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There’s no tomato pie for lunch in Trenton on Mondays*

August 9, 2010
And a shortage of cannoli filling too.
The call had come in a couple of weeks before.

A correspondent from NPR would be meeting author Janet Evanovich in Trenton to talk about her best selling “Stephanie Plum” series of crime novels. They needed a guide for the day to lead them around to key locations that inspired the books. Would I be available?  (here’s a link to the NPR story)

Since I knew Trenton, had met Janet and shared a mutual friend in Captain Joseph Juniak of Trenton PD, the answer was an emphatic, “YES!”

St. Francis Medical Center at Hamilton and Chambers was the starting point for the tour just as it was the genesis for wildly popular book series. It was while taking breaks from visiting her father at St. Francis that Janet began to wander about the neighboring blocks and the germ of an idea for the Stephanie Plum character and stories originated.

We found a semi-attached (twin, double) home nearby where one half had been painted green and the other yellow…just like in the books.

Then we headed off to the heart of Chambersburg and Italian People’s Bakery.

At the bakery, Janet talked about the various goodies displayed in the cases. She obtained a box of mixed cookies (we were too late for the Boston Cream Donuts…they had sold out for the day), schmoozed with members of the staff and then left.

Janet visits Italian People's Bakery, June 21, 2010

Urged on by Captain Juniak and myself, the entourage slipped into Panorama Musicale for a truly “old ‘Burg” experience. Alex, Janet’s daughter remembered having gotten ices from here on prior visits. We admired the magnificent espresso machine, noted the Last Supper Clock, and ordered some cannolis.

Alas, they’d received a large order for cannolis prior to our arrival that had used up all of the available filling. No cannolis.

Next, we decided on lunch. Tomato pie was in order, but since it was Monday, both DeLorenzo’s were closed and Papa’s didn’t open until 4 pm. Top Road Tavern on Brunswick Avenue might fill the bill.

Oops. Nope.

Top Road doesn’t serve tomato pie on Mondays. So it was off to Candela’s in Lawrence.

Captain Joe Juniak, TPD, and Janet at Police HQ

From there, we went to Trenton Police headquarters on North Clinton Avenue. On the way, the limo driver and I struck up a conversation. An Israeli ex-soccer player and sometime tennis coach who drives to fill in the time, Barry was also a former socialist in his youth who explained to me how he had come to embrace capitalism.

After a tour of TPD HQ, we ran across town to the Cluck-U Chicken and then doubled back to St. Francis to wrap up the day.

Just another day in Trenton, NJ.

I was afraid this was my fate after missing the cannolis and tomato pie on the Trenton tour.

*This is a revised version of a note posted to my Facebook page on June 22, 2010.  That was the day after I guided Pam Fessler, Janet Evanovich and company around town.  Why not book a tour and see the same sites in person?
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  1. A taste of Trenton « TrenTours

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