Monday, May 31, 2010

Nosh Restaurant, Geneva, IL

May 30, 2010.  St. Charles host and excellent fine arts show every year on Memorial Day weekend.  But we wanted to do that on a full stomach, so we got an early start and stopped at Nosh Restaurant in Geneva for breakfast.  As usual we split.  But the restaurant took the extra trouble to split both dishes for us and each in an very nice presentation.  The Migas de Pan Caliente was delicious.  What is is?  Well, it's three eggs (scambled) with house-made croutons, bacon, spanish chorizo, proscuitto, garlic carmelized onions and drizzled balsamic reduction.  MMMMMMMM.  It was perfect with Nosh's french toast - challah bread soaked in a vanilla-orange zest infused batter, served with lemon creme anglaise and powdered sugar.  Kate's only complaint was the croutons in the skillet.  Also, it can get very noisy.  Over all we both give Nosh 4 eggs. 
Nosh is located at 211 James Street.

Meli Cafe, Chicago

May 22, 2010.  This was our second visit to Meli Cafe.  The first trip was just before starting this blog.  It was as good as the first time.  We split the Gruyere and Canadian bacon Frittata and the Stuffed apple french toast...two slices of challah held together by a layer of spiced apple Mascarpone then dipped in a vanilla bean custard, topped with warm apple campote, pecans and caramel.  Very, very good.  Service and coffee were both excellent.  Definitely woth the trip.  4 eggs.  Meli Cafe is located at 540 North Wells.

Crispy Waffle, Romeoville, Il

April 30, 2010.  We stayed close to home this weekend and checked out a place we heard is pretty good: Crispy Waffle in Romeoville.  It was ok.  They highly recommended their "light and fluffy" pancakes but we found them to be rather bland and ordinary.  The almond coconut french toast was very good, so was the bacon and avacado omelet.  But the presentation lacked creativity.  Excellent service, good hot coffee.  2.5 eggs.  Average. Crispy Waffle is located at 642 S. Weber Road, Romeoville, IL. The have a second restaurant in Shorewood.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25 - Wishbone Restaurant, Chicago. Guests Mike and Pat

Here it is.  Our first video review.  We're with Mike and Pat at Wishbone Restaurant in Chicago, Sunday, April 25, 2010.  We all rated this breakfast very high, as you will see on the video.  I still have to learn how to edit so you'll have bear with it through the beginning.  Enjoy

April 18 - Toast revisited

Kate missed my Sunday breakfast at Toast so we returned today with granddaughter, Jenna (12).  We wondered, how would she do with the fancier breakfast fare?  She did just fine. 

This is a very small restaurant in Lincoln Park.  The food is excellent.  I won't bore you with all the details again.  Go to the original review for more information. Afterwards we walked to Lincoln Zoo where I took lots of videos with my new camera (you'll have to wait until next week to see one).  Then, on Jenna's insistence, we went to her favorite coffee cafe, Starbucks.  When did she get into Starbucks!?  She doesn't even drink coffee yet.  12 going on 18.  Uh, oh.

Birthday weekend, part three - Sunday, April 12, the real day

The fifties are gone.  I am rolling into my sixties with my birthday present, and a dangerous weapon in my hands...a video camera (thank you, Kate).  Watch out.  I will have one soon in a breakfast review.

Birthday weekend, part two - Sunday, April 11

Brunch.  With Becky, Bryon and the kids...Jake, Jenna and Cassidy.  No fan fair, no big party.  Just breakfast casseroles, coffee and family.  Just the way I wanted it. 

My 60th birthday weekend - Friday, April 9, 2010

This was one I just didn't want to make a big deal about.  Kate was great about it. We had a pretty cool weekend starting on Friday with a trip to nostalgia.  We had breakfast a the Fireside Inn in Wauconda, about half way between where I lived from 0 - 9 and where I lived from 9 - 18. 

This is definately more of a local after work and dinner place.  We were the only customers for breakfast, but it was pretty good. I especially liked the sausage.  After breakfast we headed for McHenry favorite place to walk and think.  But I had no idea how much they had expanded the trails.  I lead us down the wrong path, got lost, and we ended up walking at least two hours longer than expected. 
By the time we dragged ourselves back to the car, it was mid afternoon and we were hungry again, so we went to one of my favorite hot dog stands in Volo.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Apple Villa and white pelicans

March 30, 2010
Apple Villa Restaurant, Batavia, IL
Joining us: Linnea and Kim
After breakfast: Pelican watching at Nelson Lake
Rating: two eggs

The plan was, go to breakfast and then go see the white pelicans at Nelson Lake, Batavia. 
I will start off by saying that the seafood omelet was good.  But one of us got an omelet that was overcooked, returned it, and got an omelet that was way undercooked.  Service was good, except the waitress kept making excuses for cook.  Overall, it was a less than satisfactory breakfast.  Generously, we give Apple Villa two eggs.  Next time I will try the Apple pancake, their specialty.

Nelson Lake was fun. We found the pelicans all nestled together in a group on the west side of the Lake.  The marsh lands kept us from getting too close, but at least we got a few good pictues.  Now if I had that 500mm lens another photographer was slogging along, I would have gotten some. Close ups.  Well, next year. "American white pelicans, one of two species of pelicans in North America, are one of the largest of the boreal birds. They can weigh as much as 30 pounds and their wing spans can exceed nine feet."  Every year hundreds of them rest for a few weeks at Nelson Lake before continuing on their way to their happy breeding grounds in the Boreal forests of Canada. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fried Chicken and waffles at Ina's

I can't believe I actually ordered fried chicken and waffles for breakfast.  It is March 6, we are at Ina’s Restaurant at 1235 W. Randolf St., Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. It is a beautiful morning about 40°, blue skies and sunny. We are looking forward to breakfast and going walking afterwards.
Kate ordered the Paris omelet, three eggs, shaved smoked ham, aged Wisconsin gruyere cheese, and Dijon butter, served with Ina’s red potatoes.
 Tim ordered the signature dish…fried chicken and waffles. Kate was a little worried that we were making the staff a little uncomfortable recording our review and taking pictures. The fried chicken was good but it was very greasy and slightly undercooked but it was delicious nonetheless. It was a little strange having a waffle on the same plate as greasy chicken. Kate's omelet was very good.
The place was cozy and comfortable. A nice atmosphere for breakfast. The total bill was $36 including tip, which is way over our $25 budget. On the way out Ina apologized profusely about the undercooked chicken. Mine was the first order that morning so they did not have the temperature just right. We would go back for breakfast, but I would not order the chicken again. We both give Ina’s a 3 egg rating.

Next we went to 39th Street and Lake Shore Drive, parked and walked North for about 30 minutes, and back.
Lots of people out walking, biking and running. You could just feel spring around the corner. 
Take a good look at all the barren trees around you.  We're just 30 days away from seeing them burst full of life.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Breakfast in Springfield, IL

Restaurant: The Inn at 835, Springfield, IL
Music on the way: hours of the Best of ABBA. Kate just can't get enough of 'em.
Where did we walk: the Lincoln Museum

Okay, this is definitely off the beaten path, and miles and miles and miles from Chicago.  But we went there this weekend, so we might as well share.

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called the Inn at 835.  If you ever go to Springfield check this place out.  It is a converted apartment building.  So, you don't just get a room for the night, you get an apartment.  Ours was two bedroom, with a large living room with period furniture, large fireplace, and jacuzzi. 

For breakfast they served a layered "fritatta."  At least that's what they called it.  It was really an egg casserole made the night before. But it was very good. 

The main reason we went to Springfield was to visit the much heralded Lincoln Museum.  You cannot go through it without being touched by the remarkable, tragic and incredible journey he took. 

This is truly a "modern" museum that takes advantage of every multimedia trick to help you experience life almost two centuries ago. 

And you'll enjoy some of the special effects, this picture of the Lincoln family in front of the White House.  Left to right: Willie, Robert, Mary, Tim, Abe and Tad.

Yolk restaurant and a blessing from Cardinal George

February 21, 2010
Yolk restaurant, River North neighborhood
Music on the way: Michael Bublee and Etta James
Church: Holy Family Cathedral
Where we walked: Around River East and Navy Pier

Yolk restaurant is a trendy, young, bright breakfast spot on 747 North Wells street, river north neighborhood. It is a contemporary décor with yellow and blues, pastels, just a few doors south of Chicago Ave. 

Our breakfast was delicious. They have an Extensive menu, and eggs benedict is their specialty.  Stephanie, our waitress, recommends the “Hey Ricky” with Chorizo and jalapeño which Tim ordered, minus the hot peppers. Kate decided on the Popeye Fritatta, with bacon and spinach and pumpkin pancakes.  Kate reminded me, “You don’t have to list all the ingredients, that will bore people.”  The service was very good and the price was nto bad...around $25 including tip, just at our budget.

 As you can see, either breakfast was enough for two.  Kate took half of hers home.  Tim, of course cleaned his plate.  This was  a great way to stoke the fire before walking the chilly Chicago streets.
We went to 9:30 am mass a half mile away at Holy Family Cathedral. 

The world renowned choir was worth the trip, and Cardinal George's homily was just as impressive.
After mass he gave Kate and I a personal blessing.  While standing in line to greet the cardinal, I raised my camera high up and got a nice shot (Kate was cringing).

After mass we walked Navy Pier and then stopped in Fox and Obel's grocery store in River East on the way back.  If you have never been there, put it on your list your list to visit.  It is an experience.  You'll see what I mean when you get there.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sometimes breakfast is a just a warm up for something else

Location: Salonica Restaurant, Hyde Park, Chicago

Joining us: Jake Newberry, grandson, age 15
Music on the way: hip hop mixed with a little, very little, rap (grandson directed music selection)

First of all, let me say that Kate is not going to remember this as one of our most romantic Valentine's Day.   Breakfast was the usual short order bacon and eggs.  Nothing fancy...

At a little table in a little corner greek restaurant in Hyde Park.

And they were out of donuts!  But Jake got his second serving of hot chocolate at no charge. 

After breakfast we drove around the awe inspiring University of Illinois campus thinking we might be impressing Jake; thinking it might inspire him to run back and dive into this biology and algebra studies yearning for the glory of higher education. What were we thinking?!
Well, that little diversion preceded the main event:  the Museum of Science and Industry.  Why did we go there?  Because it was a FREE day at the museum!  We got there at 10:40 am, 20 minutes before opening, right behind the 3 million other people who showed up for a free day at the museum.  I dragged Kate and Jake through the crowds from one exhibit to another for two hours.  Finally, that had had enough and dragged me out and back to the car.  We went home and finished the afternoon with a few rounds of Mille Borne...the game where Kate always manages to convince the kids that I am the bad guy so they all gang up against me.  Oh, life is tough.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 6, 2010 - Feeding others

Sometimes breakfast is all about feeding others.

Location: Aurora offices of "Feed My Starving Children"
Menu: 380-400 grams Rice, powdered chicken, powdered soy beans, dried vegetables
Music: rockin' motivational tunes
Guests: 94 adult and children  volunteers, brought together by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce Women in Business.

Our three grandkids joined us early saturday morning for two hours of volunteer work at "Feed My Starving Children." This is the kind of volunteer work you should do before breakfast when you think you are hungry.  Then watch their video of malnurished children in 3rd world countries.  Talk about putting hunger in perspective!!  For each "meal" we filled a small plastic bag with powdered chicken, freeze-dried vegetables, powdered soy beans and rice - in that order, not less than 380 nor more than 400 grams per bag. 

We worked in teams consisting of fillers, baggers, weighers, sealers and boxers.  Every time a team completed a box they shouted their "slogan" to announce another box was ready for the warehouse.  I am proud to say our team was the loudest shouting "bon appetite" with every completed carton.

Shouts rang out 119 times as the 94 volunteers worked their way feverishly to the beat of rock music through more than 4,000 completed meals, in 2 hours.

All the meals we prepared are now on their way to Haiti.  "Feed My Starving Children" serves many 3rd world country.  If you'd like to find out more, visist  It is a small but amazing organization.

After that experience, the five of us went out to IHOP and probably ate enough to feed a starving child in Haiti for a month

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31 - Camp Jorn Pancake Breakfast

Sometimes breakfast isn't about food at all. Today we had a breakfast that left us feeling really, really good.
Cost: $5 each. Value: Priceless.
We had pancakes and sausage at the YMCA in Waukegan. My nephew Matt is very invovled in Camp Jorn, a summer camp in northern Wisconsin for kids of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, races, and diverse economic status. This was one of their big fundraisers. The organization meant a lot to him as a kid, and now he has a chance to give back.

Matt and his girlfriend Tina were in charge of frying and serving the sausage. This breakfast was a huge success. I am guessing at least a 1,000 people attended.

Kate and I were joined by our very close friends Bob and Nancy Ryan, Larry and Mary Schutz, and their son Jeff Schutz and family: Sara, Nicholas and Ryan.

Volunteers included kids of all ages, adults active in Camp Jorn, parents, and even a few politicians running for office (and they didn't miss the chance to let you know while they poured you coffee). The coffee was not very hot, the pancakes plain, and the sausage was, well...sausage. But who cares!? A thousand smiling faces, a great cause. If you ever want to leave breakfast feeling really good, try ordinary pancakes at your favorite charity pancake breakfast.