Before exploring Sandy Hook, I decided to stop at Sides Grill and Diner. Sides Grill and Diner is a relatively new diner down the shore, so I was looking forward to trying it.
Sides Grill and Diner Atmosphere: A
Sides Grill and Diner is located in Long Branch right near Red Bank. It’s located on the main road in a stand-alone building.
The inside is a small modern-looking diner. It has a full-length bar, a few booths, and tables.
One thing I must include is that the bathrooms were one of the most well kept of any restaurant I’ve been too.
Sides Grill and Diner Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh. The waitress refilled it often, and I have no complaints.
Sides Grill and Diner Food: A
Sides Grill and Diner menu has a lot more healthy options than many diners. There are kale salads, plenty of sandwiches, along with the standard breakfast and lunch options. Sides are only open until 4 pm, so there aren’t dinner options.
I decided to order the French onion soup. It came out quickly and had plenty of onions as well as a thick layer of cheese on top. It was delicious.
I was craving a gyro, so I ordered a beef gyro. It came with French fries. The Gyro was good. It was nothing extraordinary, but it tasted good. I will never learn my lesson that gyros are not easy to eat.
The server was friendly, and the food came out quickly. I have no complaints.
Sides Grill and Diner Cost: $
For my soup, gyro, and coffee, the coffee was $18.
Overall Thoughts/Would I come back to Sides Grill and Diner?
I liked Sides Grill and Diner, and if I’m in the area, I’ll be back.
Atmosphere: A Coffee: A Food: A Service: A Cost: $8-15 Overall: A
Recently, I went to the Medport Diner in Medford, NJ. The Medport Diner is easily spottable from Route 70 and heading down the shore. Medford is an area I routinely frequent, however, I had never been to the Medport Diner. It’s one of the few 24-hour diners in the local area. For some reason, I hadn’t made it until a few weeks ago.
My good friend and fast runner met up after work. It 4 pm and even for me, earlier than usual dinner time. There were still plenty of people.
Medport Diner Atmosphere: A
The Medport diner looks like many in New Jersey. It’s a big, shiny, building. The inside has a full-length bar, plenty of tables, and booths. We were lucky to sit in a booth which is my favorite.
Medport Diner Coffee: B
The Medport diner serves Lacas coffee, which is a local coffee. It was decent, but I could have used more. There wasn’t much to say.
Medport Diner Food: A
The Medport menu diner has everything a stereotypical diner would have from breakfast to dinner. Before going, I was in the mood for a gyro or wrap. When we arrived, they had a salad on display in the front as one of their specials. Even though I had no idea what was on it, it looked delicious. I asked the waitress if I could have the salad in the front. She chuckled and said sure why not. It ended up having a balsamic glaze, mozzarella, strawberries and blueberries, and salad greens. It wasn’t my usual favorite type of salad, but it was great and visual appeal was obviously good too.
Since it was a special, it also came with soup. None of the soups spoke to me, but I ordered the beef barely. It was good soup but not a favorite. It was a cold day anything that warms me up, puts me in a better mood.
Medport Diner Service: C
The waitress at the Medport Diner seemed to disappear for long periods of time. The Medport Diner wasn’t overly busy, so I was left wondering…where did she go. We both needed more drink refills on several occasions as well as wanting the check.
Medport Diner Cost: $
For my salad and coffee, the cost was $15.
I pleasantly enjoyed the Medport Diner. I wasn’t sure how I would feel, but it was definitely a good diner, and I will be back. One of my favorites in that general area.
Atmosphere: A Coffee: B Food: A Service: A Cost:$8-15
Recently my good friend and website owner, Cyd, went to the Rustic Mill Diner in Cranford, NJ. I had never been to Cranford before, and truth be told I had it confused with “Cranbury” which is about 30 minutes away. No big deal as I still made it there in time.
Downtown Cranford, is cute. It’s walkable with lots of parking. It reminds me of a lot of Soth Jersey downtowns. The Rustic Mill Diner is located on the outskirts with plenty of parking.
Rustic Mill Diner Atmosphere: B
The Rustic Mill Diner looks like any other diner. While the Rustic Mill Diner is not a big, metallic, shiny, diner, it does have plenty of space and it clean and modern. The inside is a little bit outdated and has a lot of “empty space.” For instance, most of the bakery case was empty. As a dessert lover, I do enjoy the visual appeal of cake!
Rustic Mill Diner Coffee: C
I found the coffee at the Rustic Mill Diner to be lackluster. While it was warm, I could have used plenty more refills. What did save the coffee was the amount of whipped cream the waitress added.
Rustic Mill Diner Food: C
The Rustic Mill Diner menu has plenty of options. Everything you could want or need in the diner menu is there. Since we were going to get ice cream at A la Mode afterward, I tried to order something light.
A few of the Rustic Mill Diner menu options that looked interesting:
Triple deckers served with french fries or cup of soup
Kabob platters served over your choice of pasta
French toast dipped in egg batter and served with home fries
The chicken salad and chicken sandwiches
I noticed they had split pea soup as a menu special, so I immediately ordered that as an appetizer. The soup was delicious and much creamier than many split pea soups I’ve had before. Split pea is my favorite soup.
At the Rustic Mill Diner, I ordered their “famous” Greek salad. I’ve had plenty of Greek salads with salmon, so I felt as though I have something to compare it too. The portion was smaller than many diners. What interested me, was it said it came with pita bread, but it was like pita bread slivers. It was disappointing. The Greek salad did contain interesting and unique toppings such as celery. Was it a lousy salad? No, but it wasn’t my favorite either.
For the most part, the waitress seemed like she had better placed to be. She rarely came to our table, and when she did, she didn’t seem to be in a great mood. I had to ask several times for more coffee and drink refills.
Rustic Mill Diner Cost: $$
For my soup, salad, and coffee at the Rustic Mill Diner, the cost was $20. That was…a lot.
Overall Thoughts/Summary of the Rustic Mill Diner:
I didn’t hate the Rustic Mill Diner, but it was lackluster. If I do go back to the Rustic Mill Diner, I’ll probably order something else.
Summary: Atmosphere: B Coffee: C Food: C Service: D Cost: $10-20 Overall: C
This diner is not to be confused with the Town and Country diner ten miles south or the Hightstown diner right down the road. We made plans spur of the moment, and I found myself with a date the morning of! Christine has been a world traveler this month, so it was nice to catch up with her while she was back in the Garden State.
The Town Diner Atmosphere: A
The outside decor of the Town Diner is shiny and metallic. It screams diner. Being right down the road with the Americana diner, it has stiff competition to draw in customers. It is a classic diner and draws you right in.
The inside of The Town Diner has multiple booths and tables. It is kept well to the upscale diner theme. Even though it was lunchtime, it was empty. I was surprised! The staff is very friendly and certainly inviting.
The Town Diner Coffee: A
The coffee at the Town Diner was good. Something I could appreciate was that it wasn’t in a boring white mug. I know white coffee mugs are cheaper for diners for restaurants, but I enjoy diners that choose a different color. As with life, it’s the inside that matters, but I could appreciate the change of coffee mug scenery. The actual coffee with whipped cream was great, though, and I have no complaints.
The Town Diner Food: A
The Town Diner menu has a seafood flare. There is just about anything you can imagine a diner to have but in an upscale way. It was evident while its a diner, it’s a very upscale diner. I ordered the Mediterranean salad. All of the salads come with soup, and it was my lucky day because they had lentil! My two favorite soups are lentil and split pea, and I always feel like I hit the lottery when a restaurant has them.
The salad was heavily dressed, chopped, and had chicken, onions, olives, artichokes, and mixed greens.
It was one of the best salads I’ve had so far. I have complaints. It was delicious. I like when the salad dressing is thicker and not water-based. They didn’t skimp out at all, which was nice.
The Town Diner Cost:$
For my salad, coffee, and side of pita bread, it was only 15 dollars.
Overall thoughts: A Would I come back to the Town Diner?
I have absolutely no complaints about this diner. It was perfect. The Town Diner is a nice upscale diner and a great restaurant in general.
Cliff notes: Atmosphere: A Food: A Coffee: A Price: $10-20
The Town Diner is one of the best diners I’ve been to in New Jersey. It’s very close to exit eight on the turnpike and one I would recommend.
A lot of people question how I eat enough to withstand 100 mile weeks. It couldn’t be possible to ever gain weight while running 100 mile weeks and you couldn’t possibly eat enough to withstand that activity…ect.
First and foremost, I only ran 100 mile week. I didn’t run 52 but rather just 1. That was my peak week and most of my other weeks were between 60-80. Most not all. As much as I want to credit myself to running multiple 100 mile weeks, I know I would just get injured running several in a row. (or more then 1).
I’ve rambled about this a few times but blogging nutrition and real life nutrition is not the same thing. I feel bad for certified dieticians and nutritionists that also blog. They get mixed in with other bloggers whose research involves personal research and study which is not the same as being certified. Point blank: it’s not. I’ve taken plenty of nutrition classes but don’t know nearly enough as someone who has studied and has their undergraduate, masters, or even PhD. I can tell you what has worked for me but that is no way telling what will work for you or that is right or wrong.
The majority of healthy living blogs focus on getting enough vegetables, fiber and more vegetables into their diet. If I ate half the amount of vegetables that some people do, I would be able to run 1 mile…maybe 2 with deciding it was time to go home.
When you run high mileage and exercise you must learn that you have to eat a lot of foods that aren’t high in fiber. You must eat food that is still healthy but you can’t eat 3000 calories worth of broccoli. You also can’t eat 3000 calories worth of ice cream. Both will result in you not feeling great for a run.
A typical day for me looks something like this right now:
Breakfast: 400-500 calories
Coffee+cream (100-200 calories…my vice).
Some of my breakfast choices lately have been: Bagel and peanut butter, egg sandwich, eggs and toast, waffle with Greek yogurt or peanut butter.
A standard waffle with peanut butter and yogurt has been my go to before races right now and I think I’ll stay to that before the marathon (as well as a bagel with peanut butter while waiting around beforehand). My standard race day nutrition used to be a bagel with peanut butter and yogurt but I had stomach cramps a few races back and it was enough to change my mind.
Lunch (within an hour of running) 500-800 calories
I’ve been having a lot egg sandwiches lately. Eggs, avocado and cheddar cheese on a bagel. I really just have whatever is in the fridge. It could be a sandwich, soup or salad. I don’t have a standard post run meal or lunch. I normally just like to eat what is in the fridge.
Sometimes I’ll go to the gym in between, sometimes I won’t. (now that I’m tapering, I don’t).
Snack: 200-300 calories
I normally have a snack sometime in the middle of the day. I’ve been enjoying apples and peanut butter lately but that is only because apples have been so cheap at stores. I also have left overs if they are in the fridge.
As if anything else is planned, my dinner is the least planned and changes daily. I am such a meat and potatoes kind of person. I’ll have a serving of meat (steak and fish being my favorite), some sort of vegetables (cooked kale, brussel sprouts and spaghetti squash are my current favorites) and some sort of grain. I’ve been better about eating a carbohydrate such as bread or race. I’m actually not a big pasta fan (I don’t like the consistency) so I tend to eat more rice and bread.
I normally like to make a smoothie at night with a cup of milk and protein powder. I have a big sweet tooth so often times I’ll just have ice cream. I don’t really schedule a treat at night but if I’m craving something I’ll have something. Whatever I’m craving I generally have at night. I go to bed around 9-10 personally.
I know this is very vague but it’s how I eat. I don’t worry or stress about food or getting my vegetables daily. As much as I say I want to meal plan, I don’t. If I eat too many vegetables then I don’t feel good running. I don’t know how people eat so many vegetables (honestly). I do strive to get vegetables but not overboard. I try and get enough protein, carbohydrates and fat but I don’t track it and it doesn’t ruin my day. I found the less I stress about food the easier it is. I’ve never had a problem getting enough food and have never lost weight during a training cycle.
I will say I’m hoping to do a carbohydrate deplete and then carb load during my final week of taper.
Questions for you:
What does a typical day for you look like?
Do you plan your food weekly or eat when you are hungry?