Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Peoria's Chicago Grill on University Street closed a few weeks ago.

The former Country Diner in East Peoria is now open as El Mexicano.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I've been to the new Salt restaurant in Peoria Heights twice now for dinner. I tried to meet someone there for lunch once as well, but Salt is currently closed on Mondays.
The first time I ate there we stopped in on a whim on a Saturday night to see how busy it was and found the small restaurant booked, but were offered a seat at the bar to dine, which was fine with us.
The restaurant has a contemporary feel and is accented with salt block lights and salt block candle holders.
To start we had their Focaccia bread served with sea salt butter. The salt was distinctive and I found I preferred only a very small amount of butter.
When we placed our order, the bartender suggested we could split a salad, which came topped with cranberries and local Ropp curds along with candied walnuts. It was very good.
For my meal I ordered the pork Porchetta ($26), a slow roasted pork shoulder served with a sweet potato puree.
After tasting my husband's meal, salt crusted beef ($28), a filet cooked under a salt dough cap served with a root vegetable confit, I was envious. The beef was extremely tender and the root vegetables were incredible. You are not meant to eat the salt dough, but on a next visit my friend dared me to try it so I bit off a tiny chunk. Now that's what I call SALT! Makes for a delicious steak, though.
The bartender who served us was very knowledgeable about the menu and wine and was very attentive until the restaurant got a bit busier. He became distracted and though we had asked about desserts he soon dropped off our bill so we paid and figured we'd check it out another time.
On my second visit with friends, there was a mix up about who was serving our table and we ended up sitting for 15 minutes with no water or drink orders, but after that things were fine.
One friend ordered the vegetarian noodles which features noodles made of butternut squash and sweet potato. Another had the Amish chicken served with chicken mozzarella sausage. I sampled the sausage and it was delicious.
I went with the featured fish, a red fish served with asparagus and artichoke hearts garnished with capers and accompanied by a risotto. Again, the vegetables were incredible. I mused that if a chef could make vegetables taste as good as the ones I've tried at Salt, they could certainly serve only vegetables and strike it rich.
This time I did get to try dessert, the salted bacon brownie. Not only was it garnished with a thick slice of bacon, there were bits of bacon baked into the brownie batter and the whole thing was drizzled with caramel. Decadent.
I am looking forward to trying breakfast and lunch at Salt. A friend of mine said she had a salmon burger there that felt like it weighed two pounds and it was served with chips garnished with the salt of her choice.

Friday, December 16, 2011

O's Tacos -n- More

This week we headed to the former Lonny's Dairyland spot on Farmington Road for lunch at the newly opened O's Tacos -n- More.
When you walk in to the former dairy barn, there is a window to place your order straight ahead and a room of picnic table seating off to the left.
We placed our order for the two taco dinner, grilled chicken and had ours dressed with onion and cilantro instead of the tomato, lettuce and cheese. The soft corn tortilla tacos came with a side of mild green sauce and also a hot red sauce plus rice and beans for $6.50, and we added two drinks. While we waited we were given a small basket of chips and salsa to munch on.
The tacos were simple, but heaped with plenty of chicken and the staff was friendly.
The dining area could probably get a bit chilly in cold weather, but we were there on a 40 degree day and there were space heaters in the room and it was not uncomfortable.
There is also a drive up window for carry outs.

January, 2012 — O's Tacos has closed.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Vertucci's Chicago Style Eats in East Peoria closed early this month.
Los Jimadores has opened in the former Victor's restaurant spot in Washburn.
Juicy's Famous Steak and Lemonade on NE Adams in Peoria kicked off their grand opening over the past weekend.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Joe's Peoria

Last month we ate at Joe's Peoria for the first time. The sports bar is located along Pioneer Parkway in Peoria in the same strip mall as Taste of Thai.
Joe's features daily specials, a kid's menu and I have seen several coupons published in various local outlets.
For dinner I ordered their Buffalo chicken wrap ($6.95 with fries), billed as crispy chicken dipped in mild sauce. The chicken was indeed very crispy, and the wrap included shredded cheese and lettuce. The fries were the skin on variety that appeared to be hand cut.
My husband had a Reuben (also $6.95). He also added a side of chili ($2.95), which he was a big fan of.
We dined at the bar and hit a change in shift, but both bartenders took good care of us.
We've added Joe's to our list of places to stop for eats north of War Memorial.

Monday, December 05, 2011


I heard that Alpha Bravo Pub and Grill will open early next year in the former Harold's Hamburgers location in Sunnyland.
I believe that O's Tacos -n- More has opened on Farmington Road. I will have to head over there and check it out!