I’ve Seen ‘Em, Now I’m in One

Diners. To my Australian eyes, they are quintessentially American. I cringe in anticipation when the protagonist in a sitcom or movie takes a seat in a diner. Along comes the sassy yet compassionate waitress and takes the order for a plate of fat and/or refined carbohydrate with some liquid sugar in a glass.

And now I get the chance to do the same.

The diner is spacious, airy and upbeat (all of those more so than in the movies but this is the heart of San Francisco, not an out-of-the-way poke-town representing the  hero’s state of mind on her/his road-trip to ‘well-developed-character-arc’). Unusually, there’s a car parked inside. I am not phased. This is America, land of the places that have cars parked in them. At home our dogs ride in the back of our utes. Americans seem to have a different canine transport arrangement.

American diner,

Checkered floor – tick. Restrooms, not toilets (a terrible no-no, I am told) – tick. Juke box – tick. Metallic red, shiny vinyl seats – tick. Happy, overweight Americans in the next booth – tick.

American diner,And the breakfast menu! A joy to behold. More quintessential-American dishes than you can poke with a spangled star: bagels, waffles, hash browns, biscuits and gravy (always a rather gastronomically-disturbing combination, I think), Bay shrimps, eggs in many forms, bacon, smoked chicken apple sausages, burger patties, jack cheese (not sure what ‘jack’ references but it sounds very sure of itself), corned beef and potatoes, chicken fried steaks. The maple syrup on the table practically mandates the pikelet-thick pancakes.

I hoe in.

American diner,

America – tick.

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13 responses to “I’ve Seen ‘Em, Now I’m in One

  1. Love the photo of the 1950’s style diner and the juke box is great! The thing about diners is that there is something for everyone and they aren’t expensive, so you can choose to eat healthy or not, whatever your mood. I love to ogle at the mile-high lemon meringue in the dessert case (hon, gotta love dessert) and wonder how they bake it without the meringue falling! 🙂 http://bmoreenergy.wordpress.com

    • I walked past the dessert case without a backwards glance this time but I do like dessert. Those lemon meringues pies look scarily artificial whipped into a frenzy as they are. Now, mud cake is another thing entirely. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I’m a big fan of American diners and go to them often when I’m over there, and my favourite time to be in one is when they’re serving their copious breakfasts. Particular during winter when we (or at least I) need more food. Hash browns, fried eggs, bacon etc – the aroma is wonderful in these places in the morning. Yum!

  3. Being N European born and resident in Australia from the time it was still almost fully Anglo-Saxon and a many-time visitor to US, may I just grin with the warmest smile on my face!! Diners=US, oh yes! Diners= my way, oh excuse me . . . . 🙂 !

  4. Diners like this are quite retro in their decor, but there’s probably not as many here as you think … but can be good places to eat when the mood is right.

  5. Not a huge fan of diners myself, but there is something reassuring in the comfort food to be found at most. Set me up with corned beef hash, scrambled eggs, and homefries, and I’m in breakfast heaven.

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