Day 45! (First Failed Recipe)

September 5, 2012

Not only did we have a major recipe fail today, but this post is being rewritten after it was accidentally deleted, so now we’re super grumpy! Today we tried to make quinoa pizza bites which Nikki found on Pinterest and led to this site. People were raving about these pizza bites, saying it was some of the best food they’ve ever had. Naturally, we had to try them- we love pizza!  After spending over an hour chopping, cooking, and baking the results we’re a bland pile of mush. Frustrating. Now, I’m not blaming the recipe. It was our own fault- we made the pizza bites entirely too big. Lesson learned. We may attempt the pizza bites again, but it won’t be for a while. There are just to many good recipes!

Here’s a pic anyway.

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To offset the negative post, here are a couple of pictures from our Labor Day at the Southern Michigan wineries. If you live in the area, you have to hit up the wineries. We went to about five wineries (and one brewery!), which was so fun. 

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Now, we’re off to make some dessert (mushed bananas, peanut butter and a little chocolate) to forget about that lame dinner. 🙂

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Sakura

May 7, 2010

1163 East Ogden Avenue Naperville, IL 60563

Lunch, dinner & all-you-can-eat ($20/person)

http://www.sakurasushibuffet.com

This is one of our favorite sushi spots in the suburbs! We usually always get the all-you-can-eat, which is $15/ person for lunch and $20/ for dinner (but they always have coupons in the clipper magazine). The wait staff is friendly, though not always tentative, but the sushi is great. The all-you-can-eat includes everything from miso soup to California Rolls to Unagi (eel) . The sushi comes in large portions and is always very fresh. Word of advice though, wear your elastic-band pants because you will be stuffed by the time you leave. Chris and I always end up fighting over who has to finish the last couple of pieces (they charge you if you leave sushi on the plate). Some of our favorite orders are the miso soup and vegetable tempura. We usually follow that by Shrimp Tempura rolls (Japanese fried shrimp), Salmon Skin rolls (the name says it all, it is filled with delicious crunchy salmon skin), Spicy Tuna rolls, and whatever the Chef’s Special is (usually something original, and spicy). This is the perfect place to go to suppress your sushi cravings!

Saffron

May 4, 2010

6020 S. Cass Ave., Westmont, IL 60559

Lunch & Dinner ($20/ person)

http://www.saffrondining.com

Last weekend Nikki’s parents took us to Saffron. It is one of our favorite places, and somewhere we don’t go often enough. If you’re trying to get your Indian fix, this is definitely the place to check out. We ordered right away because we all have our favorite dishes that we could not wait to devour. We got the Paneer Makhani, which is a tomato-based dish containing voluptuous homemade cheese cubes. It was fantastic. We also tried the Fish Tikka Masala, which contained delicious pieces of Mahi Mahi marinated in yogurt and served in a special sauce. In addition, whenever we eat Indian food we order a side of naan bread and rice. It is a great addition to the food and it adds to the feast. On a sour note, Saffron has poor service. We waited for over 20 minutes to get our drink order taken, and later, after our food was wrapped in to-go boxes, we waited another 20 minutes and we were finally forced to track down a waiter for the check.  In short: good food, bad service, but we have yet to find somewhere better!

Cooper’s Hawk

April 9, 2010

510 Village Center Dr., Burr Ridge, IL 60527

Lunch, dinner, & wine tasting ($40/ person)

http://www.coopershawkwiner.com

Let me begin by saying the pretzel bread they bring out before dinner is fantastic! I would come just for a glass of wine and the pretzel bread! Anyways on with the show… We will be the first to tell you some wines are decent and were not so great (keep in mind we have gotten to try some really good wines recently), but to the average diner they make for a great evening and definitely make dinner that much more enjoyable. On to the food! We ordered the Tuna Sliders as our starter which was absolutely wonderful! The tuna wad cooked perfectly, just kissed the pan, and had an amazing spice rub that was salty with just the right amount of spice! Next, we ordered our entrees. The Sea Scallops, which were also cooked to perfection, were served with white rice and asparagus, but it was the wine butter sauce that made it irresistible. Similarly, we also tried the Cashew Crusted Walleye  that was served with a mustard buerre blanc.  This may sound unusual, but it was fantastic. We were sopping it up with leftover pretzel bread. With the fish we swapped the Mary’s whipped potatoes for Betty’s hash brown cheese casserole, which was delicious! Cheap wine aside, Cooper’s Hawk is a great place if you’re looking for anything from burgers to seared tuna. Another perk is that while you wait for a table (we had an hour long wait) they have great wine tastings. They do a select 8 wines for $7, but if you want to try any of their wines be sure to ask, they offer complimentary samples.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

April 6, 2010

131 West Jefferson Ave., Naperville, IL 60540

Lunch & Dinner  ($15/ person)

http://www.loumalnatis.com

Chances are that if you live in the Chicagoland area you have already been to Lou Malnati’s, or at least heard of it. We went there last Thursday on a beautiful, sunny day because we were looking for somewhere to eat where we could sit outside. The plus is that they do have outdoor seating (and we were lucky enough to walk up as someone was leaving), but the negative is that the outdoor seating is covered by a large canopy so you have to sit in just the right place to get some sun. We started off by Chris ordering a beer and I ordered a glass of wine. They weren’t serving any mixed drinks (a mojito sounded good while basking in the sun). We then ordered the Combination Platter, which was an assortment of toasted mozzarella sticks, cheddar cubes, breaded zucchini and mushrooms. It was very good, but too much food for only two people. By the time our medium deep dish pizza came we were no longer hungry (that didn’t stop us from each eating a slice though). The pizza was of course delicious.  Nikki usually doesn’t like deep dish pizza, but Lou Malnati’s is perfect. It is not too “deep”. We took the rest of the pizza and it made for a great lunch the next day!  If you have never been here you need to check it out. And if you are already familiar with Lou Malnati’s be sure to order a small pizza and maybe try out a salad, which we hear are fabulous!

Chicago Diner

March 29, 2010

Chicago Diner

3411 N. Halsted St., Chicago IL

Lunch & Dinner ($10/ person)

http://www.veggiediner.com/wp

The Chicago Diner is one of those places that we’ve wanted to try forever! They are a vegetarian restaurant with everything from pasta with “Meatballs” to vegan Irish Carbomb cupcakes. We went on a Saturday night and we were able to park in their free lot, which was great! We read that there is not usually a wait, but when we arrived we were told that it would be about 45 minutes. We were willing to wait, but the problem was that there was nowhere to stand. Most people had to wait outside, but we were able to stand in the doorway and had to jump out of the way every time someone came in or out. When we were seated we ordered a milkshake right away because we had heard such fabulous things. We got the cookie dough peanut butter milkshake along with the fried ravioli as a starter. The milkshake was fantastic (think Reese Peanut Butter Cup), but the ravioli was only okay. It seemed too dry and was kind of bland. Next, we ordered our entrees, a Gyro and BBQ Rib Sandwich. The gyro was amazing. It tasted just like the real thing. The Rib Sandwich, on the other hand, fell short. It was thick and chewy. Now, we haven’t had a rib sandwich in a while, but we expected it to be better. On a positive note, with the entrees we ordered a side of chili and sweat potato fries. Both were good. Although our experience was not the greatest, we would definitely try Chicago Diner again because they have such an interesting menu and all of our veggie friends have nothing but good things to say. We recommend this place to not only vegetarians and healthy eaters, but also to meateaters who want to try something new. If you were looking to try this place we recommend doing it this week because they have great specials to celebrate their 27 year anniversary.

12337 South Route 59
Plainfield, IL 60585

http://www.limestonebrewingcompany.com

Lunch & Dinner ($20/ person)

The other night we were trying to think of somewhere close that we could grab a bite to eat. We remembered that Limestone had recently opened in Plainfield, so we gave it a try. And we were glad that we did! They have a rotating selection of their own beers, brewed in-house, on tap as well as growler fills. They had a pretty good selection of other choices on tap as well as bottled. They were out of their Oatmeal Stout however, which was somewhat disappointing since that was Chris’ first choice. They also had other drink specials, so even the non-beer drinker could enjoy themselves (and save some dough!). The Crab Cake appetizer was a special that night as well so we gave it a try. It was very good. It was full of lump meaty pieces of crab. Next, we tried the Limestone Beer Cheese Soup. We know it sounds unusual, but it was fantastic and definitely surprised everyone at the table. Finally, we got our two delicious entrees. We tried the Fish and Chips(which was beer battered with their own ale) and the Limestone Pasta with shrimp and scallops, tossed together with veggies, marinara, and Feta cheese. We had such a hard time picking our entrees because so much of the menu sounded very appetizing. We hope to be back very soon!

Brickhouse Bakery & Café

February 24, 2010

654 East Roosevelt Road Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Lunch, dinner & bakery ($10/person)

Yesterday we stopped by the Brickhouse Bakery for a quick dinner. We were pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t your typical café, it is more of a cozy little restaurant. It is run by a husband and wife team that work both in the kitchen and out on the floor. They were very friendly and you could tell that they had a great deal of regulars who come in. The prices were good and the food sounded tasty and unique. Unfortunately, there was very little in terms of vegetarian options. However, we did order Baco Sticks, which were almost like big cheese sticks. They were great! Then we split a medium Southwest pizza, it was loaded with tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms. It was one of the best pizzas we have ever had. If you’re ever in the area be sure to check out this place. You can grab your food to go, and they have a great bakery selection as well. Keep in mind that the staff is small and so it may not be the fastest service, but everyone is friendly and the food is delicious.

P.S. Tomorrow we are headed to Vegas so be sure to check back next week for all our reviews!!!

358 W. Ontario Street Chicago IL 60610 (River North)

http://www.aichicago.us

Lunch (Mon-Friday) & Dinner ($20/person)

For restaurant week we decided to try out Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge. As we said before, the dinner menu was only $32. And you do have to ask for the special menu, they did not just offer it to everyone. As opposed to other places, at Ai we actually got a five course meal, as opposed to three. We began with the Kabocha corn soup, it was a delicious combination of Japanese pumpkin and corn. Next was the Hamachi Carpaccio, it was thinly sliced yellowtail topped with ceviche and citrus ohba. The yellowtail was fantastic. We also got our choice of a signature maki. I chose the Chef Hemmi Spicy Tuna, which was spicy tuna combined with four different roll options. It was very nice to get to try all the different rolls. Chris got the Crazy Jalapeno roll. He was not pleased. Most of the rolls were not hot at all, and one roll seemed to have the entire jalapeno inside. It was extremely hot and it caught him off guard, to say the least. Then, we were served the Demi Pistachio Salmon Teriyaki. The salmon was great, and cooked to perfection, but it was soaked in teriyaki, which was unnecessary. Lastly, we had dessert. We got a Yume Choco, a demi chocolate mousse served with chocolate espresso mochi. The dessert was fantastic and the perfect portion size. By and large our experience at Ai was good. Besides the Jalapeno roll, our only other complaint was the service. Our server was not very friendly, and we would be waiting for our food and drinks for long periods of time while he would be standing around talking with the other servers. I’m not sure that we would go back, but it was fun to try it out during restaurant week.

Restaurant Week

February 20, 2010

For all of you guys that don’t know, this week is restaurant week in Chicago (Feb. 19-28). This is the third annual Restaurant Week, and it really is a great experience. Tons of restaurants around the Chicagoland area are participating. They offer gourmet three-course prix fixe menu options. It is the perfect way to try out a new restaurant or some unique foods. The lunch option costs $22 while dinner is $32. Trust us, it is worth it!

Here is a list on Open Table of the participating places..

http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m=3&ref=1076&pid=270

We also wanted to encourage everyone to use the Open Table site to make reservations. You get points for your reservations (anywhere from 100 t0 1,000) and once you accumulate at least 2,000 points you can get a giftcard for $20 to any of the restaurants. We managed to get 10,000 before and we were therefore given a $100 giftcard. It is free to sign up and it is a good way to find out cool restaurants nearby.