A sequel to it's very enjoyable Retro Diner, More Retro Diner revisits those classic establishments of roadside cooking in a nostalgic trip back to the era of breakfast specials, club sandwiches and hot soups. The diner has undergone a renaissance in recent years and while there are no where near the number of diner establishments that there were in the 50's and 60's, people are once again seeing the allure of the tiny, home-cooking stops. The diner influence can be seen today even in many mainstream chain restaurants with menu options reminiscent of diner foods. As the authors of More Retro Diner point out, while all diners sold burgers, soups, etc, it was their unique creations that often out them on the map and kept customers coming back for more.
Along with vintage photos and art of diners, and diner menus, the book provides dozens of authentic recipes culled from some of these legendary eateries, many of which are still in business today. Frequent travelers, particularly in the eastern part of the country where diners flourished will certainly recognize many of the names. At it's core diner food is the best comfort food, good tasting and filling. There's the French onion soup from the Oasis Diner, Cincinnati-style Chili, fish & chips, and Ken's real onion rings.
Sandwiches were always a diner staple and Mastoris diner in New Jersey boasts a menu of over 80 different sandwich selections. You'll find recipes for classics like chicken clubs, Philly cheese steaks, Sloppy Joes, and the good old meatloaf sandwich. Moving over to the grill there are delectable recipes for chicken-fried steak, skirt steak fajitas, and cheese-stuffed burgers. But getting back to those unique recipes, the section devoted to blue plate specials includes fare like the chicken & rice casserole from Moody's Diner in Maine, in business for over 75 years; the crab cakes from the Blue Comet Lounge, and Betsy's Shepherds pie.
For those who long for the feeling of those family vacations in the car of yesteryear, or for anyone who just loves good home-cooking, More Retro Diner satisfies the hunger.
Reviewed by Tim Janson