22 January 2014

Review: Snydersville Diner – Stroudsburg PA

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 2150

I’m a big fan of old school traditional diners. I randomly stumbled upon the Snydersville Diner while traveling through the Poconos. Upon walking in, it was clear that this was a traditional old diner much like the one my grandmother worked in many years ago. It’s nothing fancy. There’s plenty of chrome all around. It looks like it hasn’t changed one bit in the decades it’s been open, yet it is clean and tidy.

The food is simple but delicious. There’s nothing fancy; just your standard diner fare. Everything was hot, fresh and made exactly as it should be. Diner’s are about comfort food and that what you find here.

The waitresses are your classic diner waitresses. They are friendly and more than happy to suggest the best items on the menu yet just gruff enough so you know that you probably don’t want to mess with them. The only odd thing is that the waitresses wear what appears to be a uniform you’d find on an employee in a doctor’s office. It’s not a bad thing, just odd.

One of the things that our waitress provided a suggestion on was dessert. Snydersville Diner is apparently well known for baking a huge variety of pies. Since we were there in the Fall, I chose a slice of pumpkin pie. The waitress told me that she suggested that I order a slice of pumpkin cream pie instead. She was right, it was delicious. Though I suspect that it would be very hard to find a pie on their menu that isn’t delicious!

Whether you want a delicious fresh cooked meal, yummy pie or just a step into the past, this diner is worth a visit.

21 January 2014

Review: Royal Cracovia – Magnolia NJ

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 2148

When I see a new restaurant that seems to have gone over the top with its decor, I often wonder if they’ve put more energy into making it look pretty than making it good. Sometimes I’ve been wrong. In this case, I was not.

When you read the “about” page on their website you see a lot of bragging about how beautiful the decor of the restaurant is. This is mostly accurate. The only complaint I have about the atmosphere is that it is a bit bright in there.

The service is another story. After being seated, we sat for a while before someone finally came to take our order. We were never asked if we wanted beverages at all. I had to tell the waitress that we wanted to order soft drinks with our meal. When the drinks finally arrived my water glass was covered in bright pink lipstick. It wasn’t just a smudge. These were full lip prints. I don’t know how the waitress missed it while filling them.

The drinks themselves were served in very small glasses. I ordered a soda so I had to ask for refills several times.

We ordered some pierogies as an appetizer because they advertise that they have a “pierogi lab.” This would lead one to believe they have great pierogies. (And who doesn’t love pierogies?) Well, as it turns put there is such a thing as bad pierogies. Honestly, even frozen pierogies from the supermarket are much better than the pierogies at Royal Cracovia. The pierogies were made with a dough that is thin but inexplicably chewy and tough. The fact that they were room temperature instead being hot did not help any.

The other food such as sausages was not terrible but nothing to get excited over. We were brought a bottle of mustard for it but the inner seal hadn’t been removed from the bottle so we had to cut it off ourselves.

It would be nice to have a nice Polish restaurant nearby. Unfortunately, this is not it.

20 January 2014

Review: Lamp Post Diner – Gloucester Township NJ

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 2147

Lamp Post Diner ExteriorThe first time I visited the Lamp Post Diner was just a few days after they opened. There were a few small glitches like a waitress who apparently quit in the middle of her shift. The management did their best to figure out what orders she had or had not taken. The next few visits were much improved. We spoke to one of the owner/managers and he was very friendly. It’s clear that they are working hard to make their new diner the best it can be.

The food was quite good and their selection of desserts is expansive. Their portions are huge. I’ve tried sandwiches, breakfast and other menu items and haven’t been disappointed. Personally, I have to give them some extra points for serving their coffee classic “diner mugs.”

The only negative is that they are not open 24 hours/day. I hope that they will soon move to a 24 hour schedule since that’s what I expect from a true New Jersey diner. I also found the fact that there are TVs around the restaurant a little odd.

Overall, this is one of the first new diners to open around here in a while and it seems to have some real potential to become a long lasting institution in the community.

03 January 2014

Review: Piston Diner – Westville NJ

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 0800

New Jersey’s official nickname is the Garden State but it could be called the The Diner State. There are diners everywhere and I’ve almost never been to a bad one. I enjoy trying new ones when I hear about them but The Piston Diner lands squarely in the “not worth going back to” column.

When you first walk in there’s no clear indication of where you should go to be seated. We stood there awkwardly for a minute before a waitress walked by and told us someone would be with us in a minute. Once we were finally seated the service didn’t get too much better. Very little attention was paid to us throughout our meal.

They only serve breakfast and lunch. I found that odd, but thankfully it was lunchtime when we stopped by.

I ordered a diner staple… the French Dip sandwich. It was mostly bread. The roll was huge and there was barely any roast beef on it at all.  I would say that the upside to this was that I could use the bread to soak up the au jus. However, the au jus had an odd flavor to it that wasn’t all that appealing.

02 January 2014

Review: Sorbello Girls Farm Market – Mullica Hill NJ

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 1900

Years ago my father discovered the Sorbello Girls Farm Market. He would say he was going to go visit “the girls.” A few years have passed since then and “the girls” have grown up a bit but they still run a fantastic farm market.

There are more than a few farm markets in the Garden State but Sorbello’s stands out. Their products are always fresh and delicious and they always make you feel welcome when you enter their market. Ask them which apple you should choose and they’ll cut some up for you to taste. Ask a question about a vegetable and they’ll tell you all about the best way to cook it. Debbie also comes to the weekly farmer’s market in Gloucester Township on weekends. She’s the only reason I ever go to that nearby market although I’ll also frequently drive the 60 minute round trip passing many other markets to shop at Sorbello Girls. The quality of their products and the friendly service makes it worth the trip every time.

01 January 2014

Review: Positively 4th Street – Charlottesville VA

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 1300

There are a ton of great restaurants at Historic Downtown Pedestrian Mall in Charlottesville. We walked past Positively 4th Street a few times without noticing it until we found it on Yelp. While most of the places were busy, this one was fairly empty. At first we worried that maybe other people knew something we didn’t, but then we figured that maybe everyone was thinking that way and walking past. We were so happy that we decided to eat there! It has a bar and there at least one guy there who sounded like he had a little too much to drink (or was just obnoxious in general) but the overall atmosphere was nice. We sat right by the front windows so we could people watch while eating without sitting outdoors in the sweltering heat.

The food was fantastic. Since we were in the south, I decided to try shrimp and grits. I’ve never been a big fan of grits but these were the creamiest, tastiest grits I’ve ever had. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the tomato ragu, made with grape tomatoes, was delicious. The crab cakes were also very good and served with a unique side of crispy fried kale. Frying kale probably makes it slightly less nutritious but who’s complaining when it tastes that good?

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