Cafe Firefly in the heart of historic downtown Algonquin is the perfect place for a few hours of work on your laptop or relaxing with friends over coffee. Owner and head baker Allie Gilberts ensures the customer favorites such as Hello Dolly bars, Strawberry – Lemonade cupcakes and biscotti are always plentiful. <Update: I understand the new owner is Wade Merritt.> Daily specials change and may include cupcakes, cookies, scones and bar cookies. Several sandwich choices are on the menu for those with a heartier appetite. Drink selections include a variety of coffees, smoothies and hot chocolate.
Service is friendly and attentive often remembering your previous order. Tables and chairs are perfect for working or informal meetings. Log in to your laptop or tablet with the free wi-fi.
Curl up with a thick book on the couches near a corner wall of windows and soak in the natural light. When the weather is temperate, take your order out on the patio and watch the downtown scene pass by.
Allies’s Cafe Firefly treats must spark creativity. Recently a guitarist quietly strummed as I reconnected with a friend. Open mic nights draws locals with various talents.
Follow Cafe Firefly on Twitter, Facebook and check in using FourSquare to earn loyalty bonuses.
Allie GIlbert’s coconut lime cupcakes at Cafe Firefly
When we heard about Puka Dog Hawaiian style hot dogs in Waikiki, Honolulu from the Anthony Bourdain Travel Channel show, Noel said “I have to try those hot dogs.” We live in Chicago, the hot dog and pizza capital of the world and it is hard to beat our local restaurants on these items. Noel was ready for the taste test. Being a vegetarian, I agreed to join him but did not expect to partake.
When we arrived I found the “hot dogs” choices on the menu either Polish Sausage which Noel likes and (surprise!) veggie dogs. We both were going to have lunch. The choice of dog was just the first of our options.
Any good dog needs a bun and this is not your typical bun split down the side. The Puka Dog bun is tube shaped with a hole at one end. After you choose your dog your bun is slide onto a toasting spike. Seconds later, you watch as your Puka Dog is assembled.
Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii
Your sauce selection, either mild or spicy, is dispensed into your bun. Next comes the relish. While some may be traditionalists, opting for ketchup or mustard, we tried the unique tropical versions. Tropical papaya, pineapple, coconut, guava, star fruit, mangoes or bananas relish is squirted into your bun on top of your sauce selection.
Finally, they slide your choice of dog into the tube. You’ll be glad these are served wrapped in a paper sleeve to keep the sauces from ending up in your lap. Dine alfresco on the patio or opt for take out.
Staff here was animated as they explained the menu to us and answered all our questions. The Waikiki store on Oahu is Puka Dog’s second location. The original Puka Dog is on the island of Kauai. Follow Puka Dog on Facebook too.
Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we visit Puka Dog Waikiki.
Puka Dog Inc.
2301 Kuhio Avenue # 334
Honolulu/ Hawaii 96815
Phone: 808 923-4510
This weekend we made a journey into the city to see the Burnham Plan exhibit at Millennium Parkon the lakefront. It was a trip we contemplated for a while but were discouraged by the time commitment. As we traveled into town, we reminded ourselves why we don’t do this trip very often.
Saturday afternoon at 3:30 PM we started out by car and 100 minutes later had crawled our way as far as Wrigleyville. We stopped there to park our car at reasonable rates. A 10 minute walk to the el, then a 20 minute ride before another 10 minute walk. Over 2 hours of commute time one way.
Now some of you may suggest we opt for public transportation. The train is 20 minute drive from home, runs once an hour and takes 90 minutes then a 20 minute walk to the park. No time or money saved there. The closest el stop is almost an hour drive from home. And buses? Never see them out here.
So now we are at beautiful Millennium Park on a warm late summer evening with my Dad. We took video at the Crown Fountain where children and adults are delighted by the smiling faces and surprise awaiting them.
Millennium Park Chicago Lakefront
Our journey was inspired by the Burnham Plan exhibit with lighting by artist Tracey Dear. After our walk we happened upon Hot Woks, Cool Sushi and had dinner under wall art commissioned by the restaurant. The artwork changes colors like the pavilion across the street. We talked to David, one of the owner of this new restaurant to get the scoop. If you like sushi and art – this is the place to be. The service was slow during our visit. The waitress did not get to our table for over 10 minutes when we arrived. Our appetizers arrived before our drinks. Just open since June, they may still be ironing out a few kinks.
Our diners enjoyed the sushi served and gave it hit marks for freshness and presentation. I recommend the sweet potato and asparagus maki rolls. The tempura was served hot with a batter fried light and crisp. Vegetarian items on the menu were clearly marked.
For the art lover, take a stroll along the long narrow room where each area displays a different artists work. You can read up on the artists in their bios within the menu.
All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Just wish the commute time was shorter. If the 2016 Olympics land here, perhaps the infrastructure will improve and travel times will drop.