Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Round up

Over the past week I stopped by The Blend in Washington to pick up some locally roasted coffee for gifts.
I also got some yummy stocking stuffers from Holland's Mercantile, also in Washington.
StfRon and I caught two flicks over the holidays at Sunnyland Cinemas in Washington: Seven Pounds and Marley and Me.
Sunday we stopped for lunch at the new Tequila's in Washington. Food and service were fine, and we were surprised to have a small carafe of fresh tasting salsa dropped off at our table for our chips. The lunch specials are also available on Sundays, which was nice to see. There was also some live music being played on a synthysizer as we were leaving.
I visited the Chillicothe Tequila's location a while back.
After a movie we hit the Illinois Antique Center in downtown Peoria. They're doing a bit of remodeling, and we had a nice time browsing around.
Later that evening we stopped by Sullivan's in Peoria Heights and had a bite. I went with one of the specials: peppercorn marinated kebabs. Seriously spicy and quite good. StfRon had a mushroom swiss Angus burger and some fries. We both ended up taking home aluminum foil swans filled with leftovers that made a nice dinner Monday night.
We also enjoyed lunch at Ming's in East Peoria recently where everyone was friendly and the food selection was plentiful, as usual. I enjoyed the mushroom chicken, plenty of fruit, crisp green beans and the marshmallow fruit salad, among other things.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Local biz casualties 2008

I remember putting together a list of local businesses that closed last year, and have been mentally preparing my list for this year for a couple of weeks.
Some of these closures are fairly recent while others happened several months ago.

In 2008, we said goodbye to:
Red Zin
Euro Jack's
The Ugly Mug
Penguin Tap
River Station
White Buffalo
Walt's Dos
Ken's Gourmet Chili
Danner's Salads
Lenny's Comedy Café
Mi Rancho Grande

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I knew they were considering giving lunch a go, and I see that Sullivan's in Peoria Heights has posted a sign touting lunch Monday-Friday.

I hear that Peoria Heights will have another tenant in the former Penguin Tap, and it won't be Amvets Post 64.

Last night I was sad to hear that Po-Boys is closing. We heard a lot of great bands there over the years, and I had some awesome food. I loved the decor, too.
Certainly, finding a great live blues band to hear in the Peoria area will be a lot more difficult now, and I can't imagine the venue having the same kind of class.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Changes in Peoria

Yesterday my husband noticed that Jill's On Galena is closed and that the building and land are for sale by Remax.
He also saw that Mi Rancho Grande on Pioneer Parkway is for lease.
A new restaurant, Rosie's (BBQ and Grill, I think) has moved in to the location at 2626 N. Sheridan Road.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cyrus Gifts & Home Accents

Cyrus Gifts & Home Accents is one of the shops occupying the nicely restored warehouse building at 401 Water Street in downtown Peoria.
After enjoying a chicken salad sandwich on wheat bread at Café 401 today, I stopped by Cyrus to browse a bit.
I saw some neat wine bottle stoppers, fun greeting cards and lots of tag brand towels and home decor. They had some cute cocktail themed ornaments and nice drinkware. They also had a selection of drink mixes and baking mixes that would make nice gifts.
Cyrus also carries the Crabtree & Evelyn line, some cosmetics and jewelry, and a collection of Robeez toddler shoes.
I also spied a cute black lab puppy napping on a posh bed behind the checkout counter. The dog reminded me of when our black lab was a puppy. I wish I could bring my dog to work!

November, 2009 — Cyrus, along with the Best of Post & Pillar and Jewelry on Water, has moved to the Metro Centre.

Willett's Winery & Cellar

Sunday we were up for doing something different. I was thinking about going to Bishop Hill for the Julmarknad celebration, since we missed it last weekend due to the snow. I checked the events listing on Peoria.com and saw another option I'd been wanting to check out, Willett's Winery & Cellar, was having a Christmas open house, so off to Manito we went.
We drove right by the location at 105 East Market Street when we first got into town, so we ended up driving around and taking a look at things before finding our way to the shop. We discovered a neat old jail house not far from Willett's.
The winery location, originally a harness shop in 1893, was mostly destroyed by fire in 1914.
Today there are warm wood floors with most of the former paint on them sanded down, then sealed, lending them nice character.
Placed throughout the tasting room were several nice pieces of antique furniture displaying wine wares and gift items.
In the middle of the room several small tables were scattered about, making for a nice cozy spot to sit and enjoy wine while visiting.
StfRon and I sampled a couple of their driest reds, and both ended up settling on a glass of the Leon Millet, which, though young tasting, was a very nice selection. Chef Kevin, who prepared hors d'oeuvres for the occasion, pointed out that if you let the wine breathe for a bit, the effervescent effect would disappear.
I tried a sample of the St. Croix, but found it too sweet for my taste.
Next, I sampled the Frontenac on Chef Kevin's recommendation, and found it to have faint hints of strawberry. It was cool and refreshing, so I ordered a glass. StfRon had a glass of Chardonnel.
To accompany our wines, we had several nice hors d'oeuvres, cheeses and crackers.
I found the bottles of wine at Willett's Winery to be quite affordable, $12.50 per bottle on our December visit.
This turned out to be a fun Sunday outing, and we'll definitely keep Willett's in mind for future visits. I'd like to check out their outdoor live music events, and they also have a murder mystery coming up in January I wish I could make, plus a Valentine's event on tap that sounds like a lot of fun.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


With the arrival of the holidays, I had the chance to visit Medici in Normal for a gathering with friends.
Arriving at 120 North Street, we stepped inside and were greeted by a hostess. We had reservations, but were early and had planned to sit at the bar and enjoy a drink.
The floors in the restaurant are a blue tinted concrete, and I also noticed an upstairs, where from the sounds, there may have been a large group party in full swing.
Another interesting feature is the large knarled tree standing proudly in the dining room.
We found several open stools at the bar and took our seats while I was taking in the atmosphere.
Medici is filled with lots of wood, from the rustic table tops made from small soda bottle sized log slices cut and embedded under varnish, which I found myself admiring from time to time during our visit, counting the rings to see how old the trees might have been.
The booths were wooden as well, handmade, low and attractive, and the restaurant was scattered with artwork. One piece, a painting of a filled gumball machine, was most notable to me.
The lighting throughout the restaurant was interesting, and there were several stained glass pieces on display with a prairie style theme, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, with perhaps more of a contemporary twist.
We ordered glasses of wine and waited a few minutes for those, and by the time we had paid, our hostess had appeared and said our table was ready, so we headed over.
The menu was not extensive but had some nice appetizer selections including tortilla chips with guacamole and pico di gallo, which my friend ordered. The pico tasted fresh and crisp and the chips were dosed here and there with seasoned salt. The guacamole was fine (I'm no guac aficionado).
For dinner, strangely, we all selected pasta. Three of us went with the Mediterranean pasta with varying accompaniments and I selected the penne with a tomato cream sauce, topped with chicken.
I also ordered a house salad, thinking I could get some veggies in and try the creamy parmesan dressing. I was well into my pasta dish before I realized that I had never received my salad, but I had plenty to eat, and it was not on the bill.
I really enjoyed the penne dish, which was much too large for me to finish. Despite this, I did try (and succeed) to choke down a slice of the pecan pie, homemade in Medici's bakery next door. The pie was said to take 15 minutes to warm in an oven, foregoing the microwave. It took much closer to 30 minutes on this night, but we were having a good time and did not mind too terribly.
I found the saltiness of the homemade crust to be an excellent compliment to the sweet pie.
Our waiter was personable and efficient.
My tab pre-tip (minus a drink paid for at the bar) was about $22.
The menu also features sandwiches, salads, a handful of entrées and a few seafood selections.
There is also a Medici in Hyde Park, IL.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


This week we decided to stop for lunch at Zim's, 1200 N. Main Street, Peoria.
Located in the Campustown shopping center, Zim's is simply decorated.
They were not busy at about 11:15 when we arrived, and we were greeted and given menus right away.
Our waitress took our drink order after seating us and we made our selections. I was wavering between the French dip and the spicy chicken swiss sandwich. StfRon suggested I should get the chicken, so he could try it. I have had the sandwich before at Zim's, but it had been quite some time ago.
I ordered that with cole slaw as my side. StfRon went with chili dogs and a cup of loaded potato soup.
The soup and cole slaw arrived first. Both were very good. The cole slaw was really zesty, not the average fare served at a lot of places around town.
When our meals arrived, we were both a bit taken aback by the sheer height of the spicy chicken sandwich. Not only was this breaded bird topped with a tabasco-based sauce, it was also topped with lettuce, tomato, swiss, pickles, mustard, some mayo or maybe ranch sauce and a thick slice of onion. It was almost towering on the plate.
I did remove the tomato, not being a big fan of them, and managed to mash the bun down a bit and take a bite. The sauces and toppings seemed like it would be a bit much, but all of the different flavors made for an interesting experience.
StfRon found that his hot dogs were a little lukewarm and mentioned it to our waitress, who quickly remedied the situation. When the dogs arrived back at the table he ate them and I didn't hear how they were, but that means they must have been to his liking. If the buns are dry or the chili is lame or filled with green peppers, he'll make it known to me.
Zim's is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Breakfast is served all day and kids eat free on Tuesdays.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I was glad to see in today's Journal Star that Leaves-n-Beans in Peoria Heights has been reopened. A couple of former employees are giving it a go. I wish them the best, and plan to stop by in the next week or two.

I also see that the Book Nook is taking over the former Tepper's Gift and Party Place location on University Street in Peoria. The more visible location should serve them well.

Monday, December 01, 2008

auf Wiedersehen

The Kaiserhof in Bradford celebrated their last day of business yesterday.
We've enjoyed many great German meals at the restaurant, and will miss that location.
A new Kaiserhof has been in the works at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie in Peoria, and I would expect them to be open any day now.
Yesterday an ad was posted looking for a few more experienced restaurant personnel for the Grand Prairie site.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Café Evergreen

The Metro Centre's Le Café has a new look and a new name: Café Evergreen.
We stopped by this week for lunch after I noticed they were open for business.
The walls are now a crisp white, and the half wall separating our table from the dining room had a heavy plaster texture on it that looked like rich buttercream icing you would find on your cake from Le Bakery next door.
I liked all of the various patterns on the black and white tablecloths gracing the tables.
In addition to the new look, there were three new faces running the show. The young lady who took our order was cheerful and helpful, and told me that of the three quiches that day, she recommended the ham and cheese. No enemy to a ham and cheese quiche, I ordered that. StfRon selected a roast beef sandwich with onion and a horseradish mayo, minus the green peppers that also typically come on the sandwich. His arrived at our table accompanied by some chips, on a large, thick quarter circle of bread, perhaps a ciabatta. My quiche slice was a big double serving filled with large cubes of ham and plenty of swiss cheese. I could taste the hint of nutmeg in the egg mixture, and it reminded me of ham and swiss quiche my mom used to make. There was enough there that I took half home and enjoyed it for breakfast a couple of days later.
StfRon said his sandwich was yummy, and after trying a bite, I would agree.
With our two iced teas and tax, our meal came in at just under $18.
Café Evergreen's menu features soups, several sandwiches, salads and coffee drinks.

Monday, November 24, 2008


This week my thoughts turn to what I am thankful for. Friends and family and health, of course, but I'm also thankful for things unique to central Illinois.
Here's a rundown of 10 things I enjoy about central Illinois this time of year:

1. Bishop Hill's holiday celebrations and Swedish meatballs at the Red Oak
2. Shopping at Abe's in Peoria's Metro Centre
3. Local fresh roasted coffee beans from Leaves-n-Beans in Peoria Heights and The Blend in Washington
4. Saturday lunch specials at the Hofbrau in Peoria
5. Buying gourmet stocking stuffers at Lindy's Downtown Market in Washington
6. Irish coffee at Sullivan's in Peoria Heights
7. Shopping at the 401 shops in downtown Peoria after lunch at Café 401
8. Browsing through the Illinois Antique Center in downtown Peoria
9. Shopping on Seminary Street in Galesburg, with lunch at the Landmark Café and then enjoying a cup of coffee at Innkeepers
10. Driving on Forrest Hill Avenue and Grandview Drive to look at holiday decorations after the first snow

November 25, 2008 — Opening my newspaper this morning, I was sad to see that Leaves-n-Beans has closed. I always pick up holiday gifts there, and have enjoyed much coffee and many lunches in the house over the years.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Missy's Corner Café

One day this week StfRon and I decided to have lunch in Pekin. Not sure where to go, I asked my friend J. for some advice. He tossed out several suggestions, including Missy's Corner Café. He said he thought I would like it, and that they were known for their tenderloin, so we decided to check it out.
Arriving at the non-descript location at 17 N. 4th Street in Pekin during the lunch hour, I found the restaurant filled with a respectable crowd of people. We took a booth by the tall windows in the tidy main dining room, which looked to have been decorated maybe 15-20 years ago, accented with bright blue and white paint and wooden ceiling tiles.
Our waitress followed us to the booth and dropped off our menus and silverware, encased in plastic bags, and took our drink order. Another lady was back with the drinks almost immediately.
On a board along one wall, I saw the day's specials advertised as four pieces of fried chicken with two sides, chili mac with garlic toast or a fish sandwich. On our booth table, I noticed the napkin dispenser was emblazoned with an ad touting Missy's as home of the giant tenderloin, with a picture of a standard Central Illinois tenderloin in the background.
Opening the menu, I noticed the prices seemed quite reasonable. StfRon slapped his closed almost immediately. "What are you having?" I asked. "Giant tenderloin", he said. Giant. Hmm.
When the waitress arrived to take our order, StfRon asked if the Jr. tenderloin was a kids' portion. Ohhh nooo, she said, and did some gesturing to give us an idea of how big it was, saying that it would stick way out of the bun.
"I'll have that," I said, and ordered tater tots as my side. Hey, if I'm having a greasy lunch, I may as well go all the way! StfRon went with the junior tenderloin, too, and copied my tots order.
Our order did take a bit longer than your typical lunch stop to arrive, but not alarmingly long, and we're pretty sure the pounding we heard from the kitchen about five minutes before our meal arrived was our tenderloins being freshly pounded out.
And oh my, did these look good! The breading is hard to describe, but has a lot of texture to it, with lots of nooks and crannies. It looked like the most awesome chicken fried steak I had ever seen, and I almost wished for a side of sawmill gravy to top it with. The bun almost seemed like an afterthought, so I ditched it, and cut in to the tender pork. The breading was crispy and had a great flavor to it.
The photo of the tenderloin on the napkin dispenser is obviously some stock photo and does not do Missy's tenderloin justice.
These tenderloins were both accompanied with huge orders of tater tots. I ate about seven of them, and I swear there were still more than 14 left to take home, along with the other half of my tenderloin.
If I hadn't been pigging out a bit I could have made four meals out of that lunch, but as it is I will have dinner or lunch to look forward to later in the week.
Lunch for two with reasonably priced ($1.25) iced teas came to about $18 including tax.
Both ladies waiting tables in the dining room were friendly and efficient.
Another bonus for me was that they had a bucket o' hard candy at the cash register, but it was not filled with the standard red and white peppermint candies. These were butterscotch disks, one of my all-time favorites. And, to top it off, I don't think they were Brach's that have the cellophane wrappers with twisted ends. These were sealed flat at each end, and seemed to have even more butterscotchy goodness than Brach's.
We popped in to a side room on our way out, and found it filled with several electronic poker games.
Missy's Corner Café serves breakfast all day, and is open seven days a week until 2 p.m.
Next time I find myself on jury duty, I know where I'm headed for lunch!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comfort food

I love it when I can go to a locally owned restaurant and enjoy some good comfort food.
Yesterday I found myself at Cyd's Gourmet Kitchen in Peoria's Junction City and noticed that the special was turkey pot pie. Sounded good on a chilly day, so I ordered one.
It took a bit of time to warm it up, but soon my piping hot fancy pot pie was delivered to my table in its white tureen topped with layers of golden, flaky pastry.
Digging in, I found it filled with chunks of white meat turkey, potato cubes, pearl onions, carrots, peas, lima beans and celery, all covered in a thick sauce.
Now that hit the spot!

More holiday happenings

With the weather being like it is, I guess it's not so difficult to believe that next week is Thanksgiving.

For more holiday happenings around the area, check out:

The Poinsettia Show at Luthy Botanical Gardens in Peoria Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22.
Hundreds of colorful poinsettias on display and Christmas trees throughout the conservatory will be decorated in themes.

Holiday Open House at the Metro Centre in Peoria on Saturday, November 22.

The Chillicothe Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, November 22 at 2 p.m.

The Illinois Antique Center in downtown Peoria will hold a holiday open house this weekend as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday happenings

With this chilly weather, maybe you are in the mood for some holiday events. Me, I'm just sniffling, sneezing and taking in large amounts of warm drinks and soups to try and soothe my sore throat.

This weekend Junction City shopping center in Peoria will host a holiday open house on Friday, November 14 from 5-9 p.m. Events include live music, carriage rides, cocktails and snacks plus pictures with Santa (cost for photos is $5). http://www.newjunctioncity.com

Hoerr Nursery in Peoria will also be hosting holiday open house events this weekend.
Friday, November 14 from 3- 5 p.m. Buffalo Wild Wings of Grand Prairie will be selling and serving food. There will be drawings and holiday decorating demonstrations. Starting at 6 p.m. there will be live music.
Saturday the open house continues at 10 a.m. with food from Buffalo Wild Wings from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. http://www.hoerrnursery.com

On Sunday, Kickapoo Creek Winery in Kickapoo will have a Christmas showcase featuring tastings, refreshments and gift ideas from noon-6 p.m. I made my first visit to the winery a couple of weeks ago and sampled several of their wines. A couple of the reds I tried were quite nice. http://www.kickapoocreekwinery.com

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chiliworks Café

Last week we made the trek to the new Chiliworks Café, 8305 North Allen Road in Peoria.
Walking in to the restaurant in a new strip mall at about 11:30, we found ourselves right at the counter where you place your order.
After looking over the menu board on the wall, I decided to go with a regular bowl of the Cincinnati chili, billed as "one of a kind (unless you're from Ohio) ground beef chili with unique flavors of cayenne pepper, cocoa & cinnamon". I chose cornbread over French bread for my side.
StfRon ordered a chili mac, described as "pasta covered with chili, cheese and onion" with French bread.
We went to fill our drinks at the station and look for a place to sit in the crowded dining room. The walls were painted a warm red and were not adorned by any decorations. We took a seat near the stone fireplace in the center of the room.
Our food arrived shortly. My chili, topped with a bit of shredded cheddar and diced onions was not scaldingly hot, so I was able to dig in right away. I could taste the cinnamon and cocoa, which nicely complimented the tasty chili.
StfRon sampled his chili mac and found it to be too heavy on the green peppers for his taste. After trying mine, he decided to have a bowl of that instead.
The cornbread was a nice accompaniment to the bowl of chili.
The owner stopped by our table as he was visiting the dining room and asked how everything was. With only a couple of seats along the window bar open, the place was hopping.
The chili menu features original chili, an incandescent variety, turkey chili, plus there is an Austrian onion soup on the menu. There is Texas chili (with steak), cheese soup and bison chili, as well as some sandwiches, salads, pastas and desserts. In addition to a regular bowl of chili, you can order a large bowl or a bread bowl. Chiliworks also features some kid's menu selections.

January, 2009 — We recently visited Chiliworks and found that they have added some interesting art to the dining room wall, which dresses things up a bit. I also noticed that they are serving beer, and there are a few on the list that StfRon was wishing he could partake of during the lunch hour.

May, 2009 — Chiliworks has closed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

German Specialties relocation

Maria from German Specialties (formerly located at 3919 N. Sheridan Road in Peoria) had told us a couple of months ago that she may be moving the shop to the Metro Centre.
Plans must have changed because this weekend we ran across their new digs in the 3000 block of University Street, tucked in between FedEx Kinkos and Hobby Lobby. The new location looks like it will be much larger, and they should be opening soon, just in time for us to pick up some yummy Christmas stocking stuffers!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ginger Asian Bistro

My husband, StfRon, has been raving about a place he discovered in Springfield, Ginger Asian Bistro, for a few months now. Recently I had the chance to check it out for myself.
Walking in to the restaurant located at 3100 W. White Oaks Drive, I asked what had made him decide to try the place, since it seemed a little contemporary for his taste. He said it was the promise of free WiFi on the sign that originally attracted him, but I know he's drawn back due to the soothing atmosphere and the teriyaki chicken.
Shortly after we were seated our waiter stopped by and took our drink order, which he delivered momentarily, along with some complimentary hot and sour soup. I'm not a big fan of this soup, but I must say that Ginger's version was the best I've ever tried.
Going with my husband's rave review, I ordered the teriyaki chicken while he went with the sesame chicken. The teriyaki chicken was, as he described, not too heavily seasoned or sweet, and cooked until it had a light, crispy texture, and was accompanied by a nice selection of vegetables, including carrot disks edged in a scalloped pattern.
I was intruigued by some of their cocktail offerings and the dessert menu, which included things like ginger créme brulee, green tea cheesecake and, one of my all-time favorites, green tea ice cream.
This is not your typical lunchtime Chinese fare, and our meal was not followed by a bill delivered on a tray with fortune cookies. But this certainly didn't detract from the experience, perhaps it lent a little something extra.

Punchy about lunch

Lately I've been looking for ways to save on lunches. I love going out to lunch, but it's nice to be able to save a buck or two.
This morning I went and had a free cholesterol screening at the Methodist Wellmobile, at the request of my doctor. After my consult, the nurse gave me a bag of goodies that I opened a few minutes ago.
Inside I found a lunch punch card from Carnegie's 501, 501 Main Street in Peoria. The card is a five for one lunch club: purchase five lunches and the sixth lunch is free. I'll have to check that one out. I like eating downtown, and I know Carnegie's had a nice salad bar the last time I was there for dinner.
Vallarta's, 3510 N. University Street in Peoria, has a punch card. Buy 10 lunches and your 11th is free.
The City News Café, 311 Main Street in Peoria, also has a punch card, and I'm sure there are other places I've yet to discover.
If anyone knows of locally-owned restaurants who offer lunch punch cards or special lunch deals, please comment and let me know!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

TNT Sports Bar & Grill

Sunday we took another ride on the River Trail of Illinois in East Peoria, thinking the fall colors would be out in full force. Either they're not quite there yet, or they aren't going to be that stunning, but the weather was great for a ride nonetheless. Some friends of ours met us for the ride.
The trail passes right behind TNT Sports Bar & Grill, so we made plans to stop there for a bite to eat.
TNT is located at 3304 Meadows Avenue in East Peoria.
We stepped inside to find a dark (especially coming in from the noontime sun) dining room behind the bar, walls lined with wood planks. Through some window openings into the bar that were covered with Plexiglas, we could see a row of several flat screen TVs, each displaying different football games.
Along the bar wall in the room was a nicely maintained shuffleboard table.
When we took our seat, there were about three other tables of people in the dining room, but once noon hit a pretty steady stream of customers flowed into the restaurant.
We had been tossing around the idea of Bloody Marys and breakfast at the bar. Our waitress came by to take our drink order, and since I hadn't seen any sign of a breakfast menu, I asked for an iced tea. StfRon looked at me and said "What, no Bloody Mary??" Our waitress piped up and said they had a Bloody Mary bar. We were all intrigued, and three of us ordered one.
The waitress delivered three glasses of vodka on ice to our table, then escorted us to the Bloody Mary bar to give us the rundown.
There were several bottles of Bloody Mary mix, one of which is TNT's own creation, which she mentioned has won some awards. We all decided to try that one. There were seasonings like Worcestershire, celery salt, salt and pepper, and garnishes including Slim Jims, celery, green olives, pickles and green onions. There was also a pot of chili and some bowls on the Bloody Mary bar.
We loaded up our drinks and headed back to the table to enjoy our creations.
We decided to go with pizza for our lunch. StfRon and I ordered the sweetfire chicken pizza and our friends went with a deluxe. We also ordered some wings in honey BBQ (StfRon's doing) and mild for me.
TNT's pizzas are thin crust. The sauce on the sweetfire chicken pizza ended up having a pretty good kick to it. Between that, the Bloody Mary and the mild wings, my taste buds were heading toward a mild inferno. If I order that pizza again, I think I would have to cut down on the amount I ate.
StfRon enjoyed the honey BBQ wings. I don't particularly care for sweet wings, but I liked the mild ones.
Service was good, and several servers checked on us from time-to-time. I also visited the women's restroom and was fairly surprised at the decor and cleanliness. I really had prepared myself for a more low-end utilitarian restroom, but this was definitely a few steps above.
We were also pleasantly surprised when we got the bill. With the Bloody Mary bar priced at only $3, wings at 35 cents and pizzas at a few bucks off on Sundays, we made off with a bargain, and had we not been on bikes, we could have taken home some leftovers.
TNTs has daily specials and offers free WiFi.

TNT opened a second location in Peoria Heights at the former Penguin Tap in early 2009.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Garner's Pizza & Wings

This week StfRon and I tried the lunch buffet at Garner's Pizza & Wings, 9101 N. Allen Road in Peoria.
Our first stop was the cash register where we paid just under $18 for two lunch buffets (pizza and salad bar) and two drinks. Heading to the dining room, we found that all of the booths appeared to be occupied (some people were in the buffet line, but had already claimed their space). We did find room at the end of a couple of tables of eight chairs, where two men were enjoying their pizza at the other end.
I went for the pizza right away, figuring salad could wait. Hey, I like my pizza hot!
All of the selections had a thin crust. I took a piece of pepperoni pizza that had green peppers and onions on it, and a bread stick with some marinara. Sitting down to try them, I found both to be OK, but they didn't knock my socks off.
On my next trip to the buffet, I snagged a slice of BBQ chicken pizza and some salad: iceberg lettuce with red cabbage, added on some cucumbers and red onions plus some bacon bits and ladled on some Italian dressing.
Now THIS slice was more up my alley! The cheese was nicely browned, the thin crust was nicely dusted in cornmeal, the chicken was tender and not dry, and the BBQ sauce...whoa!! It tasted like Steak 'n Shake chili mac sauce, of which I am a HUGE fan.
It's a good thing that when I glanced back over at the buffet, I noticed that the BBQ chicken pizza was gone or I would have had one or two more slices.
The place kept up a steady lunch business while we were there. The dining room features a TV and there is an arcade room just down the hall.
I've had and enjoyed Garner's wings in the past, but it's been years. They also have appetizers and sandwiches on the menu, and offer delivery.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Business weather report

You might recall that we tried to visit Ken's Gourmet Chili a couple of weeks ago. There is now a for rent sign in the window at Ken's. I'm sorry to hear that because it's fairly close to where I work, and chili sounds great on a chilly afternoon.
I guess there's a new chili game in town, though, that I've been hearing advertised on the radio, somewhere on Allen Road. Chili Works, if I remember correctly.

We also noticed that Lenny's Comedy Café in Washington has closed. We had taken in a show there and found the food to be OK (we had a deep fried appetizer trio), the first comedian that night was so-so, but the second one was a blast. The location (the old Uncle Al's Steak House) seems to be sufficiently cursed.

On a bit of a different note, I hope the Bark in the Park yesterday was a big success. We were out of town for a camping trip (our second attempt ever!) but still donated to one of our favorite causes: DOGS!!
We met some cool dogs at the campground, which was nice, since we left our canoe-capsizing canine at home with Grandma R. I hear she fared pretty well, though, dining on cheese, beef jerky and peanut butter!

Sullivan's Pub

On Wednesday we stopped by Sullivan's Pub, 4614 N. Prospect Road in Peoria Heights, and found the kitchen open for business.
We took a look at the menu, which looked a lot style-wise like the menu from F. Scott's. There were even a couple of my favorite F. Scott's menu items on there: bacon wrapped artichoke hearts and the Brie du Jour. Can't wait to snack on those!
We decided to have some sandwiches at the bar, StfRon going with a cheeseburger and a sesame-crusted tuna steak on grilled toast for me. We also ordered a large order of the hand cut fries.
My sandwich arrived topped with tomato and a light wasabi sauce, not spicy at all. The tuna was thick and nicely prepared with a light garnish of seseame seeds, and I enjoyed the plate presentation, which included a colorful side of three bean salad. The bean salad was light on vinegar.
StfRon enjoyed his burger, and commented on the mixed lettuce greens for garnishing his burger.
The side of fries was tasty, but huge. Next time we'll have to split a smaller one!
I also noticed that Sullivan's is serving homemade soups, which I will be partaking of many times with the cooler weather upon us.
The menu features burgers including bison and turkey as well as beef, tuna, appetizers and soups and food is served each day starting at 4 p.m.

March, 2010 — Sullivan's has been sold and will reopen as another business.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fall fun

Fall is my favorite time of year. This year I've already enjoyed a caramel apple from Maurie's Candies in Pekin, thanks to my husband. I could live on those all season long.
We've already had our annual fall party, which was a great time.
I'm sure we will soon make a trek to Tanner's Orchard in Speer. Gotta have those apple cider donuts!
This weekend kicks off the Spoon River Valley Drive in Fulton County, and the festivities resume next weekend. Too crowded, you say? There's also the Knox County Scenic Drive on the same two weekends.
Sunday the German-American Society hosts that Schlactfest at Hickory Grove in Dunlap.
Hayrides and Hotdogs run throughout the month of October on Thursday nights at Sommer Park in Peoria.
Of course the next few weeks will bring even more great fall events. I'll rake up a list and post it soon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Midweek musings

So far it's been a week of Chinese food for me. I lunched at Yen Ching in Peoria one day, where I noticed that the lunch special prices have gone up a bit, but only by a few cents.

StfRon and I had a chance to grab some lunch at Ming Shee in Peoria, where we admired the newly remodeled dining room. I had the Szechuan chicken, which may be my new favorite dish there.
The downside was that in some fluke occurrance, I managed to splatter about three globs of the spicy orange sauce onto the crotch of my light tan pants and the edge of my green shirt. This sort of thing happens to me once in a blue moon, but of course would happen a: when I was wearing light colored pants and b: when we are going straight from work to dinner to a game (see below). It made me briefly envy our friends' policy of carrying backup clothing.
Hey, maybe someone could make Chico pants and a Chico shirt and I could tote them along with my awesome Chico bag! The Chico bag is bundled up to about 4" by 3", and unfolds to a full size grocery bag. But I digress...
StfRon brought me a wet paper towel, and I thought I had gotten all of the sauce blotted up, but apparently it was masked by the fact that my pants were drenched by then. Upon coming back to work, I noticed the distinct spots appearing.
Ah ha! I realized I should have a Shout wipe in my purse. WRONG. Who knows what happened to it, but my best laid plans of always keeping one in there must have fallen by the wayside.

We actually had tried to hit Ken's Gourmet Chili in Peoria instead, with fall weather upon us it sounded like just the thing, but we found them to be closed at 11:16, despite a sign on the glass stating they would return at 11:00.

Tonight we are going to take in a Peoria Rivermen game for the first time in ages, free courtesy of StfRon's quick dialing fingers and mad radio station trivia skills.

This week Tilley's at the River Station opened for business along Peoria's riverfront. It seems they fared the flooding quite well. We probably won't make it there right away, but I'll be interested to hear what people think of it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Burgers galore!

We stopped by Sullivan's in Peoria Heights again. Turns out the kitchen is not open yet due to the chef and his wife just having a baby, but should be open very soon.
We got a bit of a rundown of what will be on the menu: hamburgers, bison burgers, Kobe steak burgers, ostrich burgers and the hand cut fries that were served at the Main Street location. Sounds interesting, indeed!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

River Trail of Illinois

We've hiked the River Trail of Illinois from East Peoria's Fon du Lac park district building on Veterans Drive a few times over the years. But, with the recent acquisition of some bikes, I thought it might be fun to ride the trail Saturday, which turned out to be a beautiful morning.
The hard-surfaced hiking and biking trail was finished in 1991, running 4.8 miles north and east out of East Peoria along the old Illinois Terminal Railway line.
Starting out on our bikes, we were soon pedaling and pedaling. Each time we would stop pedaling to coast a bit, we would instantly lose speed. It didn't really look like we were ascending, but checking our GPS, we found that at one point in the ride, we had ascended almost 200 feet!
About four miles into the ride, we were able to stop near an ice cream shop in East Peoria and look for a geocache. StfRon quickly found the hidden gem, and I grabbed a bottle of water from the ice cream shop vending machine, since they were closed.
We did encounter a pretty long uphill slope at one point, but we finally made it to the crest.
We continued on the trail to see the end, and turns out it connects with a trail in Morton. We rode to the Oak Lawn trailer park, then turned back, deciding we could check out the Morton portion some other time.
Riding back was the real treat due to the return trip down the slope. Coasting down, I kept picking up speed until at one point I was cruising at 18 MPH. I was able to coast without pedaling for at least a mile, with the breeze blowing through my hair, enjoying the view of all the trees.
It was at that moment that I decided I would have to hit this trail again on my bike when the fall colors are out in full force.
Several people were out enjoying the nice day on the path, from bikers to walkers. I plan to make it more of a habit now, too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Carl's Bakery & Restaurant

For years we've talked about stopping by Carl's Bakery & Restaurant, 815 E. Camp Street in East Peoria. How could we resist, with the regal rooster perched in the parking lot? But time and time again when we drove by, we found the place closed.
Today we lucked into finding Carl's open. We stepped inside, which was a bit like stepping back in time. I'll bet things haven't changed much there in 40 years.
There were a few booths in the dining room, and a case of pastries along the back wall near the kitchen. There was also a counter which I'm sure used to host a row of stools, but now there's a booth in front of the counter.
At 10 a.m., we found about three tables of people enjoying coffee and reading the paper.
We took a seat along the wall, above which hung an old framed Daylight Donuts poster.
Our waitress, Edna, was a delight, joking with us throughout our visit. She also took care of the fairly steady stream of people who stopped in for the donuts.
Checking out the menu, I was surprised at how reasonable the prices were. All of the sandwiches except the tenderloin were under $4, many of them even under $3.
We both chose the two eggs with corned beef hash, served with a side of toast. While we waited, we shared an apple fritter that seemed very fresh, filled with apple and cinnamon goodness.
Right about the time we were expecting our food to arrive, there was word from the kitchen, where things seemed to be a little harried, that there was no corned beef hash. We were somewhat devastated by this, as we have corned beef hash pretty much every place that serves it. StfRon decided to sub ham and I went with bacon.
Our meals arrived a bit later with an apology, piping hot. StfRon found the ham to have some sweetness to it, and my two scrambled eggs must have come from the biggest egg laying chicken around.
The lady who brought our meals out stopped over at the next booth and bantered around with the couple who are apparently regulars, as she took their order.
In addition to the Daylight Donuts, Carl's is also home to Broaster chicken, and offers catering and special occasion cakes. They are closed Sunday and Mondays, and serve breakfast and lunch the rest of the week.
On our way out, the lady from the kitchen again apologized for our wait, and said, "Next time we'll have corned beef hash...maybe!" with a wry grin.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Round up

Not a whole lot has been going on with us, save for spending large amounts of money on car repairs!!

Last weekend we had a fun time in Milwaukee with our friends, despite plenty of rain. We did the Sprecher Brewery Tour for the first time, and the beer garden at the end of the tour was a nice time, but a group of guys who had been rowdy from the time they checked in ended up getting the boot in the beer garden. And I don't mean the German beer boot...
We had dinner at Karl Ratzsch's, an historic German restaurant opened in 1904. The live piano music lent a bit of an upscale feel to the evening, and I thought the food was pretty good.
We also hit Ma Fischer's for breakfast. The food was decent but service was a little slow.
And of course we hit our standard haunts, the Old German Beer Hall, Alterra by the Lake, Brady Street, the Public Market and the Wicked Hop.

This week I enjoyed lunch at Water Street Wines, Café and Coffees and Adams Street Café, both in Peoria. We had some wings at Gracie's Chicago Style Grill in Washington. We're still waiting to get a gander at the new menu, which last we heard was supposed to be in place three or four weeks ago.

Around the area, I see that Fedora's at McClure and University Street in Peoria has replaced their sign that disappeared from its post in April.
Emo's in Peoria is closing for the season next week, Wednesday, I think, so head on over for one last treat.
German Specialties will be moving to Peoria's Metro Centre in October, just in time for your holiday shopping enjoyment.
I just remembered something I found out a few weeks ago: Vertucci's Chicago Style Eats will soon be open in their larger location just north of where they currently are (the Shell station) in East Peoria.
The restaurant portion of Tavern on the Water in Peoria closed in late July, and now it looks like the riverfront roost will be dubbed Johnny's Hide-A-Way and the Skybar. Not sure who this Johnny is, but just now it made me think of Johnny B's in Westlake. Back in the day, that was a fun hangout with lots of good finger food. Must have been during the mid to late 1990s, when I also spent a lot of time at Barnacle Billy's along the river in Peoria Heights.

Speaking of the riverfront, despite record flood stages for the Illinois River, looks like Peoria Oktoberfest is staying put. We'll be out there in all our glory later on Saturday.
The fest starts Friday at 5 p.m. and continues through Sunday.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Round up

Friday after work we swung by the newly-opened Sullivan's in Peoria Heights for an after work cocktail. The atmosphere is great and if I didn't know it had just opened that week, I would have thought the place had been there for years. Our former Main Street Sullivan's bartender Larry was holding down the fort, and it was good to see him again. The kitchen won't be open for a couple of weeks yet, but the bar is in full swing.
That night we took in the American English concert at Lakeview Museum in Peoria, one of the free Ameren summer concert series events. This fab Beatles tribute band put on a great show, as usual. If you would like to check them out, they'll be at the Morton Pumpkin Festival this Saturday night.

Saturday night we met some friends at Water Street Wines, Café & Coffee in Peoria and shared one of each of the cheese fondues. Both were good, but I would have to say I prefer the classic. We had a fun time, and I enjoyed our waitress' sense of humor. The second wine we tried, a Shiraz, was quite good, especially after a gentleman dining in the restaurant came over and gave us some chocolate to compliment the wine. I'll have to get the name of the wine from our friends, who were wise enough to jot it down.
We then walked over to John S. Rhodell Brewery & Bar for a pint. It's been a while since I'd been in there, and it was such a nice night, we were able to sit on the brick patio.

Today my mind was on the tomato grilled cheese soup from Le Café in Peoria. I think it may have been the roasted red pepper tomato sauce on our asparagus appetizer at Water Street Wines that reminded me of the soup. It's a hearty, comforting, cheesy soup. Slogging though the rain to the café's door in the Metro Centre, though, only led me to a dark restaurant with a piece of paper taped to the door informing customers that the restaurant is closed for major renovations. It will be interesting to see what the changes will be.
Oh, well, chances are that the soup of the day would have been something else anyway, right?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Kelleher's Irish Pub & Eatery

The Salty Sam fundraiser last week gave us good occasion to visit Kellher's Irish Pub & Eatery once again.
Phil Luciano's column in the Journal Star brought to light the fact that the popular actor from the local Captain Jinks Show, George Baseleon, is buried in Peoria's Springdale Cemetery sans headstone.
The show aired from 1956-1972, a bit before my time, but apparently had scores of fans, including my husband, StfRon.
A fundraiser was organized to help raise money for a more appropriate burial, with the extra funds going to St. Jude (the last tally we heard before leaving was that $2,600 had been raised).
Kelleher's, 619 SW Water Street in Peoria, hosted the event Thursday, August 28, complete with several characters dressed Salty style, sporting caps and mustaches. Owner Pat Sullivan was one of them.
I've always loved the atmosphere at Kelleher's, with the exposed brick walls and worn wood floors in the old warehouse building. There's even a balcony with upstairs seating, and the back bar is beautiful. Add to all of this a nice brick patio with seating, and the site is a real winner in my book.
There is also a good amount of neat memorabilia scattered throughout the building.
Hanging around watching the Salty Sam hi jinx, we decided to order some appetizers. We settled on an order of Irish chips and some wings, half with Beamish BBQ and half with hot sauce. A few of the other appetizers caught my eye, too, like the Galway Bay crab cakes and the crab crunchers, but despite being a fan of Captain Jinx and the USS Albatross, StfRon is no fan of seafood.
The Irish chips were potato wedges, most likely from frozen, nicely crisped on the outside, topped with some cheese sauce and crumb style bacon bits. The cheese sauce was much tastier than I thought it would be at first glance.
Normally when it comes to wings, I stick to the hot or mild variety, as I haven't found a BBQ wing I like thus far. However, upon sampling these wings doused in Beamish BBQ sauce, I now have an acceptable BBQ wing option, one I will probably even crave from time to time. The sauce hit just the right note with me, smoky, sweet and savory.
With all of the hubbub, we found the service to be good. We were seated at the bar, and our bartender was wearing a Salty Sam cap. He was cheerful and on the ball throughout our stay.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Round up

Over the past seven days, we checked out Andre's Restaurant in Peoria. It was the same week they were reviewed by the Journal Star, so I'm wondering if things were a little off because of the response. I'll try it again and hope to have a full rave review. The entertainment while we were there, the Soggy Bottom Blues band, was an unexpected treat, though.
We stopped by the Erin Feis on the riverfront. Humid, humid, humid, but great to hear the Irish music.
I also enjoyed lunch at the Adams Street Café and City News in Peoria this week.

I noticed on Peoria Chronicle today that the date of Vonachen's Old Place closing has been set.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

EastPort Marina Cantina Bar and Grill

It may be one of the longest business names I've heard in a while, but the EastPort Marina Cantina Bar and Grill decks boast one of the best views in town.
I noticed that the bar and grill, located at 701 Mariners Way in East Peoria, was open again when I saw their ad in the Washington Times Reporter a couple of months ago.
We are lucky enough to go boating quite often with some friends, and another lunch option on the river is always a good thing.
We docked at the marina a few weeks ago for lunch on a weekend, and took a seat on the lower deck. The view of the Peoria skyline and the light breeze made the spot quite relaxing.
After checking out the menu inside, I decided to try a Cuban sandwich. StfRon had a cheeseburger, and our friends split the same two sandwiches, plus an order of chips and salsa.
The food was nothing fancy, but hit just the right spot.

One night after an event in East Peoria last week, we met up at EastPort Marina Cantina Bar and Grill again for drinks, and ended up ordering a Butch's white garlic pizza to serve as our dinner. The bar was featuring a special on Bud Light bottles, $2 each.
Once again, the view was tops and with our appetite nicely sated by the pizza, we were set for the night.

The bar and grill is open from 2 p.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Wednesday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and noon-1 a.m. Sunday with live music featured on weekends.
You can also carry out ice and cases of beer for boating, should you run low.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Round up

I suppose it's high time I catch up on what's been going on.

Last week we hit the grand opening of Bernardi's North in Dunlap for my mom's birthday. They handled our pretty large group with typical Bernardi's style and grace, and we enjoyed a nice evening there.

The next day we dined at Sushigawa in Peoria for my friend's birthday. My bowl of tempura noodle soup was good, however StfRon's teriyaki beef won my rave reviews. They were out of green tea ice cream, but had a substitute ice cream in green tea flavor that I really enjoyed. It had a gummy coating on the outside and was cut into wedges, which made it great to just pick up with your fingers and pop the pieces into your mouth. The coating reminded me of the big tapioca balls that were in the tea that they used to have at the Monkey King at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie.
Oh, and when they delivered the bill for the meal, they brought some melon hard candies that were most excellent. I must check around at the ethnic markets here and see if I can find some.

Our next stop was the state fair in Springfield, where I sampled polenta with feta from the Romania booth at Ethnic Village. We shared a Pronto Pup dog and elephant ear, and on our way out were going to hit the "Deep Fried What?" booth for some deep fried Oreos, but there was quite a line, so we passed.
Didn't see any sign of chocolate covered bacon, or I'm sure we would have been up for that.

Friday night we met some friends and rode bikes to dinner at Basta O'Neill's in Washington. I tried the special o' the night, grouper Oscar, which was wonderful, and the plate presentation was quite nice, too.

This week brought the attack of the car problems. Tuesday, between the time that I drove to work and lunch, both of my turn signals stopped working. I was going to have StfRon meet me at the dealership that evening to drop it off until we met, and he said his transmission was acting up. He had made an appointment to drop his off at Kauth & Mauyer in Peoria, and since that problem trumped mine, we've been sharing the Jeep for a few days (turns out it wasn't a transmission leak, so we're on to the stage where they find out what the problem is and how much the repair will cost). I just figured out that we're averaging about $10 a day in gas using the Jeep, which would put a serious cramp in the ole budget if we did this permanently.
This morning the Jeep had a rough start, as it has from time-to-time, but evened out and got us out to bring home the bacon, and the turn signals are currently working, so I don't feel like such a jackass switching lanes and turning.

I had lunch with a friend at One World in Peoria and checked out the new menu. I was glad to see that my faves are still on there, and didn't branch out and try anything new. The place was hopping.

On the new biz front, I see that Emack & Bolio's is moving into Peoria Heights, near Basta Mangiare on Prospect. Not really local, but tasty nonetheless. I'll bet they do well there.
On the local front, Sullivan's, just down the street from the aforementioned businesses, should be opening in a week or two, and we're looking forward to that, and Davis Brothers Pizza is taking over the location vacated by Kkolors in Heritage Square, again in Peoria Heights.
And, in a depressing bit of news regarding the end of summer, Lou's Drive-In in Peoria is closing for the season August 30, so head on out for a burger and a root beer a.s.a.p.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Round up

One day this week I headed to the Metro Centre in Peoria for lunch and errands.
My first stop was Kay's Hallmark. After TCB there, I decided to walk down to Jalepeno's because I had noticed a board touting their $3.99 lunch special on the sidewalk when I drove by.
I walked in and was seated right away, and noticed the decor seems to be updated from that last time I'd been in, and I liked what I saw.
The $3.99 lunch specials advertised were the numbered lunch combos, from #1-#11. I decided to go with #8, a beef burrito and a tamale with refried beans.
Someone dropped of my prerequisite chips and salsa, and I enjoyed a few while looking out the window as I waited about five minutes for my meal.
In the second dining room, where I was seated, I noticed that the overhead lights were off, and I thought, why the heck not? Save some energy while enjoying the sun that filters in through the large windows along the front.
My combo arrived quickly, the burrito topped with a red sauce and the tamale was cornmeal through and through topped with green sauce and shredded pork. Very tasty.
When the bill arrived, the meal was indeed $3.99, with $1.50 added for my iced tea. After a decent tip and tax, I made it out just over $8, and with the speedy service still had time to pop into Abe's on my way back to the car to pick up some gum.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Original Gulley's BBQ

Last week we made a stop StfRon had been talking about doing for several days: Original Gulley's BBQ. He wanted to swing by the restaurant at 123 S. MacArthur Highway in Peoria and pick up some carryout for dinner.
The dining area is quite small, with seating for about six people, and a counter where we stepped up to check out the menu.
The menu features chicken and fish, pulled pork and beef sandwiches, a rack of ribs and rib dinners. We ordered two of the latter, $12 each, both with baked beans and cole slaw as our sides.
After about 10 minutes, we had our bag of food and were on our way home. StfRon went around the side of the building to take a gander at the smoker, and ran into the original Gulley himself, who built the smoker at that location over 50 years ago.
Pulling the Styrofoam boxes out of the bag, I swear each one weighed several pounds. Opening my dinner, I could see why. The ribs are very meaty, and we were served several of the hearty rib bones. A piece of waxed paper covered the dinner and my slices of soft white bread were placed on top of that.
Taking a bite, the pork had a good smoky flavor and was crusted with some BBQ sauce. The meat was not falling off the bone, but was good nonetheless. There was a side of BBQ sauce as well, and to my untrained BBQ palate, it tasted like a Kansas City style sauce.
The beans were fine as a side, and the creamy slaw was tasty.
At $12, this meal was quite a take out feast. I'll be enjoying the leftovers this week.

January, 2009 — Gulley's has closed

Saturday, August 09, 2008


We've heard talk of it for several months now, and now it's officially noted that the Kaiserhof Restaurant of Bradford fame will be opening a location at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie.
The opening is slated for October and the restaurant will be across from Border's back entrance.
We'll certainly be checking it out and enjoying some great German cuisine and wish Gary and the crew the best in their Peoria location.

We'll also be checking out the opening of Bernardi's North at Lake of the Woods Plaza in Dunlap in honor of my mom's birthday next week, and look forward to their new location. I spent many a Thursday night in the Woodcutter back in the 90s, so it will be interesting to step inside after all these years, but even better to see some familiar Washington faces.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pottstown Meat & Deli

Some more moderate temperatures moved into the area this week, which made me contemplate a picnic lunch of sorts.
StfRon stopped by Pottstown Meat & Deli at the Metro Centre in Peoria (4700 N. University) to pick up some sandwiches, and called me with some options.
He rattled off the salad sandwich (ham, chicken or tuna salad on honey wheat, white or croissant); ham and cheese; corned beef and swiss on pumpernickel; turkey, cream cheese and cranberry sauce on a croissant (which I considered, but I'm not a big fan of croissants, so I let him go on); the smokehouse (smoked turkey, Black Forest ham and Vermont cheddar on honey wheat with brown mustard and mayo) which he placed his order for; beef and cheddar; the Sicilian; Horsey beef, homemade roast beef on marble rye with horseradish cheese, onions and sauce...OK, now you've got my attention. I stopped him and said, "I'll have that!"
He added a bag of Kitchen Cooked potato chips to the order and we met and headed to a picnic table along the riverfront to sample our lunch.
The sandwiches run between $4.99-$5.99 and include a pickle spear (a good one at that), no chips included, but the sandwiches are piled pretty high with toppings.
The Horsey beef had a nice kick to it, and I could barely choke down any chips since the sandwich was pretty filling.
StfRon proclaimed his sandwich a good picnic lunch option.
Pottstown Meats has been providing meat in Central Illinois for over 100 years. They also specialize in marinated meats, with tons of flavors of marinated chicken breasts.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

City News Café

Recently I've taken to having lunch at City News Café, 311 Main Street in Peoria.
I've always loved the City News logo. It's so metropolis!
This coffee shop makes me think of the virtues of living downtown in an urban area. Once I saw a sign posted next door that said "unique loft apartment for lease" that really got me to thinking how cool it could be. It's close to the river, close to bars, close to several dining establishments. Now, if only there was a patch of grass for our dog...
The café has a wall lined with shelves of reading material like Peoria magazines, newspapers and more. WiFi is also available.
For drink selections, choose from espresso drinks, brewed coffee, organic tea, hot cocoa, chai and specialty sodas, just to name a few.
The City News has Boar's Head Brand meats and cheeses, with sandwiches like Black Forest ham, smoked turkey and a grilled tomato basil. Also available are salads, pizza by the slice, baked goods, hot dogs and breakfast sandwiches. They also have boxed coffee.
There are lunch specials each day, and I've always gotten out for under $7 with chips and a drink. My favorite so far has been the French dip, even though that day they ran out of hoagie buns and I had it served on sourdough, which might have made it even better. Those Boar's Head meats and cheeses make a mean French dip!
I enjoy sitting in the café and enjoying the day's Sun Times on my lunch hour, watching the many people pop in and out for lunch.
I can also attest to the fact that they serve a delicious black and white cookie, since StfRon and I shared one one day after eating lunch from a vendor cart.
The City News Café is open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Pick up a lunch punch card to save some dough.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mel's Port O' Call

We recently purchased some bikes to see if we would enjoy riding, and found out a couple of our friends are avid bikers.
They ride from Goodfield to Deer Creek often for dinner at Mel's Port O' Call, a trek dubbed "Ride for Fried". We decided to meet them in Goodfield and give it a shot.
The ride clocked in at about 11.5 miles round trip, and after some grumbling about sore asses, we made it to Mel's.
Keep in mind, the farthest that we'd ridden up to this point was 2.5 miles.
Walking in, we drank in the air conditioning and took our seat at a table along the wall. The restaurant was decorated with several nautical paintings, some oars and other seafaring decor.
Our waitress came over and took our drink order, mostly Fat Tire beers and big ice waters.
We checked out the menu and made our selections. I chose a chicken fried steak served with mashed potatoes, StfRon and Dr. Z ordered burgers, and I think Dr. Z's lovely bride chose chicken strips, but I could be mistaken. Several of the meals came with salads, which were mainly iceburg lettuce, and StfRon placed an order for some chili cheese fries.
Upon the fries arrival at the table, the rest of us expressed shock at the size of the order, but StfRon said for $5, he figured they were going to be large. We sampled a few to help him out.
Our group was a bit high maintenance that night, but our waitress took it all in stride and handled us very well.
Soon, our bellies full of bar food and our wallets not much lighter, we made our way back out to the bikes for the trek back.
Mel's offers lunch specials during the week, and I also noticed a board listing several varieties of pie, which I may have to sample on a future ride.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Tuesday I turned on the radio at work, which I rarely do anymore. 99.9 was playing some good tunes, and the morning moved along well. I also heard the DJ say probably four times that Crusen's on Farmington Road had a grilled chicken sandwich special with two sides for $5.25 or thereabouts, which sounded like a bargain to me, so when StfRon stopped by for lunch, I threw that option on the table.
He went for it, so we headed to 2117 W. Farmington Road for some lunch.
Crusen's is a college hangout during most of the year, and the wear and tear seems to show on this location more than the Peoria one. They do have a nice back patio (and the War Memorial location recently built a beer garden).
We walked inside at 11:45 and took a booth near a table of about seven people just taking their seats. There were also a couple other booths of customers.
Our waitress stopped by to take our drink order, and we learned she was the only waitress on the floor. No worries, though, as she did great and checked on us several times throughout the course of the meal, even after the dining room filled up a bit more. There were a couple of guys who helped with refills and delivery of meals, too.
We both went with the grilled chicken sandwich basket, and I had cole slaw and applesauce for my sides. StfRon chose their homemade chips and some cole slaw.
The chicken sandwich was juicy and nicely seasoned, not like some bland birds I've been served at other places. I added a slice of swiss to mine for 50 cents plus lettuce and some nice Claussen-esque ridged pickle slices. They keep their menus on the tables, though, and during my meal I read a line I remember from the Peoria location "We'll buffalo anything for a dollar" and contemplated the merits of having this bird buffaloed.
The little plastic containers of sides were more generous than some I've seen places, and the cole slaw had some zip to it.
I also noticed there are lunch specials all week long, including cheeseburgers on Thursdays. With our lunch coming in at around $13, I'm sure we'll be back.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer vacation

We just got back from a little jaunt to Missouri and hit some local joints along the way.

Our lodging of choice was Dogwood Acres Resort in Sunrise Beach, MO. We had a little one bedroom cabin with a balcony overlooking the lake, and spent some nice time sitting there visiting and watching the boats.
A short walk around the property took us to their boat launch, where we let our dog play in the water. She had a blast.

Our first night, we hit Ozark BBQ in Sunrise Beach for dinner. I had a margarita, which I think might have been a little heavy on the sweet and sour, but had a nice neon fish in it for fun garnish.
We decided to sit inside in the back dining room, where the atmosphere was OK, but it was terribly humid and hot outside and we were looking forward to some A/C.
I ordered the BBQ chicken, which was a half chicken, smoked and topped with a hearty helping of their dark BBQ sauce. I also ordered some green beans and baked beans for my two sides.
StfRon chose a full rack of ribs, half wet, half dry. He envisioned getting two half racks so he could judge the merits of each, but instead the meal came out with one full rack, half being doused in sauce.
The meats had a nice smoked flavor and everything was good, and the employees we ran across were very nice and friendly.

On our way back to Dogwood, we stopped at a bar called Neighbor's Landing in Sunrise Beach for a drink. The interior was clean with walls lined with diagonal tongue in groove wood and Keno was being broadcast on the bar TV. The four patrons at the bar were having a bit of a heated discussion about a neighborhood snafu in which the police had been called on one of the customers, who now was apparently on the outs with his neighbor, who he used to be friendly with.
So that night, at least, Neighbor's was the place to grouse about your neighbor. We quickly finished our drink and headed back to our cabin.

The next day we set off in search of Dog Days Inn in Kaiser, MO to drop off our pooch for the day.
After winding down some country roads, we found the place, and were greeted by a nice lady who was holding down the fort for the owner.
We found a large room filled with dogs happily ensconced in cubicles. We leaned over one and played with Ladybug, a happy yellow lab mix.
We decided to leave our dog at Dog Days until the end of the day, which was a bargain, plus kept her out of the heat for the day. We waved at her out the front window as we headed to the car.

We then were off to look for On the Rise Bakery, which StfRon had seen in a travel guide in our cabin.
We drove by it a few times but finally noticed the bakery in Osage Beach.
Looking at the menu in the bistro, there were so many things I wanted to try, but I settled on a breakfast flatbread, topped with eggs, Parmesan cheese and sausage, served with a small cup of fruit. It was delicious.
StfRon ordered biscuits and gravy and upon sampling a bite, I found the biscuits to be fluffy and wonderful, and the gravy quite good.
I really wanted to come back for another breakfast or at least some dessert, but it was not meant to be for this trip.

Our next stop: the Bagnell Dam area and the strip in Lake Ozark. We walked through the arcade and tried our hand at the mystery maze, then toured Crazy Cousin's Cabin.
We drove over the dam, and then headed back to Osage Beach for a while.

We went to pick up our GPS at the cabin, then stopped at Bambooze in Sunrise Beach to check out their menu for dinner possibilities. It looked like a winner, but the music was a bit loud for us in the bar, especially for early afternoon. We figured the outside "Tiki" bar would be an option.
Strangely enough, our bartender at Bambooze knew Peoria well and used to play for the Peoria Chiefs about three years ago.

The oppressive heat during much of the trip kept our hunger at bay, but we decided to stop by the Topsider and hit the Poopdeck in Osage Beach. We had some fruity drinks and appetizers, then changed into our suits and headed up to their deck pool to cool off. Shortly we were the only ones in the pool, which was nice and relaxing.

Next we headed off to pick up our dog a bit early. On the way back to our cabin, we stopped by Paradise Tropical Restaurant and Bar in Sunrise Beach, again to check dinner menus. This place seemed pretty laid back and more our speed, so we decided it would be the place.
When we got back later, the dining room had filled up, but we still got a table near the expansive windows where we could enjoy the view and the breeze.
We both went for the buffalo chicken tender sandwich, which was good enough, and I had the black bean salad, which was just black beans, corn and peppers.
We had some trouble getting our bill when we were ready to go, due to our waitress being pretty busy, but all worked out well in the end.

The next morning, we set out for Camdenton and breakfast at the Wee Chef. The exterior of the place has seen better days, but inside is tidy, if a hair dated.
The breakfast was good, scrambled egg for me with hash browns, bacon and a biscuit with a side of gravy. Normally I don't eat biscuits and gravy, but someone had complimented them on the web, so I wanted to check them out. StfRon had eggs over medium with biscuits and gravy, sausage and toast.
The bacon was pretty ordinary, but everything else was very good. I had covered my scrambled egg in pepper, used to the lame pepper most restaurants offer, only to find that the pepper used there had some kick to it, which was a nice surprise.
The meal was also a great bargain and the service was good.

Next stop, Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton. We did some hiking and checked out the ruins of a castle built in the early 1900s.

After that, we headed back to Lake Ozark in search of a banana split, which we vowed we were going to share on this trip.
We found one at the shop next to Peace Frogs. The chocolate ice cream tasted good to me, but the rest fell flat. I really think that the heat messed with my appetite and taste buds on this trip.

For dinner, we decided to try JB Hook's in Lake Ozark. The menu looked interesting, and they also allowed cigar smoking in their lounge.
We were told there would be a 30 minute wait for a table, which sounded great. After about 15, we were called to be seated.
Upon walking past the hostess station, I was stunned by the expanse of windows surrounding the dining room, giving a great view of the lake.
We were seated and made our selections; prime rib for StfRon and pork tenderloin for me, with portobella mushrooms in a Cabernet reduction.
For sides, I chose green beans and salmon bisque and StfRon had the twice baked potato.
The bisque was slightly sweet and tasty, but I didn't finish it all. I was initially torn between that and the French onion, and was wondering if the French onion would have been better.
The pork was tender and juicy, but I think my taste buds were still off and the reduction just seemed so so. I never really worked up any appetite on this whole trip.
Our service was not the greatest in the dining room, as our server kept disappearing for long stretches of time or taking quite a while to bring by some horseradish that had been ordered with our meal.
The bartender in the lounge, though, was courteous and prompt, and we enjoyed a glass of wine there before heading back to our cabin for the night.

On our way home the next day, we tried to stop at Super Smokers in Eureka, MO. They were closed, but right down the road a bit we saw Phil's Bar B Que. We stepped in and ordered some carryout: a spicy brisket sandwich and a pulled pork sandwich topped with cole slaw and a side of baked beans to go. We chatted with owner Phil while we waited, and found him to be a friendly chap.
The food was good and soon we were back on the road headed for home sweet home.

I think it was a little difficult for us to slow down the pace a bit on our trip. We toyed with leaving a night early because we didn't feel like there was enough to do. We normally go go go on trips. But taking it easy on the balcony and enjoying the pool at the resort and the Poopdeck made for a nice addition to the rest of the things we got to do.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Meat Heads

StfRon's been raving about his new favorite lunch stop in Bloomington, Meat Heads.
I stopped by 305 North Veterans Parkway to give the place a try for an early dinner.
Meat Heads is all about burgers and fries. There's not much else to the menu, save for a grilled cheese and hot dog.
Simple can be good.
The mainstay is the hamburger for $4, two certified Angus patties on a bun, adorned with your choice of toppings.
Being a fairly small person (and hoping to stay that way) I went with the 'Lil Meat Head, a single burger patty, and ordered it crowned with cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickles and raw onions (they also have grilled onions), and based on StfRon's recommendation I also ordered a small order of their fresh cut fries with bacon ranch sauce.
My ordered was delivered to my long booth in about five minutes.
The burger was juicy and good, and the combination of my selected toppings gave it just the zest I was looking for.
The fries were salted and tasty, and the bacon ranch (which I never would have ordered without a recommendation) lent a savory flair to the spuds.
With an iced tea, my meal came to about $11.
If you're all about burgers and fries, Meat Heads has got you covered.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works

Lunch stop number two in the twin cities: Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works.
Located at 318 S. Towanda Avenue in Normal, at the Shoppes at College Hills, Destihl, as you might guess, is a restaurant and brew pub.
The decor is fairly modern, with mod fabric on the booths and geometric panels scattered on the exposed ceiling, which may help with acoustics. It wasn't overly loud and busy when I was there, so it's hard to say.
I saw many things on the menu I would be interested in trying, especially some of the appetizers like Reuben egg rolls and beer battered asparagus.
I went with a more lunchy selection, though, the Cheddar ale soup and a strawberry goat cheese salad.
The soup is made with white Cheddar and Bleu cheese, and was nicely presented on a white square platter with my salad alongside. The soup was tasty, and had a good cheese bite to it.
I was also glad to find a peppermill on my table. I've often said, if I ever find myself running a restaurant, I will be sure to have peppermills available for the customers.
The salad was delicious, with spinach, strawberries, mandarin oranges and toasted cashews interspersed with chunks of goat cheese.
I didn't get to sample any beer, but chose an iced tea to accompany my meal, which had a subtle fruity or floral flavor which I found refreshing.
The employees I encountered were all quite professional and pleasant, as was my lunch. Speaking of which, my meal arrived within five minutes of my order (although it was not a hugely complex order) and I was out the door with 20 minutes of my hour to spare; a nice bonus.
Destihl also features live music a couple of times a month. The lineup can be found on their web site.

We stopped by Destihl on August 3 to sample some brews. The beers were better than most brew pubs we've tried lately, and we found they use a mixture of fresh hops and pellet hops.
We also had an order of Ropp cheese curds at the bar; very tasty. The staff once again was super-friendly, and we had a nice time.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Reality Bites

No, it's not 90's movie night...I recently had occasion to visit Reality Bites, 414 N. Main Street in Bloomington.
It's too bad their menu would not come up on a Mac running OS 10.5.x in either Safari or Firefox, as I was going to give a more detailed description of my lunch, but suffice it to say that it was good.
As for the restaurant, it features nice exposed brick walls and wood floors, with a few earthy colored walls.
I've wanted to check the place out for quite some time. My friend M reminded me of it this week, and said she had recently had a nice orzo salad there.
Reality Bites was doing a pretty good lunch business at noon, with the sidewalk dining and inside bar tables, so I was offered a seat at the bar counter or upstairs. I decided to sit at the bar.
I didn't get too far into the menu before I saw the seared Ahi tuna on the cold plate menu, served with some sort of cucumber pepper salad with a puréed carrot dressing. I went with that, and scarfed down the tuna, accompanied by ginger, soy sauce and wasabi. Once I got to the salad, I found it interesting and attractive. After sampling some cucumbers I got to one of the peppers, which looked like strips of green bell peppers, but were surprisingly spicy. After biting into one and feeling the heat, I vaguely remembered thinking they would be spicy based on the menu description, but I had forgotten by the time my food arrived. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the salad and I managed to eat several of the pepper slices and all of the cucumbers.
The manager-type gentleman behind the bar was friendly and helpful, and my server was friendly and efficient, too.
With an iced tea, my bill came to $11.92 before tip.
There were many other entrées I would be interested in trying, and the dessert menu caught my eye, too.
I can say the film version of Reality Bites didn't live up to my expectations, but the restaurant was a nice surprise.

Reality Bites menu now works on a Mac running Safari 4.0. Excellent, as I will be visiting there again soon!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Round up

Our local biz adventures have taken us several places lately.
I've enjoyed lunch at the Spotted Cow, Peoria Hofbrau and One World in Peoria.
We popped into Alwan's & Sons Meat Co. in Peoria where we bought a small bulk selection of meat.
We stopped by Russell's Cycle and Fitness in Washington to pick up a bike tire in for repair and I found a stylin' shirt made in the USA. Russell's has a nice selection of fitness equipment, bikes and apparel.
We checked out Red, White and Boom, the fireworks display put on by Peoria and East Peoria on the riverfront. Wow!!!
We visited the Peoria Zoo and I got to watch the sea lions for a while, which I love.
We made a stop at Emo's in Peoria where I had a child size butterscotch sundae with krunch coating. Yum!

Happy anniversary wishes to StfRon and I (one year next week), Bernardi's (seven years) in Washington and Paparazzi (25 years) in Peoria Heights!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Free and fun in Peoria

A retiree we know enjoys checking out the free concerts offered in Peoria during the summer months, as do we. Which got me to thinking, I've checked out lists of free things to do in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Why not comprise a list of fun free things to do in the Peoria area? There's a little something for everyone, and it's great to have a blast without breaking out the Bejamins.

In the next few weeks, check out:

Botanical and Landscape Photograpy by CynThia Gysin exhibit will be on display beginning through August at Kickapoo Creek Winery, 6605 North Smith Road, Edwards.

Red, White and Boom
Independence Day celebration and fireworks display set to music at Peoria's Downtown Riverfront and East Peoria's Riverfront Park, 5 p.m. July 4.

Peoria Municipal Band concerts
. 7:30 p.m. July 9, 16, 23 and 30. CEFCU Center Stage at The Landing, Peoria RiverFront. August 6, 10 & 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Glen Oak Amphitheatre in Glen Oak Park, 2218 N. Prospect Road, Peoria.

Brown Bag It entertainers perform from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Peoria County Courthouse Plaza through August 30.

Dancing Under the Stars
ballroom and the country line dancing on Peoria's only outdoor dance floor. July 10 Jim Park/Starlighters, July 24 Glen Reader, July 30 Nancy West 7 p.m. at the Glen Oak Amphitheatre in Glen Oak Park, 2218 N. Prospect Road, Peoria.

CEFCU Jazz Series
: July 10, Todd Kelly Quartet. 7:30-9:30 p.m. July 17, Kevin Hart & the Vibe Tribe. 7:30 p.m. July 24, Billy Cook Quartet. 7:30 p.m. July 31, Ed Kaizer Quartet. 7:30 p.m. CEFCU Center Stage at The Landing, Peoria RiverFront.

Ameren Summer Serenade Concerts, July 11 featuring New Odyssey, Central Illinois Jazz Train August 8, American English Septebmer 5. 7 p.m. Back lawn, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1125 W. Lake Ave.

Luthy Botanical Garden, 2218 N. Prospect, Peoria. Admission is free to outdoor gardens daily 8:30 a.m.-dusk (except during special events).

The RiverFront Market features free entertainment from 8 a.m.-noon June 7 to September 27 at Liberty Park, corner of Water and Liberty, 212 SW Water Street, Peoria.

July 12th, storytime at 10:30 at Borders in Peoria featuring: We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States and The Star Spangled Banner, followed by outside play at PlayHouse Jr. across from Charley’s Grilled Subs.

Classic Car Cruise-In July 26, 5-9 p.m. Pekin Main Street.

Christian singer and songwriter Mark Harris will perform August 9 at 5 p.m. at Tower Park, 1222 E. Kingman Ave., Peoria Heights.

Free summer movies at the Rave theater, 5311 West American Praire Drive, Peoria. Showings at 10 a.m. Shrek the 3rd July 8 & 9, Surf's Up July 15 & 16, Veggie Tales July 22 & 23, Charlotte's Web July 29 & 30.

Labor Day Picnic September 1. After the Labor Day Parade, food and live entertainment is provided for the whole family at the CEFCU Center Stage at The Landing, Peoria RiverFront.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

RiverFront Market

We had a chance to stop by the RiverFront Market in downtown Peoria last Saturday.
There were quite a few more vendors than there were the last time I visited last year.
We strolled along looking at bread, vegetables, jewelry, art and more, and shortly after we got there some Barry Cloyd started playing some live tunes.
We selected some fresh mustard greens, a head of cabbage and some white radishes, plus picked up some ground bison meat to try.
We enjoyed our mustard greens Monday, tried some radishes yesterday and plan to make a nice, zesty cole slaw tonight with our cabbage.
The market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon June through September, across from the Illinois Antique Center.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sunnyland Cinemas

It seems like we rarely go out to the movies anymore. But when we do, we usually head to our local theater, Sunnyland Cinemas.
Located in the Sunnyland Plaza in Washington, this Carmike Cinemas property has several screens showing new features.
Tickets are $7 (children watch for $6, seniors for $5.75) and matinee tickets are a discounted price.
A few of weeks ago we stopped in with a few movies in mind and ended up seeing The Happening. Like many Peoria area bloggers, we were not impressed.
Next on our list is the new Indiana Jones flick, and I would like to see Sex and the City and Hancock.
The theater is clean and nice, the manager is a friendly chap and probably one of StfRon's favorites is the shakers of cheese topping you can put on your popcorn.
Tuesday's are BYOB, bring your own bucket, and they will fill it with popcorn, which can work out to be quite a bargain.
I've got my rainy day plans all set for the summer movie season!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Family Fountain Cafe

Sunday StfRon took me to a surprise location for breakfast, the Family Fountain Café in Metamora.
Located on the square at 112 N. Davenport Street, the little dinette was packed with families when we stepped inside. We took a seat at the old (probably original, circa 1972) counter and picked up a menu to decide what to have.
The restaurant reminded me a lot of what the Tally Ho in Washington looked like.
Seeing an omelet served up at a table behind us, we both decided to have one. We each ordered the two egg omelet, StfRon had sausage and ham, and I went with a western with a side of salsa. StfRon also ordered a half order of biscuits and gravy.
As the place was full, it took a little while for the food to arrive. We looked over the menu while we waited, noticing burgers, catfish, hot roast beef, fried chicken, sandwiches and more. I was glad to see that a retro place like the Family Fountain also had Green Rivers on the menu.
When both omelets arrived, they were chock full of ingredients, mine with still crisp green peppers and onions accompanying chunks of ham.
The biscuits and gravy didn't show up, and we started to question whether StfRon had remembered to order them. After eating that stuffed omelet, though, he didn't really want them. We noticed the order on the bill and mentioned it to the waitress, who was very apologetic and removed the charge.
The omelets came with a side of toast for about $4 each, a bargain in this day and age.
We decided to split a slice of their homemade coconut cream pie. It was quite creamy and good, not heavy on the coconut, if that's the way you like it.
With our bellies sufficiently full, we headed out into the beautiful morning.