Cap City Fine Diner (Columbus, OH)

After running the Air Force Half Marathon, my husband and I stopped at the Cap City Fine Diner in Columbus, Ohio.  I had seen they had the best dessert, and that’s all I wanted after my longest race and run. Plus, traveling means a new diner in a different state right?

Atmosphere: A

The Cap City Fine Diner has three locations, and we stopped at the newest in Dublin.  It’s attached at the bottom of high-rises, so it’s not the stereotypical, big metallic diner. However, the inside is shiny, metallic and everything you could want in a diner.

Service: A

The waitress was one of the best we’ve had in a while.  She came to our table, refilled beverages, and was just extremely friendly.  She was in the top 5% of waitresses I’ve ever had the pleasure of having.

Coffee: C

The coffee, however, wasn’t the greatest.  It wasn’t as hot as I hoped (lukewarm coffee isn’t good) and there were grounds in a couple of the refills.  It wasn’t the worst but having grounds in the coffee is a turnoff. (Sorry, no photo)

Food: B

There are plenty of menu options at the Cap City Fine Diner.  The menu isn’t overwhelming, but they have the standard, breakfast, lunch and dinner options plus a few unique ones.

We ordered the smoked salmon spread to split.  It came with salmon spread (almost like a cream cheese), hard bagel chips, a deviled egg, and pickles.  The salmon spread had huge chunks of salmon which I appreciated.

I decided to order the fish and chips, and it was one of the better fish and chips I’ve had lately.  It wasn’t the best, but it was good.  The fish itself was cooked well with a crispy outside.  Personally, I like a lot of crunch without being burnt.  The French fries tasted good, they weren’t overcooked or soggy.

Cap City Fine Diner Columbus Ohio

Dessert: A

I went a crazy and ordered both a milkshake at the beginning of the meal and my husband and I split the carrot cake.

The milkshake was good.  It was thick, and she brought the extra in a mug to continue to refill.  It had a banana, caramel and vanilla ice cream.

My husband wanted to try the carrot cake.  Since he ran a marathon, he got to choose.  While carrot cake is not my first pick, I do like it.  This was one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had.  Cap City Fine Diner Columbus Ohio

The frosting was tangy, and the cake had plenty of real carrots and raisins cooked in.  The cake made me recent carrot cake convert!

Cap City Fine Diner Columbus Ohio

Price: $

For the appetizer, coffee, milkshake, entree, and cake the cost was $34.  Considering the amount of food as well as the quality, of what I ordered, it wasn’t pricey at all.

Overall summary/Would I come Back:

I enjoyed the Cap City Fine Diner.  Next time, I probably wouldn’t order the coffee but other than that I enjoyed it and will probably go back every year I run the Air Force Half.

I haven’t been to any diners closeby, but it does remind me a lot of the Tenafly Diner in Tenafly, NJ.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite type of cake? 

What do you crave after a hard workout or race? 

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Papermoon Diner (Baltimore, Md)

Recently I finally made it to the Papermoon Diner in Baltimore, Md.  Personal friend Sarah (and once blogger), recommended it to me and I’ve been dying to go since.

I knew they had good red velvet cake, so I was already excited about that.

Atmosphere: A
The Papermoon Diner is one of the quirkiest and unique diners I’ve ever been too.  It looks like something right out of a movie.

Papermoon diner baltimore

The outside is filled with unique items ranging from a bike in a tree or garden gnomes.  It’s not a traditional big metal diner, but it definitely stands out.

The inside looks like it’s right out of the movies.  There are random mannequins, army men and dozens of odds and ends dangling from the wall.

The atmosphere is definitely one of the best and most unique of any diner I’ve been too.

Service: A
The waitress was extremely friendly and refilled everything as needed.  I couldn’t ask for a better experience.  Our food was brought out quickly and overall it was a positive experience.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed fresh, and the whipped cream was homemade.  It’s hard to top that except they used personalized coffee mugs.  It can’t get any better than that.  It was definitely one of the best diner coffees I have had in a while. Papermoon diner baltimore

Food: A
I was hungry when I arrived, so I ordered the hummus appetizer.  I’ve been enjoying hummus lately. It came with the largest portion of hummus I’ve received as well.  Also included were onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and a unique olive dip.  Everything tasted great and I would order it again. Papermoon diner baltimore

For my entree, I decided to order off the specials.  I had never heard of a lamb hash at a diner, so I decided to order that.  The lamb hash came with two eggs over easy, lamb and hash browns.  The meal itself was delicious! I could have used some bread, but other then that I have no complaints.Papermoon diner baltimore

Dessert: A
I knew the dessert at Papermoon was delicious so I planned to order red velvet cake.  I am so glad I did!  When I say this was in the top 5 cakes I’ve had, it was.  There was a lot of frosting, the cake itself was dense, and there was plenty of ice cream.  It’s definitely one of the best diner cakes I’ve had except Mastoris and the Jefferson Diner.Papermoon diner baltimore

Cost: $$
For my appetizer, entree, coffee, and dessert that cost was $33.  Definitely more pricey but the quality of food was high and I have no complaints.

Overall/Would I come back?
The Papermoon Diner is one of my favorite diners to date.  I don’t have any complaints, and every part was perfect.  It’s such a quirky and unique diner that I would recommend it to anyone!  In fact, I’m looking at races in the Baltimore area just so I can go back.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: A
Dessert: A
Cost: $15-25
Overall: A

Questions for you:
What’s the best cake you’ve had?
Do you like lamb?

Landmark Diner (Charlotte, NC)

While traveling through Charlotte, my husband and I chose to stop at the Landmark Diner. It’s been on a Diners, Drive Ins and Dives so we figured it must be good. We got there around 7 pm, and the hostess told us there was a 25-minute wait. We were surprised but thought it must be good.

As we were waiting, the hostess rudely told multiple customers they needed to wait outside. Then she couldn’t remember or find the people she was looking for. For the 25 minutes we waited, we noticed multiple tables that weren’t being used and were perfectly clean. Needless to say, we started off on the wrong foot.

Atmosphere: C
The atmosphere of the Landmark Diner is outdated. They could use a makeover.

The outside has plenty of lighting and is easily spotted from the highway.

Service: F
I will preface this by saying our waitress was extremely friendly. She clearly had too many tables, but she took great care of us.

I can’t overlook how rude the hostess was. She threw our menus on the table, told guests they needed to wait outside and couldn’t care any less. Unforatetely, the hostess, is the first person we saw, and we watched her for close to half an hour.

The food in the kitchen also took almost an hour to come out. We saw multiple larger parties receive their food much quicker. By the time we received our food, we had been in the Landmark Diner for nearly 90 minutes.  With the exception of our actual waitress, it was by far one of the worst experiences I’ve had while dining out.

Coffee: A
The coffee at the Landmark Diner was good. There was nothing unusual about it, but it was often refilled and always warm.  It took a while to come out, but once it arrived, it was good.

Landmark diner charlotte

Food: C
After waiting about an hour for our food, I had no idea what to expect. The Landmark Diner has every stereotypical diner option you could imagine. I wanted to order the roasted leg of lamb, but they were out. I decided to go with their land and sea special. It came with 10 ounces of steak and shrimp.

The steak was good for a diner and seasoned well. Sometimes diner steak can be hit and miss.  The side of shrimp side was just as good. It was well seasoned with just a touch of old bay seasoning.

Landmark diner charlotte

The sides, however, were dry and stale. The sweet potatoes were doused in butter, and the French fries and onion rings were cold. Landmark diner charlotte

I liked the main entree but left the fries.

Dessert: B
While waiting to be seated, we had stared at the dessert for 30 minutes beforehand, and I knew I wanted the red velvet cake. We ordered the red velvet cake with vanilla ice cream. Like the mean, the main component (red velvet cake) was delicious. There was plenty of frosting, and the cake itself was moist. The ice cream, however, had freezer burn.

Landmark diner charlotte

Price: $$
For the coffee, meal, cake and ice cream the cost was $28.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?
The food was decent but I was so turned off by the hostess attitude as well as the lengthy wait, I probably won’t be back.

Summary:
Atmosphere: C
Service: F
Coffee: C
Food: C
Dessert: B
Price: $15-25
Overall: C

Questions for you:
Have you ever had a rude hostess or be asked to wait outside?
What’s the longest you’ve waited at a restaurant?

Sherban’s Diner

Last week, the owner of New Jersey and I met up at the Sherban Diner in South Plainfield.  We’ve both been to most of the diners in Somerset and Middlesex Counties, so Sherban’s was one of the few we haven’t been too.

We met up around 6 pm on a weekday. There were only a few people in the restaurant.

Her website, New Jersey Isn’t Boring, has opened my eyes to so many different things the state has to offer.  If you ever venture off of the turnpike, I highly suggest you check out her website.

Atmosphere: B
Sherban’s Diner has an older atmosphere too it.  Not in the traditional old dining car way but it is in an older building with an older design to it.  It was clean, and there was nothing bad about it, but it could use a remodel.  It reminded me of a casual “mom and pop” restaurant.

Sherban's Diner

Service: C
When we arrived at Sherban’s, there were only three other parties in the restaurant.  After waiting several minutes for a waitress to come over, a waitress asked if anyone had helped us.  We said no, and she said she guessed she would do it.  She didn’t come around often, and I felt as if I was begging for drink refills.  She also never asked if we wanted dessert and assumed we did not. It took another 10 minutes for dessert.

Coffee: B
There was nothing unique about the coffee flavor.  I did like the cute tea mugs they used.

Sherban's Diner

Food: C
When I arrived at Sherban’s Diner, I wasn’t that hungry.  They had several options.  I knew the “cucumber salad” was one of their signature dishes, so I ordered it, and honestly, there was nothing interesting about it.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t unique or interesting.

Sherbans Diner Cucumber salad

I also ordered the “famous” Greek Salad with chicken.  The salad didn’t come with anything unusual. I don’t know why the menu states it is as: famous.  It was one of the most boring salads I’ve had.  Plus, they didn’t give any pita bread with the salad.  It might be the first Greek salad without pita I’ve had. Sherban's Diner

I ordered the Greek bread as a side which was honestly my favorite part of the meal.  Sherban's Diner

Dessert: C
I ordered the Coconut cake as a dessert to go.  The actual cake was dry, but the whipped cream frosting was good.  The shredded coconut was overpowering.  The cake was decent but once again, it wasn’t that unusual.

Sherban's Diner

Sherban's Diner

Price: $$$
For my cucumber salad, Greek salad, bread, cake, and coffee the cost was $25.  Honestly, it wasn’t worth the price at all.  Something I found entertaining, is they charged 25 cents for a to go box.  Sherbans diner recipt

I’ve never been charged for a to go box before.  Was the price worth the meal? No.

Summary/Would I come back?
Sherbans Diner wasn’t anything to write home about. It wasn’t terrible, and everything was edible. However, it isn’t somewhere I would go out of my way to go too.  In fact, personally, I probably won’t be back.  You have to take the good with the bad, though.

I had a great time catching up which was the important part to begin with…You can see Cyd’s review here.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Service: C
Food: C
Dessert: C

Overall:C
Questions for you:
Have you ever been charged for a to go box? 
Do you like coconut cake?

A Look at 100 Diners

Last week marked my 100th New Jersey Diner Review.  While I’ve been to diners in other states, New Jersey is the birthplace of the famous diners.  When I first moved to the Garden State, my goal became to go every diner before we moved.  Maybe I was bored or maybe it seemed like a good excuse not to cook.  Whatever the reason, over two years have passed and I’ve made it to 100 diners.

Maybe I was bored or maybe it seemed like a good excuse not to cook.  Whatever the reason, over two years have passed and I’ve made it to 100 diners.
With that, I decided to create the updated “Diner Paper Plate Awards.”

All Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris

Mastoris isn’t a typical diner.  It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake.

Least Favorite Diner: Garden State Diner, Ponzios or Stafford

Both diners had long waits as well as the food was a letdown.  Ponzios served me a salad with still frozen fish and canned pears.

Diner gone to the most times: Vincentown

I used to live closer to Vincentown.  Sadly, the quality of the food and service has gone down hill, so I haven’t been much at all.  I went from going three times a month to none.

Best cake: Mastoris (I wanted them to make my wedding cake, but they wouldn’t deliver).

Mastoris Cake
But which cake to get?

Top 5 Diners: 

Mastoris

Jefferson Diner

State Line Diner

Chit Chat Diner

Mustache Bills

Healthiest Diner: 

Silver Diner (it’s a chain, and there are a few across the east coast)

Best Coffee: Mastoris

Worst Coffee: Princetonian: they charge for refills!

Biggest portions: Tropicana: For $24, I received all of this food.  I had run 15 miles and still made a full meal out of leftovers.

tropicana diner

 

Best value: Elmer Diner (cinnamon roll)

Elmer Diner
The gem of the day

At the Elmer Diner: A Coffee, cinnamon bun, eggs, toast, and hashbrowns was $8.00.  You can’t beat that!

Most expensive: Vincentown: They charge 75 cents extra per coffee with whipped cream.  I’ve ordered a salad with salmon which costs $20+.  Every meal is going to be at least $18.

Best Decor: 

Chit Chat Diner: I love the black and white retro theme.

Tropicana Diner: It felt like a blast from the Carribean. 

Tropicana diner

So where does my diner journey go next?

For those who don’t know, there are over 300+ diners in New Jersey.  It has taken me over two years to get to 100.  I’ll continue working my way through the state.  As you can see, I’ve been to a lot of the South Jersey Diners.  Instead of being able to drive 5 minutes and try a new diner, I now have to drive 45+ minutes so the next year will be more challenging.

With that, I move to Chapter 2 of the Diner book and numbers 101-200.  Which diners should I go to next? 

Questions for you:
Have you been to any NJ diners? 
What is your all time favorite diner?

Weekly Happenings

As I mentioned, Tuesday was my husband and I’s anniversary.  We were lucky he was home and able to spend it together.

We went to a local seafood and steak restaurant called Giumarellos.  It was good food, but it wasn’t my favorite restaurant.  We’ve been to better, but we’ve also been to worse. It wasn’t about the food but celebrating our relationship.  Many people asked if we were going to celebrate at a diner…if only the first year “anniversary gift” was sugar.

Tim and I

Afterwards, we came home to enjoy our year old wedding cake.  To be honest, I have been looking forward to having our wedding cake since we got married last year.

blue velvet wedding cake

blue velvet wedding cake 1

We chose a “blue velvet cake”.  Red velvet cake is my favorite type of cake, but our wedding color was blue, so we had it dyed.  Honestly, it tasted delicious and I liked it as much the second time around.  I ate most, if not all, of the frosting that night.

From our wedding...
From our wedding…

Other than celebrating our anniversary last week, we haven’t been up to a whole heck of a lot.  I have a rare weekend off, and we will be continuing the celebrations.  It’s rare that both of us have the weekend off together.

Hopefully, everyone has a great weekend.  It’s finally supposed to be great weather, so I’m looking forward to that.  Finally, good luck to everyone running Boston on Monday.  It looks like good weather!

Posts from the week:
One Year of Marriage
How to Run with a Significant Other
29 Half Marathons Later

Questions for you:
Married Couples: How did you celebrate your first anniversary?
What is your favorite cake? 

Vincentown Diner (Revisited)

The Vincentown Diner was one of the very first diners; I  went to when we moved to the state.  It was also one of the first I reviewed.  Now nearly 2 years and 85 diners later, I decided to review it once more.  I’ve been to the Vincentown Diner over 30 times and tried many food menu items.  In the past few years, I’ve gotten to remember some of the staff and hosts.

Atmosphere: B
The atmosphere of Vincentown is modern and upscale.  It has more of a restaurant vibe than a diner.  It’s clean and polished.  The restaurant consists of a bar, multiple booths and a dimly lit second room which I assume is for larger parties.

Service: D
There are a couple of issues with the Vincentown Diner.  One is with service.  The servers always seem rude, standoffish or belittling.  If it was a one-time case, it wouldn’t be a big deal but I’ve been over 30 times and have found several occasions to be this way.  Last time, the waitresses were standing awkwardly behind us gossiping about who was dating who.

Coffee: B
The coffee is always piping hot because they use an expresso machine.  I like the coffee a lot, and it comes in a fairly large cup.  Interestingly enough, the Vincentown a Diner charges 75 cents for adding whipped cream.  It’s the only diner I’ve come across that does this.  The funny thing, the whipped cream they use is the off brand in a canister.  I’m pretty sure two refills pays for their entire can.  It’s an extra expense but they bring out an off brand canister and add it.

Vincentown coffee

Food: A
The big positive is, I’ve never had a bad meal at Vincentown.  The food is fresh and local, and I can appreciate that. Their menu is smaller than most diners and also features a seasonal menu.  Some of my favorite items have been on the seasonal menu.  While the food is good, the portions are normally smaller.

The last item I tried was the bacon wrapped tenderloin.  It came over mashed potatoes with corn and black beans.  It was really good, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I’ve had most things on their menu from salads, to pancakes, to eggs and their dinners.  My favorite tend to be the dinners and their seasonal specials.

Vincentown Sausage

Dessert: B
Similar to the menu, the Vincentown Diner is constantly changing their dessert menu.  This can be a problem, however, because many of my favorite desserts are only served for a month out of the year.  My favorite dessert is the red velvet cake.  The Vincentown red velvet cake has a hint of raspberry which makes it make unique from any red velvet cake I’ve had.

Vincentown Red Velvet cake

Cost: $$$
This is the most expensive diner I’ve been too thus far.  The food is local and fresh, but I do believe it’s overpriced.  Most menu items cost upwards of $20.  Most times I go to Vincentown, it costs upward of $30.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?
I’ve been back several times, but I do wish their employees were more polite.  I do believe if their cost wasn’t so steep and the employees were more friendly, they might have won the best diner in NJ because the food is very good.  I don’t go nearly as often anymore (possibly once a month month) because of the lack of employee friendliness.

Atmosphere: B
Service: D
Coffee: B
Food: A
Dessert: B
Cost: $20+
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Has the employee friendliness ever stopped you from going to a restaurant?