Urban Griddle (Newark)

Recently I went to the Urban Griddle in Newark. Spoiler, I enjoyed it so much the first time, I’ve been back again.  My good friend Devon and I met up at the Urban Griddle since it’s right off the highway and a good meeting spot between North and South Jersey.

When we arrived around 11 am, it wasn’t too busy.  There were several tables and booths available.  We were sat quickly!

Atmosphere: B
The outside is a typical restaurant building.  It’s not the old, metallic retro style but has a more modern vibe (similar to the Harley Dawn in Hammonton).  I enjoyed how open and well lit the restaurant is too.  It reminds me more of a bistro vibe than diner vibe.

The restaurant sign could use an update, as it looks like it’s been through a few storms, and faded.

Service: A
Between the two of us, we had a lot of questions about menu options and choices, and our waitress was extremely friendly and helpful.  She gave us plenty of menu advice and always refilled our beverages.

Coffee: A
The Urban Griddle has a full coffee bar as well as a standard bar with the ability to make alcoholic drinks as well.

Urban Griddle Newark

Each cup of coffee was brewed perfectly.  It was hot and fresh.  Definitely some of the better coffee I’ve had recently.

Food: A
The Urban Griddle serves local and fresh ingredients.  The menu has several unique diner options including “matcha pancakes” and avocado toast.  It reminds me more of a bistro style menu.  There is a large selection of vegetarian and vegan options too.

As many people know, I am a big grits fan.  Since living in Alabama, I’ve been trying to find good northern grits.  The second time I went, I ordered breakfast which came with a side of grits.  So far in New Jersey, they have been the best I’ve had.  The rest of the breakfast: toast, eggs, and bacon was equally as good.  One of my favorite diner breakfasts to date (but that was mostly because of the grits!).

Urban Griddle Newark

Cost: $
I was actually quite surprised with how inexpensive the food is.  For my entire breakfast, the cost was $10.

Overall thoughts/Summary:
I enjoyed the Urban Griddle, and it’s definitely one of my more favorite diners in the area.  I’ve already been back, so it clearly is one of my favorites!

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

Nearby diners: 
Tops Diner
Tropicana Diner
Mark Twain Diner

Questions for you:
Do you like grits?
What is your favorite breakfast? (no dad, coffee doesn’t count)

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Marvis Diner (Wildwood)

Recently I celebrated my 150th New Jersey diner.  After asking several people where I should go, it all went out of the window because both my husband and I had off of work on the same day.  We had always wanted to go to the Wildwoods, so we settled upon the Marvis Diner.  

Atmosphere: B

The Atmosphere of the Marvis Diner is typical of any beachy New Jersey shore town.  The outside is a rustic, cute, beach looking building while the inside is a large open run with several booths as well as a full-length bar.  There is an outdoor patio as well.  

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Service: A

Right off the bat, I can say the service at Marvis Diner was one of the best I’ve had.  The waitress was outgoing, funny and friendly.  She brought out plenty of drink refills, and our food came out extremely quickly.  In all of the diners I’ve been too, this was in the top 3 best services. 

Coffee: B

There is nothing unique or special about the coffee, but it is good.  The waitress refilled my coffee often.  At first, she brought a small coffee mug but ended up bringing out a large to go cup instead.  How can I argue with that? 

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Food: A

The Marvis Diner has plenty of options.  They have breakfasts as well as a good amount of lunch and dinner options too.  The menu is about 5 pages long which makes it far less overwhelming.  

I decided to go big or go home and ordered the “Jackpot” which came with 2 eggs, 2 sausages, bacon, French toast, pancakes and tater tots.  The waitress highly recommended the tots because how many diners have that? 

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Yes, all of that food and it was massive.  I had run about 5 miles in the morning and finished most of everything (I took about half of the tots home).  Everything was cooked well, and I will say the French toast was one of the best I’ve had in any diner.  

Marvis Diner Wildwoods

Price: $

For my Jackpot special and coffee, the price was $18.  Is that one of the biggest breakfast meals I’ve ever had in my life? Yes.  Was it good and worth the price? Also yes. 

Summary/Overall Thoughts: 

I liked the Marvis Diner, and I would definitely come back.  It’s one of my top five diners in south jersey and definitely in the top in the state.  I highly recommend it.  

Atmosphere: B

Service: A 

Coffee: B

Food: A

Cost: $8-18

Overall: A

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Georges Place

Questions for you: 

Do you like French toast? 

What is the biggest breakfast you’ve had? 

Suburban Diner

Suburban Diner
A few weeks ago I was in North Jersey around lunch. It was the perfect excuse to try another diner. I browsed the internet to see which diners were the closest and decided upon the Suburban Diner.  Anytime you go to a diner for brunch on a weekend, you know it’s going to be crowded. When we arrived, they said it would be about a ten-minute wait. It the 113 diners I’ve been too, I’ve only had to wait twice. Ten minutes ended up being two and we were quickly seated.

suburban diner

Atmosphere: B
The outside of the diner was modern with plenty of parking. It draws your attention in from the main road. The inside is modern and spacious. The diner is centered around the bar. They have a unique mix if high and low tables as well as booths and counter space. However, the walls of the diner were noticeably dirty with smeared food on the wall.

suburban diner

Coffee: A
The coffee was hot, fresh and constantly refilled. It was good, and I have no complaints.

suburban diner

Service: A
Everything about the service was excellent. We were sat quickly after arriving; our orders were taken quickly, and the food came out quickly too.  Unlike the diner last week, the food came out quickly.  This would even be considered fast service for an empty diner but it was more than impressive since every table was being used.

Food: A
Since we arrived around 11, I was still in breakfast mode. The Suburban Diner has breakfast, lunch, and dinner at any time. I decided to order something I haven’t seen at a restaurant before. “The Orginal bowl.” The bowl contained potatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado and I ordered over hard eggs. All of the ingredients were mixed into one giant bowl.  It reminded me of garbage plates in Rochester.  Everything tasted good and I enjoyed the ingredients blended together.  It was a unique but delicious menu item.

suburban diner

Dessert: A
While walking by the dessert case, the red velvet cookie caught my eye. The cookie was dense and huge. I saved it for my hike later in the day.  Honestly, the cookie by itself was great, but it also gave me energy mid-hike.  My only complaint was it did taste like a giant red sugar cookie versus red velvet.  That being said, it was a good cookie and kept my energized during the hike.

suburban diner

suburban diner

Cost: $
For the coffee, eggs, and cookie the cost was $12.  That’s extremely cheap for the amount of food I received.

Summary/would I come back?
I enjoyed the Suburban Diner, and I would definitely go back.  There wasn’t anything I disliked.  It has great food, quick service and presentable.  In fact, it’s in my top 10 diners in the entire state.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: A
Dessert: A
Cost: $12-20
Overall: A

Questions for you:
What’s the fastest service you’ve received?
What is your favorite type of cookie?

James Browns Place

James Browns Place

A Rochester Diner

Rochester, NY

While visiting Rochester last 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 haven’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 the 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 sourdough bread.  It was great! 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 the 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? 

Americana Diner Review

It’s time to kick off my diner review session on LOLZ.  For now I’ll be backtracking with diners I’ve been too and then I can begin to venture to new diners.  Though I imagine having gone to several different diners already in NJ, I’ll take forward steps before finishing. 

—–

I have been to the Americana diner a few different times with a few different people.  I was first introduced when not living in the area.  The Americana diner is located close to the NJ turnpike and 295, so while driving back from the New York City Marathon dad and I stopped at the Americana Diner.

The day after running a marathon pretty much anything tastes really good.  I must admit everytime I’ve gone to the Americana Diner I haven’t had a bad meal.  So it wasn’t just post racing goggles reviewing.

Atmosphere: A

It’s a very high end looking diner.  There are three different rooms to be seated in, the “typical diner scene”, a banquet area and dimly lit bar.  I’ve sat in all three and all three are nice.

Coffee: A+  

My standard comparison is getting coffee and whip cream to put into the coffee.  They provided me with both.  One thing I love about this diner is they provide a pitcher to stay at your table so you never run out.  The coffee is great.  The whip cream is homemade and served in a pitcher.  This diner received the best whip cream award.

whipcreamcoffee

 

I would come back multiple times just for whip cream.
I would come back multiple times just for whip cream.

Food: I’ve had:  A

Brushetta Appetizer

I would order it again.  There are four different peices of bread with four different topics (hummus, grapes, goat cheese and mozzarella).

New York Omelet (with lox)

The omelet and toast was delicious.  They also served a fried tomato (something I haven’t had since living in England).

salmonomelete

Skylark Salad (with salmon)

Without a meat addon I would have found myself hungry.  I would recommend getting some sort of meat.  I do wish the salad came with actual bread.  Otherwise the salad was good.

Mediterranean Salad

This was my favorite of the two salads I’ve had.  The only thing it lacked is a roll.  I love when salads come with bread.

MediterraneanSalad

Carrot cake

Their desserts are a bit confusing and you choose one (for $3).  They bring out an entire tray of different choices and you choose one or several.  They are bite size and perfect for sampling, if I wanted to go big or go home I would get the whole tray.  With spring I’ve been enjoy carrot cake and with the ice cream it was perfect.

Ice cream

The vanilla ice cream was creamy and served in a milkshake glass.  I was actually surprised by the amount (gladly surprised) they gave us.

Price:  $$$$

For the amount of food you receive the price isn’t great.  It’s relatively small portions and as someone who eats a lot more I could use bigger portions.  The food, however, is very high quality and probably the overall best diner food I’ve been to so far.  I would order everything I’ve had again.

Overall impression: A

I would definitely go back.  It’s one of the high end diners that you would bring your parents too or go for a nice dinner or brunch.  Although it’s a little bit expensive for portion size, the food is definitely delicious, well prepared and tasty.

Overall I give it 8 out of 10. 

It’s hard to start with one of your top five favorite diners because then you compare everything else to a very high set bar.  Either way if you are stopping on the turnpike near East Windsor, I would 100% recommend the Americana Diner.

I do recommend they add bread to their salads.  I’ve never had a bad meal and no one I’ve eaten there with has had a bad meal.  On another note they are also the most social media active diner I’ve come across.  I often find myself interacting with them on twitter (which deserves bonus points in my book).

**All thoughts are my own and I payed for my own meals in full.  No compensation was given.

Questions for you:

What is the best whip cream you have ever had? 

Tres Leches Waffle

There was one series of classes in high school that I struggled with.  No it was AP nor honors courses but foreign language.  I was terrible at Spanish and got straight C’s every semester.  I thought since I had passed the courses I would never have to take foreign language in college but that ended up not being the case.  I had to take Spanish in college too and I failed Spanish 103.  I then struggled through it again senior year of college.

So how does Spanish even relate to today’s waffle?

In high school we would have the option to bake something and bring it in for 10 extra credit points on our test.  It was foolish for me to not take that option even though my Spanish might have been a little better then my cooking.  Luckily my mom always helped me make the Tres Leches (3 milk) dessert cake and it was always a hit with my teachers.  I think it was honestly why I got a C and not a D but I didn’t ask questions.

Tres Leches Waffle

Tres leches literally means 3 milk and the cake itself has three different types of milk and is very sweet somewhat similar to the hummingbird cake.  The cake is known for being very moist from adding the topping.

Ingredients (cake):

2/3 cup flour

1 tablespoon oil

¼ cup sweetener

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

 

Glaze:

7 ounces evaporated milk

7 ounces sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup syrup

 

Topping:

1/2 cup heavy cream

¼ cup sweetener

1 tsp vanilla extract

waffle1

Mix the wet ingredients to dry.  Cook in waffle maker.

For the glaze, mix in a separate bowl and pour while still hot.  The glaze should go right through the waffle and keep it very moist.

Finally mix and add the topping which should have more of a frosting appeal.

waffle3

Obviously this is a little more complex then 99.9% of my other waffle and pancake recipes (and also a tad more unhealthy) but what can I say, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do to pass her classes.  By me, I mean my mom really did most of this work back in high school but I helped.

Question for you: What classes have you (or did you) struggle with most in school? 

Tuna Fish Waffle

I posted a very very long time ago about smoked salmon waffles.  They will always be one of my favorite savory waffles.  I’ve also posted about canned crab waffles and it only makes sense for another fishy waffle.

IE: The Tuna fish waffle

tunafishwaffle

Though I won’t deny I probably have more tuna fish then the average person because it’s really all I eat at work..it’s easy, it’s portable and it doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare.  Oh and there is also the fact that I really enjoy tuna fish right now so that could always play a role…

As far as waffle recipes go though this is probably one of the most balanced recipes I have created.  It has carbs from flour, fat from eggs, oil and cheese and protein from the fish.  Random tidbit and yet another reason of why this is good.  This isn’t a waffle that you are like…hmmm should probably only pull it out for impressive cooking purposes.  Well you should because it is pretty “foodie” (in my awkward opinion…moving on).

Tuna Fish Waffle:

2/3 cup flour

1 egg

1 tsp oil

1 can of tuna fish

¼ cup feta cheese

1 can of tuna fish

½ cup water

Seasonings I used: Italian, some sort of seafood medley and a hint of red pepper for a kick.  I add more red pepper then a lot of people so that’s that.

Directions:

Add all wet ingredients: (water, egg, oil)

Then mix in flour and baking powder followed by cheese and about half the can of funa fish.

Cook in waffle maker and top with other half of tuna fish.

And there you have it.  A delicious, nutritious, suspicious (that’s fictious) waffle.

Questions for you:

Do you eat tuna fish?  What is your favorite canned meat?  (that doesn’t sound weird).

Most interesting  food ever had for breakfast?