The Garden State, translated to the plate

What does New Jersey taste like? Author John Holl attempts to answer that question in 150 recipes, in the new book Dishing Up New Jersey (Storey, May 2016). Local contributions include a recipe for honey-thyme caramels from Haddon Township's Mecha Artisan Chocolate and ancho and ale chili from the Blue Rose Inn in Cape May.

- Samantha Melamed
Dishing Up New Jersey, $19.95, at the Cook Book Stall at Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, 267-237-8986,

Pastry perfection

Combine the goodness of a Jewish bakery with the skill of a trained pastry chef and you have Tova du Plessis' new Essen Bakery in South Philadelphia. The chocolate-halva babka is a signature - rich, buttery, flaky and perfect with your morning coffee.

- S.M.

Chocolate-halva babka, $13 for a loaf or $3 a slice at Essen Bakery, 1437 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, 215-271-2299,