Redz Restaurant (Mount Laurel)

Recently I went to Redz Restaurant in Mount Laurel.  I’ve driven by Redz a thousand times on the way to work but had never been.  For those not local, it’s also walkable distance to exit 4 on the NJ Turnpike, and one of the most accessible restaurant stops you can make.  While certainly not an NJ diner, Redz quickly became one of my favorite local restaurants.  

Redz invited me to try their bread pudding, as most readers know is one of my favorite desserts.  Sadly, my husband had a last minute trip, but I was able to go with one of my close friends who is also a pilot.  Funny enough, her flight was also delayed and it made her able to go because 2 days before, I thought I was going solo.  Which bread pudding is always worth it.  Planning anything these days has become laughable, but it all worked out.  

As mentioned, Redz is easy to find, as it’s directly off of exit 4 on the turnpike and attached to a hotel.  The inside is modern, clean, and with a full-length bar.  I would bring my husband for a nice meal, meet friends, or even bring my parents. 

While they do have a full-length bar,  I stayed sober since I was racing in the morning.  I didn’t pass up an opportunity to try their coffee.  Not that that is different from a typical restaurant!.  Their coffee was definitely one of the better coffees I’ve had in the area, which says a lot for an upscale restaurant.  

The meal started off with complimentary bread with butter as well as a oil dipping sauce.  I always appreciate unique bread baskets.  

In addition to looking forward to the bread pudding, I’m a big seafood fan, so I was looking forward to their newer healthy menu.  For an appetizer, we ordered the shrimp and scallops to split.  I will say the scallops were by far the biggest scallops I’ve had at any restaurant.  The entire appetizer was fresh with a ginger dressing.  Immediately I knew if we were starting there, it would be tough to beat.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

I ordered the ahi tuna as my entree.  I haven’t had tuna in awhile, but I appreciated how well seasoned it was.  I had it cooked as recommended and I’m glad I did.  I would order it again.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

The waitress still brought out the dessert tray, which to be honest I wanted everything.  Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

I had made my mind up days ago to get the bread pudding, and I’m glad I did.  She also included vanilla ice cream too.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

The bread pudding changes weekly, so there is always something new and different.  Last Tweek was cranberry and rumor is next week its pumpkin.  The bread pudding was everything I dreamed of.  It was extremely rich with a caramel topping.  It was definitely one of the best I’ve had (even as someone who grew up in the south).  The waitress commented I was “the first person ever” to finish the entire thing.  I guess that is a runner’s problem…but it was that good. 

Everything from the service to coffee, to dessert, was top notch and both my date and I agreed our only regret was not coming sooner.  In case you wondered, I did well at the Dragon Run the next day so I would come here before races too (something I’m more picky about…). 

Will I be back?

Well, I promised my husband (since he already saw the bread pudding on Instagram) that we could go again…so I will be back in the next month.  Even if you’re traveling through NJ and need a quick stop off the turnpike; it’s a good option.   

I had a great experience and I cannot thank Redz enough for inviting me to try their menu!  While my meal was paid for, all thoughts are my own.

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Ivy Stone Diner, Bar and Grill

The Ivy Stone Diner in Iselin has been on my to-do list for a while.  As most people know, I like seafood a lot.  Growing up in Virginia Beach, you’re never far from seafood.  The Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge, claims to have the “the best seafood” around.

I met my friend, Christine, for lunch.  We arrived around noon, and there were only two other parties in the restaurant.

Atmosphere: B
The Ivy Stone Diner is having a major identity crisis.  Is it a diner? A nightclub? A bar? It’s a very fancy restaurant with minimal features that make it a diner.  It’s nice, but the ritzy chandelier or moonlit bathroom sink hardly classify it as a diner.

Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge
The moonlit bathroom sink

Service: C
It was clear the server was extremely new.  He was nice and refilled our beverages when we asked.  For only two other parties in the restaurant, the food came out very slowly. I felt like I’ve been to many other diners, much more crowded that the food came out quickly.  It was borderline slow for a buddy restaurant let alone a diner with three parties.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good.  It was brought out hot and fresh.  We had plenty of refills as well.Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge

Food: C
The Ivy Stone Diner has a small menu.  It more resembles a bar than a diner.  There aren’t a lot if breakfast options.  Since they are well known for their seafood, I ordered salmon and a Greek salad.  I was shocked when I tasted the salmon.

It was apparently frozen and reheated. It wasn’t terrible but the hardly quality I would label as “the best.”  The Greek salad was good, and I enjoyed the dressing.Ivy Stone Diner and Lounge

Price: $$
For my salmon, salad, coffee the cost was $21.  It was more on the pricy side for the quality of food and size.

Summary/Would I come back?
The Ivy Stone Diner is interesting and not the usual “diner.”  It’s not a bad stop, just a very ok restaurant.

Atmosphere: B
Service: C
Coffee: B
Food: C
Price: $12-20

Overall: C
Questions for you:
Do you like seafood?
Is your area known for anything?

Food

One of the most common questions I receive is about what I eat.  I post a diner review every Saturday, but I don’t eat at a restaurant for every meal.  The diner meal only shows one out of 21ish meals I eat weekly.

For the first few years of blogging, I blogged a lot more about food.  Truth be told, everyone has their own opinion on what to eat and what not to eat.  I took several nutrition college courses for my major of public health, but I have no credentials to give food advice.  One direction I could have gone with the public health degree is getting masters in that field, but I learned quickly that I have no interest in giving people food advice.

I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, so I don’t feel comfortable giving out advice to people about nutrition. 

My personal blog only shows a glimpse of my life, and if I wanted just to talk about the cake I eat weekly, you might be under the impression all I eat is cake.  Similarly, if I wanted just to talk about my love for Greek salads, you might think I just eat Greek salads with salmon.  While both items are staples in my diet, I do eat other things. I’m not strict with my diet, and I enjoy life, food and everything as it comes my way.  I’m 5’7 and 130 pounds.  Height and weight are just numbers, so it doesn’t offend me to write them on the internet.  I seem to run well at this weight, so I have no interest in losing or gaining weight.

I feel like I just wrote a novel to share some of the foods I’ve been enjoying.  Sharing food on the internet is a tricky subject because bloggers normally don’t have credentials to give out advice about food.

My recent vacation, however, is the perfect excuse to show you more food and different the varieties of things I enjoy.  Since I was on vacation, I didn’t worry too much about eating that well.  I did have vegetables, but I also enjoyed dessert.  I don’t usually eat at a restaurant for 2-3 meals a day, but it was great to try new things.  For those who are catching up, we went to both San Diego and Los Angeles.

During vacation, I didn’t have any food I didn’t like.  Both my husband and I tried plenty of new things, but there was nothing I thought “wish we had gone somewhere else.”

Here are some of the things I tried: 

Ahi poke
Ahi pokes with avocado and sweet potato chips. The tuna was quite spicy and reminded me of sashimi.
maple bacon
The Bacon might be the gem of the weekend. “Man Candy” maple bacon from Fig Tree Cafe
ahi poke
Ahi tuna with a spicy sauce as well as avocado and cucumber
ghiradelli ice cream
Ice Cream from Ghirardelli Chocolate
salmon salad
One of my favorite salads of the week. The salmon was cooked perfectly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were caught the same day
Design your own custom cookie sandwich. Mine was red velvet cookie, cake batter ice cream and chocolate chip cookie
Design your custom cookie sandwich. Mine was red velvet cookie, cake batter ice cream and chocolate chip cookie
Classic post race burger and fries
Classic post race burger and fries
Salmon and Cous Cous
Salmon and Cous Cous
Studio Diner Pancakes
Studio Diner Pancakes

As you can see, my eating was all over the place.  I ate salads, but I also enjoyed dessert and different treats.  My opinion of food is truly like running…your overall health does not consist of one meal or one day of food.  Similarly, your overall fitness of running does not consist of one workout or race.  Both are the collection of consistent habits.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite post race meal?
What is your absolute favorite food?
Mine is either salmon, steak or eel

Sizzlefish Review

A few weeks ago, Sizzlefish sent me their Paleo Prime Fish package to try out. I was extremely excited because seafood is my favorite type of meat. In my household we normally make simple meals like grilled seafood, salad and potato (or bread…). Sizzlefish is a perfect fit for us.

I was lucky that Sizzlefish was on board and sent their Paleo Prime Plus fish packages to review. Since I like seafood, I knew this would be a product I would enjoy. I also didn’t have to go grocery shopping the day before to pick up fresh seafood.  So much winning and so little time.

sizzlefish review

The Sizzlefish package arrived at my door when it was scheduled too. It arrived completely frozen and with exact directions of how to dethaw. It made it easy for me not to mess up.

 The Paleo Package Plus comes with:

This was perfect for our household because we are two people and it came with two portions. I will say due to running and activity level, we opted to each eat two different portions for each meal.

I normally buy seafood at the grocery store.  I’m fortunate that we buy fresh seafood so I wasn’t sure how I would feel with the Sizzlefish frozen and coming straight to our door.  Honestly it tastes fresh and removes the hassle of actual grocery shopping as well.  I have absolutely no complaints about the quality of seafood and would highly recommend it to anyone.

sizzlefish

Here are some different meals we cooked: 

This tilipia salad is the best salad I have ever made by myself. I'm a big girl now.
Grilled Cod, feta, blackberries and balsamic dressing with extra olive oil
Sablefish, potato and a lot of kale
Haddock, potato and a lot of kale
Baking salmon with a little bit of BBQ sauce on it.
Baked salmon peices with BBQ sauce
Grilled Sablefish and sweet potato
Grilled Sablefish and sweet potato

Overall thoughts:

I really like Sizzlefish. I love how the fish comes straight to your doorstep. They are already portioned out and they give you a variety of options. I had honestly never heard of sablefish until now but it was great to try something new!

I will also say that the Customer Service is second to none. Their twitter and instagram handle are both extremely friendly.   I had the honor to meet some of their company at the RnR Expo and they are friendly in real life too. It is truly a great company with a great product. I have nothing but good things about Sizzlefish and I would recommend them to anyone!

 Questions for you:

Have you ever tried Sizzlefish?

Do you prefer making easy recipes or something fancy and unique? 

Harrison House Diner

The Harrison House Diner Mullica Hill, NJ

I had wanted to try the Harrison House Diner since I drove by nearly two years ago.  I work very close by and I always see the restaurant jam packed with cars.  I’m actually surprised with how long it took me that long to try it.  The Harrison House Diner was even voted as the best diner in Gloucester County.

Atmosphere: B

The outside is a normal restaurant.  It’s well kept and clean.  The name Harrison House implies it looks like a house and it does.  I always appreciate a restaurant that confidently sticks with their theme.

The inside is typical of a normal restaurant.  There is nothing unusual or unique.  It’s not as “diner” as you would imagine.  It reminds me of a normal restaurant.  There is a bar as well as booths and tables but the layout resembles a normal restaurant.

Coffee: B

I really liked the coffee but the mugs were tiny!  I could not believe how small they were.  I could drink the entire coffee mug in one sip! The coffee and whipped cream were great but the mugs were too small for anyone.

The menu has a giant coffee mug on it though!
The menu has a giant coffee mug on it though!

Food: A 

The menu of the Harrison House has everything from breakfast to “sensational salads”, to shrimp po boys and more.  Since the Harrison House is well known for their seafood, I decided to try the Shrimp Po Boy.

IMG_4173

After living in Va Beach area for so long, I have high standards for seafood. I was surprised by how good the shrimp po boy was.  My dad got the crab cake, which was huge!  It was one of the biggest crab cakes I’ve seen.  I was jealous and will definitely be ordering that next time.  (Edit to add: I’ve since ordered take out and the crab cake is just as good).

Harrison House Crab Cake

Dessert: A 

We ordered the German Chocolate Cake with ice cream.  The cake was fresh and the frosting was rich.  I was pleasantly surprised with how good the cake was.  I have no complaints and it was perfect.  Behind red velvet cake, german chocolate cake is my favorite.  They also had plenty of other cakes, cookies and baked goods.

Harrison House German Chocolate Cake 1

Harrison House German Chocolate Cake

Cost: $

For the shrimp po boy, coffee and cake the cost was $16.  That’s not bad at all and in fact a really great deal.

Overall thoughts/would I come back? 

I thought the Harrison House was really good.  I will definitely be back.  I’ve been twice since the first time.  I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to try in the first place.  If you heading down the shore or getting off the NJ turnpike at exit 2, the Harrison House is a great place to stop.

Cliff notes: 
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Dessert: A 
Cost $10-15
Overall: A 

Questions for you:
Are you a seafood fan?
What are your favorite flavors of cake? 

Gladys Cafe (St. Thomas) 

While visiting to St. Thomas, we stumbled upon Gladys Cafe.  We decided to deboard and see which restaurants were open on the island.  While touring around the town we stumbled upon Gladys Cafe.  It had a dineresc feel so we thought why not try it?  We were actually very intrigued by the menu and were instantly hooked (and yes we ate in other “nondiner” restaurants too 😉

After we went back to the cruise and had internet we found out that Gladys Cafe was one of the most popular restaurants on the island of St. Thomas.  It’s always fun when you can stumble upon hidden gems like that!

Atmosphere: A 

The restaurant is tucked on a side street of St. Thomas.  You have to walk down an alleyway to physically get there!  I don’t know how we even randomly found our way there.  The building is long and narrow so there is plenty of room in the restaurant. There are three rooms with a bar in the middle.  Gladys cafe is decorated with multiple family photos and portraits.  It is very clear it’s a very family friendly restaurant.  It’s nice to actually see how family friendly themed it is.

 

Leaving the ship.
Leaving the ship.

It was also really interesting and unique to see the owner, Gladys, working and making drinks for customers.  The only other time I’ve seen the restaurant owner working was in Rochester!

Coffee: D 

The waiter forgot I wanted coffee and I did not receive it until halfway through eating my meal.  It was also $3 and for 6 ounces.  For me the coffee was not worth it and I would not order it again.

Food: A

Glady’s Cafe has a lot of local and tropical options.  They have a lot of seafood options as well as poultry and lamb.  There are so many unusual foods that I have never heard of.  I enjoyed browsing the menu and debating what to order.  I hadn’t had Mahi Mahi in a while so I made the decision to order that! Before Glady’s the last time I had Mahi Mahi was probably in 2012.

 

Grilled mahi mahi at Glady's Cafe (the photo does not do it justice)
Grilled mahi mahi at Glady’s Cafe (the photo does not do it justice)

I ordered the grilled Mahi Mahi salad.  The Mahi Mahi was some of the best fish I’ve had.  It wasn’t over cooked and tasted as if they had fished it out themselves.  It was one of my favorite seafood dishes to date.  Most of my food on vacation was so delicious and unique that I want to post about it.  The salad was a normal ceaser salad.  I originally ordered the dressing on the side but they forgot to put it on the side so I just ate the salad anyways.  ‘Honestly, the salad was good and I’m glad it worked out that way.

Price: $$$

For my coffee and Mahi Mahi salad, the price was $22.  For the amount of food and coffee I received it was expensive.  That being said, the food was high quality so it was worth it.  I probably wouldn’t order the coffee again.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 

Gladys cafe is great and I enjoyed the Mahi Mahi.  I would come back but wouldn’t order coffee again.  I found the food extremely delicious and would recommend it if you visit St. Thomas.  The only issue I had was the service was not great (the coffee and salad dressing was forgotten).  Everything worked its way out in the end though.

Cliff notes:

Atmosphere: A

Coffee: D 

Food: A

Price: $15-25 

Overall rating: B

Questions for you: 

Have you tried mahi mahi before? 

Have you ever been to St. Thomas? 

Vacation Food

Is today already Wednesday?

I have been working all week so I feel like the week is flying by.

Per blog culture I feel like anytime I talk about food it must be on Wednesday…I only participate in WIAW (What I ate Wednesday) once every few months because I almost always forget to take photos of my food on a daily basis.  The food I consume is also extremely boring and not photoworthy 95% of the time.  I’m a terrible cook and if something takes more than 10 minutes to make I don’t want too…

When I went on my honeymoon, everything was cooked and made for me so therefore it is more exciting!  Anyways, one thing we both enjoyed about the honeymoon was all the great food we didn’t have to make!  It was all perfect from the cookie nookie in key west to the several diners and restaurants we went too.  Everything on the cruise was perfect and I have no complaints about that either.

Instead of posting about how good the food was, I’ll just post some photos and caption them.  I think that is how you blog about food…This obviously isn’t everything I ate nor did I focus on taking photos.  These are the most interesting though and the photos I remembered to take!

I really enjoyed the never ending amount of seafood and dessert (as you can see).  I tried a lot of various fish (including dolphin…not the mammal dolphin but fish dolphin).  While out, we really tried to have as much as seafood as we could.  We knew it was fresh and local and there is nothing like fresh seafood!

I also had dessert every single night and have no regrets.

salad
Fish and salad in Key West
Lobster Prime Rib
Prime Rib and Lobster…so this is what the fancy and expensive 60 dollar meal life feels like 😉
Lobster Prime Rib 1
Another visual of the Prime Rib and Lobster…
Seafood Platter
Terrible lighting but clams, bass and scallops all in one
Duck
Duck and “fancy potatoes”..IE french fries
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate almond cake…it tasted a lot like a big piece of fudge but I don’t mind
Carribean Salad
Caribbean Salad
Bread Pudding
The best bread pudding ever
Can't forget the drinks!
Can’t forget the drinks!
Bad Ass Coffee
Not gas station but BadAss Coffee in St. Maartin…have to end LOLZ blog with coffee right?

Questions for you:

What is your favorite seafood?

What is the most expensive meal you have ever eaten?

I think prime rib and lobster might be it for me!