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J&G Diner (South Bound Brook)

Recently I went to the J&G Diner in South Bound Brook.  To be honest, I’ve had to remember the exact letter combination every time I go to type out a post.  Anyway, when I arrived for lunch, I was the only person in the diner.  I met the owner of the website, NJ Isn’t Boring, and while we were dining more customers came in.  Cyd and I have reviewed close to 20 diners if not more.  I believe she is coming close to going to 200 diners!

Neither of us had been to the J&G diner, so it was the perfect stop.

Atmosphere: B
The diner is located on the corner.  It’s not a big metallic building but a regular building attached to several other restaurants.  Inside, it’s clear the diner used to be an old Mexican or Spanish restaurant.  The atmosphere and hand painted murals are a giveaway.  Plus J&G Diner has several specials such as a burrito or flan.

Coffee: B
The coffee was decent and warm.  There wasn’t anything interesting or unique about it, and I could have used more refills.

Food: C
J&G has all sorts of options from breakfast to lunch and dinner.  Unique to the diner is a lot of different Mexican and Spanish options.  As most people know at this point, I’ve been suffering from food poisoning.

If I wasn’t suffering from that, I probably would have ordered something new or unique.  I decided to order their Mediterranian salad with salmon.   When my food came out, I regretted the situation.  The salad was boring, and the salmon tasted as if it was reheated.  I had to request to extra dressings because there was barely any on there.  The food wasn’t bad but probably not something I would order again.

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, and the food came out quickly.  I could have used more drink refills, but other than that, I have no complaints.

Dessert: A
Cyd wanted to order dessert.  I probably wouldn’t have, but when she ordered dessert, it sounded like a good idea.  I decided to go with the bread pudding which came with ice cream.

I like bread pudding, however, after food poisoning, it’s something I need to be more mindful of especially with ice cream.  The dessert was tasty, and it saved my overall opinion of the J&G diner.  I appreciated how many raisins (yes I like them) were in the bread pudding.  However, afterward, my stomach was not all that thrilled with me.  Oh well, live and learn.

Cost:
The J&G diner charges for everything including whipped cream in the coffee as well as extra dressings.  While I do understand they are extra items, it seemed a bit ridiculous when the salad was very dry, to begin with. For the coffee, salad, dessert, and extras the cost was $22.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the J&G Diner, and I would go back.  The bread pudding was extremely good, and I would like to try some of their more unique items when I feel better.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: C
Service: B
Dessert: A
Cost: $8-18
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Time to Eat DinerSomerset, 

You can find all 162 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite Mexican dish?
What is your favorite salad dressing?

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Hiking through Wharton State Forest

My husband and I have hiked a lot.  We’ve been too many states and mountain ranges and we enjoy it.  We might even enjoy hiking more than running.  Something about being out there in the peace is so much fun.  You can read about any our hikes here.

Anyway, you would think we would have already hiked somewhere local and close to home in South Jersey…yet until recently, we had not.  We both had the day off but weren’t in the “mood” to drive 2 hours north to go hiking so we googled a few trails around us.  Someone mentioned the Botana trail in Wharton State Forest so we decided to look into it.

As most people know, south jersey is flat so it wasn’t a mountainous trail.  In fact, it was one of the easier trails we’ve done and we did see a couple of people with pets.  Definitely a much easier trail than last month in Colorado! The trail itself is about 50 miles long and they do host a no frills ultra there.

The Batona Trail itself is about 50 miles longer and wraps itself from the shore to inland.  We hiked about 5 miles and saw a couple of hikers doing the entire trail.  Hiking the entire trail looks like it would be a lot of fun!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

At the end of our personal hike, there is a water tower you can hike up too.  The day we went, it was closed (and there are security cameras, so I don’t recommend jumping the fence).

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

I know we will be back though.  I think it would be a lot of fun to do the entire 50-mile hike over the course a few days.   Who knows, maybe end at a diner!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

To be honest, hiking the Batona Trail opened my eyes that there are gorgeous hikes in South Jersey.  I had always stuck up my nose to hiking in Southern New Jersey but I’m glad we did and I know we will be back.

Other NJ Hikes:
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Hiking the Delaware Water Gap
The Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:
Do you like to hike?
What is something interesting you’ve recently found in your area?

The Broad Street Diner (Hamilton)

Recently I went to the Broad Street Diner in Hamilton.  It’s only about 30 minutes from my house, however, it’s taken me about 3 years to get there.

Atmosphere: A

The inside is a lot bigger than anticipated.  It’s one of the top biggest diners I’ve been too.  The outside is a very tall building.  It’s  a big, shiny, metallic diner, but it’s a clean diner.  The inside has plenty of seating with a full-length bar, with plenty of tables and booths.  It’s one of the most spacious diners I’ve been too.

Broad Street Diner hamilton

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot and the waitress brought over a container with whipped cream.  There wasn’t anything too special or exciting about it, but it was good.

Food: B
The menu at the Broad Street diner has pretty much anything you could ask for in a diner.  They have breakfast, lunch, dinner including seafood, steak, pasta, really whatever you want.

I haven’t had pasta in a while so I decided to order pasta with meatball.  I don’t think I’ve ever ordered that a diner.

The meal was good but was bland.  It could have used some sort of seasoning (anything!) or maybe more sauce.  It looked and tasted as if they poured a half a can of sauce on top of pasta and cooked giant meatballs on top.  The meatballs were good.  In all, it was a decent meal but I would probably order something else next time.

Broad Street Diner hamilton

Service: B
Our waitress was very friendly but at some points she was extremely quiet and it was hard to hear what she was saying.  I felt like I was constantly asking, what?

Dessert: B
I had been back and forth with dessert and ultimately decided to order the chocolate fudge cake with ice cream.  One thing unique about the diner is they have several flavors of ice cream instead of just chocolate or vanilla.  I decided to go with cookie dough ice cream which was a good choice.

The cake itself was excellent.  It was rich and tasted homemade.  The ice cream was definitely suffering from freezer burn.  It needed to dethaw for a few minutes.

Broad Street Diner hamilton

Cost: $
For my coffee, meal, ice cream, and cake the cost was $20 which was a good deal.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
I liked the Broad Street diner and it was a good choice.  Next time I’ll get a different meal but in all, I liked it.  Having several different ice cream flavors to choose from makes it unique!

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

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Two Peter’s, Daphne’s 

You can see all 161 NJ Diners I’ve been too here.

Questions for you:
Where is the best pasta you’ve had?
What is your favorite type of cake?

Haddonfield Road Race (19:59)

On Saturday, I ran the Haddonfield Road Race.  I’ve run before, and I know the course is moderately challenging.  As I said in my training log two weeks ago, coming home from vacation, I caught food poisoning.  They diagnosed it, and I am recovering decently.  On Saturday I was not 100%, but I felt good enough to toe the line.

Since I am running Philly half marathon again on Saturday, my goal was to tempo and get a good workout from the race.  I know the course is one of the most difficult in the area, plus getting over an illness, and the cold weather, there wasn’t a point to go crazy.  To be fair, I didn’t think I could go crazy anyway. I had made that goal the night before, and thank goodness I did.

The morning of the race was a disaster.  I had gone to bed around 9 pm the night before but ended up sleeping in until 7.  I had a few errands to run in the morning before the race and work, and by the time I knew it, I was running late to the race.  Luckily, it all worked out, and I made it to the start line.  After realizing I was still wearing a fashionable Abercombie Puffer vest, I delayered that, and we were off.

The first mile went up a large hill and turned.  There was a huge pack in front, followed by me.  Somehow I’ve run a lot of races that I end up running by myself.  We ran up the hills of the first mile, and I ran a 6:25. It was precisely where I wanted to be, but I also knew I was tired and fatigued.  I didn’t even think I would be able to hold that.

During the second mile, I began catching a few people.  I remember last year running that mile completely alone, so I was excited to chase someone.  I hit the second mile in 6:26 and was happy.

The last mile had one last hill.  Bonus hill, if you want to call it.  By that time I hit the mile around 2.5, I was toast.  I’ve been training out west, so I secretly hoping my lung compacity would be higher than it was.  But I felt like garbage and just powered through.  I surged down the hill and ran a 19:59 5k.

The goal was 20 minutes, and I ran 19:59.  I’m happy with how it went, with everything that happened in the morning.

haddonfield road race me running

Questions for you:

Do you prefer hilly or flat courses?

What is the coldest race you’ve run?

This one was 22 degrees which is one of the colder races I’ve done.  I’ve run a few below 20 but around this temperature is about my limit.

Red Rose Diner (Phillipsburg)

The Red Rose Diner in Phillipsburg has recently undergone a management change.  I thought the management change was recent due to the lack of reviews, plus the giant streamers on the outside.  When I asked the waitress about it, she said it was about 6 months ago.  I guess that begs the question of how long can it be considered “recent.”  Not that is matters…

I got to the Red Rose Diner around 5 pm, and there were only a couple of other parties.

Atmosphere: B
The Red Rose Diner definitely is hard to miss on the road.  It’s a big metallic diner with giant streamers and ribbons on the outside.  It also had a rock garden that says “Red Rose Diner” and signs with both Salad Bar and Under New Management.  The exterior has a lot going on.

The inside has plenty of booths, tables, and a small salad bar.  It appeared to be a decent salad bar, however, if the main draw is the salad bar it needs more toppings and salad.

Red Rose diner Phillipsburg

Service: D
When we walked in, the hostess and possibly owner instructed us to turn around and look at the specials.  It was just awkward.

The waitress took our order.  Since there weren’t many people in the diner, I expected the food to come out faster than it did.

Not to skip ahead but I ordered a Caesar salad for an appetizer.  The salad came out with the meal and wasn’t a Caesar.  When I asked the waitress about it, the waitress simply said: the caesar was a big salad so she changed my order for the side salad.

So she changed my order, didn’t inform or ask me if that’s what I wanted and brought it out anyway.  That wasn’t acceptable in any form with anything.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good but wasn’t anything to write home about.  It was hot, and I had a few refills.

Red Rose diner Phillipsburg

Food: C
As I mentioned with service, I was less than impressed by the service and salad.

Red Rose diner Phillipsburg

The Red Rose Diner has plenty of options: all day breakfast, lunch, dinner, salads, seafood, pasta, the list is pretty much endless.

I ordered something along the lines of the Athenian sandwich.  I don’t remember the exact name.  It was Greek sandwich with beef, feta, on pita bread.  It was much bigger than I anticipated.  I also ordered the sweet potato fries which were good. Red Rose diner Phillipsburg

My main entree was good, but I was still not in the best of moods after the waitress changed my salad order.  The sandwich was good.

Cost: $
For my sandwich, salad, and coffee the cost as $13.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back?

The Red Rose Diner wasn’t the worst diner I’ve been too, but the waitress changing my order as well as awkward quirks with the specials board and limited salad bar made it in the bottom half.

I would probably give it a second chance if I’m in the area again though.  I do believe they need to beef up their salad bar, change the way they do their specials, and have their wait staff make sure customers receive what they ordered.  That is strange for anywhere.

Overall:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Service: D
Food: C
Cost: $8-20
Overall: C

Closeby Diner I’ve Been: Key City Diner 

For more Diner Reviews Click here. 

Questions for you:
Where is the best salad bar you’ve had?
Has a server ever changed your order without you knowing?

Toast City Diner (Red Bank)

Toast City Diner (Red Bank)

Recently I went to the Toast City Diner in Red Bank, NJ.  They have a few locations along the Jersey shore, and the menu looked good. Before recently, I hadn’t heard of Toast, but I believe it’s only a couple of years old.

I got there around 11 am and it wasn’t too crowded.  I’ve heard on weekends it’s hard to even get a table.

Atmosphere: A
Toast is located in the downtown of Red Bank.  It’s a cute, metallic, shiny building.  It stood out in a good way.

The inside is metallic interior, with a full-length bar, plenty of booths and tables.  One of my favorite diner features is built in table jukeboxes which toast had.

Toast City Diner Red Bank

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed fresh and hot each time.  There was nothing unique or unusual, but it was still good.

toast city diner red bank nj

Service: A
Our waitress was one of the best I’ve had in awhile.  She was extremely friendly, brought plenty of refills, and our food came out quickly.  Granted we were in Toast at a quiet time, but everything came out fast, and it was a great experience.

Food: A
Toast isn’t open all day and only serves breakfast and lunch.  They have several different unique breakfast options such as carrot cake pancakes and vegetarian wraps.

I was intrigued by the carrot cake pancakes as well as the grilled cinnamon rolls, so I ordered both.

The grilled cinnamon buns were delicious.  It came with three with melted frosting.

The carrot cake pancakes were some of the best pancakes I’ve had.  Often times when you order a flavored pancake like carrot cake or red velvet, it rates artificial or it doesn’t taste any different than a regular pancake.  This was not the case with toast.  The carrot cake pancakes had coconut and actually shredded carrot in them.  They were some of the best pancakes I’ve had in a restaurant.

toast city diner red bank nj

In all, my food was in the top percentage of diners I’ve been too.

Cost: $
For my coffee, pancakes and cinnamon cubs, the cost was $20.  For the amount of food as well as the quality, it was worth it.

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?

I enjoyed Toast, and it was one of the better diners I’ve been too.  I highly recommend it.

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

Nearby Diners I’ve been:

See More Diners Here.

Questions for you:
Where are the best pancakes you’ve had? Do you like carrot cake?

Treno Pizza Bar

Recently I’ve had a few more opportunities to go to local restaurants in South Jersey.  This particular time, my husband and I were invited to go to Treno Pizza Bar in Westmont, NJ.

We’ve been before, and it’s one of the best pizza spots in the area, but we were invited to try the new menu.  When looking at possible days, I thought after the Runners World Festival would be ideal.  The last thing I really want to do is cook and Treno sounded much more appealing.  But really, when doesn’t it?

We arrived at Treno around 5:30 pm.  The area of Westmont has had lot of construction lately, including brand new shiny high rise apartments next door.  Honestly, if my husband didn’t need a garage, I would love to live there.Those apartments are in a prime spot to walk to several bars or fancier restaurants that serve alcohol such as Treno.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the hostess, and since it was a beautiful evening, we opted to sit on the patio. Treno pizza bar westmont nj

The manager came over and gave us personal recommendations including the veggie pizza and Treno Board.

As I mentioned, Treno serves alcohol including craft beer.  I immediately noticed Flying Fish beer, which I ran a local 5k at the brewery last month.

After chatting with the manager, the Treno board came out quickly with a variety of different bites including prosciutto di parma, house-cured meat, robiola, caciocavallo, roasted peppers, olives, crostini.  Everything on the board was delicious.  As someone who loves olives, they were my personal favorite.  The types of cheeses were both unique and I hadn’t had either.  Definitely a great starter! Treno pizza bar westmont nj board

As the manager recommended, I ordered the Veggie pizza.  Veggie pizza isn’t typically my first choice as I love pepper, sausage, and meat pizzas.

Heck, I even like pineapple pizza but I always like trying new things, and the Brick Oven Veggie Pizza came with butternut squash, onions, and goat cheese.  It reminded me a lot of a flatbread and something that would be perfect for a half marathon or marathon.  The pizza itself isn’t huge, which I appreciated.

Treno pizza bar westmont nj

My husband ordered the new Wood Oven Calabrian pizza which had house-made chili sausage, red onion, mozzarella, roasted corn, red sauce.  The manager mentioned a lot of people have come in loving spicy foods, so they want to incorporate more of that and to be honest, I agree.  I’m all about anything spicy.

Treno pizza bar westmont nj pizza

Both pizzas were great and I would order either of them again.  In fact, I think the veggie pizza might become a staple for before races for me.

We also decided to split the Tiramisu dessert and scoop of their vanilla gelato.  The Tiramisu came in a mason jar and had whipped cream (you know I love that!), fig jam and a biscotti cookie.  Both the gelato and tiramisu were great.

Treno pizza bar westmont nj pizza tiramisu

I had such a pleasant experience at the Treno, and I appreciate the invitation to try their new menu.  Everything from the food, to the service to the atmosphere, is so welcoming.  I like the idea of having smaller plates to split and snack on.  As someone who likes to try a lot of different items, this is awesome.  Plus, serving alcohol, many people need food but don’t want anything heavy.  If you are ever local, I recommend it.

Thank you for the invitation Treno and I look forward to coming back!

Questions for you:

What is your favorite type of pizza?

Have you tried tiramisu before?

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