Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rasoi The Indian Kitchen

I don't have a wealth of experience with Indian food, but when a friend suggested lunch at Rasoi The Indian Kitchen last week, I was interested to give it a try.
Located on N. Knoxville Avenue at Pioneer Parkway in Peoria, the last time I visited the spot it was The Copperworks restaurant. The walls have since been painted a warm yellow and the restaurant has a somewhat calming appeal.
As we were seated, the waiter asked if we wanted to eat from the buffet. My friend asked if we could order from the menu and he said no, just the buffet, so buffet is what we did.
He poured us each a glass of water as we went to fill our plates.
Based on my limited knowledge of Indian food, I believe I ended up eating chicken masala, a paneer in what appeared to be a pesto-type sauce, chicken tikka, some delicate chips that were fairly salty and some fruit. There were also vegetables to make a salad with and soups, among other Indian dishes such as goat curry.
Two baskets of naan were brought to the table, which was plenty to accompany our meal.
Most of the traditional Indian dishes I tried had a hint of spicy heat to them, but nothing overpowering, and I would try any of them again.
After spotting it on the buffet, I had to finish with the rice pudding, which was a nice touch.
Since it was a buffet, service was not invasive, but we could have used a refill on our waters about midway though the meal.
On the way out my friend stopped by a table for what I thought would be mints or toothpicks, but instead took a spoonful of cardamom and asked me if I would like some. I popped some in my mouth and decided it was an unusual, but refreshing end to my meal at Rasoi.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hacienda Fuentes Cantina & Grill

Late last month I met my husband in Pekin for lunch at Hacienda Fuentes Cantina & Grill.
We sat in a booth in the second dining room and were served a basket of crunchy tortilla chips with salsa.
The waiter came by for my drink order but I still had to take in the many menu options, so he said he would be back for our food order.
I decided on the Tacos Hacienda ($7.99), three pork tacos with grilled onions and tomatillo sauce with a side of rice and beans. The tacos were tasty, complete with crunchy onions and were served in flour tortillas.
At a table nearby while we were dining, the staff sang happy birthday to a sombrero-wearing young lady, and proceeded to smear some whipped cream on her face. Later I noticed some photos of similar celebrants, so it must be their tradition.
Years ago before there were several small, local Mexican restaurants in the Peoria area, I remember helping someone celebrate a birthday at Chi-Chi's where they topped the birthday girl's head with a huge sombrero and snapped a photo of her.
Hacienda Fuentes has lunch specials starting at $4.50.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It looks like Rosie's BBQ & Grill on Sheridan Road in Peoria has closed.
I also heard that O's Tacos -N- More has closed. O's was on Farmington Road.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I heard that Copper River Coffee & Tea in Peoria closed December 31.

I also heard that a florist is planning to open on Peoria Street in Washington next to Castaways Consignment.

June Bug's Diner is open in the former El Somberito/Three Fat Guys Pizza location on Meadow Avenue in East Peoria.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Local birthday loot

My birthday is creeping up, and I've been receiving some goodies from local establishments to help me celebrate.
Kep's Place in Washington mailed me a free pizza coupon as did Tobin's Pizza in Bloomington. One World in Peoria sent me an email for a free dessert as did Noir Tapas & Rendezvous Lounge in Peoria Heights (theirs is valid with a $20 purchase).

Friday, January 06, 2012

Champs West

I just found out what I'd been missing when we visited Champs West in Peoria for the first time just before the holidays.
The stools were well worn but comfy and the bar had a similar decor to Donnelly's in Peoria, with a few tall tables and stools for seating.
We took a seat at the bar and proceeded to check out the lunch menu, which featured several $6 options.
I ordered a tuna melt, but soon was informed by the nice lady working behind the bar that they didn't have any, so I switched to ham and swiss on sourdough. The lunch includes two sides, so I chose a cup of chicken soup and the macaroni salad.
My husband ordered potato salad and potato chips as his sides. The chips were the ridged sort, and all the rest of the sides seemed homemade, or at least not your standard fare. The potato salad was mustard style and the chicken soup was piping hot and very tasty.
As for my sandwich, I appreciated that the sourdough bread was not two huge slabs, but a more manageable sort, and the ham was not your average thin deli ham.
We were well taken care of with our iced tea refills and were even given a pitcher to keep close at hand in case we needed a quick top off. She even went and got us more ice during our short meal, and to top it off, offered us cookies from a tin before we paid our bill.
While we were eating several locals wandered in with gifts or holiday wishes for the staff.
Champs is now on my list for affordable lunch fare.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Final Bells

In 2011, we bid farewell to the following local businesses. Here's to a new year of supporting local businesses!

Mr. G's Chicago Style
Vertucci's Chicago Style Eats
Country Diner
Chicago Grill
Victor's Mexican American Restaurant
Gilles Tap
Firehouse Pizza (Pekin and Gale in Peoria)
German Specialties
Davis Bros. Pizza (Peoria Heights)
Jack's Around the Map Cafe
Dane's Bar and Grill
Lee's Family Restaurant
Taj of India
Whammy Bar
Cafe 101
Club Carbon
Illinois Antique Center

Sunday, January 01, 2012