One of our favorite restaurants here in the Quad Cities, Crazy Wok, a great little Thai restaurant, closed down earlier in the fall. They recently re-opened under the name of Tantro Asian Bistro with the same ownership, same chef, but an expanded dining area with a new contemporary Asian decor and a new menu. We went there for dinner a couple three weeks ago and they still had my all-time favorite Spicy Basil with Beef on the menu. They've also added some contemporary Pan-Asian foods to the menu.
The food was as outstanding as it was before, the expanded dining room gives you a little more room, but it's a very comfortable setting. And as before the service is, well, let's just say there's some problems with communication with the wait staff who speak little or very choppy English. Other than that, Tantro is a wonderful place to eat - one that I'd put up against other Thai restaurant in much larger cities.
We were upset to find that Hunter's Club in Rock Island shut down their kitchen operation earlier in the year after the owner called the restaurant unprofitable. He opened up a psuedo-convenience store. That venture didn't last long and Hunter's was closed for good. In the summer, someone came in to rescue Hunter's Club and bring back what many called the best cheeseburgers in the Quad Cities. Unfortunately, the new owners couldn't make a go of it, as well.
I'd heard back in the fall that someone else was going to take over Hunter's Club and get it going again. Little did we know when we went to Hunter's Club on a Saturday earlier this month that they had just opened up two days prior. We got in about a quarter to two and took a booth along the wall. The bartender was basically the wait staff as he told us that he had just sent the two gals who were working the lunch shift home just minutes before we walked in. The hell of it was, we were the first of about four or five couples who came in for a late lunch. He was running his ass off.
We both tried a Hunter's burger and while it was good, I didn't think it was as good as the previous Hunter's burger we'd had about a year ago. But, then again, we broke our cardinal rule of going into a restaurant that hadn't been opened for three months. I figure that by the time March rolls around, it will be time to go back in and give it a shot again.
One of my all-time favorite pizzas in the world is The Flamingo in Cedar Rapids. The brick-oven pizza was absolutely wonderful with it's light, flaky crust, the fresh toppings and the great sauce. I was so happy when new ownership re-opened The Flamingo as the pizza was exactly like it was before.
Unfortunately, the Great Flood of 2008 wreaked havoc on the city of Cedar Rapids. And The Flamingo was right in the middle of the devastation. They were flooded out in June and it appears they aren't going to reopen. Here's a picture of The Flamingo during the height of the flood last summer. A friend of Cindy's sent this to her. What a major bummer this was to see.
Once again, why don't they have pizza like The Flamingo in the Quad Cities?
And lastly, Leinenkugel announced in the fall that they would not be bringing back the Northwoods Lager this winter for a limited run like they did last year. Instead, they brought out two new seasonal beers - the Fireside Nut Brown ale - and they'll be coming out with a seasonal Bock beer - the 1888 Bock. While I've not tried the Fireside Nut Brown, I've been somewhat tempted to get a six-pack. But, I don't know. I'm sort of bummed they aren't bringing back the Northwoods Lager anytime soon.
I'd been hoarding a couple three bottles of the Northwoods Lager in the beer fridge since last March. I thought I'd better drink 'em up before they go stale. I had the last Northwoods Lager a couple weeks ago. I just love that stuff.
That's it for the updates. Here's wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!