Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Silver Diner

"We Buy Fresh and Local, You Eat Well!"  That is the motto of the Silver Diner restaurant.  And from what I can tell, they truly live up to that.

The first "diner" was credited to a man named Walter Scott in 1872, who started selling lunches out of his horse-drawn wagon. It wasn't until 1939 that we began to see diners as we think of them today...modeled after streamlined train cars or mobile homes with stainless steel or chrome accents and neon signs and art deco decor. The diner was a way to provide fast food while still maintaining a home-cooked-meal atmosphere in a casual friendly environment.

tabletop jukeboxes

There is still a certain nostalgia about them that reminds us of our childhoods or just a simpler time where being kind to your neighbor and going to church on Sunday and having strong family values were still top priorities. The women wore pearls and pretty dresses, the men dressed in nice slacks and  knew how to be gentlemen and kids knew how to behave in public and learned respect for adults. Maybe I'm overgeneralizing or dreaming that is was a more perfect time than it was. Or maybe I've watched the movie, Pleasantville too many times. At any rate, the diner still exists, though rare.

At Silver Diner, one can get a glimpse into that old America. Their food is hearty and fresh. They strive to use local ingredients whenever available and to be environmentally conscious. And they always serve with a smile! When we go there, we like to sit at the bar instead of a booth.  Sitting at the bar gives you more of the nostalgic feel of a diner and you get a close-up look at the staff hard at work.

Two of our favorite breakfasts to get there are corned beef hash and country fried steak!  I'll be the first to admit, corned beef hash looks, smells, and tastes a bit like cat food. But I can't help but love it! Part of the reason I love corned beef hash, is because of a childhood memory. When my dad would take me camping as a child, we almost always had corned beef hash for breakfast cooked over the campfire stove! I usually order mine with eggs-over-easy (one of the few times I don't get scrambled) and it comes with potatoes as well.  I'm normally the kind of person who eats one thing at a time on my plate, but this is one exception.  I love to mix that runny broken egg yolk with the salty corned beef hash! So delicious and unctuous!!

My husband actually turned me on to the country fried steak and eggs. I used to not really be a fan of steak until I learned what good steak tastes like! And how can you go wrong when you batter it, fry it, and top it with sausage pepper gravy!! Man, I love that stuff! I could just drink a glass of pepper gravy! Yes, its that good!  And on top of that, you get a warm, flaky, buttermilk biscuit. Put a little pat of butter and a drizzle of honey on there...almost heaven.

This diner food makes the perfect hearty breakfast on a snowy day too! And then afterwards, you can go home and take a nap! You're gonna need it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


TooSso is a small Pakistani restaurant in my neighborhood. It hasn't been open that long but it is always packed, especially on the weekends. And usually when I go there, I'm the only white girl in the place. In fact, I'm the only non-Pakistani.  So you know it has to be good when the natives are packing the joint out! And it is...

  Its a small cafe style place; its certainly not a fancy sit-down place but I wouldn't say its fast-food.  They make everything from scratch, and while I'll admit I don't know much about Pakistani food or culture, it seems pretty traditional as far as the flavors they offer.  Its a limited menu but sometimes those are the a few things very well instead of many things mediocre. The atmosphere is colorful and fun with one wall covered with bottlecaps of all different kinds and another wall with a bar area that has milk cans for stools. And the aromas...I love the aromas of Middle Eastern cuisines with all the unique combination of spices!!

Their main menu consists of rolls, bowls, and specials.  The rolls have your choice of filling (potatoes, beef, chicken, or chickpeas) wrapped in a hand-made roti, which is like an Indian tortilla, along with a variety of spices and herbs and onions and chutney. I think my favorite is the Zeera Aloo which has the potato filling.

The bowls have a lot of the same fillings but its, obviously, in a bowl with basmati rice and a yogurt sauce. The specials are things like Chicken Tikka which is chicken marinated in a yogurt sauce and on the weekends they even serve a breakfast dish called Halwa Puri. I'm not 100% sure what that is exactly but I think puri is a deep fried Indian flatbread and halwa is something sweet and its served with potatoes. Um, potatoes...sweet...bread...yes please, I'm in!

The Pakistani cuisine is deceptively spicy hot to me. You think, beans, potatoes, spicy could it be? Well, be ready to call the fire squad! Especially if you're like me and don't tolerate a lot of heat well.  I love all the flavors but sometimes the heat is so intense I have to take a break from eating for a minute. The heat from this cuisine starts off slow. The first bite or two, you think, ok its not too bad. But the more bites you take, the hotter it gets! The only thing that helps is a big gulp of a delicious Mango Lassi!

I love Mango Lassi's! If you're not familiar with what a lassi is, its a sweet yogurt smoothie drink. The dairy helps curb the heat a bit. So you'll need to get one of these if you don't want your tongue on fire! And they happen to be super yummy!