Bette's Oceanview Diner nova lox
Bette’s Oceanview Diner (Berkeley, CA)

I haven’t been to a new diner in a month, so I was excited to get to Bette’s Oceanview Diner after running at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. When I arrived at Bette’s Oceanview Diner, it was busy. Indoor seating is still not allowed, and every table was taken. Luckily I ordered takeout.

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Visiting New York City

After my husband came home, we decided to go visit New York City.  Even though we live approximately 90 miles away, we rarely go.  Between, traffic, tolls, and parking it’s not the easiest place to get too.

So last week, we decided to take the train from Trenton.  It was an easy process, and we made it to Penn Station and into Manhatten.  We ended up staying on 57th street close to Central Park, Broad Way and Times Square. We had booked the hotel before I decided to stop running, so we had planned to run in Central Park.  One day we will (that isn’t the New York City Marathon!)

While in NYC, we didn’t do a heck of a lot.  Both my husband and I are relaxed and we like to take trips with not a lot of plans.  We figure it out as we go along.  For the most part, we walked around New York just looking at sights.  We did go see some of the big things like the Empire State Building and Times Square.  I’ve been before, but it’s always fun to see again! empire state building

We got close to the Empire State Building but opted not to go in.  empire state building

Times Square

One thing we both wanted to do is get a New York Bagel.  As someone who went to college in New York (way upstate at SUNY Potsdam), we got used to good NY bagels.  NJ just doesn’t compare.

My favorite is a Nova Lox.   It was a good bagel (not that I’m an expert) and I have no complaints. 

The one thing we did do was go see a Broadway.  We booked tickets to “Waitress” starring Sara Bareilles.  I like Sara Bareilles as a songwriter, and the Broadway was about a diner waitress…how could we go wrong?  It was excellent, and I highly recommend it if you’re ever up that way.

Before leaving, we also checked out Ellen’s Stardust Diner near Broadway.  The Diner is unique in that the servers are always performing.  You get a meal and a show.  You’ll see your server perform for the entire restaurant.

ellens stardust diner me

We had a great weekend away.  It’s funny, as I mentioned, New York is not a far commute for us, but we never go!  We will definitely go back sooner rather than later.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to New York City?

Where was the last weekend trip you took? 

River Star Diner (Hacketstown)

River Star Diner (Hacketstown)

Recently I went to the River Star Diner in Hackettstown, NJ.  Before going Hacketstown was an area of New Jersey I hadn’t been too. I’d heard from a friend; it’s a pretty small town. When driving through, I didn’t realize how hilly and beautiful the area was.  There are several different parks, and plenty of runners and cyclists out.

Trying new diners and hiking has allowed me to see so many different areas of the state.

River Star Diner Atmosphere: A
The River Star Diner is located along a small creek.  If you are lucky enough to get a window seat, you can see birds and small animals frolicking in the water. The inside is typical of an average small-town diner, but it’s great you can look outside.

river star diner
Image from LehighValley Live

When we arrived, the parking lot was full. However, there was plenty of seating at the River Star Diner available.  I think they could use a bigger parking lot. Even when every parking spot in a diner is filled, there always seems to be room.

River Star Diner Coffee: B
The coffee at the River Star Diner was good, but it was nothing unusual or unique.  I don’t have any complaints or anything unique or exciting about it. River Star Diner

River Star Diner Service: A

Despite the River Star Diner being relatively crowded, our waitress was great.  Our food was brought out quickly, and we had plenty of refills and food.

River Star Diner Food: B
River Star DinerThe River Star Diner menu is about ten pages, and nothing is left out.

At the River Star Diner, I ordered the scrambled eggs, bacon, french toast, and a side bagel.  It’s a pretty standard; home-cooked diner meal. River Star Diner

The eggs were cooked well.  The bacon was crispy, and I liked the french toast.  I can’t remember the last time I ordered French toast before, but River Star used thick bread.  Thin bread might be healthier, but thick bread tastes better.

I’ve mentioned before that I think North Jersey bagels are better than South Jersey.  I try to get one whenever I’m up there.  The bagel was delicious, and I left feeling both full and satisfied.

Cost: $
For my meal and coffee, the cost was $12.  It was one of my cheaper diner meals.

Summary/Would I Come Back to the River Star Diner (Hacketstown)?
I enjoyed the River Star Diner (Hacketstown), and the view was unique and fun. If you can, request to sit by the River Star Diner window!  I don’t have any complaints and it’s one of the better diners I’ve been too.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Service: A
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B

You can see all of the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Which restaurant you’ve been too has the best view?
Where are your favorite bagels from?

Nutley Diner

Nutley Diner (Nutley, NJ)

Last month, we headed back up to North Jersey and New York State to hike at Bear Mountain State Park.  We wanted to have a big breakfast before hiking. You never know what can happen on the trails, and the last thing I wanted was to feel exhausted in the middle of the forest.  It’s an excuse to go out for brunch and eat at a new diner.  What more could I want? The Nutley Diner is located in the heart of Nutley.

Nutley Diner

Nutley Diner Atmosphere: A
The Nutley Diner is a big, shiny metallic building.  When we arrived on a Sunday morning, it was crowded. It’s probably a bad sign if a diner isn’t crowded on a Sunday morning.  That’s prime diner time.  Every parking spot was taken, and we parallel parked on the street.  Even though the lot was full, we were sat quickly.  I was pleasantly surprised they sat us so promptly at the Nutley Diner.


Nutley Diner Service: A
As I mentioned, I haven’t been to a diner that crowded in a while.  The waitress refilled our beverages, and the food was brought out within 10 minutes.  That is an excellent speed for an empty restaurant, let alone a restaurant where every table is filled.  The Nutley Diner was the fastest service we’ve ever received. The Nutley Diner states they are committed to providing exceptional service 24 hours a day, and they do.

Nutley Diner Coffee: A

I was surprised to see the Nutley Diner brewed local Lacas coffee.  Lacas is local to me in South Jersey and about 80 minutes south of the Nutley Diner.  The coffee was a darker roast and hot. I have no complaints. I like Lacas Coffee and buy it to homebrew at my house too.  One additional thing I like is restaurants that use Nutley Diner logo mugs.  It’s not as common, but I always think it’s a great touch.

Nutley Diner

Nutley Diner Food: A
Like most diners, there were plenty of lunch and dinner options on the Nutley Diner menu.  Since it was breakfast time, I went with a Mediterranean omelet and bagel. While North Jersey bagels are no NYC bagels, they are better than South Jersey bagels.  I’m sorry South Jersey friends, but it’s true.

Nutley Diner

The Mederettean omelet was good. The omelet was baked, and it was massive.  It wasn’t overly greasy, and there was plenty of feta cheese and onions.  I liked it a lot.

Nutley Diner

They added plenty of butter to the bagel. By plenty, I mean it was drenched in butter but to be honest, I didn’t mind.  As a kid, I grew up with butter dripped bagels as a treat.

Nutley Diner

Dessert: B
We ordered a black and white tuxedo cookie to go.  The cookie wasn’t amazing or terrible.  It tasted like a frosted sugar cookie that we split while hiking.

Nutley Diner

Nutley Diner Cost: $$
For my coffee, omelet, cookie, and bagel, the cost was $20. It wasn’t bad considering all of the food I received.

Summary/Would I come back to the Nutley Diner?
I enjoyed the Nutley Diner a lot.  It’s one of my favorite diners in the area, and I’ll be back. The Nutley Diner is a family-owned and operated establishment with food at reasonable prices. I can see the Nutley Diner is committed to exceptional service and high-quality food at reasonable prices.

Atmosphere: A

Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Dessert: C
Cost: $10-20
Overall: A

You can see all the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s the fastest service you’ve gotten? 
What’s your favorite type of bagel? 

XC Championship Race 6k

It didn’t make a public announcement but this weekend was my biggest cross country race of the season.  In fact, it was a 6k versus a 5k but anyways-it was also a lovely 7 hours away.  Good thing I don’t have class on Fridays and didn’t have to miss any of them.

Let me begin with saying, championship style races for cross country are no joke.  They are NEVER flat, and they are never easy.  Girls (like myself) that could run <20 5ks, are normally running 22 minute 5ks on these courses.  I’m not complaining because I enjoy the courses. It was a 6k on tap and my motto is awkward distances always make for a good PR.  (right…I know catchy) 🙂

So it started on Friday morning with a team shakeout run, followed a by a delicious bagel from the baglary.  I am in love with these guys and the fact that it is literally about a 5 minute walk from my house does not make it any easier.   But really smoked salmon + cream cheese+ bagel

Smoked salmon bagel.

Then add a 7 hour drive to New York City. 

Yes, New York State is that big and we were driving from one side to other.  (Don’t worry-I didn’t know either until I went to school up here lolz).

We have a team tradition where we decorate team sports bras for our big championship race.  Since I’m an art major after all, I drew my entire team on the back of my bra.  I also deemed it appropriate to give them all nicknames.  Right on.  My nicknames are pretty creative.  For instance my nickname for one of our girls on our team who has firey red hair was MS Fire  (MS being her initials…)

And onto to the morning.  It was cold.  It was snowing.  The course was frozen over and it was hilly.  All championesc qualities of racing.  We aren’t allowed to wear long sleeves or leggings or anything that ventured away from the uniform.  You could wear hats and gloves but that is about it.  Team uniforms are pretty strict and the weather gets really dicey at this time in the season.   We had really good luck last year with races and really poor luck this year.  Eh toss up.

A great quality photo from my phone...

The race started on an open field.  Decently flat.  Somewhat muddy.  My first mile was a 6:45.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, so I began to make my move.  (Who am I to even use these terms?).

Up and up and up and freaking up we climbed.  This was the steepest part of the course was between mile 1-2.  It was almost straight up uphill.  I wish I could tell you I didn’t enjoy it or it sucked but I run so far on my toes that uphills make me pretty happy.  My second split was a 7:30 when we were climbing the entire time and I passed about 10 girls.

At the top of the hill, almost like the heavens were singing to me…I saw her.

Incase you don’t know, I have a pretty nasty grudge against a girl that spiked me last season.  I also have a pretty nasty scar from it too.  It makes me look intense (or so I tell myself).  I don’t hold many life grudges but when you get spiked which causes you to trip, roll your ankle and bleed profusely, you get up and vow revenge on the girl.  I mean calm down and wait till next season.

You can better believe I pretty much believe I powered through that third mile and left my comfort zone and flew down the down hills.  These aren’t just easy inclines, these are more of-you may or may not trip and fall if you run like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

But I took that risk and I passed her.  My third mile split was 6:59. 

And then just powered through the nearly flat terrain that was the last .75.  My teammates were located around that point cheering like it was their job.  It was really is something else.  I love it.

My final time was 26:39 (which averages to 7:10 pace or so).  With the hills, frozen tundra, not tripping and dying, and blasting by m y grudge worthy opponent-I am happy.  Very happy.  I did exactly what I wanted to do with this race.  I took it out a manageable pace and didn’t let anything bother me.  I kept passing girls instead of dying and taking it out way to fast.

My goal for our championship race in 2 weeks is to break the 7:00 minute pace.  I think I can with another nice taper and a few speed workouts (also a more flat course).

And to end…I still love running. 


Question for you:

  1. Where does your biggest source of motivation come from?

For me it comes from a lot of places, people and things  My family is very supportive, the drive to do better and the fact that I love running.  My teammates are so supportive and great as well.

  1. Are you one to hold grudges?

I don’t have grudges against very many people in life. It’s not really my jive.  I get over things pretty quickly.  I normally get along with 99% of people, but I have a couple people that I just don’t jive with.

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