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Randolph Diner

Randolph Diner (Randolph, NJ)

Recently I stopped at the Randolph Diner in Randolph, New Jersey.  The Randolph Diner has been towards the top of my to-do list because the diner serves both Octopus and squid.  For those who don’t know, Octopus is one of my favorite foods.  A diner that serves that is unique.  I wasn’t sure whether I should trust diner octopus but I was willing to try.

I arrived at the Randolph diner for dinner on a weekday.  The outside was confusing, and I parked on the completely wrong side.  After walking around the entire restaurant, I made it inside.  There was a lot of construction both inside and out.  It’s the second diner I’ve been too with construction lately (Gus’s was the first).

Randolph Diner Atmosphere: B
As I mentioned, the Randolph Diner was going through a lot of construction.  A lot of the restaurant was boarded up.  The area that wasn’t boarded up was fine and open and spacious.

Randolph Diner

Where is the front…nobody knows…

It used a brown and green color-blocked color scheme.  Randolph Diner

Other than the construction, it was a big open and clean diner.

Randolph Diner Coffee: C
The coffee at the Randolph Diner was okay.  It wasn’t good or bad, but there was nothing unique or exciting about it.  To be honest, I’ve had a lot of boring diner coffee lately!

Randolph Diner

Randolph Diner Service: B
The waitress at the Randolph Diner was friendly.  I wish we had more refills or napkins, but she was nice and got us most of what we needed.

Randolph Diner Food: A
As I mentioned, I wanted to go to the Randolph Diner because of the unique and interesting Randolph Diner menu.

I ordered the grilled octopus appetizer.  It was grilled and topped with butter.  I wasn’t sure what or how much to expect.  When I received it, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of octopus on the dish.  The octopus itself was some of the best I’ve had in a restaurant period and worth it.  It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  It was even better than a lot of seafood restaurants I’ve been too.

For my entree at the Randolph Diner, I ordered the Gyro special.  I didn’t read the Randolph Diner menu clearly, but I assumed the plate had all of the Greek specialties.  When I received it, it had a few pieces of gyro meat, a single grape leaf, a side salad and pita bread.  Honestly, I was disappointed it didn’t have anything else.

The gyro was more sausage-like and wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t bad.  The side salad was good, and it’s hard to mess up pita bread. Randolph Diner

To be honest, the octopus appetizer saved the food.  My entree wasn’t great, but the app was phenomenal.

Randolph Diner Cost: $$
For my coffee, appetizer, and meal, the cost was $30.  The appetizer alone was $14.  I do realize Octopus is expensive, but I think the gyro special was overcharged.  Most diner specials are cheaper or have more food.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back to the Randolph Diner:
I enjoyed the Randolph Diner.  The octopus was by far my favorite and I would go for that alone.  How many diners serve octopus? Next time I go the Randolph Diner, I will order a different entrée, but I do look forward to seeing what kind of construction they are doing.

Summary:
Atmosphere: C
Coffee: C
Service: B
Food: A-
Price: $15-25
Overall: B

You can see all of the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you like octopus?

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The Continental (Philadelphia)

The Continental (Philadelphia)

Recently I went to the Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar in Philadelphia.  The Continental has two locations: The Continental Mid town as well as on the water.

While it’s always 5 pm somewhere, it was a little early for a martini.  I’ve heard The Continental is delicious and in fact, it was ranked as having the biggest and best salads in Philadelphia.  So why not?

The Continental (Philadelphia) Atmosphere: A 
The Continental is a lot bigger than anticipated.  When looking inward, it looks like a 10 table restaurant.  However, when you get into the restaurant, you realize there are 3-4 rooms and two full bars.  It was surprising!  I love the inside, and it’s very classic diner. The Continental is known for their retro look as well as airy rooftop patio.

The Continental Philadelphia

The Continental (Philadephia) Service: B
The waitress at The Continental was nice and made helpful recommendations.  She refilled our drinks when we asked.  It was strange because 3/4 of the meals came out at the same time, but my husband’s food came out 10 minutes later.  It would have been better if they had waited for all four meals.

The Continental (Philadephia) Coffee: D
Sadly, this was some of the worst coffee I’ve had at a restaurant or diner.  The coffee at The Continental was lukewarm at best.  Honestly, I didn’t want a refill because it wasn’t great.  As well as coffee, the Continental is known for their happy hour, pop and retro cocktails ensure everyone has fun.

The Continental Philadelphia

The Continental (Philadelphia) Food: A
The Continental menu is small, but they focus on fancier food dishes.  They are known for their eclectic flavors and signature Szechuan shoestring fries to playful spins like a calamari salad, and signature jumbo lump crab.

As I mentioned, they are well known for their salads, so I decided to order the Continental salad which contained chicken.  The salad was one of the biggest portioned salads I’ve had, and all of the ingredients were fresh.

The Continental Philadelphia salad

I also ordered the octopus since I like octopus.  The octopus was cooked in olive oil and came with pita bread.  Octopus and pita bread…I couldn’t ask for a better combination.

The Continental Philadelphia

The Continental (Philadelphia) Cost: $$$

For my salad, octopus and coffee the cost was $33.  It’s pricer, but the food was fresh and worth it.

Overall summary/would I come back to The Continental (Philadelphia)? 

I really enjoyed the Continental, and I’ll be back.  Next time I’ll skip the coffee but other than that, The Continental is a great diner/restaurant.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: D
Service: B
Food: A
Price: $20-30
The Continental (Philadelphia) Overall: B

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to a martini bar? 
Do you like octopus? 

Leprechaun 5 Miler (30:37)

I went into this race with zero expectations.  My original plan was to run an 8k on Sunday, however as I said in my training log, there wasn’t enough time in the day.  I wasn’t able to make it to work after the race.  I didn’t think I would do any race last weekend, but found this race the night before.

The night before, my husband went on a date to a local seafood and Greek restaurant.  One of my favorite foods is Octopus, and when I see it on the menu, I almost always order it.  We enjoyed our date with no limits of food choices.  Needless to say, not only was the timing of the race off, but my stomach also was not exactly properly fueled (more on that later).

When we found the race later in the evening, we still decided to go for it.  Why not?  It was surprisingly big and had about 1000 finishers.

We arrived to Philadelphia around 8, signed up and warmed up.  By the time I knew it, the race was off at 9 am.  I found myself at first woman overall.  There was a large pack of men in front but for the most part, I found running myself alone for most of the race.

The first mile went by without much note, and I crossed the in 5:57.  I was surprised.  For half of a second, I thought I might be able to break 30 minutes.  I quickly laughed because that was not happening.

During the second mile I knew I wasn’t able to hold that pace, and I was going to regress.

I worried, did I take the race out too fast?  (Yes).  The 5k I ran a 6:06, 6:32, 6:59 split, will always haunt me.  I worried it would go something like that…

I knew I was fading, but I wasn’t sure by how much.   I promised to make it through the half way point before mentally reevaluating.  I hit the second mile in 6:05.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought but I also knew I couldn’t hold that pace either.

The course was out and back, and this race had one of the best turnaround points. It was wide, and I hit the halfway point at 15:10.

Immediately after the turn, we were greeted by a headwind.  I saw a pack of three women not too far behind.  Going from first to fourth isn’t a great mental feeling.  I hit the third mile in 6:10 and the 5k in 18:45.

I gave myself a mini pep talk of “two miles to go” and all aboard the mini pain train.  I zoned out and dreamed of the finish line and possibly lunch too.

me running 1

The fourth mile was where my leg fatigue and dinner caught up with me.  I didn’t feel great, but I went from bad to worse.  My stomach started rumbling, and I felt the octopus from the previous night.

Since it was an out and back course, there were hundreds of people staring and cheering.  To make matters worse, a cyclist rode alongside and started talking to me…I wasn’t sure how to politely tell him to go away, so I let silence set in.  It was either silence or projectile octopus…I hit the fourth mile in 6:12.

During the fifth mile, we caught up with the two-mile walkers.  It was frustrating because I spent extra energy weaving and it was energy I did not have. Seeing walkers gave me more mental stimulation to take my mind off of “.9 to go”…”.89 to go”…

By the time I knew it, I crossed the finish line.  I ran the last mile in 6:14 and crossed in 30:37.

Thoughts:

I surprised myself and raced decently on tired legs.  It gives me confidence in racing both a tapered 5 mile race and 10k.  I believe I could race a 37:30-38:00 10k on tapered legs.

This race felt more like a workout than race, but I felt good finishing it. I have a few races coming up that I plan to rest and properly fuel.  I don’t intend to give up date nights and have no regrets on the Octopus.

Questions for you:

Have you run a 5-mile race before?

Do you like Octopus?

You can see a photo on my Instagram here.

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