Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fortel's Pizza Den

On a family trip to St Louis we visited with some friends at Fortel's Pizza Den.  It was a fun local pizza joint and I think if it worked out we would visit again.

Our overall rating was 4.13 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 4 Stars  They were super accommodating for the 5 kids we had in the group.  Unfortunately the few TVs were on and there were a couple of commercials I wish my kids weren't exposed to. 

Menu: 3.5 Stars  All of the pizza on the menu looked great.  Most of the other items looked so-so.  

Taste of the Food: 4.5 Stars  It was good pizza.

Appearance of the Food: 4 Stars  It looked like good pizza.

Restrooms: 5 Stars  Given that these were public restrooms and it was later in the afternoon after the lunch rush, these bathrooms were great.

Atmosphere: 4 Stars

Service: 4.5 Stars  You order at the counter and get your own drinks and such, but they still did a great job taking care of us.

Ethical/Sustainable: 3.5 Stars  They do make their own pizza dough (which was good) and "use fresh" ingredients.  But there isn't much to find about their sourcing.

Pricing: Family size pizzas were about $20. 

Fortel's Pizza Den on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Fox Pub and Cafe

Another fun place we stopped to eat on our recent anniversary trip was The Fox Pub and Cafe in Peoria.  This place with English flair was fun and had great food.

Our overall rating was 4.44 (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 3 Stars  While we'd feel comfortable bringing our kids there for lunch, it is a pub and could be more bar-like in the evening.  Also, there were not many things that were kid focused (high chairs, kids menus, etc).

Menu: 5 Stars  Everything looked good, and after the food was good (see below) we want to go back and try something else!

Taste of the Food: 5 Stars  The Fish and Chips were why we went to the Fox, and they did not disappoint.  The Reuben was the best Reuben we've ever tasted.

Appearance of the Food: 5 Stars  Everything looked great too!

Restrooms:  5 Stars

Atmosphere: 4.5 Stars  The English flair/theme was cool.  The '.5' off was that you really couldn't avoid seeing a TV anywhere in the restaurant.

Service: 4 Stars  We did have to ask for water refills, but overall the staff was very friendly and helpful.

Ethical/Sustainable:  4 Stars  They didn't have any information on where there food was from, but many of their items were 'homemade' or 'made from scratch'.

Pricing: Lunch entrees were about $10 each.

The Fox Pub and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chez Willy's

For our anniversary dinner, we ate at Chez Willy's in Galesburg.  We had been there years ago, and were eagerly anticipating eating there again.  It did not disappoint! 

Our overall rating was  4.63 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 4 Stars  We really don't know for sure, since we didn't bring our kids along.  There was nothing family unfriendly, but neither did we see any other kids, high chairs or kids' menus.  

Menu:  5 Stars  Simple, but good.  There is a chalkboard on one wall where you can see all of the daily specials.

Taste of the Food:  5 Stars  More stars if we could!

Appearance of the Food:  5 Stars  You have to try the Bananas Foster!  They make it for you at your table and it's really cool to watch.  Not to mention how amazing it tastes!

Restrooms:  4.5 Stars

Atmosphere:  4.5 Stars  It's a sweet, cozy place that invites you to linger and enjoy the great food.  There is a TV in the bar area, which seems out of place for such a classy restaurant.

Service:  5 Stars

Ethical/Sustainable:  4 Stars.  We don't know the source of all the ingredients, but everything seems to be made from scratch.  (All of the salad dressings are even made in-house.)

Pricing:  $20-30 a plate.  (Great place for a special date!)

Chez Willy's on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Landmark Cafe and Creperie

We stopped in Galesburg for dinner on our way home from vacation.  Our boys love crepes and going to a "creperie" was very exciting for them!

Our overall rating was 4.31 Stars  (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 5 Stars  They accommodated us well and tolerated a cranky toddler without batting an eye.

Menu:  3 Stars  There are many choices on the menu, almost too many.  It's hard to focus and find something because there are so many types of options.  But the biggest knock down here is their kids' menu.  It consisted of Spaghetti-Ohs, Hot dog, Grilled Cheese and PBJ.  Not only is such fare overpriced, but it goes against the principle of teaching kids to appreciate good food.

Taste of the Food:  5 Stars  The dessert crepes are to die for!

Appearance of the Food:  4 Stars  The entree crepes taste great, but they don't look very impressive.

Restrooms:  5 Stars  Very clean restrooms...and we know because our family used them so much while we were there.

Atmosphere:  4.5 Stars  Cool building with a lot of neat vintage decorations.  The floor near our table was very sticky (before we got our food!).

Service:  5 Stars

Ethical/Sustainable:  3 Stars  It seems like most things are made from scratch, but there wasn't any mention of where ingredients are sourced from.

Pricing:  $10-20 range for dinner. 

Landmark Cafe & Creperie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wise Acre Eatery

While on a recent family vacation, we met some friends at Wise Acre Eatery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  

Our overall rating was 4.75 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 5 Stars

Menu: 5 Stars  The menu was simple, but we all wanted more than one thing because it sounded so good!

Taste of the Food: 5 Stars  The food was fantastic!

Appearance of the Food:  5 Stars

Restrooms:  5 Stars  The restrooms were very clean and featured actual towels that were put into a hamper to be laundered and reused.

Atmosphere: 4.5  Stars  The building and decorations were very cool.  The restaurant was located near an airport and across the street from a fire station, which made for some occasional added noise.

Service:  3.5 Stars  They were friendly and accommodating (in spite of our large group during busy lunch hour).  However, we had to consistently request water and coffee refills.

Ethical/Sustainable:  5 Stars  Nearly everything on the menu (75-95%) comes from their farm, which is less than an hour away from the restaurant.  How amazing is that?

Pricing:  $10-15 per person for Brunch.

Wise Acre Eatery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Newton's Paradise Cafe

On a recent family vacation we stopped for lunch at Newton's Paradise Cafe in Waterloo Iowa. It was definitely a great place to stop and we plan on doing so again the next time we're headed through town.

Our overall rating was 4.63 Stars  (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 5 Stars  They didn't bat an eye when we brought in our big crew.  It was a great place to bring kids.

Menu: 5 Stars  It was simple, yet most of the menu looked really good and tasty.  We'll want to try something new the next time we visit.

Taste of the Food: 4.5 Stars  Everything we had were "classic diner" items, but they were great!

Appearance of the Food: 4.5 Stars

Restrooms: 4 Stars

Atmosphere: 5 Stars  The classic diner feel was made complete with a huge spinning sign outside the main entrance.  Everything inside was good too.

Service: 5 Stars  Everyone was on the ball and they took great care of us.

Ethical/Sustainable:  4 Stars  They claim that their food is locally sourced and many items were organic, but there just weren't any actual farms mentioned on their website or menu.  
Pricing: Lunch entrees were $7-10.

Newtons Paradise Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kouri's Pub (Pekin)

Met with a couple friends at Kouri's Pub in Pekin over lunch.  It was a fun time and I would definitely go there for lunch again.

My overall rating was 3.75 Stars (out of 5 stars).

Here's how that breaks down:

Family Friendly: 3.5 Stars  It was fine while we were there, but one of my friends mentioned how it wouldn't be the best place for your kids all the time.

Menu: 4.5 Stars  There were a lot of options that looked great.  In the end I texted another friend who regularly goes to Kouri's to get his recommendation...

Taste of the Food: 3.5 Stars  ... and I went with the Chile Garlic Boneless Oven Seared Wings.  They were good, but not over the top amazing.  The soup I had was also good, and the fries I 'borrowed' were good but not great.

Appearance of the Food: 3.5 Stars  It looked good, but there wasn't much presentation to speak of (Maybe there's not a lot they can do with wings.)

Restrooms: 4 Stars

Atmosphere: 4 Stars  They have a great hometown feel.  The popcorn as a free appetizer is also pretty cool.

Service: 4 Stars  

Ethical/Sustainable: 3 Stars  It seemed made from scratch and genuine, but there was no mention of any sourcing.

Pricing: Most lunch items were between $6-10.

Kouri's Pub on Urbanspoon