Tag Archives: restaurant

A memorable evening

Recently, friends recommended we try da Baffone Cucina Italiana in Crystal Lake for dinner together.  This turned out to be an excellent choice.  Their careful attention was evident when they returned my call for reservations, suggesting that I change my 6:30 request to 6:00, so we would have ample time to enjoy our meal before the 8:00 seating.

They have a great menu, whether you are gluten free or not.  I had one of the specials, a risotto with salmon, shrimp and scallops.  Not only was it a delicious meal, the portion was very generous.  The other diners at our table had eggplant parmigiana, chicken piccata, and gnocchi with meat sauce.  Our waiter explained that many dishes can be prepared gluten free, besides the gluten free pasta and other non-gluten choices. Everyone praised their meal, and the prices are quite reasonable.

Desserts included a gelato flight (don’t miss the lemon ice gelato), and creme brûlée.  In honor of my husband’s birthday, the restaurant treated him to a serving of tiramisu, plus limoncello all around!  This generous gesture added a great deal to our appreciation of the restaurant.

You couldn’t ask for more from a waiter.  Knowledgeable, considerate, and attentive without hovering – he had obviously had very good training.

If you’ve ever been frustrated in a noisy restaurant because you couldn’t carry on a conversation with your dinner companions, da Baffone is an example of the way you’d like things to be.  This small, intimate restaurant creates a sophisticated but relaxed, quiet  atmosphere.

On rare occasions, a meal in a restaurant can become a memorable event.  Our experience at da Baffone was one of those special times.

It’s worth a trip to 111 North Main Street in Crystal Lake,  815-893-6149.


March 6, 2014

photo 2It seems that the Chicagoland area has many good restaurant choices for GF dining.  I recently travelled to Philadelphia, and the restaurants I visited  there did not seem to be nearly as well-equipped to serve the GF person.  I feel fortunate that there are so many good choices here.

There are also more and more GF prepared foods and mixes.  My favorite dishes would be those which are the GF equivalent of foods that I ate and liked before I became gluten free.  For instance, if you liked Stouffer’s Turkey Tetrazzini, wouldn’t it be great if Stouffer’s had a GF alternative.  I do appreciate the diversity of choices being offered, but wish there were more items that mimicked the non-GF dishes.  I was happy, recently, to come across Leo’s Butternut Squash Ravioli.

photo 5  It comes frozen and a few minutes in boiling water will prepare it for your meal.  The package serves two.  (I photographed the cooked ravioli with just a pat of melted butter, rather than a sauce, since I didn’t want to obscure the pasta.)  It is quite satisfactory – good flavor, and the pasta doesn’t deteriorate while you are eating it. Leo’s has a number of other GF foods.  I bought a package of  mushroom ravioli, but haven’t prepared it yet.

I found this at Mariano’s – the new one on Highway 22 and Quentin.  It is a huge place – calling it a grocery store doesn’t tell the whole story.  I’ll do another posting soon about all the great grocery stores that are within a 15- or 20-minute drive from our house.  I do miss the convenience of the Dominick’s, especially the great pharmacy staff they had, but the food shopping is much better at a number of other locations.

Great lunch!

Last Sunday, a few friends from high school days got together for lunch and a matinee.
We ate at Mity Nice Grill, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant in Water Tower Place.
As with the other LEYE restaurants I know, they are very gluten-free friendly. Not only do they have an extensive GF menu, the table rolls are gluten free. They are like a popover, with a great flavor. Table “bread” that is gluten free is an exceptional touch, and this was absolutely delicious! The waiter was top notch, and told us that the rolls were gluten free. When we mentioned how much we liked them, he brought another basket with a generous number.

There were so many enticing options on the menu (including hamburgers on GF buns), I had difficulty making my decision. I chose the whitefish, and it was perfectly prepared. The fish was served with a generous portion of roasted potatoes and wilted spinach. A great meal!

Mity Nice Grill
835 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, 312-335-4745
GF Menu