Denny’s Diner

If you’re ever passing by Zanesville, Ohio on I-70, stop by the Denny’s Diner. It’s a silver sided diner with classic diner decor and a standard Denny’s menu.

Isn’t the view nice?

Enjoy the Small Things

Remember when something so simple as a little change for the gumbball machine made your day?

It can still be that way if you allow it to happen.

This machine sits in a Chillicothe dinner called Carl’s Townhouse. Going there and seeing their counter is a simple pleasure for me.

Simple pleasures can be all sorts of things – finding a favorite candy from your youth in the checkout lane at the grocery, a few stolen moments to watch the sunrise, singing along to a favorite song- there is no right or wrong answer if it makes you happy.

Find a simple pleasure and go enjoy it today!

Deja Vu and the Tale of Two Diners

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Deja vu. It’s an odd sensation and one that I’ve experienced a lot lately. But when I sat down in a diner in Hillsboro, Ohio last month, I momentarily thought I was losing my mind because the feeling of deja vu was so strong.

I had never been to 62 Classics’ Diner and yet everything looked like something I knew.

And then it hit me.

This diner is almost identical to the one I had visited in Fairmont, West Virginia just six days earlier.

That’s right. I’ve been to so many diners, repetition is beginning to occur.

The Fairmont diner is called DJs 50’s and 60’s Diner and it’s larger. It came in four sections whereas the Hillsboro diner was in two. Both are silver sided with oval and round windows. Both have punched tin ceilings, black and white tile floors, red and white upholstery, counters with stools and a white board above. The restrooms, counters and kitchens are in the same locations and there are mirrors in the same places in the dining area. They even use the same cups.

What’s really funny is that when I walked into the Fairmont diner, I turned left and chose a booth near the back. After ordering, I took a selfie in the mirror behind me. In Hillsboro, I turned left again, chose a seat near the back and took a selfie in the mirror behind me.

 

Incidentally, this was the moment I recognized the parallels. It was also the moment I realized what a creature of habit I am because the booth I chose in Hillsboro was just one away from the booth I sat in down south. It was a fabulous moment for this road tripping diner nerd.

There are some differences – one diner has backs on the stools. One has oval windows on the front and round ones on the sides while it’s reversed in the other diner. One has a door on the front of the entryway while the other has a door on each side of that same entryway.

West Virginia:

Ohio in the same corner:

The differences are minor enough to make me think I was losing my mind.

In case you’re wondering, my Fairmont meal was better. They had a couple of vegeterian friendly dishes on the menu, including the veggie burger I ordered. It was quite good. In Hillsboro, they offer breakfast all day but it was all meat heavy. It’s hard to screw up a grilled cheese and fries but they were just ok. However, other diners seemed to be really enjoying their meals and I was thrilled because the atmosphere was great!

Want to know more about that diner in Fairmont? I wrote about it last month. Click here to read about it.

Have you had a moment of deja vu? Comment and tell your story!

DJs Fifties and Sixties Diner

One of the best features of a road trip is the search for a great diner. I didn’t find a lot this trip but the best was DJs Fifties and Sixties Diner In Fairmont, West Virginia.

Located just a couple of miles off I-79, this silver sided diner is a classic. A tin ceiling, black and white mosaic tile floor and cool light fixtures set the scene while red and white upholstered booths steal the show.

Even the window here have a cool shape as you can see in the pictures.

The menu is your standard diner options – burgers, onion rings and breakfast all day. Plus there was comfort food like meatloaf, a fish platter and Salisbury steak. My dad always likes a place with mashed potatoes on the menu.

They give things fun names to sandwiches like the Mickey Mouse Club and the Hound Dog and fries.

They won bonus points with me for their Groovin Garden Burger which wasn’t half bad, mainly because of their tasty honey mustard.

My expectations of god in diners tends to be a bit low but I really liked this place for reasons beyond appearances My food was hot, the server was great, the restroom was clean and the regulars seemed happy so that’s always a good sign.

I won’t hesitate to go back my next trip through the area.

Eating Healthy On The Road

Saturday around Winchester (2)

I transitioned into a mostly plant based diet this fall. In layman’s terms – I’m vegan. This has been for health reasons although I have long avoided meat for moral reasons as well.

My diet now consists of mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant based proteins and some healthy fats. No meat, dairy, eggs or oils. And I do my best to not make a lot of unhealthy foods using healthy ingredients.

This works great when I’m at home or can pack my lunch. In restaurants, life is hard. A lot of restaurants, including fast food giant Burger King, are offering plant based burgers now but you can’t live off burgers alone and these products aren’t what you might consider health food.

So, when eating out, my goal is to eat as healthy as I can within the rules I live by at home. As much as possible. 

This road trip was my first as a vegan and was helpful in shaping my goals and standards for future travel.

The first goal was to find a hotel that offered a fridge. I opted for a newly remodeled Motel 6 where the tile floors and removal of all unnecessary wood and fabric made me rest easier about protecting myself from bed bugs and other nasties. Motel 6 is a very basic, affordable chain with no bells and whistles. While they don’t provide breakfast, they do provide a fridge and microwave.

So I packed a small blender, a plate, reusable straw, kitchen towels and utensils. When I got to town, a stop at the local Aldi for supply acquisition – frozen fruit and almond milk for smoothies, peanut butter, bread, bananas and bottled water – cost about $15. With no toaster at hand, I just heated my bread to simulate the peanut butter with toast that I have with a smoothie most mornings.

I also packed some apples, homemade granola and a few protein bars in case I was in a pinch while traveling.

I had mexican one day and found a small pizza shop that made me a veggie pizza with gluten free crust and no cheese. They offered vegan cheese but that just sounds like heavily processed crap and maybe something that doesn’t fit with my healthy eating goals. So I passed.

There was a veggie burger at a cool old diner in West Virginia too.

The day of the Flying Circus Air Show, I stopped at Subway for picnic food at the airport – a veggie sub on bread that isn’t vegan but I needed something more substantial than a salad to get through this day.  I also went to Chipotle for a bowl that night.

And I cheated for a few meals. After leaving Winchester on Monday, the road took me south to Luray Caverns and west to a town in Maryland before landing in Clarksburg, West Virginia for the night. I arrived after dark and ended up at a mall looking for a few things. By then, I was hungry, tired and in no mood to go hunting healthy food. Traffic was bad in Clarksburg so I wasn’t going exploring at that point either. I ended up with food court pizza and salad. The next morning, I had a cheat meal that was planned – pumpkin pancakes and scrambled eggs.

In all, it was more fast food than I would normally like but I was on the go a lot and didn’t want to waste time waiting in restaurants.

I tell you that to tell you this.

None of these meals made me feel good. I woke up each morning grateful for my healthy breakfast and looking forward to cooking fresh food when I got home. The sodium in most of those meals was ridiculous and made my fingers swell – always a bad sign.

Could I have tracked down healthier options? Probably. Although, I had researched Winchester options prior to the trip and the best alternative would’ve been going to the grocery store for wrap ingredients or getting veggies to have with peanut butter sandwiches. But I wasn’t interested in making that kind of effort on this particular trip. I just needed to eat something so that I could keep going. There were adventures to be had!

As I become more entrenched in this way of eating, priorities may shift on future vacations. For now, I’m happy with doing the best I can with what I have to work with while road tripping. And also – I will blatantly break the rules and be plain old vegetarian in any and all cool old diners. I don’t care. Sometimes you have to make small sacrifices to do something you love! And I do like my cool, old diners! 

 Have tips? I would love to hear them!

Headed Home

I’m wrapping up a road trip so that means fresh material is coming soon!

In my world, the best trips include some cool diners….

A little history and nature ….

Great buildings….

And some unexpected details…

I have so much to tell you guys! I can’t wait to download my camera pictures so we can get busy talking about it soon.

Somewhere I’ve Never Been

Maybe it’s the Whole 30 talking but I’m dying to have breakfast in a quiet diner I’ve never been to. I want to linger over my meal and plan the day ahead while eavesdropping on the early bird regulars. They’ll order their usual and chat with the waitress about their grandkids while I study a brochure over my veggie omelette or pancakes.

It’s Day 26 and, while I’m fine with most of my food, I’m sick of the limited protein choices. Being pescatarian, my proteins are seafood and eggs. No veggie burgers, no soy of any kind, no faux meats which literally are the only processed foods that make their way into my plate most days.

You can only fix fish so many ways before it starts to lose its luster.

But it’s Day 26 and I feel pretty good. I’m planning to keep going about another week or ten days before abandoning the strict rules and attempting to just focus on eating clean again.

Meanwhile, I badly want to find an old diner in a town I’ve never been and wait for the regulars to filter in. I’m thinking an omelette packed with mushrooms, onions, peppers, broccoli and goat cheese would be good. Add some hash browns and some toast – maybe a little fruit. That’s all. Nothing fancy.

Soon. Someday soon I’ll take off and find my way to a fabulous diner and come back with pictures to share. Meanwhile, my memories of pancakes and a delicious garden burger at the Oasis Diner will have to suffice.