Tuesday, February 20, 2018

S'mores Dip

Prior to Super Bowl Sunday my husband was looking around for recipes to make that day. He loves cooking in cast iron, so he perused the Lodge website and found this recipe. He missed the stop of putting butter in the bottom of the pan, which I assume is to keep the chocolate from sticking. It turned out fine without it, but if you're afraid clean up may be an issue, use a little melted butter before moving on. After all, if you're going to be dipping into a pile of marshmallows and chocolate, the few extra calories from the butter won't matter much.

What you need:

2 12-ounce bags of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 bag of marshmallows
graham crackers

Using the 10 inch skillet, cover the bottom with your chocolate chips and then top with marshmallows. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes at 450 degrees or until the marshmallows have a nice golden brown color. Remove from oven and serve with graham crackers for dipping.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Banana Split Bites

I got a sample in the mail of this yummy Belgian dark chocolate spread called Lekkco and my mind wandered thinking of what I might want to do with it. We always have Nutella on hand here, but the kids use it mostly to spread on graham crackers. So, there's a ton of possibilities of items you can dip into it or spread it onto - pretzels, animal crackers, apples and other fruits, nuts, cookies.

I had one lonely banana on my counter and tried to think of what else I could add to it. My son was cleaning out a drawer in my kitchen that had all kinds of stray packets of ketchup and sauces and I noticed a packet of chopped peanuts from a McDonald's ice cream sundae...which made banana splits pop into my mind. I didn't have any strawberries on hand, but I did have some strawberry preserves. These yummy little bites were the result.

1 Banana
Lekkco Belgian Dark Chocolate Spread
Strawberry Preserves
Chopped Peanuts

Cut into bite size pieces and serve.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Visit Jimmy's Charhouse Elk Grove for Chicago Northwest Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week is winding down, but that doesn't mean that the fun and deals are all done. The Northwest suburbs have a restaurant week of their own and it's just a couple weeks away. Chicago Northwest Restaurant Week runs February 23 through March 4. The 10-day event includes more than 40 participating restaurants - and there are some really good ones! From some of the best upscale chains to casual fare to fine dining, there's something for everyone.

We recently had an opportunity to dine at Jimmy's Charhouse Elk Grove in Elk Grove Village, which is one of the participating restaurants for Chicago Northwest Restaurant Week. 

The restaurant had a large menu, which made it pretty hard to decide on what to try, but we were impressed with everything we ordered. We started with an appetizer of saganaki because when you can get a plate of flaming cheese delivered to your table, why not? Cheese is one of my biggest weaknesses and when it's melted and drizzled with lemon then served with fresh pita bread, I just can't resist.

We also tried the Mediterranean Shrimp - sautéed in olive oil, fresh garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, imported feta and fontinella cheese, which was amazing.

Next came our soups and salads. I opted for a wedge salad that was super crisp with some amazing bleu cheese crumbles and large pieces of crispy bacon and served with a house-made bleu cheese dressing that was fantastic. Hubby went for a bowl of French onion soup. I'm normally not a fan of onion soup, but one bite of this and I just couldn't stop. That melted gruyere got me hooked.

And yes, we kept going. My entree was a petite filet to which I added a horseradish crust along with a bernaise sauce, a loaded stuffed potato and sautéed fresh vegetables. It was as good as steaks I've had at some of the top steakhouses in the city. Perfectly cooked to medium. I savored every bite.

Hubby opted for a pork chop and lamb chop combo with a side of mashed potatoes and veggies. I sampled both and each one was amazingly tender.

There was also one other thing on the menu that caught my eye and I just had to try - the Chicken Al Forno Pasta, which is on the menu as one of their signature specials. It's a half wood-roasted chicken with rigatoni pasta, marinara sauce, fontinella and parmesan cheeses that's baked in the oven in an oversized skillet and could easily feed two adults and probably a hungry kid, too. It was so gooey and packed with flavor and one of those meals that leaves you longing for that taste for weeks after you've dined.

The current owner, Tom Sizopoulos, took over about two years ago and eased into things slowly, getting to know the neighborhood and the customers. The first thing he was interested in doing was upgrading the food quality. Some subtle menu changes were made, keeping with the favorites and best selling menu items and adding a few of his own or modifying others. For example, the shrimp cocktail was elevated to a Mexican version the he said is more flavorful and has nicer presentation.

He said they use a sea salt blend in the kitchen that they make themselves. The portions are big and everything is made from scratch. Seafood is fresh and wild-caught. Sizopoulos emphasized that they don't skimp on anything.

The changes have been well-received and soon they'll be changing over to a new name, Avenue on 53.

Among the popular dishes that will remain on the menu are lamb chops, ribs (which are smoked in-house), steaks, wood-roasted chicken, Mediterranean Shrimp (which he said is a signature item of theirs that you can't find anywhere else.)

Some other notable things about Jimmy's Charhouse: 
They have a daily happy hour from 3 - 6 p.m.
They offer private rooms for large groups with a special buffet package or cocktail menu.
They have live entertainment on weekends.

For more information, visit JimmysCharhouseElkGrove.com

Oh, and we definitely couldn't eat another bite following dinner, but were sent home with molten lava cake. It was staring me in the face as soon as I opened the fridge the following morning - and I'm not ashamed to say that I made it my breakfast.

Keep Jimmy's Charhouse in mind if you're considering dining out for Chicago Northwest Restaurant Week and be sure to visit in the coming weeks when the name change and new menu are complete.

Jimmy's Charhouse
1180 W. Devon Ave.
Elk Grove Village, IL

**We received a complimentary meal for the purpose of a review. We were not compensated for this post. All opinions are our own.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Skillet S'Mores Dip

As we were planning for Super Bowl Sunday, hubby pulled up an e-mail he had received from Lodge Cast Iron with some recipes. He loves his cast iron cookware and was anxious to do some cooking in it for the big day.

One of the recipes he picked to make was a super easy dessert that has just 4 ingredients. He actually used 3 because he forget to melt the butter in the skillet before he put in the chocolate. Anyway, it's super easy and super yummy. And it looks so impressive when cooked just right - with a beautiful layer of brown to the marshmallows.

Here's what you need:

1 tbsp butter
24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
10 ounces marshmallows
graham crackers

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

Place the 10.25 inch skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. 

Remove skillet form oven and melt butter in skillet, covering the cooking surface evenly. Oops..he forgot this step. I suspect it just makes cleaning easier. As of right now we still have half a pan covered and in the refrigerator, so I don't yet know what clean-up will be like. We might be having big regret about forgetting the butter when it's cleaning time. 

Pour chocolate morsels in the skillet covering the bottom and top with marshmallows. I didn't realize I got the mini chips. They melted nicely. Next time I am tempted to get some peanut butter or butterscotch chips to blend in for a different flavor.

Bake 7 - 10 minutes until marshmallows are toasted. 

Remove from the oven and serve using graham crackers to dip.

Hubby managed to pull them out with just the perfect hint of golden brown and the dipping was fun - pulling strings of gooey marshmallow and chocolate up high above the pan. 

We made another recipe from Lodge for Super Bowl Sunday and I'll share that soon. For more cast iron cooking recipes, visit their website at lodgemfg.com.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Chicago Restaurant Week

Some misguided individuals believe that Christmastime is the most wonderful time of the year. Not. Even. Close.

The best time of the year in Chicago would be the roughly two week period (some restaurants extend it and participate even longer) designated as Chicago Restaurant Week. It typically begins in January and continues in to early February, a traditionally slow time for the restaurant industry. People are often dieting in conjunction with New Year's Resolutions, funds are low because of the holidays and people are more apt to hibernate at home during the brutal weather in Chiberia in winter. 

But, if you can overcome those things, it is a great time to visit one of close to 400 participating restaurants offering multi-course prix fixe meals - lunches at $22 and dinners at $33 or $44. You usually have an option of at least two entrees, appetizers and desserts. Some will have other upgrades or wine pairings that you can tack on if you'd like. Beverages and gratuity are not included. 

You'll find many varieties of ethnic cuisine offered at dining establishments of all kinds. If there's a pricey, swanky place that you've always wanted to visit that is just out of you budget, you might find them on the list of restaurants and have a chance to dine there when you wouldn't normally go. It's a great way to be introduced to new places that you may not otherwise try. 

I'm a fan of steakhouses and here's an example for you: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is participating and for $44 you can get lobster bisque, a filet and cheesecake (there are other options as well.) Or visit Rick Bayless' Xoco for a gourmet Mexican lunch for $22 and choose such dishes as classic ceviche or Sopa Azteca for an appetizer with Chiliquilles Yucatecos for an entree and a plate of dessert crepes to finish off.

Chicago Restaurant Week extends through February 8, so make your plans and expand your horizons and excite your palate! Go to ChooseChicago.com for all the details!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Sympathies to the Pearsons and to Crock-Pot

So, I am not a big television watcher. I can count on one hand the number of shows I have watched regularly in the last five years - and they were usually watched on OnDemand or the network app after they'd aired. American Idol, Parenthood, Dancing with the Stars, Chicago Fire and This Is Us. Sadly those first two are off the air. I haven't watched Dancing with the Stars in a few seasons. That leaves two shows that I currently watch.

This Is Us is a big one with a huge following that has already garnered a number of awards in its first two seasons. I really love the show, but it has been a little bit of a turn-off for me that so much emphasis and mystery surrounds the death one of the main characters. I loved Parenthood because it just tapped in so much into everyday life with believable storylines and likable characters. This Is Us has all of that. And that's why I watch it - the character development, the down-to-earth and common topics that are tackled, the exploration of the family unit and relationships within families. If I wanted suspense and mystery and death, I'd watch Walking Dead or something along those lines. 

But anyway, enough of my rant. The death of Jack Pearson is what the show has come to center around. It's the "Who Shot JR?" of this generation. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Google it. It's from a prime time soap opera of the 1980s called Dallas and when JR Ewing was shot in the season cliffhanger, 350 million people watched and then were left hanging for 8 full months before they found out the answer. I still remember seeing people everywhere with "Who Shot JR?" shirts in 1980 as a young kid.

So, there still hasn't been an official reveal of Jack Pearson's death, but after this week's episode, it has viewers assuming that a fire caused his early, untimely death. A fire caused by an old, faulty slow cooker. Everyone has assumed it to be a Crock-Pot brand appliance. The two terms are kind of synonymous. Just like everyone calls a photo copier a Xerox machine. Or a bandage a Band-Aid.

So, when Jack tidied up the kitchen and headed up to bed - and then the slow cooker light flickered and sparked and then flames shot out that ignited a towel that crept up a wall and eventually engulfed the entire home - my heart sank. My heart sank for the fictional Pearson family and for the PR team and execs at Crock-Pot who I knew instantly would be dealing with a PR nightmare. Poor Jack Pearson, the show's hero, is about to die a fiery death and the villain in all of it is an inanimate object that was simply warming chili for a Super Bowl celebration. 

As I suspected, social media channels were instantly inundated with jokes and promises to throw away Crock-Pots and never use them again. Maybe it will just blow over quickly. But maybe it will slow sales of this creation by Irving Naxon that got the Crock-Pot name when sold to Rival Manufacturing in the 1970s. 

Worse yet, it could sink sales of Crock-Pots and send those customers all toward the wildly popular multi-use Insant Pot as a replacement. 

And then there's the possibility that all those people that are holding on to Crock-Pots bought decades ago or passed down by an aunt or grandmother will be making their way to the dumpster - even if they are still functioning - just because they are deemed too old to be safe. (Maybe it's been a secret conspiracy between the writers and the Crock-Pot brand all along. LOL). I'd be interested to see what the sales look like for the brand at the end of the year. Will it turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing? Will people swear off Crock-Pots for good or rush out to buy the newest models to replace old ones?

I don't know how all the legal stuff works - but I guess my naive and sympathetic mind wishes that perhaps the writers may have consulted with the company in advance so they'd have some sort of warning of the S&*@ storm that would ensue. I went back and watched the scene and it clearly says "Slow Cooker" on the product, but I had to go back and replay several times to catch it. Maybe that was their "out" that made it ok. They weren't using the brand name.

And I guess in my always-tying-to-be-safe, mom and wife of a firefighter mode, I wish they'd been more careful about how they portrayed this and maybe allowed it to become educational. They could have collaborated with the International Association of Firefighters or the National Fire Protection Association to do a pubic service announcement about preventing fires.

I wonder if they consulted any firefighters as they sat and wrote a scene about how someone would die and a family would be displaced by a fire to see if maybe they were being somewhat realistic. I wish they may have had a disclaimer following the episode that slow cookers are generally safe but that it's important to be careful in using any electrical appliance and that if you suspect something isn't working property to contact the manufacturer. They could have had a clip with a video message from a fire chief at the end of the episode giving a statement about how critical it is to have working smoke detectors. That should really be the big takeaway from the episode rather than villainizing a safe product that is used by millions of families each year. Just FYI, I asked my husband if he's ever been to a fire caused by a Crock-Pot. In his 20-year career, there hasn't been one on his department and he hasn't heard of one elsewhere.

I LOVE my slow cookers, all of which have been Crock-Pot brand. I still have one that I received as a wedding shower gift in 1991. When I got a new one for Christmas about 10 years ago, my husband insisted I pitch the old one. I resisted because it came in handy to have two on weekends when I would do a lot of cooking for the week or when I had a get-together and wanted to keep baked beans warm in addition to meatballs. I later got a casserole crock by Crock-Pot that I posted about a couple months ago - not because it was a sponsored post or because it was a free product sample, but simply because it was a product I loved. I hate to see all the not-so-full-of-love posts about this product the past couple days. I feel it's all a little unfair and is changing the public perception of a perfectly safe product.

The backlash from the episode of This Is Us caused the company to release the following statement:

"It is important that our consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs," the statement said. 
"For nearly 50 years with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible. 

"Our hope is that the team at NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ will help us in spreading factual information regarding our product’s safety. While we know their primary mission is to entertain — something they have continued to excel in — we also feel they have a responsibility to inform." 
I should probably mention that fire safety is a really important topic to me, which naturally stems from being married to a professional firefighter. I also am an author and wrote a children's book, Old 104 Rides Again, about an antique fire engine that touches upon fire safety. I visit several schools each year (usually during Fire Prevention Month in October) to read the book to kids in preschool up to about 4th grade. I always take that opportunity to emphasize several things to children, such as never playing with matches, having working smoke detectors on each level of your home, never hiding from a firefighter should they come in to rescue you in a fire, touching a door with the back of your hand before opening it if you are in a fire and having an escape plan and family meeting place outside the house if you have to get out in case of a fire. I also initiated a local project, the "Stay Safe Essay Contest" for kids in K - 5th grade. Kids write essays on staying safe for a chance to win a ride to school on a firetruck. I hope that the kids I encounter in these endeavors walk away with a little more knowledge and confidence in how to keep themselves and their families safe from a fire.

So, from this foodie, fire prevention advocate and This Is Us fan, keep on cooking with those Crock-Pots and be sure to:
Make sure your smoke detectors always have working batteries. It's good practice to check your batteries in the spring and fall at the same time you change your clocks for daylight savings time.

Keep towels and other flammable items off stovetops and away from from electric appliances and devices.

Keep an eye on your aging small and big appliances for damage.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Breaded Steak Sandwich at Ricobene's

Four years ago, while visiting Taste of Chicago, I came across the Ricobene's booth. It was the year I was introduced to the breaded steak sandwich. I got a taste-size portion of their famous sandwich - which I didn't realize was so famous. It was my first time having a breaded steak sandwich and I guess you could say it was love at first bite. I looked for it again at the fest the following year.

Chicago Foodie Sister Carrie with Sam Ricobene - third generation owner of the establishment.

Fast forward to late 2017 and a video pops up in my Facebook feed about this sandwich and I'm intrigued and reminded about this delicious sandwich and instantly craving one. I figure it's time to enjoy another one and I'm not patient enough to wait until Taste of Chicago rolls around again. I look up the address and plan a foodie field trip day with hubby and make Ricobene's the first stop. It's on the south side near Chinatown with street parking available as well as a free lot across the street.

We got there early - I think it was around 10:30 a.m. and the place was already bustling. A row of tables were pushed together with a group of police academy recruits chowing down. Others filed in and out ordering the casual Italian specialties that are all reasonably priced. I got to spend a few minutes chatting with Sam Ricobene, grandson of the restaurant's founder. The eatery dates back to 1946 and he said that it was in 1976 that they added breaded steak sandwich to the menu. It became a huge hit and has continued drawing in diners for decades.

They've got an extensive menu of sandwiches - Italian beef, Italian sausage, beef/sausage combos, chicken breast, sloppy Joes, BBQ pork, eggplant parmesan, breaded perch, hot dogs, burgers and more. They also offer pizza in thin, pan and deep dish versions - I wish I'd had room to give some of the pizza a try because it looked amazing, but being stop #1 on our foodie field trip day, I knew I had to go easy. I'll have to save it for another day, but I suspect that once I make it in there, I'll cave and order a breaded steak. It would be too hard not to.

The breaded steak sandwich - which is available in regular size and king - has made quite a name for itself and landed itself on "best of" lists compiled by various sources, but a USA Today article on 2015 spread the word of this fabulous sandwich beyond the boundaries of the Windy City when writer Ted Berg declared it "the best sandwich in the world."

If you've been to Ricobene's, you know exactly what Berg is talking about and what I'm reiterating. This is a sandwich that is life-changing. One that you won't be able to get out of your head or your taste buds once you've had one.

And if, like me, you've enjoyed it at the Taste of Chicago, you still need to get in to the restaurant and have one. Sam Ricobene told me that the Taste of Chicago version is a little different - requiring an adapted preparation method when preparing it in such huge quantities for the huge food festival. So, if you've had it at the Taste, you still need to get a taste of the restaurant version. Ricobene's should be on the foodie bucket list of every Chicagoan. What are you waiting for? Get over there and get one - and tell them the Chicago Foodie Sisters sent you.

252 W. 26th Street
(312) 225-5555

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ballpark Pub in Bridgeport

Anyone who knows a little about me (or who doesn't know me but has peeked a little at my social media pages) likely knows that I'm a die-hard Cubs fan. But I'm also a baseball fan. I am just in love with the game. And I'm in love with Chicago baseball and Chicago fans and Chicago's baseball neighborhoods and Chicago's baseball neighborhood eateries. So, when we got an invite to check out a pub on the south side just three blocks away from Guaranteed Rate Field (it'll always be Comiskey to me!), I was happy to head there for a bite.

Ballpark Pub is a fun little neighborhood tavern where the baseball touches tug right at my little baseball-loving heartstrings. They've got seats from the ballpark. A to-scale batter's box at the entrance. Logos on the wall. A big photo of Bill Veck looking down from above. An awesome mural on the back wall with a scene depicting the infamous Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park. 

There are also other cool features to the place that I loved - 16 beers on draft (from a homemade steel-pipe draft), plenty of screens for watching all kinds of sports, 20+ USB ports along the bar for charging your phone or other devices and a bar top made from an old bowling lane.

But, all the baseball emotions aside, we were there to try the food and while sometimes a neighborhood pub can be a little disappointing in the food department, this one was not in the least. They don't have an over-the-top menu with a crazy number of items, which is good -- figure out what you do best and do it. And they do. They do have a sizable list of specials with a wide variety that are rotated on occassion. In addition to their board of specials, they are currently running wings for 40 cents each. I'm not one who really orders chicken wings (it's just a weird lazy thing for me -- seems like a lot of work for a little bit of meat), but hubby placed an order of a half-dozen wings with buffalo sauce. I do love buffalo sauce and these wings really made me want to eat chicken wings more often. That sauce was on point, the meat was tender and the bleu cheese dipping sauce was pretty awesome.

I also noticed that they had fried cheese curds on the menu - and after a few questions I was assured that they are genuine, good 'ol white cheddar Wisconsin cheese curds. How could I turn those down? It was a hefty portion just as good as you'd get at any roadside spot north of the IL border. 

We also tried some cheeseburger sliders as well as some brisket sliders. The brisket and pork are smoked in-house and the brisket was super tasty, served on toasted brioche buns. There are several things on the menu that make great shareables.

Baseball Pub also does Tuesday night bingo. It's free and you can win meals as well and have a chance at a big progressive cash jackpot. Draws a pretty good crowd. It's not your grandmother's bingo.

I chatted for a bit with Nick Bertucci, who is co-owner of the place along with his business partner and childhood buddy, Rich Rogulich. Both have serious ties to food and baseball - both are lifelong residents of Bridgeport and both of their families have been operating food stands and catering within the ball park for decades. 

Bertucci's family started doing catering at Comiskey in the 70's, a year before he was born. He said he's grown up around food and baseball - and started helping out his parents out in the family business as a young kid. 

He said some of the big sellers are the signature burger, ribs, the pot roast sandwich, meatball sub and brisket nachos. The pub is just a baby - it's been there less than 18 months, but it shows all the signs of being there for many years in the future. If you happen to be heading to a game this season, stop in for a pre-game meal or a celebratory drink (or two or three) and some bar bites following a win. They'll be adding patio seating this spring, too. Or for a quieter low-key lunch, stop in now during the off-season and take in the atmosphere without the crowd.

Ballpark Pub
514 W. Pershing Rd.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Burgerhaus in Schererville, Indiana

As a foodie, I'll travel quite a way for a good meal. But this time I didn't have to. I was happy to get invited to dine at Burgerhaus in Schererville, Indiana. Since I live in the south suburbs, it wasn't much of a trek for me to get there. However, I did end up going on a very slick and snowy day during rush hour, so it took a little longer than anticipated.

Once I got there, I was ready to settle into a cozy booth and get to tasting. I had been there only once. I was with my dad and we were rushing to another destination and split a portobello burger. It was excellent and I wished I'd had more time there and more of an appetite. This time I came prepared. 

We started out with the tempura-fried New Orleans Pickle Chips served with zesty peppercorn ranch dipping sauce. I loved these bites with just enough crunch not he outside and perfect pickles on the inside and I'm sure you will, too, especially if you pair it with one of their craft beers. I'd recommend "The Dude" Porter from Crown Brewing. They've got an impressive list and I was told that craft cocktails featuring spirits from Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Michigan would soon be added.

Next was an order of the La Pueblo Chips and Guacamole - both made in-house. And following that was a scrumptious salad called the Valparaiso.

The Valparaiso was salad perfection - with everything I love. Mixed Greens. Bartlett Pears. Fennel. Candied Walnuts. Dried cranberries. Bleu Cheese. And the most delicious homemade champagne vinaigrette. I wish I could buy it by the bottle.

We tried two burgers. One was the Baton Rouge and it had ingredients that could not be more unexpected on a burger - among them shrimp, andouille sausage and a cajun creole sauce. It was a definite winner accompanied by some spicy fries with bleu cheese sauce.

Next up we tried the Burger of the Month. It was called the Vienna. It is topped with one of my favorite things ever - bacon jam! It's one of their prime burgers with Provolone, bacon jam, applewood bacon, fresh arugula and some amazing stout-braised onions on a brioche bun with a side of super crispy tots. It's only available until the end of January, so get in and try one. I promise it will be worth it!

Each month you'll find a new creative burger and side on the menu. The Vienna replaced December's burger called "The Bedford Falls." If you haven't noticed yet, pretty much everything on their menu has the name of a place or is inspired by the food of that location or region. The vibe is casual and chill, but there are little bits of encouragement and inspiration to follow your adventurous side and get out there and see the world. Their tagline is "Never Stop Exploring." So, it's not just good food, but a cool overall experience that just might get your mind wandering and light a spark to help you fulfill that wanderlust.

With a name like Burgerhaus, you expect the menu to focus on burgers - and really good ones. However, if someone in your group isn't a burger person, they'll have no problem finding something else to enjoy. Besides the Valparaiso, they have a big list of gourmet salads and you can always add grilled chicken, mahi mahi or avocado to a salad.

It's also definitely a great place to stop at for a drink and some sharables. The list of appetizers has some great options - in addition to the pickle chips and guac, you'll find the Belfast Onion Rings, Osaka Seared Tuna, Castroville Parmesan Artichoke Dip, Cairo Hummus Platter and more. They also serve up some killer loaded fries with carne asada, guac, jalapeño sour cream, pico de gallo and cilantro.

Other entrees include fish tacos, gourmet grilled cheese, chicken sandwich and fish and chips. Burger options number a dozen and you can substitute your beef patty with a black bean patty, ground turkey, grilled chicken breast or portobello mushroom cap.

The Schererville spot is one of three (soon to be four) locations. You'll also find them in Valparaiso and Indy. The fourth location will be opening in Caramel, just outside Indianapolis.

And as always, a good meal is always better with really friendly, attentive and knowledgeable server. Shout out to Ceara for the great craft beer convo and recommendations and info on their menu items.

813 W. Lincoln Highway
(219) 227-8442