Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Weber Grill, Chicago, IL

Located just two blocks west of the Magnificent Mile on State Street (between Chicago and Grand) lies the Weber Grill.  Brought to you by the same folks who manufacture the incomparable Weber line of outdoor grills, the restaurant features an open kitchen that allows you to see the fire that will soon be preparing your meal.  Being open, the adjacent seating is a bit on the busy side, so if you're there for a more intimate occasion, request to be seated in the dining room proper. 

If it can be grilled, then the Weber Grill will indeed put the fire to it.  Most dishes feature "fire roasted", "wood fired", "seared" or plain old "grilled" in their monickers.  So far, after multiple visits, I have found you just cannot go wrong with anything on the menu.  A particular favorite is the beer can chicken.  As is the brisket, and the ribs and get the idea.  I can suggest the Starter Sampler to help your decision making.  Vegetarians are not left out either with plenty of  salad, starter, black bean burger or wood fired pizza offerings.  Just don't expect them to drool along with you over the sizzle of roasting meat. 

The last visit was at the lunch hour, and since strolling around the loop was the order of the day, something lighter was in order.  As tempting as the Beer Can chicken sandwich was, I decided to try something different.  So lighter that day meant the Farm Burger.  Kind of an odd name, but what's in a name?  In this case, it is a half pound, freshly ground, beef and lamb burger.  (Lamb - I told you it was a light meal.)  Topped with apple wood smoked bacon, oven roasted tomatoes and goat cheese.  As recommended by the waiter, I ordered it one level more rare and I suggest you do the same.  Trust me on this, and skip the condiments until after your first couple of bites.  You surely will not miss them.  And also opt for the house made potato chips.  They have just the right amount of crunch to accompany the burger. 

For taste and value in Chicago, definitely a 4.5 out of  5.

Bon Femme Cafe, Valparaiso, IN

Located on the north side of Valparaiso's downtown square, Bon Femme Cafe offers an exciting mix of menu items that can please a palate looking for a break from the usual.  Small yet thorough, the selections will satisfy the most discriminating.  Al fresco dining is a summer option as well and brings a bit of Euro flavor to the that side of the square.  Also, please dress appropriately for a fine cafe.  The quality of the food and decor demands it. 

Since we had already been to Redamak's earlier and sampled a variety of wine at the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, a light dinner was in order.  Skipping appetizers, we ordered the Granny Smith Apple Salad topped with filet mignon.  This features bibb lettuce, walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, the aforementioned apples dressed with a white balsamic vinaigrette.  The sliced filet on top turned the salad into a full meal.  Accompanied by the house Reisling it was quite satisfying and refreshing.  I ordered the Spicy Curry Chicken.  Sauteed with dried cherries and apricots and served over basmati rice, it offered a subtle heat and outstanding curry flavor.  There's is plenty enough to share with this entree.  The accompanying pinot noir was robust enough to hold it's own against the curry.  Again, very glad we did not order an appetizer since we left feeling quite satisfied.  Desserts such as Bananas Foster were tempting, but there was still birthday cake waiting at home.

Easily a 5/5 for the food alone.  Look them up at

Monday, June 25, 2012

Redamak's in New Buffalo Michigan

Wandering up along the western shore of Lake Michigan's mitten runs you right past the pleasant beachfront town of New Buffalo. A sandy landscape and vintage attractions great visitors, and when you need a summer meal, Redamak's is waiting. But only from March to October.
Established in 1975 if I recall correctly, it features a fine, simple hamburger. Order a single, double or triple as your appetite commands and dress it up. There were other options on the menu, but I honestly cannot recall what they were. Stick with their "legendary" hamburger and you will not be disappointed. Properly cooked crinkle cut french fries in a serving big enough for two are a fine accompaniment. House made fries would really put everything over the top. And steer clear of the dull curly fries.