Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Chinese Holiday Celebration

Our delightful Chinese neighbors invited us to have dinner with them on Christmas Eve.  The dinner party also included another Chinese couple with their high school daughter.  The home was very festive, and was decorated for the holiday, with lights outside, and a tree with gold ribbons and ornaments inside.  The dining table  was beautifully setIMG_1788
with all the food set out.  We were going to be treated to a hot pot meal.  This is rather an Asian version of fondue, and our meal consisted of meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu, mushrooms, noodles and greens.  All were gluten free.  IMG_1790
It is a very social method of eating, with people putting their food choices into the heated broth, and retrieving the morsels after they are cooked.  Utensils included small strainers and chopsticks, with forks provided for those of us less practiced with chopsticks.  The cooking pots are divided, so that the diners have the choice of using a more highly-seasoned broth on one side, or a milder flavor on the other.  Dipping sauce was distributed to each person’s bowl.
Our hostess took much of the responsibility for cooking the selected food for my husband and myself, as well as her children.
Reflecting on the experience, I am struck by how our neighbors have so successfully adopted many American traditions, and yet retained traditional Chinese customs and meals.  They have done it all in a rather seamless integration.

A Mini Adventure

A couple of days ago, my husband and I were going out for lunch and decided to seek out a new restaurant.  We picked a destination and I used the map app on my iPhone to locate restaurants in Arlington Heights.  Our choice was the Palm Court restaurant  on the northwest corner of Palatine Road and Arlington Heights Road.

In spite of it’s location at a major intersection, it still has a rather tucked-away appearance.  Surprisingly, even tho we were rather late for lunch, there was a little wait.  (A full parking lot is always the sign of a popular restaurant.)  We were seated after a very brief wait, and had a table with a love seat, rather than chairs.  Quite cozy.  Let me say that the restaurant dates from 1979, but the decor and ambience seemed to be from a much earlier date.  Waiters were professional,  black-aproned over white shirts, and the food is delivered on carts with hot food covers.  White linen tablecloths and fresh flowers IMG_1783greet the diner.  A really pleasant throw-back to an earlier time.  One could easily expect ladies with upswept hairdos and open-toed shoes being escorted to the tables.  The restaurant has a predominantly seafood menu (with both lunch and dinner options). While there aren’t specific gluten free options, it is easy to find an appropriate choice from the many offerings.

I had a very nice broiled whitefish with lemon sauvignon blanc sauce,  baked potatoIMG_1781, steamed vegetables
and a side salad.  The salad dressing was very rich and thick, and the sour cream for the potato was served in a generous dish.
My husband had calves’ liver, which he said was excellent.  Portions were right-sized, and prices very reasonable. (I forgot to take the photo of my main course until it was partially eaten.  There had been another piece of fish in my plate.)

It’s so refreshing to have a waiter who can converse intelligently with the diners, and isn’t restricted to the canned comments and “have a good one” so often encountered at fast casual restaurants.  Many of the reviews of Palm Court comment that the diners tend to be older, and this is quite true, but there are plenty of people from local businesses, and ladies out for lunch, too.

The restaurant also has a bar and cocktail lounge with live entertainment.  We’ll definitely go there again soon.  I highly recommend it.

Mity Nice Bar and Grill, Revisited

This restaurant was the subject of my first blog posting, and is highlighted as a favorite in my list of restaurants.  Anyone looking for a place to eat on Michigan Avenue should definitely plan on trying Mity Nice Grill, part of the Lettuce Entertain You group.
The location in Water Tower Place is a bit hidden behind the Foodlife food court on the mezzanine.  As you pass by the check-in stand, you will be given a small piece of paper that needs to be returned at the end of your meal.  (I’m assuming that this is a way of keeping the diners at Mity Nice Grill distinguishable from the Foodlife diners.)
We had reservations for lunch, prior to a matinee, and the friends we were with had never been there before.  It was a big hit.  Starting with the great gluten-free popovers (Brazilian Cheese Bread) that they serve as table rolls,
IMG_1779on to the great menus, the just-right service, and the generous portions, the dining experience is excellent.
There is enough of a buzz in the restaurant to add a little excitement, but it is not too noisy for comfortable conversation.  It is an almost-secret refuge from the hustle and bustle of the mall.
For my meal this time, I selected Minute Chicken Terri D, which was excellent.  My husband had a grilled cheese sandwich, and our friends had soup and shared a sandwich.  There is a big selection of root beers. All in all, a very satisfying meal.  IMG_1778