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In Praise of the Diner

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by emptym, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    Had dinner at one tonight. If I weren't so cheap, I'd eat at one every night. You see all kinds of people there, all ages, races, social classes, sexes, levels of happiness. Love the ambiance. Reminds me of the buffets we went to in LV as a kid. Vinyl boots and stools. Plain stainless steel utensils. Great food.

    Tonight I had the country-fried (or chicken-fried) steak, smothered w/ gravy. Two eggs over easy. Three buttermilk pancakes. Real butter. Real maple syrup. And a glass of milk. Whole milk. Decadent, all of it. $10. CNN was on w/ Larry King. I talked w/ the elderly couple in the next booth about their health, Cole Porter, theology, and Obama. The nicest waitress. Hard-working busboy.

    This one was on the corner of Geary and Masonic. Either binge, iammatt, or my cousin recommmended it.
    Anyone else like diners? Have another to recommend?
     
  2. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    There's one just 2 blocks from my apt. It's open 24/7. The food is acceptable, but nothing to tell anybody about. I wish they would reduce their thousand-items menu to something more manageable--then they could surely make better food. But, in a pinch, at 3am, you can't beat it with a stick.
     
  3. Johnny_5

    Johnny_5 Senior member

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    Wow. I'm happy you enjoyed yourself at a diner. I havent had anything decent at an NJ diner in years. Even at my uncles. You got me in the mood to go to one on my coming day off for sunday breakfast.
     
  4. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Sometimes, I watch that quintessentially Yuppie program on PBS called "Check Please!" where different Bay Area yuppies come together to review restaurants they had each suggested and been to.

    I recall there was an episode where they reviewed a diner, favorably.
     
  5. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    ^I say we meet there for SF in SF part III, if there is one.
     
  6. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    My last visit there I only ate in a diner once- at Bashful Bull. Kinda average, foodwise but the diner atmosphere itself is what makes me go there. I should find better places for my return there. What do you recommend?
     
  7. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    What do you recommend?

    A cup of loneliness ...

    [​IMG]

    lefty
     
  8. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    there's one about 2 blocks from my office, I love it. another one within walking distance of my house, and we go there maybe once a month. its strange, though, I don't know if anybody varies their orders that much in a diner - I always order one of maybe 5 things, so do most people I know (everybody maybe a different 5 things).
     
  9. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    ^ Five things is pretty good. I probably order a country fried steak 80% of the time. I think I had 5 or six of them on my trip across country. This is the one I just went to and recommend, Acidicboy. Surprised by the low ratings. It's prob. the decor. Not everyone was raised on LV buffets.
     
  10. JoelF

    JoelF Senior member

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    I generally like diners but it is really hit or miss on the food quality and cleanliness. Some of them are disgusting.
     
  11. chorse123

    chorse123 Senior member

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    When I lived in Brooklyn, there was a diner on my way to the train. They made their own doughnuts, which were great. My wife and I went almost every weekend. Friendly waitresses, cheap food -- $3 for coffee, oj, 2 eggs, toast, potatoes. Makes me hungry.
     
  12. Quatsch

    Quatsch Senior member

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    Diners always have the best hamburgers.
     
  13. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    When I lived in Brooklyn, there was a diner on my way to the train. They made their own doughnuts, which were great. My wife and I went almost every weekend. Friendly waitresses, cheap food -- $3 for coffee, oj, 2 eggs, toast, potatoes. Makes me hungry.
    Can you get West Coast style apple fritters and old-fashioneds there? My brother is looking for a place in NYC that has them.
     
  14. chorse123

    chorse123 Senior member

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    I don't think so. They had a small range.
     
  15. thekunk07

    thekunk07 Senior member

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    the few remaining all-night diners at which you can get a good burger or turkey dinner or a well-mixed drink like a tom collins is one of the true simple pleasures.
     
  16. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Good thread emptym.

    I do not have any good diners, in my current city, that I favor. I had a couple as a youth though, where we'd all go satisfy the munchies at 3am. I had a couple in Detroit too. In Detroit, a good diner must have a wicked Coney Island dog or loose meat sandwich.

    GT: right on that most people have "go to" items for a diner. Mine would be the chicken fried steak and the club. Hard to ruin a club (but I've seen it done).
     
  17. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff Senior member

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    Tonight I had the country-fried (or chicken-fried) steak, smothered w/ gravy. Two eggs over easy. Three buttermilk pancakes. Real butter. Real maple syrup. And a glass of milk. Whole milk. Decadent, all of it. $10.

    mmmm. i love that mash that ends up when eating through a hot plate of sizzling country fried, some buscuits and some eggs.
    mmmm i am hungering for this now
     
  18. Bradford

    Bradford Senior member

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    What's the criteria for a restaurant to be considered a diner? I can't really think of one in Phoenix, but I know some good breakfast spots both here and in Tucson where I grew up.
     
  19. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff Senior member

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    i think a diner would include a counter where customers can sit to eat where it is right next to the service station and window for food to the kitchen.
     
  20. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Born in Jersey, so diners are in my blood -- when I was younger, eating at one somewhere was a monthly thing. We had many summer breakfasts in the diners from the Highlands to Point Pleasant when we had our boat in the waters. The coffee was always consistent strong and fine, the food hearty and cheap, the service fast and unapologetically casual and friendly. I rarely ate platters, but a Taylor Ham and Swiss on a hard roll with poppyseeds was a usual breakfast for me. A Reuben fit most other meals. You always knew what to expect, and there is comfort in that.

    When I left the Garden State the diners were getting pretty shabby and I didn't frequent them at all. A few months ago I had some business in NYC, missed dinner, etc, one thing led to another and I left on the last train out. Two hours later and after 3am, I get to my car for the couple of hours ride home. Blearily I remember a diner nearby. It's still there! I stop for a cuppa joe and a taylor ham sandwich. Roaches greeted me in the john. The coffee was bitter. And the sandwich lost only half a bite.

    I miss the old magic.

    ~ H
     

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