Battle of the Whites: White Manna

by KimHo on November 27, 2009 · 4 comments under: Food,Restaurant,Travel



White Manna
358 River Street White Manna on Urbanspoon
460 Tonnele Avenue (Location visited) White Manna on Urbanspoon
Jersey City, NJ

Yes, this is the reason why the White Castle post was called “Battle of the Whites”! As mentioned previously, I asked Christina of Pizza & Bagels for suggestions on places to eat in New Jersey. She wasn’t the only source for these places. I also asked fellow blogger Sherman of Sherman’s Food Adventures for suggestions. One of his suggestions? White Manna (the store is displayed as “White Mana” but, for consistency purposes will use the double n). But, wait, isn’t White Manna in Jersey City? Yes, it was 50+ Km from where I was staying and, despite it was pure highway, it is still 50+ Km! However, this isn’t the first time I have done such drive for food (Ah-Beetz, anybody???), not to mention I thought I should make the most ouf of this trip! So, here it goes, White Manna!

Confession time: My first option for burgers on this trip wasn’t White Manna or White Castle or Fuddruckers. All of these came almost by “just because”. My first option? Louis’ Lunch. I am sure this name does not ring any bell because it is not rated or mentioned much. However, there was a reason why I wanted to go there despite that fact: it is one of the places that claims hamburgers were invented, not to mention the way they are cooked (on a sideway grill), the bread (white sliced bread) and condiments (NO catsup or mustard!). With such claim, I thought I should give it a try. And to prove how “dedicated” I am to this “hobby”, I was planning to drive all the way from my hotel to… New Haven, Connecticut! Let me translate that for almost all of you: a drive of around 225Km (one way)!

Unfortunately, there was a perfect storm, literally. The only day I could do this trip was the day a Nor’easter hit New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. I still wanted to do the drive… That is until I hit Jersey City, where I got myself lost. By then, the radio was broadcasting warnings of flooded and/or closed roads due to the storm (in fact, I ran into one of those flooded roads). I was disappointed as I had made the drive for nothing. About the only chance I could do it and was denied by random acts of nature… But, then, I switched gears and to the back up plan, i.e., Sherman’s suggestion: White Manna. Still, the backup plan required a backup. See, there are two White Manna locations: one in Hoboken and one in Jersey City – the one “rated” in sources like Urbanspoon was the one in Hoboken. However, there was only that much I could do so, instead, I went to the location in Jersey City.

After I walked in, the cook was slightly startled. I will have to say he should have. No, I am not scary! Instead, since really hard storm was hitting the area, most people would have most likely gone home. The fact I was able to take the picture above proves the point: I was able to take it because there were nobody else there! (When I walked in there were other four customers, two of them takeout).

After a quick look at the menu, which includes some fried items and shakes, I made my order which you can see being prepared in the picture above. Here is a funny “story”. Since it was pretty much the cook and me, I asked if I could take a picture. He did not mind; however, he shouted to somebody in the back (in Spanish, I must add): “Vamos a salir en el periodico Chino“, literally “we will be in the Chinese newspaper”. Sorry, dude, you got punk’d! Oh, wait, wrong show… :P

Similar to my order in White Castle, my order here was a meal which, again, had fries. I won’t make too much emphasis on this other than they are your regular fries. Well, aside they were piping hot meaning they were just fried. Still, they are your generic fries…

And here is my order: three cheeseburgers. I will make it brief: it was disappointing. If you thought the ones in White Castle were bad (I must mention, the sequence is altered: I went to White Manna first), these ones were even worst in almost all ways you can imagine. It almost felt like eating white bread with something undescribable in the middle (and we are not talking about the cheese). OK, the fries and the (commercial?) pickles were not that bad but, c’mon, I wasn’t there for fries and pickles! And to show how disappointed I was, that night I was really hungry and, instead of ordering something else, as I was still hungry after the burgers, I chose to skip it and drive back to the hotel under the heavy rain.

No, I do not blame Sherman for this extremely below par experience. After all, I am sure I should have gone to the Hoboken location or, heck, Louis’ Lunch. But, I have to deal with the circumstances and, in this case, it was an epic fail…

So, who won this “Battle of the Whites”? While I am sure you will think it was White Castle, the answer is no. Instead, the winner is White Spot:P

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sherman November 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Yikes! That does look bad. This proves that things you see on the Food Network may not be as good as Guy Fieri says so! Yummy my ass! I bet some places pay for being featured! I can only thank you for making sure that I don’t visit these places! I hope some of the other suggestions work out better!

2 KimHo November 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Sherman, in a way, it is our duty to take the bullet so others do not have to suffer… :eek:

3 Phoebe January 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm

I was feeling nostalgic for my jersey days and did a search for White Manna. Just a note that the one you’re blogging about here is actually “White Mana” and has no relationship with the two-n’d burger joint.

4 OpnHds March 29, 2010 at 9:18 pm

“This proves that things you see on the Food Network may not be as good as Guy Fieri says so! Yummy my ass!”

That’s because this guy went to White Mana (one N) in Jersey City instead of the one everyone talks about; White Manna (two N’s) in Hackensack.
Two separate owners, two entirely different burgers.

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