One good thing about growing up in an Italian neighborhood in Union City that turned Hispanic was the food. Especially the empanadas. If you're looking for the best empanadas look no further than Latin Bites in Manalapan.

Latin Bites has been in business since 2018 and serves Puerto Rican and Cuban fusion cuisine and they do it with not only a great restaurant but food trucks as well.

I spoke with the owner Rodolfo Villanueva aka "Roy":

What's your background?

"When I was a kid in Puerto Rico and my mother would make some of the appetizers that we now sell I would take him to town and sell them and when I turned 50 years old I sold my business and decided to get back into the food business and it has been working out great."

What can you tell us about your menu?

“Our menu is a fusion of Cuban and Puerto Rican food.”

What makes your empanadas so good?

"All of our empanada stuffing's are homemade with freshly made Sofrito and 100% meat with no fillers or preservatives whatsoever! But empanadas are not only what we are known for, our bites are a hit! We have the biggest Alcapurrias ( A plantain patty stuffed with meat very popular on the island of Puerto Rico). But our biggest pride is 'The BIG PAPI.' It's our Cuban sandwich, the biggest Cuban sandwich you’ll find in Jersey: 1 1/2-pound sandwich layered with a 12-hour roasted pork smothered in garlic mojo, Swiss cheese, ham pickles and of course mustard all on 14 inches of Cuban bread! It's to die for."

“You're always writing messages on your website communicating with your fellow foodies. This season we are adding new options, come visit our Manalapan Restaurant location or visit our own trucks. We are participating in many NJ festivals and events but we also have our home bases we park at throughout the week. Visit our website to find a truck near you today."

What would you like to say to those reading this?

“Come visit us and try our food you will fall in love… Promise."

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

You can now listen to Steve Trevelise — On Demand! Discover more about New Jersey’s personalities and what makes the Garden State interesting . Download the Steve Trevelise show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now:

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

Gallery Credit: Jordan Jansson

Every NJ city and town's municipal tax bill, ranked

A little less than 30 cents of every $1 in property taxes charged in New Jersey support municipal services provided by cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages. Statewide, the average municipal-only tax bill in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from more than $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to $9.22 billion in municipal purpose taxes, special taxing districts that in some places provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development levied $323.8 million in 2021.

Gallery Credit: Michael Symons

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