Friday, October 26, 2007

'Burbs dining round up

This week we had the opportunity for a little travel to the suburbs, so we sampled some local fare in the Chicago area.
On the evening we arrived, we headed for the Fondue Stube, 2717 W. Peterson Avenue in Chicago. We had dined there almost 7 years ago when we first started dating.
I remembered the decor being a little different, kind of 1980s living room with silk plants, sponge paint and the addition of red and green lights lining archways in the room. The theme is also classical, including the music, some of the artwork and the names of the menu selections, like Sinfonia Eroica.
The last time we were in, I think we went with the Sinfonia Eroica, a three-part meal including a cheese fondue served with bread cubes and apple chunks; beef fondue with vegetables and dipping sauces; and a fudge fondue for dessert, served with fruit and cake. The thing I remember from that visit was that we were not overly impressed with the fudge fondue, but we had a nice time.
Several years later finds us more the fondue aficionados (we have swiss fondue about once a month at home), so this time we went straight for the cheese: one order of cheddar fondue and one order of swiss, with the promise of a dessert fondue as well. Each pot of cheese fondue was $17, with dessert priced at $9 each. The cheese fondues are also available in half orders.
We were surprised when salads were served to us, as we didn't realize we would get them. The salads were well above most garden salads served to us at home, filled with dark leafy greens, a large carrot slice, a tomato wedge and a cucumber wedge and some red cabbage, accompanied by garlic bread and a dressing caddy at the table with Bleu cheese, creamy Italian and white French dressing.
Next came our pots of cheese fondue, set on their own flame in front of us, and each of us received our own basket of bread cubes and a nicely-arranged set of apple chunks. The fondue was a little mild for our cheesy palates, and also seemed a bit oily. Both had a nice garlic flavor. I was surprised to find that I preferred the cheddar to the swiss, so much so that I finished the whole pot, with a little help from StfRon.
After all of that, and after waiting a few minutes for our server to have a chance to come back, we decided to pass on trying the caramel dessert fondue.
Our server was pleasant and the other gentleman working was johnny on the spot with the water pitcher.
The Fondue Stube is a small, local restaurant, a bit off the beaten path. It's not the best food we've ever had, but we have enjoyed our visit each time we've been in.
Tuesdays and Thursdays they feature scallops, fish and chicken for your fondue enjoyment.
The also seem to believe in advertising and coupons, so be sure to check online if you decide to go. We've saved money with coupons and offers each time.

The next morning, we were in search of a local place to have some breakfast near Elk Grove Village. We settled on the Rose Garden Café, 111 E. Higgins Road in Elk Grove Village. There were several cars in the parking lot, even at almost 9 a.m. on a weekday, so we thought it might be a good choice.
There were some nice plants and rose bushes landscaping the front of the restaurant.
Stepping inside, I was pleased to see that the decor was not outdated, like many local family restaurants can tend to be. This restaurant had some nice wall treatments and a pleasant atmosphere. Which was broken shortly by some moron who had a missed call ringtone bleating out of his phone every two minutes. Everyone in the dining room, including the hostess, who was busily rolling silverware in cloth napkins, kept looking around each time this blast would go off, but no one seemed to be acting responsible for the noise. Finally, after about six instances of this missed call sounder, our hostess seemed to have narrowed the culprit down and walked over to a booth. She said something the man sitting there about his phone, and he said "Oh, yeah," and turned the phone off. Thank goodness for her boldness. Now we could enjoy our dining experience!
I perused the breakfast menu, hoping for something like granola or some similarly healthy dish, but nothing jumped out at me. I was pleased to see they offered crepes, and what a selection they had! There must have been eight types of crepes available, along with specialties like cinnamon roll French toast, pancakes and other goodies.
I decided to have a cafe latte, a bowl of oatmeal and a side of corned beef hash. I love a good plate of corned beef hash, with the edges cooked until they are nice and crispy. Plus, the meaty dish has a little more staying power than a sugary breakfast.
StfRon likes breakfast with eggs over medium and toast to dip them in, plus potatoes and corned beef hash, so he found a special that included all of this for one price.
Our food came out very quickly. The oatmeal was served with little containers of milk, cinnamon, raisins and brown sugar, which was great. We both loved the corned beef hash.
Our waitress was friendly and efficient, and the hostess was also very nice when we cashed out.
I noticed while we were paying that the Rose Garden Cafe also does banquets and catering.

After this filling meal, which tided me over 'til after 2 p.m., I did some shopping, and ended up at Oakbrook Center. I struck out on early Christmas gifts, but I was surprised to see the Christkindlmarket setting up in the mall courtyard. These German Christmas market booths will be at Oakbrook Center from October 26-November 11. November 23 the market will open in Daley Plaza. StfRon and I have begun a tradition of trying to go every year or two, and we always have a good time.

We didn't make it to any local shops, unfortunately, but before we made it all the way home, we did hit another local restaurant for a late lunch.
This place was dubbed the Doggie Diner, 457 N. Weber Road in Romeoville, chosen because StfRon was in da mood for some dawgs. And also because our GPS said it was called Peepers dogs, so we thought it would be funny to take a picture of a Peepers sign for my blog. Alas, there was no sign of Peepers once we got there.
The restaurant had a large selection of specials on the board. I was a little overwhelmed by the choices. What was a chicken wrap? Did they have Chicago dogs? Rather than stand and grill the guy all day, I asked what a pizza puff was. He said it was like a hot pocket, so I went with the two pizza puff special, served with fries. StfRon ordered chili dogs and onion rings.
The chili dogs were OK, but the chili was not as meaty as he would have liked.
The pizza puffs were almost exactly like a toaster strudel filled with pizza sauce and sausage, with some cheese thrown in. They were actually quite tasty. One of them even made it home and survived being in the car with our dog. It should make a nice lunch.


Kevin Lowe said...

This blog always makes me hungry. I haven't had cheese fondue in a couple of years. It is time. Must . . . have . . . fondue.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Christmas shopping, you might want to mention these sites in your blog sometime for buying toys and games made in the good 'ol USA. We need to encourage people to buy American and avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible.


Jeep2000 said...

Good idea. I recently discovered a couple more sites featuring made in USA toys:

Fraochán said...

"Avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible"...