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The Ultimate Diner Meal

Many diners have menus that look more like novels, they are so thick...however, when I go to a diner, I find I order the same things no matter where I am. Just curious if others have their "ultimate diner meal(s)" they typically order at ANY diner, no matter how many choices there are.

I guess another (similar) question is whether you have a "test meal" at diners when you go to a new one. In other words, "If Diner XYZ can put out a good burger, I consider it a decent place"

The answer to both could be the same...for me I would say Grilled Cheese and/or Omelette.

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  1. Hot open-faced roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. Vegetables optional. Extra points for lumpy mashed potatoes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: flavrmeistr

      Agreed. Turkey may be substituted, especially in November.

    2. Grilled cheese and bacon, yes.

      Ah, the omelette. Since cheese must be, what, a thousand dollars a slice, I never, ever get enough cheese in my cheese omelette. I have asked and indicated I will pay extra to get more cheese much more cheese than egg, but nope, I never get my cheese omelette the way I like it. Ever.

      Oh well.

      When you said 'ultimate diner meal', I immediately thought of my perhaps last meal (outside of donuts, peanut butter and ice cream) if calories were no issue. No place makes this like a diner does: corned beef hash, home fries, eggs over easy, bacon and sausage, pancakes, lots of ketchup and jelly (strawberry, keep the grape), buttered toast and coffee. Yum.

      7 Replies
      1. re: dolores

        LOL at the $1000 a slice comment - so true. I've finally convinced my local deli to give me (gasp) TWO slices of cheese if I order an egg sandwich with sausage. It took, oh, at least 6 months of begging, pleading, cajoling and finally bribing. I do pay an extra buck for the cheese, but it's worth it to have it MY way!

        1. re: Catskillgirl

          Catskillgirl, mrbuffer and i are from Orange County (Westbrookville) before moving to Mass for work. Ever to to the Blue Horizon diner in Monticello? The ultimate blueberry pancakes...ever

          1. re: mrsbuffer

            I haven't been there, but do get to Monticello once in awhile. My bakery is in Ellenville with a retail outlet / cybercafe in Monticello. I'll make it a point to try them - thanks!

            1. re: Catskillgirl

              What bakery is that? mrbuffer used to work for ellenville vending for a brief (thank god!) time

              1. re: Catskillgirl

                The only place I went to when I was in Orange County in the Monticello-area that was diner-like (not really a diner) was Lefty's. There was also a place in walden, NY (whose name slips my memory) that had great pie....that may have been a diner.

                1. re: L_W

                  Blue Horizon is on Rt 42 across from ShopRite. I believe that if you follow 42 north, you end up in Kiamesha Lake and the old Concord.

                2. re: Catskillgirl

                  CG: how long has your bakery in ellenville been there? we used to have a family cabin in wurtsboro hills - i spent many summer weekends there as a child.

          2. When it comes to diners, I have two test meals. The first is eggs over medium with homefries and toast. If the whites are firm and the yolks are liquid and the potatoes have flavor and the toast is crisp....ding...ding......ding! When it's any other meal, yes my test is a burger and fries. Good bun, moist tasty beef and crispy fries. we have a winner! But my first test for diners and any other restaurant is cole slaw, I've never been to a restaurant of any sort that had bad or mediocre cole slaw and good food.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jnk

              Corned beef hash or a nice flame broiled burger.

              1. Meat loaf is my standard of quality for a diner. Tasty, moist, devoid of experimental additions, just good old-fashioned meat loaf. Extra points if it's topped with bacon.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BobB

                  I'm with you, Bob. A good meat loaf, decent gravy, mashed potatoes, and some other vegetable that's not over-cooked mush. Mountain Jack's used to have a good meatloaf that they grilled for extra flavour. Not bad!

                2. To me diner says one thing: a hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, gravy (it can even be that gelatinous yellow gunk) and green beans.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: hungry100

                    It has to be real roast turkey, though. Not that turkey roll stuff. Yeesh.

                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      Bingo!
                      Diner test food to me is a turkey club. If the turkey is fake, I'll never go back. If they use that cheap, sweet, sugary, fake mayo garbage, but the turkey is real, I'll go back, and try a patty melt, or stick with the turkey and bring my own mayo packets. If the patty melt test passes(hand formed 1/2 lb burger on grilled rye with grilled onions,) then I'll try a rueben. If I can get a club, patty melt, or rueben all in the same place, then I've found my new diner. I currently have a great one that makes all three spectacular. Problem is, they only have one good soup. Split pea on Tuesdays. I can only get a perfect meal there on Tuesdays since all of their soup every other day of the week is horrid. :-(

                      1. re: gordeaux

                        Decent bean soup is a good indicator. Also, any place that has hot pepper vinegar on the counter and a large number of vegetable side choices (mostly in the South). In the northeast, if they have those big breakfast sausages it's a good sign.