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This Fourth of July was dreamily warm and sunny in the Lehigh Valley.  Huge puffs of clouds drifted across the blue sky.  Key City signPerfect weather for a road trip.  So, on a holiday outing to New Jersey, we stopped for breakfast at a noted area landmark – the Key City Diner in Phillipsburg.

The restaurant’s hostess showed us to an isolated corner booth in the half-filled restaurant.  (We would regret not asking for a more noticeable table.)  From the large menu of appealing breakfast entrees, we chose quickly then turned our attention to the morning newspaper.   Well over ten minutes had passed when we realized a waitress had not yet made an appearance.   We were about to go searching when a red-shirted young woman appeared.   In apology she said, “I didn’t know you were here.”  We asked for coffee and water then placed our orders.

As we waited for our drinks, M. continued skimming the newspaper while I glanced around at the classic diner decor.  Key City outsideRoomy and bright, Key City is surrounded by windows.   Established in 1955, it sparkles with mirrored walls, formica and shiny stainless.   An airy, traditional New Jersey diner.

Another five minutes passed before our water finally arrived, followed by our coffee.  Scattered across the dining room, two larger parties and several couples talked, laughed, and enjoyed their meals.  A more experienced waitress efficiently handled their orders.

When our food came – steak and eggs for M., scrambled eggs for me – our waitress said she forgot our toast and would bring it right away.  breakfast 228After she’d left, I realized she’d also forgotten the sausage links I had ordered.  Meanwhile, M. began eating.  The homefries were well browned, crisp and tasty.  M.’s large steak was juicy and medium rare, as he’d asked.   My sausage links, once they arrived, were superb.

Mid-way through our meal, our coffee cups were empty; we awaited a refill.  Through the mirrored wall, I spied our waitress gazing out the window.  I motioned but she wandered away.   Finally, we signaled to the other waitress for more coffee.  She left to call our server then returned with a coffee pot.  Just then our waitress also showed up, pot in hand.

The Key City has a fine reputation.  The atmosphere is appealing and our food was very good.  Based on past experience for lunch, service has generally been friendly and quick.  Whatever the reason on this visit, service was sufficiently lacking that I felt it should be commented on.

Our total bill for a large breakfast steak, two eggs, homefries and toast, and two scrambled eggs, homefries, two sausage links and toast, and two cups of coffee (one refill each), came to just under $22 (plus tip).

The Key City Diner & Restaurant is located at the junction of Routes 22 and 57 in Phillipsburg, NJ.  908-859-2373.  They offer take-out, and are open 24 hours.

Sara

Key City Diner on Urbanspoon

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Saturday’s rains had a poetic quality. Staunch downpours took only an occasional breath to drizzle, then poured again.  The rains are making the Lehigh Valley’s Bistro on Mainlandscape a hundred shades of green.  We might have stayed indoors but it seemed to be the perfect morning to enjoy breakfast at The Bístro on Main in Nazareth.

We’d also been reminded by News Over Coffee and the Express-Times that this weekend marked the Rotary’s fifth annual Barony of the Rose sale.  The 5,000 acre tract of land that is now Nazareth was once owned by William Penn’s family.  Each year, the tax to the heirs was one red rose.  In memory, the Rotary now holds an annual rose sale, with funds raised going back to the community.  So, on our way to breakfast, we stopped to buy our red rose.

The charming restaurant was nearly full when we arrived but we Bistro breakfastfound a lone table that seemed to be waiting for our arrival.  Our server, a tall young man, efficiently dropped off the breakfast menu then returned with two cups of steaming black coffee.  Delicious!  The one-page menu had a nice variety including omelets and other egg dishes, pancakes, and crepes!  Not a dish always found in the Valley.  Of course I had to try them.  I’ve been a crepe lover since a visit to Quebec a few years ago.  M. chose a hearty breakfast platter.

As we waited for our food, we talked and enjoyed the funky atmosphere of the bistro.  breakfast 218Its black ceiling, checkerboard black and white border, gold painted walls, and subdued lighting make it a delightful place to enjoy a meal.

Our food arrived. I was astounded by the crepes. I had chosen a combination of fillings – blueberries, blackberries, and peaches.  The crepes were packed with the fruit and the resulting flavor was exquisite.  Perhaps not quite the same as my memory of Quebec’s French crepes 😉 but very close.  M. also enjoyed his meal.  He’d ordered a platter that included three eggs, two meats, homefries, and wheat toast.  His eggs were exceptionally well-prepared and the meat was tasty.

Service was top-notch with our coffee cups refilled as often as needed.

Our total bill came to just over $15 (plus tip) for two coffees with ample refills, a breakfast platter that included three poached eggs, bacon, grilled sausage, homefries, and toast, and a plate of two large crepes filled with fruit, garnished with whipped cream, and drizzled with sauce.  Quite reasonable.  For its atmosphere, quality of food, service, and price, we heartily recommend a visit to The Bístro!

The Bístro on Main is located at 47 S. Main Street in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, just south of Center Square.  484-298-3360.  They are open for breakfast and lunch.  Stop in and let me know what you think.

Sara

The Bistro on Main on Urbanspoon

“How do you choose a diner to review?” a friend asked.   westgate-diner2Answering took a few minutes.  Sometimes it’s geography, based on a morning’s errands.  Or we might pull a name from others’ suggestions.   On occasion, it’s pure happenstance.  That’s how we ended up at the Westgate Diner this morning.  We just sort of happened upon it.  A happy surprise.

Westgate Diner sits in a southwestern styled building at the angled corner of Schoenersville and breakfast-1631Catasauqua Roads in Bethlehem, catty-corner from the Westgate Mall.  Not a huge parking lot, but adequate for the seating inside.  The southwest theme is carried into the dining room in color and style.

On walking in, we were met with a warm smile and promptly seated at a booth under a rounded window adorned with tied-back curtains.  A dozen or so customers were chatting and enjoying their meals.  Our genial waitress handed us menus and took our requests for coffee and water.

The two-page menu held the usual breakfast assortment – egg dishes including omelets, pancakes, French Toast, and various sides.  No sausage links we learned, only patties which was fine with me.  M. ordered one of his favorites – steak and eggs.

As we sipped our coffee (superbly brewed!) and browsed through the morning news, more folks arrived.  Gatherings of families and friends, couples, and obvious old-time regulars.  breakfast-1593Soon our food arrived on heated plates.   Almost immediately, we knew we’d found a jewel.

M.’s steak was a good-size breakfast steak, medium rare as ordered, with two large poached eggs on top, perfectly cooked and steaming.  His steak was tender and tasty.  Both of us were awed over the homefries, fresh, hot, and deep golden brown.  My scrambled eggs were moist and filled with flavor, and the large sausage patty nicely cooked.   When our waitress arrived to refill our coffee, we offered our compliments to the cook, something we don’t often do.  “He is good,” she said, smiling.  I added, “One of the best we’ve found,” (and meant it!).

Our total bill came to $18 (plus tip) for steak, two eggs, homefries, and wheat toast for M. and two scrambled eggs, homefries, sausage patty, and wheat toast for me, plus our two coffees with refills.

What is it that sets one diner apart?  The service?  Atmosphere?  Food?  Whatever it might be, we’re pleased to have found it this morning at the Westgate Diner.  I hope you’ll visit this hidden gem among the Valley’s diners.

The Westgate Diner is located at 1267 Birchwood Drive, Bethlehem, PA.  610-865-5562.  They are open 7 days a week from 6:30 am to 9:00 pm.

Sara

West Gate Diner on Urbanspoon

Café Verde resides in a quaint two-story row house in Phillipsburg, NJ, on the banks of the Delaware River.cafe-verde5 Over time, several readers have recommended it.  This morning, just as we were discussing where to go for breakfast, I received an amiable email from yet another reader noting Café Verde as a favorite.  Providence.  So, on this blustery April morn, my husband and I drove across the bridge to New Jersey.  It was worth the drive.  The restaurant delivered on all we’d heard.

The downstairs dining room looked quite cozy.  We would have gladly taken a seat there, but I’d heard that the upstairs had a view of the river.  We chose a table on the second floor, overlooking the Delaware. In addition to the pleasant view, the room was comfortable and pretty, painted in soft greens and blues.  Attractive art work from area artists adorned the walls.  A homey feeling enveloped us.

breakfast-1441Our friendly waitress soon brought glasses of water, and large mugs of black coffee with creamers.  She then disappeared to give us time to look through the menu.  The café offers a good selection of omelets, French Toast, pancakes, and sides.  We both chose the French Toast, made from thick Challah Bread.

When we first arrived we’d been alone upstairs but, while there, a family arrived, then a few other couples and friends.  It struck me as the perfect sort of restaurant to bring friends from out-of-town for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.   Quiet and comfortable but with a unique local flair.

We were just finishing our first mug of (sensational!) coffee when our meals arrived.  M. had ordered French Toast Deluxebreakfast-1473 – three pieces of Challah French Toast, two eggs, a slice of ham, bacon, and one piece of sausage.  He also asked for a side of toast for his eggs.  I chose two pieces of French Toast and a side order of bacon.  We agreed that the French Toast was among the best we’d eaten.  Light, thick, rich.  M. said the ham, sausage, and bacon were all choice quality, and well-prepared.  His eggs were large and poached just as he likes them, hot and runny.  Our coffee mugs were refilled at just at the right time.  The waitresses were friendly and attentive.  All in all, a perfect meal in a gracious setting.

The total bill came to $24.50 (plus tip).   We ordered too much, though, and the portions were large.  For the first time – ever – we brought home leftovers from breakfast. 😯  Still, it re-heated well, and was as scrumptious for a late lunch as it had been this morning.

As a final aside, I found this You Tube video about the restaurant.  (Click in center to run. )

Café Verde is located at 60 S. Main Street in Phillipsburg, NJ.

My sincere thanks to Carol, and to other readers, for directing us to this charming café.  I hope you will comment with your experiences.

Sara

Cafe Verde on Urbanspoon

Lehigh Valley Weather

A thought

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?" ........... "What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?" ...... "I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet. ... Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.” ...... ― A.A. Milne
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