Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Blend

On a recent date we spent some time at The Blend in Washington.

Our overall rating was 4.33 Stars  (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 5 Stars  It seems like a fine place to take kids if you would want to.  They even have high chairs!

Food: 3.5 Stars  They have a pretty decent selection at The Blend.  But the cinnamon roll we ate was average at best.  

Coffee: 4.5 Stars  On this particular date we didn't get the coffee.  But the specialty drinks were quite good.  Any time we've gotten coffee it's been excellent.

Restrooms: N/A

Atmosphere: 4 Stars  For a newer building, this place has a great atmosphere.  We've been to coffee shops that feel like waiting rooms, and this is definitely not that: It's casual and comfortable. The in-house coffee mugs are glass, which is just cool.  The only knock is the line at the counter: There's really no place to step out of the way if someone's behind you and you haven't decided on your purchase yet.

Service: 5 Stars  Friendly and fast!

Ethical/Sustainable:  4 Stars  From what we can tell The Blend does a great job sourcing and roasting it's coffee beans.  

Pricing: Specialty drinks are $3-$5 depending on sizes.  Food items are in the $3 range.  A small coffee is $1.65.

The Blend on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One World Cafe

After visiting the new Peoria Riverfront Museum we headed up to One World Cafe for lunch time.  We had the whole crew with us, which is always quite an adventure.

Our overall rating was  4.5 Stars  (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 4 Stars  The staff was very accommodating.  The host set up our table perfectly with a high chair and booster seat.  We were even in a great little corner of the restaurant with not too many other guests around.  The main negative that prevents a 5 star rating is the location at the busy intersection of Main and University.  We've never been able to park close, which means juggling little kids and holding hands as you try to make it inside.

Menu:  5 Stars  The menu features a good variety without being overwhelming.  There are options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free needs.  The kids' menu is one of the best we've seen.  Even the "classic choices" have a healthy, from-scratch flair.

Taste of the Food: 5 Stars  We split a couple of pizzas between all of us.  Both the Classic Primo and BBQ Chicken were great!  Pizza is so easy to do an average job at... so great pizza really stands out.

Appearance of the Food: 4.5 Stars  It was pizza, which is pretty hard to make look fancy.  Any other time we've gotten other entrees, they look nice too.

Restrooms:  N/A on this visit, although they have been decent in past visits.

Atmosphere: 4.5 Stars  One World is noisy, but it's just a general din of happy conversations and people connecting (way better than TV noise in our opinion).  It's in a cool building and is set up well.

Service:  4.5 Stars

Ethical/Sustainable:  4 Stars  They make a lot of food from scratch.  Their plastic cups for kids are compostable.  It's the little things!

Pricing:  Pizzas are $12-$15.  Other lunch sandwiches and entrees range from $8-$20.

One World Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Avanti's Ristorante Pekin

This review is based on a couple of visits to Avanti's Ristorante in Pekin.

Our overall rating was 3.81 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 5 Stars  Avanti's is always very accommodating to our family.  

Menu: 3.5 Stars  If you're in the mood for pizza or pasta, this rating could jump to a 5.  They have a lot of variations, but it all boils down to pizza, pasta, and sandwiches.

Taste of the Food: 4 Stars  Avanti's bread is really, really good.

Appearance of the Food: 4 Stars  The food always looks good, but there's really no special presentation to speak of.

Restrooms: 5 Stars

Atmosphere: 3 Stars  The Pekin Avanti's is set up really weird.  Depending on where you sit you can be in a high traffic area or have a straight view into the kitchen.

Service: 5 Stars  Every time we've gone, the service has been outstanding.

Ethical/Sustainable:  3 Stars  Like most restaurants, there's not a lot to go on here.  The score could be higher if they provided information on where they sourced their food... then again it could be lower.

Pricing:  Sandwiches are $5-$7.  Entrees are $8-$12.  Pizzas are pretty standard for a sit-down restaurant.

Avanti's Inc on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 3, 2012

Judy's Restaurant

Recently before attending an all day conference I met a friend at Judy's Restaurant in Morton.  

Our overall rating was 3.71 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 4 Stars  Judy's used to be a smoking restaurant.  Newer Illinois legislation keeps that from happening, which makes it a lot more family friendly.

Menu: 3.5 Stars  It was a pretty standard breakfast fare and not much grabbed my eye as interesting or unique.

Taste of the Food: 3.5 Stars  This is a half star lower because the coffee was absolutely bad.  The friend I ate with liked it though, so maybe it's just a personal preference.  (But really, it wasn't good.)

Appearance of the Food: 4 Stars

Restrooms: N/A

Atmosphere:  3.5 Stars

Service: 5 Stars  Our waitress was quick and on top of things, despite the restaurant being full.

Ethical/Sustainable: 2.5 Stars  I seriously doubt Judy's has ever given ethical food sourcing or sustainable practices much thought.  I only didn't score it lower because I don't know that for sure.

Pricing: Breakfast items were between $5-10.

If I'm choosing the restaurant next time, I would probably pass on Judy's.  But I'll a meet a friend there if they request it.

Judy's Restaurant on Urbanspoon