Tuesday, October 28, 2008

River City Cafe, Peoria

For Bosses Day a few weeks back, me and some of my co-workers took our boss, Corey, out to lunch at the River City Cafe, located in the Associated Bank Building. Crowded place, it was. We managed to pull together a few tables and got to looking at the menu. They had a pretty wide variety of cold and hot sandwiches, fried items, and salads.

There were a variety of things ordered by my fellow diners-Kati, Lyuba, Corey and Audrey-that ran the gamut of the menu. A cheeseburger they called the "Steamer" (and then jokes were had), a grilled chicken sandwich, a barbecue sandwich were among them, along with some onion rings. But my dish was the most interesting, I'd like to think. They offered two scoops of various salad, ranging from tuna salad, chicken salad, pasta salad, and perhaps seafood salad. I opted for a scoop of tuna and a scoop of chicken, thinking it would be served in a bowl with lettuce and the acoutrements that usually come with a salad. Nope.

This dish looked like someone rescued it from the revolving glass refrigerator at the Howard Johnson's, circa 1976. It was some leaves of lettuce on a plate, with two scoops of salad and a few pieces of tomato. The salads were good, but it just wasn't what I was expecting. The presentation looked like one of the many plates Bluto piled onto his tray at the cafeteria in Animal House.

I would probably give the place another go, because it's so nearby work. Next time, however, I'll get me an egg salad. On bread. Which is what I was gonna get until Kati threatened to vomit from the smell that would surely come along with it. 8-)

A few places along the way...

Lemme see if I can remember a few of the most recent places we've been:

Dynasty Buffet-the one on North University, way out there: Lots of fun stuff like the Mongolian stir-fry section and the sushi section. I have to tell you, it's way overpriced. Dinner was 12 bucks a pop plus soda. Really? It's been a while since I've been to one of the big Chinese buffets, but that seems a bit lofty. And the food wasn't that great. The chicken wings tasted strange, and so did the sesame chicken. The crab rangoons were a bit underdone. What was good, however, was the General Tso's chicken and the sushi with the red thing on it and the orange thing on it. And it's always fun to mix the wasabi and soy sauce for some hot dippin' action! The staff was nice, too, cooing and making happy noises with the kid.

Schooner's, Peoria Heights: Real good stuff this past Sunday night with the fellas. Onion rings were AWESOME, the fumes of Jason's wings nearly lifted the cap from my head, and Aaron's big Gebby burger looked tasty. I got one of those big tenderloins, and it was just wonderful. Had enough left over to bring home to the wife, and I think she liked it.

Avanti's, the new one: I'm not a big fan of Avanti's, but I wanted cheap and quick (like I like my wimmin!!! Ha!!), so we stopped there for a pre-Anniversary dinner last Tuesday. I think we all enjoyed what we ordered. I got the Fettucini Alberto (the one with the ham bits) and Jenny got the Asiago ravioli. Chloe had some tortellini, and we all split an appetizer sampler. The best part of the meal was our server, who's name I have sadly forgotten. Younger fella, late 20's, early 30's, kinda husky, short blond hair. Jenny says his name was Mike. He took care of us from start to finish. Left a mighty tip for him, but it still probably wasn't enough. Usually all it takes for me to like a server is for this person to keep bringing me refills at a timely pace, but Mike went above and beyond.

Hoop's, Peoria: Split an order of pigs in blankets with a co-worker and had a slice of everything (minus the mushrooms). All good during a lunch rush, but next time I'll just get a pepperoni or sausage slice. The one waitress was taking care of the entire floor, so refills weren't timely. Forgivable, though.

That's about it!! Whoever reads this, give me ideas on some new places to go!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gil's, Hanna City

What can one say about Gil's? Crowded on Saturday night, but totally worth the wait. Add that to the idea that the only way a person can get a better piece of chicken is to make love to a hen, and we have a successful dining experience.

Tonight I was joined by the lovely and vivacious Chloe, who, being all of 22 months old, was very well-behaved, only throwing her drawing pad, a half of a cracker, and a napkin. She almost chucked a chicken strip at another table, but I caught on before the meat could fly. Also dining with me tonight was the lovely and vivacious Jason and the lovely and vivacious Russ.

We had a lovely young waitress who quickly made friends with Chloe and got us whatever we asked for. Unfortunately we had to remind her about our drinks and our vegetable side dishes. No matter. She got us refills on our iced teas quickly and brought Chloe a cranberry juice, so all is well.

Russ and I had the fried chicken, and Jason had the Saturday night special, prime rib. We also began our meals with appetizers of onion rings and fried cauliflower. All very good!! The chicken was a bit greasier than usual, but that told me that it was fresh. Just wonderful!! They've earned a spot in my heart (demarcated by a large chunk of cholesterol) as the best fried chicken around.

Right around this time, they substitute pumpkin fritters for their normal corn fritters. I am not a fan of pumpkin things like pies and bread and ice cream and chili and whatever else people do with pumpkin this time of year. But these fritters were just dandy!!

Gil's, of course, is on my HIT list. Always a hit with me and my group of friends, and Chloe did very well eating everything that was given to her.

It's a short drive out to Hanna City. Get on Farmington Road from wherever you are in Peoria, and drive until you see the big colorful sign on Route 116.