Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Restaurant That Keeps Me Coming Back By: Samuel

Samuel is certified watercolor instructor, a prizewinng photographer, a published poet and an author. He describes himself as 78 years young. He is also a laughter yoga leader and a facilatator of a creative writers group at Mather's More Than a Cafe'.

I left home for Mather’s More Than a CafĂ© about 8:30 Friday morning. I arrived around 8:45. It was the day that Miss Chicago would be featured for, “The Friday Night Dinner Show.” I had been waiting to see and hear Marisa Buchheit, Miss Chicago.

Mather’s three Cafes are open for breakfast and lunch, (except the location located between Higgins Ave. and Neva Ave. which is open till 7:00PM on Fridays.) The Higgins location's cafe walls display patron’s art work. There are cherry wood shadow box glass covered dining tables which are filled with old time pictures, magazines, coins and stuff. There is a computer room, an exercise area, a recreation area, three washrooms, a couple of offices, and a kitchen.

For breakfast I had a healthy meal of oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The price was $1.65 with my M.A.D. 20% discount. All patrons that are 55 years old and older are eligible to purchase a Mather Advantage Discount plan. The cost is $55 a year. Being a senior, I watch my food intake and my money output; I want food that is of good quality, that is healthy for me, and that is reasonably priced. With the oatmeal I had a cup of coffee that cost $0.75 all day (a bottomless cup). I like a place where the coffee flows like water. Also at Mather’s, food is cooked in trans-fat free oils.

For lunch I had a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup. I would have liked a little bigger meat ball, but the taste was still divine. Then it was off to the computer to get my email. Later, I worked on a Sudoku puzzle.

The dinner show menu had Tilapia, which is my favorite sea food. I had the blackened Tilapia. It had a lemon pepper seasoning, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. It was yum, yum, yummy going down to the tummy.

The fish was severed with mixed vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, and a side choice. I chose a carrot salad, because I wanted to make sure my eyesight was at its best. For dessert, I had a small slice of wonderful tasting chocolate cake. The meal and show were well worth the money. Dinner and show cost me $20.00.

Marisa sang popular songs and operatic favorites. She sang songs from Carmen and from West Side Story. What a lovely young lady! Her voice enchanted me. I was lost in loveliness. Miss Buchhiet  asked if the audience had any questions. I learned she studied singing in Italy. I asked a question, “Can the men in the audience have your phone number?" Laughter filled the air. She gets high marks from me.

What a day I had. Marisa is a treat for my eyes. My big ears enjoyed every sound that came from her lips, while my palette was well satisfied. Ah, what a day that this 78 year old senior enjoyed. Marisa, I’m Yours- Body and Soul.

Mather's More Than a Cafe, is a not-for-profit organization that caters mainly to seniors, but all patrons are welcome. They have computer classes, exercise classes, trips, classes about health issues, line dancing- the list goes on. It is a great place at a great price. The Cafes are open at 8:00 am till 3:30/4:00 pm. The Higgins Cafe is open on Fridays till 7:00pm. The kitchens close a half hour before closing.

Mather's More Than a Cafe (Norwood Park)
7134 W. Higgins Avenue
Chicago, IL 60656
(773) 774-4804

Friday, June 15, 2012

Au Cheval By: Martha

Martha is a copywriter and freelance writer who enjoys reading, bicycling, and playing ping-pong. Her favorite kind of food is Mexican and she loves eating out as a way to embrace different cultures. She'll visit any restaurant with exceptional food- even if it's a hole in the wall. 

Au Cheval
800 W Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 929-4580

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Restaurant That Keeps Me Coming Back By: Fern

Fern is a lawyer and CPA turned writer/reporter/blogger. A Manhattanite, originally from the great state of New Jersey, now living in beautiful Chicago with her husband, Fern believes Chicago has the best restaurants. Her hobbies include reading, eating and running.

The restaurant that keeps me coming back is... BadHappy

Three words: Gourmet Disco Fries. Three more words: I’ve been converted.

Once upon a time, at a diner in northern New Jersey, at 2AM, after a night of drinking, my friends ordered disco fries. (Note: “Disco fries” are defined on Urban Dictionary, the authority on these types of things, as “Cheese fries with gravy, generally served at diners in Northeast New Jersey.”) Anyway, I turned down the disco fries.  I said “I don’t like gravy.” That’s when the place fell silent.  The lights flickered.  And, everyone turned to stare at me.
Ok, not really.  But, I did say “I don’t like gravy.” That was back then, during my foolish youth.

Now, fast forward a few years (okay, a decade) and I’m a married lady living in Chicago.  My husband and I are invited to a new restaurant.  It’s called BadHappy. We like the name.  We like the logo.  We go.  Not usually how we pick restaurants but, of course, we also heard good things.

BadHappy, located at 939 N. Orleans St., is Chicago’s first and only poutine shop. Poutine?  That sounds like a dirty word. Well, according to Urban Dictionary, “poutine” is defined as “A Quebec (or French-Canadian) staple, a dish of homemade french fries topped with white cheddar cheese curds and beef gravy.”

Not only did I try it, as I’m a little more open-minded in my old age, and not only did I like it – Ferny likes it? – I loved it. 

BadHappy is run by chef Tom Kern, whose impressive culinary pedigree makes it no wonder all of the ingredients are fresh and fine.  The freshest.  The finest. These, my friends, are not your father’s Jersey diner’s disco fries.

Yes, these are gourmet disco fries.

Yes, I’ve been converted.  I like gravy.  And, I love poutine!

939 N Orleans St.
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 890-2165

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