Vacation Food

Is today already Wednesday?

I have been working all week so I feel like the week is flying by.

Per blog culture I feel like anytime I talk about food it must be on Wednesday…I only participate in WIAW (What I ate Wednesday) once every few months because I almost always forget to take photos of my food on a daily basis.  The food I consume is also extremely boring and not photoworthy 95% of the time.  I’m a terrible cook and if something takes more than 10 minutes to make I don’t want too…

When I went on my honeymoon, everything was cooked and made for me so therefore it is more exciting!  Anyways, one thing we both enjoyed about the honeymoon was all the great food we didn’t have to make!  It was all perfect from the cookie nookie in key west to the several diners and restaurants we went too.  Everything on the cruise was perfect and I have no complaints about that either.

Instead of posting about how good the food was, I’ll just post some photos and caption them.  I think that is how you blog about food…This obviously isn’t everything I ate nor did I focus on taking photos.  These are the most interesting though and the photos I remembered to take!

I really enjoyed the never ending amount of seafood and dessert (as you can see).  I tried a lot of various fish (including dolphin…not the mammal dolphin but fish dolphin).  While out, we really tried to have as much as seafood as we could.  We knew it was fresh and local and there is nothing like fresh seafood!

I also had dessert every single night and have no regrets.

salad

Fish and salad in Key West

Lobster Prime Rib

Prime Rib and Lobster…so this is what the fancy and expensive 60 dollar meal life feels like ;)

Lobster Prime Rib 1

Another visual of the Prime Rib and Lobster…

Seafood Platter

Terrible lighting but clams, bass and scallops all in one

Duck

Duck and “fancy potatoes”..IE french fries

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate almond cake…it tasted a lot like a big piece of fudge but I don’t mind

Carribean Salad

Caribbean Salad

Bread Pudding

The best bread pudding ever

Can't forget the drinks!

Can’t forget the drinks!

Bad Ass Coffee

Not gas station but BadAss Coffee in St. Maartin…have to end LOLZ blog with coffee right?

Questions for you:

What is your favorite seafood?

What is the most expensive meal you have ever eaten?

I think prime rib and lobster might be it for me!

 

 

The Edison Diner

T and I were racing in Northern Jersey a while ago and decided to stop somewhere to eat post race. Of course when we are in a new area we google diners. The Edison diner is located directly off of exit 9 on the turnpike. When we got there around lunch time on a Sunday, it was crowded. Despite getting the last parking spot, we only had to wait about 10 minutes for a table.  As I have mentioned before, diners are like black holes.  When the parking lot is full there is somehow always room in the restaurant.

Atmosphere: B
The Edison Diner is easy to locate from the highway. It’s a nice building outside with a large sign that says”Edison Diner”. If you can figure out the jughandle turn, it’s a cute diner along the main road.

The inside is a typical diner. There are several booths and restaurants. We sat in a (very small) two person booth. Personally there was not enough room for me but we didn’t have to wait too long for a seat.  I wanted to sit at the bar but I’m always starving after a race so that waiting never happens.

Coffee: B
I always wonder if all coffee tastes better post race or long run. There was nothing to write home about about this coffee but it wasn’t bad.

The whipped cream melted before I had a chance to photograph.

The whipped cream melted before I had a chance to photograph.

Food: A
The menu is huge. We were both pleasantly surprised. We had not looked at the Edison diner menu beforehand but we assumed it would be the typical diner fare. While looking through the menu, we quickly realized there were over 100 items.

The Edison diner had over 50 omelette choices so I was determined to try one. I ordered a feta cheese omelette with spinach, onions and chicken. It was a Greek salad with eggs…or something like that. It came with a side of sour dough bread and hash browns. The omelette was perfect and I have no complaints.  It was not the prettiest meal at all (neither was plate actually) but it was really good.

omelet

Cost: $
For my omelette and coffee the cost was $11. It’s a cheap diner and with the amount of food you receive, it’s a deal.

Would I come back?
Overall thoughts: B
I thought the Edison diner was good. I was impressed with how quickly we found a table, ordered and received our food (because of how busy it was). This diner is now about 90 minutes from my house so if I’m in the area, I’ll be back but I wouldn’t drive 90 minutes to get there.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Cost: $7-14

In summary the Edison diner is a great and quick stop right off of exit 9 on the New Jersey turnpike. I would recommend stopping.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite post race meal?

Do you like to sit in restaurant booths or small? 

Westfield Diner

Last week I met Danielle and Christine at the Westfield Diner (careful if you click, a chorus of music will blast your computer).  Easy enough, the Westfield diner is located in Westfield, NJ.  I wanted to see both of them and since I had the day off, I made the trek up North.  I had the day off but honestly with all the wedding planning stuff I needed to accomplish, I was more busy than work LOL.

Atmosphere: B

The outside is cute with a good amount of parking.  We arrived at 5:30 on Friday and it actually wasn’t that crowded.  I was surprised!  The outside is a nice cobblestone building.  It’s nothing too unusual or crazy but it is nice and really cute.

The inside has rows of booths and has a nice small town feel.  It reminds a little bit of the Westmont Diner, nice and cozy.

The staff was friendly and took all of the special requests we had for food and drink (coffee with whipped cream…salad with falafel…).  The food came out pretty quickly once we had ordered too.  There was nothing too unusual or crazy.

Coffee: A

I ordered coffee with whipped cream like I always do.  It was good.   The waiter brought me back several refills and each time with whipped cream.  The coffee was good and the whipped cream was good so it was perfect.

Westfield Diner coffee (1)

Food: B

Like any diner, they had plenty of options.  It looked like they had a whole Greek night in the middle of the week (which is something I would want to come do sometime!).

I ordered the Greek salad with salmon.  Something I thought was strange was if you ordered the Greek salad with salmon (or any other meat), it didn’t come with anchovies (stated on the menu).  If you ordered the greek salad “plain” then it did come with anchoives.  I really like anchovies but I like salmon more.  I could have requested both but I didn’t feel like it.  I’ve never had that happen before.

Westfield Diner coffee (2)

The dressing came in a large container where the oil and vinegar (Greek dressing) had separated.  It made it extremely hard to pour on because I was pouring oil.  It was good dressing though.  I prefer my dressing to already be on the salad but I can see why some people prefer that way.

This is probably the most I’ve written about a single salad but in cliff notes, the portion was smaller than I would have liked but still decent.

Price: $$

For my salmon salad and coffee it was 17.  It was certainly not the cheapest diner meal I’ve had but not the most expensive either.  For the amount of food, however, I would say it was a little bit above average cost.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?

It’s a little bit of a drive for me but close to Christine.  I would go back if Christine wanted but I would not drive out of my way to go.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Price: $10-20
Would I come back?

Probably but only if a friend living close by wanted to go.   It’s a good diner but I’m not sure it’s worth the drive “just to go”.

Questions for you:

Do you like anchovies?

Hanger Cafe

One of the best meals after a marathon is a diner meal.  Adam (IE: The Boring Runner) knew of my diner reviews and when in Rome…go to a diner…right?  This was a very unique diner that it was located at the Chandler Airport right outside of Phoenix.  The Chandler airport is a small regional airport. This made for a fun meal as we watched airplanes take off and land.  Adam, T, Matt and I found ourselves at the Hanger Cafe the day after the marathon.

The Hanger Cafe has been rated as the best airport food before!

Atmosphere: B

The atmosphere was one of the most unique restaurants I have been too.  We were able to watch planes land and enjoy our food.  The Hanger diner is a true dive.  Inside the diner is a full bar and open grill.  It’s very festive decorated with various planes and memorabilia from the Chandler airport. It’s exactly what you picture when you think “greasy spoon diner”.

We sat in a table towards the back.  The waitress forgot about us for a while and we waited a long time before being helped (the reason the atmosphere went from an A to a B).

Coffee: B

The coffee was good but nothing to write home about.  I was happy she refilled the coffee quickly.  I don’t have anything to complain about the coffee but there was nothing spectacular either.

Hanger Cafe Coffee

Food:  A

The menu is rather small and they had about 5 different omelets, 5 types of pancakes and a few odds and ends such as oatmeal or French toast.  It was certainly a smaller menu than I was used too.

I ordered the Spinach and Feta omelet with buttered rye toast.  It was good and I can’t cook omelets so it tasted great to me.  The portion was a little smaller than I would have liked, but then again I had run a marathon the day before. Rye toast is my favorite and it was great.  I really enjoyed the omelet a lot and it seemed like everyone else enjoyed their food as well!

Hanger Cafe Omelet

Cost: $

For Tim and I’s two omelets and coffee it was 17 dollars.  That is the cost of one meal in New Jersey. So it’s one of the cheapest diner meals we have had.

Would I come back/Overall Thoughts:

If I’m in Phoenix again, I would probably come back.  The diner is very unique and the food was good. I would recommend going early, when we left there was quite the wait time.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: Outdoor: A, Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Price: $5-12

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite type of omelet?
What is the best “airport” food you have had? 

 

Tops Diner

According to many different lists and reviews,  Tops diner is ranked the best in New Jersey. It’s even known as one of the best in the country. When I first moved to NJ, it was placed at the top of my list.  Several people have told me to go but it’s 90 minutes away from my house!  When Tim got back, we decided to take a road trip up to East Newark, NJ. After getting off on exit 15, we made a few turns and finally got there.

Atmosphere: A
The outside decor is a very typical and fun diner. In fact, the diner itself stands out like a sore thumb in he area. A good stand out though, it’s a beautiful picture perfect diner. From the outdoor atmosphere alone I knew it would be good.

Image found here

Image found here

 

The inside was just as nice. They sat us at a spacious red booth. It was a combination of the normal diner bars, tables and booths. We sat facing the bakery but honestly we had already decided we were ordering something.

Coffee: A
The coffee was delicious and the whipped cream was overflowing from the top. The waitress refilled it several times so I have no complaints.  The coffee was in the top five diner coffees I have had.

Tops Diner Coffee

Food: A
Tops Diner was the most diverse menu I have been to so far.  They had everything from breakfast to lunch to dinner. From seafood to steak to salad to even burritos.  Seeing burritos was a diner first for me!

I ordered the “Greek tomato salad” with salmon and pita. It was the most unusual salad I’ve ever had.  I did’t realize that the salad did not come with any mixed greens and the cheese came in a 6 inch block. The cheese block was huge and I had never seen anything like that. The cheese was bigger than the salmon portion. The salad was good.  It reminded me more of a cole slaw than a traditional salad. It was different but it good.

Tops Diner Salad

Tops Diner Salad 1

Dessert: A
Tim and I ordered the Red Velvet Cheesecake with vanilla ice cream. Honestly I’m only a fan of cheesecake if it doesn’t taste like cheesecake. I’m a straight up cake girl at heart but they had red velvet cheesecake. Tim and I decided to try it.

Tops Diner Red Velvet Cheesecake

The red velvet cheesecake was great and honestly rivaled any cake I’ve had. It was really good. The frosting was perfect. I ate a lot of the cake or “red section” while he ate more of the cheesecake part. It was great and honestly one of the few cheesecakes I would order again.

Cost: $$$
For two dinners, two drinks and dessert it was 60 dollars. This diner is more of an upscale restaurant but the price was worth it.

Overall thoughts: A
Would I come back?
For being ranked the number one diner in New Jersey it was good. I will be back. The service, the menu and the coffee are deliscious. My favorite was the dessert of course. I highly recommend stopping by if you get a chance.  It isn’t my favorite diner in the state but it is a very great option and one I recommend.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Price: $15-30
Overall thoughts: One of my favorites and in the top five diners.

Questions for you:
Do you like cheesecake?
What’s the most expensive restaurant you’ve been too?

A Confession of a Grocery Shopper

I have a confession to make…  

I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Walmart, Target, Wegmans or our local super market Shoprite.   I don’t enjoy grocery shopping that much and I go in on a mission, get my food and leave.  I don’t spend hours scouring each individual aisle.

grocery cart

I’m not a foodie.

I’m not great at cooking.

I don’t spend a small fortune on food.

I use coupons when I remember them.

I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes 3 times a year (if that).

I don’t buy the latest and greatest organic protein powders and nut butters.

I do, however, eat well and take in the proper nutrients (most of the time).  I actually have a public health college degree and have taken multiple college nutrition courses.  In personal experience, those who studied nutrition are the least stressed about it.   They don’t worry about the newest foodie fads or the most expensive gourmet foods.

The majority of our household meals take a maximum of 30 minutes to make. I have no problems eating the standard meat, potatoes and veggies multiple times each week.  It doesn’t bother us and we know it works and is healthy.  We will add variety with different meats, starches and vegetables but we don’t cut out food groups.  We have no need to substitute carbohydrates for more vegetables (such as cauliflower crust pizza).   Our food is simple and identifiable.

It is not that I can’t afford to shop at specialty grocery stores.  If my interest was to try multiple specialty foods, I would.  I don’t have a need to complicate my nutrition.  I don’t have a need to spend 50 dollars on a tub of protein powder that would last me a week.  When did we transition to be “trendy grocery shoppers”?  What makes the Whole Foods brand of cereal O’s better?

As a society, we obsess too much over food.  Whether we are obsessing over the latest fad diet or we are obsessing over the brand of our cereal.  We are obsessed with food.   We complicate food and nutrition.

The bottom line is a common myth and misconception is that it is necessary to shop at a specialty grocery store to eat well.  That is not true and any grocery store is going to provide quality food and nutrients to keep your body healthy (from Walmart or Trader Joes).

Questions for you:

Where do you do most of your grocery shopping?

How long does the average dinner in your house take to cook?

James Browns Place

James Browns Place

A Rochester Diner

Rochester, NY

While visiting Rochester last weekend weekend, Laura, Heather and I wanted to try a new diner.  We were going to go run a 5k but since the weather wasn’t that great we decided to go to a diner instead.  I don’t have any regrets.  After googling possible options, we settled on James Browns Place, a famous diner in Rochester.

Atmosphere: A

James Browns Place is a cute, local diner.  The inside is exactly what you picture as a hole in the wall restaurant gem.  It is located on the main strip of Rochester.

There are about 20 tables inside and the grill is open.  I have’t been to a restaurant in a while that I can physically see the grill. It’s cool to see where all the “diner magic” happens.  The diner is located in Rochester, NY which is obviously a different atmosphere than New Jersey Diners.  Not different in a bad way but just different.

We even had pleasure to talk to the owner of the restaurant, Mr. Brown.  It was truly amazing to have the owner of the diner come out and talk to us and he was hilarious.  Out of all the diners I’ve been too, this was the first that I had the experience of the owner talking to us. Chatting with Mr. Brown alone caused the rating of the atmosphere to be an A.  I wish we had gotten a photo!

Coffee: A

The coffee was refilled and the waitress even brought a massive amount of whipped cream.  I don’t have any complaints. She also brought all four of plenty of refills.

James Browns Coffee

Which one is LOLZ coffee?

Which one is LOLZ coffee?

Food: A

The amount of eggs, pancakes, and food James Browns Place has is overwhelming.  It took the four of us 15 minutes to decide on food. This never happens!  Their breakfast menu has everything and anything you could hope for in a diner.

I ordered the Greek omelet with sour dough bread.  It was really good.  The omelet had feta cheese, spinach and onion.   The sour bread was perfectly toasted and had just the right amount of butter. The food was great and there were a lot of options.

James Browns Place Omelet

The chef accidentally broke Heather’s overeasy eggs so gave her a second set.  Heather knew she had made it as a blogger because she got two eggs while reviewing the diner (we weren’t paid to review this or any diner).

The infamous eggs.

The infamous eggs.

This is a very traditional diner and has every element you would expect in a diner.

Cost: $

The price for my omelet and coffee was $9.50.  That was one of the cheapest diner meals I’ve had in a while.  While the gas in New York is expensive, the diner food is cheap.

Overall thoughts: A

Would I come back?

I had a great experience at the James Brown Place in Rochester.  Next time I’m in Rochester, I will have to come back!   It was great to have the owner of the restaurant chatting at our table.  Mr. Brown is a great guy, hilarious and it is obvious why he is so successful.

Cliff notes:

James Browns Place
Rochester, NY

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Price 5-10 dollars
Overall Atmosphere: A

 Question for you: Have you ever met a restaurant owner?