Archive for March, 2009

Meils Restaurant, Stockton NJ

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Quaint little towns always seem to have at least one restaurant that clearly stands out. Meils is one example of just such an establishment.

I have dined at Meils at least four times that I can remember and perhaps at least one more time that I can’t recall, but each time did not disappoint. Although small and crampy, the atmosphere is mom and pop, old style homemade dining. And the food….is exactly that.  Big portions of very tasty and some clever, combinations. My favorite over the years has always been the meatloaf. I make it a point to eat at Meils every time I visit the New Hope/ Lambertville/ Stockton area.

This time I made it there for breakfast, a first. Three friends and I set out from Manahawkin NJ on a very frigid Sunday morning on motorcycle, for a long awaited first spring ride. With the cold breeze threatening to make our trip shorter than we would like, we persevered until finally an hour and a half later we arrived.

First order is to drink as much hot coffee as possible to warm our frozen extremities. Our waitress promptly delivered the goods along with menus. At first glance something changed from what I remembered about Meils…their prices. I have to say that I was very shocked at the prices for the breakfast items. My last recollection of Meils was fantastic food at very, very reasonable prices. It has been some five years since my last trip to Meils so I thought that the popularity of the place created a sale and the new owner changed the menu. As I found out later, the same owners are still there after some 18 years, so that wasn’t why the prices were so much higher than I remembered. For example..Ham and eggs, with two sides $11.00.  Omelets ranged from $14-$18. I stopped short of reading the whole menu because no matter how good the breakfast might be, I can’t see spending this much money on eggs. That being said, the ham and eggs were delicious. I opted for the home fries and a Cinnamon Butterscotch scone as my two sides, with a side of salsa for my eggs. The salsa, which I love to eat with eggs, was fresh with the much needed addition of Cilantro. Anyone who eats salsa knows that fresh Cilantro really sets it off and separates the good salsa from the just so so salsa. I am a baker/chef by trade and I have to say that the scone was as good as any I have made in my own shop. Served up warm and flaky with a side of jam, it definitely made the meal better than if I had it with toast. The breakfast took quite some time to serve (about 25 minutes) and the place wasn’t jamming so we couldn’t understand why it took so long, but once we started eating , we soon forgot the wait time. By the way, all the dishes were garnished attractively and overfilled the plates. Also the bacon is the best any of us ever had, and describing it just wouldn’t cover how good it was.  If you love bacon, you have to order up some on your visit.

So what does it cost for great food, great service ( the coffee kept flowing with out asking) and great atmosphere. Well for us, including tip, $80.00. I told you it was pricey. Although the food is excellent, I don’t know how they justify Manhattan Hotel prices. If I were to say how much it should have cost us, it would be more in line with $60-$65 including tip. So, a bit costly but at least you are getting a meal that leaves you full and satisfied. Nothing worse than overpriced bad food, so it makes it a little easier to accept the bill.

Regular guy rating * * * 1/2 ( only because of high priced menu)

Meils Restaurant and Bakery

Bridge & Main
Stockton, NJ 08559
(609) 397-8033

Atlantic City Collector Car Auction

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

By the looks and sound of it,  I guess the economy has affected the Collector Car circuit. As I do each year, yesterday my good friend Willie and I attended the Collector Car Auction in Atlantic City, and not to my surprise, a lot of cars just passed over the block in vain.  If you needed to sell your car then you better not have had a reserve price on it because you were taking it back home with you. I watched about fifty cars roll through and none of them sold with a reserve tag. As a matter of fact, most just rolled past and went back to the corral to be looked at once more. The few that sold were reserve removed or no reserve cars.


1969 Camaro SS

We did however, see a1969 SS Camaro that was fitted with ( I believe) an L78  Big Block, one 0f only 311 made, sell for $135,000. Now I can really appreciate the ’69 Camaro, especially after owning three of them. I did in fact own two 1969  Z-28 ‘s, one whose sale provided the funds to purchase my home and the second, sold some 10 years ago, brought me $12,500. At the time I was elated with the amount I received since I had $6500 into it. That guy worked me for three days before finally giving in and handing over the funds. I bet he either sold it for a big gain or is sitting on a pretty good investment as I write this. I have often been tempted to call him to ask him what he did with the car. It was a nice one too! It had all the good options like deluxe interior, wood grain dash, wood wheel, tilt steering, power brakes and steering. heavy sway bars and the cowl hood. The car was pretty cool and I miss that ride.

Funny thing about cars like that. I have bought, built and/or  sold eight cars since high school. Always the Chevy guy, I favored Camaros and Chevelles. They rewarded me for all my efforts every time I sold them. That’s the thing with these cars. You have to use your head when you buy one. I always look at it as if I were going to build one. If the price to buy one is about the same as the cost to build one, well hey, you gotta choose the buy option. Building one these days is a costly and usually, a long endeavor and can easily run you more than you might get in return at the time you choose to sell it.

Getting back to the auction, I saw quite a few cars sell for less than they would cost to build. And I also saw some  offers turned down at prices I just can not fathom. I have driven these Muscle Cars since my days in high school and they still drive and handle the same now as they did some 3o years earlier. That is why I can not believe that people are turning down tens of thousands of dollars for these same cars. How much money do they think they are worth? And why would anyone pay that much for a car that doesn’t compare in quality, modern techno advances and the speed of today’s cars. Yes, I did say speed. Today’s cars run as fast or faster and are sooooo smooth riding compared to yester years models. So why then do we still ogle and drool over the older models? We do it because it reminds us of our youth. It reminds us of a simpler time in our life. It reminds us of hanging out with our buddies and talking cars. It makes us feel good. That is why every time I sell one of my cars I always buy another one within a couple of years.  Yeah I guess I can see why some guys are willing to spend so much on these rides. I bet a lot of them couldn’t afford one when we were younger or later in life, their families came first and now they have the extra cash to overspend on a dream from their childhood.

I am one of the lucky ones. I owned my dream car not once but twice in my life and I would love to have one more shot at a third. This time I want to build it myself like I did with my first Z-28 over twenty years ago. This time I will build it with today’s improved drive trains, brakes and suspensions. After all that is what Chrysler has done so successfully with the Challenger. Man that car is really cool. I almost like it as much as the older version. If it were a ‘Cuda I would be very tempted to own one and give up my dream of building a third.

So where is the market going with these cars? I guess if the economy stays like this we will see a lot more cars at very affordable prices. Its like anything else that people collect. You have to get in at the right time and sell when you DON”T have to sell. It’s a neat way to have your cake and eat it, but you just have to do it the right way!

The Regular Guy