Shelly's Family Restaurant, Poconos PA

The food is nothing to write home about, which is why there aren't any photos of the food on this post. However, this is still quite a special place, and I'd love to return another time if given the chance.

I was in the mood for diner food, and specifically, I wanted tuna salad and a baked potato-- and that's what I got. My husband wanted buffalo wings and curly fries-- and that's what he got. My daughter wanted a bacon cheeseburger with onion rings-- and that's what she got. Case in point: this is a typical diner and will have just about any typical diner food you can ask for.

Prices were okay. Our bill for three people was a little more than $30. Most everything was a la carte, which took the fun of that "big bang for your buck" that other diners offer with all-inclusive deals.

The upside is that the place offers free wifi and a feast for the eyes with its decor: stained glass windows with almost matching pendant lamps, country oak chairs, gingham curtains, and vintage-themed posters hanging about. I loved sitting there and just looking around, pretending I was in a Stephen King novel. Getting there was also fun, as it sits at the bottom of a hill across from a farmer's market and up the road is a farm with large bales of hay for sale.

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Taste Good Malaysian in Elmhurst NY

Friends have joked about the horrendous service here, but still they return for the food that the restaurant namesake promises to "taste good". It's a tiny place off Broadway and across the park, so if you don't know about it from a recommendation, you won't know about it at all. 

The friend who took me raved about the chicken curry, which she ordered and did really taste good. It had chicken with the bone in, just like it would be served at home. Though it wasn't Malaysian, I ordered the seafood with egg gravy over crispy noodles, and that also really tasted good. Even better were the prices: $6 for the curry and $8 for the seafood noodles.

There was no such thing as customer service here, and I didn't complain because they practically only charged me for the food. Without telling us they were closing, the staff just started mopping the floor around us and putting the chairs up on the tables!

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Miller's Ale House in Rego Park NY

35 grilled shrimp with one side for $10.99

From the first time I went here with my sister and nephews, I knew it would be a place we would be returning to. Between us, we usually have at least 3 kids with us, so a kid-friendly place with good kids' menus are a must. From a first impression, it does look like a humungous sports bar with large flat screen TVs everywhere you look, but it has more than plenty of space for non-drinking families to sit at.

If you stick to their daily lunch and dinner specials, you can eat well on the cheap here-- like a full rack of ribs for $10.99 or a free child with every adult, depending on the day. Though I wasn't drinking, I noticed a lot of drink specials, and beer may well be cheaper than soda.

Because it's a relatively new restaurant housed in a relatively new shopping center, the staff are still pretty friendly and perky for a NY establishment. But as long as they offer specials, I'll keep coming back.

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The Fabulous Nevada Diner in Elmhurst NY

I've been to this diner several times, back when it was Pop Diner, before it was Pop Diner, and after when it became the Fabulous Nevada Diner. No matter who owns it and what changes it goes through on the inside, it remains one of the best diners in the vicinity. It's large enough to host impromptu gatherings when my family needs a kid-friendly place, both in space and menu, and it's open 24 hours with an extensive menu for any appetite. They even serve alcohol, so there's really no reason not to come here.

Most recently, my sister and I stumbled in here after a night of karaoke with the girls. We had all eaten dinner, but some in our group still wanted drinks, while I just wanted coffee and a snack. We tried going to restaurants in Forest Hills, thinking there were many night owls hanging around there, but while they were open and serving alcohol, all kitchens were closed. So off to Nevada we went.

Another time, I just wanted dessert, while my friend wanted nothing, so we went here thinking we can just sit at the counter. It was an odd time of day, so the host just let us sit in a booth. My friend and I were able to sit and chat for an hour without feeling rushed or guilted into ordering more.

Hopefully, if this place changes hands again, it will remain a tried & true place for me to go to. Lots of places in New York open and close, but no other place retains its good reputation as much as this diner has.

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The Bite in Martha's Vineyard

We rented a car on a day trip to Martha's Vineyard, and soon discovered just how small it was. After visiting the Gay Head cliffs in Aquinnah, we did a quick search on a place to have dinner before leaving the island. Menemsha was on the way back to the ferry, and interestingly we learned it was the site where the quintessential horror movie, Jaws, was filmed. There were a few places to eat, but we were smitten by The Bite, after seeing the tiny shack and reading good reviews.

It's a pretty easy ordering process. Someone takes your order through the screen door, and choices of fried seafood come in small, medium, and large, containers. I think the medium is equal to a pint, and large is a quart. We were not very hungry, but still we tried more fish and chips, and a medium fried scallops. Prices were really good, considering the freshness and quality of the seafood. The scallops were juicy and tender, and hands down the best I'd ever had. It also seemed like a bottomless container, considering how much they packed in there.

The big surprise was the quahog chowder. It was made with bits of salted pork. What a difference it made! We should've upsized on this one, as my kids and I are big fans of chowder. We've had just one other memorable chowder, which was in St. John's, Canada. Chowder like this is the reason why I have this blog. To put all my fond food memories in one place, like a family album!

The Bite on Urbanspoon

Baxter's Fish & Chips in Hyannis MA

The tour guide on the Hyline cruise pointed out Baxter's after taking us to see the Kennedy compound. After hearing the stories and imagining the nautical lifestyle of the Kennedy's, we were definitely mesmerized enough to make it a point to eat at Baxter's, which they frequented. We went early for lunch before leaving Hyannis, which was a good thing because the place started filling up as we finished our meal.

Baxter's is a casual waterfront spot, located in the harbor that is the home to yachts, tour cruises, and the Steamship Authority ferry. It has its own parking lot, and there are two parts to it: one at the bar for 21 and above only, and the other offering both food and drink, with seating both indoor and out. Orders are taken up front, and paid for in advance, and alcoholic drinks can be ordered separately at the bar. The menu is written on large chalkboards behind the cashier, in front of the kitchen, and thankfully there were four of us to try different items. 

The fish & chips is definitely their signature item, and I hope that this place will be around for years to come. There is something just heartwarming about food that lasts through generations, even something so simple as fried fish and fried potatoes! Everything served was plentiful and delightful, and definitely worth a visit if you are visiting Hyannis.

Baxter's Fish-N-Chips on Urbanspoon


Post Office Cafe in Provincetown MA

We ended up at Provincetown because our plans for Nantucket fell through, and because my husband has a weird obsession about driving to the furthest extremes of any place we go to. Probably just so he can say we went to the northernmost part of Cape Cod? Or maybe because it looked so cool on the map... such a narrow sliver of an island with a booming community filled with shops and restaurants. And live entertainment, as we'd find. Made even more lively as the town was celebrating 10 years of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and the party literally spilled onto the streets.

After walking up and down Commercial Street, and taking photos by the beach and the harbor, I was set on having my first lobster roll in Cape Cod. There were many options, with prices ranging from $15 to $20, so it was really down to ambiance and what else the restaurant had to offer. The 1 1/4 steamed lobster for $15 at Post Office Cafe was what brought us there, and I got my lobster roll after all. My son tried the lobster crab cakes, and it was the most pricey of our selections, but ended up being the worst dish: small in size, burnt, and not more special than an ordinary crab cake. My husband got his staple of fish & chips.

The place itself was narrow and bustling, but the ambiance was great for being on vacation.

Our only complaint were fellow diners, seated behind my husband. They assumed wrong that he could not understand them speaking in Spanish, trying to figure out if we were married, or if he was gay. They were obnoxious and kept laughing at us, but my husband didn't want to start a fight. In hindsight, I do wish the staff intervened. Our server was speaking Spanish to these diners, and so I'm sure he knew what was up.

Post Office Cafe & Cabaret on Urbanspoon


Bistro du Saigon in Fort Lee NJ

Chicken pad thai

My nephew's baptism lunch was held on Father's Day at a somewhat fancy Italian restaurant. We still celebrated Father's Day as a separate occasion, but didn't want to overdo it with another fancy meal. Besides, our celebrant (my husband), was working that day, and we need to go somewhere near his job that would be quick and easy. He chose Bistro du Saigon because it is a tried and true favorite of his, and I'll have to take his word for it because service was less than stellar that day. They also ran out of Thai iced coffee.

As I'm writing this, I'm getting confused myself. Saigon is in Vietnam, right? Yet, a lot of their offerings are Thai. Anyway, it's okay by me because I love pad thai and I love pho equally. And we had both that day. And whichever cuisine it was, the food really delivered. Everything was seasoned and cooked just right, if not perfectly. 

Hopefully, they will have iced coffee next time.

Spring rolls

Grilled pork chops

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