Monday, April 27, 2009

A weekend of laziness!!!

It was far too nice to be in all weekend. Didn't really go anywhere special, just to Chili's and Steak n Shake. I will say this: Steak n Shake was overfilled and understaffed. They didn't bring my wife's salad dressing until after I was done with my meal. The management had no problem taking that off the bill. So they avoid the $hitlist.

However, I did enjoy a lunch at Rizzi's downtown. A co-worker told me they had a lunch menu worth checking out. We both had salads to start, done up with nice fresh greens. I liked my Italian dressing, she didn't much care for the tomato-basil variety. Her entree was the Manicotti, which she said was very good, nice and flavorful. Seeing as how I'm a slob, I opted to not get anything with a red sauce because I would certainly have no secrets about where I dined... or it would look like I got shot. Anyhoo, I went for the fettucini carbonara, a rich, creamy alfredo sauce with onions and prosciutto. Very flavorful!! It was heavy on the prosciutto, so I win!

I will enjoy going back and trying something else. Someday, when I wear a plaid shirt, so that the eventual spills might not get noticed as quickly.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What A Slacker!!!

No more!

I will no longer ignore this blog. I've had good and bad situations at restaurants that NEED attention! Onward we climb...

Carnegie's, Peoria: Together with some co-workers, we visited this upscale establishment for lunch yesterday. I had heard that they were offering a decent lunch deal--salad bar, couple of soups and a hot entree for $7. Sure enough, there it was in all its return-trip glory. Small salad bar, but it had hard-boiled eggs, so it's a winner already. Add the fact that they had cottage cheese too, and I'm sold American. The soups were chicken tortilla and Italian wedding. The former was tasty, not really spicy as I would have thought. The latter... well, I'm no pro on soups, but the only other time I've had the Italian wedding variety it was in some sort of brothy concoction. This time it was in tomato sauce, which does make more sense... I guess. I told my crew that it tasted like Spaghetti-O's without the O's. The hot entree was a chicken stir fry with noodles, which was good. They switch it up every day, so I am looking forward to seeing what else they have to offer. Yummy breadsticks!! And then the guy brought us cookies, which made MY day.

There are lots of good options for lunch downtown, and you can add this to the list. If it can last until summer, I would bet it becomes rather more popular.

Buffalo Wild Wings, Peoria: Me and the family ate there last evening. I've never been a big fan of the place, but I wanted to watch the Cubs game and didn't feel like driving too far from my other destination of the evening, Gander Mountain (fishing season! I fish!!). So we got there on 40 cent wing night, ordered up a bunch of wings and some chicken tenders for the kid. It was all pretty... chicken. The big thing that stands out for me is the teriyaki... when the chicken wings are gone, I can run my fries in it. Or steal Chloe's fries when she's not looking and do my dipping.

So, not the best wings, but they had a big TV. That was enough for me. Still kind of expensive, though. You don't get what you pay for, but once again... big TV... Cubs game.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Okay, okay...

I'm going to once again make this blog go. People ask about it. I says to them, "I didn't know you, or anyone, read it." They say, "Yep." So.... I guess I will try to inform people of what I notice about food around here.

Let me see if I can remember my last few dinings-out:

Culver's, Peoria: I think their fries are getting better... or they're using more salt. Either way, they are edible now. Burgers are, of course, always the same.

Steak n Shake, North University, Peoria: We ordered for us (me, wife, kid) and a sandwich for my dad. They shorted us a steakburger (mine) and gave us two extra orders of fries. At least the vanilla coke was good! I am not deterred from going there again.

Feldan's, Peoria: Glad they're open now. Nice place. A better review of Feldan's can be found over at this blog. I liked the look of the place. It is indeed brighter, and the brightest shininess came from the very nice staff. They have people behind the buffet that serve you the food. It made me feel a bit weird, but it took me back to the days of Bishop's buffet down on Washington. The pizza was pretty good, but it seemed to me like it wasn't real warm... or it cooled off quick. I liked the "orange chicken" pizza, and the BBQ pizza, and they had some sort of au gratin potatoes with corn flakes on top of them. I loved those!!

Vertucci's, East Peoria: Like the new location, approximately 100 feet from their old place. Cubcentricity!! I had a 1/2 lb Polish sausage... they called it something special, some nickname like the "housewarmer" or the "domestic batterer" or the "gutbuster." I wish I could remember! Anyhow, it was okay. I think I like the regular-sized Polish better, with the yellow mustard and grilled onions.

Avanti's, N. Knoxville, Peoria: Went their three times in February. Had the same server twice, wonderful service, really did well putting up with the kid. The third time, we had someone else (a trainer?), and she must have been having a down night. I'll stop there.

Dunkin Donuts, over by the mall: Yummy coffee! I tell them "Large coffee, little bit of cream, lots of sugar." They get it right every time! Don't get me wrong, I like the little local places, especially Leaves and Beans up in the Heights. But when I'm not on that end of town, I love coming through DD right quick to get a fix.

More to come.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A few places along the way...

Oscar's Restaurant, West Peoria: Me and Don stopped over there for lunch last week. It was a small, chilly place that served cans of soda, rather than fountain. We both ordered cheeseburgers, which were not the garden variety frozen patty. They looked and tasted to be hand formed, which negates the bad feelings of not having an option for the free refill of drinky. We sat next to a lady with a big mess o' biscuits and gravy, which looked like they might be worth a taste.

Red Lobster, Peoria: You know me, not ever against a franchise restaurant. I wanted to get in on the last day or two of the shrimp-tacular all you can eat shrimp. I had the scampi, coconut shrimp, and the cajun shrimp, along with their yummy mashed potatoes. All good! I love Red Lobster! There is no real surprises here, just good seafood. And of course, the biscuits are worth the trip themselves. The staff there was really nice on a Sunday evening, playing and dancing with my kid.

Richard's, Peoria: Met up with some friends from the blog-o-sphere who share a common space on, one of the local forums I like to visit and read every so often. Wonderful company, fair horseshoe (the zesty cheese is TOO zesty for a horseshoe) and shoddy service. Most of the people I talked to liked their food just fine. The big draw: their grill stays open LATE, and that trumps all things questionable in my mind.

Avanti's, Peoria: Yeah, me and Chloe went back after having been there not too long ago. I've got nothing new to add about the food, but only an interesting time was had. A kid a few booths down got his finger caught in the straw hole of his kiddie drink lid. Hilarity ensued. To karmically pay for my laughter, Chloe proceeded to ignore her napkin and instead wipe her hands on her shirt. What comes around goes around.

Fedora's, Peoria: I wanted to write about this place, located on the corner of McClure and University, but I forgot. Me and Chloe joined Don, Jason and Rob there on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks back, remembering how good their pizza was 10 years ago. It hasn't changed, all still VERY good!!! We had a sausage pizza and a "Sicilian", which had a bunch of meat on it. What crust!! If you haven't gone there before, go now. If it's been a while for you too, go NOW!!! Additionally, the owner came out and once again made friends with my daughter, and that always gets a place high praise from me.

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.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big Z!!!