So I found myself in Harrisburg, PA this past weekend, and I will be finding myself there for the next three or four weekends as well. One of the most wonderful pieces of the culture of the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area is the diner. I have my favorites, and my all time favorite is the Menlo Park Diner near Edison, NJ.
I found another good one in Harrisburg, and I ate there three times this past weekend! High quality food, good prices, and -- best of all -- they had pork roll! For those of you in the rest of the country, pork roll (also known as Taylor ham) is a delicious breakfast meat that is only made and sold in that part of the country. (See the Wikipedia link for a description).
My single disappointment? No lemon meringue pie. They had a lemon cream pie that was pretty good but there was too much cream. Very very rich. Oh yeah, one more disappointment -- no substitutions! Can't substitute pork roll as a breakfast meat. Gotta order it a la carte. Oh well.
Diners are a staple in that part of the country. Most are open 24 hours, have lots of gaudy neon and metal trim, and serve great food and desserts. Just about everything is good there, from the seafood to the chipped beef on toast (also lovingly known as "$#!+ On A Shingle"). Many have a gigantic refrigerated dessert case that is the first thing you see as you come through the door. The Starlite Diner (where I was a frequent customer once) in Allentown, PA is an especially good example of this.
So, keep lookin' for me at the Capital Diner over the next few months!