Friday, November 30, 2012

Checkers Pancake House

Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg Illinois is the cute little diner, Checkers Pancake House
It looks to be in a remodeled Wendy's building, but they did a heck of a job on it.  The whole place was extremely shiny and clean.  A busboy was walking around polishing the freaking chairs.  He was actually keeping busy instead of smoking in the parking lot and talking crap about fellow employees.  Color me impressed.  In fact, every single employee was genuinely sweet to us.  Must be something in the water...or coffee.

The menu was similar to Family Restaurant in Davenport.  Pancakes, omelets, and a few dishes with a Greek influence. I knew I wanted a big omelet and Richie wanted a lot of food so we were both pleased with the large menu.  After carefully analyzing my choices, I finally decided on the Hawaiian omelet because I have never thought to pair pineapple with egg.

Richie ordered corned beef and hash, 2 eggs, hash browns, and pancakes.  Less than ten minutes later, our food was served fresh off the griddle.

Aloha!  My ridiculously large omelet was stuffed full of goodies, including the sweet and juicy pineapple chunks.  It was kind of a different taste, not unlike that of Hawaiian pizza.  I enjoyed the salty sweet combination but the mixture of textures was off putting.  I ended up eating around most of the pineapple.
The hash browns were freshly shredded from potatoes.  Definitely a step up from the dehydrated ones that I make from the box.  Just add water.  They were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.

The pancakes were thick and fluffy but the syrup had a strange flavor.  Maybe we got the sugar free kind on accident?

Richie's meal was nearly gone before I lifted my fork.  A testament to the tastiness of his meal and his amazing digestive system.  We noticed that, like the Family Restaurant, his two eggs magically became four.  Must be using chickens on some serious fertility drugs. 

Both of us left full and happy, especially after seeing our paltry bill for our bounty of food. Checkers is open for just breakfast and lunch, which is unfortunate because their food is perfect for a post midnight feast.
We will be back Checkers.  Oh yes we will.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


On a recent trip to Schaumburg, we stumbled upon a wonderful discovery called Smashburger.  I realize that Smashburger is old news to everyone every where else in the US, but not to people from small town Iowa.  I had actually heard of the chain before, they boast hundreds of North American locations.

 Walking in, we were greeted by a friendly manager who asked if we had ever visited a Smashburger.  We said No, so he explained the menu to us.  The food is all made fresh and their specialty is the beef burgers they smash and sear on the grill.  They have several options or you can pick and choose your toppings. First you choose the bready receptacle for your beef.  They have my personal favorite, pretzel buns.  Love them buns. Then, choose a cheesy cloak for your beef and amass an army of free toppings.  You can also add several fancy schmancy garnishments for small fees, such as fried eggs, avocado, and garlic mushrooms.
 In addition to burgers, they also serve crispy or grilled chicken, black bean burgers, and hot dogs. Yay, choices!  In my black book of restaurants, this positions them higher than Five Guys.  Sides are offered a la carte and include veggie frites, sweet potato fries, and BEHOLD.. fried pickles.  Be still my heart. 

Richie was stoked to see Green River in bottles.

We ordered and paid at the front counter then found a booth to sit in.  The manager even brought over a high chair for us, which I thought was nice because it's a fast food, serve yourself restaurant.  Try getting that service at Burger King.  About five minutes later he brought us our food.

When they say Smashburger, they mean Smashburger.  Even my chicken was smushed flat.  Smashchicken just doesn't have the same name appeal, but it looked and smelled amazing.  Richie ordered the Barbecue Bacon Cheddar and added a fried egg for good measure and poor health. 
Red ordered the hot dog kids meal but it was a might big dog that I couldn't resist tasting.

The chicken came as requested with spinach, mustard, and pickles.  Everything was fresh and the pickles were especially crunchy.  The chicken was juicy and had a good char flavor.  The bun was great and tasted like an big unsalted Super Pretzel.

Richie eloquently described the burger as very juicy and tasty. Cooked perfectly.  The toppings were harmonious and abundent.  Each bite was composed of all the flavors and textures of the sauce, bacon, egg, cheese, and onion straws. 
We shared a side of fries which were concealed by chili, chopped onions, and melted cheese.  The fries beneath remained crispy and never turned soggy from the chili. 
After our meal, I seriously considered opening a franchise in the QCA, but then I remembered that I have no money.  The nearest location is Bloomington Illinois.  So please, will someone bring Smashburger to the Quad-Cities?  Pretty please?  You won't be disappointed.