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5 Tips Toward Dining Out for Less

 

 

There are -- at last count anyway -- something like 140 restaurants in the Tri-Cities area alone; that is a fairly large number for just three towns along the scenic Fox River. Each and every one of those dining destinations has something that's worth exploring, and there are a number at which I have dined, whose food, service and ambience are certainly noteworthy.

I am fortunate to have had extensive experience in all of the areas/positions available in the restaurant industry: I started at age 16 as a busboy and dishwasher; I have waited tables, served as a line, grill and head cook, saut� man, bar-back, bar tender, bar manager and general manager at various venues from Illinois to California� and back again.  I have a solid understanding of payroll, food and bar costs. I believe that my skills in those areas allow me to possess a unique advantage when it comes to assessing the quality of food, beverage, service and operations of restaurants.  As anyone who has worked in the business will attest, once in your blood, it never really leaves.

Articles & Audio content by Richard Ross

Note:  Any opinions or statements regarding restaurants are mine and are not necessarily shared by Northern Sky Designs or On the Fox.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Located along Route 64 and on the outer edge of "The Quad" (formerly Charlestowne Mall), Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant is an outstanding addition to the dining venues in the Fox Valley area.
Local made oak barrels for Fox River Distilling bourbon Fox River Distilling Company
Perhaps you may have noticed, in a casual walk down Third Street in Geneva this past summer, a sign on the window of a then yet-to-be-open business called Barrel and Rye.  The sign advertised "Coming Soon: Fox River Distilling Company".  I was immediately intrigued, of course, and vowed to visit the distillery...
Top Table Restaurant Review (Podcast 3:58)
The cuisine is described as decidedly American, with a promise from the chef for fresh ingredients and local sourcing of meats and produce.  If previous dinners are any clue as to Top Table�s cuisine � and I believe they are � you�ll be in for a treat.
Perry's Steakhouse & Grille (Oakbrook, IL)
After a tour of the dining area -- which allows seating for 350 diners and includes a towering wine wall, five private dining rooms and an area that allows glimpses of the kitchen (where I imagine an extremely well-orchestrated faux-bedlam that resembles a Tchaikovsky symphony and a brilliant pas-de-deux) -- we adjourned to the bar area where the Perry's  resident mixologist Susi Zivanovic was delivering up some of the finest examples of cocktails
...
Basic ingredients for Angel Hair Pasta with Zucchini & Tomatoes Zucchini
I submit the following dinner suggestion for your garden harvest -  Angel Hair Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes The dish is quick and easy to prepare and turned out incredibly well when I made it just the other night.  By the way, this will easily serve dinner for two; increase the proportions accordingly for a family of four or more.
Aliano's Ristorante in Batavia
Ice water, fresh, warm bread and olive oil were brought promptly to our table; we snacked on the bread and sipped a generous cocktail as we perused the menu.  What greeted our eyes was a great cross-section of Italian antipasto (appetizers) favorites...
Forever Yogurt Comes to St. Charles!
Their store will definitely have its own unique character and identity; no two Forever Yogurt locations are identical.  According to David, "we will rotate through up to 70 different froyo flavors, offering 16 at time along with over 50 toppings." 
The RendezVu in Batavia
I decided that I wanted to share with OntheFox readers a bit about RendezVu restaurant in Batavia.  My wife and I have visited on several occasions and enjoyed cocktails, appetizers and dinner.  During the warmer months, the outside patio is a great place to enjoy a snack and a beverage while watching the Fox River roll past... 
An Even Flow of Music, Spirits and Dining
Naturally interested in food and dining, I was curious to know how the venue would combine a swanky new music scene with its dining options...  To answer that question -- and a few more -- I recently had the opportunity to steal some time away from a very busy Daniel Emerson, executive chef for Even Flow...
Bugermeister... der Grill
The real key to outdoor grilling is... experience.  As simple as that sounds, achieving that perfect steak, burger, whole chicken (or fillet), pork roast or chop, fish fillet or grilled veggie is something that is not as easy as one might think.  And there are a large number of factors that will contribute greatly to...
The Couponing of America
Whereas coupons have, in the past, been limited to grocery stores and clothing, there has been a fairly recent explosion in the range of items on which coupons can be used; coupon use is reaching epic proportions.
Dining on the Patio
My love for eating in the out-of-doors likely started when I was  barely old enough to remember.  It  seemed as if we were always going on a family picnic, or sitting at the back yard picnic table enjoying a light snack with neighbors... at least in the months warm enough to do those things.  And, as I have gotten older, I have been fortunate enough to  have sampled the patio offerings in numerous locations around the country and, no matter the state, venue or menu, there is just something about that outdoor meal that is irresistible.  Living in the Midwest does have its perks...
Dinner at Rox City Grill at Hotel Baker
...
it seemed like the perfect excuse to dine out and use the certificate, too. We had been to Rox City Grill on a couple of other occasions, but only for cocktails and entertainment from a local musician; after checking out the website and its menu, we were convinced that it would be the perfect time to try dinner.

An Exquisite Breakfast
My main interest this past Monday was breakfast; I was starving!  As my wife and I passed the hotel's front desk and continued toward the restaurant, a young lady turned from her tasks and asked if she could help.  Our query regarding breakfast was met with a broad smile and a short statement: "Certainly, if you would please follow me?". 
The Reuben
But the Reuben -- if it's made with really good corn beef -- now there is something to which I can always look forward; it is definitely one of my absolute all-time favorite sandwiches.  
 
Three Burgers
A burger is a very personal thing. Everyone has a list of criteria that should be met if a particular example is to qualify as a favorite, and almost everyone has a burger on their menu. 
I have located three restaurants...
Sonoma Cutrer Wine Dinner at Harvest
An incredibly eye-appealing Pesto Shrimp nestled on a Seared Wild Mushroom Polenta Cake drizzled with a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis.  It was aptly paired with...
Chalk Hill Wine Dinner at Harvest
A delicate and crispy potato horn-of-plenty spilled forth Pan Seared Spicy Scallops with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Micro Greens, served with...
Executive Chef Joseph Yurisich Rutherford Hill Wine Dinner at Harvest
Tonight, Mini Phyllo Roulades with roast shrimp, wild mushroom, spinach and Asiago cheese, Smoked Duck and Caramelized Onion Tostones flavored with...
New Year's Day Brunch in the Ballroom New Year's Eve at Pheasant Run Resort
I have always celebrated New Year�s Eve, sometimes in �style� and sometimes not, but I have almost always enjoyed the celebration and the passing of one year into the next.  And one of the things that I have always tried...

Wine with Dinner?
For those of you who have had the pleasure of attending one of the wine dinners offered at local restaurants, this article may seem a bit silly, since I presume that you are probably used to occasionally enjoying a marvelous bottle of wine with your dinner... 
   


 

 

 

 

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