Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Rheinland is a German restaurant located in Independence.  I have not had much exposure to German food even though my Great Grandparents are from Germany.

We ate here for lunch on Saturday.  The restaurant has a cozy feel to it.  I think many of the customers were regulars.

There are many decorations throughout the restaurant. The glass case at the front reminds me of an old store.

The ceiling

A piano sits in one corner.

I decided to order a tenderloin sandwich with fried potatoes. The sandwich was supposed to have swiss cheese.  I am not fan of swiss cheese, so I ordered it without it.

Tenderloin sandwich, yes there is a bun under it.  LOL 
The sandwich was really good.  It had mustard on it, but could have used an onion.  The fried potatoes were excellent.

Jeff ordered FleischKäse ( Bavarian Loafer ) open-faced which is a thick slice of German loaf, topped with sauerkraut and served open face on German rye bread.

Jeff said the sandwich was good.  He thought it would be more like a meatloaf, but he thought it tasted like Spam.  He agreed that the fried potatoes were good.

We enjoyed eating here.  It was fun to be "transported" to Germany for an hour.

Rheinland on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Granite City Food & Brewery

Jeff had heard good things about this place, so we decided to eat here on Saturday night. We arrived at 6 p.m and had to wait about ten minutes.  We left a little after 7 p.m. and there was a long wait for a table.

Jeff started his meal with a Caesar salad.  He said it was good.

Caesar side salad
He ordered the Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Linguini which was made with chicken, prosciutto, garlic, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, onions, fennel, linguini, basil and pine nuts.

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Linguini
 Jeff said it was good, but a little dry.  He expected it to have a little sauce to it.

I ordered the Grilled Salsa Verde Flank Steak which is a flank steak seasoned in a southwest marinade and topped with green chili salsa verde.  I ordered a loaded baked potato and seasonal vegetables as my sides. I really enjoyed this meal.  The flank steak was so tender and it was seasoned just right.  The seasonal vegetables were also delicious.  The loaded baked potato was so loaded that I had trouble finding the potato.  LOL
Grilled Salsa Verde Flank Steak and seasonal vegetables.  There was more flank steak hidden behind the vegetables.  It was quite a big meal.  My baked potato was left in the kitchen and that is why there is space on my plate.
Loaded Baked Potato

Our waitress was very good and the service was quick.

We enjoyed eating here.

Granite City Food & Brewery on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Courthouse Exchange

This restaurant is located in Independence, MO and is across from the courthouse.  They say they have been in business since 1899.  The restaurant is located below street level.  The inside has rock walls, so it is very unique.  I bet these walls have some stories to tell.

The walls of the restaurant.

The bar
We were seated in the bar area, but there is a much larger dining area which filled up quickly when a busload of tourists arrived.

We ordered fried pickles as our appetizer. The ranch dipping sauce was really good which made the fried pickles even better.

Half order of fried pickle
I ordered the Courthouse Exchange Burger which is a burger with bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, lettuce and tomato on a kaiser bun.  It was good, but not great.  I probably would order something different if I ate here again.

Courthouse Exchange Burger
Jeff ordered the Mac N Brisket which is creamy mac mixed with pulled BBQ brisket.

Mac N Brisket
Jeff said that his meal was good. It definitely looked different to me.

Our waitress was very friendly and the food was reasonably priced. We enjoyed eating lunch here.

Courthouse Exchange on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Galena Steak House

Galena Steak House is located in Dixon, IL.  We were in town to visit the John Deere Historic Site.  We had been in Dixon a month ago to visit the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan.  It is a nice town.

I liked the decor in this restaurant. There is a fireplace in the center of the dining area.

We started out our lunch with fried pickles.

Fried Pickles
The batter on the pickles lacked flavor, but Jeff said the taste of the pickles came through better that way.  I would rather have some seasoning.

I ordered a cheeseburger with bacon and fries.  The fries were $1.   It came with a salad.  I could have ordered the salad bar for $3, but since it was lunchtime, I just had the salad.  The waitress prepared my salad from the salad bar.  When the restaurant became busy, she let everyone make their own salad.  I would have preferred that only because I could put on what I wanted.

Cheeseburger with bacon and fries
The burger was good, but not as good as I had expected from a steak place.

Jeff  ordered the blackened chicken sandwich and the salad bar.  The sandwich didn't come with cheese, so he asked to have that added. The waitress didn't ask what kind of cheese he wanted.  He didn't tell her because he told me he wanted to be surprised.  I told him I bet she put American on it and that is what they did.  It didn't seem like a good choice for that type of sandwich and he agreed. The waitress seemed surprised that he wanted cheese added.  He said the sandwich had good flavor, but it definitely needed cheese.  No picture of the sandwich since it basically looked like a burger.

We enjoyed eating here and I would love to go back sometime and try a steak.

Galena Steak House on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 18, 2013

Riganato Old World Grille

Riganato Old World Grille is located in Geneva, IL.  This is a very small restaurant and I was concerned that we wouldn't be able to find a table on a Saturday night. We were the only guests for about ten minutes and then the restaurant filled up.

I was surprised that the menu was just printed on a plain piece of paper, but I knew from the reviews that the restaurant was newer and maybe they plan on getting different menus someday...maybe not.

It took me a while to decide what I wanted to order.  I debated between the pork loin, rib-eye and pizza.  I ended up ordering the rib-eye since pork is sometimes a little too rich for me.

Rib-eye with Smashed Garlic Baby Red Potatoes
The rib-eye was good, but I didn't care much for the seasoning.  It was a little strong.  I know, normally I complain that rib-eyes are not seasoned enough.  The potatoes were very good.

Jeff ordered the Chicken Riganato and Lamb Chops.  The reviews of the chicken rigananto were excellent, so he wanted to try it.

Chicken Rigananto and Lamb Chops with Roasted Potatoes
As you can see, it had a lot of seasoning on it.  The seasoning was lemon, oregano and garlic.  He said it was a bit too much seasoning.  I tasted it and didn't like it at all.  However, this restaurant has a 100% rating on Urbanspoon and is also ranked very high on Trip Advisor, so other people really do like it.  It is just not our type of food.

Many of the guests ordered pizza while we were there and it looked and smelled delicious. I would order that if I ever ate here again.

The waitstaff is extremely friendly and make you feel very welcome here.

Riganato Old World Grille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pizza Villa

Pizza Villa is located in DeKalb, IL. We ate here on a Sunday evening and the place was busy. Food orders are placed and paid for at a window, but drink orders are placed at the table and paid for there.  It is a little odd.  They do charge for re-fills on soda and they offer beer, so I guess that is why they do it this way.  I just don't know why food orders are paid for upfront.

There are three levels of dining.
We started our meal with Parmesan Nuggets. This was the whole reason I wanted to eat here.  The nuggets are light, fluffy puffs of dough.  They can be ordered plain, but we chose the Parmesan/Garlic variety.  The order was huge!  I was not disappointed in the taste. The nuggets were so good!

Parmesan Nuggets
We ordered a thin crust pepperoni, mushroom, onion and crispy bacon pizza.  The bacon really took over the flavor, but it was good. 

We had so much food left over that I had it for lunch the next day.  The nuggets were even good re-heated.

If we are ever back in the area, I will eat here again.

Pizza Villa on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sycamore Parkway Restaurant

We decided to try this family restaurant because the parking lot is always busy and I was feeling like I wanted some home cooking.

As we expected, the menu was full of comfort foods.  I decided to try their fried chicken dinner.  It came with a salad, vegetable and I chose mashed potato as the way to prepare my potato.  The fried chicken was really good. I didn't care as much for the mashed potatoes, but they were okay. 

The salad was basically just lettuce and tomato.
Jeff ordered fried mushrooms as an appetizer.  They were good, but nothing special.

Fried Mushrooms

Jeff ordered a Western Skillet for his dinner. It had ham, onions, hash browns, green and jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, topped with three cheeses and two eggs.

Western Skillet
Jeff said the skillet was good.

The prices were average and the service was good.  I would eat here again.

Sycamore Parkway Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Maxson Riverside Restaurant

We traveled to Oregon, IL to try this restaurant.  The reviews were not great, but we decided to eat there anyway.  This restaurant has been here a long time, but I don't know the history as their website is being updated.

They offer sandwiches, but we came for their buffet.  Their lunch buffet is $8.50.  It included fried chicken, ham, Italian beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, pastas and a few other items.  It wasn't a great buffet as far as the variety of food, but I really liked the chicken.  We were happy with the price.

The view from the restaurant is what most people talk about.

The view from our table.

As you can see, paddle boat rides are available.  There is also a motel next door. I bet at one time this was a destination for people.

The restaurant itself is dated and needs updating.  It doesn't look bad in this picture, but in person, it looks and feels old.

The staff was very friendly.  Jeff's credit card was charged incorrectly and it took a little while to fix it, but they were very apologetic and truly sorry for the mistake.

We will not be returning because while it was good, it was a long drive for us and not all that special.

Maxson Riverside Restaurant on Urbanspoon

A Re-Visit To Los Rancheros

We visited Los Rancheros in September and wanted to go back one more time so that Jeff could try a seafood dish that they offer.  You can read my first review here.

I ordered beef fajitas this time.  They were good, but they would have been better with some cheese.  We have noticed that Mexican food is prepared differently in other parts of the country.  In Houston, they do not serve peppers or sour cream.  I did not ask for cheese for that reason.  I like to eat it as it is served.   It came with rice, beans, sour cream and shredded lettuce.

Beef Fajitas

Jeff ordered the seafood version of Molcajete.  It had fish, crab, shrimp and scallops. It also had onions and peppers.  He was quite impressed with the amount of seafood.  He said it was really good.

We really enjoyed eating here. The staff is friendly.  The food is good and the prices are reasonable.

Los Rancheros on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hillside Restaurant

 Jeff has been wanting to eat here for a while. It looks really cute on the outside. I had searched for a menu and the menu on their website does not have prices. I hate that. I really like to know the price before I eat somewhere. I was finally able to find a menu with some prices from a third party on the internet.  The prices were moderate, so I agreed to eat there. 

Doesn't it look charming?
We were seated promptly and our waitress came to our table immediately.  She took our drink orders and thought were ready to place our food order. We told her we needed a few minutes. She was happy we didn't want to order wine because she said going over the list was a pain.  She came back with our tea and we noticed there was not any ice in it.  We asked if we could have ice.  She said she would bring us some.  We came back and took our food order, brought our appetizer and then our salad and each time she said she would bring us ice.  We ended up just drinking our tea thinking the refills would have ice in them.  She refilled our teas and yes ice was included, but then she brought us a glass of ice.  She then became obsessed with asking us if we needed more ice.  We think she was new or at least we hope that was her problem because the evening only got worse with her.  LOL

A party of eight came in and our waitress received their table.  We had asked for our check after she took their drink order, which took quite a while.  She brought their drinks, but no check for us.  She had to pour each beer into a chilled mug and then walk halfway across the room to their table.  She did this eight times.  She then took their food order which took even longer because some of the menu had to be explained and one person could not eat dairy.  She had trouble understanding the no dairy.  As she walked by our table, she said she would bring our check (again).  She disappeared into the kitchen and later appeared with the other tables salads.  Each salad was individually carried to the table and served.   Finally, a half hour after asking for our check, she brought it to us.  You know what was funny?  All she had to do was drop off the check to us. She doesn't take the payment, thank goodness because that would have taken even more time.  Why couldn't she bring us the check before she served the salads?  I am not sure if she actually had to prepare the salads or thought she had to stay with the order because once she took the order, she didn't return until she had their food.

They have been in business for 50 years!

Okay, so now on to the food.  The menu had so many things to choose from.  It was really hard to make a choice.  We started out our meal with fried mushrooms.

Battered Mushrooms
The batter on the mushrooms was not seasoned.  I didn't care for the marinara sauce.  A ranch dipping sauce would have been so much better.

Oil to dip the bread.  it was good.

I really ordered something different this time.  I decided to try a German dish since they are celebrating Oktoberfest.  My great grandparents are from Germany and I haven't really tried much German food.  I was really intrigued by the "German noodles". I pictured homemade, wide noodles.  It turns out they were just regular noodles.  LOL

Jaeger Schnitzel which is tender veal cutlet with homemade beer batter and served over German noodles.  Topped with homemade Hunter sauce (mushroom wine) served with a side of red cabbage.
The veal was really good.  The sauce was different. It was somewhat like a Marsala, but not as good. The noodles were well, just noodles.  They looked liked the same noodles that were in Jeff's dish.  LOL

It came with a side salad.  The salad seemed to have a lot of brown, wilted lettuce, but it was okay.

Jeff ordered Chicken Saltimboucca.  Boneless breast of chicken pounded thin and stuffed with ham, mozzarella and Italian stuffing, sauteed in olive oil and Chablis.  It is served with Fettuccini Alfredo.  He really liked his meal.  I tried the chicken and it was good.

Chicken Saltimboucca.

 He had a Caesar salad which looked a lot nicer and greener than mine.

I am glad we ate here because I enjoyed trying the German dish.  We were not pleased with our waitress, but we tried to be patient because she did seem to be in over her head.

Hillside Restaurant Downtown on Urbanspoon