Monday, February 22, 2010

Bowling and beverages -- Lucky Strike, Yorktown Mall, Lombard

Looking for some enjoyable, classy bowling? A nice night out with friends in the 'burbs? Lucky Strike Lanes, located at the Yorktown Mall in Lombard, was a great choice for our pre-New Years celebrating.

We visited on a Wednesday night, and on a weeknight, at least, the prices for bowling are fairly reasonable - 4.95 per bowling game, 3.95 for shoes. We had a friend from NYC along and she said "so cheap!!"

So we got our lane and our games -- minor bit of awkwardness when we had to shoo away the people sitting on "our" couch -- and looked over the menu. Because this isn't your typical bowling alley; it's got a great upscale vibe (but still fun, not snooty, and still a bit loud) with modern decor, great lighting and great loungy couches all over.

Our waitress was friendly and not at all pesky (hey, we're trying to get our bowl on here) and was available whenever we needed her. The food, honestly, was pretty delicious. We ordered cheese fries, nachos, Key West chicken skewers and tomato-n-cheese "s'mores" to split among the four of us, plus a couple beers (them) and a glass of wine (me).

The fries and nachos were slathered in a delicious artery-hardening cheese sauces, with nice seasoning on the fries and a scatter of tomatoes and some zippy salsa with the nachos. The "s'mores" were like little caprese toasties, with crunchy bread rounds, ripe tomato, melty mozzarella and fresh basil. Yummy. And the Key West skewers seemed to be the biggest hit of the night -- they had a flavorful seasoning enhanced by both the squeeze of lime juice and the sweet chili dipping sauce.

A quick note on drinks: the beer enjoyed by my party was said to be quite tasty. My pinot grigio (selected because they 'didn't have' the riesling and I hate chardonnay) had no real body to it at all. But, it got the job done I guess. They have quite a selection of cocktails as well.

The bowling itself, well, it was bowling! There are no cute animations between frames, but the lanes are well-maintained, there's some fun blacklighting for the neon balls, and a good time was had by all.

One thing I noticed and found interesting was the fairly large proportion of kids around. Seeing as it's a loungey atmosphere I wouldn't have expected that. I guess it's 18+ after 9 on weeknights, 21+ after 9 on weekends, but we were only there till 8:30 or so, and saw a fair number of families. I guess if your kids like to bowl, great, but it just seemed a bit incongruous with the atmosphere.

All in all, you wouldn't expect this inside a suburban mall, and I'm glad we tried it out. It would be a fun place to come for a bite to eat, a drink, or another round of bowling with friends.

Brews and burgers at The Lucky Monk, South Barrington

Something interesting happened to me last week.

I drank an entire glass of beer.

I never touched the stuff in college. I would go alcohol-free for the evening before I had a drop of beer. Of course, that wasn't helped by the fact that the de facto beer at my alma mater was Natty Lite, but still. No beer for me.

I attended a great event at The Lucky Monk, 105 Hollywood Blvd. in South Barrington, and among the offerings were house-brewed beer. And to find that I actually liked the porter The Lucky Monk offered up? Shocker. Hints of chocolate and coffee, went down smooth with very little bitterness. I still would generally prefer a hard cider or glass of wine, but it was pretty tasty stuff.

On top of that, the food I sampled was really good -- tiny perfectly cooked burgers, thin-crust pizza, awesome chili and sweet-salty nuts. The staff was super-attentive (even handing out multiple large bottles of water and glasses at the end of the night to hydrate everyone), and I had a fantastic time overall.

The restaurant is very near the AMC 30, making it perfect for a bite or a drink before or after a movie. It's nicely decorated with a sleek wooden motif. All in all, definitely recommended and a place I'm likely to make the trek out to again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How sweet it is - Uncle Harry's, Addison

I've been a bad blogger. I know. In my defense, my co-bloggers have fallen off the face of the earth as well. But still. I hope to start posting more regularly again soon. :)

In the meantime... it was a sunny, cold Valentine's Day. We had a special dinner out Friday, so no need to cram in with 150 other people in a cramped restaurant. But I was getting a little stir-crazy and my sweet tooth was on in a major way. So we decided to go out for ice cream.

There are a lot of options in our area, but most of them are nothing special - Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, etc. And then there's Uncle Harry's. Relocated in the last year to the Green Meadow Shopping Center (48 W. Lake Street, Addison), it's a cozy shop with 4 or 5 tables and hand-written chalkboard signs everywhere. They feature about 30 flavors of luscious ice cream for your perusal, plus shakes, baked goods, hot chocolate, and an extensive coffee/espresso menu if you just want some caffeine. They even make their own waffle cones - the scent is wonderful and my husband's cone was still warm. I enjoyed a hot fudge sundae made with Turtle Temptation ice cream. Creamy, sweet, fudgy and divine.

I try not to indulge in such decadence too often, so when I do, I want it to be worth it-- and Uncle Harry's is definitely worth it.