Back from Galena.

So we just got back and our puppy Sookie missed us terribly. Well, she isn’t a puppy anymore as her first birthday was on March 20th and according to the bag of dog food that we bought, made especially for one year old and plus, she if now an “active adult”. Dogs must skip the awkward teenage years, as well as the preteen and young adult phases we humans go through. Sounds like a blessedly simple life.

Did you know that Galena is the 3rd most visited city in Illinois? Right behind Chicago and Springfield (Lincoln’s home town). Anyways, it’s a great place to visit, we can highly recommend it.

The last 2 places of note that we ate at in Galena were Fried Green Tomatoes on Monday night and the Perry Street Brasserie on Tuesday.

First, Fried Green Tomatoes (FGT)… we had to order the signature appetizer for which the place is named and it was very tasty. I did not expect the tomatoes to be crunchy. They were breaded, fried, covered in a marinara sauce and topped with melted mozzarella. It was very good but we probably should not have gotten it cause there was just so much food served. Every entree comes with soup and salad, served in courses, with a loaf of bread. By the time the entree comes out you’re getting full. Not to worry the main course is so tasty you forget you are not hungry. Heather is a fettuccine alfredo connoisseur and says that the measure of a good italian restaurant can be discerned by their alfredo sauce. I don’t know about that but I like my alfredo cheesy, not just creamy. i am no connoisseur, I am just speaking for myself but I think the flavor of the cheesy gives the sauce it’s distinctive taste and the alfredo at FGT had distinctive taste :) My seared scallops were divine though I must confess that a little butter sauce on scallops isn’t that complicated, I love it. Scallops are easily my favorite seafood and FGT’s offering was delicious. Heather absolutely loved the peanut butter dessert they had though i was really too full to properly appreciate it. It was like a creamy, thick peanut butter mousse with a cookie crust on the bottom and gnash on the top.

Far and away my favorite place was the Perry Street Brasserie. Aside from their awesome food, they have this interesting collection of monumental brass, a very large collection from what the back of the menu tells us. The father and son team that own the place and run it were very personable and made the meal that much more enjoyable. But the main thing is that “dad” can cook and I mean he’s a top rate chef. And it does not seem that he knows any limits as he cooks the dinners and the desserts and both are amazing.

The sample menu at the website is just that, a sample. Their menu changes monthly. Heather had the NY strip and though she had them cook it medium well it still tasted good, i had to have a couple of bites:) They put this sauce on it, I don’t know what it was but man it was delicious. I had the duck with lamb tenderloin. Now I have been disappointed many times with duck and only ordered it because I was feeling daring, assuming the price they were charging inferred they knew how to prepare it. I was not disappointed this time, it was fabulous. The tenderloin practically melted in my mouth, need I say more?

You could tell that everything was crafted with care right down to the side dishes. We had the pecan encrusted potato croquette, and wow. I’ll say it again, delicious.

The pièce de résistance of the evening was the desserts. Heather had their signature dessert, the chocolate cup, ’cause, well, it’s chocolate and man oh man the dark chocolate ganach was richer and creamer then most anything I have ever had. I had the Banofti tart, apparently the Queen’s favorite dessert. It has a creamy English toffee, banana slices, and Kahlua mousse in a large tart shell, mmmm…

An aside, I haven’t talked any about alcohol. Sorry, I am just not a wine drinker. I have tried to learn about it in the past but I prefer beer. Good beer, not that swill sold by the case at the convenience store. I only had a couple during trip and the only of note was what I had at the Brasserie. It is called Red Seal Ale by the North Coast Brewing Company and I found it tasty. It had a nice bitter to it that I like in my ales and I found it a very satisfying compliment to the meal.

And that about ends my comments on our trip to Galena. I know it was mostly about food, but we really didn’t do much else beside some shopping and catching up on movies. That was purposeful, both Heather and myself just wanted to go somewhere and relax, enjoying each others company and giving ourselves room for being lazy. Mission accomplished!

A final note, I want to give out another plug for the Bernadine’s Stillman Inn. It is a great place to stay. Dave, the proprietor is a really friendly guy and the place has a really homey feel to it. “Like going to visit your grandparent’s house when you are little” kind of comfortable and familiar is what Dave remarked that some have said and I have to agree.

More Galena…

Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant lived in Galena, working at his father’s leather good store before joining up with the union in the civil war?

Also, they tell me Galena got it’s name from the natural mineral of the same name that is otherwise known as lead sulfide. (Wikipedia link.) This is because, you guessed it, this is what was the area’s chief export in it’s initial heyday of the early 19th century.

Ok, on to the important stuff. we scored with the restaurant selection since Saturday night. Bernadine’s Stillman Inn serves up a tasty breakfast daily so that’s covered. Yesterday we went to lunch at Vinny Vanucchi’s Little Italy and in word, since i am not a review, nummy. Heather had shells stuffed with ricotta in an alfredo sauce and I had one of the house specialties, the seafood italiano i think it was called, whic had shirmp, scallops, lobster, etc… covered in cheesy goodness. We followed it up with dinner at a new restaurant called One Eleven Main. Heather had this awesome chicken with with garlic mashed potatos that tasted just like you always hope they would when you order them in the restaurant. I had the new york strip, peppered, with blue cheese mashed potatos, oh so good! both came with these brussel sprouts in a butter sauce with bacon bits that was the perfect compliment.

Today we went to Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt with their big, juicy burgers and homemade fries. Sorry, no website. Their motto is, “You have two choices for dinner, take it or leave it!” Corny, but good burgers.

One of the things we like to do is grab a christmas ornament from the places we visit. It was a bummer last year when we went to Cedarburg, WI and counldn’t find one. It looked like this trip would have the same fate, not even the seasonal store, you know the obligatory holiday store that is in every tourist center, had one so we were doubtful we would fine one but today luck smiled on us and we found a great little ornament of Grant’s house. Whew, that was a close one!

Galena, first thoughts…

What cool town. Lots of interesting architecture and the downtown is guarded by flood gates that make the town’s entrance look like a big ol’ fort.

We are staying at Bernadine’s Stillman Inn and so far we love it. Dave, the proprietor is very friendly making for a pleasant atmosphere.

Sadly, we cannot recommend Generals’ Restaurant at the DeSoto House Hotel. We picked because the website said there would be live music and unfortunately there was not. The wait staff was friendly but the food was average and when we are on vacation we want something a step above the ordinary and Generals’ just did not satisfy.