The Middlesex Diner – Carlisle

On Tuesday March 29, 2011 we took a short trip down the Carlisle Pike to visit the place where our breakfast journey began, the Middlesex Diner, located at 1803 Harrisburg Pike in Carlisle. They have a nice big parking lot, a nice looking building and a nice interior with plenty of seating. As usual they had quite a few customers for breakfast, with a constant stream of people arriving as we ate. We were promptly seated by the hostess. She took our drink order and quickly returned. Our waitress arrived soon after, maybe a little too soon, but we knew what we wanted so it was ok. Maybe this is the place to talk about waitresses. The more memorable ones seem to be the ones that approach your table with a “good morning” or “how are you guys doing today”. They smile, they ask if you want a refill or if everything was ok, they say stuff like “have a good day” at the end of your meal. The less memorable ones don’t say much, rigidly take your order, slosh coffee in your cup on the way past your table and lay the check on your table without a word. Maybe that comes from working in a busy place, maybe they’re having a bad day, or maybe they just aren’t very socially outgoing anyway.  At any rate our waitress took our order and took care of us, nothing more memorable than that. The food came pretty quickly and it was a good breakfast. It was all piled on one plate, no extra room for your sides or toast, but it was good. The sides are always good here. The home fries could have been a little more crispy, they were kind of wet today. The eggs were good, although buried under the sides and the toast. Overall it was a good breakfast, as usual at the Middlesex Diner, although a “good morning”, a plate for your sides and a placemat to put your silver ware on would have been nice to have.

Category

Eggs                             2

Potatoes                       2

Sides                            2

Drinks                         2

Service                        2

Atmosphere                3

Cleanliness                2

Totals                      15  / 21

Our meal for two was $12.24, in our medium range.

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The Full English Breakfast

During the industrial revolution in England it became popular for workers to eat a big breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, mushrooms, tomato and toast. This became known as the Full English Breakfast, also known as the Full Monty. Sometimes called a Fry Up, all the ingredients (except the beans) are cooked together in an iron skillet with plenty of butter and oil.

Today’s American big breakfast seems to be similar: eggs with bacon OR sausage, with potatoes rather than beans, and toast. Not quite as large of a meal, although our variation that includes a steak could be getting close to the Full English breakfast, both in size and in price. I can imagine that the bill for a traditional Full English breakfast would be more than we normally pay.

Have we ever seen this type of breakfast offered here in Central PA?  Not really, although every place we have visited would gladly sell you two more side dishes, like a second meat and baked beans.  Mushrooms are usually only included in omelettes and we’ve never seen fried tomatoes. The really big breakfasts that we see on the menu here are big American breakfasts with a short stack of pancakes on the side.

Lots of folks, myself included, enjoy having “breakfast supper” once in a while. Next time the urge strikes, I may just have to make a Full English Breakfast for supper.

Please read the comment on this post from our reader Dana.who reports several restaurants in our area that serve the “fry up” or “Full English breakfast”!

L’ Koste Villa Cafe – Mechanicsburg

On Tuesday March 15, 2011 we decided to try out L’ Koste Villa Cafe, located at 2151 Fisher Road in Mechanicsburg. Some people may recognize the name, they formerly had a restaurant at 5205 Simpson Ferry Road in Mechanicsburg and are also known locally for their catering. They are located in the bottom floor, in the back of a commercial building near the intersection of Fisher Road and Old Rt 15 (sometimes known as the Gettysburg Rd) just a short distance south of Sheperdstown in Upper Allen Twp. There was plenty of parking and the interior is very nice with a vaulted ceiling, an exposed beam look and modern lighting. They are open for breakfast and lunch. It was a very informal, bistro style restaurant where you order at the counter and seat yourself, but they bring the food to your table. The breakfast menu listed omelettes but they were willing to make whatever we wanted, so we ordered our usual 2 eggs, home fries and meat (bacon and sausage). It took a little longer for the food, but it was very good and well worth the wait. The eggs and sides were good, most notable were the home fries which were sliced thin and cooked to crispy perfection. Coffee was served in large mugs that you could really put your hands around and the plates were triangular shaped. We really felt like we were on vacation. From our table we could see an outdoor dining area but it seemed like we were in some other city or there was a beach nearby. A very nice dining experience and we would visit L’ Koste Villa again. By the way they had a big screen TV in the dining area, super nice bathrooms, a large selection of desserts and their lunch menu included salads and panini sandwiches.

Here is a link to their web site, where you can see some sample menu’s and more pictures:  http://www.lkostevilla.com/

Category                  Bill                      Craig

Eggs                            2                               3

Potatoes                      2                              3

Sides                            1                              3

Drinks                          2                              3

Service                         2                             3

Atmosphere                 3                             3

Cleanliness                  3                             3

Totals                            15/21                  21/21

Our meal was approximately $14 for two people, in our medium range.

Country Club Diner – Carlisle

On Tuesday March 8, 2011 we took a short drive down the Carlisle-Harrisburg Pike to visit the Country Club Diner at 1251 Harrisburg Pike in Carlisle. This restaurant had previously been an Eat’n Park restaurant but was closed and turned into a privately owned 24 hour diner in 2009. We weren’t sure what to expect, having heard rumours that it was expensive, as it’s located right across the street from the Carlisle Country Club. Well, we were in for a pleasant surprise. They had plenty of parking and quite a few customers when we arrived. The interior was very nice, with several seating areas, big screen tv’s mounted high up so they could be seen from almost anywhere in the restaurant. They had quite a few 6 person booths (we sat in one) and they were comfortable.  Our waitress, Beverly, was right there to get our drinks and take our order and she was very attentive to us throughout the meal. As far as expensive, they had two dry erase boards of specials at the entrance and an insert in the menu that listed all the breakfast specials. Our standard meal, two eggs, home fries and meat was just $3.69, one of the best prices we have seen anywhere. When the food arrived the eggs were large and perfectly cooked, the home fries were great and the sides of meat were very good. The two sausage links were plump and good, the ham was a nice slice and tasted good too. Overall it was a nice place with comfortable seating that served really good food at a good price. Our price for two was $10.90, which we thought was very reasonable. By the way this was our 50th different restaurant that we have reviewed on the West Shore.Add the Country Club Diner to the list of places that we would stop at again!

Category                  Bill                          Craig

Eggs                            3                                    3

Potatoes                      3                                  3

Sides                            2                                    2

Drinks                         2                                     2

Service                        3                                    3

Atmosphere                3                                  3

Cleanliness                2                                     2

Totals                       18 / 21                         18/21

The total for our meal was $10.90, very good!

Summit Family Restaurant- Lewisberry

On Tuesday March 1, 2011 we visited the Summit Family Restaurant at 670 Yorktown Road in Lewisberry. The restaurant is located on Rt 83 south at the Lewisberry exit. The building is a former Hardee’s restaurant, but you wouldn’t recognise that due to the excellent interior and exterior renovation. The interior was very nice! There were quite a few customers when we arrived and more people kept coming in as we ate. When we left the parking lot was nearly full. We seated ourselves in a booth and our waitress promptly came by with menus and took our drink order. We ordered the usual: eggs, home fries, sausage for Craig ($4.95) and ham for Bill ($4.25). Our meal were ready in nearly record time, couldn’t have been 5 minutes. They really looked great as you can see in the picture above. We could hardly wait to start eating. This was a very good, well prepared breakfast. The eggs were large and cooked exactly as we had requested. The home fries were about perfect, well cooked with some just a little crispy. Craig said the sausage was a little different, but very good. The ham slice was very juicy, a notch above what we usually see in size and quality. Even the toast was perfectly toasted and arrived hot with fresh pats of butter just starting to melt. Big points for silverware, it came in a plastic bag and looked brand new. I hate silverware that looks like its been around since the 70’s. Our waitress was back three times to refill the coffee. It was a quality breakfast. Not so large that we had to go home for a nap, but super good food and just the right amount. They also had a great looking desert case at the cash register, everything in it looked delicious. The Summit in Camp Hill has scored well last year but this sister restaurant in Lewisberry may have surpassed them. We would surely stop here again.

Category                          Bill                      Craig

Eggs                                    3                              3

Potatoes                              3                            3

Sides                                    3                              3

Drinks                                 2                               2

Service                                3                              3

Atmosphere                        3                            3

Cleanliness                         3                              3

Totals                             20/ 21                   20/21

Our meal was about $12.50