Thursday, May 28, 2009

Childer's Sunday Brunch

As promised in a previous post, I would post my thoughts on Childer's Sunday Brunch at their new location in the old Fiesta Ranchero restaurant next to Landmark Plaza. I always have enjoyed breakfast at Childer's Eatery, but his Sunday morning crowd usually finds me with a wait unless I go early.

I went this past Sunday to the brunch. There weren't too many people there which the owner chalked up to it being a holiday weekend as his main restaurant wasn't busy either. To hear that Childer's restaurant isn't busy on a Sunday morning is almost shocking.

Anyway, Childer puts on quite a spread. I didn't take notes, I never do, so I'm sure to miss something, but here it goes. Scrambled eggs, bacon (which was EXACTLY how I like it...somewhere between limp and crisp - none of the half raw bacon nor the kind you bite into and it shatters), sausage, mini biscuits & gravy, home fries, hash browns, teriyaki chicken kabobs, ham & pineapple kabobs, mostaccoli and Italian meatballs in red sauce, stuffed poblano peppers, it appeared to be broccoli and cauliflower in cheese sauce (not a fan of broccoli and cauliflower in cheese sauce so I didn't try it), herb roasted new potatoes, cooked carrots, green bean casserole, cabbage with bacon and corn on the cob, various rolls and pastries. There were a couple of cold vegetable salads, fresh fruit, a mini salad bar. If that isn't enough, there was a table full of mini desserts (if you could possibly have any more room in your stomach). But, I'm not done. There is an omelet station and waffle station. Plus they were carving roast beef and turkey.

All the food I had was reasonably hot. We all know buffet food is rarely "piping hot". My server came around quite a bit refilling coffee and water. I just hope that wasn't because she was bored due to the lack of people. She also came around with "Jumer-like" mini cinnamon rolls.

Two things I'm not sure of: if they put out the exact same items every week or not. I missed Ed when I left to ask. The next thing is the price. I had coffee and OJ and they charged me an additional dollar, so I'm *guessing* you get a beverage with the price of the meal. I was talking to Ed (the owner) when they gave me my change back and I just shoved it in my pocket with some other money I had. I left a $3.00 tip. I'm guessing it runs between $12.95 and $14.95 plus tax. Looking at other Sunday morning brunches prices, Weaver Ridge runs $17.95 and the Par-a-dice is $12.95, so they are "in the ballpark".

I'll go back but probably not when this chef is cooking on the occasional Sunday at Panache.

See You Around The Table.....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Varied Culinary News

Well, it has been awhile since I posted so I probably only have one reader left who is Anonymous.

Anyway, some local culinary news. I'm sure there is more, but this is what I know.

I'm saddened that the Bronze Frog has moved from The Shoppes at Grand Prairie to Junction City because they will no longer offer cooking classes. I guess I'm going to have to set the Webber up in my driveway and hold classes there. Hmmmmm.....

CiCi's Pizza (appears) closed. Don't know when this happened. Anyway, when they first opened I liked their pizza for what it was. Not the greatest pie, but I've had far worse for which I paid more money. The last time I was there...eh. Don't know what changed.

Childers Eatery on University has taken over the old Fiesta Ranchero next to Landmark. Chatting with the owner, he is using it for a banquet center and for Sunday brunch. Now if any of you (if any of you are still out there) have tried to get into Childers for Sunday breakfast after 9:30-ish am, well, I'm pointing at you and laughing. So, they have opened up the banquet center for Sunday brunch. This is on my list ASAP and I shall report back.

A new local food blog by Amber Pawula. Name sound familiar? Yep, the chef/daughter of local fine dining pioneer Chef John Pawula of Stephanie & Chef John's fame. She's now at the stove tops at Chef John's and penning the blog Food Geek. Check it out.

The Kaiserhof in Grand Prairie has a beer garden? How sweet is it that a German restaurant has a BEER garden? Speaking of the Kaiserhof, I understand long-time Peoria area Chef Ray Bartsch (not quite sure about the spelling of his last name) is working there. Some people love Ray, others despise. However, I'm fascinated when listening to him talk about "the old days" in the culinary arts/restaurant biz. It makes me yearn for the days when DINING was an art form, when food was appreciated, service deliberate and it WAS the ENTIRE night; not just a forethought to a night out on the town trying to eat and get to the opera in 45 minutes.

Speaking of restaurants in general, an article in the NY Times says that restaurant reviews in the newspapers, well, mainly the NY Times, do not have the same effect on restaurants as they once had. A bad review meant death, a great review, 10 years of prosperity. Maybe readership is down? Maybe people don't care whether it is 4 stars or not..hell, if it food and I'm hungry who cares if the fries come out of a bag? However, I don't know if the NY Times article holds true in Peoria. In Peoria, it means that after the review comes out in the Peoria Journal Star, people flock to the place (usually the day or two after the review comes out) for a month and then, oh, well, off to our usual chain restaurant or whichever place Danielle Hatch & crew are reviewing this week.

If you haven't stopped in at Willett's Wines in Grand Prairie to try Dan & Cris' wines, ?????????????? Now that the weather is warming up, their Traminette will be awesome on those warm summer days. I love the Traminette, but am waiting for the return of the Vidal Blanc. AND if you haven't got your tickets to the June 20 Wine & Dine Experience at the winery ?????????????? GET WITH IT!!!!

That's about it folks.

See You Around The Table.......

Chef Kevin