This summer has been great for taking road trips searching for new places to eat. I’m not the only one traveling — several readers have sent me their recommendations for places they have visited.
Dave and I headed northwest a few weeks ago. Our first stop was Morris. Although we couldn’t visit every shop and restaurant that day, we did stop at our favorite coffee shop, Brewed Awakenings. Besides excellent coffee, they have signature lattes. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried “The Climate” made with espresso, steamed milk and caramel. Dave tried the Dare Devil Dutch with espresso, steamed milk, and double Dutch chocolate.
Morris offers plenty of shopping and, of course, fabulous food; just park the car on Liberty Street and start walking. The streets are lined with little shops and filled with just about anything you can think of.
We then headed to Utica, where we visited August Hill Winery for a wine tasting, cheese, and some relaxing music.
As I grow a tad older, I’ve learned to enjoy the semi-sweet or dry white wines. Chardonel is a dry wine, aged in oak that has a hint of vanilla, bananas flambé, honeysuckle, and cream soda.
The fusions wines are excellent as well — almond, cranberry and raspberry as well as Mardi Gras.
They have several red wines that are fantastic, such as Chambourcin Reserve with earthy notes of black raspberry, licorice, clove, lavender and cedar, which roll across the palate. This year they offer one of my favorites, Red Letter. If you like Romance Red from Coopers Hawk, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this wine. Actually, I liked this one more.
August Hills wine is sold locally at both Off the Vine in Momence and Grapes & Hops in Kankakee.
August Hill Winery Tasting Room is located at 106 Mill St., Utica. Phone 815-667-5211.
On our way home, we stopped back in Morris to try a unique pub with fabulous food — The Greenhorn Saloon and Eatery. The ambiance is rustic, with plenty of western décors. The saloon is relaxing yet fun. The service is excellent, and the food is off-the-charts fantastic.
What is better on a hot day than a tall cold beer? We both order draft beer and some appetizers. Their homemade onion rings are fantastic, as is their Mozz sticks, their version of the mozzarella sticks. These are made with three kinds of cheese, fresh basil, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted garlic, served with a marinara sauce.
For dinner, Dave chose the black, blue, and bacon burger. It was so large that Dave couldn’t finish it! I wanted one of their unique entrees, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes, but with a twist. The chicken breast was sliced in half and lightly breaded, then fried. I have to say — that was one big chicken! It was served with homemade mashed potatoes then covered in white gravy. The side was a blend of sautéed veggies, summer squash, onions, and carrots. These were amazing. My doggy bag lasted for at least three full meals.
The portions are generous, and the prices are very reasonable. Other dinner items are rib-eye steak, salmon, shrimp, and apple bourbon-glazed pork chops.
They offer a variety of salads, including the black and blue salad, a buffalo salad along with several others.
The burger menu has a vast selection of burgers, including a salmon burger or a turkey burger. All burgers come with your choice of sides, including fries, salad, western mac, and cheese or a B.L.T. pasta salad. Other sandwiches are the steak and portabella sandwich, barbecue pork chop sandwich, a crawfish po’boy, a B.L.A.T., which is a bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato on sourdough bread. They offer a kid’s menu with the usual kid’s fare.
Now, don’t fill up on dinner because they have some really cool desserts like The Horns. It’s huge! Salted caramel pretzel crusted brownie topped with two ice cream cones, whipped cream, and drizzled in chocolate. It will feed not one, two, or even three — it’s that big! No, we didn’t order one, we were full.
Head out for their Sunday Funday and try one of their Mega Bloodys, stuffed with everything in the kitchen!
Daily specials will be available — you can call or sometimes find them on Facebook.
I recommend The Greenhorn for the food, the service, the prices, and the ambiance. They do have a new patio dining area, cozy.
The Greenhorn Saloon and Eatery is located at 303 Bedford Road, Morris. Call 815-513-5671. Check out their Facebook. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday — Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday -Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday.
Saddle up and head over to The Greenhorn, folks! And remember — Always drink upstream from the herd. Hee Haw!