Hillsborough Star Diner

Last month, I was able to go the Hillsborough Star Diner with the famous Jon L and Jenna.  Unfortunately they came into town the day after I found out I had both a fractured foot and food poisoning.  Since they were only in town for a couple of days, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see them.  My husband happened to come home early, so he tagged along too.

Me Jon Jenna

Atmosphere: A 
The Hillsborough Star Diner has a unique vibe to it.  It’s not an old metal building but more of a rustic restaurant.

hillsborough star diner

Photo via Hillsborough Star Diner website

The inside is a typical diner.  There are plenty of tables, booths and a bar.  Each of the tables is spread out, and you don’t feel as if you’re sitting on top of anyone.  We sat in a large booth in the back tucked away.

Service: A
The waitress was one of the quirkiest of any diner I’ve been too.  She was hilarious, and it was evident she loved her job.  She was great and made recommendations, funny jokes and refilled everything we needed.  She made a joking comment about my coffee saying “yeah someone orders coffee with whipped cream once every 5 years”.

Coffee: A
The coffee was perfect.  I have no complaints, and it was the local Lacas brew from Pennsauken.  The waitress refilled it often, and it tasted fresh.  I have no complaints.

Hillsborough Star Diner coffee

Food: A
There were a lot of items on the menu, and they pretty much served anything a diner normally does.  Since I had just gotten food poisoning, I decided to stick with something I knew and ordered a Greek salad.  The salad itself was delicious.  There was plenty of salad dressing, and the piece of salmon was bigger than the salad. I could have used a few more greens, but it was fine.

Hillsborough Star Diner salmon

Cost: $
For my coffee and salad, the cost was $14. The price was good for the quality and size of the food.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 
I liked the Hillsborough Star Diner and have no complaints; I would go back. It was inexpensive, the quality was great and the waitress was one of the best of any restaurant.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $5-15
Overall: A

Question for you:
What’s the best waitress you’ve ever had at a restaurant?

Millstone Diner

A few weeks ago, the famous owner of New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and I decided to meet at another diner.  We’ve reviewed several diners together, and she is the only one who likes NJ diners as much as I do.  Although she reviews everything related to New Jersey from diners to food trucks and ice cream.  If you are looking for something fun to do in NJ, I highly suggest checking her website out.

Atmosphere: A
Once arriving at the Millstone Diner, we felt extremely underdressed. The Millstone diner is new, and it’s clear the diner hasn’t always been a diner. If the restaurant didn’t have the name “diner”, I wouldn’t even consider it as one.  It’s upscale, modern and to feel undressed at a diner is a unique experience.

If the chandelier in the bathroom doesn’t give you a clue how fancy the restaurant was, I don’t know what does.  That being said the Millstone Diner is an excellent restaurant.  It has a beautiful atmosphere, just no diner vibe at all.

Millstone Diner chandalier

Coffee: A
The whipped cream is homemade, and they have their full coffee station with plenty of syrups. It was one of the best coffees I’ve had.

Millstone Diner

Service: A
The server was extremely friendly.  He was a personable person and made jokes.  He refilled the beverages and made conversation.  The food came out quickly and I have no complaints.

Food: A
When I found out the diner used to be a fancy Italian restaurant everything clicked. The Italian aspect hasn’t been lost, and the menu reflects the old restaurant.

There is pizza, pasta, salads and then at the end of the menu “all day breakfast”.  I decided to order the Greek Salad.  I saw another table have it and it, looked great.

Our meals came with garlic knots and soup. I liked the garlic knot basket, and it was always replenished…

Millstone Diner garlic knot

The Greek Salad was everything I expected from a more fancy and upscale restaurant.  It was delicious, a large portion and the salmon was good. The food was fresh (read the lettuce was green) and that it came with everything a Greek salad should. My favorite aspects including pita bread, anchovies, and grape leaves weren’t missing.

Millstone Diner greek salad

Cost: $$
For my salad and coffee, the cost was $21.  It’s a more expensive meal but the quality of the meal was high.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Millstone Diner a lot. However, I struggle with calling it a diner.  It’s a much more upscale and modern restaurant.  I do like it and will be back.

Something I found interesting was there was no sign of dessert.  The dessert case in the front was empty, and the waiter made no mention for dessert.

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Price: $15-25
Overall: A, however, it’s not a typical diner

Questions for you:
Do you like Garlic bread?
Have you ever been to a diner with an identity crisis?

Meal Favorites

When I wrote my last post about food, I had no idea how the post would be perceived.  Since I no longer write much about food, you never know how readers might respond.  Everyone needs to eat, and food and nutrition are an important part of running and working out.

I thought it would be interesting to showcase some of my favorite foods and meal staples.  I’m not great at cooking, and I don’t shop at a lot of specialty stores.  Most of my shopping comes from the three closest grocery stores to me: Wegmans, Shoprite and Whole Foods. 

I shop at Wegmans and Shoprite for most of my groceries and Whole Foods for fish, steak, and some produce.

When someone asks your favorite food, I feel like it’s a weird question.  You can’t compare items like steak to donuts, both are delicious but it’s hard to compare.  I have a lot of favorite foods.  I like sugary treats, but I also like a big juicy steak too.

Favorite breakfast item:

Breakfast is easy for me.  I have a waffle with peanut butter.  I’ve been doing this for years, and it’s always worked for me.  I eat a waffle every morning, whether I’m running, racing or just resting.  I’ve never had a stomach issue.  I use Bisquick and just add water.  I also use flour, egg, baking powder and milk if I don’t have the mix.  I can usually run between 1-2 hours after eating.  I don’t like to run on an empty stomach.  I generally eat within 20 minutes of waking up, relax and then go for a run 1-2 hours later.

waffle1
Artsy waffle for you

Lunch:

Lunch depends on if I’m at home or if I’m at work.  Most people know I work at a local running store.  It’s hard to predict a day in a retail store and no two days are the same.  I can’t plan to bring a big meal because I might not have time to eat it.  I could have plenty of time, or I could be snacking the entire day.  I’ve become used to it, though, and I honestly don’t mind either way.

I usually pack easy to eat sandwiches or bars so that if we get slammed, I can still eat.  It’s not like I can tell a customer “Go away I’ve got to get my lunch on”.  I’ve been looking for an easy “bar” recipe if anyone has any.

Some quick and easy staples.  Sometimes quick and easy means I order down the road from work:

Power bars are one of my favorites, especially the cookie dough
Power bars are one of my favorites, especially the cookie dough
French toast bagels from Panera make their appearence often.
French toast bagels from Panera make their appearance often
Quick and easy salads
Quick and easy salads
I crave soup in the winter. My two favorites are split pea and lentil
I crave soup in the winter. My two favorite kinds of soup are split pea and lentil
I recently got a take out pita bead sandwich which has become one of my favorite lunch buys.
I recently got a takeout pita bread sandwich which has become one of my favorite lunch buys. It has pesto, chicken, and melted feta

Dinner:

I’ve said this more times than I can remember, but I am a very simple dinner person.  I like meat, potato and vegetable.  I rotate through all of them, but both my husband and I aren’t fancy cooks.  Our meals tend to take between 15-30 minutes to cook.  Luckily my husband is the same way.  He cooks the meat, and I prepare everything else.

Some of our favorite meats:

  • steak
  • salmon or any pink fish (we aren’t fans of too many white fish)
  • chicken
  • Squid (yes, one of my favorite, if not favorite meats is squid)
Steak and kale
Steak and kale (I love T-bone steaks because they are so fatty, anyone else?)
Another T-bone
Another T-bone
Sea Bass and Squid from the other night
Sea Bass and Squid from the other night

The usual suspects

We frequently cook some vegetable or have a salad.  My current favorite vegetables are eggplant and squash, but it varies.

Vegetables of (current) choice:

  • eggplant and squash
  • asparagus
Eggplant sauteed in oil and garlic is the easiest and most deliscious vegeatble
Eggplant sauteed in oil and garlic is the easiest and most delicious vegetable

Then, of course, there is the grain/potato portion of dinner.  Current favorites include

  • Pasta or rice (because it takes 5 minutes!)  I went through a phase with pasta where I didn’t eat it much and always chose other items over it.  Now I can’t get enough.
  • Sweet or normal potatoes
  • Bread from Panera. If you recall, my husband won a year supply of Panera bread from a race last year, and we use it to buy a loaf.  Panera bread goes well with everything in my life.
Pasta with spinach and cheese
Pasta with spinach and cheese

As you can see, my husband and I are simple eaters.  We don’t spend hours creating perfect food dishes.  Spending a few hours is some people’s hobby, but we know we like fast, simple and easy food!  We save fancy eating for going out.

Questions for you:

Do you prefer cooking simple food or fancier recipes?

Does anyone have any “bar” recipes? 

Menlo Park Diner

Last month, Danielle, Amelia and I met at the Menlo Park Diner. I had only expecting Danielle, but I was super jazzed to find out Amelia was coming as well.

Menlo Park Diner Edison, NJ

Last month, Danielle, Amelia and I met at the Menlo Park Diner.  I had only expecting Danielle, but I was super jazzed to find out Amelia was coming as well.  In fact, I believe this weekend they are both running the Disney races!

After the weirdest jug handle turn, I arrived at the Menlo Park Diner.  Since it was right after Christmas, the Menlo Park mall was extremely crowded.  Luckily the diner was not crowded at all.

Atmosphere: A
The Menlo Park Diner is a large silver building, lovely and lit up.  It’s a stereotypical giant silver metallic building.  The inside is a typical NJ diner with a bar, many booths and tables.  We sat in a spacious booth.  The seats were comfortable, which I’ve recently learned not to take for granted.

Coffee: A
The coffee was good.  I don’t have anything of note about it, but I enjoyed it.  The cup was tiny, but the waitress refilled it several times so I can’t complain.

menlo park diner coffee

Service: A
I have to say the service was some of the best I have received.  The waitress refilled our coffee and water frequently made sure we had plenty to drink.  While the food wasn’t the fastest to come out, she did check on us.

Food: A
The menu at the Menlo Park Diner is massive.  They have everything from sandwiches to salads and seafood as well as breakfast.  It took us about 15 minutes to even decide what we wanted.

menlo park diner salad

After eating out several times in the previous days, I opted for the large Greek Salad with salmon.  When the salad came out, I can say it was actually large.  There was probably close to 10 dollars worth of cheese alone on the salad, and that’s no exaggeration.  The salad consisted of lettuce, olives, onions, anchovies (which I love), grape leaves, pita bread and 100 parts cheese.  It was one of the most salads I had had in a while.

After finishing the salad, I still had 20 dollars of cheese left.  I felt like I didn’t make a dent in the cheese situation.

menlo park diner cheese

Cost: $$
For my salad and coffee, the cost was $20 but, to be honest, the amount of cheese alone made me wonder if they could possibly make money by only charging that amount.

Summary/Would I come back?

I will be back at some point.  The food was delicious and the service was great.  Plus the Menlo Park Diner had great looking dessert I am interested in trying.

Cliffs notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: A
Cost: $10-20

Overall: A
Questions for you:
What is your favorite type if cheese?

WhiteHall Diner

The Whitehall Diner (Whitehall, Pa) 

Image via here
Image via here

Almost two months ago now, I was lucky to have dinner with Allison.  I’ve been reading Allisons blog for a while and she is an incredible runner.  In October, when I raced the Runners World 5k and half marathon in her area we decided to meet up for dinner.  She recommended the Whitehall Diner because she knows the owners.  I typed this up a while ago but I’m just now getting around to posting it.  So sorry, such a diner failure!

We got to the diner around 5 pm and it was already crowded.  I knew it must be good if it’s crowded at grandma dinner time.  I cannot even imagine how crowded it is between 6-8pm.

Atmosphere: A 

It was a beautiful slick building located on a hill.  We arrived just as the sun was setting and it was gorgeous.  The inside is huge and more similar to a restaurant versus a diner.  It’s very modern and clean.  The interior is open and has plenty of space.  It’s huge so you don’t feel crowded or claustrophobic.  There are several rooms and areas to sit.

Service: A 

Allison knew everyone, and the staff was all extremely friendly.  The waitress was great and refilled my coffee several times.  I have no complaints.

Coffee: A 

The coffee was piping hot each time. Hot coffee is important because it was the first and possibly only cold front so far this season. On a side note, was it colder in October than December because it feels that way.

I did not want anything other than piping hot coffee.  The whipped cream was perfect and nearly overflowed out of the mug every time.  The waitress was amused with my coffee intake but then again who isn’t?  WhiteHall diner coffee

Food: B 

The WhiteHall Diner has many options.  There is everything from pancakes to eggs and lunch and dinner specials.  Since it was before a race, I ordered something I’m familiar with: a Greek salad with salmon.  It was great.  My only complaint was that the portion size could have been bigger and I was slightly hungry aferwords, but I have an enormous appetite.  The food was excellent, though.   I liked that the salad included several grape leaves as well as anchovies.  Sometimes Greek Salads lack both, and it’s quite upsetting.  Grapes leaves and anchovies are my favorite. WhiteHall Diner Salad

Cost: $$

For the coffee and the salad, the cost was 20.  It wasn’t unusual, and I think the price was justified for the amount of food.  It’s definitely more expensive than many diners but not the most pricey either.  It’s about average for the amount of food and cost.

Overall thoughts/would I come back? 

I would come back.  Everything was great, and it’s in the top half of diners I’ve been too.  Plus if I’m coming back, it generally means I get to see Allison so that is a win-win.

Summary: 
Atmosphere: A
Service: A 
Coffee: A 
Food: B 
Cost: 15-20
Overall: A 

Questions for you:
What temperature do you prefer your coffee?
Piping hot for me
Is there a restaurant you’re a regular at?

The Wisdom Diner

Last month my brother, Tim and I all decided to go to the Wisdom Diner in Bordentown, NJ.  I have driven by several times but never stopped.  It’s always been on my “diner to do list”.  It’s much closer to my previous house so when we moved it got put on the back burner until we happened to be in the area.

Atmosphere: B 

The outside is clean and modern looking.  It’s a tall, white building on the corner of the road.  The building certainly catches your eye and makes you want to stop.  That is a good thing because there are about 5 other diners within 5 minutes of the Wisdom Diner.

From the Wisdom Diner Website
From the Wisdom Diner Website

The inside is festive and heavily decorated for the closest holiday.  Judging by several photos, it appears the Wisdom diner decorates for every season.  I like that sort of hometown feeling!

Service: C 

The service at the restaurant was one of the most awkward experiences I’ve ever had. I ordered a typical coffee with whipped cream.  The first waiter brought over an entire can of whipped cream.  The second waitress seemed very upset we had the container of whipped cream at our table.

Wisdom Diner Coffee

Wisdom Diner Coffee 1

We were the only ones in the restaurant, but the service was still extremely slow.  You would have thought it was a packed house!  At one point we saw every staff member behind the counter chatting and watching TV.

Food: C 

The Wisdom diner has a lot on their menu but stick with simple foods and menu items. There was honestly nothing too unique or to write to home about. They had breakfast options, lunch and dinner.  There wasn’t anything unusual from the restaurant.

I ordered the large Greek Salad with salmon.  It was clear they gave a piece of frozen salmon.  The middle of salmon was still slightly cold.  The salad wasn’t very large and I finished feeling hungry.  With the exception of the frozen salmon, it wasn’t a bad salad but I do wish it had actually been larger.

Wisdom Diner Salad

It looked and tasted like food I could have made at my house.

Cost: $ 

For my salad, my brothers wrap and Tim’s burger the cost was $35.  It was a relatively cheap diner but the quality of food reflected that.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 

The service at the Wisdom Diner wasn’t great and the food was just okay.  There are a few diners right down the road (such as Mastoris, Daphnes or Town & Country) that I would go too before the Wisdom Diner. It’s not a bad stop but there are better choices down the road.

Cliff notes: 
Atmosphere: B
Service: C
Food: C
Price: $7-15
Overall: C

Question for you: What is the strangest experience you’ve had at a restaurant?

Starview Diner

Last week, T and I headed to a new diner to try.  I have felt like I’ve been slacking a little bit due to my work schedule being kind of crazy.  Some weeks are like that though.  I have driven by the Starview Diner in Somerdale several times (on my way to Berlin).  Sadly there is no website.

Atmosphere: A

The outside is what originally drew me to the diner in the first place.  It’s a very open and picture perfect diner.  It has giant windows and a very cute and welcoming outside.  The indoor portion is just as nice.  It was festive for Christmas.  The diner itself is almost entirely all booths which is always fun.  I like booths the best, more room to spread out.

via google streetview
via google street view

The hostess and waiter were both inviting.  I have no complaints and the waiter made every special request (which felt like 10 million after I asked for whipped cream on my coffee and a side of pita bread).  He was extremely friendly and polite.

Coffee: B

The coffee had whipped cream.  It was nothing out of the ordinary but nothing bad either.  At least they didn’t charge for refills. This was average coffee.  It met my personal needs but nothing stood out.

Starview Diner Coffee

Food: B
The salad was pretty good. The gem of this diner was their homemade bread. They bread looked like a regular roll on the outside, only to find it was filled with cream cheese on the inside. It was the best surprise ever.

Starview Diner Roll

The menu isn’t available online. This wasn’t a cause of concern for us but we went in wondering what we were getting ourselves into. When we arrived we realized this diner had one of the biggest menus. If you aren’t going to visit this diner because the menu isn’t online, long story short…they have everything.

I ordered their soup of the day which was some sort of bean soup.  I can’t remember exactly and the menu isn’t online.  It was good soup.

Starview Diner Soup

My Greek salad was a standard Greek salad. It had greens, feta, hard boiled egg, grape leaves and I ordered a side of salmon and pita bread. I wish the salmon had the skin on it but other then that it was an average salad. There was nothing terrible but it wasn’t number one (much like the coffee).

Starview Diner Salad

Dessert: B
The dessert was okay. I don’t know what we ordered (some sort of chocolate cake?). I liked the frosting because it was light and fluffy. The cake was pretty dry and the ice cream was low fat and crumbly. It was weird to me to have that sort of ice cream at a diner but each to their own.  The dessert was decent but nothing to write home about (much like the entire vibe of this restaurant?).

Starview Diner cake

Cost: $$
For two drinks, two meals and two desserts it was 40 dollars. That honestly isn’t bad at all for the amount of food we got.

Overall thoughts: B
Would I come back?
It was an average diner. I’ll probably be back. It wasn’t the best diner I’ve been too but it also wasn’t the worst. The staff was friendly and I don’t have any real complaints…it was just an average New Jersey Diner.  I  recommend going to Starview Diner if you are in the area but it’s not anything to drive to far to get too.

Questions for you:

Do you like fish with or without the skin? 

I think the fish skin (and chicken skin) is the best part.

Do you research food menus online first?

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  The Starview diner doesn’t have a menu, website, or facebook page online (which is pretty odd to me).