Monday, August 25, 2008

good food, fun fests, farmers markets

It was a good weekend. Friday night we had dinner at a place not known as much for its food as other things -- Dave and Buster's. If you've never heard of it, it's sort of a grown-up Chuck E Cheese -- a restaurant, a bar, and a lot of games, from traditional video games to trivia to hoops to pool. We didn't actually play any games, just looked around, but I will say, the restaurant impressed me. It was nicely decorated with big belt-turned fans and lots of rich wood, and the food was pretty darn tasty. We shared Philly Cheesesteak Rolls (cheesesteak in eggroll form!); I had mini chicken sandwiches, served with chips and guacamole and the husband had chicken fingers and fries. I'd go there again just for the food, although it would definitely be fun to have a night with friends, drinking a bit and playing some games.

Saturday we trekked about a mile and a half from our apartment to the Wood Dale "town square" for the annual Family Fun Fest. It was pretty warm on Saturday -- mid '80s with 85% humidity, whew. So we got pretty toasty walking over, and it turned out to not be as cool as we were hoping. There was a handful of food booths, a beer/bingo tent, a few other stands with assorted products/businesses promoting things, a couple of bouncy inflatables for the kiddies, a rock wall, and a small classic car show. It wasn't completely pathetic, but I was a little disappointed. I'd really wanted a lemon shake-up, but I settled for a slightly melted Blizzard instead. Still, we did get a neat bag of goodies from the chamber of commerce.

Sunday, we discovered a gem of a suburb: Mount Prospect. I'd been through Mount Prospect before, but only more light industrial areas, so I didn't really have the best image of it in my head. But I was delighted by its downtown, and we have to go back to the Farmers Market when we actually need some produce. They had some wonderful looking produce, as well as locally raised beef, artisan cheeses, and other yummy looking foods. And the downtown area is quite nice -- lots of interesting looking shops and cafes in a few-block area around the Metra station. I'm looking forward to going back not only for the Farmers Market but also to look around the shops more, which were pretty much all closed when we were there (around 10:30 a.m. Sunday).

This coming weekend I've got a birthday party in Milwaukee and family stuff in the southwest suburbs, but perhaps on Labor Day we'll find someplace fun to explore...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eat and get out

Last Friday I finally experienced the phenomenon that is Ed Debevic's. There's one at the mall in Lombard, and we had a coupon, so to Ed's we went. If you've never heard of Ed Debevic's, it's a pseudo-'50s style diner with wacky decor and rude waitstaff. Yes, they are paid to be weird, wacky, and amusingly rude. A common occurrence there is the slapping of the bill down on your table while being told, "eat and get out!"

Our waitress was just a little bizarre, and she stared us down for awhile before walking off without taking our order. She did come back, though. She also threw straws at us, which I saw a lot of waitstaff do.

Aside from the kooky appeal of the atmosphere, the food was pretty good. The husband had a burger, and I had a southwest chicken salad, and we shared some nachos. I wouldn't say it was stellar, but above-average diner food combined with a fun atmosphere made it an amusing and fun night.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Books are awesome. So is mini-golf.

Today we visited the Addison library, where we have reciprocal borrowing privileges via our home-town library.

The library recently moved into a new and very shiny building. It's really cool. Two stories, with lots of wood and natural light, modern-looking, but warm. Flat panel computer screens everywhere, a bunch of self-checkout desks, comfy reading chairs all about. One thing I noticed was that the shelves weren't full -- there were lots of them, a pretty good-looking collection, but the shelves weren't stuffed end-to-end with books like they are at most libraries I've been to.

We also went to the Links n Tees mini-golf course, which is part of the Addison park district. It's a good course, with some neat features, a three-level hole, and plenty of wooden "tiki gods". Two little things that bugged me, though -- one of the ponds was really gross and stagnant, not circulating as much as the rest of the water; also, the water was all dyed bright blue. Which struck me as unnecessary.

But it was fun, an enjoyable golf course, and reasonably priced. (We also had a coupon. Coupons rock.)

Tomorrow ... not sure. Found a few farmer's markets in the area that I'd like to check out, but I'm not sure if we'll get there this weekend.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wood Dale Awesome -- National Night Out; Sweet Baby Ray's

Two awesome things this week in our little town.

The first was National Night Out, which was Tuesday. It's a generally neat idea -- get the community outside and together to fight crime and raise visibility (and get to know your neighbors). Wood Dale held its festivities in the town square and "The Water Park," which is the park district's pool/water play area.

It went from 5-9 p.m., but the husband didn't get home till just after 7, so we arrived toward the end -- went to the water park about 7:45 or so. They had music playing, the pool was open for free, and there were free hot dogs and chips and soda. There was also a raffle, which we entered for the heck of it.

It was a nice night, and the pool is really nice, especially for such a small town. I got eaten by mosquitoes (10 bites) but generally a good time was had by all.

Which leads to the second cool thing -- my husband got a call yesterday that he'd won a prize in the raffle -- a $25 gift card for Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue in Wood Dale.

So we had dinner there tonight. I lived in Kentucky for a couple years, so while I'm no expert, I learned a few things about good barbecue. And let me tell you, Sweet Baby Ray's is good. I highly recommend it, and the sides are just as good as the meat. (Green chile mac and cheese -- drool.)

This weekend, we're traveling, but look for more awesomeness in weeks to come.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I had visions of Farmers Markets today, but it turns out the Addison one is nowhere to be found. Any ideas of local farmers markets, preferably on the weekends, in northeastern DuPage?

Instead of buying fresh produce and smelling peaches, we took a little driving tour of eastern DuPage County. Which was enlightening, and Elmhurst is a lovely town. Nice downtown area, though it lacks the charm of Geneva or Algonquin it seemed to have a fair amount of businesses.

(It's funny, I never knew I valued a downtown area so much until I didn't have one...)

I'd really love to find a farmers market nearby though!