Monday, September 29, 2008

Back, but.

Not much to report -- we spent this past weekend recuperating from our vacation (hey, it was at Disney World, we walked our feet off). This coming weekend, though, I think some fun local stuff will be in store. Maybe Long Grove, which is great for a fall day -- cute shops, a little history, and hot apple cider and apple cider donuts. Yummmm.

If you've never been to Long Grove, do yourself a favor and go. It's such a cute, fun town and they have a great variety of festivals throughout the year.

Ooh, and I see this weekend is Apple Festival. Sounds like an excellent way to spend a Saturday in fall.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Make me one with everything, please -- Scooby's Red Hots, Bensenville

(Q: What did the buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?)

Saturday, after sitting around watching it rain, and rain, and rain some more, and watching a Food Network special on hot dogs, we decided to have a little greasy treat for dinner.

So we ventured to Bensenville (right on the B'ville/Elmhurst border, actually) to Scooby's Red Hots, which for my money is the best greasy hot dog joint in Chicago. And Chicago knows hot dogs.

The place is nothing special -- I'm not sure it qualifies as a "restaurant" -- with about five tables and kitschy signs all over the walls. They have dogs, burgers, fries, tamales, shakes -- the usual. The hot dogs are great -- love those squishy buns, crisp pickles, the dogs themselves have a good flavor.

And the fries. Oh, the fries. Hand-cut, they actually taste like potatoes. Only greasy. Mmmmmmm.

And the shakes. Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana and green river. I had a banana. Yum.

All in all, an excellent greasy meal with an excellent Chicago dog. We'll be back.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tree Guys is awesome

Friday for dinner we used one of our zillion local coupons and tried Tree Guys Pizza & Pub in Itasca. The historic building is divided into restaurant with deck seating area and bar area. We didn't go into the bar area on this particular visit, but from what I understand, you can get the full restaurant menu in the bar. The restaurant side isn't super-big, and it's sort of oddly shaped, but it's very nicely decorated, understated with lots of dark wood and nice colors.

Although the pizza is emphasized in the name, they have plenty else on the menu, and we stuck with nachos and burgers. (The pizza did smell pretty good, though -- next time!) The nachos took awhile to come out, and were in the oven just a hair too long (the cheese was a little toasted), but they were good nonetheless -- slathered with chili, cheese, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, etc. The salsa was a bit thin but had a good flavor.

We agreed that both our burgers were quite delicious. I got a jalapeno parmesan burger; the husband had a smokehouse burger. The buns were great, lightly toasted and tastier than your average burger bun; the meat was flavorful and well-cooked. I got homemade chips; he got hand-cut fries, and those were also very flavorful and fresh.

Besides the food being fresh and very good, it was also quite reasonably priced -- only about $7 for a huge burger and fries/chips, and about the same for the nachos. It's rare for us to get out of a casual-dining restaurant for under $30, but it was closer to $20 with the coupon.

We'll definitely be back at Tree Guys -- it's a real gem hiding in the tiny burg of Itasca.

Friday, September 12, 2008

White Cottage Pizza

I forgot to mention in my last post that last Friday we got ourselves some White Cottage Pizza for dinner. This small local pizza chain gets rave reviews from a friend of mine, and it's pretty close, plus we had a coupon. So, dinner it was.

Besides pizza, pizza, more pizza and its usual acoutrements, White Cottage in Wood Dale also has La Dolce Vita restaurant attached, a sit-down Italian place. We chose take-out, though, and ordered a 16" pepperoni and cheese-stuffed garlic breadsticks.

First, the breadsticks: A total buttery-garlicky oozy-cheese indulgence. I'm sure they went straight to my hips, but oh my were they good. The order was fairly small (3 sticks) but the breadsticks themselves were large and deeeeelicious. I wanted to (but refrained from) lick the garlic butter off the bottom of the container.

The pizza itself was fairly straightforward Chicago-style thin crust, which is not to say that's a bad thing: plenty of cheese, a nice tangy sauce that didn't overwhelm, and a just-right crust. My only small nitpick was that the pizza was not quite piping hot and so the cheese separated itself from the crust, leading to the oh-so-attractive gnawing of a cheese-pepperoni square while the crust sits there, naked and lonely.

But that could just as easily be my fault, because I did transport it, after all, though White Cottage is a mere 5 minutes or less from home. (Depending on that pesky light/train-track combination at Irving Park.)

While there are an abundance of pizza places around us, my feeling is that they all tend to be pretty similar -- so we'll probably stick with White Cottage unless we have a compelling reason to go elsewhere. It was tasty and the prices were decent. And I'm guessing next time we'll have to try the deep dish.

On another note, we're leaving this coming Wednesday evening for vacation, and will be gone about a week, so while I may get another post in this weekend, I'm afraid you'll be awesome-less for a little while :) Fear not, I shall return.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rocking the farmers market

We went back to Mount Prospect on Sunday, meeting a co-worker of my husband's for breakfast and then exploring the farmers market a bit more.

Breakfast was at Le Peep, which is a chain and not a local place, but it was still pretty great. I had a delightful spinach-cheese eggwhite omelet; the husband had some gooey-delicious looking french toast with crispy topping.

Then the farmers market, which let me tell you, I love. Enamored. We got end-of-season blueberries and peaches, and some cheesey popcorn just because. The blueberries are small and sweet and like antioxidant candy.

We also swung by the Wood Dale Historical Society's Fall Harvest Fest, which like many of the town's events turned out to be a good idea without much to it. Not to knock Wood Dale; I'm glad they do as much as they do. But I was expecting more food, more history, more crafts; there was a stand offering grilled corn on the cob, nachos, hot dogs, soda, and chips, a guy with a cannon (OK, that was cool), some sheep shearing, and a little antiques tent full of the sort of stuff you see at flea markets. Oh, ok, there were apple fritters and a bouncy inflatable slide. But you get the picture.

All in all, a lovely weekend, if not overly exciting.