Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ) rainbow cake
Diners

Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ)

Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ)

Recently my good friend Cyd (who owns the website New Jersey Isn’t Boring) and I went to the Maple Valley Diner in Clifton, NJ. She heard it was good so we decided to give a shot. We’ve been to over 30 diners together now so it’s becoming harder and harder to find new ones that we both haven’t been too.

Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ)

Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ) Atmosphere: A
The Maple Valley Diner looks modern and well kept. It sticks out on the highway. The interior of The Maple Valley Diner looks fairly modern with plenty of booths, tables, a full-length bar, and a dessert case. I always appreciate a diner with a dessert case, although it makes me want to order dessert more (not a problem though).

The Maple Valley Diner Coffee: A
The Maple Valley Diner coffee was brewed hot and fresh and the waitress brought plenty of refills. I could haven’t asked for a better experience.Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ) coffee

The Maple Valley Diner Food: B
The Maple Valley Diner menu has most things you expect in a diner. There is an all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I expected there to be more specials as well as seafood options, but there weren’t as many. The Maple Valley Diner is known for their sweet potatoes, french fries, french toast, egg platters, and cake.

Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ) steak kabob

I decided to order the steak kabob (I think I’ve ordered it once at the Galaxy Diner). It came with grilled steak, grilled vegetables, on top of rice, as well as a side greek salad. I was happy with the steak kabob, although I asked for the steak for medium-rare, and it was much closer to medium or even done. Other than that, the meal was excellent.

The Maple Valley Diner Dessert: B
We heard the Rainbow Cake was excellent (also known as Italian cake) so we decided to order that. I like a good rainbow cake and I have no complaints. It also had a hint of raspberry, which was tasted great. I did think it was a small piece for the cost ($6).

Maple Valley Diner (Clifton, NJ) rainbow cake

The Maple Valley Diner Service: A
Our waitress at The Maple Valley Diner was friendly and our food came out fast. Plus, the manager came to check on us. In all, it was a great experience.

The Maple Valley Diner Cost: $$
For the steak kabob, coffee, and cake it was $30, which I did think the cake was much pricer for the size.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to The Maple Valley Diner?

I liked The Maple Valley Diner and I would go back if I’m in Clifton again. It’s slightly more expensive but worth the price. It was a great diner and experience.  I would go back just for the rainbow cake.

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

Overall: A

You can see all 296 Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:

Do you like rainbow cake?

Have you ever tried a steak kabob? 

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Veronica Plaza Diner (Somerset, NJ) pancakes
Diners

Veronica Plaza Diner (Somerset, NJ)

Veronica Plaza Diner (Somerset, NJ)

Recently I was in Somerset, NJ so I decided to stop at the Veronica Plaza Diner.

The Veronica Plaza Diner is located in a shopping center near Rutgers University. The Veronica Plaza Diner is only open until 3 pm so it’s a breakfast and lunch spot only.

Veronica Plaza Diner (Somerset, NJ)

Veronica Plaza Diner Atmosphere: C

The Veronica Plaza Diner is located in a small shopping center. It doesn’t stand out but there is plenty of parking.

Veronica Plaza Diner (Somerset, NJ)

The inside of the Veronica Plaza Diner has plenty of wooden tables, booths, and a small bar. It was dimly lit and slightly dirty which is never a good sign.

Veronica Plaza Diner Coffee: A

The Veronica Plaza Diner coffee tasted great and the waitress brought over a refill.

Veronica Plaza Diner (Somerset, NJ) coffee

Veronica Plaza Diner Food: B

The Veronica Plaza Diner menu has breakfast and lunch with a few specials. There were plenty of breakfast options and I was in the mood for pancakes.

Pancakes are one of the most risky things to order a diner. Either the pancakes are flat and bland or they are thick and fluffy. You never know why you’ll get!

I ordered the chocolate chip and peanut butter pancakes which tasted good. There was a solid amount of pancakes and it there were plenty of chocolate chips. They were topped with crunchy peanut butter.

Veronica Plaza Diner (Somerset, NJ) pancakes

The pancakes weren’t the worst nor the best pancakes I’ve had but I was pleased with my selection.

Veronica Plaza Diner Service: C

The waitress at the Veronica Plaza Diner was friendly but it took a while for our food to come. When it was time for the check, it took a long time for her to come back. I couldn’t seem to find her anywhere.

Veronica Plaza Diner Cost: $$

For my pancakes and coffee it was $10. Most of the diner was fairly expensive for the amount of food and quality.

Overall thoughts/Would I Come Back to the Veronica Plaza Diner?

The food at the Veronica Plaza Diner was decent but it’s not somewhere I would back for. The Veronica Plaza Diner could use a decent cleaning as well.

Atmosphere: C

Coffee: A

Food: C

Service: C

Cost: $10-20

Overall: C

You can see all 294 Diner Reviews Here.

Question for you:

Do you like pancakes? What’s your favorite type of pancake?

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) rice pudding
Diners

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin)

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin)

While in West Berlin, NJ, I decided to check out Oceanos Restaurant. While it’s in the grey area of diners, I decided to classify it as one. It serves diner food, looks and acts like a diner.

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin)

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) Atmosphere: C

Oceanos Restaurant is in a large building with plenty of parking. The inside has a long but handicap friendly ramp to get in. Inside, Oceanos Restaurant needs a definite makeover. The inside is dirty and part of the wall was falling down.

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) Coffee: A

Possibly the best part of Oceanos Restaurant was the coffee. It was brewed hot and fresh and the waitress added an absurd amount of whipped cream.

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) coffee

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) Food: D

Oceanos Restaurant menu had plenty of options, including all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There weren’t a lot of specials, but there were plenty of options. It looked like Oceanos Restaurant was more dinner based with a lot of chicken breast, roast beef, and pasta options.

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) greek platter

I was hungry so I decided to order the Greek Sampler. The pita bread was dry and the olives looked like they had been sitting around for a long time. It was edible but it wasn’t great. It was pathetic.

I decided to order the stuffed salmon. It came with stuffed salmon with crab meat as well as two sides. I chose beets and mixed vegetables. It also came with soup or salad so opted for a starter salad.

The starter salad was decent, but nothing unusual.

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) side salad

Both sides tasted frozen and reheated.  It was clear the mixed vegetables were frozen and then reheated.

The stuffed salmon tasted precisely as you would think frozen fish and reheated to taste. I was disappointed because I thought it would be good.  It was edible, but I wouldn’t order it again.

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin)  salmon

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) Dessert: C

Since my meal at Oceanos Restaurant came with dessert, (either pudding or ice cream), I ordered the rice pudding. I wanted bread pudding, but they didn’t have it. What kind of diner doesn’t have bread pudding?

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin)  rice pudding

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) Service: C

The service at Oceanos Restaurant could use help.  Our waitress was friendly, but the food took a while to come out. When we got there, the hostess was on his cell phone, so it took a while for us even to sit down.

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) Cost: $$

For my coffee and meal, it was $20, which was too expensive for the quality of food.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin)?

I wouldn’t go back to Oceanos Restaurant. It was edible diner food, but it was expensive for the quality of food. Plus, Oceanos Restaurant needs a considerable makeover.

Atmosphere: C

Coffee: A

Food: D

Dessert: C

Overall: C

Cost: $15-20

Oceanos Restaurant (West Berlin) Overall: C

You can see all 293 Diners Here.

Questions for you:

Have you been to any meh restaurants lately?

Do you like rice pudding? 

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) pork chops
Diners

South Star Diner (Mount Holly)

South Star Diner (Mount Holly)

Recently I was at the South Star Diner in Mount Holly. The South Star Diner has gone under new ownership and has a new name, new manager, and is entirely new. Which is great because when it was previously the “, “I can’t say my experience was all that great. I haven’t been to the diner in 6 years (and my time in New Jersey flies).

South Star Diner (Mount Holly)

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) Atmosphere: B
The South Star Diner has been remodeled. Outside it has a large, shiny, sign that says “South Star Diner.” There is a reasonably open parking lot and it sticks out on Route 38.

Inside there are plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar. They’ve done remodeling, so it appears to sit more people than previously.

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) Coffee: A

The South Star Diner serves Lacas Coffee, which is brewed right in Pennsauken. It was great and the waitress refilled it often. In all, it was good coffee.

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) coffee

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) Food: B
The South Star Diner menu is massive and has everything you typically have in a diner menu. There is all-day breakfast, seafood, wraps, a full page of salads, and steaks. I was in a pork chop mood, so I decided to order the broiled pork chops.

The broiled pork chops came with soup or salad, two sides, and the pork chops.

I decided to order the Greek salad and it was a great starter salad. It was bigger than some diner salads I’ve had before. Plus, it even included anchovies, which most people know how much I like those.

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) greek salad

The broiled pork chops were decent. They weren’t my favorite nor my least favorite, but they were plenty there.

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) pork chops

For my sides, I chose the beets and baked potato. If beets are a side, chances are I’ll choose them. Both were fine, but nothing special about them.

In all, my meal was good and I was most impressed with a starter salad.

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) Service: A
Our waitress was friendly and slightly funny, plus our food came out fast. I couldn’t ask for better service.

South Star Diner (Mount Holly) Cost: $

For my pork chops and coffee, it was $16.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come back to the South Star Diner (Mount Holly)?
I liked the South Star Diner and they’ve definitely made big improvements to it. It now stands out on Route 38 and is a spot I would want to stop.

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

You can see all 292 Diner Reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you like pork chops?
Do you prefer soup or salad? 

 

Garrett Mountain Reservation new york city skyline
hiking

Walking Garrett Mountain Reservation

Walking Garrett Mountain Reservation

Recently I was in Passaic County and decided to stop at Garrett Mountain Reservation in Northern New Jersey.  Located off Route 19 in Woodland Park, Garret Mountain Reservation is 568-acres.  Garrett Mountain Reservation reaches an elevation of 500 feet about sea level. I didn’t know until I visited that it is actually on several National Natural Landmarks in New Jersey.

Garrett Mountain Reservation covers the northern tip of First Watchung Mountain.

Most of Garrett Mountain Reservation is located in Woodland Park but Garrett Mountain Reservation also extends to both of the cities of Paterson and Clifton. When I arrived, I thought I was in Rifle Park or Rifle Camp but I quickly learned I was not.

Garrett Mountain Reservation

I’m glad I made it to Garrett Mountain Reservation because the view of the New York City Skyline was beautiful. The Lambert Tower and Observation Tower provide beautiful views of the New York City Skyline.

Garrett Mountain Reservation

Inside Garrett Mountain Reservation there are plenty of things to do including:

  • Main paved path (Morris Canal)
  • Grass fields and picnic areas
  • Walking and Hiking Trails (even paved trail)
  • Basketball courts, picnic areas
  • Barbour’s Pond is state stocked with fish for anglers
  • Equestrian Center with horseback riding lessons.

I also learned a few fun facts about Garrett Mountain Reservation including apparently, Garrett Mountain Reservation is a stopover point for migrated birds and there are over 150 species per year that stop by.

Garrett Mountain Reservation lambert castle

In short, besides hiking there is a lot to do at Garrett Mountain Reservation. If you just want the view of the New York City Skyline, you can take the single-lane road to the look out point.

Also located in Garrett Mountain Reservation is Lambert Castle which is located 0.2 miles off of the Moris Canal.  Lambert Castle has a parking area nearby and hosts the Passaic County Museum. If you are walking on the Moris Canal, it’s closeby. You can also host private events at the Pat DiIanni Boathouse.

Garrett Mountain Reservation new york city skyline

Since I had some time, I decided to walk on the Morris Canal which circles Garrett Mountain Reservation.  It gave me a nice view of the New York City Skyline as well as everything Garrett Mountain Reservation has to over. I enjoyed seeing the Garret Mountain Equestrian Center as well as the Lambert Tower.  In all, it was a fun stop and I hope to get to more Passaic County Parks soon.

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Where is your favorite view of the New York City Skyline? 

What is the last hike you did?