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Blowin’ Smoque – Camden, NJ

Blowin’ Smoque – Camden, NJ

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The BBQ world was centered in Wildwood, New Jersey this weekend at the Anglesea Blues Festival held in conjunction with the 2022 New Jersey State Barbecue Championship a Kansas City Barbecue Society event. The top slots went to Grand Champion: Chunky BBQ and Reserve Champion: Uncle Pig’s Barbeque Pit this year. It has been a joy seeing BBQ grow in and around the Philadelphia/South Jersey region over the years.

Did you know though that you can procure some decent BBQ options in Camden, New Jersey? This may come surprisingly as Blowin’ Smoque is obviously overshadowed by their neighbors James Beard Award Winning fried chicken restaurant Corinne’s Place and iconic celebrity cheesesteak hot spot Donkey’s Place. With competition like that it still doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a visit. This tiny stretch of Haddon Ave is becoming a worthy foodie’s destination for any type of cuisine.

R’Lay Wilkerson a Rutgers School of Business—Camden alumnus has made it easy to order online for pickup or through many of the popular delivery services. What should you order? Well I had the brisket, ribs, mac and cheese, collard greens, and lemonade. The ribs were certainly the highlight accompanied by the mac and cheese and washed down nicely with the lemonade. I had a sample of the yams, and regret that I didn’t order that as one of my sides. The yams were great! Is this competition style BBQ? Absolutely not, but no restaurant is putting out that type of food. What they are putting out is good value for the quality of product they are serving and friendly service that will go above and beyond to make sure you are happy. You really can’t ask for more than that. If you haven’t heard of them or given them a try for yourself you really should. Who knows, just maybe they might win the New Jersey State Barbecue Championship one day 😉

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Island Dreams Cuisine – Camden, NJ

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Island Dreams Cuisine – Camden, NJ

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What a delight, or should I say a dream dining here. South Jersey has had a mix of Jamaican restaurants come and go. Some have been great. Some have been terrible. For one reason or another it has never really taken off like I assumed it would years ago. I don’t know why it took me so long to try Island Dreams Cuisine, but my guess would be that due to Donkey’s Place sitting right across the street I always just went there. Well I can say now I will be torn. Island Dreams Cuisine is one of the best Jamaican in South Jersey right now. It’s a tiny little place without much ambiance, but it’s the food that really matters and the food was delicious. I had a large jerk chicken with rice and peas and cabbage and carrots. With Donkey’s Place recently spotlighted on the New Jersey Bourdain Food Trail and a new throng of visitors dining there, I’ll know when the crowds are too large at Donkey’s, I can just walk across the street to still get a great meal.

Donkey’s Place – Camden, NJ

Donkey’s Place – Camden, NJ

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Some places are so over hyped with so many awards or foodies telling you that you have to try somewhere that sometimes I do my best to avoid going there as I usually avoid the places where everyone else wants to be. Well I can tell you that Donkey’s Place (DP) in Camden, New Jersey is worth every good piece of good press or positive word of mouth they have ever received. I am not going to delve into is it the best around, as I am not a believer in “best”. What they are though is damn good, delicious, fun to be at, and someplace you have to experience in person to really “get it”. I had the cheesesteak with fried onions, fries, and used their house hot sauce on both that made the meal flat out AMAZING! It is an adventure to get there, the neighborhood is rough, the patrons are a colorful group, and the staff is great. Take one of these components out and I believe DP would not be what they are, and what they are is a full-fledged foodie experience. I know DP has a Medford, New Jersey location as well, but part of me just does not think it could not be anywhere as great as their Camden spot. Then again I did not think DP in Camden was worth the trip and boy was I incorrect. For someone who is always right (insert joke here) I would find it unbelievable to be wrong twice about the same subject. If I am wrong, I know why. It is because DP is a special place, with a mindset that only the owners of DP could duplicate. So until I visit their Medford location, just take my word along with the thousands of others who sing DP’s praises. GO, GO NOW, and ENJOY!