I long gave up the idea that I might pass for an undergrad (yep, I've reached the age where if a bartender cards me, it's a compliment rather than a hassle), though my bank balance sadly remains closer to that of a college kid than a mortgage-paying adult. In Princeton, where Ivy League tastes meet student-loan budgets, the pizzas at Teresa Caffe in Palmer Square fit the bill.
At dinner, I'm too frequently tempted by the linguini vongole, but at lunch, my heart and stomach belong to pies from the wood-fired oven. Pizza toppings come and go with the seasons, but the Perfetta ($14) rarely, if ever, leaves the menu. Draped with prosciutto, sprinkled lavishly with grana padano, the white pizza would be a salt bomb if not for the healthy handfuls of arugula under the meat and cheese, trapping bits of cracked black pepper and lemon zest in the leaves' nooks and crannies.
(Princeton is smack dab in the middle of Jersey farmland, by the way, so if the arugula's not coming from Teresa Caffe's own farm up the road, it's likely sourced from one of the other local heavy hitters like Terhune Orchards.)
After tearing through four chewy-crusted slices, it's just too convenient to walk across Palmer Square to The Bent Spoon and wash down all that salt with a scoop of coconut or lemon ricotta ice cream. Did they put the two spots next to each other for me? How thoughtful.
About the author: Casey Barber is the editor of Good. Food. Stories., a freelance food writer, and a transplanted Pittsburgher making the most of the Garden State. Find her on Twitter: @GoodFoodStories