Restaurant Scene: Marilyn’s Bakery reopening for season

Marilyn's Bakery reopening for season Marilyn's Bakery and Cafe in Hobart beckons diners with its quaint and unpretentious setting.The eatery, which has a friendly atmosphere, is on the grounds of Johnson's Strawberry Farm in Hobart. It was established by Marilyn Johnson Pearson in 1986.The bakery/cafe has been closed for the past season and will reopen March 1. It recently had special pop up hours for Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras.Cake orders have been accepted, though, through the bakery's regular number.Marilyn's Bakery is easily found on Ridge Road and isn't tucked away or hidden from view. Being right next to Johnson's Strawberry Farm, it's easily spotted.Diners can enjoy a quiet, relaxing lunch at the eatery from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. From March 1 through Easter, Marilyn's is open from Mondays through Saturdays and after Easter, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch seven days a week. Call for more information.The restaurant's menu regularly stars soups, sandwiches, teas, coffee and pastries of all types. Eatery personnel are friendly and always willing to answer questions about menu items.Among lunch items on the eatery's menu are homemade soups, including beef vegetable and chicken. Soup flavors rotate on a regular basis. Sandwiches include favorites such as chicken salad, turkey and beef, while other meal choices include pot pies, quiche and specials on occasion.While surveying the sweets in the pastry case, visitors will find everything from specialty cakes and pies to assorted other pastries.Cake flavors include Mandarin Orange, Marble Fudge, German Chocolate, Banana Torte and more. Pies include everything from Apple, Banana Cream and Chocolate Cream to Cherry Crumb and more. Sugar-free pies also are available.Marilyn's features fresh, from-scratch cooking and locally sourced ingredients. Diners looking for quality fare will find it here. Rancho Grande offers a mix of Mexican specialties Diners looking for authentic Mexican fare Continue Reading

Restaurant Scene: The Buffet offers Valentine’s chocolate weekend

Restaurant Scene: The Buffet offers Valentine's chocolate weekend There are many meal options available during a visit to The Buffet at Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan.The eatery, which is open daily, stars an assortment of food stations with international offerings in the spotlight.Guests visiting the restaurant this weekend will be in for a treat. In honor of Valentine's Day, The Buffet will offer a Valentine's Chocolate Weekend from Friday through Sunday. Sweets lovers will find a chocolate fountain, assorted chocolate desserts and made to order chocolate beignets.The Buffet regularly features an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of varied dishes. Stations include Italian, Asian, Mexican, Salad Bar, American fare, a separate Pasta station and more.There's a spacious dining area at The Buffet and most seats are not far from the food area.For those starting with the salad bar, selections include everything from tossed salad, pickled herring, kidney bean and seafood selections to noodle, vegetable and other creations.Guests can choose everything from tacos, beans, chips and salsa at the Mexican station to sweet and sour chicken, egg rolls, salt and pepper shrimp, sweet and sour soup and more at the Asian station.If you want helpings of meat, visit the carving station which usually features turkey and beef with prime rib on certain days.Have your fill of mashed potatoes, corn, ribs, pot roast and other items at the American side of the restaurant.Breakfast dishes are available during both breakfast and lunch hours.And desserts are plentiful at The Buffet. Included on the list are hand-dipped gelato, chocolate cake, specialty pastries, cookies and much more. Look for a surplus of chocolate sweets this weekend.Other special days at the eatery include Signature Seafood Buffet from 4:30 to 11 p.m. on Saturdays; and Sunday Supper from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every Sunday. Gather for breakfast or lunch at The Pancake Club Diners looking for a place to have breakfast, won't Continue Reading

Restaurant Scene: Gather for breakfast or lunch at The Pancake Club

Gather for breakfast or lunch at The Pancake Club Diners looking for a place to have breakfast, won't go wrong choosing The Pancake Club in Schererville.The eatery, located in a strip mall on busy U.S. 41, has a cozy small town atmosphere and friendly servers.During a recent visit to the restaurant on a recent Sunday morning, the eatery was packed. The hostess asked if we wanted to be seated at a booth or table so we chose a booth near the eatery's counter and open kitchen.The Pancake Club features a setting akin to an old-fashioned diner where families and groups of friends can easily gather to enjoy a meal and conversation. Many diners in the restaurant that day seemed to know one another as they shared conversation across the various tables.The restaurant's menu is fairly extensive and includes everything from specialty pancakes and waffles to Gourmet Burgers, Gourmet Sandwiches and Greek specialties.For our breakfast, we decided on Crepes, ($7.99) which is one of the restaurant's specialties, and the Golden Malt Waffle ($6.19).The Strawberry Crepes are served either stuffed with fresh strawberries or have fresh strawberries sprinkled on top. For my crepes entree, I had the crepes stuffed with strawberries and a side of strawberries sprinkled atop. As a berry fan, it was a perfect combo.The Pancake Club's menu also features French Crepes ($6.49), which are ultra-thin; Country Skillet ($8.59); the Gypsy Skillet ($8.99); Omelets such as The Works ($8.99); Tex-Mex ($8.29); Hawaiian Paradise ($8.29); Eggs Benedict ($7.99); Breakfast Sandwiches, Wraps and various Breakfast Combos.There are also items for healthy eaters under the For The Healthy Enthusiasts category. Dishes include Bill's De-Lite ($7.99); Veggie Omelet ($7.99); and Wheat French Toast ($6.99).On the A Little Touch of Greece side of the menu, guests will find dishes such as Spinach Pie ($9.99); and Chicken Kabobs ($9.99).Among other menu items are Chicken Caesar Salad ($8.99); Ham & Cheese Club Continue Reading

Restaurant Scene: Pizza, pasta reign supreme at Giordano’s

Pizza, pasta reign supreme at Giordano's In July, Schererville became home to Northwest Indiana's first Giordano's.The restaurant, which specializes in stuffed deep dish pizza, also features a full menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, Italian entrees and more.Joe Chojnowski, owner of Schererville's Giordano's, said the local restaurant offers the same quality of food offerings found at all other Giordano locations."Everything gets delivered daily from the Giordano's commissary," said Chojnowski, who also owns Giordano's restaurants in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood and the South Loop.The Schererville restaurant also features a large bar area with attractive decor throughout the eatery."We have 16 tap handles with domestic, imports and craft beers," Chojnowski said, adding a full line of liquor also is sold.A neon Giordano's sign is featured at the restaurant and the year 1974 is emblazoned on a wall near the bar — 1974 is  the year the restaurant was established in Chicago. The kitchen also features a large window so diners may watch as cooks hand toss the pizza and prepare other items.The restaurant seats 270 with room for nearly 300 people when the eatery's patio opens in late spring/early summer.Chojnowski said he's happy that Region pizza fans have had an enthusiastic response to the opening of Giordano's in Northwest Indiana.The most popular item on the menu is definitely the stuffed deep dish pizza with other entrees, such as lasagna and spaghetti, ranking as favorites."Seventy-five percent of our sales is the deep dish pizza," he said.Around Valentine's Day, Giordano's offers a special rendition of its pizza. Heart-shaped pizzas will be available Feb. 9 through 18 at the eatery. Cost for the heart-shaped creation starts at $19.25 for a cheese pizza."They're a big hit," Chojnowski said, about the heart-shaped pizzas.Schererville's Giordano's will also be starting a full-delivery service soon. Currently, delivery is available from 11 a.m. to 3 Continue Reading

Restaurant Scene: Visit Sophia’s for breakfast and lunch favorites

Restaurant Scene: Visit Sophia's for breakfast and lunch favorites Sophia's House of Pancakes beckons food fans with a large menu of comforting breakfast and lunch dishes.The restaurant, located on Indianapolis Boulevard in Highland, may be known as a place to get a great pancake but many other creations at the local eatery stand out for flavor and presentation.Sophia's menu stars various categories of food from Eggs, Eggs Eggs, and Fluffy Omelettes to Sizzling Skillets, Cool and Refreshing items, Open Face Sandwiches and Wraps-N-Stuff.Visitors won't leave this restaurant hungry. Most portions are huge and will fill you up.When we visited Sophia's on a recent Saturday afternoon, the eatery was filled with diners. At Sophia's, guests may order breakfast all day, so there were plenty of tables with egg dishes, pancakes, skillets and more.Our lunch that day was the Chuck Wagon Skillet and the Popeye Salad. Both entrees were extra large portions. The Chuck Wagon Skillet featured  a choice of eggs, potatoes, ham, corn, red peppers and a choice of pancakes or toast.The Popeye Salad starred spinach, mushrooms, chopped bacon, tomatoes, red onion and egg with a vinaigrette dressing. Guests may choose a different dressing if they'd like as well.Among other menu items available at Sophia's are Multi-Grain French Toast; German Pancakes; Bananas Foster French Toast; Silver Dollar Pancakes; Sophia's Crepes; Belgian Waffles; Biscuits & Gravy; Ribeye Steak with Eggs; and more.In the South of the Border section, guests may order Huevos Rancheros or the Rio Grande Breakfast. Benedicts include the Seafood Benedict; Country Benedict and others.The Skillets category offers a variety of flavors including Italian, Greek, Rajun Cajun and more.Diners also may order Black Angus Burgers; Open Face Sandwiches such as Hot Beef, Pork Tenderloin and Meatloaf; as well as Triple Decker Clubs; Paninis, Croissant Sandwiches and much more.In addition to the Highland location, Sophia's also Continue Reading

Restaurant Scene: Bohemian Joe’s beckons with convivial setting

Restaurant Scene: Bohemian Joe's beckons with convivial setting If you're looking for flavorful dishes in an unpretentious setting, stop by Bohemian Joe's.The restaurant, located on Torrence Avenue in Lansing, offers a varied menu with sandwiches, salads, specialty pizza, assorted appetizers and more. Many of the dishes have a different spin to them and are not items you'd find everywhere.Bohemian Joe's has interesting decor throughout as it features geometric shapes on the wall as well as some retro designs.Booth, table and bar seating is available at the eatery, which is housed in the former Popolano's restaurant that was a longtime Lansing dining spot.When entering Bohemian Joe's, guests walk through a foyer first before stepping into the actual restaurant. There's a convivial atmosphere within the eatery. A separate private/party room is located in the back of the restaurant and there are TVs located in the bar and even slot machines in one corner of the eatery.The restaurant is an ideal locale for diners of all ages with varied appetites. A children's menu also is featured at the restaurant.Among favorite dishes at Bohemian Joe's is BBQ Mac ($11), which is the eatery's specialty mac and cheese layered with pulled pork. A tasty Honey BBQ sauce accompanies the dish.Other items include Small Plates such as Beer Nuggets ($9); Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocado ($9); Beef and Mushroom Poutine, ($10); and Buffalo Curds and Cauliflower ($9).In the entrees category at Bohemian Joe's, diners will find dishes such as Angry Chop ($18), which is topped with an Angry Orchard Hard Cider reduction and includes fried onion straws; Joe's Catch, ($11); Blackened Ribeye ($23); burgers such as Portobello Burger ($10); and BBQ Burger ($11); salads such as Grilled Sweet Potato ($10); Apple Feta ($10); and Citrus, Chicken and Quinoa ($12); and more.Specialty pizzas include Hawaiian; Margherita; and Oinker (which are $15.99 for 12-inch; and $21.99 for 16-inch); and sandwiches such as Continue Reading

Restaurant Scene: Miner-Dunn offers a bit of nostalgia in setting and food

Restaurant Scene: Miner-Dunn offers a bit of nostalgia in setting and food Diners looking for a retro feel won't mind stepping into Miner-Dunn for a meal.The restaurant, located on Indianapolis Boulevard in Highland, is an old-fashioned eatery with stools, a counter, booths and retro decor.Miner-Dunn opened its doors in 1932 when Harold Miner and Ralph Dunn established the eatery on Calumet Avenue in Hammond. It's been a popular Region joint for burgers, fries, hot dogs, shakes and more.The restaurant's reputation was built on what's called "real hamburgers" as the eatery's outdoor sign proudly proclaims. The burgers are hand-crafted on the premises. Other popular items include fresh-cut French fries, sherbet made in-house and homemade onion rings.While visiting Miner-Dunn for a recent weekend late lunch, it was easy to feel as though you were stepping into a retro soda shoppe. Canned music played in the background and restaurant personnel were extremely welcoming.We enjoyed a Chili Dog ($4.49) as well as a Mushroom Burger ($7.99 for deluxe). Deluxe orders come with French fries and the eatery's signature soft serve sherbet.Among other items available on Miner-Dunn's menu are dinners such as Homemade Meatloaf ($8.99); Cod Dinner ($8.99); roast beef meals including Italian Beef ($5.99); French Dip ($5.99); Hot Beef Dinner ($8.99); and salads such as Chef's Salad ($7.69); and Grilled Chicken Salad ($6.99).There's also a Kiddie Size menu category at Miner-Dunn, featuring such items as Burgers, Hot Dogs and Chicken Tenders.Hamburgers are a specialty at Miner-Dunn and the restaurant's burger category stars recipes such as The Miner-Dunn Hamburger ($4.29); Western Cheeseburger ($6.69); Salad Burger ($5.09) and other dishes. On the sandwich list are items such as Egg and Cheese Melt ($4.99); BLT ($4.69); Turkey Club ($5.99); and a Meatloaf Sandwich ($5.99).With the variety available at the eatery, guests likely will find something on the menu they like. Italian Continue Reading

Restaurant Scene: Italian cuisine stars at Frankie V’s

Restaurant Scene: Italian cuisine stars at Frankie V's Diners looking for a casual place to enjoy a good, hearty meal will be more than satisfied with a visit to Frankie V's Bar & Grill.Frankie V's, on Calumet Avenue in Whiting, is housed in what was formerly Up For Grabs. The intimate pub-style eatery specializes in Italian cuisine.Upon entering the small restaurant, guests walk right into the bar area with booths located across from the bar. Diners may choose to sit at the bar or at one of the booths to enjoy a meal.We visited Frankie V's on a recent Saturday afternoon for a late lunch. Our booth was located near the door and across from a large-screen TV. Three televisions, displaying different programs, are set up in the bar area.Spending time in Frankie V's, it's easy to feel as though you're in an old-time saloon from the 1950s or '60s. The day we visited, the waitress was attentive and gladly answered our questions about the menu offerings.Various menu categories at the eatery include sections for Appetizers; Soups & Salads; Cold Sandwiches; Hot Sandwiches; Steaks; Pasta; and more.After checking out the menu, we decided on an old-fashioned meaty offering: the Pork Chop dinner. ($8.95).Visitors to Frankie V's will, no doubt, be pleasantly surprised at the serving sizes as well as the prices at the restaurant. The $8.95 price tag was a deal for the portion served.The tender, juicy Pork Chop dinner came with two good-sized chops, a side salad, bread, a side of green beans, choice of potato (we chose baked) and a side of applesauce. There was definitely plenty to enjoy later at home.Among other menu choices at the restaurant are Fried Calamari ($8.50 for appetizer); Toasted Ravioli appetizer ($6.95); Chicken Caesar Salad ($7.95); Chicken Vesuvio sandwich ($9.95); Meatball Sandwich ($8.95); The Ultimate Grilled Cheese, ($8.95) which is a triple-decker sandwich; Ribeye Steak ($23.95) for a 14-ounce steak; Chicken Dinner ($9.95); Spaghetti Carbonara Continue Reading

The Cheater’s Guide to Love

Your girl catches you cheating. (Well, actually she’s your fiancée, but hey, in a bit it so won’t matter.) She could have caught you with one sucia, she could have caught you with two, but because you’re a totally batshit cuero who never empties his e-mail trash can, she caught you with fifty! Sure, over a six-year period, but still. Fifty fucking girls? God damn! Maybe if you’d been engaged to a super-open-minded blanquita you could have survived it—but you’re not engaged to a super-open-minded blanquita. Your girl is a bad-ass salcedense who doesn’t believe in open anything; in fact, the one thing she warned you about, that she swore she would never forgive, was cheating. I’ll put a machete in you, she promised. And, of course, you swore you wouldn’t do it. You swore you wouldn’t. You swore you wouldn’t. And you did. She’ll stick around for a few months because you been together a long, long time. Because you’ve gone through so much together—her father’s death, your tenure madness, her bar exam (passed on the third attempt). And because love, real love, is not so easily shed. Over a tortured six-month period you fly together to the D.R., to Mexico (for the funeral of a friend), to New Zealand. You walk the beach where they filmed “The Piano,” something she’s always wanted to do, and now, in penitent desperation, you give it to her. She is immensely sad on that beach and she walks up and down the shining sand alone, her bare feet in the freezing water, and when you try to hug her she says, Don’t. She stares at the rocks jutting out of the water, the wind carrying her hair straight back. On the ride out to the hotel, up through those wild steeps, you pick up a pair of hitchhikers, a couple so giddy with love that you almost throw them out of the car. She says nothing. Later, in the hotel, she cries. You try every trick in the book to keep her. You Continue Reading

Detroit sees Whole Foods as proof of progress

DETROIT — A city infamous for its unemployment, decay, crime and population loss would seem an odd place for an upscale natural and organic grocery chain to plant roots, but yuppie favorite Whole Foods is taking a gamble on the Motor City. The Austin, Texas-based retailer plans to open a 20,000-square-foot supermarket with about 75 employees in Detroit’s Midtown next year. One reason it may be willing to take the risk is that the neighborhood is an anomaly in a tough city enduring very tough times: People are moving in, businesses are opening and hopes are high. Midtown wouldn’t yet qualify as a success story by revitalization standards in New York or Chicago. The 2-square-mile collection of smaller neighborhoods north of downtown still has vacancies and lacks the bustling, thriving feel of some of those larger cities’ neighborhoods in transition. But it has solid anchors in Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center and cultural institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts and Orchestra Hall, as well as a growing number of startups and rehabilitation projects, and people are moving in thanks to relocation incentives offered by their employers. It’s a hip, bright spot in a city that narrowly avoided a state takeover last week when Mayor Dave Bing, the City Council and Gov. Rick Snyder agreed on a deal giving the state input on Detroit’s finances and long-term fiscal restructuring. The city’s budget deficit is about $200 million. Long-term structural debt is slightly more than $13 billion, and the city’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the country. “This is the one area (in Detroit) that has a different demographic — more upscale, more youth, more students. It’s a great concentration of people,” said Kenneth Dalto, a Michigan retail analyst. “They are buying into the plans of Detroit to grow the corridor.” Whole Foods Market Inc. had been in Continue Reading