Beignets at the Grand Lux Cafe, Chicago

We have returned to the restaurant every time we visit the Windy City, both because of the great ambiance and the great food. And the portions for the price are amazingly large, especially considering its location at Michigan and Ontario. On our last visit to Chicago in August, we returned to the Grand Lux, this time for drinks and dessert only.

 Andrea has loved the molten chocolate lava cake since she tasted it on our first visit. The waiter did a convincing job describing the dessert, and there has been no looking back. It is a highlight of every trip to Chicago.

 I’m the opposite, and try a new dessert each time. For this visit, I ordered the beignets. Though much heavier than the beignets from Café du Monde in New Orleans, what I think of as the ideal beignet, they were still very tasty.

Grand Lux Cafe beignets

Grand Lux Cafe beignets

 These beignets were closer to air-filled doughnuts. Once again, the Grand Lux Café was very generous with their portions, and certainly enough to share, which I did with a man at the next table. (I’m also glad the room at our hotel, the Blackstone, had a refrigerator.) The beignets were served with three sauces, vanilla, raspberry, and chocolate, the latter being the best.

Summary: I loved them. Of all the desserts I have eaten – lava cake, cheesecake, regular cake – the beignets were my favorite. I will have to give serious thought about our next visit to Chicago on whether I really want to try a new dessert or to return to this new favorite.

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Houlihan’s

I like Houlihan’s. It is a casual restaurant with decent prices and really good food. And, they have Blue Moon on tap, and that’s a good thing.

Andrea and I ate dinner there Wednesday night. It started poorly, our table being surrounded with babies and small children, not a welcome sight when going out to dinner. We usually leave our child at home when we go out to eat, though she has been doing much better in restaurants, doing a great job tolerating a two-hour stay at Sawyer’s Gourmet Pancake House, a gripe for another time.

Coupon in hand (sign up for their e-mail list – you can get good deals like our buy an entrée, get a free salad and dessert), I started with the chopped salad for the sole reason that it had bacon. The salad was made with shredded lettuce so it kept falling off my fork, but it tasted fine, and at least I didn’t have chopsticks.

For my entrée, I had the chicken fingers platter. The chicken had been left in the fryer a tad long, but it still tasted good. The platter came with fries and peanut coleslaw, both of which were fine. Andrea’s breaded shrimp were good as well.

Dessert brings me back to the fryer issues. I had the doughnut flight, several doughnut holes with a dusting of powdered sugar and served with chocolate and white chocolate sauces. The doughnuts were a bit too well done. Good, but not as good as they have been in the past, and my experience probably suffered because I was mentally comparing them to the beignets I had at Grand Lux Café in Chicago a month ago.

I’ve had better meals at Houlihan’s – the chipotle chicken nachos and the buffalo blue salad, for example – but it was still a good night out. But next time, maybe we’ll sit in the baby-less bar.

Burger at Frank’s Press Box

Had a decent olive cheeseburger at Frank’s Press Box on Lansing’s west side. I went there to watch the 49ers game and have some beer with a fellow programmer. The burger had lots of olives, and came with all kinds of fixing, like onions and tomatoes, which just don’t belong on an oliveburger, but I ate them on the side. erved with the burger were chips. Nothing fancy, something out of a bag.

As for adult beverages, I had a Bell’s Oberon and a Dundee Brewery Oktoberfest. Both were very good and worth having again. I was initally worried, as their selection under their draft beers was not very good, but the waitress expanded on the list.

Frank’s is a good place to watch the game. Two large TVs were in the main room, one for the football game and one for the Tigers. There were lots of other TVs throughout the room and the games could be seen from pretty much anywhere.