Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Measuring Cup (East Dundee)

Located directly along the Fox River Trail in East Dundee is a gem of a little bakery with a few other things to nosh.  The Measuring Cup, at 217 Barrington Avenue, is just the place to replenish your spent calories on the trail and delight in some pie!  If you are already walking, jogging or biking along the Fox River Trail in the area they are literally steps off the path.

Yes, they have breakfast pizza & quiches and couple types of sandwiches which are all tasty.  But the REAL reason to come here is for the PIE...Soooo many pies....and if they don't have what you want put in a request & the owner will most likely be able to whip one up for you with advance notice.  The pies are on the pricey side compared to your supermarket but THESE PIES make those other ones look & taste like cardboard.  Worth. Every. Penny.

The seating is mainly outside with just a few tables inside.  And honestly who wants to eat inside when you can sit out on the lawn and people watch those going along the Fox River Trail?

To check out their menu or get in touch with the owner to request a pie find them at http://www.themeasuringcupcafe.com/ or call them at (224) 484-8233.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Keepin' Cool (Capanarri Ice Cream, Mount Prospect)

To celebrate the wonderful Summer...I mean, Spring we are having so far we headed out for some ice cream! But not just ANY ice cream...no push-up pops or Ben & Jerry's just wouldn't do. We were looking for something extra special. Ice cream so wonderfully creamy and delicious it makes you want to buy a moo-moo to lounge around in, calories be damned! With that said we headed to fabled Capanarri Ice Cream at 10 S. Pine Street in Mount Prospect. You can peruse their offerings by visiting http://www.capannaris.com/ and can reach them by phone at (847) 392-2277.

If we hadn't already been told how AWESOME Capanarri's is the line going out the door would have been a good indicator. They have oh so many yummy flavors of ice cream! With an impressive array of regular flavors and a nice selection of rotating seasonal flavors you may find it difficult to decide what lucky flavor to spend some quality time with. If you simply cannot choose you'll be happy to know you can get a tasting flight of four different flavors of their ice cream! Oh yes, we thought wine flights were fabulous...but an ice cream flight? Heavenly!

Their ice cream texture is very smooth and creamy, but not as heavy as a custard-style. The staff consisted of teenagers who were actually helpful, upbeat and friendly. They have some benches outside and they are conveniently located next to a nice little park with additional tables & seating. They are currently open weekends only in March, Fridays 3pm - 10pm, Saturdays noon - 10p-m and Sundays noon - 9pm. Check their website or give them a call for updated hours once April is here!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For the love of cheese (Barones, Glen Ellyn)

Mmm. Cheese.

Always on the lookout for great pizza, and there are a lot of carryout places around us, not as many sit-down. So we thought we'd venture to Glen Ellyn (not nearly as far as it used to be) and try out Barone's (475 Pennsylvania Ave, Glen Ellyn).

This is not a huge place, and it's kind of old-school, cozy and definitely very popular with the locals. It was nearly full when we arrived (5:30ish?) and jam-packed by the time we left. Lots of folks waiting for carryout.

We got a big loaf of bread plus olive oil and butter right away, but our water was quite slow to arrive. Got the impression that a bus boy was supposed to bring it but it never happened; thankfully the waitress picked up the slack pretty well and our refills were well attended after that.

We ordered mozzarella sticks as an appetizer and a medium deep-dish (pan), just cheese. See, I told you -- lots of cheese.

The mozzarella sticks were homemade and served with a great chunky marinara. They were not steaming hot, which definitely made them easier to eat but also made me wonder how long they'd been out of the fryer.

The pizza was also a reasonable temperature, with gooey cheese, tasty sauce and a buttery crust that was one of the better I've had. A touch of garlic would be perfection. I also appreciated that they proffered us red pepper flakes, parmesan shaker and oregano -- I enjoy some oregano.

It was noisy thanks to tons of families and people waiting, and the wait staff was clearly kind of frazzled; I think they did as well as they could.

I'm sure we'll be back, but maybe not on a Friday night next time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Laughing it up at The Improv

Don't let today's Spring-like weather fool you. Winter, with a captial W, is on it's way. Soon we will be scrambling for ways to occupy our free time and keep us out of the cold. Perhaps something with a bit more excitement then maintaining your all-star couch potato status or wandering aimlessly around the mall. They say "laughter is the best medicine" and I couldn't agree more!

Enter The Improv Comedy Club in Schaumburg. Okay, it is located in the Woodfield Mall (5 Woodfield Rd., Schaumburg) BUT you don't have to go through the mall to get to them. A huge plus.

I have been to The Improv in Schaumburg several times with various groups of people and everyone has enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Actually "enjoyed" is putting it mildly as we were all laughing so hard we were crying most of the time!

This location has a nice layout and the staff is all courteous and friendly. The host comedians and opening acts have always been very funny - and the headliner has never disappointed. They even have a nice selection of food items on their menu, which is not always the case at other comedy clubs. We've had a variety of items from appetizers to full meals with drinks and have always enjoyed our selections.

Checkout their website http://www.improv.com/ComedyClub/Chicago and peruse the various acts they have coming. You can also reach them by calling 847-240-2001. And if you like a good bargain (who doesn't?) they have some amazing deals on Groupon and Living Social from time to time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A gem of a bar -- Bigby's Pour House, Addison

Addison is not a bad place, by any means, but it lacks a centralized downtown area with shopping and restaurants, something I value in a town. However, on the Lake Street drag packed with restaurants (lots of chains), assorted stores, nail salons and car repair shops, there is a real gem of a bar tucked in.

Bigby's Pour House (links to their FB page -- 1700 W. Lake St., Addison) is a cozy, comfortable bar that serves craft beer, good wine and a selection of delicious snackery to munch on. No Miller or Bud here, no wine from a box, and no hard liquor -- just a couple of guys who really love their jobs and their bar.

Bigby's changes its menu up regularly, and the drink selection shifts seasonally and based on voting by customers. But rest assured, if you're not sure what you  might like, just talk to Ed and his crew -- they'll help you find something. As I said previously, I never really thought I liked beer. With a little help from Bigby's and a beer snob friend or two, I've discovered some great hard ciders, saisons, weisses, porters and stouts. But if you like super-hoppy beers and IPAs, Bigby's has you covered, too!

The atmosphere inside Bigby's, as I said, is cozy. It's like hanging out in a coffee house or awesome basement, with couches, TVs, movies, games and more. But, they serve beer.

If you're not familiar with Addison, Bigby's can be a little hard to find. It's just east of 355 and Rt. 53, on the north side of Lake St., attached to Mario's Deli. I highly recommend checking out this suburban gem.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beer me?! Two Brothers Tap House, Warrenville

I've never been a real beer drinker. In college I mostly stuck to wine and pink cocktails, and while I knew there was "better" beer out there, I didn't really know anything about it or care very much.

Enter my husband's best friend, coinciding with the craft-beer-splosion in America. As it turns out, I do appreciate good craft beer, especially stouts, fruity beers and weiss. And I do appreciate good food, too, which this tap house has in spades.

This place is in a nondescript, sign-less building in an industrial park in unincorporated Warrenville. (Two Brothers Tap House, 30w315 Calumet Ave, Warrenville, www.twobrotherstaphouse.com) No, not that nondescript, sign-less building. The other one, with the grain silo.

We brought aforementioned best friend, a total beer snob, out here on a sunny Saturday afternoon and started with tomatillo nachos. Mmmmm. Nachos. These are made with nice thick El Milagro chips, a great spicy salsa, plenty of cheese, and perhaps a little too much lettuce and sour cream.

I had the chicken tacos for my lunch; the portion was large and the quality was high. My tablemates had mac & cheese and the cuban, and both looked mighty tasty as well. I would gladly have eaten either. The menu focuses on organic and natural ingredients and has great options for just about everyone.

As we wound down our meal it was time for a brewery tour, and I found that to be very informative. The manager (whose name I have forgotten) was full of funny anecdotes and good information.

Normally you get tickets at the end of your tour to try a few brews, but the magical Beer Fairy had already set up samples for us on our table! Score! I personally liked the Ebel's Weiss and Domaine DuPage the most, but lemme tell you, the craft sodas were a real treat -- cinnamon root beer?! Genius! The craft-beer-loving lady was most pleased with what she tried as well (and so was the husband, don't get me wrong).

They also have a small shop where you can buy home-brewing equipment and a six pack or two to take home with you. I just wish they bottled the soda, too...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cooking the Viking Way (Viking Cooking School)

Now I fancy myself an avid & skilled home cook & baker so when a friend asked me to go to the Viking Cooking School with her in Glenview my first thought was to pass. But when I mentioned this to some coworkers they wouldn't stop raving about how much fun it is as they all went on a company outing there before I joined the company.

So I decided to look a little further and perused their website: www.vikingcookingschool.com (be sure to choose the Glenview location). I was impressed at the variety of courses they offered, from the basic "I can barely boil water" to the advanced. Our class was $80 for the three-hour course and their prices & class length are varied depending on the class. They even have classes which aren't hands-on for the shy folks.

It ended up being four of us who attended the "Chocolate" class. We made the most scrumptious goodies from simple chocolate bark to chocolate balsamic truffle pops & Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cupcakes (which I dubbed the Elvis Cupcake). Our class was hands on so we each had a chance to "play" and we all got to take leftoevers home.

Some added surprise bonuses: it was BYOB so we enjoyed some champagne while we played with our chocolate AND students receive 10% off in the Viking kitchen store (love the gadgets!) the day of class.

Our instructor was fun and even her assistant who was "just there to clean the pots" gave us a few laughs. If you are looking for a fun alternative get together, especially as the weather turns cooler, check them out. You can reach them by calling : 847-350-0705 and they are located in Glenview at 1140 N. Milwaukee Ave (just south of the Abt Electronics store).