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?

Time to Eat Diner

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and I met at the Time to Eat Diner.  The Time to Eat Diner has been on my to-do list for a while.  I’ve heard it’s good plus who can argue with that name?  Out of all of the names, “Time to Eat” is in the top.

When in doubt, I will close my eyes. But don't worry, Chelsea looks great
When in doubt, I will close my eyes. But don’t worry, Caitlin looks great

Atmosphere: A
The Time to Eat Diner is located in Bridgewater, NJ after a semi-confusing roundabout.  It’s modern, clean and has been plenty of parking.

The inside is spacious with plenty of seating. You walk in next to a large bakery case. It’s clean as well which surprisingly has been an issue lately.  We were lucky to sit in a booth towards the front.

Coffee: A 
The coffee was great and had plenty of whipped cream.  The only thing missing was more coffee.

Time to Eat Diner

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, and the food was brought out quickly.  It might have been the fastest I’ve ever received food.

Food: B
It was exceptionally hot that day, and I was craving something cold.  I had only run half an hour but I sweat so much, and I didn’t want any hot food.  I ordered a Mediterranean salad.

Originally I wanted salmon, but they informed me they couldn’t do that, and so I stuck with the chicken.  When the salad came out, I was confused about whether it was chicken or salmon.  Both Caitlin and I stared at the chicken trying to figure it out: was it chicken?  Was it fish?

It was the fishiest looking chicken I’ve ever seen.  That being said the salad was filling, and there was plenty of chicken. When I ate it, it tasted normal, and I have no complaints.  I wish there were more mixed greens, but the salad was good.

Time to Eat Diner

Cost: $$
For my salad and coffee, the cost was $15. It was more expensive for the amount of food, but it was a good meal.

Summary/Would I come back?

I liked the Time to Eat Diner.  The meal was good, and there were plenty options.  It wasn’t the best diner, but it wasn’t the worst either.  It as odd they couldn’t add salmon, but that’s how it goes.

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

Overall: A

Question for you: What’s the restaurant with the coolest name you’ve been too?

The Six Brothers Diner

About two months ago I drove by The Six Brothers Diner in Little Falls, NJ.  When I drove by, I thought it was a fancy restaurant, but quickly realized it was a diner.  I moved it to my to-do list, but since I have about 100 diners on the immediate list, that doesn’t mean a lot.  Plus the Six Brothers Diner is about 90 minutes from my house.  I don’t mind driving around the state, but I generally save those diners for when I’m already up North.

Six Brothers Diner
Incase there was any question, they are open

In this case, my husband and I were hiking at Hemlock Falls, and since we were close by, we opted to finally try the Six Brothers Diner.

Atmosphere: A 
The Six Brothers Diner is huge. It looks like it could easily sit 500 people and host a banquet.  It’s got large windows, and it’s open and spacious.  The inside has multiple rooms, a bar, and a dessert case.  The inside is one of my favorite modern diners because there is so much room.  I don’t feel like I’m violating anyone’s personal space.

Service: C
Six Brothers Diner wasn’t crowded. However, our waitress was barely at our table.  When we asked for drink refills, it felt as if we were bothering her.  Maybe she was doing something in the back, but there were about 15 other people in the entire restaurant and she never appeared to be busy.  Appearances are deceiving, though.

Coffee: C
The coffee wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t bad either. It was simply average. I wish the cup was larger, or I had more refills, but it wasn’t bad. I have nothing interesting to write about it.  The table backdrop is unique.

Six Brothers Diner

Food: A
After a less than stellar, start to our meal the Six Brothers Diner shines at food.  The menu is huge and has plenty of different options. They have all day breakfast, multiple burgers and an entire page dedicated to salads.  Recently I’ve gone to a few diners that do have all day breakfast.  Isn’t that a traditional diner staple?

After six miles of hiking, I was starving and ordered: “The Brooklyn Burger” with sweet potato fries. It was a cheeseburger with an entire layer of mozzarella cheese.  The burger was cooked perfectly.  I enjoyed the crunchiness of the sweet potato fries as well.  I’ve never had a mozzarella cheeseburger before, but it was good.  The sweet potato fries were good.

Six Brothers Diner

Cost: $
For the burger and coffee, the cost was $15 which wasn’t inexpensive, but it also wasn’t expensive either.

Summary/Would I come back? 
The Six Brothers Diner was good.  The quality of food was high too, and if I were in the area again, I would come back.  Based on the service when it was empty, I would try and come on quiet days, or you might be there for hours.

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

Questions for you: 
What is your favorite type of French fry?
Have you ever been to a restaurant with its own wine cellar? 

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?

Kane’s Diner (Queens, NY)

I love my NJ diners, but I’ve been traveling and tried a few diners along the way.  So when on the road, it’s important to see what diners other states have to offer right?

Recently I went to Kane’s Diner in Queens.  To be honest, we walked by and saw it had the word “diner” and “original pancakes” and decided we were hungry.  I can’t be the only person that has done that right?

Image via Google maps
Image via Google maps

Atmosphere: A 

Kane’s Diner is different from New Jersey Diners.  New York is much more crowded and busy than down in southern New Jersey.  The diner reflects that.  Kane’s Diner tastefully fit as much in one building as possible.  I didn’t feel as if I was sitting on top of other parties but it was jam packed.  I’ve been to bigger restaurants where I felt as if I was sitting too close to other people.  Even though it’s a small space, the layout of the restaurant allows for some breathing room.

Kane's Diner

Coffee: A 
The coffee was extremely strong.  It tasted like diesel fuel but a good diesel fuel.  I guess that’s why people in NY live so fast paced.  (kidding of course).  I forgot to take a photo…

Service: A 
The service was excellent.  The waiter brought plenty of refills, and we never were empty of water or coffee.  The food also came out quickly.

Food: A 
The diner has all of the typical diner fare.  You won’t find the healthy salads or grilled fish, but you will find several omelet options as well as pancakes and steak.  If there is grease, you will find it here. Kane’s Diner is the stereotypical “greasy spoon” deal.

There was a large sign at the front that stated: “Orginal Pancake House”.  That means the pancakes must be good.

I don’t like thin or small pancakes.  I like massive pancakes that are filling.  I ordered the apple cinnamon pancakes.  I expected cinnamon apples to be baked into the actual pancake.  The actual pancakes were silver dollar pancakes rolled up and stuffed with apple cinnamon jam.  While the meal wasn’t what I was expecting it was still good.  It put me on a sugar high to continue exploring the city. The best description I have is they were like a very thick crepe with sugary apple filling.  Were they the world’s best?  To be deterined, but they were good.

Kane's Diner

Cost: $9
For my coffee and pancakes, the cost was $9.  I have no complaints, and it was good.

Overall thoughts: 
I liked Kane’s Diner, and I would go back.  The coffee, food and service were good.  It’s a true greasy spoon!

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $8-15
Overall: A

Questions for you:
Do you have any NYC diner recommendations?
What is your favorite pancake flavor?

Tom Sawyer Diner

I’ve been extremely lucky with diners lately.  For the most part, I’ve been happy with everything.  Sadly, that streak came to an end when I went to the Tom Sawyer Diner.

Last weekend, My husband and I went hiking at Bear Mountain. We had gotten lost so by the time we got to the diner I was starving.  Just like eating after a long run, everything should taste good.  Should, being key.

Tom Sawyer Diner

Atmosphere: A
The Tom Sawyer Diner is clean.  The outside is a modern building.  The inside has a bar, multiple booths, and a small bakery case.  We were sat in a booth.  The diner itself is well kept and nice.

Coffee: F
The coffee that came out was luke warm at best. It had clearly sat for a long time and definitely tasted like it. The whipped cream stayed intact the entire time and didn’t melt at all. The waiter never brought out or asked if we wanted a refill, but it was so terrible I didn’t want anymore.

Tom Sawyer Diner
This was 20 minutes into having my coffee…

Service: F
The service at the Tom Sawyer Diner ranks as possibly the worst restaurant service of any restaurant (diner or not) that I have been too.  The waiter never asked if we wanted refills, came over twice and every time we asked for anything, it felt as if we were bothering him.  There were only a five other parties in the restaurant yet for some reason it took close to an hour to receive our food.

Food: C
Like the majority of diners, breakfast is served daily, and there were plenty of specials.  I was starving and craving red meat.

We ordered the Mediterranean appetizer. It came with hummus, pita bread, Greek salad, olive, and vegetables. While it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great either. It tasted like something I could have prepared at home myself.  I did like the hummus, though.  The Tom Sawyer made a lot of use of their tortilla chips.  They added them to everything.  They were decent tortilla chips, but I’ve never been to a diner well known for their tortilla chips.

Tom Sawyer Diner

For my entree, I ordered the California Burger. It was a disappointment as well.  It was topped with avocado, bacon and cheddar cheese.  The patty itself was overcooked and dry, and the French fries were okay.  It’s extremely hard not to love food after a long run or hike, so I was surprised.

Tom Sawyer Diner

Tom Sawyer Diner

Price: $$$
The Tom Sawyer Diner is expensive and not worth the price.  For my burger, appetizer, and coffee the prize was $30.  Was it worth it? Absolutely not.

Overall thoughts/would I come back?
The Tom Sawyer isn’t my least favorite diner, but it is very close.  There wasn’t anything I enjoyed about the diner so I won’t be back.  The food was edible, but there are plenty of less expensive and better quality diners close by such as the State Line Diner. 

I had planned to get dessert, but nothing looked great either, so we left.  When the manager asked how our meal was: I told him it wasn’t great, and the service wasn’t great either (something I almost never do). He responded with a shrug. He didn’t care in the slightest which is what upset me the most.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: F
Coffee: F
Food: C
Price: $15-30
Overall: F

Questions for you:
What was the last bad dining experience you’ve had?
What’s your favorite long run/workout meal?

Day in the Life

I was asked last week to describe a typical day in the (eating) life.  Please keep in my mind, I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, dietician, or online nutrition coach. I am just me, a person who likes to eat relatively well and tends to blow their budget on eating at restaurants.

I decided to record everything last Monday.  I don’t usually count calories, but I’m generally aware of an estimate of how many I’ve eaten.  I know if I’ve eaten 1500 and am starving or ate 2500 and feel fine.  It works for me.  Since being injured, I also know I’ve put on between 3-5 pounds.  I haven’t weighed myself, but my guess is I weigh somewhere between 130-135.

Breakfast (5:15-5:30 am):

I enjoy waffles for breakfast.  I utilize my waffle maker every morning. I’ve had the same breakfast for a long time, and I know it works for me. I eat the same breakfast whether I’m running, working out, racing or whatever.   I’m normally in the minority, but I am hungry when I wake up.

Waffle (500ish calories):
(easy recipe)
2/3 cup flour
1/2ish cup milk
1 egg
baking powder

You can add whatever else you want in it.  I’ve added blueberries, pumpkin, chocolate chips and even cocoa powder.  It’s a basic ingredient list.

This is a plain waffle
This is a plain waffle

 

I normally catch up on work, emails, and everything and head out for a run between 6:30-7.  I like to eat before I run and never have an upset stomach during my runs.


On Monday, I ran 4 miles.  My run was uneventful and boring. It felt okay, and my ankle felt good, so I have no complaints.  In fact, my ankle has felt completely injury free since too. 

After my run, I ate a cup of Greek Yogurt and had coffee. I’m currently enjoying Fage or Chobani.  I choose whichever is cheaper at the grocery store.  I don’t normally drink coffee before a run but like to get Starbucks or Wawa afterwords…Monday was unusual for me and was my first iced coffee in about two years.  I don’t know why I was craving one, but I was.  That alone deserves a photo. starbucks


After showering and getting ready, it’s time to begin the actual day.  The meat of my day is always interesting and no two days are the same.  Sometimes I’ll work in the store of Running Co; sometimes I’ll work at home, and still other times I’m on base doing things.  My google calendar has become my best friend to keep me on track and not missing anything. I have my phone and computer synched up.

Last Monday, I wasn’t in the store, but I had a couple of meetings as well as something to take care of on base.  When I left my house around 9:30 am, I wasn’t home until around 4 pm.  I try to pack my lunch, so I don’t end up spend a lot of unnecessary money along the way.  Plus going out with friends is much more enjoyable than eating on the road.

By 11, I’m hungry.  I had a roast beef sandwich on wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and mustard. I also had a few carrots and a peach. It was boring but good.  I tend to each more frequently and often when I’m out or in the store.  When I’m at home, I’ll just eat lunch and move on.

Roast Beef sandwich on wheat
Roast Beef sandwich on wheat

By 2, I was hungry again and ate another (exactly the same) sandwich.  A sandwich isn’t really a full meal, but it’s not a snack either.  I just consider it two lunches.

I got home around 4 and my husband, and I decided the night before we wanted steak.  I try and have red meat once or twice a week, and steak is by far my favorite red meat.

We usually do something simple like grill it and have a salad and potato.  That is one of my favorite homecooked meal.  It’s easy, fast and delicious.  We aren’t fancy, and our meals normally take 30 minutes at the very most to prepare.  I do the vegetable and potato cooking (which is not cooking at all) and my husband grills. I’ve also been drinking a cup of milk with dinner to keep getting calcium.  This evening we had asparagus too.

dinner steak


Lately, I’ve been doing core and strength at night.  I dedicate about 30 minutes to it after dinner.  I catch up on TV, get more core in and then relax.  From 6-9, I do that, relax and sometimes get work done.  If anyone needs a new Netflix show, I have loved “Army Wifes”.  A lot of social media happens at night, so sometimes I’m online for things like that too.

I’ve been making smoothies with a milk base, protein powder and whatever else I can find in the house.  Sometimes cocoa powder, sometimes fruit, it depends on what I’m craving. On Monday, I added milk, a scoop of protein powder, a half cup of pumpkin and cinnamon.

Protein Smoothie

I’ve stopped eating a lot of sweets and dessert every single night.  We tend to go out for dessert.  Do I enjoy cookies and cake?  Of course, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have them every single day.  I used to crave sweets almost every evening but about two years ago I stopped having as much sugar and artificial sweeteners and no longer crave them.  I always add a Truvia or sugar to my coffee.  Thinking out loud, I used to dump boatloads in…no wonder I craved sugars.  

In summary, I’m a fairly boring person when it comes to life and food.  I eat what I get on sale and try to eat healthy.  Just like running, a day of good (or bad) eating doesn’t determine your health.  Consistency does… 

Questions for you:

What is your favorite food?

What are some good lunch ideas?  I definitely need help in that department.