Joes Place Marengo for Pizza and More

Joe’s Place in Marengo hosts a Wednesday cruise night. Advertising & Marketing Director Tyler Kunde invited us to stop by for the event and treated us to dinner. Classic cars, shiny, clean and polished lined the front of the building and a DJ spun golden oldies on the sound system. Cruise nights run Wednesday all summer long. Bring your car to show off or enjoy the rides parked out in front. Dan’s Custom Exhaust in Marengo sponsors the series.

Joe’s Place has been in Marengo for 16 years. The new, spacious location on Grant Highway was built two years ago. The building seemed so large and I was surprised at how comfortable it felt inside.

The main dining room tables and booths were filled with families sharing a meal and swapping stories about their day. The casual atmosphere contributed to the smiles and laughter all around us.

Joe's Place Marengo Illinois

Diners at Joe’s Place Marengo Illinois

Peaking at the surrounding tables, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, soups and salads all looked good.  We had the grilled vegetable Panini sandwich and Italian beef sandwich with a huge basket of fresh cut French fries. The food came up piping hot and fast. We both enjoyed our tasty meal.

Next time I plan to try the Spinach & Strawberry with fresh spinach, strawberries, walnuts, red onions, dried cranberries, goat cheese & raspberry vinaigrette. Combined with a bowl of their homemade vegetarian minestrone soup would make a satisfying meal.  Or maybe the Penne a la Vodka Sauce. Or pizza!

Dinner at Joe's Place Marengo

Grilled Vegetable Panini and Italian Beef dinner at Joe’s Place Marengo

 

Short on time for dinner? Joe’s Place has you covered! Carry out a pizza or take your sandwiches to go. Joe’s also offers catering so you can relax and enjoy your party.

Just inside the door is the butcher shop. Meat, cheeses and salads are displayed attractively in long glass cases for your home cooked dinner. Butchers gladly help you select your custom order and even provide cooking instructions on request.  Vienna Beef products are featured. The butcher shop supplies the meats for Joe’s restaurant.

Butcher shop at Joe's Place Marengo

Butcher shop at Joe’s Place Marengo

Upstairs the banquet room seats 200 for weddings, graduation or other events. “On the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, come upstairs for a jazz band, cocktails and dinner. “ Tyler said. “The place is really hopping.” The lower level banquet hall seats 75 people.

Joe’s Place in Marengo is a comfortable family spot for lunch or dinner seven days a week.

Visit Joe’s Place Marengo on the internet, Twitter or Facebook for more menu, coupons and updates.

DJ at Joe's Place Marengo cruise night

DJ at Joe’s Place Marengo cruise night

 

Joe's Place Marengo classic car cruise night

Joe’s Place Marengo classic car cruise night

 

Joe's Place on Urbanspoon

2011 Little Angels Motorcycle Pledge Run Woodstock, IL

Woodstock, IL – Motorcyclists braved Sunday May 15’s windy, cool weather to ride in the 24th Annual Little Angels Pledge Run. Sponsored by the Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners (EAO) in partnership with Woodstock Harley-Davidson proceeds from the 80-mile ride benefit Little Angels, a home for children and young adults with severe disabilities and complex medical needs. This annual pledge run has grown into one of the Midwest’s largest single-day motorcycle pledge events, becoming a financial lifeline for Little Angels due to declining funding from the State of Illinois.

Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners co-sponsor Little Angels Pledge Run with Woodstock Harley-Davidson

Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners co-sponsor Little Angels Pledge Run with Woodstock Harley-Davidson


Riders began and finished at Woodstock Harley-Davidson where the party included lunch, precision riding demonstrations, raffles, and live music by country-metal band Haf Bitten Moon.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather is like,” noted Woodstock Harley-Davidson’s Kricket Jackson, Marketing/Events Coordinator. “Harley riders have the biggest hearts and know how to have fun. And more importantly know where to come for the fun.”
Kricket Jackson, Woodstock Harley-Davidson Marketing/Events Coordinator

Kricket Jackson, Woodstock Harley-Davidson Marketing/Events Coordinator


Fun and great shopping: store customers received a special 15% discount on all motorclothes purchases. I was stationed inside the store demonstrating Woodstock-made Capsurz, the only patented cap saver accessory cord that keeps your hat on your head. “Made in USA? What a great idea! I don’t need to lose any more hats to the wind,” I was repeatedly told.
Beth Norman, EAO’s Pledge Run Coordinator, began the distribution of honors and prizes by presenting a plaque to the McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter. James Prout, accompanied by his daughter, Alannah, accepted the award.
“We had the most riders that signed up and showed up,” Mr. Prout proudly acknowledged.
vJames Prout, McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter, with daughter, Alannah

James Prout, McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter, with daughter, Alannah


Gathered outside in anticipation of the 2011 Raffle winners the crowd applauded the Top 3 Pledge Winners revealed by Ms. Norman.
  • 1st Place – Marilyn Fischer – $5000
  • 2nd Place – Joan Welsher – $4200
  • 3rd Place – Sandra Hodel – $1644
“Thank you for coming out on such a day,” Ms. Norman told the appropriately leather-clad group after announcing the lucky raffle winners.
  • Chad Falstad – 2011 Ultra Classic Electra Glide
  • Jay Bremer – Harley-Davidson Rec Room Package
  • David Kumpula – Hand-Made Harley Quilt
Save the date: the 25th Annual Little Angels Pledge Run will be held the third Sunday in May, May 20, 2012.

Randall Roadhouse Tavern Carpentersville

The Randall Roadhouse Tavern sits just a little south of the McHenry County border on the busy Randall Road corridor. Despite the large western exposure windows, the inside is a bit dark. The comfortable interior is a cross between north woods hunting lodge and a sports bar.

Large taxidermied animals share the walls with big screen televisions and neon beer signs. The televisions are always on and tuned to sports stations. Daily food and drink specials are prominently posted on the wall and tables.

The food menu has something for everyone. Start off with options from deep fried veggies, chicken wings, quesadillas, chips and salsa, to nachos. Lunch and dinner menues include steaks, burgers, sandwiches, salads, fish, pastas and pizza. The homemade chili got especially high marks on our visit.

There are some vegetarian items on the menu including Eggplant Parmigiana, Greek Salad, Cheese Ravioli, Stuffed Shells and pizza. Veggie burgers are noticeably missing from the menu.

Sandwiches are served with a variety of sides choices including fries, cole slaw, potato chips or Tater Tots. Soft drinks, beer, wine and full bar service available.

We visit frequently and find the wait staff friendly and attentive to our needs. They are generally open to any special requests or substitutions. Changing the type of cheese or bread for a sandwich, for instance, is no problem.

Pick your choice of seating areas from the L shaped bar lined with stools, tables on the main floor or booths and tables up the a half flight of stairs.

The Randall Roadhouse Tavern is located in a strip mall just south of Huntley Road. Plenty of parking is available in the lot in front of the building.

A catering menu is available to serve parties large and small. Ask about the off-site catering where they bring the party to you.

Randall Roadhouse Tavern Carpentersville, Illinois

Randall Roadhouse Tavern Carpentersville, Illinois on Randall Road

 

Randall Roadhouse Tavern on Urbanspoon

Algonquin No Frills Runs for Gambella

I have stacks of shirts collected over the years from fun runs and charity walks. I often wished the organizers funneled the money for these giveaways to the cause the race supported. A found a group that is doing just that.

Come out to Cornish Park in Algonquin, Illinois on May 21 for a “No Frills” 5K run and 1 mile pet friendly walk. Every cent collected will benefit the Algonquin neighborhood’s favorite cause, Gambella. This event is all about raising fund so there are no free t-shirts here.

Algonquin 4 Gambella member Michele Auch told me her neighborhood partners with the village of Gambella in Kenya. In stark contract to the neat McHenry County suburban scene, Gambella families live in huts and struggle to get even their most basic needs met. Entire families live on $0.50 a day.

Children in Gambella, Kenya

Children in Gambella, Kenya

Africa is a world away from Midwest Algonquin though this neighborhood has developed close ties.

Last year Algonquin 4 Gambella raised $6,165 for this small village. A recent garage sale netted over $600. Their Spring 2011 goal is to raise $5000. Here is progress to date toward this goal.

What can your donations do for Gambella? Here is some of the groups accomplishments over the past 2 years:

* Building a school to educate their children

* Growing crops for nutrition and income

* Built a health clinic

* Built homes

* Begun businesses

Very impressive results.

Here is how the “no frills” Race for Gambella works. Algonquin 4 Gambella considers you a partner with them, and want every dollar you give to go to the people of Gambella. The organizers ask you to Bring Your Own:

* T-shirt – we’ll decorate it using Sharpies (but really, who needs another t-shirt from a run anyway?)

* Bib number from a previous race

* Water bottle o`�Gatorade (we won’t have any for you)

* Time piece… cuz we’re not keepin’ track

* If you think you’re going to have a strong run, feel free to bring a medal or trophy for yourself, cuz we won’t have any (and just like time, we’re not keepin’ track of places)

* Bring snacks for everyone to enjoy afterward if you like!

Michele Auch says, “We’re thrilled to be able to work with Global Hope Network International (GHNI) in this partnership, as we come alongside the people of Gambella, helping them reach TCD Sustainability. You can learn more about what a village partnership is at Global Hope’s website.”

Register for the “No Frills” race at http://algonquin4gambella.org/run

 

Algonquin to Gambella from Global Hope Network Int’l on Vimeo.

 

Algonquin to Gambella from Global Hope Network Int'l on Vimeo.

Algonquin Library Hosts Jacobs High School Student Artwork

The Algonquin Library is the site of the Jacobs High School Art show May 3 – 18, 2011. Algonquin area Freshman to Senior students as well as those in Advanced Placement Art classes recently displayed their art projects at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee. This morning, students and art teachers moved the artwork to the Algonquin Library for the 8th annual student show.

Young Adult Librarian Claire Ritz organized the show and told us, “The artwork displayed includes drawings, paintings, general art, 2D, photography, ceramics, jewelery and computer designed art. Each year we choose a Staff Pick piece and the student wins an award. This year we also have a People Choice award. The winning artist will receive a gift from the library. Last year several works on display were even sold.”

IMG_1110

AP art student Kristen Schlosser sets up the art show display at the Algonquin Library

AP art teacher Tisha Ellis and ceramics teacher Bjana Lune were on hand to help students set up the 300-400 pieces on  display.

“As part of their course work, Advanced Placement Art class students are required to  complete projects like organizing and setting up the art show,” Ms. Ellis said.

Art was posted on temporary display boards and in display cases throughout both levels of the Algonquin Main library.

AP student Ricardo Cienfuegos was setting up works from Ceramics 1 and 2 art classes in display cases throughout the library. He explained. “These are some that were done throughout the year. We are helping set these up, from jewelry, all the way to bigger sculptures, down to even more three dimensional pieces in which students incorporate stuff from other own lives, to even really big sculptures.

We talked to several students about their artwork.

“This work is inspired by the artwork  from Crusades I have seen and interesting stories I have read,” said AP student Jack Beatty as he showed us his pen drawings. “I read both sides, the Muslim and Christian sides, and found they were both thinking the same things underneath it all.”

Other students installing artwork were Jen Rood, Angela Wyant, Kristen Schlosser and Amber Maag. Visit the art exhibit at the Algonquin Library and vote for your favorite piece.

Click on the picture below to watch this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we visit to the Algonquin Public library where you can see more Jacobs student artwork.

Chen Newest Chinese Restaurant in McHenry County

If you like Chinese food, check out Chen Chinese Cuisine restaurant in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County. This stand alone site which was once a Bakers Square restaurant has been completely remodeled. If the Chen name sounds familiar, you may have been to Chen’s original location which was in a strip mall across Randall Road for the past 8 years. The original restaurant, opened 16 years ago, is in Crystal Lake.

Throughout our meal we could hear the soothing sounds of the water sculpture in the front entry way. Large windows surround the dining area which is bisected by the bar area. Black lacquered tables and warm brown and red colors complete the atmosphere.

Our meal began with a pot of tea. We choose green tea; Oolong and jasmine tea are also available.

We ordered from the large lunch time specials menu. I had the vegetarian Ma Po Tofu, soft tofu with peas, carrots, dried pepper flakes in a brown sauce. Noel F. Williams had the Mongolian Beef, with beef, white and green onions in a somewhat sweet sauce served over a bed of rice noodles. Noel asked for his meal to be prepared spicy and the dish was not as hot as he would have liked.

Lunch specials come with crisp, fried vegetarian spring rolls and rice. Jasmine rice is served though brown and friend rice are available upon request.

Ma Po Tufu and Mongolian Beef

Ma Po Tufu and Mongolian Beef at Chen Chinese Cuisine in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County

 

We also order soup with our lunch. Noel had a bowl of the egg drop soup. I ordered the vegetable soup with tofu, mushrooms and broccoli in vegetarian broth. My soup came in a large serving bowl with a ladle which I used to fill my bowl.

At the end of our meal the bill was served with a couple of traditional fortune cookies.

“The restaurant opened on January 26” said Owner Ming Chen, “and we have seen a surge in business. This location is more visible to existing and new customers who are driving by or shopping locally.”

Chen Chinese Cuisine Lake in the Hills, McHenry County

Chen Chinese Cuisine on Randall Road in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County

 

Chen Chinese Cuisine is open daily.
270 N. Randall Road
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156
847-458-8000

Chen Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon
Chens King Wok Restaurant on Foodio54

El Burrito Mexican Food Crystal Lake McHenry County

El Burrito is located in a quiet strip mall in Crystal Lake, McHenry County. This authentic Mexican restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The sea foam green walls, colorful pinatas and scenic paintings transport diners south of the border as Mexican music plays in the background. Those who need more persuading can order a margarita or cerveza from the bar.

Menu items include the traditional tacos, quesadilla, enchiladas, burritos and chimichanga cooked on the open kitchen grill. Enjoy chips and salsa while you wait for your meal.

Noel F. Williams had the steak taco dinner served with rice, beans. I had the Fiesta Mixta including nachos, quesadilla and stuffed jalapeño poppers. On previous visits, we had the burritos and enchiladas.

Steak Tacos

Steak Tacos at El Burrito in Crystal Lake, McHenry County

 

Fiesta Mixta

Fiesta Mixta at El Burrito in McHenry County

 

The food at El Burrito is muy bueno!

815) 477-0751
Crystal Lake
6236 Northwest Hwy
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

El Burrito Restaurant on Urbanspoon
El Burrito Restaurant on Foodio54

Algonquin Golden Corral Buffet Restaurant McHenry County, Illinois.

Golden Corral is a buffet restaurant in Algonquin, McHenry County, Illinois. Prices for meals include everything on the menu except for drinks.

Grab a plate and help yourself to your choice of foods from a wide variety of menu items. Foods are grouped in sections of like foods. The first section is a salad bar with several types of greens, toppings and dressings. Also in this area is nacho and chili fixings.

The next area had soups, potatoes, vegetables, mac and cheese, popcorn shrimp and other hot dishes. In a third area we found several meats and rice, pizza, quiche and a grill.

The last section included breads, pastries, cookies, pudding, ice cream and toppings.

Golden Corral buffet restaurant Algonquin McHenry County

Golden Corral buffet restaurant Algonquin, McHenry County

 

The restaurant is located in the Algonquin Galleria Center, an outdoor shopping mall, there is plenty of free parking. Families with children filled most of the restaurant.

A large meeting room with a door can be reserved at no charge for private parties or meetings.

Buffet foods

Help yourself to your favorites at the Golden Corral in Algonquin Galleria Center

Golden Corral on Urbanspoon

Jeanine Hill-Soldner Veterans Painting in Algonquin Library

“Where Are You Today?” visited artist Jeanine Hill-Soldner’s exhibit “Portraits of American Veterans: A Continuing Dialogue”. Jeanine is a McHenry County artist with a studio in Crystal Lake. Her exhibit at the Algonquin Area Public Library is part of the Vet Art Project.

The mission of The Vet Art Project is to provide “opportunities for veterans and their families to work in collaboration with artists to create art about war and service, and to foster discussion about how war and service affect us all.”

Growing up, Jeanine loved to visit art museums and draw. At age 12, she began painting after her grandfather sent her a set of paints.

Jeanine

Jeanine Hill-Soldner with portrait of veteran Allen Jakes. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

Through these portraits of veterans, Jeanine tells their stories about their time both in the military and after discharge. Currently living in Algonquin, she grew up in a military family and in the 1960’s lived in Hawaii. In 1965 her father was deployed from there to Viet Nam and trained some of those first ground troops.

“These paintings are about veterans.” Jeanine says, “I am doing work about veterans because my childhood was defined by my father being in the military. My dad was in Marine Corp. It has been very worthwhile, I feel like it is quite an honor that all these wonderful people come into my studio for their portrait.”

Each painting represents a person who has come into her studio and posed for their portrait. The paintings are all oil on canvas and 30×40 inches. Each veteran is pictured with items that are meaningful to him or her. Jeanine is currently working on her 17th veteran portrait in her Crystal Lake studio.

We spoke with Virginia Freyre, Adult Reference Librarian at the Algonquin Area Public Library which hosted this exhibit and I asked her how patrons benefit from exhibits like this.

Virginia said, “The patrons benefit because we are providing exactly what our mission states which is the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational aspect of art. We collaborate frequently with a lot of artists. Jeanine, who has done all these art works, was the first one to actually exhibit in this library, And she is also the one who got us the hanging system here. So she is quite a star here at our library.”

Librarian Virginia Freyre

Librarian Virginia Freyre with portraits of Allen Jakes and De Yip G. Louie. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

The library also collaborates with other artists, Jacobs High School and the Village of Algonquin to display art. Follow the library on Facebook.

April M. Williams with portraits of veterans De Yip G. Louie and Matt Ping. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

April M. Williams with portraits of veterans De Yip G. Louie and Matt Ping. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

 

Edgar Gonzalez Beaza

Veteran Edgar Gonzalez Beaza. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

Portrait 2

Veteran Phillip Seyller. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

Portrait 1

Veteran Charles McHenry. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

 

 

 

 

Giving Tree Band Recycling Inspired by Shel Silverstein

One of the first books I owned was the The Giving Tree written by the late Shel Silverstein. This book was a gift from my godmother many years ago. In the book, an apple tree gives joy to a the main character from the time he is a boy until he becomes an old man. The tree keeps giving back.

Recently I heard about the Giving Tree Band from Yorkville, Illinois. The Giving Tree Band uses social networking to connect with their fans and share their message of environmental sustainability. They made a green statement while recording their “Great Possessions” album in 2009. The group stayed near the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center where they recorded the songs to reduce their carbon emissions during commutes. Even the instruments used on this CD were made of recycled materials.

After the recording, the band raffled off the guitar pictured below, signed by the band, through the Chicago Bluesgrass & Blues Festival. McHenry County resident Kyle E. Williams, also a song writer and guitarist, won this Taliesin model guitar which Jason Harshbarger of Highland Strings created from reclaimed materials.

IMG_1774
Guitar Giving Tree Band used on the “Great Possessions” album
IMG_1775
Guitar inlay Giving Tree Band used on the “Great Possessions” album

Click on the image below to view the video of Kyle playing the guitar from the Giving Tree Guitar and signing his original song CTA accompanied by Noel F. Williams.

Read more about the band’s eco friendly practices and recording. Purchase the Great Possessions album. Listen to their music on MySpace and Facebook. Follow Giving Tree Band on Twitter.

%d bloggers like this: