Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jersey Diners

After a week straight of gumbo, I was ready for a change of pace.  I walked in to the Raceway Diner in West Long Branch hoping it would live up to my memories of hearty, plentiful food. When I was greeted by a little, old man with a heavy accent, I knew it was gonna be good. "The pretty girls get to choose where to sit!" he said as he pointed out a big window booth.

Taking the risk that whatever he offered would be the actual best and not just what they needed to get rid of, I asked, "What's special here?"

"You," he said with a wink.  "And our stuffed cabbage is very good."

"As good as my grandma's?" I challenged.

"Haha! We will see," he called.


Sweeter than my grandmother's, yet comforting as I swirled potatoes and sauce into pink forkfuls, I approved. My 70-year-old waitress cleared my plate and unceremoniously delivered a bowl of rice pudding.  A cup of coffee and 3 refills later, I took the check to the register.  $12 including tip had just bought me an hour of reminiscing.

On my way out, the owner approached me with his fist out, "Good, no?"  "Delicious," I rejoined and fist bumped him back.