Saturday, January 15, 2011

Clinton Station Diner, Clinton, NJ

The Clinton Station Diner in Clinton New Jersey, just off Route 78, was featured recently on the Food Network show Outrageous Food with Tom Pizzica. I'd seen the episode, but I didn't recognize the restaurant as one we pass by once in a while on our way to Pennsylvania. Today we were passing by at noon and decided to stop by for lunch. This turned out to be a good decision. One of the reasons we always thought about stopping was that there is a railroad car attached to the building that was once a railroad observation car. We were given a seat in the main dining area, but I peaked into the dining car and realized we should have asked to be seated there as it was brighter and looked interesting. Well, next time.

Still didn't recognize the place from the Food Network until we looked at the place-mats and Teresa pointed it out to me. They make the world's biggest burger, a massive fifty pounder called the Mount Olympus. They also make burgers that are one pound, two pounds, three pounds, and up to a seven pounder called the Zeus, as well as normal sized ones with a whole bunch of toppings choices. I remember the big one on TV. This keeps up with our Food Network restaurants and chefs we've visited and makes number six.

We smelled the coffee as we entered and saw the sign that announces the coffee is made fresh every twenty-minutes so we ordered coffee and water and looked through the menus. Well, we took quite a bit of time looking as the menu is extensive and everything looked so good. I was originally going to get a Cuban burger and finally decided to pass in favor of the Cuban Panini, shown to the left. Teresa got a chicken and eggplant sandwich with marinara sauce on the side. By the way, the coffee was very good.

The food came rather quick and was piping hot, so hot I had to be careful picking up my sandwich. The cheese was melted perfectly, there were plenty of pickles on it and the ham had a nice flavor. The fries were steak fries and there were plenty. Very good sandwich. Teresa's was equally good and the marinara sauce had a nice flavor, better than the marinara at some Italian restaurants we'd been to.

The service was good and attentive and I watched how the waitress handled a complaint at a neighboring table where the woman didn't like what she'd ordered. They did a nice job of rectifying the situation pleasantly. Oh, and the bathrooms were clean.

Overall it was a good dining experience and I think we may take this route so we can stop by more often to sample a few things on the menu that looked interesting. I will try a burger as I saw one being delivered to another table and it looked big and juicy. They have a website for more information.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gold Fox Restaurant, Gardiner, NY

The Gold Fox Restaurant sits at the intersection of routes 208 and 44/55 in Gardiner, an intersection known as Ireland Corners. Years ago the restaurant was called Benson's, named after the owners. The building, constructed in 1865 as an Inn during the building of the aqueducts, was renovated recently by the current owners, the Vladis family. We haven't been there since it was Benson's, although we've driven past it hundreds of times. My friend Joette recommended we pay them a visit and today was a good opportunity. It turned out to be a good choice.

Inside it is very big with lots of rooms and it is surprisingly warm for an old building. We got there between lunch and dinner so it was empty and were seated out in front on what used to be an open porch, but was now enclosed so we had a view of the street and it was bright. Our server was friendly and courteous and she brought us menus and water. She was also very attentive during the meal.

We looked through the menus and there were quite a few things that struck or eyes, especially since we were there in the late afternoon and we were given both the lunch menu and the dinner menu. Many of the choices were reasonable in price, even on the dinner menus. After some deliberation, Teresa decided on the spicy chicken wrap with a side of salad for eight bucks. The wrap was good with enough heat, but not overpowering. The salad portion was very large.

I was drawn to a calamari dish, but I opted for the burger at nine-fifty. With it you get a choice of two toppings to go on the half-pound of fresh Angus beef. I chose blue cheese and bacon of course, but gorgonzola, avocado, onions, and a whole bunch more options were offered. You also have roll options such as a kaiser roll or seeded bun. I ordered it medium and it came a bit more done than medium, but still juicy and flavorful. There was plenty of bacon and blue cheese as well. The fires were okay, but seeing Teresa's salad I realized I should have gotten the salad as well. I've been doing that lately when it is offered and a second dose of blue cheese, this time in the salad dressing, is never a bad idea.

Overall, it was a very good dining experience and I recommend you give them a try. We'll be headed back in the future as there were some items on the menu that looked interesting. They have a website for more information and the menus.