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.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grady's Family Fun Park

After dinner Friday night, StfRon had a surprise for me. A trip to Grady's Family Fun Park, 1501 Morrissey Drive in Bloomington.
Grady's is filled with batting cages, go karts, bumper boats and cars, mini golf, a video arcade, and carnival rides.
They also have fair food such as funnel cakes and deep fried candy bars. Unfortunately, we arrived kind of late, and while we were riding some rides the concession stand closed for the night.
I was a little skeptical about going, but once StfRon and I got on the bumper car floor and were the only ones out there, I ended up laughing my ass off at chasing him around, shooting his car and smacking into him. The kind of crazy laugh where you feel your lips are stuck to your teeth in a fiendish grin. I just couldn't help myself.
The other ride we tried was the go carts, and it was pretty fun zipping around the track with the wheel cranked all the way to the side to try and make the turns. It was only once we got home that I noticed all the tiny bits of dirt stuck to my face from the track.
It was great to cut loose a bit at Grady's.

Caboose Smokehouse

Ever since hearing about the Caboose Smokehouse over on Central Illinois Life in fall 2007, it was on my list of places to check out. This weekend we finally made it.
We took advantage of our GPS to get us right to the door at 608 W. Seminary Avenue in Bloomington, which is good, because the restaurant is tucked away at the end of a residential area.
StfRon did comment that he could smell the smoke when we turned onto the street around 7 p.m.
Stepping inside, we found a dark, cozy bar/restaurant atmosphere, with a few people playing video poker games and a group sitting down to dinner in a booth. We took a seat along the booth section, wooden booths along a wall lined with a dog-eared fence looking wainscoting that added to the cozy feel.
Once our eyes adjusted to the darker atmosphere, we noticed we had taken a seat at a booth that had not yet been wiped, but no sooner than we had noticed, a manager type lady was right over to wipe it down.
There was, of course, a small amount of train memorabilia such as model trains and signs on the walls to add to the railroad theme.
The special for the night was prime rib, but StfRon went with the full rack of ribs, after ascertaining from our waitress that they were using a Southern Pride smoker. I decided to try the brisket.
While waiting for our entrées, we were served iceberg lettuce salads topped with shredded cheese and a nice loaf of bread on a wooden cutting board.
Our food arrived fairly quickly, and we dug in. The brisket was tender, and after sampling a piece, I decided to try it dipped in their BBQ sauce, which was pretty good.
The bones of the ribs, billed St. Louis style on the menu, actually pulled right out of the meat with nary a scrap of meat left on the bone. StfRon also found that the bones would easily snap with a small amount of pressure, so it seems like they were cooked for quite a long time. I sampled a piece of the meat and loved the rub they used on the ribs. If we find ourselves back there, I'll bet I would go for the ribs, unless some fowl festooned with the same rub tempted me.
StfRon enjoyed the first section of ribs, but found the second piece to be tips, which he is not a big fan of.
The whole time we were eating, I kept glancing at the sign on the table that advertised homemade desserts. The dessert mentioned on the sign was cheesecake, and homemade cheesecake sounded great, but after eating almost all the brisket and most of my baked potato, cheesecake was the last thing I needed right then.
The prices were pretty reasonable, and the lone waitress we saw did a pretty good job of keeping on top of things. She checked in with us a few times throughout our meal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I enjoyed the most garlicky garlic wings Friday at Schooner's in Peoria for lunch. Whoever was in the kitchen that day is after my undying garlic love!

This weekend we did make it to the music fest at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw.
The lawn was packed with wine, beer and music lovers. It was quite humid and we lost at least three drinks to the high winds, but a good time was had by all.

Yesterday I decided to try Rizzi's on Sheridan in Peoria for lunch. I didn't get to hear about the lunch special, and went with the eggplant parmigiana, served with a garden salad plus bread and olive oil. The entire meal was excellent: the bread soft inside and crusty outside complimented by the flavorful olive oil and some Parmesan cheese; the salad of mixed greens and slivers of carrots and olives topped with the sweet tomato basil dressing; and finally, the thin sliced eggplant dipped in what reminded me of a crepe batter, baked and topped with melted mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce.
I had to hold myself back from eating the whole basket of bread and the entire entrée.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Events galore

Now that warm weather is here, seems like there are tons of events going on all at once.

There's the Illinois River Wine Festival Saturday and Sunday at Kickapoo Creek Winery in Kickapoo.

There's the Mackinaw Music Festival Saturday and Sunday at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw.

There's the Bluegrass Music Festival tonight, Saturday and Sunday at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe.

There's the Turkey Festival tonight, Saturday and Sunday in Tremont.

There's the Riverfront Market kicking off this Saturday on the Peoria Riverfront.

There's the Fine Art Fair at Junction City in Peoria Heights Saturday and Sunday.

There's the Strawberry Festival Saturday in Elmwood.

There's the Gigs in the Garden series Sunday at Luthy Botanical Gardens in Peoria.

I, for one, plan to get out and enjoy an event or two this weekend. Too bad there are only 24 hours in a day!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Catching up

Late last week I had lunch at the push carts in downtown Peoria. It was such a beautiful day.
While eating, I commented that it would be nice to finish off my lunch with something sweet.
StfRon and I walked by the City News Café on Main Street and noticed the black and white cookie listed on their sidewalk sign. We popped in to get one, and headed down to the riverfront to sit and share the large cookie.
Oh, my, this cookie was wonderful! The black half of the icing was truly black, enough so that I had a brief fear of having purple teeth when I went back to work, but the icing and cookie were buttery, soft and sweet, so I couldn't stop eating it.

Friday night after the storms stopped, we headed over to the Washington Cherry Festival in Washington and slogged through the muddy grass to check out the food offerings. Unfortunately, many of the vendors had closed up shop for the night, I'm sure due to weather.
We did track down the cherry brisket tacos and each ordered one. The large soft shell tacos were a deal at $4. I went with the spicy sauce, which I didn't think was spicy at all. StfRon had the sweet sauce, and upon trying a bite of that, I wish I had gone with it instead.
We finished off our meal with a new delicacy to us, deep fried Oreos. The cookies were dipped in pancake batter and fried, then dusted with powdered sugar. The frying seemed to make the cookies less sweet, so the powdered sugar was a nice touch.
After finding out the fireworks were rescheduled for Saturday night, we headed home.

Sunday we were lucky enough to go boating on the Illinois River, and docked at Captain Ron's in Creve Coeur to have a bite for dinner. After waiting a while for a waitress to come by, StfRon went inside to order us all some iced teas, only to find that there was a 45 minute to an hour wait for food, so back to the boat we went.
Docking back at the Peoria riverfront, we saw so many people out enjoying the great weather. I was also glad to see the World on Wheels bike buggies out and about, plus the addition of Segway scooters. I personally would stick with the bikes. I need a little exercise after sitting on my butt in a boat!