Malaga Diner

Earlier in the month, my dad was driving through and stopped for the evening at my house.  On his way South, we decided to go to the Malaga Diner.  There were a few Southern Diner choices, but we ultimately decided upon Malaga solely because my brother, Matt, is stationed in Spain near Malaga.  It seemed like a reasonable way to pick out a diner.

I had driven by the Malaga Diner a couple of years ago when I went to the Pegasus restaurant.

Atmosphere: A
When driving by the Malaga Diner, you can’t help but notice the diner.  There is a huge diner sign on route 40, and the outside has “Malaga Diner” on a big red light up sign.  There is enormous tinted windows and cobblestone on the sides.  You can’t miss it (in a good way)!

malaga diner

The inside is a stereotypical diner with plenty of booths, a full-length bar, and several tables.

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, refilled our beverages often and came over and chatted.  However, the food was very slow to come out.  We waited about half an hour which for the amount of people in the diner, I was surprised!

Coffee: B
I’ve had a lot of boring but good diner coffee lately.  There wasn’t anything bad about the coffee, and it was refilled enough, but like I mentioned nothing unique or unusual. 

Food: B
The Malaga Diner has everything a stereotypical diner has, no more and no less.  There are about 2 pages of breakfasts, 2 pages of lunch/dinner and a page of specials.

I ordered the Hungry Woman Special with French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and sausage links.  For those not familiar with diners, I would say about 75% of New Jersey Diners have a “Hungry Women Special”.  It’s a staple breakfast dish.

Thank goodness I took a photo because to struggled to remember everything that fit on the plate. malaga diner

The French toast was one of the best French toasts I’ve had.  They used big, thick, bread which is a definite must.  The rest of the meal was filling with nothing unusual, and I had no complaints, but the highlight was the French toast.  I liked everything but next time I might just end up ordering 10 pieces of their french toast.

Cost: $$
For the coffee and hungry woman, the cost was $12.  They did charge $1.50 for whipped cream in the coffee…some diners do, and some don’t.  For the amount of food, it was worth it.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Malaga Diner was a good stop, and I’m glad we finally made it down there.  I would definitely go again.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Service: B
Food: B
Cost: $6-15
Overall: B
Closeby Diners I’ve been: Pegasus, Elmer, Point 40

Questions for you:
Do you like French toast? 
What is your favorite way to eat eggs?
I like scrambled or over easy

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Americana Diner (West Orange)

There are a lot of Americana Diners in the State of New Jersey.  There are also a lot of towns with the name “Orange”, but that  is neither here nor there.  

Last week my good friend, and New Jersey Isn’t Boring website owner and I, and I met up to go the Thomas Edison Historical Park and a diner.  She shares the same love of diners as I do, and we’ve been to about a dozen together.  

Atmosphere: A

The Americana Diner is located on a cute main street but sticks right out with its retro silver and chrome exterior.  The inside is just as stereotypical diner.  It seats about 25 and has a full-length diner bar, multiple booths, and tables.  

Image via New Jersey Isn’t Website

Coffee:  B

The coffee wasn’t anything unique or unusual, but it was good.  I had plenty of refills.  

Americana Diner West Orange Coffee

Like the diner itself, it was stereotypical (but good) diner coffee.  Americana Diner West Orange Coffee

Service: B 

The waitress was friendly and gave us plenty of time to order.  Since the diner was relatively empty, I expected the food to come out quicker than it did.  

Food: C

There are plenty of options at the Americana Diner, but it’s also not a 20-page menu like many others.  I wasn’t terribly hungry, so I ordered one of my diner classics (which I actually can remember the last time I did?), a Greek salad with salmon.

Americana Diner West Orange

The salad itself was a bit watery and could have used a few more greens but had olives, anchovies, and a lot of onions.  They added a lot of dressing so it was one of the better diner salads I’ve had but it wasn’t amazing. 

Price: $$

For my coffee, and salad with salmon, the cost was $17.  

Overall Thoughts/Summary:

I liked the Americana Diner, and it wasn’t a bad stop.  It wasn’t my favorite diner but it wasn’t a bad stop. I can always appreciate a metallic, chrome, diner. 

Atmosphere: A

Service: B

Coffee: B

Food: C

Price: $8-15

Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Tops, Nutley (one of my favorites) and Six Brothers

Questions for you:

What’s one of your favorite restaurant meals?

Visiting the Thomas Edison Historical Park

Last week, my friend Cyd and I went to the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange.  Cyd owns the website, New Jersey Isn’t Boring, so if there is something unique or interesting in the state, she’ll know. I’ve been enjoying traveling the state and learning new things.

To be honest, I didn’t realize Thomas Edison worked in New Jersey.  Many of his most well-known creations were all created in West Orange!  If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend checking out the site.  It was one of the more interesting and historic sites I’ve seen.

At the very site we visited, he created the motion picture camera, improved phonographs, sound recordings, movies and the “nickel-iron alkaline electric” storage battery.

After eating at a diner, we headed over to the Thomas Edison Historical Park.

Here is a little bit of information in case you are interested. The Site itself hosts both Edison’s home as well as his lab site.  It was designated as a National Historic Site in 1955. It was closed for several decades, and it reopened on March 30, 2009. During its closure, it was in service and used to manufacture several of Edison’s inventions.  After renovations on the entire lab complex, it was completely reopened for visitors on October 10, 2009.

Here are a few interesting photos:

Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Lab Site
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Behind that wall he created the first motion picture.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Ediphone Convention on August 12…1920 😉
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Also important is where the first waffle irons were created. How would I have my prerunning breakfast (waffles) without it?
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
This is one invention perhaps the world did not need…
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Another lab
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
A replica of where motion pictures were created

This is his desk exactly as he left it.  Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Thomas Edison Me New Jersey Isn't Boring
They even had a selfie station with Thomas Edison himself. As you can see, he prefers the Black and White option

The museum took about 2 hours to view.  I highly recommend it, if you’re ever in the area.

Questions for you:
What was the last museum or historic site you’ve been too?
Are there any historical sites in your local area? 

Park Wayne Diner (Wayne)

A few weeks ago, I was up north and decided to go to the Park Wayne Diner.  This isn’t to be confused with the Wayne Hills Diner which I went to last year.  Funny enough, this is the only diner in that area (including a personal favorite: Pompton Queen), that we didn’t fly too.  It was weird to drive through because it felt like such a long flight.

Atmosphere: A
You couldn’t ask for a more stereotypical New Jersey Diner.  It has a big, metallic, shiny exterior and the interior is filled with multiple red tables and booths.  Out of the diners I’ve been too, this definitely has one of the most stereotypical diner atmospheres.Park Wayne Diner

Service: B
For a weekend morning, it wasn’t as busy as I had anticipated.  That was okay by me!  The waitress didn’t bring us a lot of refills, and it felt as though they might be understaffed for the day.  She was friendly and gave us several recommendations which I can always appreciate.  It wasn’t bad service, but they needed more servers.

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot every time, but it was nothing to write home about.  The cups were also a bit smaller than I wanted.  It wasn’t bad but it didn’t stand out either. Park Wayne Diner

Food: B
The menu at the Park Wayne Diner is huge.  They have a dozen pages. Since they are open 24-7, they serve anything anytime.  Those are my favorite types of diners, but it’s not as common as it used to be.  Believe it or not, 24-7 diners are becoming harder to find.

I decided to order the arugula, spinach, and cheese omelet with a side of grits.  It was one of the biggest omelets I’ve ever had, plus it was stuffed filled to the brim. Park Wayne Diner

The grits, however, were boring and bland.  Since it’s rare to find grits in the Northeast, I was hoping they would be more interesting, but they tasted like they came from a box.  Yes, I realize that I’m not in the South but there are plenty of restaurants that serve excellent foreign cuisine, and I don’t live there either.

Cost: $
For the omelet, grits, and coffee the cost was $12 which wasn’t expensive for the portion size.

Overall thoughts:
You won’t find a more stereotypical NJ Diner then the Park Wayne Diner.  Overall, I enjoyed my experience there and will definitely be back next time we go hiking up that route.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve reviewed:

Pompton Queen  (one of my top 5 favorite NJ diners!) and Wayne Hills
Also relevant: Flying to Pompton Plains

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite type of omelet?
Where can I find southern style grits in NJ or Philadelphia?

Hiking the Stairway to Heaven

During the summer, my husband and I enjoy hiking in Northern, NJ.  The fall is also nice, but we tend to go more in the summer.  We have more free time as well.

Last week, we decided to head to the “Staircase to Heaven” on the Appalachian Trail.  We’ve hiked several portions including in New York at Bear Mountain.  The Staircase to Heaven is supposed to have one of the best views in all of the state.  Spoiler: It did not disappoint!

stairway to heaven nj

There are several portions of the trail you can park to get to the top. There is about a 2-mile hike/walk, followed by a steep 1.5 mile hike. It’s a longer hike, but it’s scenic.  The closer spot is close to the mountain, where you you have about a 1.5 mile steep and rocky hike to get to the top.  Since we were later and assumed the closer lot was filled, we parked further away and hiked 3.5 miles to the top.

stairway to heaven nj

After an extremely rocky hike, we made it to the top, and the view was fantastic.  So far, it’s definitely one of my favorite views in New Jersey.

stairway to heaven nj

After making it to the top, we decided to explore the Appalachian trail a little further and found a water fall.

staircase to heaven njIt was perfect because the weather was so hot, so it was nice to take a refreshing dip in the stream.  Thank goodness running clothes are basically like bathing suits and dry quickly.  Ha!

staircase to heaven nj

Afer that we took the hike back to our car.  It seemed to go much quicker this time, thankfully.

Other Hiking Posts:

Getting Lost at Bear Mountain and Revisiting (not getting lost)

Seeing a Bear While Hiking

Hiking the Hollywood Sign (LA)

We are hoping to get another hike in before the end of the summer so we will see.  Tristate locals: do you have any recommendations of hikes? 

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking?  Where is your favorite?

Clinton Station Diner

Recently I went to the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton.  The Clinton Station Diner was actually on the Food Network a few years ago.  They also have a hamburger challenge that you and several friends can eat 50-100 pounds of hamburger and win a few thousand dollars.

Clinton Station Diner burgers

Because it was on TV and I’ve heard the Clinton Station Diner is good, it’s been on my bucket list for awhile.  It’s only about an hour from my house but the timing never works out.  When I finally went a few weeks ago, I was glad I did.

Atmosphere: A
You can see the Clinton Station Diner from the highway.  It is a remodeled train station which is definitely unique.

The diner itself has two sections: the main dining area as well as an old train car.  We sat in the main dining area which was well kept and clean.  The trolley car area can be seen from the highway.  I hope we get to sit there next time!

Service: A
The server at the Clinton Station Diner was friendly and refilled our beverages often. The food also came out quickly.  In all, the service was great and I have no complaints.

Coffee: B
My coffee was brewed hot each time and the whipped cream was fine.  There was nothing unique about it but it was good.

Clinton Station Diner

Food: A
Since the Clinton Station Diner has been on the Food Network for their burgers, I wanted to order one.  Although they have plenty of different options from breakfast to dinner, I opted for a burger.  I finally decided on the German burger which came with sauerkraut cheese as well as a homemade sauce.  I also ordered a side of their famous beets.

The burger was definitely one of the better burgers I’ve had.  To be fair, I went through a period of my life (maybe 15 years?), that I wasn’t a fan of the consistency and texture of burgers.  In the last few months, I’ve had a change of tune.Clinton Station Diner

The Clinton Station Diner also prides themselves on their homemade beets and I must admit, they were ideal.  It was clear they were fresh and well seasoned.  They are my favorite restaurant beets to date.

Clinton Station Diner
Not my best photo but still great.

Dessert: C
We got a milkshake to split and I was surprised that the milkshake didn’t come with whipped cream or cherry.  It tasted fine but it definitely wasn’t anything unique or special.  Even the presentation wasn’t great!  It wasn’t to the same standards of the rest of the meal.   It wasn’t a bad milkshake, just extremely boring.Clinton Station Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee, milkshake, beets, and the burger the cost was $23.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with how cheap it was!

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Clinton Station Diner a lot and I’ll be back.  Next time, I’ll probably get a different dessert.  (Mom, I think you would really like this one 😉

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Dessert: C
Cost: $8-15
Overall: B
 

Diners Closeby I’ve been:
Flemington-Raritan
Spinning Wheel
Readington Diner

 Questions for you:
Do you like beets?
Are there any restaurants on your to do list?

Flying through the Hudson Exclusion and NYC

As many readers know, my husband is a pilot.  While I haven’t mentioned it much recently, we go on shorter, private, flights together.  No, we don’t own an airplane but since my husband has his General Aviation license, we are able to rent certain aircraft as well.

So with that, last weekend we decided to go flying!

The pilot himself

And of course, it would not be complete without an awkward Instagram stories selfie.me selfie private flying

My husband and I have flown several times together.  He flies, I take photos and hope I don’t puke (which yes, has happened).  Sometimes, we just fly down to on our favorite restaurants: Georges Place in Cape May.  Other times, we fly to North Jersey like Pompton Plains. Last weekend, we decided to do a flight from Berlin, NJ to Oxford, CT.  It was our longest private flight together.

South jersey
Southern New Jersey

While planning the trip, we ran into a few Snafus.  President Trump was in Northern NJ which puts flight restrictions into the air.  There are certain places you can’t fly as well as other places you must fly at a certain altitude.  Depending on who is in town, it can shut down a lot of private flying.  Since Trump frequently visits Bedminster, NJ it has shut down a lot of weekend flights.

If you break any of the rules that are put in place, your plane can be escorted out by an F-16 or shot down. Last weekend, most of Western NJ was shut down but we were able to find a cut through to CT by way of the Hudson.  There were plenty of military aircraft patrolling NYC.

As we flew up, it was neat to be able to fly over Mcguire AFB and see all of the planes lined up. While they look tiny, I can assure you they are not.

mcguire AFB

Comparison: standing in front of a single engine of one of those planes last year.

Standing next to one of the engines

After that, we headed right up to Northern, NY and to NYC.  I didn’t expect how close we would be able to get to the buildings.  It was incredible and truly breath taking.new york city private flying

It eventually led to a selfie next to the new World Trade Center Building.

new york city by flight new york city by flight

private flying nyc me selfie

After that, we headed up to Oxford, CT.  We chose the airport because we knew there was a nice restaurant there and we could grab a bite to eat and fly back!

The trip back was just as beautiful.  The sun was slowly setting, so we were able to see a gorgeous sunset along the Hudson.

reentering the hudson
reentering the Hudson
ellis island and the statue of liberty
Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
statue of liberty
Lady Liberty Herself

Jersey City Area:

Sandy Hook and Jersey Shore 

sunset new jersey flight

The total flying time was about 3 hours and it went perfectly.  We had a great time flying and saw a lot of great views.

Other Flying Related Posts:
Flying to Cape May
Flying to Pompton Plains

Questions for you:
Have you ever flown in a small aircraft?
Have you been to NYC?