Friday, November 12, 2010

Burgers done right -- Tom & Eddie's, Lombard

After much anticipation and a few missed opportunities, we finally got to try one of the newest suburban burger hotspots -- and unlike Meatheads, Five Guys and the like, this one is no chain.

Tom & Eddie's, 348 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard (located in the Shops at Butterfield next to Yorktown Mall) is an upscale fast-casual burger joint started by two retired McDonald's executives who decided to start making good burgers.

It's probably the nicest "counter service" restaurant I've ever seen, or at least the fanciest burger joint. It includes a lot of thoughtful little touches, from salt & pepper mills at each table to a variety of sauces to adorn your burger or dip your fries into. It's got lots of woodwork and fancy cushy seats and your food is brought out to you on big modern square plates.

The menu includes both "reciped" burgers and a huge variety of choices for building your own -- from bun to meat choice to sauces and toppings. It can be a little dizzying. I went with a standard beef cheeseburger on a ciabatta roll, with cheddar, pickles, tomato, caramelized onions, garlic aioli and brown mustard. DEE--wait for it--LICIOUS. I had standard fries as a side but you can also choose from sweet potato fries (which my husband tried -- fab), chips, onion straws, soup or salad.

Other patty choices include chicken, ahi tuna or edamame, and the menu also features salad, hot dogs, soup, hand-made shakes, ice cream, floats, cane-sugar soda, craft beer and wine.

While it is a bit pricy ($8.50 to $10 per sandwich, which includes a side), you're paying for high-quality ingredients and, let's face it, the location. It's essentially a sit-down restaurant without tips and with minimal waiter service -- though each table does include a locater dealie with a button you can push should you want to order dessert belatedly or need anything else

This won't be a weekly stop for us, but we will absolutely be back when the craving hits for a high-quality, hand-crafted, customized burger.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baked delights - La Blondina Bakery Cafe, Wood Dale

I rarely write about brand-stinking-new places because I figure new businesses should have a little time to get settled in, find their niche, develop their website...

But I'm pretty jazzed about this one. There's a small storefront on Wood Dale Road, just north of Irving Park, that previously housed a bakery, then sat vacant for over a year. I pass this place at least twice a week, and was excited when I saw new signs of life. This past Saturday, I was driving home from spin (yes, this is a little ironic) when I saw that the new bakery -- La Blondina Bakery/Cafe was open. And since it had a large sign advertising FREE COFFEE, I had to stop.

The space is not very big, but there's enough room for a large case advertising their many baked delights, plus a few small tables for enjoying your goodies in-store. It's nicely decorated and very cute.

So far, baked goods for sale included HUGE cookies, somewhat smaller cookies, quiche, croissants, chocolate croissants, tarts and much more. I was told they expect to have a lunch menu soon and will also offer custom wedding and birthday cakes. I walked out with two chocolate croissants and a piping hot cup of Lavazza coffee.

The croissants were *awesome* (and of course the coffee was too) and now I'm really excited about this place, I must say.

Their website is not very functional yet, but you can call them at 630-595-5500.