Friday, May 29, 2009


For a few weeks now, I've noticed a banner in front of the Butcher Block at Junction City in Peoria advertising breakfast starting at 5:30 a.m. So for those early birds looking for something different, check it out!

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

Carlock Family Restaurant

This month we were looking forward to the first 3rd Sunday Market of the year in Bloomington.
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

Joe Rogers' Original Recipe Chili Parlor

On an overcast day in late April, I had a chance to enjoy lunch in Springfield with my husband.
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


German Specialties in Peoria is cooking up hot dogs, brats and more at an outdoor cart in front of their store during lunch.

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

Round up

This weekend we took in Squabbles at Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre in Goodfield. I very much enjoyed Bob Lane Jr's performance, and also savored the peppery chicken noodle soup.

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:

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Peoria Players Theatre

We took in our first show ever at Peoria Players Theatre this month, Man of La Mancha.

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.

Shop Local Peoria campaign

From May 2009 | Issue 015 | Junction City Newsletter:

Shop Local Peoria is a campaign designed by Junction Ventures to encourage residents to shop locally and support local businesses.

Shop Local Peoria will begin its campaign exclusively with the businesses in Junction City.

Join us in supporting local, independently owned businesses in Peoria through the SHOP LOCAL PEORIA campaign!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

S'more Couture

I remember my surprise when my sister-in-law told me there was a new local shop open in Alta. Alta has shops, I thought?
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.