Monday, August 31, 2009

Emmett's Ale House, from Cook to Kane County

One thing must be said -- I love, love, love breweries.

That also means I hold them to a higher standard than your average pub or bar.

Luckily, a locally owned option called Emmett's Ale House exists. Also referred to as Emmett's Tavern and Brewing Co. in West Dundee, the ale house has locations in both Downers Grove and Palatine. And soon, they'll be expanding to Oswego in Kendall County.

(Special thanks to That Girl, for letting me know after a recent trip to the Downers Grove spot that there was another one closer to where I live in McHenry County.)

A couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I met a friend for a few drinks at Emmett's. My friend had raved about Emmett's homemade microbrews, and I was eager to give them a try.

Three beers later, I walked away completely happy and ready to come back again.

I tried the Double Barrel Oatmeal Stout, the 1 a.m. Ale, and the Munich Light. All three were delicious and distinct in flavor, though the best was probably the Double Barrel. It tasted close to a Guinness, but better. The 1 a.m. Ale was probably my second favorite because of its sharp bite. The Munich Light mostly resembled somewhat of a cross between a good light beer and a Belgian lager, like Stella. A refreshing tang coupled with a smooth body.

My boyfriend and friend tried the two remaining beers on their handcrafted list, the McCarthy Red Ale and the Victory Pale Ale. I had a sip of the Victory and it was a little bitter for my taste, and I'm usually not a fan of red beers so I didn't try the other one.

As for the food, we ordered a couple appetizers that were just OK: the potato skins and the nachos without meat. But, my visit wasn't food-oriented, anyway.

In any case, I'm sure I'll be back at one of these locations again, as it's becoming that time of year to bring out the seasonal brews. I look forward to Emmett's new creations.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Love your hair - Effigy Salon, Elmhurst

Back in March, I visited Flight 112 Wine Bar in Elmhurst for my birthday.

As I mentioned in that post, the wine bar shares the building with three other businesses. This past Saturday, after giving up on my chain-salon stylist who was good with the hair but wildly inconsistent in her hours, I visited the salon in that building for the first time. Effigy Salon is at 110 W. Park Ave., with the door between Flight 112 and an ice cream shop.

Like I said, I was fed up with the chain I'd been going to, but I didn't want to break the bank -- after all, it's just hair, and mine is fairly short so I need a more frequent cut than some. Effigy's website handily lists the price points for all of their stylists, so you can pick out a range that's comfortable for you. I had gotten one suggestion on Yelp, and asked for her, but when it was discovered that she wasn't available this past weekend, the receptionist offered to find me someone else who cost about the same.

So I ended up in Kourtney's very capable hands. And it was a great salon experience. I was offered a refreshing drink (I went for the lemonade) and waited only a few minutes (and I WAS early...) for Kourtney to come greet me. She led me up to the second floor, a bright and sunny space, and after we went over my hair, she gave me a great wash and cut, all the while chatting pleasantly about life in the suburbs.

I was thrilled with the haircut and the service, and I will absolutely be going back to Effigy. And it's awesome to know that I could get a quick bite or a glass of wine while I'm there, too. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yep, still alive

Dear blog readers,

Yes, I am alive! As far as I know, so are my co-authors, though I have not heard from them recently.

Work has been busy, family stuff has gotten in the way, and I have been remiss in blogging. Which is a shame, since there is still so much going on in the warm weather!

I would like to highlight an event next weekend: The Wood Dale Prairie Fest. They've rebranded their "Family Fun Days" as a more traditional summer festival. It runs next weekend, Aug. 14-16, at the "town square" area next to the police department and the town pool.

We went to this event last year, and honestly weren't that impressed, but it promises to be bigger and better last year, with a decent array of food vendors, music, fireworks and other entertainment. So if you're looking for a smallish, family-friendly festival, the Prairie Fest should fit the bill.