This time 9 years ago Jonny and I were in New York for the 4th July celebrations. I have never before (or since) seen fireworks in real life like the amazing display over the Hudson and the celebrations in Manhattan were simply out of this world! We saw Lyle Lovett play in Battery Park and joined in with all the revelry in the City. You know when you see Manhattan on TV in programmes like Sex and the City? Well, it was exactly like that! We had the holiday of our lives and spending ten days in the City that never sleeps was one of the most wonderful experiences!
Americans sure do know how to party and they celebrate in a style which leaves us Brits well and truly out in the cold. We’re starting to come round for things like Halloween but it’s our US friends who have it down to perfection! Being in the US, New York no less, for 4th July was truly out of this world and the food… Oh the food! We still talk about the Trailer Park Lounge and Grill on 23rd Street which has the most awesome burgers, frozen margaritas and sweet potato chips (or fries if you will) which we’d never had before! We have tried to re-create those sweet potato chips so many times but never been able to and any restaurant we have been to in this country offering similar has been a big disappointment!
Well, we came back from that trip 9 years ago with a hankering for those sweet potato chips, recommending to anyone we know who goes to NYC the Trailer Park Lounge and Grill and a real urge to celebrate the 4th July! But… We don’t really do that in this country do we, it’s not ours and we shouldn’t try to steal their thing – especially with the message behind it all… However, there’s no fun in that now is there! So this year we decided to have a bit of an American fest and as well as going bowling – Florence loved it, we went for an all American meal!
Now we’ve been to good burger restaurants, we like burgers and we’ve found lots of good ones in London and indeed all round the country! Norwich where we are from has some fab ones but as I mentioned, none of them have been able to provide us with the type of sweet potato chips that we found in NYC. Until now!
We went to Deans Diner in Braintree and it was like stepping into a real proper burger joint in America. The surroundings were perfect with the sweep of bar stools round the counter and booths to dine in! The working jukebox and wall decorations! There was even a wall declaring names of those who have entered and beaten their hot wing challenge! This was a little slice of America in none other than Essex – who’d have thought!
The food was excellent! Served in non fussy baskets and with the most delicious milk shakes I have ever had. The manager told me they may not be truly from America but they did all they could in their research to make sure everything was authentic and starting with the milkshakes I can say they’ve done a pretty good job! Finishing with the burgers and I absolutely have to follow that statement – they were fab! But… How did they do on the sweet potato chips? SUPERB! AMAZING! and exactly the same, the chips we’ve been searching for these last 9 years are in Braintree, Essex! Can’t believe it! They were a tad on the cold side which was the only shame but tasted delicious, crunchy, thin… Everything I cannot, no matter what I do, recreate in my own kitchen! We would go back for the sweet potato chips alone!
The children enjoyed their food too, Florence had a hot dog and Jimmy the mozzarella sticks. There was of course too much and we over ordered! One plate of chips between all four of us would have probably sufficed!! But that wouldn’t have been as much fun now would it! Of course we had starters and the Cajun prawns were deliciously non greasy, I could have eaten more! Price wise it could be a little pricey if you don’t your savvy skills but there are lots of offers to be had. Jonny had the ‘Coming Home Burger’ (two burgers sandwiching a chicken breast with onion rings and another Cajun prawn) and on a Friday this is reduced heavily! The children’s menu is very reasonable and HUGE! They say it’s recommended for up to 10 year old little ones so my two had far too much! You can take some home in a take-away box if you don’t finish!
What wasn’t I keen on? Well, the Guacamole wasn’t really all that pleasant and unfortunately I did have rather a lot of it as we had nachos to start and then I chose the Sunshine State burger where it is an ingredient. I found it sloppy, tasteless and just not altogether pleasant – I am a big guacamole fan so I might have high standards. Everything else, including the brownie sundae, got the full thumbs up from us and we left feeling like we might have to roll ourselves down the hill to the train!
Lovely joint with fun aspects for children to see and do! Crayons and a draw on menu for them kept them occupied as did the jukebox and fun decor! Florence danced her little heart out and loved sitting on the bar stool when we were waiting to be seated!
Those milk shakes! Choose one from the menu or create your own. We were told to ask even if an ingredient wasn’t listed! My Oreo and Banana shake was SO good!
Popping a song on the jukebox!
Of course you MUST try the sweet potato chips!
There are 4 Dean’s Diners in the country and when I spoke to the manager he told me they are looking to expand – even to Norwich would you believe! Lovely, can’t wait for that one! We’ll definitely be back! It’s always a good sign when the staff are passionate about where they are working. I assumed the manager was an owner the way he spoke of his restaurant but he told me he wasn’t, he just felt really strongly about Deans! Go, it’s well worth a visit!
Happy 4th July to my readers and for those of you in the US, Happy Independence day! Wish we could be with you in NYC again this year and bring the children – one day!
I was not paid to write this post but I was given a complimentary meal for the purpose of review.