!
So Sunday was the Hackensack Classic Car Show on the campus of FDU College, yet another new and different type of venue for us. It was a show that was expecting 300 classic cars but they only got about half that. Even so, it was a good fit for us among all the souped-up rides--antique and unique. Sponsored by the Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the show featured all kinds of cars and trucks--although I was dissapointed to not see the Batmobile. But I did see my friends at Coney Island Pizza and their crazy pizza oven on wheels!
There were lots of Pontiacs, Cadillacs and Fords...and even motorcycles. There was a little bit of drama when the tent of another food vendor blew over and into a Chevy. Estimated repair cost for a custom paint job: $10,000. That vendor definitely had a bad day. Nothing crazy like that happened with us, and my in-laws came out to eat and check things out. They actually used to have a classic car themselves, and entered it into a lot of these shows. It was a 1985 Monte Carlo--boy did I love that automobile. In the future, I'll no doubt own one of these babies myself. I'll take an old-school American ride over a brand new Lexus or Honda anyday!
My meatball cart was among a lot of other wheeled wonders. Maybe I'll eventually enter it into some kind of mobile food cart show and snag a trophy? On this day, my prize was once again hungry customers who left happy. There was a C.I.A. graduate there who told me that they were the best meatballs he's ever eaten in his life. To get that from a trained chef is really an honor.
Where will Johnny Meatballs On A Roll be rollin' to next? Check back constantly on our official facebook fan page...And in the meantime, we hope to see you today again in Hasbrouck Heights and this Friday in Englewood!