new jersey

At the White Rose Diner in Linden, N.J., owner Rich Belfer tosses a dozen round, thick slices of processed pork to sizzle on the grill. To Belfer, it's beyond dispute that those are slices of Taylor Ham.

"It's pork, it's spices, it's salt, it's water. It's common ingredients," Belfer says.

But the flavor is more difficult to explain. "I don't know if anybody can really describe it," he says. "It has a little smoky flavor. It has a little spice. It has a little original Jersey flavor in it."

I was eager to hear all about the fabulous high-end chow I knew Nancy Leson had been scarfing in New York City's hottest dining spots. Instead we took a detour to Jersey. You got a problem wit dat?