In Praise of the Diner

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

  1. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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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).
     


  2. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff grrrrrrrr!!

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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
     


  3. Bradford

    Bradford Current Events Moderator

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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.
     


  4. sho'nuff

    sho'nuff grrrrrrrr!!

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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.
     


  5. 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
     


  6. Gravitas

    Gravitas Senior member

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    Tried a new diner this past Saturday at 5am. Best fries I have ever had. The veggie burger was quite good too, really light and tasty. I can't wait to go back.
     


  7. lefty

    lefty 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


    Huntsman,

    I'm a recent transplant to NJ and everyplace I go to offers regular ham or Taylor ham.

    What the hell is Taylor ham?

    lefty
     


  8. thekunk07

    thekunk07 Senior member

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    i believe it's a sweet-glazed ham from ground pork shoulder. kinda like canadian bacon.
     


  9. greekonomist

    greekonomist Senior member

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    Huntsman,

    I'm a recent transplant to NJ and everyplace I go to offers regular ham or Taylor ham.

    What the hell is Taylor ham?

    lefty


    We called it "pork roll" or properly "Taylor pork roll." I honestly don't know what's in it or how the make it. It's usually eaten fried/grilled. You have to puncture it or else it will curl up and bubble while it cooks. Haven't had pork roll in probably 12-15 years, though.

    My favorite diners are (surprise) run by Greeks. I have a couple favorites back home that I never miss. Can't seem to find anything like that down in DC, though.
     


  10. thekunk07

    thekunk07 Senior member

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    philly diners have pork-roll, egg and cheese on a bun. good stuff.
     


  11. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Huntsman, I'm a recent transplant to NJ and everyplace I go to offers regular ham or Taylor ham. What the hell is Taylor ham? lefty
    As has been noted, it's a ground pork product, usually lightly smoked, like a very mild salami without all the fat. I am not familiar with it ever having a glaze, like a Virginia ham or somesuch, though some brands (Case, for one) are a little sweet. It's usually served lightly fried. I just have a taste for the stuff after all these years. Have probably had every brand sold in Jersey. The original Taylor is always excellent, but I preferred ShopRite's Tangy. The six-slice pack to be precise (Taylor's 4 was too thick, and the 8 too thin). ~ H
     


  12. emptym

    emptym Moderator Moderator

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    Good thread emptym...
    Danke. If you're feeling like having some good diner food in LV, a friend (just elected judge!) and I usually go to the Arizona Charlie's cafe when I'm in town.
     


  13. tiecollector

    tiecollector Senior member

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    Oh how I miss the good diner. I finally found one downtown that is apparently the last one that hasn't been bought out by Chinese. The food is only so-so (though a million times better than the others) but the people are what you'd quintessentially expect to find and they all know each other's names.
     


  14. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    As has been noted, it's a ground pork product, usually lightly smoked, like a very mild salami without all the fat. I am not familiar with it ever having a glaze, like a Virginia ham or somesuch, though some brands (Case, for one) are a little sweet.

    It's usually served lightly fried. I just have a taste for the stuff after all these years. Have probably had every brand sold in Jersey. The original Taylor is always excellent, but I preferred ShopRite's Tangy. The six-slice pack to be precise (Taylor's 4 was too thick, and the 8 too thin).

    ~ H


    So you recommend TH? I guess I'll just have swallow the .35 upcharge.

    I've been spoiled by real Canadian back bacon. That's the stuff I'd love to find in a diner.

    lefty
     


  15. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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