We went to go play a wedding party in upstate NY. On the way, we stopped at Neptune Diner in Newburgh. I don’t often get a chance to go to diners. I didn’t realize they would have beer. Do all diners have beer? Denny’s?
I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Greetings from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
N 47.673492 W 116.762511 Elev. 2161 ft.
I went for Sunday brunch-ish at a restaurant here called Jimmy’s Down The Street. When you get here don’t ask for Jimmy. He won’t be here. There is no Jimmy. There is, however, a Mike. He’s the co-owner with his wife, Gretchen.
It turned out Down The Street was featured on the Food Network’s “Diner’s, Drive-Ins & Dives.” According to the menu the show’s crew milked the shoot for three days — Three days! — in August 2011, with that chubby bleach-blond terminally hip host-guy, Guy Fieri, subsequently “highlighting the Chicken n Dumplings ($7.49), Pecan Rolls ($5.25) and Chicken Fried Steak Skillet ($9.95)>.” Nice work if you can get it.
The menu also says the place has been here in some incarnation or another for 50-plus years, though I don’t really remember it. I guess I was always headed in the other direction, towards Rustlers Roost when it was still located downtown.
The day I visited Down The Street it had a Stuffed Meatballs special for $7.95. Who could pass that up?
Mike had told me that the cook was making the meatloaf that morning and was wondering what else he might do with the meat. The answer? Stuffed meatballs.
I thought the special came with a choice of onion rings or french fries or baked beans, so, after asking if they battered them there — and she said they did — I chose the onion rings. It turned out that there really was no choice: You got the whole shebang, along with garlic toast and a Thousand Island-ish dipping sauce.
The four golf-ball-sized meatballs were stuffed with American cheese, breaded and deep-fried. They were pretty good, the crispy outside and tender inside making for a great juxtaposition of textures. But they really needed something. Afterward I decided what they really needed was spicier meat and, what the hell, a spinach-and-provolone cheese filling. Still they were pretty good.
The onion rings were good but they weren’t quite what I was expecting. I don’t know why but whenever anyone says they batter the onion rings in-house I expect tempura batter. Wishful thinking, I guess.
The french fries, however, were great. The hand-cut, homemade french fries are so far superior to the crappy faux-fries you’ll most likely get virtually everywhere else. Gadzooks: They actually taste like … potatoes! There simply is no comparison. After all, spuds weren’t meant to be froze.
The garlic bread was delightfully garlic-y and the baked beans were really, really great. The beans had big chunks of pork in them and were not too sweet. Perfect, really.
But the next day I started craving link breakfast sausage. It took me awhile to figure out why but it was because my friend had ordered what he called a “traditional breakfast”: two eggs, breakfast potatoes, link sausage ($7.95). The sausages Down The Street serves are big fat things, akin to homemade sausage rather than the common sissy-sized pre-fab links. I wish I’d have taken a picture of them or, at least, asked him how they were. But no: FAIL.
All in all Jimmy’s Down The Street is pretty good and pretty reasonably priced. But if you go before about 1 p.m. — they close at 2:30 — there will likely be a line out the door. That’s one way to help you find it, I guess. Still, it’s pretty easy to find: It’s down the street (Sherman Ave.) on the left as you’re leaving downtown Coeur d’Alene towards that place, whatchamacallit … oh, yeah, Montana.
And so we roll.
Jimmy’s Down The Street, 1613 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.
I went to the Chock full o’Nuts diner with my friends from work. This is where I got their signature Nutted Cheese Sandwich. This time I was surprised how much a big shot my friend Roland was here. I guess he’s a regular and they all know him. I felt like I was dining with a mob boss.
I got the Meatloaf Sandwich. Dang, this thing is heavy duty. It was like eating a loaf of bread. I wonder why I got it, since I’m sorta on a low-carb diet. Although you wouldn’t have guessed from my posts. I ate the whole dang Meatloaf Sandwich anyway, because it was kinda good with the cheese …and I like mushy things. But now that I look at my photos, I should’ve dunked it in that bowl of gravy that was in front of me.
Day 6 of the Shonali Bhowmik tour: Ran into Shonali coming back from the Drive-In. It was late and we were bored, so we went to Majestic Diner. I’m not sure we were even hungry.
I thought this place was made to look like a classic diner. But it’s really been around since 1929.
I got the Ponce De Le Orange Shake. Tasted like a Creamsicle. Shonali got a Deluxe Burger.
I thought the two other customers in the restaurant were probably food bloggers. They kept asking questions about the food, taking photos and were Asian like me. But in the end, I think they were just drunk …like me.
Dave and I went to Kasia’s on Bedford Ave. I thought it looked kinda like Alice’s diner when I first looked through the window. We got pierogies, kielbasa and stuffed cabbage. The fried pierogies were good. The stuffed cabbbage scared me when I first sliced into it, but actually isn’t as bad as it looked. Kinda taste like Chinese style minced pork casserole.
The prices were more than I expected, but I guess that’s Bedford prices.
Dave just finished up a tour. He’s toured most of his life. He says the hardest part now is figuring out what to do once the tour is over. Where to live? Where to work? We passed by a Help Wanted sign at Vinnie’s Pizzeria, but immediately we knew it wasn’t going to work out.
I always like how old diners look, like Joe Junior’s. It was empty, except for three Latino workers. I remember reading the hubbub of the Greenwich Village Joe Jr closing a couple years ago. Made me want to think this place would be packed with the locals.
I ordered the Beef Burger Deluxe (burger with lettuce, tomato, fries and coleslaw). I always think it’s funny when they give me a tiny ketchup cup of coleslaw at NY diners. I guess that’s a NY thing?
The burger patty was overflowing from the bun. The first bite tasted like a Wendy’s burger (maybe from all the ketchup I put on it). Then after, more like a diner burger.
Marcellus once told me how he used to romanticize old greasy diners …that is until he got old. I’m starting to feel the same way. I’m starting to feel that brick that I put in my stomach.
Before being a coffee brand, they used to have Chock Full o’Nuts lunch counters all around NYC dating as far back as the 1920’s. This is their first lunch counter/diner in about 30 years.
Sam got breakfast and I got their signature Nutted Cheese Sandwich (date nut bread & cream cheese). It tasted like what you would think date nut bread and cream cheese taste like. A simple sandwich. Makes you realize how much lunch portions have grown from back in the day.
A big plate of fries is only $2 more with a sandwich. Although that simple Nutted Cheese Sandwich is a whopping $6. Used to be a nickle for a nutted cheese sandwich and a coffee. Inflation.
Chock Full o’Nuts – 25 West 23rd St (btwn 5th Ave & Broadway) New York, NY 10010