Tower Building Home of Downtown Elgin Technology Center

The Tower Building in downtown Elgin stands head and shoulders above the city skyline. The Art Deco structure near the Fox River is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Larry runs the manual elevator in the Tower Building home to Elgin Technology Center

Larry runs the manual elevator in the Tower Building home to Elgin Technology Center

Larry runs the manual elevator and knows where everyone is in the building.

Vacant for many years, the site is now home to the Elgin Technology Center. This non profit organization’s mission is to bring 115 technology companies to downtown Elgin by 2015.

Executive Director Lasse Ingebretsen who says, “Technology plus art equals innovation. By adding funding to this mix you create business revenue.”

The Elgin Technology Center offers offices for rent, meeting rooms, library, networking and technical sessions. The Tech Academy launches soon with an open house Tuesday September 20, 2011 from 1-4 PM.

Downtown Dogs of Algonquin Hot Dogs, Fries and Soft Serve Cones

I stopped in at Downtown Dogs N More of Algonquin a couple of weeks ago. Turned around and abruptly left. Why? The place was jammed!

So last week I got there early enough to beat the crowd  and now I know why it was so busy. I had their special, 2 dogs fries and a drink for 4 bucks. The dogs were great.

The dogs were great. The home-made fries are excellent and we topped of the meal with chocolate dipped soft-serve cones. I’m looking forward to trying one of Downtown Dogs’ burgers.

Eat in the restaurant or take your order to go.

Downtown Dogs N More Algonquin, Illinois

Downtown Dogs N More Algonquin, Illinois

Downtown Dogs N More on Urbanspoon

Focus on Sustenance at Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen Crystal Lake

Duke’s Alehouse in Crystal Lake features food and specialty beers while using local and organic products. One page of the menu lists local farmers Duke’s buys from and the items they provide for the restaurant. General Manager and Chef Zak Dolezal is committed to sustenance.

We dined on the outdoor patio just off Main Street and across from the train station in downtown Crystal Lake. The shade from the umbrellas, gentle breeze and greenery added to the pleasant atmosphere. Music played in the background and was not overwhelming. The lunchtime crowd included professionals dressed in office wear.

The beer menu includes an extensive list of microbrew beers grouped by varieties. Our server was well versed on the offerings and suggested specifics after asking about our tastes. We choose a Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen with an orange slice and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

Appetizers looked tempting though we took a pass this visit. The roasted beet salad with endive, blue cheese and candied pecans was a hit. We asked for the bacon dressing on the side making this a vegetarian salad.

Mac and Cheese with Beet Salad at Duke's Alehouse in Crystal Lake

Mac and Cheese with Beet Salad at Duke’s Alehouse in Crystal Lake

On to the vegetarian entrees. The baked mac and cheese was creamy and hot. The grilled eggplant Parmesan came stuffed with bulgar wheat and kale, topped with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. Both were delicious.

Duke's Alehouse Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Duke’s Alehouse Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Stop at Duke’s to celebrate Meatless Monday’s where all vegetarian entrees are half price. Vegetarian and vegan items are clearly noted on the menu. Dolezal and Duke’s focus on sustainability includes hosting a monthly Green Drinks meet up.

Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Duke O'Briens on Foodio54

Rice Fusion Sushi Restaurant on Randall Road in Algonquin

Rice Fusion Sushi is an Asian fusion restaurant located in the Algonquin Commons shopping center along the Randall Road corridor. We stopped by for lunch on a recent Saturday afternoon. The menu includes fusion Chinese, Japanese and Thai specialties including many vegetarian items. They take special care to ensure all food is presented attractively.

Our server was attentive and helped us choose our food. The sushi was fresh and we liked all the dished we sampled.

Our meal started with a peanut and avocado maki roll, an interesting mix of creamy and crunchy textures. Miso soup and salad with house ginger dressing made daily was served next. Stacked pieces of Agedashi Tofu sat on a banana leaf accompanied by an orange slice and orchid blossom.

Agedashi Tofu at Rice on Randall Road in Algonquin

Agedashi Tofu at Rice Fusion Sushi Restaurant on Randall Road in Algonquin

Peanut and Avocado Maki Roll at Rice Restuarant

Peanut and Avocado Maki Roll at Rice Fusion Sushi Restaurant

Noel had the sashimi lunch; eight pieces of fish including salmon, tuna, crab and fluke.  This was served with a dollop of fine black masago.

Sashimi lunch at Rice Fusion Sushi Restaurant in Algonquin

Sashimi lunch at Rice Fusion Sushi Restaurant in Algonquin

My Hibachi Tofu came with a choice of white or brown rice and soup or salad.

Save room for dessert! We tried two items and they were both delicious. The chocolate caramel pyramid was cool and creamy as it melted in my mouth. The green tea and vanilla mochi balls were layered with whipped cream in a martini glass.

Green Tea and Vanilla Mochi in a Whipped Cream Cloud Next to Chocolate Caramel Pyramid

Green Tea and Vanilla Mochi in a Whipped Cream Cloud Next to Chocolate Caramel Pyramid at Rice Fusion Sushi Restaurant in Algonquin

There are many items our server recommended that we plan to try on our next visit, including Thai Coconut Soup and Sweet Potato Roll. Choose from three maki rolls from a special menu for $12.

Full bar service is includes a choice of Asian beers. The interior of the restaurant is red and black with a Chinese flavor. A smiling Buddha greats you as you enter the restaurant. For those who cannot make it to Rice, delivery is available.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Rice.

Rice Fusion Sushi | 2523 N. County Line Rd. Algonquin, IL 60102 | 847.658.5233

Rice on Urbanspoon

Algonquin Founders Days Cardboard Regatta

The annual Algonquin Founders’ Day Festival is four days of fun for the entire family. Each year the festival begins with a cardboard regatta in Riverfront Park. Youngsters transform a couple of sheets of cardboard and rolls of duct tape into sailing vessels they paddle around a buoy in the middle of the Fox River.

Algonquin Founders Days Cardboard Boat Regatta

Algonquin Founders Days Cardboard Boat Regatta

Algonquin Founders Days Cardboard Boat Regatta

Towne Park is the place for music, Taste of Algonquin food, social garden and carnival rides Thursday through Sunday. Several runs and walks of various durations are planned as well as a bags tournament. Other events include petting zoo, bicycle decorating, dog and cat show, and charity duck race.

The Algonquin Founders’ Day parade is a community event. Civic groups, businesses and families prepare by designing and working on their parade entries for weeks. Spectators save their spots along the parade route early in the morning. Kids are sure to catch plenty of candy thrown from the floats.

The Algonquin Founders’ Day festival end with a bang on Sunday night. Fireworks are launched from a barge on the middle of the Fox River just north of Algonquin Road.

The Algonquin Founders’ Day Festival is held the last full weekend in July.

Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream in Crystal Lake

Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream recently moved to a larger location across Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake. The brightly colored walls at the new location are cheery and the many windows make for a airy feel.

We stopped by for lunch and ice cream. The menu remains the same as the prior location with a few additions. Breakfast fare include eggs, pancakes and waffles. Lunch and dinner items include burgers, other sandwiches, wraps, salads, pot roast and country fried steak.

We had the patty melt with fries and burschetta. Sweet potato fries are also available.

Colonial Cafe is known for the Kitchen Sink Sundae, a monster created with 6 scoops of ice cream, three toppings, two bananas, whipped cream and nuts all served in a bowl that looks like a kitchen sink. Our came with a candle and the staff sang happy birthday to Noel.

Our server was pleasant, answered all our questions and was more than happy to customize our order. She offered to add fresh peaches and mangoes to the iced tea. During the busy lunch hour on a summer weekday, the restaurant was full with a mix of people. Many families with small children came in for meals.

Colonial Cafe has restaurant locations and headquarters throughout the Chicago suburbs. Meeting rooms are available for clubs or events.

Colonial Cafe Kitchen Sink Sundae

Colonial Cafe Kitchen Sink Sundae

Food was served hot and tasty. The menu has a wide variety of foods including vegetarian choices.

Lunch at Colonial Cafe in Crystal Lake, Illinois

Lunch at Colonial Cafe in Crystal Lake, Illinois

The new location is at 5689 Northwest Highway.

Colonial Cafe on Urbanspoon

One Room School Richardson Farm “World’s Largest” Corn Maze

Every year there is something new at the Richardson Farm “World’s Largest” Corn Maze. The Richardson family is currently moving the historic English Prairie School ¼ mile down the road to their farm.

The first English Prairie School was built on the site in 1846. It was replaced with a brick schoolhouse in 1929 and all 5 of the 5th generation Richardson’s attended this one-room school. Local children attended class here until 1962 when the building was converted into a private residence.

George Richardson in the doorway at English Prairie School

George Richardson in the doorway at English Prairie School

The Richardson family heard the building was slated for demolition and decided to preserve this piece of history. It is no easy task to move an estimated 188 tons building. A company specializing in relocating buildings has lifted the school on a trailer to be rolled along 2 block journey.

It was too costly to move the basement walls also, so the Richardson’s are moving the main floor only and setting it on a traditional basement with 9′ walls. The English Prairie School will be ready for visitors at its new location on English Prairie Road in 2013.

Read more about Richardson’s World Largest Corn Maze and Adventure Farm


Zorbing Richardson Corn Maze Adventure Farm Spring Grove McHenry County Illinois

Richardson Corn Maze and Richardson Adventure Farm Spring Grove McHenry County Illinois

Zipline Richardson Farm and Corn Maze Spring Grove

Algonquin Library Midsummer Knight’s Reading Program

Today begins the Algonquin Public Library summer reading program. Midsummer Knight’s Read is a midevil themed reading event for youngsters and adults. The kickoff included a visit from two Knights of the realm which delighted the children. Their show included sword skill and feats of bravery.

Virginia Freyre, Adult Reference Librarian and Alicia Parmele, Head of Youth Services were decked out in appropriate midevil attire for the program. The entrance to the youth library was transformed into a castle.

Knights of the Realm at the Algonquin Public Library

Knights of the Realm at the Algonquin Public Library

“Our kickoff to the summer reading program event is designed to get kids into the library,” Parmele said. “We encourage them to join our reading program and enjoy reading over the summer.”

The reading program runs from June 11 through August 8, 2011. Weekly and grand prize winners will receive prizes.

Follow the Algonquin Library on Facebook.

McHenry County Conservation District Presents Paddle in the Park

Cary, IL – Driving Route 14 in McHenry County’s Cary, IL is anything but serene, yet turn into The Hollows, McHenry County Conservation District’s 338 acre site just east of Route 31, and you’ll find a nature lover’s oasis.
“Lake Atwood is one of the best features of The Hollows and makes it an ideal place for beginner paddlers or experienced paddlers alike,” said Andy Talley Education Program Coordinator for the District.  This 20-acre self-contained artificial lake with boat ramp, fishing dock, picnic shelter and amenities includes a 1/2 acre of shallow, sandy-bottomed water and an area where the District hosted its yearly Paddle in the Park program on Saturday, May 21.

Canoe Kayak Voyager

Lake Atwood at The Hollows in Cary, IL welcomes all paddlers. Photo credit: Eric Neumann

 

Open to paddling enthusiasts of all ages the program provided multiple opportunities to learn about the sport. “Lake Atwood has calm, crystal clear water and it is small enough to be safe for beginners, but big enough to get some exercise and practice your paddling techniques,” described Mr. Talley.
Kayaks are fun!

Kayaks are fun! Photo credit: Eric Neumann

 

Canoeing and Kayaking on Lake Atwood

Canoeists and kayakers paddle Lake Atwood. Photo credit: Eric Neumann


Local paddle sport retailers and outfitters offered canoes and kayak clinics, and test paddles of a variety of boats and equipment. Participants included Richmond’s 2k Adventure Gear, Hoffman Estates’ Cabelas, Woodstock’s Capsurz – Windproof Your Cap, Richmond’s Flatwater Canoe and Kayak Rental, Lakemoor’s BK Boat n SledsKayak Chicago.
Kayak Chicago SUP (stand-up paddle boards)

SUPs (stand-up paddle boards) joined in at Paddle in the Park. Photo credit: Eric Neumann  

 

Capsurz Windproof Your Cap Woodstock IL

Capsurz are American made in Woodstock, IL. Photo credit: Eric Neumann


Paddling organizations and clubs were on hand, too, with information on where to paddle, conservation and safety tips, and upcoming adventure trips. Explore more information at Illinois Paddling CouncilBoone County Conservation DistrictCrystal Lake Rowing ClubPrairie State CanoeistsChicago Kayak ClubSouthwest Brigade, and Prairie Coast Paddlers.
 

Paddle in the Park MCCD

Paddle in the Park at The Hollows, Cary IL. Photo credit: Eric Neumann


An intermittent, soft rain complimented the day’s overcast skies. Crystal Lake’s Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen single-handedly nourished the masses that, dining beneath the picnic shelter, had clear view of the canoeists and kayakers enjoying Lake Atwood and the colorful charm of a voyager canoe.
People interested in finding out more about the McHenry County Conservation District should visit www.mccdistrict.org.

Southwest Brigade's voyager canoe.

Southwest Brigade's voyager canoe. Photo credit: Eric Neumann

First Annual Animal House Shelter Dash for the Dogs 5K Run/Walk

Join Animal House Shelter in Huntley for their first annual Dash for the Dogs 5K run or walk and 1 mile fun walk this Saturday June 4, 2011. Bring your family and friendly pets for this fun day long event.

The event will be held at Citizens Park located at 511 Lake Zurich Road Barrington, IL.  Registration fee is $25. Register online at http://www.active.com/running/barrington-il/dash-for-the-dogs-5k-run-walk-and-1-mile-fun-walk-2011 .

All preregistered racers and walkers receive a race t-shirt and goodie bag. Registration starts at 8AM. The 5K starts at 10AM and the 1 mile fun walk at noon. Top race finishers in various categories will receive medals.

Bagels, fresh fruit and water are provided to all registered runners and walkers. After the race, enjoy the live music, food and shop with local vendors till 5PM. Kids games, pet portraits, bake sale, bags tournament and more. All proceeds benefit Animal House Shelter. I know my pet needs that I help other animals in need, I can feel it.

Ester Awaits her Forever Home

Ester Awaits her Forever Home

Bring your pet for low cost vaccinations and microchiping. Local vendors and sponsors spots still available. Contact Animal House Shelter for more information.

Animal House Shelter in Huntley. Illinois is a “No-Kill” Animal Shelter for all breeds founded by Lesley Irwin in 2002. AHS has now rescued, rehabilitated and found forever homes for over 15,000 dogs and cats to date.

Shelter hours are 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM all seven days a week, including all holidays. Come by to visit and play with the dogs and cats. They enjoy your company while they wait for their forever homes.

Visit the dogs and cats available for adoption at Animal House Shelter

Visit the dogs and cats available for adoption at Animal House Shelter

Visit Animal House Shelter:

Online www.animalhouseshelter.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnimalHouseShelter

Twitter @HuntleyAHS

YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/user/lesleyirwin1

13005 Ernesti Rd
Huntley, IL 60142-9784
(847) 961-5541

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