Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...Oktoberfest!

It's late September, October is just around the corner and I have a hankering for German food. But not just any German restaurant will do; it has to be Schnitzel Platz. Located at 729 North Ave. in Glendale Heights, you can reach them by calling 630-942-9900 for reservations (a very good idea to do so) and you can check them out online at

We LOVE Schnitzel Platz! It's our family's favorite place to celebrate special occasions and to bring out of town guests. Everything is absolutely delicious! We've tried a number of items and our favorites are the Jaeger/Hunter Schnitzel (pork schnitzel with a yummy mushroom sauce) and the sausage sampler plate. Meals come with either a cup of the soup of the day or the German salad plate (a variety of cold German salads). And there is a nice big basket of pretzels rolls, rye bread and crackers brought to the table. The servings are very large and we always bring leftovers home -you can also share a meal for a small fee (though the last time we did this we ordered an additional salad and spaetzle and they didn't charge us the sharing fee). They might seem pricey but they are in line with pricing at other German places and you do get ALOT of food.

Now I'm not a beer fan but my husband and father-in-law do enjoy their large beer selection. You can even have a litre of beer in a glass boot! They also have a number of wines and after dinner cordials which are quite good.

Be sure not to forget dessert! I believe the dessert menu might be smaller during Oktoberfest but normally they have a huge selection of tempting cakes and strudels. Your server might go over the tray of them pretty fast but don't worry, they are happy to repeat or answer any of your questions.

A few notes about their hours- they are closed on Tuesdays. They also are closed for a few weeks in Autumn each year to return to Germany (the owners and some of the staff are from there) so be sure to check. If you go during Oktoberfest(Sept-Oct) the center of the restaurant has rows of picnic tables with table cloths lined up to accommodate the crowds. They do have booths along the outer walls of the resturaunt though. And if you come on a Fri, Sat or Sun make reservations. They are typically packed on these nights year round.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the two-man German band of Bob & Hank who entertain on the weekend nights. They are fabulous and will have the whole crowd singing along. So brush off that Sound of Music soundtrack and come on over. Everyone has a little German in them at Schnitzel Platz!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Swanky in the Suburbs -- Il Poggiolo, Hinsdale

I love Italian food, and I love Yelp, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to combine the two last night at an event held at Il Poggiolo, a Jerry Kleiner fine-dining restaurant in downtown Hinsdale. (8 E. 1st St., Hinsdale)

The theme of the evening was Swanky, so the husband and I put our nice duds on and stepped out in style. Good thing, too, because this is a classy place -- and Hinsdale is a ritzy town.

Il Poggiolo is housed in a former silent theater, and features a lofted area that overlooks the main part of the restaurant (Il Poggiolo means "the balcony" wouldn't ya know?!), and the whole place is done in softly lit warm wood with bright red fixtures and pictures on the wall. We had the loft to ourselves and enjoyed delicious house wine, schmancy cocktails and delectable food -- paper-thin pizzas, gourmet bruschettas and the oh-so-decadent arancini. (What's arancini? Only golden-fried balls of cheesy risotto... drool.)

The food was awesome, the service was friendly and attentive, and Jerry Kleiner himself made an appearance to meet us all and chat a bit. While Il Poggiolo is probably not a place I will return to regularly, if I ever need to impress anyone, this would definitely fit the bill.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fantastic coffee on the Fox - Arcedium Coffeehouse, St. Charles

I lived in St. Charles for a year when I first moved to Illinois. I really loved the Fox Valley and was sorry to have to leave. It's probably a good thing that Arcedium wasn't around then, or it would have made it that much harder -- because this is a great coffeehouse.

Arcedium Coffee, 60 Indiana St., St. Charles, is nestled on the banks of the Fox River in a newly redeveloped section of downtown St. Charles. 

Inside, it's got lots of lovely wood, plenty of tables, comfy chairs and a large bar wrapping around the coffee roaster -- yes, they roast their own coffee here. The menu features tons of drink options, both caffeinated and not, plus light eats including soup, salad, panini and pastry. 

I visited on a Friday afternoon, and it was moderately busy but not jam-packed. I was trying to save room for dinner, so no pastries for me, but I very much enjoyed my iced cinnamon creme latte. Even though it was sweet, I could taste the richness of the espresso and it was quality stuff.

The next time I find myself in St. Charles, I think I'll be making an extra stop at Arcedium....