Recently I went to the River Star Diner in Hackettstown, NJ. Before going it 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.
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 a normal small town diner but it’s great you can look outside.
When we arrived, the parking lot was full, however, there was plenty of seating available. I definitely think they could use a bigger parking lot. Even when every parking spot in a diner is filled, there always seems to be room.
The coffee was good, but it was nothing unusual or unique. I don’t have any complaints or anything unique or interesting about it.
Despite the diner being relatively crowded, our waitress was great. Our food was brought out quickly, and we had plenty of refills and food.
Food: B The River Star Diner has a huge menu and nothing is left out. There are about 10 pages of menu.
I ordered the scrambled eggs, bacon, french toast, and a side bagel. It’s a pretty standard; home cooked diner meal.
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.
For my meal and coffee, the cost was $12. It was definitely one of my cheaper diner meals.
Summary/Would I Come Back?
I enjoyed the River Star Diner, and the view was unique and fun. If you can, request to sit by the window! I don’t have any complaints and it’s one of the better diners I’ve been too.
Questions for you: Which restaurant you’ve been too has the best view? Where are your favorite bagels from?
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 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 quickly.
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 great 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.
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 logo mugs. It’s not as common but I always think it’s a great touch.
Like most diners, there were plenty of options. Since it was breakfast time, I went with a Mederrenean omelette 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.
The Mederettean omelet was good. The omelet was baked, and it was large. It wasn’t overly greasy and the there was plenty of feta cheese and onions. I liked it a lot.
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.
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.
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?
I enjoyed the Nutley Diner a lot. It’s one of my favorite diners in the area, and I’ll be back.
Service: A Coffee: A Food: A dessert: C Cost: $10-20 Overall: A
Questions for you: What’s the fastest service you’ve gotten? What’s your favorite type of bagel?
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.
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.
The coffee was hot, fresh and constantly refilled. It was good, and I have no complaints.
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.
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.
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.
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?
After the Belmar Chase last month, we decided to head to the Blue Swan Diner. I realized I had never entered Ocean Township until going there. We arrived around 11:30 on a Saturday and it actually wasn’t that busy. We immediately found a seat. That was a nice surprise because I assumed Saturday at brunch might be crowded.
The diner is cute. They have their swan emblem on everything. It looks modern, clean and nice. There is a big salad bar in the center as well as a bakery in the back. I haven’t been to a diner with an all you can eat salad bar so it was a unique addition. It was cute and I can appreciate a diner that runs with their theme.
The waitress was not the greatest. She forgot our drink orders and only came back once o bring us the food. She seemed upset that she was at work and gave off a sour vibe. I felt as if we were annoying her by dining at the Blue Swan.
The coffee was okay but not great. There was nothing unique about it, in fact I forgot to take a photo until later. Luckily I received one refill for the entire meal so I could double back and take a photo. The coffee wasn’t good or bad but I do wish I received more than one refill.
The food at Blue Swan saved them from a negative experience. Everything looked fresh and it was delicious. They had everything from breakfast staples to lunch and dinner. The Blue Swan Diner has all of your modern diner staples.
After the race, the eggs, sausage, hash brown and toast special sounded good to me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had breakfast sausage. It was really good. I have been in an “over hard” egg mood lately. The only thing that could have made it better would have been marbled rye toast. The food was great and I have no complaints.
For the coffee and meal it was $13. Something I found interesting was the restaurant charged an extra dollar for each coffee with whipped cream. I’ve never come across that before but it makes sense.
Overall thoughts/Would I come back:
I’m disappointed with the service of the restaurant but the food was good. I would probably come back in hopes the waitress was having a better day.
Summary: Atmosphere: A Service: D Coffee: B Food: A Overall: B
Questions for you: What do you crave after races? How many drink refills do you normally have?
For me normally 3 coffee refills but one million water refills.
A diner/restaurant I had been dying to go for a while was Amy’s Omelet house. I have seen signs and read reviews since moving to New Jersey. Now that we live 2 miles away, it made complete sense to finally get there. I don’t know why it had been on the back burner for so long because after going it quickly became one of my new favorite restaurants!
Amy’s omelet house is very well decorated. The walls are brightly decorated with a nautical theme (from down the shore). It’s very open and clean.
The staff was extremely friendly. While I think the waitress might have forgotten our table a few times, I have no real complaints. We got there on a weekday night and there were only two other parties in the restaurant. It was nice because it was peaceful and quiet.
To be honest, for a diner Amy’s omelet house doesn’t have the best coffee. I was surprised! I was given two refills and looked at like I was nuts when I asked for a refill. It wasn’t terrible coffee but it wasn’t great either. I was left somewhat disappointed. Luckily it was the only item in the restaurant I thought was sub par.
They have over 200 different omelet combinations as well as pancakes, dinner entrees and salads! Obviously the main staple for them is omelets. It took me over 15 minutes to figure out which omelet I wanted. Tim literally closed his eyes and pointed to one to make a decision but I looked over each and every combination. Did I want a lox omelet, crab, lobster or asparagus? So many choices.
I ordered the Nova Lox omelet (smoked salmon, cheese, onions and scallions). It came with a side of toast and I ordered a fresh fruit cup. This was truly one of the best omelets I have had. It was filling and perfect. I am extremely happy with my decision and it was honestly the best omelet I have had in a while.
Something that also impressed me was the fresh fruit cup. It came with actual fresh fruit (blackberries, blueberries, fresh pinapple). It was clear the restaurant was not using canned products for their fresh fruit.
We ordered a vanilla milkshake as well. I thought the milkshake was good. I really enjoyed how sweet the vanilla ice cream was. It wasn’t the best milkshake I’ve ever had but it was still good. My favorite part was it came in a Texas boot…it made me miss Texas (but not really).
I ordered the smoked salmon omelet (obviously salmon is more expensive) and subbed in the fresh fruit cup and coffee and milkshake. My meal was about 18 and Tim’s was 12. It’s certainly not cheap diner fare but it was worth it. Together we were about 30 dollars. I think I have the magic ability to order the most expensive things at restaurants every time…
Overall thoughts: A-
Would I come back?
Yes, Amy’s Omelet house has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants. I will be back very soon and very often. I absolutely recommend it. If you go, let me know and we can go together.
Questions for you:
What is your favorite kind of omelet?
Do you tend to order the most expensive thing on the menu or is that a problem only I have?
A lot of people question how I eat enough to withstand 100 mile weeks. It couldn’t be possible to ever gain weight while running 100 mile weeks and you couldn’t possibly eat enough to withstand that activity…ect.
First and foremost, I only ran 100 mile week. I didn’t run 52 but rather just 1. That was my peak week and most of my other weeks were between 60-80. Most not all. As much as I want to credit myself to running multiple 100 mile weeks, I know I would just get injured running several in a row. (or more then 1).
I’ve rambled about this a few times but blogging nutrition and real life nutrition is not the same thing. I feel bad for certified dieticians and nutritionists that also blog. They get mixed in with other bloggers whose research involves personal research and study which is not the same as being certified. Point blank: it’s not. I’ve taken plenty of nutrition classes but don’t know nearly enough as someone who has studied and has their undergraduate, masters, or even PhD. I can tell you what has worked for me but that is no way telling what will work for you or that is right or wrong.
The majority of healthy living blogs focus on getting enough vegetables, fiber and more vegetables into their diet. If I ate half the amount of vegetables that some people do, I would be able to run 1 mile…maybe 2 with deciding it was time to go home.
When you run high mileage and exercise you must learn that you have to eat a lot of foods that aren’t high in fiber. You must eat food that is still healthy but you can’t eat 3000 calories worth of broccoli. You also can’t eat 3000 calories worth of ice cream. Both will result in you not feeling great for a run.
A typical day for me looks something like this right now:
Breakfast: 400-500 calories
Coffee+cream (100-200 calories…my vice).
Some of my breakfast choices lately have been: Bagel and peanut butter, egg sandwich, eggs and toast, waffle with Greek yogurt or peanut butter.
A standard waffle with peanut butter and yogurt has been my go to before races right now and I think I’ll stay to that before the marathon (as well as a bagel with peanut butter while waiting around beforehand). My standard race day nutrition used to be a bagel with peanut butter and yogurt but I had stomach cramps a few races back and it was enough to change my mind.
Lunch (within an hour of running) 500-800 calories
I’ve been having a lot egg sandwiches lately. Eggs, avocado and cheddar cheese on a bagel. I really just have whatever is in the fridge. It could be a sandwich, soup or salad. I don’t have a standard post run meal or lunch. I normally just like to eat what is in the fridge.
Sometimes I’ll go to the gym in between, sometimes I won’t. (now that I’m tapering, I don’t).
Snack: 200-300 calories
I normally have a snack sometime in the middle of the day. I’ve been enjoying apples and peanut butter lately but that is only because apples have been so cheap at stores. I also have left overs if they are in the fridge.
As if anything else is planned, my dinner is the least planned and changes daily. I am such a meat and potatoes kind of person. I’ll have a serving of meat (steak and fish being my favorite), some sort of vegetables (cooked kale, brussel sprouts and spaghetti squash are my current favorites) and some sort of grain. I’ve been better about eating a carbohydrate such as bread or race. I’m actually not a big pasta fan (I don’t like the consistency) so I tend to eat more rice and bread.
I normally like to make a smoothie at night with a cup of milk and protein powder. I have a big sweet tooth so often times I’ll just have ice cream. I don’t really schedule a treat at night but if I’m craving something I’ll have something. Whatever I’m craving I generally have at night. I go to bed around 9-10 personally.
I know this is very vague but it’s how I eat. I don’t worry or stress about food or getting my vegetables daily. As much as I say I want to meal plan, I don’t. If I eat too many vegetables then I don’t feel good running. I don’t know how people eat so many vegetables (honestly). I do strive to get vegetables but not overboard. I try and get enough protein, carbohydrates and fat but I don’t track it and it doesn’t ruin my day. I found the less I stress about food the easier it is. I’ve never had a problem getting enough food and have never lost weight during a training cycle.
I will say I’m hoping to do a carbohydrate deplete and then carb load during my final week of taper.
Questions for you:
What does a typical day for you look like?
Do you plan your food weekly or eat when you are hungry?
Happy Friday the 13th. I actually graduated high school on Friday the 13th and I think I turned out well. I was born Thursday, July 12th and my superstitious father did not want a Friday the 13th baby.
This was easily the hardest day of travel. I had nothing to look forward to except sitting in a car in solitude for an entire day. The rest of the drive was starting to take its toll on me. It reminded me of the third lap of a mile race…you just want it to be over.
After waking up and running on the Auburn Campus, dad and I headed down for breakfast. The eggs in Alabama were more of cheddar cheese with a side of eggs. It was 5 parts cheddar, 2 parts ham and 1 part egg. It was also delicious.
The coffee was hard to come by in Alabama and the first gas station (at 8:30 am) did not have any. I knew this might be the start of an exhausting day. The gas station did have a wide selection of beer ready to be purchased though.
After getting coffee around 11 we continued on the drive. We weren’t making awful time but we weren’t making that great of time either. Around 1pm, we found ourselves starving so we got off the high way. only to find there are no restaurants on the side of the road. By this point I was hot, tired, thirsty and hungry. Those four combined probably made me the most miserable person to be around and it may be good I was in the car by myself. We finally just stopped at some bbq joint because the parking lot was really crowded. (It must be good if it’s crowded right?)
We got back on the road around 2 and continued our driving. I don’t remember if I had mentioned that a few days before we left we determined my AC in the car does not work properly. It just blows around hot air. This meant the entire drive I was roasting in my car.
So that made day 3 pretty miserable since the deep south is hot.
Insert about 5 hours of hot, mindless driving miles.
Around dinner time we were just going by Baton Rouge. Perfect dad and I thought. There would be plenty of places to stop and eat and we wouldn’t be struggling to find somewhere. Then when I led the way I put us in the wrong lane. We ended up going over the Mississippi river and past Baton Rouge.
If you have ever crossed the Mississippi then you know the next exit is 20 miles away because you go over a Bayou with alligators and god knows what else down there. Similar to our lunch experience I spent the next 20 minutes being annoyed at myself. We finally stopped at the first exit and located a nice Cracker Barrel. Dad casually mentioned: Oh did you see those 10 foot alligators on the side of the road?
By that point we decided to drive another 30 minutes and stay in Jennings. We had thought we might get to Texas that night but neither of us wanted to prolong the day 3 drive from hell. Thank goodness for foursquare which was able to map me to a hotel.
So with that dad and I went to bed right when we got to the hotel so we could get to bed and start a new day.
Day 4: Jennings to San Antonio, Texas
Jennings was no different and we woke up with another morning run. I have complained about heat and humidity but Louisiana really takes the cake. Props to any runners that run the summer throughout that state and I don’t think I’ve ever sweat that much in my life.
After the longest and coldest shower of my life, dad and I headed down to breakfast. The eggs at this hotel were cheesy scrambled eggs with ham. As I went back up for seconds I noticed the lady adding something to the eggs. She was literally adding sticks of butter. She stopped me and said “Hold on honey I am going to make this taste better than any hotel breakfast you have ever had”. I told her they already tasted better then Upstate NY eggs and that prompted her to tell me about her family living in New York City. After about 15 minutes of conversation and a new best friend I ate some buttered eggs which too her credit were the best eggs of the journey.
After breakfast, taming my afro and stopping at a gas station and casino trucker combo we headed off for San Antonio. It wasn’t more then 90 minutes that we finally reached Texas.
My final destination!
Just kidding, I still had 400 miles but we were in Texas. When they say everything is bigger in Texas…they aren’t lying.
After begging dad to take some photos of these life moments, he said “don’t you want that bear…your instagram friends won’t know you made it without him.” Good play dad.
Since I was riding my “I’m in Texas high,” the next couple of hours went by rather quickly and I found myself ready for lunch around noon. Dad and I stopped at Which Which in Dallas, which (ha) is the coolest sandwich place I’ve ever been. I recommend it.
After lunch we got on the open roads towards San Antonio and the speed limit went up to 70. I noticed a policeman sitting on the side of the road and as soon as I drove by I said “Aw shoot”. For some odd reason I had a sneaking suspicion he was radaring (which he was). How am I going to explain this one? Sir, I was following that uhaul and we were going the speed limit. I wasn’t tailgating, texting or anything. I was rapping Nicki Minaj though.
About a minute after I pass him I see his lights go off and him speeding up. My heart literally plummeted. Then out of great relief (to me at least) he went over to left lane and pulled the guy next to me over. I have never been more relieved in my life. I don’t exactly have the best driving record and don’t need another ticket. After taking a minute to calm down, I realized dad and I were only going 65 so I don’t know why I was worried to begin with.
The next couple hours went by without any sort of excitement. We stopped at a rest area with nature trails (apparently “jogging trails” are common at rest stops in Texas). Dad and I mused for a while and continued to San Antonio.
Upon arriving (and getting lost for a while) we made it to the hotel. The only good luck I seemed to have on this trip was that Tim was flying through San Antonio and was able to meet us. It was extremely lucky that his flight led him through there. He even ended up staying (all coincidence) in the same hotel as us. It was the most random, weird but obviously good occurrence of the trip.
He really wanted to take as many photos with me as possible to update his facebook. After relaxing for the evening and getting food for the half marathon we headed to bed. Not before getting “14 karot cake” for dessert because my best races come from eating a massive amount of sugar prior.
You can read about the half marathon here. Cliff notes version: hottest most humid race of my life but still fun.
Questions for you:
Do you have a good driving record?
No and I hate driving. (I can’t even beat around the bush with that one)
Favorite way to eat eggs?
Besides the sticks of butter I do enjoy omelets. I really like eggs in general so there isn’t a way (I don’t think) that I don’t like them.