Eilenberger’s Bakery Since 1898

Quaint bakery shop with the old tin ceiling. We enjoyed the pecan nuggets and the chocolate chip pecan cookies.

Bakery case full of goodies.Eilenberger’s Bakery Since 1898

512 N. John St., Palestine, Texas

Venue:  Small town bakery begun in 1898.

Old tin ceiling in bakery.Atmosphere:  Quaint bakery shop with the old tin ceiling. Welcoming to stop in and browse. There is plenty of seating to enjoy your selections or you can get them to go. A number of antiques related to the business are on display. On the walls are photographs depicting the community at different points in time.Historic picture of the inside of the bakery.Display case with Pecan Nuggets and Chocolate Chip Pecan cookies.

Offerings:  Candies, cookies and other goodies.

Recommendations:  Be sure to get several of a variety of items to sample. We enjoyed the pecan nuggets and the chocolate chip pecan cookies. Both would be do agains on a return trip. Be sure to take a catalog with you or check out their selections online at eilenbergerbakery.com.

Friendly employee behind bakery counter wearing black baker's hat.Service:  Friendly, helpful service. We enjoyed chatting with the employee about the history of the business and building. Texas Historical Commission placque for the bakery on the outside, front of the bakery.There is even a Texas Historical Commission placque for the bakery. Under the placque is an “Oil City Ironworks, Corsicana, Texas” embossing.“Oil City Ironworks, Corsicana, Texas” embossing under Texas Historical Commission placque for the bakery.

Storefront of the bakery.Return Rating: Definitely would love to!nside of bakery showing cases and old tin ceiling.

 

 

 

Table seating inside bakery.

 

Giordano’s Deep Dish Pizza

We’ve had Giordano’s before in Chicagoland and received a quality pizza at this Central Illinois location. If you love leftover pizza, order accordingly and take home what you can’t eat.

Deep dish pizza on cardboard round with 2 pieces missing.Giordano’s

1505 N. Veterans Pkwy., Bloomington, IL

Venue: Chicago pizzaria located in Bloomington, IL. Note: there are lots of Chicagoland Giordano’s.

Atmosphere: Table seating in a shotgun style restaurant. Layout is long and narrow. Plenty of seating but it does feel a bit crowded. If you love deep dish pizza, you can tough out the seating arrangement. Large screen tv was visible.Long narrow seating in restaurant with table, chairs and wall mounted large screen tv.

Food Fare: Exceptional! We’ve had Giordano’s before in Chicagoland and received a quality pizza at this Central Illinois location.Deep dish spinach, cheese, mushroom pizza slice on plate with a few bites gone. Also, sprinkle cheese is on pizza and a fork is on the plate. We enjoyed the Spinach and Cheese deep dish with mushrooms added.

Recommendations: Avoid going at peak times if you don’t want to wait. If you love leftover pizza, order accordingly and take home what you can’t eat. Cold pizza for breakfast is a treat we enjoy!Giordano’s pizza box, “The 1 Giirdano’s, Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza.”

Service: Carly provided good, solid service and was a personable waitress. We did let her know that the restaurant really needed to cover the window above the entry door as the supply area was on display and it wasn’t flattering.

Return Rating: Most definitely when in the mood for deep dish!

Smitty’s Café – Amazing Food

We’ve had both breakfast and burgers, and loved both. Hash browns and french fries were “burned” as requested.

Smitty's Cafe storefront in downtown Brenham, TX with baker man statue out front.Smitty’s Café & Bakery

100 W. Main Street, Brenham, TX

Venue: Small, downtown eatery that was highly recommended to us by 2 different sets of folks.

Atmosphere: Casual and comfortable with table seating. Find your spot and take a seat.Table seating with green and cream tile floor and Texas Country decor.

Food Fare: Exceptional! We’ve had breakfast and burgers, and loved both. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and we’ll done hash browns.Hash browns and french fries were “burned” as requested. Tried the peanutbutter and jelly hamburger that comes with bacon — Yum! I’d been sidestepping trying a hamburger with peanutbutter because I figured it would be really great or really a goner. This combo is a do again! The half sandwich with green beans was a healthier choice for me. My better half enjoyed the potatoes each time.Half peanutbutter jelly hamburger with side of green beans

Recommendations: Lunch starts at 11:00 a.m. If you’re there a bit early (10:45) like we were the first visit, don’t let the waitress impact you asking for lunch. We were “encouraged” to order breakfast, but the folks that came in just before us were allowed to order lunch. Lunch is the reason we chose the restaurant. Let me say though, breakfast was fantastic!Plate size pancake with butter.

Service: If our service we received the first visit dictated our decision to return, we would never go back. My husband ordered over easy eggs and got scrambled. After asking for a biscuit and being informed there were none, I settled for toast. I asked the bread choices and selected wheat. I received white. Our waitress failed to check on us. We left no tip because it wasn’t earned. We also informed the cashier and she apologized and insured us they could do better. Unfortunately, we sat in the same spot our second visit and had the same waitress. She did better than our first visit, but service was not stellar. Another waitress did check on us and had an outstanding attitude. We put a tip in the tip jar. Be sure to sit at a table being served by the blonde waitress.

Front of Smitty's Cafe menu with hours, address, and phone numbers.Return Rating: Definitely because the food is amazing! At least until we find a comparable restaurant we prefer.Omelette with cheese and toast

Firehouse Subs has Fantastic Food

Very tasty sub sandwiches and salads aptly named to reflect the theme. Do be sure and check out the hot sauces on the counter! Also, take a peek at the Firehouse Subs website to look for a location in your area.

Sub Sandwich on paper lined red plastic tray with drink cup in background.Firehouse Subs

1407 N. Veterans Parkway, Bloomington, IL

In all fairness, after the Cops & Doughnuts post how could I not give equal time to the Fire Guys. We recently discovered this fast food chain and enjoy eating at Firehouse Subs.

Venue: Fire Station themed, casual, fast food setting. Eat in or get it to go.

Tables inside Firehouse Subs and firehouse decor on the walls.Atmosphere: Fire Station signs, clothing and décor. Choose which Dalmatian print table top suits your fancy. Fun environment to eat in as everyone loves firemen!

Food Fare: Very tasty sub sandwiches and salads aptly named to reflect the theme. We’ve enjoyed all our selections. Salad in red bowl with dressing in 2 plastic cups sitting in salad bowl. Chocolate Chip cookie is on the side.The Normal, IL shop had the fancy soda pop machine that allows you to scroll through the beverage choices and all choices dispense through one outlet. Love the Diet Fanta soda flavors. There are a variety of hot sauces on the counter and they are rated by number. The higher the number, the hotter the sauce. The chocolate chip cookie was delicious too!

Sign explaining the sale of 5 gallon pickle buckets for $2 to help support first responders and public safety organizations.Recommendations: Buy an empty pickle bucket, red of course. The proceeds supports First Responders and Public Safety Organizations. These 5 gallon buckets come in quite handy for yard work, home storage, or lugging stuff around. Do be sure and check out the hot sauces on the counter! Also, take a peek at the Firehouse Subs website to look for a location in your area.Counter in Firehouse Subs with menu boards posted on the wall behind the counter.

Service: We’ve always had great service at the Normal location.

Return Rating: Definitely!Dalmatian print table tops with red chairs. Firemen clothing is hanging on the brick wall.

Cops & Doughnuts

We walked in and were impressed with the selections. There was a huge variety of sweets with a large selection of day olds.

Display case of doughnuts at Cops & DoughnutsCops & Doughnuts

521 N. McEwan St., Clare, MI

Not much is better than when someone comes down to the station with a couple boxes of donuts. (Maybe buffalo wings). Retiring after 24+ yrs as a cop, I can attest to the police love of food.

Driving north through Michigan, we observed a sign for the “Cops and Doughnuts,” donut shop in Clare, MI. As usual, time for a detour. Cops & Doughnuts storefront

We arrived in Clare and found a bustling burg full of downtown shops and activities. It appeared that folks were taking pride in their town. On the west side of the street was “Cops and Doughnuts”.Employee behind display cases of doughnuts and baked goods.

We walked in and were impressed with the selections. There was a huge variety of sweets with a large selection of day olds. "Parolees Last Chance" day old doughnuts case signThere was a spot that had tables and served other foods as well. If you would like, you could sit down and have a cup while having your doughnut. In an adjoining room were trinkets and wares in support of the Thin Blue Line.Tables and chairs, and merchandise at the Cops & Doughnuts shop.

Well, it seems this bakery was on its last leg, with other businesses leaving downtown. A group of local cops got together and purchased the bakery, changing its name to Cops and Doughnuts. The purchasing officers ( some now retired) continue to operate the business and support many local causes. If one of them retires from the PD, there is a job waiting in the doughnut business.Racks of bakes goods.

Stop in and check it out when in the neighborhood. Cops & Doughnuts is a tourist attraction that serves great doughnuts!

By Pete AveryCrossed Street Signs, "Cops" and "Doughnuts" inside store.

Lambert’s Café Offers Fun & Food

Be sure to try the Pass Arounds — they are worth it. The fried potatoes are totally a taste experience. Watch out for the throwed rolls . . . The Roll Throwers accuracy is impressive!

Jowls, fried potatoes, onion slices and green beans on a plate with boiled beans in a bowl on the side.Want a fun place to eat where you not only feed your stomach but get an “experience” too?Lambert's Cafe storefront with American flags posted on porch posts.

Try Lambert’s Café also known as “Home of Throwed Rolls.”

License plates and advertising signs covering a restaurant wall.Venue: Fun, memorabilia decorated restaurant with booth dining. Table seating is also available. Definitely tourist oriented as they can accommodate lots of folks at once. Booth seating in Lambert's Cafe.They have a nice gift shop too. The parking lot is suitable for buses, semi’s, RV’s, trucks, and cars. We have only visited the Sikeston, Missouri location but there are two other locations: Ozark, MO and Foley, AL.

Framed military patch display.

Atmosphere: Casual country feel. It can be noisy if you are dining at peak times. Watch out for the throwed rolls as they can be tossed clear across the dining room. The Roll Throwers accuracy is impressive!Chicken tenders, applesauce in a bowl, fried potatoes, and green beans on a plate. A bowl of milk gravy is on the side.

Food Fare: American comfort food that is tasty and fills you up. We’ve tried the chicken salad, jowls and beans and chicken tenders. We were always pleased with our selections. The beverage cups are ginormous so if you are a heavy drinker, you’ll be satisfied.

List of Pass Arounds at Lambert's Cafe: Hot Rolls & Sorghum, Macaroni & Tomatoes, Fried Potatoes & Onions, Black-Eyed Peas, Fried Okra, and Apple Butter.

 

Recommendations: Be sure to try the Pass Arounds — they are worth it. The fried potatoes are totally a taste experience. We thought of the Macaroni & Tomatoes as goulash and it was tasty. Servers walk around with the Pass Arounds and dish out what you want to try. Of course, be sure to catch a roll. Plan to pay with cash or check.Two chicken salad clumps topped with tomato slices, fried potatoes, and crackers on a plate. Applesauce and cole slaw each tin a side bowl.

Service: We experienced great service during both of our visits.

Boiled beans in a bowl, green beans, fried potatoes and cornbread on a plate. jowls and coleslaw each in a side bowl.

 

 

 

Return Rating: Definitely when traveling through and hungry enough to do it justice.  Large yellow painted footprints on the floor leading to the gift shop.

 

 

 

Put Bush’s Chicken on Your Bucket List

Definitely have a roll with your meal — they are worth saving up your carbs for! We love to eat at Bush’s Chicken and think you will too.

Chicken tenders, gravy, cole slaw, and roll on plate.Chicken is a an easy meal to grab while on the go or traveling.

A good, solid American comfort and fast food that is tasty and delicious.

Next time you are in Texas, be sure to give Bush’s Chicken a try. Do you have a favorite local chicken place? If so, please share in the comments section.

Venue:  Fast Food Chicken Restaurant chain in Central, South and West Texas.Tables inside Bush's Chicken

Atmosphere: Take out, drive through, or dine in at the Fairfield location. Plenty of booth or table seating and several tv’s you can enjoy while eating.

Food Fare: My husband loves their gizzards and always receives more than a full serving when he orders them. Bush's Chicken gizzard meal and chicken tender meal on tray. Both with a side, gravy and roll.The chicken tenders are white meat with crunchy breading. Cole slaw is delicious and sweet potato fries are good too. Definitely have a roll with your meal — they are worth saving up your carbs for! They offer a cold chicken salad that is a solid meal if you are counting those carbs — just take the croutons off. They carry Coke, Dr. Pepper, and their own ice tea.Order counter and soda pop fountain inside Bush's Chicken

Recommendations:  Be sure to get gravy to dip your chicken or roll in. Bush’s also offers a variety of dipping sauces. WiFi at the Fairfield location works very well if you need to catch up on email or surfing the net.

Booth and table seating inside Bush's Chicken.Service: Always friendly and respectful.

Return Rating: Definitely! We love to eat at Bush’s Chicken and think you will too.Bush's Chicken restaurant and sign.

Amish Adventures in Arthur, Illinois Abound

Amish are known for non-electric homes, peaceful lifestyle, hard work, and traditional values and beliefs.

Family Health Foods store with cars in front and back of Amish buggy to the far right.Ready for a Central Illinois road trip? Amish country in Arthur offers plenty to do.

Enjoy driving Country roads to appreciate farm scenes, walk downtown Arthur for a small town shopping experience, or venture into the local, rural shops for some fun browsing. I wanted to share some of our favorites with you.

Sign above door for Green Meadow FarmGreen Meadow Farm offers goat products. Now, hold on. I’m not usually a goat milk fan because to me it tastes like a goat smells. Green Meadow storefront.However, Green Meadow Farms offers mild goat milk that tastes great. They also offer a tasty goat milk yogurt as well as Sissell Supplements.

Country Salvage sign. Hours are Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.Country Salvage offers groceries at discount prices. I absolutely love to shop at Country Salvage. Note their open hours on their sign and be sure to plan your shopping to catch them open. Merchandise inside Country Salvage grocery store.There are regular groceries, damaged items, and other discounted items. You’ll find sales and specials too. They offer items you will find in any grocery store as well as speciality items you won’t find everywhere. Be sure to bring a cooler if you shop in warmer weather.Merchandise inside Country Salvage grocery store displayed in bins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storefront of Family Health FoodsIt has been fun to watch Family Health Foods grow in their merchandise offerings over the years we’ve been shopping at their store. Merchandise inside Family Health Foods store.They offer a good variety of health supplements, kitchen cookware items, cookbooks, gift items, and other food items. You’ll find the advertising health food magazines if you read these to keep up with new products. Staff are extremely helpful.Merchandise inside Family Health Foods store.

Beachy’s Bulk Foods is a fun store too. If you’re in the market for baking needs, be sure to drop in. Flours, sugars and bulk candies and crackers will be found here. Gift items, toys, and lots of other stuff. As the name implies, they offer foods in bulk. One of our favorite items had been gummy chicken feet, but they have all kinds of gummy candies.

Yoder’s Kitchen is a great place to eat in Arthur proper. On weekends and prime tourist time you’ll have to wait in line for a seat unless you plan ahead to beat the rush or arrive other than peak meal times. Traditional comfort foods and desserts are on the buffet. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad bar, and ice cream machine are a few items. You can also order off the menu if you prefer.

When you are ready to explore, be sure to plan plenty of time for shopping in Amish Country. Country Salvage storefront.Also, bring cash. While some stores accept credit cards, there are some that only accept cash and possibly checks. There is an annual Arthur Mennonite Relief Sale at the Otto Center. August 24-25, 2018 is the next one. It is a great opportunity to eat some great foods and buy some Amish/Mennonite made products at the benefit auction and market.

If you are not familiar with the Amish culture and traditions, I encourage you to read about it online. As with any culture, you will want to be informed so as to be respectful. Amish are known for non-electric homes, peaceful lifestyle, hard work, and traditional values and beliefs. We have been blessed to meet and become friends with an Amish family and have enjoyed their friendship, laughter, and mutual prayer support.Merchandise inside Country Salvage displayed in bins.

Have Breakfast & Dinner for Supper at The Breakwater Family Restaurant

. . . have both breakfast and dinner for supper! Oh, and consider dessert . . . the list of choices makes it tempting.

The Ashland Burger with curly fries.The Breakwater Family Restaurant

1111 E. Cloverland Dr., Ironwood, MI

Hungry but not sure if you want breakfast or dinner for supper? Give this family restaurant a try and have one or both for supper!

Booth seating inside The Breakwater Family Restaurant.Venue: Sit down diner style restaurant with lots of booth seating. There are some tables in the rear corner area.

Atmosphere: Casual hometown feel.

Food Fare: Breakfast can be ordered any time but there are lots of sandwiches, salads, and dinner choices depending how hungry you are. Pete enjoyed the Ashland Burger consisting of a 1/2 lb. burger with bacon and an over easy egg along with lettuce, tomato and American cheese. So, it is possible to have both breakfast and dinner for supper! I had the Veggie Omelet with fruit. Veggie omelet with 2 slices of bacon and slight view of fruit cup.The fruit cup was 1/2 an orange, grapes, and pineapple. The fruit was tasty and the side order of bacon was nice and crispy. We have eaten here before and we’ve not been disappointed.Two orange slices and pineapple in fruit cup bowl.

Recommendations: There are 3 locations for this restaurant. Ashland, WI; Superior, WI; and Ironwood, MI. We’ve only eaten at the Ironwood location but consider stopping at any of the 3 if your in their neck of the woods. Oh, and consider dessert. I’ve not had any of them but the list of choices makes it tempting. Check out The Breakwater Restaurant website and menu.

Desserts board listing pies, muffins, and other choices.Service: We’ve always had solid service at the Ironwood location.

Return Rating: Yes, we will definitely eat here again.The Breakwater Family Restaurant sign.

Big Mouth Burger Company

All of the food was delicious. We both thought our burger buns were worth going off the carb wagon for.

Small mouth burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and onion rings.Big Mouth Burger Company

 

124 Planters St, Emory, Texas

Driving through Emory, Texas we noticed this burger joint across the town square and made a mental note to try it sometime. It just looked interesting and we’re always up for a good burger.

Venue: A casual, small town burger joint with a fun décor.Storefront for Big Mouth Burger Company

Atmosphere: You’re welcomed when noticed and you can sit at any of the 12 tables. Not sure  if all of them were named, but we sat at the “Poker Table.” I did notice there was a Liar’s Table.”Poker Table sign on wall over our table. Ketchup, straws, napkins, salt, pepper, sweeteners also on table.

 

Food Fare: The menu had a lot of great looking choices. When asked what was good, our waitress replied, “All of it.” She did specifically recommend the Wild Wild West hamburger. It had a jalapeño bun and Pete enjoyed it. Wild Wild West burger with French fries I had a small mouth burger with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo. The bacon I added was a smart decision. Also, I opted for onion rings. All of the food was delicious. We both thought our burger buns were worth going off the carb wagon for. The french fries were seasoned and crunchy with a softer inner potato texture. They were good but would have been better if crispier. We love well done fries. There are a variety of sandwich choices in addition to the burgers as well as salads. There are fried pies for dessert. We split a peach one and it was just the right size to offer a bit of sweet for both of us.

Small mouth burger with onion ringsRecommendations: Look over the menu at all the great choices. There are quite a few that fall in the spicy category, but you can build your Big or Small Mouth Burger to suit. You’ll want to save room for a sugared fried pie or get one to go.

Service: Solid Service. Our tea ran out so Pete took our cups up for a refill. Our waitress apologized after this and did let us know she could get to go cups for us if we wished. It was a busy time with lots of diners. It wasn’t like she was ignoring us. She owned it and still received a tip.

Return Rating: Definitely! Wanna try out a different sandwich.

Fried Chicken Buffet at KFC

Delicious buffet with salad bar and an ice cream machine. Love the SoBe Life Water at the fountain. It is nice to have a diet drink other than unsweetened tea that’s not a soda.

Plate of KFC chicken salad, coleslaw and cottage cheese.In the mood for a buffet of all you can eat chicken?

We stopped at this KFC years ago and really enjoyed the offerings. Recently we revisited this northern Wisconsin KFC in Plover.

Venue: Kentucky Fried Chicken offering fast food off the menu or via buffet.

Atmosphere: Nicely decorated table or booth dining area included a stone fireplace and TV.nside seating tables and tv above fireplace.

Food Fair: Delicious buffet with salad bar and an ice cream machine. Drinks were included in the buffet price. View of buffet including ice cream machine.Several varieties of fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cole slaw were among the choices.

Recommendations: Give the buffet a try. This location and the one in Harrisburg, Illinois have had better buffet food choices than other smaller KFC’s we’ve been to. Love the SoBe Life Water at the fountain. It is nice to have a diet drink other than unsweetened tea that’s not a soda.Picture of soda fountain drink area

Service: Friendly staff and clean tables!

Return rating: Definitely when we are in the area and in a buffet mood. Yes, its KFC. Yes, it is fast food, but in a clean and friendly setting.

Food on buffet line: chicken, corn, chicken and noodles, other items.

Salad bar area of buffet. Cole slaw, butter packets, dressing choices, croutons, lettuce, and other items.

 

 

 

Check out these recipes I shared from “Twenty Favorite Recipes of Col. Harland Sanders” booklet:  Buttermilk Pie, Chess Pie, and Hotwater Pie Crust. They are all delicious and I share my experiences making these recipes to encourage and assist you when you attempt them.

Grandpa John’s Rib Shack

We enjoyed the ribs and pulled pork served in rectangle cake pans.

Pulled pork dinner with sweet potato fries, waffle cornbread, and Cole slaw served in a rectangle cake panGrandpa John’s Rib Shack

 

2328 W. Willow Knolls Dr., Peoria, Illinois

We had been wanting to try this small, local diner. It appeared to be popular as shown by the number of folks that ate there during our visit.

 

Order counter window and soda fountainVenue: Order at the counter and grab a seat. Your food is delivered to your table.

 

Inside table seating at Grandpa John's Rib Shack

 

 

Atmosphere: Casual setting with homey country décor. Table seating inside as well as outside seating in season.

 

 

 

Ribs and French fries in rectangular cake panFood Fare: We enjoyed the ribs and pulled pork. Sweet potato fries were great. The corn bread waffle was dry but worth a try. Butter would have helped. Food is served in rectangle cake pans. While the food was tasty, there were temperature issues: the cole slaw was warm and the meat could have been hotter.

 

Recommendations: Check out the specials. A dinner provides a lot of food if your’re real hungry.Outside seating at Grandpa John's Rib Shack on sidewalk by front door

 

Service: Typical order at the counter service.

 

Return Rating: Have to be in the mood.

Grandpa John's Rib Shack store front