review

The Spot

Flashback time: One of the first diners I ever went to was in Binghamton, NY. The Spot in Binghampton showed me how great diners could truly be. Every time I drive through Binghamton I make a special effort to stop.  Despite not being in NJ, this is one of my favorite diners to date.

Atmosphere: A
The outside is a very casual vibe and is made out of cobblestone. It can easily be seen from the 81 highway. The inside has plenty of light and booths. I always try and get a booth next to one of the windows.   You walk in next to the bakery so get to sit within view of that most of the time.

One of my favorite parts of this diner is the friendliness of the staff. I have eaten at the diner alone and with family and friends. The staff is always so polite.  I don’t have a problem eating at restaurants alone and have done it a few times.

Coffee: B
Each time I go, the coffee is always refilled quickly. The whipped cream isn’t my favorite but plenty of coffee is always a positive thing.

Super old school coffee shot.  Dates back to LOLZ drinking to 2012.

Super old school coffee shot. Dates back to LOLZ drinking to 2012.

Food: A
The diner has everything you can imagine. The Spot has pancakes, seafood, dinner, sandwhiches…everything.  Keep in mind I’ve been going to this diner for the last 5 years (way before I knew the glory of NJ diners).  I was always overwhelmed with the possibilities!

This diner Greek Salad is one of my favorites. The salad comes with pita bread, anchovies, grape leaves, feta cheese, onions and I always add gyro meat I like that the gyro is cooked in oil so it’s very juicy.  I don’t post a lot about it but I really like Gyro meat, but oddly enough it’s hard to find at diners!

gyrosalad

Cost: $
The cost for the salad (with gyro) and coffee is 12 dollars. It’s a really good deal and I can’t ever complain.

Overall thoughts: A
Would I come back?
Whenever I am traveling through Binghamton, I always try and hit up the Spot. It’s one of my favorite diners and a great stop along I-81. I always recommend it.

Cliffnotes:
The Spot
Binghampton, NY
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Cost: $8-15
Overall thoughts: A

Questions for you:

Do you have a restaurant you like to go to while traveling? 

Have you ever had Gyro meat? 

Saucony Triumph ISO Review

The Saucony Triumph has been a shoe I have wanted to try since its release a few months ago.  Since I was having such good luck staying injury free during marathon training I didn’t want to try anything new.  This meant waiting to try new shoes, new training methods, etc…I knew what worked and I stuck with it.

After I started running again I decided to take the plunge and try the new Saucony Triumph ISO.  Before actually running in them, I tried them on and walked around several times at work.  I knew by all the updates Saucony had done on this shoe I wanted to eventually try running in them.

Side Note: I’m always hesitant to do running shoe reviews because what works (or doesn’t) for me, won’t always be the same for others.  I like a lot of cushion and am a neutral runner.  This means that shoes such like the Saucony Triumph are a good option for me.  This also means I don’t care for minimalist shoes but to each their own.  Another thing to keep in mind is that I’m not a techy person.  Either the shoe feels good to me or it doesn’t and I’ll explain why.  I don’t care so much about the technical side of a shoe so I won’t review that part.  Plus, there are much better blog posts that review that anyways…I just give my personal experience with the shoe.  (And no Saucony is not paying me to review their shoe).

Price: $150

I like a lot of cushion and cushioned shoes are more expensive.  This price is compare able to the Asics Nimbus (150) or the Brooks Glycerin (150).  Honestly, cushion keeps me healthy so I stay cushioned.   Since I run a lot of high mileage, this is the best option for me too.

The Fit:

As a company Saucony generally runs a little bit wider.  It’s not wide but it is wider.  In my opinion, the New Triumph ISO is one of the more narrow models Saucony has created.  In most brands, I wear a 9.5 wide.  In most Saucony shoes I wear a 9.5.  In the Saucony Triumph I still need to go wider into a 9.5 wide.  The toe box is wider but it is also has a wider heal.  For me I wish the heel was a little bit narrower but it still fits well.

An important piece of the shoe is the ISO.  This is the new update that makes the upper of the shoe more glove like.  It certainly hugs the metatarsals (without constricting).  I have a high instep so I was surprised it could accommodate my feet well.

The Feel:

The shoe is more of a firm than I am used too.  For the last 4 months I was training exclusively in the Nimbus.  The Saucony Triumph is much more light weight and also lower to the ground.   The major reason I like this shoe is that it’s got a lot of cushion but is light weight (like the Hoka Clifton).

Instead of the 12 millimeter drop there is an 8.  Does this really matter?  It provides less heel to toe drop and will probably make your calves a little bit tighter for the first few runs.

When I actually went for my first run my calves were sore.  That could be since it was my first run post marathon or because of the different heel to toe drop from the Nimbus.  Either way they were sore.  I have been running every run (alternating with the Nimbus).   I actually don’t mind at all and really enjoy the feeling.  Since I naturally run and walk on my toes, it feels good to have a shoe that supports that.

Overall thoughts:

I really like the Saucony Triumph ISO.  For now I will continue it in my rotation of running shoes.

It’s a great light weight running shoe while still providing a lot of cushion.  Working at a running store I can say it was one of the best shoe updates that a company has made for 2015.  For me personally, I think it fits well and provides a lot of cushion.

Edit to add: I have put roughly 100 miles on this shoe.

Questions or you:

Have you run in the Saucony Triumph ISO?

Do you prefer light weight or heavier shoes?

I prefer to train in heavy shoes.  While they do slow down my pace, they provide cushion that allows me to keep healthier.

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? 

 

Asics Nimbus 17 Review

Shortly before my marathon and then afterwards, I began running in the Asics Nimbus 17.  Since transitioning from Newtons (last year) into a more traditional running shoe, the Asics Nimbus has been a great shoe to me.  I reviewed the Asics Nimbus 16 a few months ago. The gel and high cushion supports my feet well.  I like more cushion shoes.  I do not like light weight shoes at all.

asics nimbus 17 1

Side Note: I’m always hesitant to do running shoe reviews because what works (or doesn’t) for me, won’t always be the same for others.  I like a lot of cushion and am a neutral runner.  This means that shoes such like the Saucony Triumph or Brooks Glycerin are good options for me.  This also means personally I don’t care for minimalist shoes.  Another thing to keep in mind is that I’m not a techy person.  Either the shoe feels good to me or it doesn’t and I’ll explain why.

I don’t care so much about the technical side of a shoe so I won’t review that part.  Plus, there are much better blog posts that review that anyways…I just give my personal experience with the shoe.  (And no Asics is not paying me to review their shoe).asics nimbus 17

Price: 150

This is similar to other comparable shoes of different brands such as the Saucony Triumph (150) and Brooks Glycerin (150).

The Fit:

Asics has always run a little bit narrow.  The previous Asics Nimbus was entirely too narrow for my foot.  I found myself being comfortable in a mens shoe versus womens. I have a very wide foot so I normally run in a wide.  With the Nimbus 17, they opened up the toe box space so my foot have plenty of space to breath.  I normally wear a size 9.5 wide woman’s shoe and my feet fit comfortably into a size 9.5 Asics Nimbus Wide.

One problem I did have was the top inner toe box rubbed my foot raw.  I ended up bleeding through the shoe.  I know it wasn’t a sock issue.  The toe box fit my foot a little bit different and caused rubbing.  My foot got used to it within a few runs but it was unpleasant to see the shoe had caused my foot to bleed.

I like the fit much better than the previous model.  I think Asics did a great job with it.

The Feel:

The shoe is much lighter than the Nimbus 16.  I still feel as if I have the cushion I like but with a lot less weight.  I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that aspect.  I know the cushion is still there but mentally I like to feel as if the cushion underneath my foot.  While running it has felt good.  I still feel protected and I haven’t had any issues or problems with the shoe.  It does feel a little bit lighter since it weighs less.  After about 50 miles on the shoe, I didn’t seem to notice much of a difference in weight.

Overall Thoughts:

I like Asics Nimbus a lot.  I feel comfortable doing my training in this shoe.  The major differences (more open toe box and lighter weight) don’t effect my training significantly.  I will continue to run in the shoe (as well as a new to me shoe the Saucony Triumph).

Edit to add: I’ve ran 104 miles in this shoe (both before and after the marathon).

Questions for you:

What shoe do you train in?

Have you ever tried the Asics Nimbus?

The Freeway Diner

Freeway Diner

When the New Jersey Isn’t Boring website owner asks if you want to go on a finer date, you don’t say no. It’s not allowed! Our first diner date was a few months ago to the Park Nine diner.

This time we opted to go the Freeway diner in Woodbury, NJ (Her review here)

I made such a great second impression. I was having a rough day and ended up going to the wrong diner. After realizing that I was at the wrong diner, I drove the 15 minutes down the road.  The last two weeks have been hectic for me so I’ve been having quite a few of these moments.  Hopefully the third date will be better!

Atmosphere: A 

I loved the atmosphere of the Freeway Diner. It was a throwback from the 50s. The pink blinds, pink chandeliers, pink booths and of course bar table. It was adorable and everything you picture in a diner. ‘

Coffee: A 

The waitress was really nice and refilled our coffee mugs several times. She also included overflowing whipped cream. She was a woman after my own heart! The coffee was great and the massive amount of whipped cream was appreciated.  I really liked everything about the coffee and whipped cream.

Freeway Diner Coffee

Food: B 

The menu was average. It had several normal diner options, no more or no less. I ordered my staple of the Greek salad with chicken. The salad was good, it was just a very small portion. I believe I could have eaten two of them. The Greek salad came with chicken, onions, lettuce, feta and two olives. It could have used more olives and more lettuce.  In fact I went home and had another meal two hours later.

Freeway Diner Salad

Cost: $ 

I can’t complain about the portion size because the meal was 10 dollars. It was one of the cheapest diner salads I’ve had in a while. I have no complaints about the portion size and price.  I would have paid more for a bigger salad though.  I hate going to a restaurant and still hungry.

Overall thoughts: B 

Would I come back?
I probably won’t come back just because there are closer diners that I like better. The diner is extremely inexpensive and I have no complaints about that. It wasn’t my favorite but it wasn’t bad either. It was a typical diner in New Jersey. I would recommend the Freeway Diner for anyone in Woodbury, NJ who is looking for a quick bite to eat.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Cost: $ 5-12
Overall: B


Questions for you:

Have you ever gone to the wrong place before?

What is the cheapest restaurant meal you’ve gotten?

At a diner in college you could get an omelet and coffee for 6 dollars.

The Marlton Diner

The Marlton diner has been on to my to do list for a while now. It is located in Burlington county off of exit 70.  The Marlton diner is a picture perfect diner in New Jersey. I met personal friend and local runner Liz a few weeks ago.

Liz is a writer as well as a night owl.  She is also the friend that wrote this article about “like a girl”.  She is obviously a great writer so I wonder what she thinks of LOLZ blog (ha ha ;).  Anyways, most people know I go to bed pretty early so we are always on opposite schedules, it was nice to hang out again. T joined us directly after work!

liz and i 1

Atmosphere: A
The diner itself is exactly what you would picture a diner to be like. It has large silver paneling on both the outside and inside. The inside is covered with a shiny silver paneling, booths, a bar, Juitbox and of course a bakery.

marlton diner 1

Source here

It’s very clear upon walking in that it is a “regulars” type of place. There were times I almost felt unwelcome.  It was pretty quiet but it was also a weekday evening. The waitress was friendly toward us thankfully though.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good but not my favorite.  It wasn’t until after the waitress refilled our coffee a few times  she informed us she was charging us for an extra cup of coffee. That information wasn’t stated anywhere on the menu (for instance, 2 free refills, etc) . While it wasn’t an issue, I would have liked to know I was being charged for an extra cup of coffee. I was under the impression it was unlimited refills.

Marlton Diner

Food: B
The menu had everything a stereotypical diner would, no more and no less. There wasn’t anything unique. The Marlton diner had a few specials but honestly nothing too interesting.

Marlton Diner 2

I ordered the Greek salad with salmon. The salad came oozing with oil (it was soaken through). The dressing was really good and one of my favorites in New Jersey. It had all of the normal greek salad toppings: feta cheese, olives, anchovies and onions. The salmon was good but it was obvious it was a frozen and reheated fillet.  The salad dressing was the best part of the salad for sure.

Cost: $$
For my salad with salmon, it was 18. The price wasn’t that expensive for the food but in my opinion it wasn’t worth it. There are a few diners I would probably go closer to home that are cheaper.

Overall thoughts: B
Would I come back?
The diner wasn’t bad but there are other choices I would go too before going back to the Marlton Diner. It’s clear the diner has a lot of regulars it caters too.  It isn’t a bad stop but not my favorite.  I would go to a few closer to home before stopping back by the Marlton Diner.  It was so great to catch up with Liz though so it was always worth it.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $10-20
Overall rating: B, not bad but not great

Questions for you:

Have you ever felt unwelcome in a restaurant?

 

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