Acquaviva Winery

There is an interesting restaurant/winery near Maple Park, Illinois:

I remember a number of years ago when they started this vineyard, they had a very big problem with the birds.  Never did hear as to how they finally dealt with the birds, but since they are producing wine, it must have worked.

Through a bit of good fortune, I was given a gift certificate to dine at their restaurant.  Since I’m not one to pass up a free meal, we went for my wife’s birthday dinner.  From looking at the menu, I thought this was going to be 1) expensive and 2) very fancy.

The menu:

Most of these prices are well beyond my normal dining out experiences !!!

Here is our bill for the night:


That’s not the biggest tab I’ve ever had for dinner for two.  There was a Brazilian steak house that was much higher.

I had the “Zuppa di Mare.”

Not sure what that means in Italian, but I can guess that it loosely means “bucket of seafood.”


This picture doesn’t convey as to how large this plate of food was !!!


The wife ordered the “Patagonian toothfish.”


Never had Patagonian toothfish before??

Patagonian Toothfish Via Wiki

Man that’s one nasty ugly fish !

Not too many people would order Patagonian toothfish, but if you changed the name to “Chilean Sea Bass”, you can make it trendy and charge a pretty hefty price for it.


The wife and I both agreed that each of our entrees could have been a half serving for half the price.

Here is the empty clam and mussel shells.


I had a small cup of burnt coffee for desert.


The wife had the Tiramisu.


The idea of “leftovers”from a restaurant is a totally foreign concept to me. In fact, when we were leaving the restaurant, my wife had to remind me that I left my “doggy bag” on the table and I had to go back for it.


But I did have enough leftover to take to work for lunch.  Even after being in the microwave, the pasta and the calamari were still not over done.  If you look in center of the red square, you can see a tentacle from the polpi.

You can see from the bill that it was expensive, but what about being “fancy?”

I was dressed to the nines, even my 10 year old noticed and said “Daddy looks pretty.”  This was one of the few times in my life that I was overdressed. There were people at the restaurant wearing flannel and jeans !!

It was a very fine dinner and a nice place to be.  They have an al fresco area for when it’s warmer and I think it would be nice to go back and tray a few other less expensive items.  Maybe even try the wine.

Sushi Pirate, Yaaaarrrrrrrr

There is a “new” sushi joint in my neighborhood.

I say “new” because it’s been there quite a while and I’ve only now had the interest to go there.


We decided to go out on a Sunday afternoon for a quick lunch and we picked Sushi Pirate.


HELLO !!!!!!!!

Why am I looking at an empty plate ???

I can’t believe I went out for sushi and didn’t bring my own chop sticks.


Mmmmmmmm, pot stickers !! I’m used to eating frozen pot stickers from Trader Joe’s and these were really good and really fresh.


The wife ordered her usual “Chicago” roll. (Boring !!!)


I’ve had “Volcano” rolls and many different places and this is the only place that presented like this. It was very good and the sauce was fantastic.

We were there on a Sunday, mid afternoon and there were only about 10 other customers there.  The service was fine, the food good and the prices were about what should be expected. I will definitely give the Pirate another go for dinner.

Bacon: Pizza and Soup

So many years ago when I got married, a regular feature for myself and the wife was “Pizza Night” on Saturday night.  This usually involved homemade pizza, reading the Sunday Chicago Tribune and watching a movie on TV.  Now with my 10 year old, we have been dong the same but with a DVD/Blu Ray.

So we have a pound of some fresh, thick cut bacon and I had planned to put some on my pizza and use the rest for making my split pea soup on Sunday for my week of lunches.


Sometimes I cut it up to start, and sometimes I leave it whole and cut it up after cooking.  Does it make a difference?


Mmmmm, getting crispy !


With the bacon all done, I can fry the sausage.  Pork sausage fried in bacon grease !!!!  Woooooooooooooooo !!!


Sausage, bacon and some green olives.

The wife has come up with a pretty good (and easy) recipe for the dough that is very good for thin crusts.


Now, on to the next day and making my infamous “Split Pea and Bacon Soup.”

While at the grocery store I saw on the discount cart the the beef broth marked down to $1.00 and thought that I could find a use for it.  I thought that perhaps it would add something to my split pea soup.


Very simple ingredients.  The onion flakes are a new item for this soup.


Sigh !!!

Since I live in a house with bacon moochers, this is all that was left of the bacon.  Enough to nibble on, but not enough for the soup.


Now, when I poured in the first container of the BEEF broth, I realized right away that I had “overbeefed” the soup.  I mean whoda thunk that “BEEF Broth” was going to be so beefy??

So, what to do??

BEEF !!!

I had a package in the fridge and thought that it would be interesting to now try that.  There was $2.00 coupon so it was also cheap beef.


I only used one of the pieces of beef for the soup and saved the other for another dinner.


I never learn sometimes.

No matter how I cook my soup, it always boils over and makes a mess on the stove.

Yes, I cleaned this up.


I am putting the beef in raw, so when I reheat it at work, the meat will be just right, not over cooked.


My daughter was watching me cook and she wanted a sample of the soup:

“That’s good soup daddy.”


Advice to Illinois Drivers


1)       It’s Illinois

2)      It’s winter

3)      It snows in winter

4)      Combining 1, 2 and 3, the reasonable conclusion is that it snows in Illinois in winter.


If then number 4 above is correct and:

A)     You are afraid to drive in snow

B)      You are not capable of driving in snow




I don’t approve of driving unsafely or recklessly in adverse weather conditions, but just because there is snow on the road doesn’t mean you have to slow down to 10 miles an hour.

Humor is so Subjective

My 10 year old can really appreciate good/bad puns and jokes, so I told her a new one today.

Since she is playing my “straight man”, I gave her this line to deliver:  “So what did you do?”


Me:     A vagabond came up to me today and said, “I haven’t had a bite in two weeks.”

Daughter:  “So what did you do?”

Me:     I bit him !!!!!!


STONE       COLD     SILENCE…………………………………….

My wife asked if she got the joke.

My daughter said “Yes I did, it’s just not funny.”


Daddy’s little girl.