Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
August, 2010 — Mel's Café has closed. Hope to see them in a new location soon.
February, 2011 — Mel's Café opened in East Peoria at 520 E. Bloomington Road late last year.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Looking for a good Chicago dog in Normal? Look no further than Windy City Wieners at 106 E. Beaufort Street.
This small shop serves up the real deal, complete with neon green relish.
The menu boasts pure beef wieners, (of course), Gyros, chicken sandwiches and burgers as well as some lesser known windy city faves like the Maxwell Street Polish.
I opted for the everyday special, 2 dogs and fries for 5 bucks.
The Red Hot Chicago wiener snapped perfectly with every bite, the relish, onion, and mustard complimented the wiener perfectly.
Purists know that ketchup should never go on a dog, but there are several bottles available on the counter, if you must.
The guys also deliver locally, so give them a call.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
In 2011, Holland's moved their caramel corn operation to the north side of the square.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
October, 2011 — Mr. G's has closed.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Monday, October 05, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
I'm excited about the prospect of a Tapas restaurant, Noir, on Prospect in Peoria Heights, which I read about in this morning's Journal Star.
Lee's Family Restaurant has been open for a week or so in the former Steak 'n Shake on NE Adams in Peoria. We checked it out and will post a review soon.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
According to the project's Web site: Consumers are asked to select three locally owned, brick-and-mortar retailers in their hometown that they would hate to see go out of business. Once those businesses are chosen, spend $50 there monthly. Not $50 each, a total of $50. Using U.S. Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, if half the employed population in the country spent $50 at three independent businesses each month, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The $30 books are sold as fundraisers for various organizations in the area.
My husband and I have bought these several times in the past, and recoup our costs quickly with the offers inside.
This year's book includes restaurants like Aachi's Indian Cuisine (which we've been planning to try); The Chateau; Kaiserhof Restaurant; Maid Rite; Peoria Pizza Works; and Water Street Café, just to name a few.
Find out more about how you can purchase a book on Peoria Secret Server's blog.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
The coupon, believe it or not, is always located on page B3.
I noticed a good one in Thursday's paper for a free 12 ounce coffee from Cracked Pepper Catering & Bakery, Inc., valid through July 31.
Tuesday's issue featured an offer for a free Wonder Dog from Velvet Freeze, also expiring July 31.
So dig those papers out of the recycle bin, and watch for new great offers every day!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
By Judith D. Schwartz
With local economies flailing, communities across the U.S. are trying to drum up more action on Main Street. "Buy Local" campaigns are one way to go. But many towns--from Ojai, Calif., to Greensboro, N.C.--are considering going a step further and printing money that can only be spent locally.
Issuing an alternative currency is perfectly legal, as long as it is treated as taxable income and consists of paper bills rather than coins. In the U.S., where local currencies were popular during the Depression, the biggest alterna-cash system is in Massachusetts' Berkshire County. Go to one of several banks there, hand a teller $95 and get back $100 worth of BerkShares, a nice little discount designed to reel in users. BerkShares are printed on special paper (by a local business, naturally--a subsidiary of Crane Paper Co., which has been printing U.S. greenbacks since 1879). And since the program's inception in 2006, more than $2.5 million in BerkShares have circulated through bakeries, vets' offices and some 400 other businesses that choose to accept the colorful bills, which feature famous former Berkshire residents, including W.E.B. Du Bois and Norman Rockwell.
What's the point of all this pretty, community-printed currency? Money spent at locally owned companies tends to create more business for local suppliers, accountants, etc. The New Economics Foundation (NEF), a London think tank, compared the effects of purchasing produce at a supermarket and at a farmer's market and found that twice the money stayed in a community when folks bought locally. A study of Grand Rapids, Mich., released last fall by consulting firm Civic Economics, concluded that a 10% shift in market share from chain stores to independents would yield 1,600 new jobs and pump $137 million into the area. "Money is like blood," says NEF researcher David Boyle. Local purchases recirculate it, but patronize mega-chains or online retailers, he says, and "it flows out like a wound."
Read the whole story... http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1908421,00.html
Thursday, July 16, 2009
October 2011 — Cracklin' Jakes now houses Boss Hogs
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I also heard through the grapevine that the Gorman's location, also at Campustown, will reopen soon with a new, fitting name for the area.
I also saw the news that Eamon Patrick's in Peoria has closed. Just a while back I found out that they apparently served a great Sunday brunch, but just about as soon as I heard it, it was no more. Sad, because we are often looking for a good Sunday breakfast and the downtown area is a bit lacking.
There were a couple of people at the tasting bar sampling wines, and as I looked past them, I remembered the quaint back room complete with bistro tables and chairs from the last time I had been in.
The tasters soon moved aside, so my friend C and I stepped up to sample the wares.
She is more of a sweet wine drinker, and even told our hostess she wanted something "syrupy sweet", which made the lady chuckle. I went straight for the reds.
First I sampled the 2005 Castillo De Fuendejalon Crianza. It was not the oaky wine I normally prefer, but it was nice.
The wine samples were poured through an aerator, which we had never seen used before, and there were crispy cracker bites on the counter to cleanse the palate between samples.
The hostess suggested I try the 2008 Dornfelder sweet red wine. I hesitated, not being a huge fan of German reds, but went for it, and was pleasantly surprised. I figured I needed to grab a bottle of that to put away for our annual fall German party. Plus, I need to get in the German mode for our upcoming trip.
C decided to try it too and liked it.
I gave my husband a ring, who was down the street at the pub with C's man and told him about the samplings. They popped over and he agreed about the Dornfelder, but also wanted a bottle of the Castillo, so I took both to the counter. Taking notice of the sign that asked for payment via check or cash if possible vs. credit cards, I broke out the rusty checkbook to help a local biz.
The wines were both in the $12.99-$14.99 price range.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Thursday, June 04, 2009
The Shoppes at Grand Prairie hosts Titanic, Treasures from the Deep this weekend, Friday and Saturday noon - 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The exhibit is free.
This Saturday kicks off the Riverfront Market season in Peoria, 8 a.m.-noon. I'm looking forward to checking it out.
Fest season also begins at Hickory Grove in Dunlap on Saturday with Sommerfest. The fun carries on through Sunday. Hours both days are 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
I saw the sad news this week that longtime Washington business Bauer Furniture will soon cease business.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The restaurant is a former Brick Oven Pizza at 332 Detroit Avenue, and I recognized the tile topped tables from the former Brick Oven in Washington.
The dining room had a nice earthy feel, and a few tables were filled with early diners. In the corner, a fire was blazing in the brick oven.
We took a couple of stools at the bar and ordered some drinks, then perused the menu.
StfRon said he was game for whatever pizza I wanted, so I took advantage of it and ordered a BBQ chicken pie.
While we waited for our pizza, I mentioned to my husband that with the music and atmosphere, the place had a bit of a college bar vibe, but without the dirt and stickiness.
Our pizza soon arrived via our efficient bartender, and I took a bite, instantly feeling like I had been transported back to the Brick Oven in Washington.
If it was not the same recipe, it was a great attempt, the great crust topped with garlicky chicken, onions, and a tangy BBQ sauce.
Today I checked out Red Rock's web site, and was surprised to see they book some of our favorite bands. We can't make the first two shows, but we'll be keeping it in mind for future entertainment.
Monday, June 01, 2009
This fun ice cream cone shaped building is located at 1207 E. Washington Street, offering both outdoor and indoor (in the attached building) seating.
The original Twistee Treats were built between 1983 and 1990.
One thing that has always impressed me about the East Peoria Twistee Treat is the number of items on the menu. I could eat there five days in a row and still have more things I wanted to try.
The massive menu includes: tenderloins; burgers; hot dogs; polish sausage; tamales; chicken; pizza burgers; catfish; Italian beef; tacos; pizza rolls; BBQ; and fried veggies, plus several frozen treats.
They offer basket specials which include fries, and daily specials.
M & M Twistee Treat is closed during the winter months.
Friday, May 29, 2009
The square in Washington is now home to Tidbit's Mercantile, a southwestern gift shop.
The Cherry Festival in Washington will run through tomorrow evening. If you're jonesin' for some carnival rides, deep fried veggies or deep fried Oreos, stop on by.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
We headed out with plans to eat breakfast at the Busy Corner in Goodfield, but when we arrived, it was standing room only.
We decided to keep going and find someplace else to grab a bite.
My husband suggested the Carlock Family Restaurant. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's local, so I was willing to try it out.
Located in a former Hen House Restaurant at 304 W. Washington Road in Carlock, this barnlike structure is now painted in earth tones. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch.
We stepped inside and seated ourselves at a booth near the door.
The dining room looked neat and clean, with white painted wood and a burgundy/mauve color palette.
Opening the menu, I first mistook the price of corned beef hash to be more than $6, but then realized that price was for a corned beef hash omelet, not something that struck my fancy.
We both ordered combos of eggs, hash and bread, mine scrambled with English muffins and StfRon's over medium with toast, plus he threw in a side of biscuits and gravy. I also had a side of grits.
The food was very good, and StfRon was pleased with the preparation of his eggs. Many times they are not runny enough for toast dippin', but these were just right.
The grits tasted to me as if they were made with milk instead of water, and with a bit of butter, hit the spot.
We both had coffee, which was not bold, but also not bad, and refills were constant until we swore off having any more.
Service was good, and the price was not a drain on the ole pocketbook.
I think we've found our new breakfast tradition for 3rd Sunday marketing.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
He wanted to share a recent find with me, Joe Rogers' Original Recipe Chili Parlor.
The parlor, located at 820 S. 9th Street, still prepares their chili using recipes from more than 60 years ago.
The restaurant is simply decorated, with a counter and stools along the kitchen area and tables filling the adjacent dining area. The ceiling has a rustic flair with its wood beams.
As far as the chili, the beans and meat are prepared separately, so custom orders are available. After placing my order for a small bowl of medium (spice) chili and a tamale, I then watched several other people place special orders and wished I had thought to do so. You really can have it your way there!
The chili was good, filled with meat but not tomatoey, and not as spicy as I expected. Next time I would order touch vs. medium, and work my way up from there until I found just the right amount of heat. The chili is served with a Styrofoam cup of oyster crackers.
The tamale was covered with a thick cornmeal coating with nicely seasoned meat inside.
StfRon ordered chili dogs for his lunch, drowned in meaty chili.
Currently open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Joe's kept up a steady stream of customers the whole time we were there, both diners and carryouts. Many of the ladies working behind the counter seem to have been there for years, and are efficient, if not terribly chatty.
The restaurant does not accept credit or debit cards.
If you're feeling adventurous, there is a chili challenge you can take on. Eat a bowl of the JR Special chili and your name can forever be emblazoned on the wall of fame. Your tongue may be forever emblazoned, too, for all I know.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Sullivan's Pub in Peoria Heights is starting a weekend breakfast buffet Saturdays and Sundays.
Soy Candles by Sharon is now open in Peoria's Metro Centre. The farmers' market at Metro is also in full swing.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday we took a short hike in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria. The breeze made it a bit brisk until we got moving and got some blood pumping. We then headed home and had some BLTs al fresco using the Usinger's bacon I found on sale at Lindy's Downtown Market in Washington. Right now it's our favorite bacon, barring the bacon my husband made a couple of years ago. All that was missing was fresh tomatoes, which we should have an abundance of in a month or two.
Sunday we stopped in for what turned out to be a noisy breakfast at Cummins Family Restaurant in Washington. Despite it being Mother's Day, we only waited about five minutes for a table, but the room we were in was full and a bit loud. The corned beef hash was nicely browned and tasty.
We lucked in to Washington Greenhouse in Washington being open on a Sunday, probably for all of the moms out there. I picked up my last two fruit and veggie plants for the garden, as we've run out of room!
We went to UFS Savings Center in Peoria to pick up a couple of bottles of wine, after seeing two of our favorites on sale in the Sunday newspaper.
As I pass by the 3400 block of NE Adams Street in Peoria, I've been noticing a new tenant and signage going up. The business, now open, is called Cracked Pepper Catering, Inc., and the menus feature some nice sounding choices: http://www.crackedpeppercatering.com/
Thursday, May 07, 2009
I had ordered tickets ($17 each) from their web site and paid online, so we stepped up to the ticket windows to pick them up prior to our show. One of the windows was being manned and a woman was picking up tickets, and the other was currently unmanned.
As soon as an employee stepped up to help the next customer, a woman who had just stepped up behind us blurted out that she needed to get her tickets right away, before they were given away. Sure, OK, and I'm standing here hoping that mine will be given away. But no worries, once her crisis was over and she had her tickets, ours were soon in hand and we stepped into the theatre to find our seats.
The seats were nicely upholstered and posh, perhaps a little too posh for a Sunday afternoon, as I became a bit drowsy sitting there.
The 16th century stone prison vault set was quite impressive, especially to my husband, who loves to create Halloween props each year.
Once the show began, there was no way I wanted to doze in the comfy seats, as I didn't want to miss any of the show.
Man of La Mancha is a musical that tells the story of the mad knight Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote).
This tax collector has been imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition, along with his entertaining servant Sancho. They have brought all their possessions with them into the dungeon where they are attacked by their fellow prisoners who set up a mock trial. If found guilty, the knight will have to hand over all his possessions.
Cervantes falls for Aldonza, a kitchen maid he calls Dulcinea. He sends her a letter via Sancho, and the token she returns for him is an old dishrag, which he cherishes.
I was impressed with many of the musical numbers performed by the cast, my favorite probably being "Little Bird, Little Bird".
The casting was great, from Sancho to Don Quixote to the Duke, and we had a very enjoyable time. We've already discussed a couple of the upcoming 2009-10 season shows we would like to see.
Man of La Mancha continues through May 10. If you've been thinking about seeing it, I would suggest getting tickets a.s.a.p., as the showing we attended ended up being sold out.
Peoria Players, organized in 1919, is the oldest continuously running community theatre in the state. The theatre is located at 4300 N. University Street in Peoria.
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009
What I did not realize was that the area right around the bend of Alta Road near Dunlap is considered Alta.
We were checking out a bike trail that we picked up off of University Street in Peoria, and popped out at the Rock Island Trail parking area near the Last Chance Bar & Grill. There, perched on the corner, was a cute pink and brown building dubbed S'more Couture.
We took the opportunity to go in and browse around, finding unique jewelry, purses, perfumes, lip balms, dresses and headbands, some interspersed with some great vintage radios.
One thing that caught my attention was the selection of P.B. Loco peanut butters. The flavors range from Peanut Butter with CoCoBanana to Peanut Butter with Dark Chocolate Duo to Peanut Butter with Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough, which I hear is a best seller. Let me just say I don't think I would be chucking that aside if it turned up on my doorstep!
Located at 2700 W. 2nd Street in Alta, S'more Couture has lots of fun gifts for the "girls" on your list.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Metro Centre Farmer's Market in Peoria kicks off their 2009 season on May 1.
The 5th Amendment Bar & Grill in Peoria has closed. I was looking forward to trying the beef stroganoff and mashed potatoes for $5 I saw on their sign last week, too.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Located at 4600 N. Prospect Road, they are now serving lunch Tuesday-Saturday from 11-2, and also offer wine tastings Saturdays from 12-4.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Last weekend we attended a wine and dine event at Willett's Winery & Cellar in Manito and learned that they will be taking over the Vino 100 location at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie in Peoria. The outlet featuring Willett's wines plans a soft opening May 1, with a grand opening at a later date.
Out of a handful of Illinois wineries I have visited thus far, Willett's has some of my favorite selections.
We parked across the street from 116 N. Main Street and stepped inside to find about a dozen patrons enjoying a lunch buffet.
We scoped the buffet out, but decided to try something off the menu instead. StfRon placed our order at the counter and we took a seat along the wall.
Soon our order of crab rangoon was delivered, and we dove in. Out of habit, I put a bit of sweet and sour sauce on the fried puff, but after tasting the filling, deemed the sauce entirely unnecessary. The cream cheese filling had visible chunks of what seemed to me to be real crab meat (I'm no crab expert, but I'm pretty sure it was the real deal), and a nice sweet flavor.
My meal arrived: Szechuan chicken with steamed rice, filled with carrots, water chestnuts, onions, green peppers and pea pods, swimming in a nicely spiced sauce. It was certainly good, but I did wish I had tried the hunan chicken instead (I was teetering between the two). I loved the spiciness, but the sauce wasn't quite what I was looking for.
StfRon ordered the Mongolian beef, and the beef, green and white onions and sauce were a nice combination, but not as sweet as some he's had. I sampled the dish and actually preferred it to some of the sweeter versions I've tried.
The tab, with one hot tea and one ice water came in at about $28, and we had enough left over for dinner later this week.
Several more patrons came in while we were there and were greeted warmly by the people working in the dining room. They bantered about how so-and-so was doing and who was in earlier in the day for lunch. Peking Garden obviously offers good Asian fare, and hometown appeal.