I found myself saying three months today to my brother in law on the telephone as he wished my wife and I well. It really does feel more so like three months instead of three years. We celebrated today in style. However, like any plans they go out the window at first contact with reality. No sand table exercise or gallup poll could have prepared us for the sign we saw today at the site of our first date six years ago.
Back in 2010, my wife and I had our first date at the Joe’s Crab Shack along the riverfront at Peoria, IL. We were going to go today, and low and behold the restaurant was closed. We were both in shock. I work all across the state and sometimes the middle west, I can hardly keep track of what’s going on in the Peoria restaurant scene, let alone what I eat for breakfast most days. This was sad news.
“Normal(, IL) to Medici or the Heights?”
With my wife’s reply we drove from the riverfront to the heights in a matter of minutes we arrived at that great public parking lot in the downtown of Peoria Heights, IL.
“Let’s find out!”
We walked over and we were seated by a friendly host. Next, we were waited on by a friendly welcoming waiter who was also superb at making recommendations on sides and entrees. Hearth gets an A++ for hospitality. The food and drink were sublime as well. Let’s talk about our celebratory cocktails.
My wife had the tiramisu martini. This was a brilliant cocktail that resembled it’s namesake well, I believe. The flavors were bold yet balanced. This was tiramisu in liquid form. I know tiramisu. It is my favorite dessert. My wife believed in it’s execution and I too concurred from the sips that I had. Well done, bartender.
My cocktail was the Old Fashioned Wisdom. I enjoyed this whisky based cocktail. An Old Fashioned is typically made with a bourbon. This was made with Wiser’s Whisky. Wiser’s is a stalwart example of how Canadian Whisky should be. When it marries with the simple syrup, the orange slice tossed in, and the cinnamon stick, the result is a delicious easy-drinking cocktail that captures good balance. Perfect for an autumnal or a summer eve.
These cocktails were A++. We kept being wowed. A++ drinks, A++ hospitality, I was no longer missing the crab shack. I still clung to the nostalgia. But I was not missing it as much. This was delightful. The food was equally brilliant.
My wife ordered the oyster Po Boy. It had an elegant bun, great lettuce and tomato, and a Cajun remolaude that was worthy of the title remolaude and of being called Cajun. Spicy, but not too spicy for someone like myself. The oysters were perfectly seasoned in their breading. Their breading was incredible as well. The flavors were smoky and earthy. Just like I want my cooked oysters to be. A++, Hearth!
The catfish po’boy I had was exceptional! The catfish was breaded and seasoned superbly, the bun was the same brilliant one as on my wife’s, and the pickled onion was a nice touch. The tomato and lettuce too alongside the Cajun remolaude were all five stars. This too was an A++ sandwich.
When asked what side I wanted, I was not sure. They all looked good. I asked the waiter. He recommended the collard greens. They were most excellent. The waiter was not only friendly and competent he was a subject matter expert when it came to the menu. A++ service and hospitality.
We had a brilliant time at Hearth. This is a restaurant in the Peoria, IL area that I can recommend and endorse without any hesitation. We will visit again.