Smart Cookie Takes New Jersey: Pt. 2

Smart Cookie made the trek from CNY to good ol’ New Jersey last week. Yesterday, I told you about the first half of my awesome NJ eats. On Smart Cookie’s second half of the trip, there was even more deliciousness.

We stopped by the most adorable restaurant, Mama’s. It had a wonderful, cozy atmosphere with great decor, which I think is important to a good restaurant. Their menu is absolutely huge (check it out here). Everyone in my family had an impossible time choosing because there were so many incredible options. My brain practically exploded trying to decide.

However, I think it’s a very good sign to have a lot of options, especially as a vegetarian. They cater to everyone at Mama’s; there’s literally something for everyone. Mama’s even has a full, multiple-page gluten-free menu. Pretty impressive!

We started with an appetizer trio (since we couldn’t pick just one). Ours was a trifecta of mozzarella sticks, fried ravioli, and fried zucchini. Put simply, everything was delicious. The mozzarella sticks had fresh, gooey cheese with a crispy breading, the raviolis were filled with homemade ricotta, and the zucchini was delightfully crisp  and juicy. It was a cornucopia of deep-fried delight!

After careful consideration of all the delicious menu options, I finally selected my entree. I chose the Eggplant Rollanti, which the menu describes as, “Freshly breaded eggplant rolled with ricotta cheese topped with our red sauce & melted mozzarella cheese.” Sounds delicious enough as is, but I took it one step farther by choosing their Rosa Sauce, which is a creamy blush sauce, instead of plain marinara. I also opted to have mine served over penne pasta.

All I can say about this dish is “wow.” I took one bite and melted away into eggplant-induced euphoria. I actually closed my eyes to savor its deliciousness, something I’ve only seen done on television. It was that good.

The Rosa Sauce was fantastic, creamy, flavorful, and so yummy. I could’ve made a meal on the Rosa-covered penne alone, but that Eggplant Rollanti was too good to leave behind. The breading was crisp and flavorful, the eggplant was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the homemade ricotta was absolute heaven. I imagine it has the texture of a cloud. Each eggplant roll was topped with gooey, melted mozzarella, that luscious Rosa sauce, and fresh Parsely.

To. Die. For.

After dinner, I was so full that I needed to be rolled out the door, but that didn’t stop me from ordering dessert to-go. I chose my favorite sweet treat of all time: Molten Lava Chocolate Cake.

As soon as I got back to the hotel room, I was ready to settle in with the finale of The Bachelor and my decadent dessert. After some difficulty acquiring a fork (the parallels of hotel living) and 30 seconds in the microwave, I had a warm chocolate cake volcano oozing luscious chocolate lava. Did it taste as good as it looked?

You bet it did. The cake was spongy and moist, tasty enough on its own. But with that sweet, smooth, molten chocolate filling, it was downright sinful bliss. Every bite melted in my mouth. And yes, I single-handedly finished the whole thing.

Overall, my Mama’s meal was absolutely incredible. If you are ever in or near Hackettstown, NJ then you NEED to stop by. You will not be disappointed. 5 stars!

Although I ate enough that night to make me believe I would never eat again, I found my stomach ready for more food once I was on the road heading home the next day. I was traveling through Pennsylvania and couldn’t help but gleefully cry out when I saw a sign for Sheetz.

I imagine I’m not the most pleasant person to ride with.

If you’ve never been to PA, you might not have heard of Sheetz. In its most basic definition, it’s a gas station, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the greatest gas station in the world.

Why you ask? Because every Sheetz has a MTO (Made-to-Order) Restaurant. It’s like fast food only one million times better. You place your order on these awesome touch screen computers then Sheetz makes it fresh, customized for you. That in itself is fun, but the best part is all the choices. They have everything, plus a thousand ways to customize it all. Want french fries? Choose your size, dip, and/or toppings. Want a wrap? Choose what kind of tortilla, meat, topping, cheese, sauce, etc. you want. Want a milkshake? Choose what kind of milk they use. It’s amazing. Check out the menu here and see how easy it is to lose yourself (note: this only includes a portion of the choices and customization you have in the store).

After much deliberation, I selected french fries, mac and cheese, and a Birthday Cake Batter Frozen Cream.

The french fries were crispy, well-seasoned perfection. They are honestly better than fries from any major fast food chain. These are fresher, tastier, crisper, and more flavorful. Next time you crave fries, you might want to rethink the Golden Arches and try Sheetz instead.

I was very pleased by the abundant sea of sauce covering my mac and cheese. There was no shortage of cheesiness here! While ordering, they gave me the option of topping it with melted shredded cheese too. It wasn’t the best mac and cheese on the planet, but it was tasty. It’s just as good as the stuff from KFC.

I finished my meal with the Birthday Cake Batter Frozen Cream. This was like a milkshake, only it was ice-based, like a creamy slushy. I suppose this makes it a bit lighter than a traditional ice cream-based milkshake. Sheetz lets you pick what kind of milk to use (I chose 1%). The flavor was delicious. It tasted like a cross between birthday cake and cotton candy, two things I love. Plus, they let me choose if I wanted whipped cream & sprinkles. Um, yes please!

If you’re passing through Pennsylvania, make it a priority to stop at a Sheetz. You will find a plethora of delicious food, and enough options to please anyone. They have breakfast and coffee as well, and they’re open 24/7.

The only bad part about the food I ate during my trip to NJ was when it ended. Oh well. You know what they say, “All good things come to an end.” I can’t wait to see where my culinary travels may take me next!

Posted in The Smart Cookie Cook and tagged , , , , .

Colleen Bierstine


  1. Oh wow! I want to go to Mama’s right now! All that food looks so incredible, I can hardly stand it. Great picks! And who knew a gas station could have such great food? Thanks for filling us in on this little secret. 😉

  2. That menu is way too big-which insures that I would be back in there. Lots of delicious choices. I am a little surprised at Sheetz-our gas stations around here do not have much. Thanks for sharing the goodies from your Jersey trip!

  3. You certainly enjoyed your Jersey trip! That’s what’s fun about being on the road, you can indulge in the salt, sugar and fats normally avoided (or attempted to be avoided) at home :)

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