After being in Toms River New Jersey for over 2 months, I am not only craving for Chinese and Japanese food, I am also craving for Italian food. I was unable to find any decent Italian restaurant in Toms River when I was there since I wasn't familiar with the town, and the only times I had decent pasta dishes were when I ordered room service at my hotel.
So tonight I took advantage of the $10.00 off coupon to go to Bucca Di Beppo. I know I could have gone to this very same restaurant in Atlantic City when I was in New Jersey. But I didn't like driving long distance when I was in New Jersey because of the many extremely aggressive and crazy drivers in that state, and also the annoying tolls and jughandle everywhere. I had never heard about "jughandle" until my clients in New Jersey told me about it when I was frantically calling them for directions. I guess jughandle is a New Jersey "landmark" but my experience with it had been all bad. Stressed out by my weekday driving in Toms River alone, I was definitely not willing to drive from Toms River to Atlantic city on the weekends just to go to an Italian chain restaurant that I can easily go to when I am here in LA, by driving less than 15 minutes.
Tonight, I ordered Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken ($24.99) which is chicken stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto, served with homemade marinara and pesto cream sauces. I never regarded this place as one of my favorite Italian restaurants, because I never felt the food here was any special. I had been to much better Italian restaurants. I certainly didn't feel the food here tasted bad. I felt the food here tasted OK and the restaurant was close to my home to serve its purpose when I was hungry and too tired to drive around during those overtime weekdays. But after I had spent 2 months in Toms River New Jersey, the food here all of a sudden just tasted so amazingly good to me. I never had a frame of reference to how bad Italian food could taste. Now that I experienced the bad Italian food in Toms River New Jersey, I am enjoying this chicken plate so much that I almost feel lucky for having Bucca Di Beppo so close by.