May 7, 2010

1163 East Ogden Avenue Naperville, IL 60563

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

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!



May 4, 2010

6020 S. Cass Ave., Westmont, IL 60559

Lunch & Dinner ($20/ person)

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)

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)

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)

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

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!

While we were in Vegas we went to many bars and lounges on the Strip. Some were impressive and some were very disappointing, but all are worth blogging about. We tried to hit up places during their Happy Hour in order to get the best deals, and it was well worth it. Before heading to Vegas we suggest your look up nearby bars and lounges to find out if and when they have their Happy Hours.

West Wing Bar & Lounge

MGM Grand

Happy Hour: Daily 5-8pm

This was probably our favorite lounge. It was hip, yet classy. The happy hour deals were great, too. They have 2-for-1 cocktails. This meant that for $22 we got four drinks. It was probably the best deal we got the entire time we were in Vegas (where everything is insanely expensive). The service was a little weird. The waitress gave us our bill after we ordered the first drinks and said she would just add to it if we wanted more. This was something we had never seen before, and it seemed a little pointless. Regardless, the drinks were great!

Nobhill Tavern

MGM Grand

Happy Hour: (Late Night) 10pm- midnight

We were excited to hear that Nobhill Tavern had a late night happy hour. We went there after dinner to have a couple cocktails before gambling all of our money away. We went there an hour before they were closing and it was strange because all the servers seemed to try to avoid us. We seated ourselves and after waiting to be served on we finally decided to go up to the bar to order our own drinks. The waitress was finally nice to us when it came time to pay the bill. However, the drinks were very good and we were able to sit where we could look out at the casino. It was a pretty good deal, too, with $8 cocktails and $4 beers.

Minus 5 Ice Lounge

Mandalay Bay

This bar is expensive, but awesome. As the name suggests, it is completely made out of ice. When you arrive you pay $25 (includes a drink) and you are given a parka and gloves. Then they take you into the bar. Trust us, when we say everything is made out of ice we mean everything. They have ice sculptures, ice tables, ice chairs, ice chandeliers, and even your drinking glasses are made of ice. To some this may sound like torture, but it is really fun. The only downside is that you are not allowed to take your camera in. They take your picture and sell it to you for a mere $18. Definitely try out this place!

Double Helix

The Palazzo

Happy Hour: 2-4p & 10-close

Double Helix was probably our biggest disappointment of the trip. Being the Wine Lovers that we are we were really looking forward to this place. We read that they had a great Happy Hour and that they served “winetails”, which are cocktails with wine. After paying $15 to take a taxi all the way to the Palazzo we come to find out that during their late night happy hour they only have 2 wine specials (it was mostly beer). We got frustrated and left because we did not go all the way to a wine bar in order to drink beer. Luckily, they have a wine boutique right by the bar, so we found a nice $20 bottle which we enjoyed back at the hotel with a great view of Vegas.

Sea Blue

MGM Grand

Happy Hour: 5:30-7pm

This was one of our favorite happy hour bars! It is actually part of a restaurant, but we just went there for the drinks. Make sure you get there on time though because by 6 o’clock there was a line of people waiting to sit in the bar. The happy hour has good cocktail and beer specials, but it is the food specials that drew us in. $1 oysters and shrimp and half off Lobster Corn Dogs and Calamari. No, that is not a typo. They serve lobster corn dogs. They were delicious. The drinks on the other hand were made pretty weak. However, we still suggest this place if you are looking for a tasty little snack before a late dinner.

The Lounge

Signature (MGM Grand)

The Lounge was definitely one of the classiest joints we went to while in Vegas. We also had a great server and even better drinks. One drink had cinnamon sugar around the brim and tasted like a Cinnabun. It was amazing! Not only did they have some great cocktails, but they served some unique beers as well. Plus, after we mentioned to the server that it was our friend’s birthday he brought him a Blue Valium shot. He couldn’t really tell us what was in it,  but he said it was just a little bit of everything. We had a great time. This is just one of those relaxing places where you can enjoy good conversation and good drinks.


March 3, 2010

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89109

Dinner ($40/ person)

For our friends birthday we decided to try out Fiamma, was which located within our hotel. Before we get into the food, we just want to mention that the service was great. We mentioned briefly that it was our friend’s birthday when we made the reservations and at the end of the night they brought out lemon drop birthday shots for all four of us.  The food was superb as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to take any pictures because we were too busy scarfing it down. We got the Gnocchi, which had lobster, portobello, roasted leeks, and black truffle crema. It was incredible. We also got the Linguini, which had shrimp, scallops, shallots, and Cortese Wine. The food, service, and atmosphere of Fiamma was amazing and we definitely recommend this place to everyone!


March 3, 2010

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino 3799 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89109

Dinner ($32/ person)

We tried Diego because it was in our hotel, the MGM Grand. In the reviews in contained one “$” so we assumed it would be relatively cheap. We got there are few minutes before dinner so we sat in the bar and had a drink. They have an excellent tequila selection. When we were seated they gave us chips and salsa. It was very unique. They served three types of salsa (mild, medium, hot) and three different spices to go with the salsa. It was cool, but we weren’t exactly sure what to do with the spices. We decided to split and appetizer and an entree. We first got the Lump Crab Cocktail, which contained jumbo lump crab meat and roasted tomato salsa with avocado. For our entree we got the Seafood Pot. The Seafood Pot consisted of scallops, seafood ablondigas, black mussels, and pasta in a Lobster and Guajillo chile laced tomato broth. It was a little hard to eat because of the broth, but it was well worth the struggle. The food was delicious, but we thought that it was a little overpriced and the service could have been better. When you’re staying in a hotel with about 10 fine dinning restaurants there is no point returning to one that is not great.

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!!!