Sunday, March 29, 2009

How do you buy this? And how much does it cost?

WOW! I didn't know you could buy the front cover of the Chamber Report, the official monthly publication of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. But, apparently so:

I'll have to remember this when I want to sell my house or something. Maybe the city can announce Hey, bend over!! Here comes the "repair the sewer" tax! Anyway, it so irritated me, I tossed it without looking at it. PPFFFT.

So, without further delay:

No Museum
Brought to you by Citizens for Responsible Spending

Vote NO April 7
The ballot question will be called Sales Tax to Support Public Facilities. Please vote NO on election day or during the early voting period of March 16 through April 2.

Vote NO on Public Facilities Sales Tax
On April 7, 2009, voters who live in Peoria County will decide whether to approve a .25% sales tax increase for public facilities purposes — specifically, to help construct the proposed Peoria Riverfront Museum. We believe Peoria County residents should vote NO.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Two 25 Review

I, too, received an invite to the “bloggers only” dinner at Two25. I didn’t go for two reasons: I had to work that evening and to quote two local bloggers “I will drop by…and try the place out…and if it sucks, I'll let you know and if it doesn't, well I'll let you know but it will be on my terms and my tab.” And “Shane, a manager there, made a brilliant move having a group of local bloggers come out and eat there for free and write reviews. It shows that the management there understands that the way of the future is the web, and that local bloggers are a great source of positive publicity. Of course it could have backfired. We could have hated it.”

And to add to those two statements, they could control the environment knowing the who, what, where, when and loading up on additional staff if they deemed necessary to ensure there would be no mishaps. Whether or not they did or not, I do not know. However, according to one review, there seems to be a bit of buttkissing (read the third paragraph) I didn't receive.

Why I didn't post this previously? I didn't want to jade any reviews. I'm all about local restaurants and their survival. But I admit, I saved this review to shed light on what a "normal schmoe" could expect if you weren't being a "privvied" blogger.

So, I went to Two25 for dinner with my dining accomplice about the same time these invites hit the e-mails. We were sat at 6:45 with only one other table in the dining room. The hostess was very polite. We left at 8:30. Two tables which were sat after us, got their meals before us and one was done eating and was paying their bill before we got our main course. My dining accomplice asked if she could have a spinach salad as a substitute for the dinner salad. The waiter said "yes"…and charged me the $6.00 for it without explaining that it would be an additional $6.00. Not that I mind the $6.00; I would have just appreciated the fact that I would have been told there would be an upcharge instead of just saying yes. I ASSUMED it, but…. The food was exceptional and nicely prepared. My DA had the Pasta with shrimp & crab in Alfredo sauce, which was a huge portion and she had to take half of it home. I had the duck breast in lingonberry-chambord sauce (which came with their signature 40 layer augratin potatoes & glazed fingerling carrots, which were beautifully cooked…just a hint of crisp). The duck was the perfect medium rare as I requested it. I had a glass of wine and we split a dessert, which was an apple caramel pie. Cost? $70 and change (of course with that $6.00 up charge on the spinach salad) + tip took it to $84.

The whole time, I, and my dining accomplice, felt that we were a second thought to the waiter. To quote the great Bob Seger, we "felt like a number". Every thing was “quick” the bread was dropped off as he was passing by. Boom…there it is…..bye….. Not too personable.

Two items of note: their augratin potatoes will piss off a lot of Peorians. Why? Because they ARE true augratin potatoes, not cheese potatoes. True augratins are just barely held together with tiniest bit of white sauce (if any sauce at all) and after cooked, they are broiled so the top becomes very crispy. Au gratin doesn't mean cheese, it means to "brown on top". (I can hear it now: "I ORDERED AUGRATIN POTATOES; THERE'S NO CHEESE IN THESE!!!) These potatoes were “da BOMB"! I was VERY excited to see these and loved every bite. I doubt there are better potatoes in Peoria on a menu. Next item: The duck. The duck with lignonberries sounded as interesting as it did familiar and that is why I had it. As I racked my brain, I remembered this entrĂ©e at a local restaurant several years ago: duck breast with a wild mushroom polenta (or something of that nature) and a lingonberry laced port (or maybe red zinfandel) sauce. Regardless, I loved the dish.

I understand the "polished casual" look, but when you have $45 steaks on the menu and serve escargot, do you think the wait staff should dress up a bit more than Two25 black T-shirts?
I know I'm sounding a bit negative at points, but not really. It was a great meal, but obviously some place you can't afford to eat at every night unless you make far more cash than I. I'd go back just for the au gratins. Seriously. It is definitely the place to go before a downtown event and I will be back.

See You Around The Table.....

Monday, March 23, 2009

And, I Was Thinking......

Caterpillar Tractor Co. will not build the Caterpillar Welcome Center if the New Museum is not build on the old Sears block. This is old news.

The question is IF the museum does get built and the CAT Welcome Center is built, will CAT maintain and keep the CAT Welcome Center open if the museum fails and closes like some nay'sayers predict?


Saturday, March 21, 2009

You Can Tell It Is Starting To Be Spring....

Yeah, the tulips are poking through. The robins and cardinals are singing. The grass is starting to turn green. The furnace doesn't run as much. My Japanese maple is starting to get buds.

Also, there are more barking dogs, ghetto doorbells, gray fury creatures burrowing holes underneath my shed, landscape vandals and trash tumbleweeding across my yard. Of course, in my travels the last few days, I've noticed the slow, meandering jaywalking down the middle of the street is starting to occur, too.

Ah, spring in hoodburbia*.

*hoodburbia - My sous chef at the IVY Club coined the phrase. He lived (maybe still does) on Thrush, by Krogers. He told me that HE lived in "the hood"; that I didn't live in "the hood"; that I lived across the street from "the 'hood" thusly living in hoodburbia.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seven Days of Penitence Later...

As I wrote here, I would eat at a locally owned restaurant every day, for seven days as penitence for eating at a chain restaurant. Well, that didn't quite seven straight days. One day I was so beat after getting off work at 9:30 PM all I wanted was a beer, a hot shower and 10 hours of sleep.

Anyway... the local tastifest included:

A New Yorker sub sandwich from Fedoras. If there is a better, tastier, more filling sandwich in the Peoria area for $6.00 , I defy you to name it. It doesn't exist.

A vegetable quesadilla at Panache. A little pricey, but definitely yummy.

I got the unadvertised 411 from Sully himself that last Sunday that he was offering prime rib for the special at Sullivans in the Heights. It had to be a 12 oz. cut, one of the MASSIVE baked potato for which he is known and corn on the cob, which to my delight, was cooked perfectly...none of the mushy stuff. After having a bowl of Whitey's new Jim Beam Bourbon Steak chili for lunch, this prime rib dinner and a few Sam Adams, I felt like the guy from the restaurant scene in Monty Python's "Meaning of Life".

An old standby: A Gebbyburger and onion rings at Schooners. Nothing fancy, just always consistently good.

Where else? The Smo-King Pit. Half rack of ribs (with spicy BBQ sauce on request) fries and baked beans. Since I know the owner, I got to sample the smoked BBQ chicken he is working on. Mr. Smo-King Pit is always up to something.

Another old standby is Crusens on War Drive. The Southwestern pork chop sandwich and fries. It has a little kick. I just had one of these a few weeks think I would have ordered something different. And this joint has the best fries.

Last night was Kellehers. Crabcake sandwich and (out of the bag) onion rings. I usually have their Beamish Beef sandwich and while the crabcake sandwich was OK, back to Beamish Beef next time.

During this time of penitence, I was in Rockford for part of a day. Where do you eat in Rockford? Well, the Swedish Pancake House, of course. And what do you eat at the Swedish Pancake House? That's right, with apple butter. We need a Swedish Pancake House in Peoria; I love those thin, crepe-like pancakes.

And now, it is time for some scrambled eggs with smoked cheddar cheese and Louisiana Hot Sauce.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I don't know how many of these damned things I've got in the mail. How did an ANTI-"tax to support the museum" person get on the list anyway? Think this if going to change my mind? How many trees died and trash cans filled with this unread propoganda? How many dollars in advertising has been spent that could have gone toward the block? *sigh*

Please support

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Great Day in the Peoria Blog-o-sphere

Mazr is back at Peoria Life. Most Peoria area bloggers probably do not know of this blog because he bowed out before most started their blogs in the Peoria area. Good to have Mazr and Peoria Life back.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Anonymous Comment Person

I had a discussion the other day with a fellow Peoria area blogger and we discussed anonymous commenters. I said they don't really bother me. After some of the torrent criticism I've caught from the anonymous commenter, eh, I don't care. I figure if they do know me, they are weak kneed, hide behind their poisoned keyboard type and if they don't know me, well, they don't know me and really become blog post filler, good or bad.

But then I thought: "Really, who is anonymous"? I'm going to pick on Billy Dennis. He has broad shoulders. Now, what if none of us have had met Billy? We would know who he is, but we wouldn't know "WHO" he is. His name could be Swen, he could be a tall, lanky fellow with Fabio hair, an outrageous Swedish accent that has 12 kids with his Swiss wife, Helga and a newspaper delivery person for the Pekin Times. But his online personna would be a former traditonal journalist, who is a customer service rep that lives in Peoria's Roanoke district.

Also, if Bob Smith from Bob Smith's Chicken Shack and BBQ from Dothan, Alabama comments on my blog that "Chef Kevin, you have no idea how to fry chicken, you bonehead!" - is that an anonymous comment? To me it is. His picture (if it is really him) or avatar is there and he has this "Bob Smith's Chicken Shack & BBQ" T-shirt on, but, who the hell is he? I don't know him...he might as well be anonymous. Hell, it may not even be Bob Smith! It could be John Jones from John Jones' Chicken Hut & Ribs across the street from Bob Smith's Chicken Shack & BBQ and he is trying to give Bob Smith a hard time because his fried chicken is better.

There are also bloggers and comments in the Peoria area that have avatars, profiles, etc. but no one has met them. Do we KNOW them or they a one dimensonal "pretty face" on your computer screen? To me...anonymous.

To those of you that I have met and comment (good or bad) on my blog, HEY, its nice you dropped by, said "HI" (or go F*ck yourself) and read what I have to say. Lets have a Sam Adams!! To those of you who are anonymous...hey, you have your reasons even if your real name is Swen from Sweden.

My first time...

.....that I've eaten in a chain restaurant since early May of '08 occurred today. *sigh* And I haven't missed a thing.

I'm sure you clicked on this for some other reason which makes me wonder WHY you'd do that, but is also the reason why I named it that.

In penance of my sin, I'm going to eat every day for the next week at a locally owned restaurant (or at least get take out).

I will now go say 100 Hail Escoffiers and make plans to go to Fedora's tonight for a New Yorker sandwich.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Jaw Just Fell Open

District 150 released Guy Cahill from his duties as comptroller\treasurer. They are looking for a full time replacement. In reading the PJ Star today, I see this (emphasis mine): "Additionally, the School Board approved hiring Michael J. McKenzie, a certified public accountant, to fill a new position: chief accountant and director of internal audits and external assurances. He will be paid $90,000 annually." Wow. More "administration" types. Wouldn't this new job be what the comptroller\treasurer should be doing? I dunno, just asking. I don't know Mr. McKenzie, he could be a swell guy and this post has nothing to do with him personally. D150 has an admitted projected incoming cash flow problem over the next few years but can find an additional 90K to fill a NEW position while most companies are scaling back to keep afloat.