Friday, January 30, 2009

Round up

This week I drove through Peoria Heights and saw that June restaurant is now open for dinner.

We heard that Alpine Village of Minier is going to be the Chateau on the Lake in Pekin, and I believe the Minier location is closed or closing.

Early this week I had lunch at the City News Café in Peoria, a nice smoked turkey sandwich on wheat with provolone, and checked out the day's Sun Times while I ate.

A group of seven of us enjoyed lunch at Two25 in Peoria this week as well. I noticed that the French onion soup had significantly less saltiness to it this time. Still good, but I would probably prefer something in between the two I've had there now. But then again, I am not watching my sodium intake!
I did try a new salad dressing from the salad bar, too. I'm not sure what it was called, but it had plenty of garlic in it, and it was tops with me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rhodell Brewery

I've visited Rhodell Brewery, 619 SW Water Street, many times over the more than 10 years they've been gracing the riverfront. I had not brewed beer there until just recently, though.
Just before the holidays we met our friends, Dr. Z and his lovely wife, for our brewing appointment at Rhodell. Everyone in the group but me had brewed there in the past.
StfRon asked to see the recipe book, and our brewmaster, a jovial gent, said they no longer had one, but that he could tell us what was available to brew.
After finding out that a Pilsener was not an option and debating for a bit, we settled on an Oktoberfest brew.
We ordered a few pints from the bar, which was seeing a pretty steady business, and headed into the brewing area to get started.
We were tasked with measuring, grinding, pouring and stirring the goods into our brewing vat. I had invited my parents to stop by, and they came by with some more friends who watched our progress.
We took turns popping out of the brewing area to enjoy some pizza we had ordered and a great tray of veggies Dr. Z's wife had brought in.
The whole beer mixing process took a couple of hours. We finished up and headed on our way, with the news that our beer would be ready near the end of December.
StfRon decided to have the beer put in a keg rather than bottling, so he dropped the keg by a couple of weeks later.
Once the beer was on tap at home, we invited Dr. Z (whose wife had other plans) to come by and sample the fruits of our labor.
And some did call it fruity, indeed. StfRon's sister, our "Dining Companion", upon sampling the beer said it tasted like bananas! Once she said that, I could taste it, too. With the grains and fruity flavor, it had a hint of banana bread flavor to it.
It was a nice brew with hints of caramel. At first the CO2 was not quite up to what StfRon wanted, so the beer was not as carbonated as some. After some tweaking, though, things evened out.
Dr. Z's wife stopped by last weekend with friends to try the beer, and pronounced it a success.
Brewing beer turned out to be something a little different to do on a winter night, with the added benefit of something to look forward to a few weeks later.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Round up

This week I had lunch at the Smo-King Pit, Chiliworks Café (I tried the bison chili this time), Thanh Linh and Good Tequila's, all in Peoria.
Yesterday we enjoyed more Peoria dining with lunch with friends at the Hofbrau, and dinner with friends at Crusen's.
In business news, it looks like Feldan's pizza and TNT Sports Bar will soon be open in Peoria. I'm looking forward to trying a new local pie.
Chef John's in Dunlap is for sale, and I noticed that the Original Gulley's BBQ in Peoria has been closed for the last few weeks when I drive by.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lori's Kitchen Store

One of the newest additions to the square in Washington is Lori's Kitchen Store.
We've been by the store at 110 N. Main Street a few times since they opened last fall.
I noticed they carry the Le Creuset line of pots and pans. My mom has had a few of these pieces for probably 20 years or more, and she's made many a great meal with them. She's also loaned us her French oven a time or two.
Lori's also carries a fun line of hand made chocolates.
Classes and cooking contests are held in the store. You can view information about these at their web site.
Of course they also have lots of gourmet mixes, small appliances, kitchen gadgets, and even carry a line of stoneware made in the USA.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Round up

The last seven days have taken us a few places. We visited historic Long Grove, Illinois and poked through several of the shops there. Some of the restaurants were closed for some sort of winter break, I guess, but we decided to give Seasons of Long Grove a try. Once we were seated, we realized pretty much everyone in town must have had the same idea.
The sandwiches we chose (chicken salad and prime rib French dip) were excellent, and our server was attentive and friendly.

I enjoyed lunch at Water Street Wines, Café and Coffee in downtown Peoria. Some roasted red pepper Gouda soup and a grilled cheese sandwich hit the spot.

I had a nice early birthday lunch this week at Rizzi's (on Sheridan) in Peoria with my friend R. The special was seafood ravioli with a marinara/alfredo sauce blend. Adding in my salad topped with my favorite tomato basil dressing and a chance to catch up with a good friend, it was the recipe for a great time.

I see that Apostrophe, the new bar in Junction City in Peoria Heights is now open. I'm looking forward to checking this place out.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


While my husband is still mourning the loss of Uno's in the Mark Twain Hotel, we took a chance on lunch at the restaurant now occupying the space: Two25.
Walking through the lobby of the hotel at 225 NE Adams Street in Peoria, I noticed it has been updated since I last walked through. I liked the decor, and the library looked like a great place to park myself and hang out for the rest of the day. Too bad I had to get back to work.
Stepping into the restaurant, we were greeted by a gal manning the hostess stand who showed us to a booth.
The dining room has seen some decor changes since Uno's as well, which were a nice touch.
With loungy hits by Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra playing in the background, we checked out the menu.
On the appetizer list, the crab & artichoke gratin sounded good, as did the baked Brie. There were a couple of salads that I would like to try: the pear and the spinach salad. Moving on to pizzas, the thought of the White Pie had me salivating: olive oil, ricotta, spinach,
artichoke hearts and garlic. The menu also featured steaks, chicken and seafood, burgers, pasta and sandwiches.
Being lunch, however, I went with something a bit lighter, the salad bar with soup. The lunch endless salad bar was priced at $7, and adding French onion soup or the soup du jour is an extra $2. We had scoped out the salad bar after noticing it on the menu, and it looked worthy.
StfRon went with the salad bar as well, and added a sausage pizza bread for $1.
This salad bar made its way to my list of top three in Peoria since it had three choices of greens, a tri-colored pepper mix, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, onions, sunflower seeds, candied walnuts, a couple of fruit choices, broccoli, cottage cheese, several dressing choices and more.
Our food arrived fairly quickly. The French onion soup was served in a large cappucino style mug on a saucer and the rich broth filled with onions was topped with some bread and melted cheese.
StfRon's pizza bread was sprinkled with chunks of savory sausage and had a nice crispness to the edges of the submarine style bread.
Glancing around as we were finishing our meal I noticed the dining room we were in was almost full and the voices of the patrons floated up into the high ceilings, mingling and echoing down, lending a nice touch to the atmosphere.
Our waitress was bustling around and cheerful, johnny-on-the-spot with refills, even after we paid our bill of $22 before tip, which included two iced teas.
On our way back to work we declared the last-minute decision for lunch a nice success, and we'll be sure to come back to Two25 again soon.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Eyesal's Coffee Roasters

Last week on our way back from East Peoria we had a chance to stop at Eyesal's Coffee Roasters, 400 E. Washington Street in East Peoria.
The coffee shop has an unusual name which I thought must be the last name of one of the owners. I found out instead that Eyesal's is an acronym for Espresso Yourself, Smile A Latte.
So the owner's name is not Eyesal, but he made us feel very welcome and recognized that it was our first time visiting the quaint shop, furnished with dark leathery chairs and couches situated on bright red carpet.
Eyesal's roasts their own beans, and both my husband and I were pleasantly surprised at the bold flavor of our chosen coffee drinks.
The menu features teas in addition to the coffees, and smoothies as well. There is a meeting room available, and free WiFi access. They also offer a punch card that they will keep on file for you in the shop, in case you're tired of toting around all of those membership cards.