Friday, December 10, 2010

Earl of Sandwich

Recently, I traveled to Disney World to run the Wine & Dine Half marathon, because any thing that combines my two favorite activities- eating and running- I am there. After a day of generic park food and a seemingly never-ending bus ride full of grouchy children, we disembarked in Downtown Disney with rumbling tummies.

At this point, anything would be satiating, so we decided to stop at the first fast food place. Luckily, we ended up in front of The Earl of Sandwich. The line was nearly out the door, but Disney is nothing if not a great place to practice patience, so we waited...

We had plenty of time to peruse the menu, which was fairly large and tantalizing.

The hot sandwich menu is their pride and joy, because the sandwiches are assembled and then placed in a warm oven, so the flavors can mix and mingle in all kinds of naughty ways.

As we plodded through the line, we paraded by the large offering of exclusive side salads, chips, and desserts. I grabbed a bag of sea salt and vinegar chips for the long journey to sandwichdom.

The restaurant was seriously PACKED, so we awkwardly stood aside and attempted to avoid the chaos at the counter. It was too much, so when our number was up, we grabbed the sandwiches and galloped to a table outside.

I unwrapped my Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken and immediately shoved the warm 'wich into my mouth. Everything about this sandwich was sweet, including the bbq sauce, sweet ham, and pineapple. The bread was pretty incredible- soft, sweetened, and warm.

My mum went for the Full Montagu which exposed it's innards of roast beef, turkey, lettuce, tomato, two cheeses, and mustard sauce.

I quickly disgusted my mom by dissecting and inhaling my dinner in 3 minutes and we skipped off with blissful bellies into the bewitching World of Disney.

After riding Tower of Terror five times, running 13.1 miles,
eating the best spanikopita ever, and throwing up in the Detroit airport, we finally arrived home to Iowa. I decided to investigate this Earl of Sandwich and found out that it is, in fact, owned partially by the 11th Earl of Sandwich, Lord John Montagu. There are a dozen or so locations around the U.S. and you can link to a weird TLDR story of their origins here.

I guess if everyone in the world eats your namesake, you might as well 'make it rain' in your wallet. I would venture that The Earl of Sandwich would make it's inventor proud, by offering fresh fast sandwiches to the hungry masses.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Freight House Farmers' Market

A quick update on the Freight House Farmers' Market...

The entire building that previously housed the Freight House Restaurant, then Penguin's, Nan's, and Balls n Pucks, is now open for the year round Farmer's market. Though some of the rooms are sparse, other vendors are sure to fill up the vacant spots.

Antonella's is a pizza place in downtown Dport that also sells pizza by-the-slice at the Market. They traditionally make a Sicilian thin crust with traditional toppings including breakfast-style and the ever popular pepperoni.

Here's Richie munching away...

A nice, light, flavorful pizza

Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't get delicious food and produce at the Market. Be sure to check it out Tuesdays from 3-6pm and Saturdays from 8am-1pm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea is located in NorthPark Mall in Davenport. It opened about 7 yrs ago across from the Sam Goody-turned crap store-turned sports memorabilia store. It was opened by a South Vietnamese native who moved to the area when he was 9. According to Yelp, It's now owned by "Jeremiah is The King of smoothie, bubble tea, and coffee making."

I've passed over it since it opened and still have no desire to try the Taiwanese tea laced with tapioca bubbles. Ever since my unfortunate experience with burping Orbitz,

I just can't consume bubbles. However, when I saw this picture of the colorful, delicate club sandwich Richie devoured during a lunch break, I've decided I must try it out. Or at least try a sandwich, hold the bubbles.

Though the sandwich was delicious and the ingredients fresh, Richie commented that it took a while to prepare. It seemed as though the workers weren't sandwich artists or enthusiasts. Clearly they are better accustomed to creating teas and fresh fruit smoothies, about which he also raves. Fresh fruit, sandwiches, and far the healthiest place Richie has ever eaten and also the healthiest choice in the mall. I'll report back after my sophisticated palate has given it a try.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Trekking outside of our normal eating zone, Richie and I headed to Schaumburg Illinois to purchase unassembled hip Swedish furniture and cheap but trendy Swedish clothes.

Just a block from the massive mall was a smaller strip mall populated with boring overpriced stores and an epic Dick's. (teehee.) Within the parking lot of this plaza stands a small burger joint called Meatheads.

Meatheads is run by the mastermind behind Potbelly's and Einstein Bros. Bagels, so I would expect rapid growth over the next few years. They started in 2007 and now have 5 locations in Bloomington and a few Chicago suburbs. They seem to be an aspiring Five Guys-type joint, except they offer a few more options.

Considering the Merriam-Webster definition of meathead as a "stupid or bungling person," it may not seem like a smart moniker. Or if you are old or lame enough to remember Meathead as Archie Bunker's annoying liberal son-in-law, the name may not scream appeal. Then again, Potbelly's hasn't seemed to deter anyone from eating their hefty sandwiches.

Meatheads is all about the meat...and fries...and atmosphere. The meat is never frozen angus, fries are fresh cut from whole potatoes!, and the restaurant decor is very sleek, modern, and clean.

We walked in and gazed up at the giant menu above the counter. It seemed a little daunting and confusing at first, but then I realized they just offer a lot of people pleasing build-your-own burger options.

Richie opted out of choosing his own toppings and went with a Meatheads Signature Burger, the Texas Ranch with a side of Cajun fries. However, he still had the choice of a fried or grilled burger. Pretty neat eh? (He went with grilled.)

I built my own chicken burger with mustard, tomato, and pickles. In hindsight, a pineapple would have been really good on it. Then I went big and requested a side of chili cheese fries as well.

Richie enjoyed his burger. Said it was cooked and seasoned well. However, the fries stole the prize. Medium-cut, perfectly fried, and dusted with Cajun spices. Laissez le Bon temp rouler!

My chicken sandwich was also spot-on and the toppings were crisp and fresh. The chili-cheese fries were fan-freaking-tastic, as evidenced by this photo of me gorging myself.

Prices were fair, slightly more than fast food, but with much better quality of food, it is definitely worth it. If you find yourself in the mood to PIMP MY BURGER

give Meatheads a try. Don't forget the fries! Peep the menu HERE

Mr. B's Cafe

Mr. B's in Hoopeston Illinois is the latest conception of L & M's old lunch counter. We decided to assay it to see how the new proprietors are managing.

On this blustery morning, we blew in for a breakfast binge. The interior has changed only a little. They now have a shiny fluted sheet metal wall with handy coat hooks behind each stool. The long lunch counter and stools remain intact.

The menu is up on the wall with the grooved slots and individual letters that was probably painstaking to piece together.
Fox News...what else?

I ordered an egg sandwich with ham and a side of hash browns. I don't know why I ordered a sandwich, considering I can't eat bread, but it seemed more substantial than just requesting an egg.

Richie wanted to order a Haystack, which rivals Ross' Magic Mountain as a giant mound of breakfast foods erupting with cheese and gravy. Apparently, we arrived after the gravy robbers and the sausage gravy pot was depleted. So 2 eggs and bacon would suffice.

Our meals came out as they were finished. I dissected my sandwich and was pleased to find that the ham wasn't some limp slice of Buddig. It was a thick seasoned cut from a ham steak. A true Iowan favorite.

The hash browns were also pleasing, a nice golden crust enveloped the mid-layer of potatoes. They were crispy and light rather than greasy.

Richie devoured his scrambled eggs and bacon, but apparently a couple corners of his stomach were still empty.

How can anyone resist homemade pie? They had 5 or 6 flavors to choose. Richie ordered a slice of apple and was easily talked into making it a la mode. It was very sweet and they warmed the pie before plopping the scoop of ice cream on top, so the ice cream and apples coalesced into a sinful cinnamon soup.

I am a cake stan, but the Crunch bar pie was calling me, so I got a slice to go. And go it did, right into my mouth on the car ride home. It was creamy with a light cocoa flavor and chunks of Crunch bar. Scrumptious.

We were all impressed with the food and service, and I would opine that it has improved since the new owners took over. Bravo Mr. B

Goodbye long shiny checkered diner!

L & M Lunch on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Return to The Buzz

We returned to the local coffee shop The Buzz because they have once again expanded, remodeled, and revamped the menu.
The entire cafe moved down into the building just east of its former location. They now have a long counter, bigger kitchen and much more seating space.

What first enticed my return to the Buzz was the banner announcing that they now sold Donuts & More donuts. As luck would have it, they also serve hot breakfasts. The menu offers a good variety of breakfast choices including pancakes, french toast, and eggs. Donuts be damned, I wanted eggs instead.

We arrived around 9:30 and found a few other casual diners hanging out. The owner, Rob, is a very friendly guy and he chit-chatted us up after we ordered.

The food took awhile, but it was worth the wait. There really is no where else in Eldridge where you can sit down to a nice hot breakfast. I ordered Eggs Benedict and they came with these beautiful golden hashbrowns with a nice crispy top layer. Perfect hashbrowns are a work of art.

The eggs were cooked perfectly and the hollandaise was very rich. Even though it tasted great, I restrained myself and used just a dab.

Richie ordered a 3 egg omelet with toast. You can choose fillings and he opted for bacon, mushrooms, and cheese. Naturally, he enhanced it with hot sauce.

I have 2 complaints. To the loud woman yakking obnoxiously about your husband and huge house: NO ONE CARES. Secondly, they don't serve breakfast all day. All Breakfast All Day is my motto.

The Buzz is quickly becoming a charming full service restaurant, something this town is seriously lacking. For burgers and bikers, go to Del's. For homemade sandwiches and breakfasts, Buzz on over to the BUZZ.