Brick Diner

Recently I went to the Brick Diner in Brick.  I wasn’t originally supposed to be in the area but found myself in Brick around dinner time.  There are a few diners I want to go too, and the Brick Diner looked like a great option.

Brick diner new jersey

Atmosphere: A
The Brick Diner has a big sign out front to indicate the diner.  It’s not a big metallic diner like a few others in the area.  The inside of the Brick Diner has everything you want in a diner: a full-length bar, booths and plenty of tables.

Coffee: C
The coffee was decent, but it was lukewarm.  I didn’t hate it and it wasn’t the worst but it had a lot of room for improvement…IE hotter.

Brick diner new jersey

Food: C
The Brick Diner has most anything you could want or need in a diner.  There are plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.  There is nothing unusual, but there is nothing left out.  I ordered a mushroom cheeseburger that came with fries, coleslaw, and a pickle.  It was an average meal.  The mushrooms and cheese were both somewhat rubbery.  The burger was ok, not the best or worst.  In all, average.

Brick diner new jersey

Brick diner new jersey

Service: B
The waitress was friendly and refilled our beverages as needed.

Cost: $
For my burger and coffee, the cost was $11.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back?
The Brick Diner was an okay stop.  Not my favorite or least favorite.  If I’m in the area, I might stop again.  If you’re looking for a stereotypical NJ diner, the Brick Diner is great.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: C
Food: C
Service: B
Cost: $8-12
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Corner Post DinerNew Crystal Diner 
See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
Do you like cooked mushrooms?
What is your favorite type of cheese?


Four State Vacation

It’s taken over a month to finally recap my entire vacation.  I still have a few lingering diner reviews left, but with one phase of life over and the next moving forward, I figured it would be best to wrap finally wrap the trip up.

As I mentioned a month ago, my husband and I had no plans when we went out there.  We booked two plane tickets and a rental car.  We had no hotels booked, no plans of which towns and cities we would see, but figured we would wing it.  We didn’t imagine we would drive to four different states and put over 2600 miles on our car…but we did.

road trip through colorado

So where to begin?

We flew into Denver.

We stayed for a few days in Denver.  We explored the city a bit, and went for a few gorgeous runs.  We also got to see my good friend Kevin and his wife which I haen’t seen in a while.  

While in Denver, we drove up and went hiking at Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder.  We went to a few diners including Sams 3 which was on the Food Network as well as the brand new Snooze Cafe.

Next, we headed out West towards Utah.  My good friend Janae had said there were a fun 5k/13.1 and we thought…why not.  It’s only about 400 miles, right?  Plus, we would see what we would see.

Earlier in the year one of my closest friends, Angela, moved to Colorado (from South Jersey). The route to Utah went right through her town which we had been planning to do anyway.  We stayed the night at Angela and her husband’s house, went for a gorgeous run, and of course at her local diner: The New Castle Diner.

Reunited with Angela and it feels so good. 25 degree running…well not so much

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Then we continued towards Utah.  It was a scenic and beautiful drive.  Most of the time we didn’t have cell service which was actually nice.  No internet, blogging, or Facebooking.  Just the road and rocks on either side.

We got into Provo late that night, found a nice hotel near the race.  Since there was a half marathon, packet pickup was the night before at the mall.  We overheard some locals talking about the “lazy people” doing the 5k…YAY for being lazy.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

The race itself was tough.  NJ is at sea level, Utah is 4000-5000 above (I can’t remember).  There was also a massive hill at the end of the race, and I finished in 19:40 dry heaving the whole way.  You can read more about the Haunted Half 5k here.

haunted half 5k provo ut me running

No, seriously it was painful

Janae, who just had her baby, finished and placed in her age group.  It was great to hang out, and the morning was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.   Another state I’ve raced in, not that I’m even sure how many that is.

After the race in Utah, we drove South.  We stayed the night, woke up the next morning and explored both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

Hiking in Zion National Park

Both were beautiful, and we could have spent days, weeks, and probably months in either.  I hope one day to get back and spend more time and each.  Both have half and full marathons too, which would be fun to run if we trained appropriately (IE: at elevation).  Judging from the 5k, it might be awhile. We went to Meme’s cafe for lunch in Zion, which was an “interesting” experience.

Made it to Bryce Canyon for incredible views of the Hoodoos and Rainbow point.

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After that, we stayed overnight and headed down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We were only a few hours away, and I’ve always wanted to see it.  A few hours away is a lot closer than NJ, so we decided to just drive down there.  It was absolutely breathtaking!

We've always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon…so we did.

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After the Grand Canyon, we progressed east towards Colorado.  We wanted to make a stop at the Four Corners: where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.  It’s a bucket list item, just to say you did.  It wasn’t too crowded when we got there.  You can stand in all Four Corners or lay there…

For the next couple of days, we just enjoyed the drive, view, and hanging out.  We saw a lot of cute towns.  We drove through Uncompahgre National Forest and over a terrifying mountain pass in which it was snowing.  We decided to stop and take a photo at the top.  It was one of the most incredible views of the trip.

For Halloween, I traveled to 11,000 feet and dressed up like someone who likes winter.

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Afterwards, we headed to Tim’s relative’s house in Montrose, Colorado.  It was nice to see family, and they took us for a 10+ mile four wheeling expedition up a mountain.  I’ve never been four wheeling before, so it was a brand new but so much fun experience.  The mountain in the background is actually the mountain we drove over and took the photo (above).

I didn't wake up thinking I would take my first ATV ride this morning, but here we are.

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After an enjoyable visit in Montrose, we headed back towards Denver.  We stopped in Colorado Springs for a couple of days.  Initially, we wanted to go walk around the Air Force Academy, but there were essential meetings, and we weren’t allowed on.  We should have started our trip that way!  We decided to hike the Seven Bridges Trail (yes, you cross 7 bridges) as well as the Grey Back Peak Trail.

We also stopped (of course) at the King Chef Diner which was featured on the Food Network.  If you’ve never been, you have to go.  It is definitely one of my favorite diners that I’ve been too, including in NJ!   There are two locations but we chose the 13 seat, small purple castle.

They are most known for their Burritos.  Even with running and hiking, I left full.

King Chef Diner Colorado Springs

Finally, we wrapped our way back to Denver, and it was time to go.  At the airport, I ended up getting food poisoning which I’m still dealing with but that is a blog post for another day.

In summary:

12 Days
4 states
Over 100 miles run
Highest elevation 11000
Lowest elevation 3200
Temperatures between 28-80 degrees
And 2600 miles driven (on the dot)

I had one of the best trips of my life, and it was nice to spend time with my husband before he deployed.  One day we want to do something similar again, but going North to Montana and that way.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been on a road trip?

What is your favorite vacation?

Brooks Cascadia 12 Shoe Review

When going out west on Vacation, I knew I needed a trail shoe.  My husband and I have hiked several times on the east coast, but many people indicated how rocky and rigorous trails could be out west.  Thinking out loud, there have probably been times I could have used a trail shoe while hiking out east too.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

The Cascadia seemed like a good option.  I’ve had success with many Brooks Running shoes including both the Ghost 10 and Glycerin 15.  Instead of getting a hiking boot, I opted for the gortex (weatherproof) Brooks Cascadia.

Brooks Cascadia Fit:

The Gortex version makes the shoe stiffer and less breathable but that is precisely what I was looking for.  I wanted a shoe that would protect me from harsher elements.  That being said, it still fits appropriately.  In my running shoes, I’ve worn between 10-11 wide.  I purchased a pair of 10.5 shoes and have been fine.  The upper is constructed from a double mesh material that I found highly flexible, breathable, and provided a durable layer of protection.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

Brooks Cascadia Ride:

Personally, I’ve used these more for climbing and hiking versus running on trails.  I’ve used them a couple of times to run, but for the most part, they have been great hiking shoes.

There is a lot of cushion for a trail shoe.  My biggest fear was getting a trail shoe that was firm or rigid.  Since we have done 10+ miles of hiking before, my feet would not be happy with that.  The cushion of the Cascadia is soft like the Ghost but hard enough to grip the ground appropriately.

It doesn’t have the grooves of a rigorous hiking boot, but did have enough for the hikes I was doing.

The Gortex version allowed me to cross several streams without too much of an issue with my feet getting wet.  Something that was ideal.

Final Thoughts:

I like the Brooks Cascadia 12, and I’m so glad I decided to purchase it.  Since purchasing, I’ve done a variety of trails including Zion National Park, Colorado Springs, and even hiking in New Jersey.  It definitely makes a difference when hiking.  I’m glad I finally took the plunge and purchased a pair.

Questions for you:

Do you have a separate pair of trail shoes?

Have you ever used a Gortex or weatherproof product?

Training: 2 Workouts and No Races

Training: 2 Workouts and No Races

I didn’t race last week but got two high-quality workouts in.  Lately, I’ve been enjoying workouts more than racing.  Partly with my stomach, and partly with the weather.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 12X400s with 400 jog recovery
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 90 minutes
Saturday: 2X3 mile with 1 mile jog in between
Sunday: 10ish mile Hike


Easy runs were just that, easy.   They were boring and uneventful but that is also how I like them.  On Sunday, my husband and I went for a cold, and snowy hike in Ramapo State Forest. It wasn’t the most evelation we have climbed, but due to conditions: wet, cold, icy…it was not the easiest.

Wednesday: 12X400s (with 400 jog in between)

6x400s at 6 min pace
4x400s at 5:56
2x400s at 5:53

Saturday: 2X3 miles

I have always been intimidated to do workouts on the treadmill.  I’m worried I’ll pull, hurt, or break something because the treadmill makes you run faster than sometimes your body wants or needs.  I was happy the workout went well and much better than anticipated.

In all, I’m proud of how the week went.  I do feel like I’m progressing with my fitness and I am excited to race when I’m tapered to see where I’m at.  I believe with rest and on a good day, I could run about 18:30 in a 5k right now.  The stars have to align for that.


Posts from the Week:
Hiking through Wharton State Forest
November Training
Cpt Gregory T Dalessio Memorial 5k (19:02)

Questions for you:
What is your favorite workout?
Where do you like to do your workouts: road, track, trail, treadmill?

The Thunderbird Restaurant (Mt. Carmel, Utah)

The Thunderbird Restaurant in Mount Carmel Junction is one of the most small-town diners I’ve been too.  It’s attached to the Best Western, and when we stopped in, it seemed like the happening spot to stop.  We had opted to stay at the Best Western and didn’t know there was a restaurant/diner attached.

We decided to go in the morning when they opened at 7.  For the short time, we were there, we were the only people in the entire restaurant!

Atmosphere: A
If you are looking for a small town diner, where everyone knows everyone, this is your diner.  The Thunderbird Café is cute, and they are known for their “Ho-Made” pies.  It’s attached to the Best Western so you can see it from the side of the road.  The inside has plenty of booths and tables.

Service: A
Our waitress was friendly, brought plenty of refills, and our food came out quickly.  She was great.

Coffee: B
The coffee at the Thunderbird Café was strong and tasted good.  I could have used a few more refills but other than that, I had no issues.  Strong coffee in the morning is important.

Food: A
For breakfast, I decided to order two eggs, toast, and a blueberry muffin.  Since it was a bit early to order a pie, I thought a muffin would suffice in trying their homemade baked goods.  The muffin was delicious.  It was cooked just enough that the top was crispy.

thunderbird cafe mount carmel junction utah breakfast

The bread was homemade and thick.  It was some of the best diner bread I’ve had, and the eggs were cooked well too.

thunderbird cafe mount carmel junction utah muffin

In all, my food was excellent.

Cost: $

For the coffee, breakfast, and muffin, the cost was $14, which was a little bit more expensive than I expected.
Overall/Would I Come Back?

I liked the Thunderbird Café, and if I’m ever traveling through, I would go back.  I had a positive experience there, and it’s a great stop.  If you’re looking for a local stop, and a friendly hotel too, this is your place.

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Cost: $10-$20
Overall: A

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of muffin?
Have you ever been to a local favorite?

J&G Diner (South Bound Brook)

Recently I went to the J&G Diner in South Bound Brook.  To be honest, I’ve had to remember the exact letter combination every time I go to type out a post.  Anyway, when I arrived for lunch, I was the only person in the diner.  I met the owner of the website, NJ Isn’t Boring, and while we were dining more customers came in.  Cyd and I have reviewed close to 20 diners if not more.  I believe she is coming close to going to 200 diners!

Neither of us had been to the J&G diner, so it was the perfect stop.

Atmosphere: B
The diner is located on the corner.  It’s not a big metallic building but a regular building attached to several other restaurants.  Inside, it’s clear the diner used to be an old Mexican or Spanish restaurant.  The atmosphere and hand painted murals are a giveaway.  Plus J&G Diner has several specials such as a burrito or flan.

Coffee: B
The coffee was decent and warm.  There wasn’t anything interesting or unique about it, and I could have used more refills.

Food: C
J&G has all sorts of options from breakfast to lunch and dinner.  Unique to the diner is a lot of different Mexican and Spanish options.  As most people know at this point, I’ve been suffering from food poisoning.

If I wasn’t suffering from that, I probably would have ordered something new or unique.  I decided to order their Mediterranian salad with salmon.   When my food came out, I regretted the situation.  The salad was boring, and the salmon tasted as if it was reheated.  I had to request to extra dressings because there was barely any on there.  The food wasn’t bad but probably not something I would order again.

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, and the food came out quickly.  I could have used more drink refills, but other than that, I have no complaints.

Dessert: A
Cyd wanted to order dessert.  I probably wouldn’t have, but when she ordered dessert, it sounded like a good idea.  I decided to go with the bread pudding which came with ice cream.

I like bread pudding, however, after food poisoning, it’s something I need to be more mindful of especially with ice cream.  The dessert was tasty, and it saved my overall opinion of the J&G diner.  I appreciated how many raisins (yes I like them) were in the bread pudding.  However, afterward, my stomach was not all that thrilled with me.  Oh well, live and learn.

The J&G diner charges for everything including whipped cream in the coffee as well as extra dressings.  While I do understand they are extra items, it seemed a bit ridiculous when the salad was very dry, to begin with. For the coffee, salad, dessert, and extras the cost was $22.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the J&G Diner, and I would go back.  The bread pudding was extremely good, and I would like to try some of their more unique items when I feel better.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: C
Service: B
Dessert: A
Cost: $8-18
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Time to Eat DinerSomerset, 

You can find all 162 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite Mexican dish?
What is your favorite salad dressing?

Hiking through Wharton State Forest

My husband and I have hiked a lot.  We’ve been too many states and mountain ranges and we enjoy it.  We might even enjoy hiking more than running.  Something about being out there in the peace is so much fun.  You can read about any our hikes here.

Anyway, you would think we would have already hiked somewhere local and close to home in South Jersey…yet until recently, we had not.  We both had the day off but weren’t in the “mood” to drive 2 hours north to go hiking so we googled a few trails around us.  Someone mentioned the Botana trail in Wharton State Forest so we decided to look into it.

As most people know, south jersey is flat so it wasn’t a mountainous trail.  In fact, it was one of the easier trails we’ve done and we did see a couple of people with pets.  Definitely a much easier trail than last month in Colorado! The trail itself is about 50 miles long and they do host a no frills ultra there.

The Batona Trail itself is about 50 miles longer and wraps itself from the shore to inland.  We hiked about 5 miles and saw a couple of hikers doing the entire trail.  Hiking the entire trail looks like it would be a lot of fun!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

At the end of our personal hike, there is a water tower you can hike up too.  The day we went, it was closed (and there are security cameras, so I don’t recommend jumping the fence).

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

I know we will be back though.  I think it would be a lot of fun to do the entire 50-mile hike over the course a few days.   Who knows, maybe end at a diner!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

To be honest, hiking the Batona Trail opened my eyes that there are gorgeous hikes in South Jersey.  I had always stuck up my nose to hiking in Southern New Jersey but I’m glad we did and I know we will be back.

Other NJ Hikes:
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Hiking the Delaware Water Gap
The Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:
Do you like to hike?
What is something interesting you’ve recently found in your area?

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