Teddy's Luncheonette in Cranbury NJ

Business lunch combo with coffee and soup
I have revisited Teddy's several more times since my first post. I have to say it has continuously improved over the years. The establishment has been taken over by Teddy's son, but the decor and homage to the NY Yankees still adorn the place. It remains a place "where friends meet" and you are greeted with a friendly welcome every time you walk in the door.

The menu is pretty typical for a diner, and the quality is consistent, so you will get exactly what you order and be happy with it. Today I got the Business Lunch special, which was a guacamole burger with fries, soup, and coffee. The chicken soup with cilantro and rice, was perfect on a cold December day. The burger plate was generous, and the patty was tasty. My friend order pancakes and scrambled eggs, and she said it tasted a lot better than it looked.

Two food establishments on either side of Teddy's has closed. While they offered good competition, they proved not to be as much a mainstay as Teddy's. I surely hope Teddy's will be around for a long time to come!

* Original post from 9/1/10 *

Walking into Teddy's is like walking onto a movie set for a flick set in the late '70s, early '80s, with its wood-paneling and matching tan leather seats.  Even the waitresses look like they are playing a part.  Unfortunately, that's where the fun ends because the food was less than stellar.  It was so bland that I wouldn't go back even if I was feeling nostalgic... and also because my husband told me never to ask him to go there again!

Teddy's Luncheonette on Urbanspoon


Winberies in Princeton NJ

I've never ventured past the bar at Winberies. But I have been here for happy hour often enough to get the vibe of the place, know the quality of the food and service. I was surprised myself when I realized I never wrote a blog post for this place. You might not know it from the outside, but it can be a fun and lively place. Located in Palmer Square, it's more casual and busy than Yankee Doodle Tap Room-- friendlier and warm, too.

There are plenty of comfort foods at the bar, and during happy hour, the prices cannot be beat. Nothing costs more than $6, and a couple of items are just $4.50. Pictured is our order of buffalo wings, spinach dip with chips, sliders (4 mini burgers with a side of fries), and mozzarella sticks (camera shy). Our food bill was around $20. Drinks are even cheaper with glasses of wine for $3.5 and beer for $3.

Winberies gets pretty busy on Friday nights into the weekend. I like to go when it's not busy so I can score a booth. Sitting at the bar on a busy night is only good for drinking, as I've learned.

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Mamoun's Falafel in Princeton NJ

I've been told that most NYU students frequent the original Mamoun's locations in Manhattan. Unfortunately, I missed out on this rite of passage even though I worked in the area from 1997 and attended NYU until 2002. So when I saw Mamoun's open near me, in Princeton, I thought I had better try it now or I may never.

My husband, two children, and I went on Black Friday. I hyped it up a bit, telling my family there might be a line, but that I was sure there would be something for everyone. My son declared he was curious how the food and price compare to the falafel trucks in the city. I had to use the same yardstick, having never tried Mamoun's myself. The fact that I was the only one excited about the menu, however, was the first sign of a less than stellar experience.

I ordered a veggie platter for myself, with my choice of 3 veggies: falafel, baba ganoush, and hummus. It included a choice of salad or rice, and I went with rice. My kids shared a chicken kebab platter, with rice. Both platters included a side of pita. My husband was only interested in the dessert display, but ended up ordering lentil soup since it was the first meal of our day.

I liked my food, and I was the only one. I felt it was underpriced for the quality of veggies, as I enjoyed every complexly flavored bite. My son thought the chicken kebab platter was overpriced, and I agreed. I got more in both quantity and quality, and did not understand the $5 price difference between the veggie & meat platters. My husband thought the lentil soup was thin.

Overall, my impression of Mamoun's was off. The Princeton location was empty, but clean and even sterile, and had none of the character I was expecting. Though I hate venturing into the city nowadays, I just might have to visit the original Mamoun's to give this establishment a proper chance to redeem itself in my food memory bank.

Photo homages to the original NYC locations

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30 Burgers in Princeton NJ

30 Burgers has the unfortunate distinction of replacing failed small businesses, lasting no more than a year. Uncle Louie G's Italian Ices were no match for the artisanal ice cream mainstays in Princeton, so it was not unexpected that they closed their doors before they could properly decorate their baby blue walls. Yet, something about 30 Burgers looks promising, especially in a college town.

The draw was the junior combo: a burger, fries, and a drink for $5.99. It is actually just an adult version of the kids' meal, with the added shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Both junior and kids' meals come with 3 oz. patties, same portion of fries, and same size fountain drink. Between my husband, myself, and my daughter-- we weren't too adventurous, and just got our different versions of cheeseburgers. My husband substitute his American with bleu cheese.

As the name suggests, there are 30 different kinds of burgers. The 30th burger is a special-of-the-day offering. Different toppings range from bacon to fried egg. They have chicken burgers, turkey burgers, and veggie burgers, regular paninis, and salads, to round out their menu. Regular patties are 7 oz., and seems just the right size for an average patron. The fries are crispy, reminiscent of Burger King fries before they got healthy. Hence, beware of the amount of oil you will consume at this place.

I enjoyed my meal with the bustle of college kids coming in and out, and the view of the university from the front windows. It is decorated with the standard orange & black motif of the university, including vintage photos from the Princeton historical society. 30 Burgers seems invested in staying here a long time, much longer than its predecessors.

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Witherspoon Grill in Princeton NJ

I took an eight-week beginner's ballet class at Princeton Ballet School, and today was the last day. My friend from NYC came every week to take the class with me, and also helped me with my daughter while she was here. We made a friend in class, and the three of us ballet newbies happily celebrated our introduction to dance with lunch in downtown Princeton.

Our new friend suggested a few places, and we decided on Witherspoon Grill because I'd never been there. Upon seeing the lunch prices, I remembered why not! Lunch entrees started at $15, and I can only imagine what dinner is like. Good thing today was a special day.

My friends got mushroom risotto and salmon salad. I ordered the catch of the day: a pan-seared tilapia served with chopped salad. The star on my plate was the salad, with crunchy surprises from celery and radish. 

We all enjoyed our meal, enjoying good company in a cozy booth. There are other options for seating, depending on your mood, which range from traditional to chic contemporary. The bar is the centerpiece of the place, and it might be a nice spot for happy hour.

Witherspoon Grill on Urbanspoon


Caffe Galleria in Lambertville NJ

The weather was so nice today. It was a good time to visit Lambertville and look at the Halloween decorations, both in homes and businesses. I was told by a resident that the town transforms into Halloweenville at night, and on Halloween, about seven blocks are closed off so that trick or treaters can roam safely. My friend was visiting from NYC so it was also a great time to show off New Jersey's gems.

After walking around, we settled on Caffe Galleria. A lot of other restaurants and cafes were closed for some reason. My friend also commented that it was a good sign that there were so many diners at Caffe Galleria. We skipped the outdoor seating though it looked inviting, and were welcomed to an even more inviting and warm interior. The first thing that greets you is a gelato & coffee bar, then there is a choice of three indoor seating sections. We chose the largest room with red walls and paintings of colorful food items, like raspberries and olives. The tables were also all unique with repurposed wood.

My friend started out with a mushroom soup that was highly recommended. She said it had a strong mushroom smell and flavor, and was good and hearty. She then had a grilled chicken panini, with prosciutto, cheese, and avocado, served with a side salad. I tried their gluten-free pizza. Thankfully for the delicious toppings, the crust wasn't so bad. Overall, I should just avoid gluten substitutes.

Service was friendly and attentive, even though there seemed to be only one server for both indoor and outdoor seating. It is definitely a place worth revisiting.

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Zorba's Brother

Grilled chicken panini with potato salad

Gluten-free omelette with tomatoes, spinach, and olives, served with fruit cup

Okay, I lied. If you read the original post below, I said I'd return to this place over and over again. Unfortunately, as how it happens with other places I want to revisit, there ends up being other places to go to, and too little time. Well, I found an opportunity to go back to Zorba's and I did just that. My friend and I wanted to visit the Princeton art museum (closed on Mondays, to our surprise) and we wanted to eat nearby. Diners are also great for undecided diners like my friend.

It was awfully quiet inside, with just one booth occupied. There was also only one server who, even though he had just two booths to wait on, was never around when we needed him. I almost felt like we were bothering him!

My friend's grilled chicken panini with sundried tomatoes was good, along with the potato salad. I went with a gluten-free omelette, which comes with a choice of three vegetables. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of asking for olives-- thinking they were the typically safe black ones. It left an awful aftertaste even though I picked off most of them. Sadly, I had eaten my fruit cup ahead of my omelette, so there was no refreshing of my palate after my meal.

The coffee also wasn't very good. Not even worth the free refill. In short, I withdraw my previous recommendation of Zorba's Brother.

... original post below from 2/19/12 ...

I ordered a vegetarian sampler (pictured above, priced at $9.99) which I have nothing but love for.  My daughter ordered an overpriced kid's grilled cheese with bacon at $8.49.  But since my daughter is a budding food critic, I will just use her quotes for the rest of this post.

"Who makes bacon like this?  It's so soft."

"How come they don't serve potato bread here?"

"Why do they have butter knives on the table, but they don't even give you any bread with butter?"

"This place is decorated all wrong.  Why do they have a stuffed animal tiger over there?"

"Plus, they are so slow.  They keep forgetting my soda."

"Next time you come to this place, leave me at home."

P.S.  Of course, this is all tongue-in-cheek.  I plan on going back to Zorba's again, and again.  There were no wrong notes in my plate, and I appreciated its simplicity and freshness-- qualities that go hand in hand.

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