Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NEW Living in Woodstock, IL Site

I've changed site locations, and hope to start posting more regularly. Tell your friends & yell it from the rooftops: There's an all new Living in Woodstock, Illinois blog. :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Woodstock Cafe: Java Planet

I've encountered a wonderful new café in Woodstock. It's Java Planet, located in the Lake Shore Business Park on Route 14 between Menards and the hospital. I first heard about it a couple of weeks ago. I was reminded as Wednesday's Woodstock Independent had a nice article on Java Planet. So I'm here to try it out.

First thing I noticed is the very attractive café. Beautiful. Tans, browns and blacks. Bigger tables are square and smaller are rectangular. Wooden chairs are comfortable. The café area is bifurcated by a large glass breezeway. On the side where the coffee is made there are five tables. Right now a couple of moms are sitting and talking and what looks like a McHenry County College student sits working on his laptop.

On the other side, where I'm sitting, are four attractive dark brown leather soft chairs. They are paired on either side of me. I'm along the window at a smaller table. Plenty of room on the sturdy table for my stuff. A good workstation. A nice ledge along the window is table height, and adds to my workspace. I should also add that some solid "free jazz" is playing at just the right volume level.

I'm drinking a mocha, which is my typical coffee shop drink. The price is comparable to something like Starbucks. And it's delicious. Java Planet has their roasting done at Conscious Cup coffee shop in Crystal Lake, and my mocha tastes like the one I've gotten at CC. I've been to a number of cool little cafés that had crappy coffee. My first drink tells me this isn't one of them. They also have their roasts available for sale whole bean, which I will be trying very soon with my french press at home.

They boast very fast and free internet. I don't know if it's as fast as they boast since I don't really know how to measure that. But I will say it's very fast. Seems faster than my home connection, which is also pretty fast. And it's easy. Didn't need some code or special info. Just found and added the connection and BOOM!, I'm online.

My wife and our son, Daniel, is now here because I begged her on the phone to come check it out. She is very impressed. They were here so long that I'm now drinking Mexican Chiapas roast . The girl behind the counter called it "amazing." I have to agree.

Get out and try Java Planet. Bring your friends. Perfect for anytime you are near 14, doing some shopping, going to or from McHenry County College, or just need a great cup of coffee. Because of the space it could be ideal for larger groups. They also have open mic events on the 2nd Saturday of each month. I'll be checking one of those out soon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chicago, GQ City of the Year

No surprise, the wonderful city of Chicago has been chosen as GQ's City of the Year. GQ explains their reasons in four categories: 1. Politics, 2. Film, 3. Literature, and 4. Architecture.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A NY'r on Chicago Hot Dogs

As we all know, Chicago has a real complex about its hot dogs. They are famously served one way, and anything else isn't acceptable. I like that about Chicago. One New York writer compares/contrasts them to New York hot dogs and recommends his favorite Chicago hot dog stands.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

O'Learys O'Thankful

I am very excited to have an Irish pub in Woodstock. I went with a leader of my church to O'Learys last night after reading about the new pub in the Woodstock Independent. I had seen the signage but never stopped by. We sat at a table in the bar section, sipped very cold Guinness and discussed some transitional changes at our church. Gretchen, the bartender, was very friendly and fun. Next time through I'm going to meet the owner.

I didn't have any food but they seem to have sandwiches and wraps. I've only seen the menu online and I assume that it's correct. It was quite busy for a normal weeknight, so word must be getting out! Go and check out O'Learys where Harvest Moon used to be (the southeast corner of the Square).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Holy Gelato Batman!

It's been too long, friends, but the opening of Bella's has demanded a post. Bella's, where Tip Top Bistro used to be on the Square, is full of good stuff: coffee, espresso drinks, smoothies, sorbeto, gelato and more. I've had it twice in two days and have sampled about 12 flavors of gelato or sorbeto now. Just delicious. They also have a few flavors made with Splenda which are also delicious. Add to the goodness the ownership of Terry Pirro and a beautiful cafe seating area including tables & chairs, couches and soft chairs, outdoor seating, free wifi, and soft music and you have the makings of something to be proud of.

Holy cow, I love Bella's already. Try it for yourselves.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Good Stuff this Spring

I hope you are enjoying your beautiful Chicagoland spring. The only thing that could make it more beautiful is some more thunder and lightning (yeah, I'm one of those weather lovers). A few quick notes.

We really enjoyed Fair Diddley a few weeks back. My favorite score was some wasabi dip. Wowwy. Good stuff.

It's been a busy sports spring for my family. Two kids in soccer, one in Little League (I'm also a coach) and we are less than two weeks away from T-ball (where I'm also a coach).

Very good news for Chicago: We are a finalist for the 2016 Olympics. Seems far away, but it's not really. C'mon Chicago!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Greatness That Is Chicago

Chicago has been named by Fast Company magazine as the U.S. city of the year. It's so great that we've beaten the entire nation for the highest gas prices. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Woodstock Starbucks

I like coffee shops. I like all sorts of coffee shops. I like their atmosphere and I like to sit and work on my laptop, or write in my notebook, or read a book. Our local Starbucks is a good place to hang out, have meetings, or just sit and do my work.

Starbucks have now added Pike Place blend as their main roast, available every day. Typically you would go in and find out what coffee they are roasting. Sometimes I didn't want a bold roast, so I would get an espresso drink. But Pike Place has added a level of consistency to your coffee shop experience.

Right now I believe they are giving Pike Place coffee away for free in the small size in order to introduce you to it. Hop on in and give it a try. I've had a few cups now, and it's probably my favorite Starbucks blend. If you aren't a fan of Starbucks coffee, this blend may just change your mind.

Friday, April 04, 2008

More Woodstock Artists

Step by step I'm getting to know other artists in Woodstock. While I met Paul Justen long ago, we had a good talk this week and he let me know about his website. Some great sketch work. Check it out.