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.