Thursday, February 26, 2009

Los Jimadores

A few months back I noticed that the old Pepe Taco building (7723 N. University Street in Peoria) had a new tenant, but every time I drove by, I had a hard time reading what the name of the place was.
Recently they added a newer sign that is much easier to read: Los Jimadores. We took the time to check it out late last week.
I hadn't been inside the building since Pepe Taco closed, so walking in I was surprised to find that you no longer ordered at the counter, instead we were greeted right away by a gent and taken to our seats in the room to the right. He took our drink order before leaving us to check out the menu.
Inside the door I had noticed a sign touting about 13 lunch specials priced at $3, and a bowl of tortilla soup for $1. I opened the menu to find that that price seemingly covered all lunch specials, which I found hard to believe.
Shortly someone else stopped by to take our drink order, and we told him we were taken care of. Our drinks arrived, and I decided to order one of the 13 specials, a chicken enchilada with beans and rice, plus a bowl of tortilla soup.
I don't recall what my husband decided on.
While waiting, we admired the murals painted on the walls, a different decor than most Mexican restaurants in the area. My husband commented that the one wall seemed to be telling a story. We sampled the chips and salsa while we waited. This salsa had more kick to it than most places I've been in town, and I really enjoyed it.
Our food was soon delivered to the table. The bowl of tortilla soup was large and the broth was light and didn't have a tomato base like some I've had in the past, but was chock full of vegetables and topped with crispy tortilla strips.
My enchilada was topped with a red sauce that had something different in it, possibly cinnamon, and also had more heat to it than most of the Mexican restaurants I frequent.
I visited the restroom during our visit and found the hallway leading there was also painted in murals, and blacklights gave an interesting quality to the scenes. Arriving back at the table, I noticed that there were blacklights in the room we were in as well, but being that it was lunchtime and there was a lot of natural light streaming in, the lights were either off or not having an effect on the paintings. I'll bet it looks neat at night, though.
When our bill was delivered, sure enough the lunch entrées were $3, the soup $1, and with drinks and a side dish of queso, we escaped for under $20.
As he was paying the bill, StfRon asked about the name and was told that Jimadores are the men who gather the agave leaves for tequila, an interesting tidbit.
The food was good, prices were great and everyone was attentive and friendly. Los Jimadores was a hit with me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I see that the Metro Centre in Peoria is welcoming some new tenants. One of them is Soy Candles By Sharon.
JJ Ryan's is occupying the spot next to Steak 'n Shake on University Street (near Pioneer Parkway) in Peoria.
TNT's Sports Bar & Grill should be open within a week or so at the former Penguin Tap in Peoria Heights.
The former Euro Jack's location in downtown Peoria is set to reopen as the 5th Amendment Bar & Grill.
I was sorry to hear the news that Tilley's at the River Station has closed. I hope someone is able to take over soon and make good use of the beautiful building.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lariat Steakhouse

For Valentine's Day, StfRon had called the Fish House weeks ahead to make reservations, only to be told that for parties of two they were not accepting reservations. We decided to take our chances anyway, but when we showed up we were told that the wait was two hours.
Considering the group of people leaning against the walls in the narrow hallway and the beginnings of a growling stomach, we decided to try someplace else.
Since we were so close, we decided to check in at the Lariat Steakhouse, 2232 W. Glen Avenue in Peoria. We had not had dinner there in ages, although I did attend a lunchtime banquet there last year.
At the podium just inside the door we were told the wait would be about an hour and 15 minutes. The lobby and lounge area was not uncomfortably crowded, nor was it loud, so we decided to put our name on the list.
Within five or 10 minutes, we were able to find seats at a table in the lounge to continue our wait. The carpet in the room must help a lot with soundproofing, because I expected it to be a lot more noisy than it was. As we waited, we admired the rustic barn style beams throughout the lounge.
I'm not sure if we ended up waiting the entire hour and 15 before being seated. If we did, it was a pleasant wait before we were called and whisked back to one of the banquet rooms in the back of the restaurant. The atmosphere was fairly light and bright in the party room, and several people joked as they were brought in that they felt like they were at a wedding reception.
No worries, though. Our server was apologetic, although she didn't have any need to be; the huge prime rib was great quality, despite probably being cranked out in large quantities all night; my petite filet was great and served just as I had ordered it; my sweet potato was superbly done and about the size of a football; my French onion soup was good; the bread was doughy and delicious; our wine was quite decent and we had a fun time. StfRon ordered the au gratin potatoes, and they were fine, but he prefers the sweeter version some other restaurants serve.
I'm actually in the process of reading a novel right now set in 1949 where the main character just took his date to the Lariat Steakhouse for a date. The place certainly knows their steaks and has obviously been doing a lot of things right for a lot of years.
For an unplanned stop, our night out more than met our expectations. We won't stay away for so long this time!

Friday, February 20, 2009

There is such a thing as a free lunch!*

I noticed a new coupon offer today on for Apple's Bakery in Peoria, *buy one lunch and two drinks, get a lunch for free! You will need to scroll down the page a bit to find the coupon, valid through the end of April.

Looking for more free lunches? You can find and print coupons for a free large bowl of chili *with the purchase of a large bowl at Chiliworks Café in Peoria. Or *buy one entrée, get one free at Maid Rite in Pekin.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Round up

Over the past week or so we stopped by Peoria Flag & Decorating in Peoria Heights to check out Tiki party supplies; stopped by Smoking Pleasure in Peoria so StfRon could pick up some cigars; browsed through Builders Warehouse in Peoria during their new Sunday hours; I lunched at Sol Azteca in Washington, Hi-Ho Mongolian Grill in Peoria (because...gasp...Yen Ching does not serve lunch on Saturdays??) and Avanti's in Peoria; and we took in one of our favorite live bands, Levee Town, at the River Beach Pub in Rome.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Country Diner

Last weekend StfRon and I were debating where to have a nice Sunday breakfast on our way to one of the downtown hospitals.
Somewhere in East Peoria or downtown was the ideal plan.
I thought of the Country Diner, 3625 E Washington Street in East Peoria, which we had checked out a couple of years ago.
We took a seat near the kitchen, as the restaurant was doing a respectable breakfast business, and looked over the menu.
On the side of the building is a sign touting Smoked Tennessee Country Ham, so I was looking for a meal that included some of this prime pork. I settled on a combo with scrambled eggs, a biscuit and gravy and some ham. I didn't realize the meal also came with fried potatoes.
StfRon also ordered some biscuits and gravy and some corned beef hash.
Enjoying some orange juice while I waited for our food, I decided that the mauve-hued walls were almost precisely the color of braunschweiger. I do love a nice helping of braunschweiger from time to time.
I also noticed that the restaurant offers pies to go by advanced order, and lunch specials during the week. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch only.
Our meals arrived shortly and we dug in. The homemade biscuits were a nice touch, and my ham was mouthwateringly good. The potatoes were a bit greasy for me, but I had plenty to eat after having just of few of them anyway. StfRon really enjoyed the corned beef hash and was wishing he knew their secret.
Service was good and the prices were very reasonable.

Upon arriving home later that day, I noticed that was having a forum debate about the best breakfast in the Peoria area. A few people mentioned The Galley, so we're planning to go there soon to check out the breakfast, but I certainly plan to revisit the Country Diner.

November, 2011 — Country Diner has closed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heading Om

I first tried yoga through a class offered by ICC in Peoria Heights, probably some time around 1996.
I took it for just the one semester, and after a while I missed taking yoga classes so I found a great deal on classes I enjoyed with Vicki at Franciscan Recreation Complex in West Peoria.
Eventually due to changes in my schedule, the Franciscan classes were no longer a good option, so I stopped taking yoga. To be honest, I did take classes for a while at the Riverplex, but the flow of the classes there didn't quite fit what I was used to so eventually I fell out of practice.
When I heard about Heading Om, I decided to give it a try. I tracked down the stately brick building (circa 1938) at 2619 West Heading Avenue in West Peoria, finding the studio quite soothing with its reclaimed oak floors, further enhanced by plenty of natural light coming in through the large windows.
Heading Om offers yoga for kids, beginning yoga, meditation and breath work, workshops and much more. They also offer classes on location and private sessions.
I enjoyed my first class very much, and know this will be a good start toward getting myself back into shape and relaxation.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Round up

Over the last week or so I had lunch with the hubby at One World in Peoria; he and I poked around in the Pleasant Hill Antique Mall in East Peoria; took in Taken at Sunnyland Cinemas; enjoyed dinner with friends at Bernardi's in Washington; dinner with more friends at The Lindenhof (German-American Central Society) in Peoria; and had dinner with the gals at the Busy Corner in Goodfield.
Out and about, on our way to a gathering in Dunlap I saw that Chef John's was open for business, despite several for sale/lease signs nearby. I also noticed that there is a new coffee shop, The Bean, open in downtown East Peoria.

Emerald Tea Room

Recently I had the pleasure of dining at one of my favorite lunch spots: The Emerald Tea Room, 132 McKinley Street (downtown near Long John Silver's) in East Peoria.
The rustic country style tea room offers several sandwiches and salads, soups and daily specials. And of course, delectable desserts.
On this occasion, I had a ham salad sandwich on multigrain bread served with chips and a small serving of fruit. The sandwich was good and the fruit (blackberries, strawberry, muskmelon and kiwi) stood out to me as being some of the freshest tasting fruit I've encountered in a long time. No easy feat in Illinois in February, I'm sure.
For dessert, I shared a cranberry pear crisp topped with ice cream with my mom. It was nicely warmed and packed with cinnamony goodness.
The owner served us, and was prompt and friendly throughout our stay.
The Emerald Tea Room also does catering and is available during off hours for private parties.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Corn Stock Theatre

Recently we decided to do something different to stave off cabin fever. We took in a live performance at Corn Stock Theatre.
I had never been to the theatre at 1700 N. Park Road in Peoria, but StfRon was in one of their productions many years ago.
This show, 100 Minutes of Theatre, was held in their winter playhouse. We paid $10 each for our reserved tickets and filed into the theatre, joining about 75 people sitting on patio chairs arranged stadium style.
100 Minutes featured several short plays, each approximately 10 minutes in length. I enjoyed some of them better than others, with the off the wall Detective Droopy by far being my favorite.
Corn Stock Theatre, founded in 1954, puts on several shows throughout the summer and winter. Season tickets for the summer season (performed in the outdoor tent) are available for $62.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Looking for treasures at Christie's, 2390 Washington Road in Washington, is a good way to pass some time.
The two story shop is filled with booth after booth of flea market finds like glassware, beer steins, ornaments, dishes, collectibles and trinkets gathered from forgotten corners of attics and basements.
You never know when you're going to run across something you remember fondly from your youth, that mod light for your basement, or that perfect knickknack for your living room display.