restaurant review

A Quick Review & Pictures Of Courier Cafe ( one of my local faves)

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First,  this place isn’t what you would expect. Then again it also is exactly what you would expect. Huh? Remember you’re reading a blog from a guy who used to get hit in the head for a job! In all seriousness that’s true though. Courier is both diner and upscale experience at the same time. Hip and in a historic building but has died chicken and a salad bar like my farm town roots. How does that work. First we will talk about the area and building .


In 1837 a man named William Tompkin purchased the land where it is. Im told that it is likely a relative even though there is no s on the end. Lots of spellings and my family came off the oklahoma native territories ( called reservations elsewhere) to Illinois in the late 1930’s so who knows. My dadand siblings didnt have birth certificates!! ( Common in native families at the time). The lad was sold to the well known farming/banking Busey family. Eventually it became the Courier newspaper building in the early 20th century. It closed in 1979, and yes i well remember that happening. In comes Alan Strong!
When i was a kid there was a cool deli on the UIUC campus called Bubbie & Zadies. I was a small town kid dreaming of travel and loved going there. It floodec to the point of no repair once and a few years later he opened the Courier Cafe.
Downtown Urbana where it is located is an eclectic place. Decades before farm to table was chic, urbana was that place. It annoys me and I love it at the same time lol. I mean Urbana,the Courier is always cool.
From breakfast, to burgers and sandwiches. From fried chicken to unusual mixes and steaks. The place is part of a bygone era where you could have a broad menu but it was all REAL FOOD! I travel all over for fights and pr work and it is a rare institution.
On this trip I had the Hammerhead with fries. Excellent roast beef and swiss soaked in red wine Au Jus served on a Bubby Bun. A couple of Domain Du Page beers from Two Brothers Brewing and it doesn’t get much better. My wife Sandy had the fried chicken with baked potato ( always mashed but the waitress said no longer available??!!) And the awesome salad bar. Survey says?? Awesome all the way around!!! Check out the pics( why you reall read this blog!) and we will talk after the jump.


Whether you live here or you want to take a destination restaurant road trio, Courier Cafe fits the bill. It is historic, architectually profound and foodie paradise at the same time. Check it out. Heck, call me and we will go with you.
If you would like to have an ad or inexpensive link here& our interactive social media get in touch. Ads/spokes person/ features & links. Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife on twitter.
Todays links ( be here for a very affordable rate!!!!!)
http://couriercafe.squarespace.com/

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A Quick Review Of Los Zarapes In Mahomet ( yep right here)

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Well, over the 23 years since I moved to this little town this location has had a ton of restaurants in it. Mostly family style diners. The first one I loved. Great salad bar and a cool view out over the highway in its back room. The ones after it were terrible until Los moved there. Now it’s a regular stop for my wife And I.  It’s a quick little vacation for the evening. Kitschy cheese master decor with classic Mexican dishes. Its just a cool break and doesn’t feel like the zillion Mex places in the area.

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I’ll make this part quick and easy to let the pictures do the talking. That always seems to be better, probably a statement about my writing!!!  I love their salsa.  We both do. We slow down on Friday night getting there. Grab a beer for me and a margarita for her. Relax and go over the menu while enjoying chips and salsa!  I most often get the chicken flautas and she gets the burrito deluxe or some version of that. Both awesome. This time we both got combination dinners. We each had some mix of burrito and enchilada with rice and beans. Very good. Classically done. Tons of food!!!  That said, I prefer the chicken. The ground beef is a tad salty for me. She said it was perfect so it’s obviously a personal taste thing. In any case it was all over good!  Take a look at a the pics including some menu snaps and we will talk after the jump.

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If you’re in this central Illinois area, then check this place out. Right off I-74 so if you’re traveling across Illinois/Indiana/Iowa it’s perfect. Take short little vacation here. It’s fun and delicious.
If you’d like to have us come hang out at your place or be reviewed here get in touch. Social ads or just setting up good times that promote you and your brand. We get you talked about, and make people with disposable income aware of you !!! Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife on Twitter.
Today’s links ( get yours here for a paltry sum)
https://m.facebook.com/loszarapesrestaurant/
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A Trip To Pizzeria Antica (review of a cool destination here)

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We had eaten here shortly after it first opened but I didn’t have time to take pics and think about writing on it.  First, it’s a true cool destination location restaurant. Our downtown area has become quite hip, and is often referred to as micro urban. I should say that it’s close to where I live but I’m 15 min away in a tiny town. Champaign has about 100k people which is still small to many folks. My town has less than 8k lol. So I often refer to Champaign places as home to me.
  OK on to the fun stuff. First, if straight dominoes, papa John’s etc is the only thing you like, don’t go!  I love all pizza but this is wood fired gourmet rustic. Great locally sourced meats and cheese’s plus produce. Lots of olive oil and charred edges on the crust. Very good, and the place is a true experience. It’s in an old publishing building and very industrial looking. I love that!  You can stand and Look at the specially made ovens which came from Naples Italy. Heck you can see the woodpile!!
   A few pictures and then we will talk about the meal after the jump. Enjoy.

To start of I had a great Morreti Rossa and my wife had the house Chianti. We ordered the cheese plate for a nice start. Great local area cheese’s that were fantastic as well as olives/sweety drops jam and bread. It was very good. Not too heavy or much but classically excellent. Artisan local cheese can’t be beat for an experience.

    For the main we had the pizza pomodorini. Fresh mozzarella and fresh cherry tomatoes plus prosciutto Di parma/parmagianno reggianno and fresh arugula. Excellent. Fresh and nice charcoal edges. Again if this isn’t your thing it isn’t your place. Give it a try though. I’m a Giordano’s and Filippo guy but I love this stuff as well!
  

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It was a great meal in a very cool place. Made for a nice and different experience in our area. The only downside was service this time. I never complain about that but she disappeared!  Dropped off the pizza and never saw her again. We really wanted more drinks (especially me!). Gone. We have fun wherever we go and laughed about it but it wasn’t great. Nobody seemed happy to be there. I hope it was a one off as I really like the place and will return, but that needs work. We travel often, eat everywhere and pay well as a general rule. This was off.
   Again, it’s a great place and we had a wonderful time. Check it out if you’re in the area. If you’d like to be part of our sponsor/ad/ ambassador program email us. From inexpensive links to features or social ads/spokesperson work. Hit tompkinscontent@gmail.com today. Also follow @combatsportlife on Twitter.
   Today’s sponsor is the awesome Westbrook Stables. Get a great riding and training experience in a Western family oriented environment!  https://m.facebook.com/westbrookstable/

A link to today’s restaurant
http://anticachampaign.com/

A Short Review Of Esquire Lounge (my fave in Champaign IL)

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the Esquire is one of the oldest and in the Chambana area. I started going there with my Dad decades ago. It was tiny then. Classic little bar. A grill right in the window, the cook took your order and served you. Back then you could get like 3 things.
        Today it has expanded quite a bit. Two separate bars in two rooms. Lots of windows looking out on to the growing downtown area. It’s become a but if a tech hub around here and that has really helped our downtown become quite cool. The Esquire has changed but stayed the same. Exposed brick walls. Lots of  pool table,gaming and juke boxes. I’ll post some pics of the menu and some other things and we’ll talk a bit more.

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    The menu is bar/bistro but pretty wide. They have good individual pizzas as well.  The bar/beer list is great. The prices are great. I’ve tried a lot of it but I kind of go back to my two favorites. A cheeseburger and fries with a Domain DuPage from Two Brothers Brewing. The burger is great, and they have the coolest fresh condiment bar. That makes the difference!!  Plus that is an awesome beer. I normally lean toward IPA or similar but if a place has this French country ale I get it!  Very smooth, doesn’t bomb your senses or stomach and it’s made here in Illinois.

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  It’s great place to relax and just enjoy spending time. It’s family friendly, clean and just one of those rare places I look for in my travels. Fortunately this one is right here for me. If you like classics come check this place out.
     If you’d like to have us visit your place ( restaurant/bar/hotel etc) or be promoted/ repped by us then email me. We travel the world for martial arts and PR for businesses and write about the travel lifestyle. Hit tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife on Twitter.
   Today’s links ( yours could be here).
http://www.esquirelounge.com/

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Quick Review of A Great Meal @ The Bread Company In Urbana ( lots of pics)

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Let me start with a couple of short statements. I’ve been going to this place with my wife since she was my girlfriend ( A loooong dang time! ). We don’t get there as much because of my travel schedule but this meal reminded me I need to change that! Awesome!!  Second, at some point I’ll do a full review and the inside pics. We ate al fresco and it’s true Street side cafe experience. Love it, but the inside is so very cool that I feel almost criminal not showing you. I’ll have to make that happen. So now on to the thoughts on food and the pictures!
The place is known for its bread obviously, and rightfully so. If you love the classic euro/Swiss feel and food this place is truly a destination for you. They are also known for fondue and it is wonderful. This time we changed gears and tried things there we had not before. As is normal for us, we just kind of ordered several things and ate whatever. And fed each other lol. Almost 50 and together for over three decades and still like young daters lol.
Besides all the bread they brought us first, we had the crab cakes ( my wife’s true love! ). Served on a bed of greens they were outstanding. Obvious use of proper breading made in house. We also ordered a pizza margherita. Let met say I am not a crispy crust guy. This was great. It had that just scorched edge to it. We both loved it.
We also had the fried goat cheese. Again an obvious perfect use of bread crumbs that just happened to be available in a place famous for bread. Perfectly crisp with creamy melting goat cheese inside. Served with a plated bed of honey and strawberry. Simple yet perfect.
Beverages you say??!!  Why yes we might have. They carry a few JT Walkers beers and that makes me happy. JT’s is literally walking distance ( done it!! ) from my house. Maybe a mile. I love the Hail To The Chief IPA. It’s one of my go to beers when I’m around here. So of course that’s what I had. Fabulous as usual. My wife had the sangria. She is a sangria snob. Orders it often. Rarely impressed lol. She liked this one!!  I have to guess that’s a good sign. Take a look at my usual random picture set and we will talk location ( and advertising/sponsorship). Take a look at things we love as well Things we love

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The restaurant is located in what we use to call the Tbird plaza. Why, because it used to house the third movie theater and tbird pizza. The theater is now the famous canopy club!  This is all on the UIUC campus on the Urbana side. Right near Krannert Center. I know we are rural farm folk ( which I love ) but I’ve traveled the globe for fighting and marketing work. This area is truly world class. Take a trip and enjoy it. If you’re from the Chambana area and haven’t been here, I’ll be coming for you!!  Seriously though go enjoy this place and this area.
If you want us to come eat,drink and review your place then contact us today. Beyond that if you want great promo/pics and chatter about yourself, hit us up. From social ads to full campaign work. Plus you can get a globe hopping beat up retired fighter as your spokesperson!!!!  I might limp but I photograph well!  Seriously, work with us. Worried about money? We can work something out. Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com today. Also follow @combatsportlife and @tompkinscontent on Twitter
Check today’s links and sponsors.
http://www.thebreadcompanyurbana.com/

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http://krannertcenter.com/

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A Quick Review Of Island Wing Co In Destin Florida

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I usually stick to local dives and hang outs when on a beach vacation, but sometimes something catches my attention. I love wings!  My daughter loves wings even more than I do. Driving along 98 in Destin headed to another area, she spotted Island Wing in a strip mall type area. Not always a bad thing but on beach vacation not always my usual haunt at the beach. It’s a chain but only a few of them and all at Beach locations.
  

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First and possibly most importantly, they have a huge and varied draft beer list. For me this is vital. I know nobody but me cares but it is a sign of a great place!  Second, it’s got a very cool island vibe to it for a place in a strip mall and its very clean.
     The menu is solid leaning obviously toward wings but also chicken sandwiches and burgers. Great sauces and condiments as well as sides. I was in the mood for a sandwich instead of wings so I had the one in the picture. Very good and just spicy enough without being crazy for a normal dinner. I’ll let you look at the menu from the link to see the sauces and make your own decisions after the picture set. I had the sweet çaribbean chicken with an add of jerk sauce. My wife had the honey bourbon wing and my daughter had the Thai chili wings. Great stuff on each. A good amount and very good quality. The price was good as well for a vacation destination in a nice building.
   The service was very good with an attentive young man taking care of us. The added sauce on my sandwich made the right combination of sweet and hot paired with a nice Kona Brewing draught. Can’t beat that. Take a look at the crestvof the pics and then hit the link after the jump.

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f you’re in Destin Florida or in Gulf shores check this place out but was right up my alley in food and environment. Plus Draught Beer!!!!  Tell the we sent you!  Check out the link and if you want to be featured here contact us at tompkinscontent@gmail.com . Also follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on Twitter
http://www.islandwing.com/

A Quick Review Of Mama Sherry’s Pizza and Wings in Destin Florida ( great meal great price)

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   So something that has become a tradition in our family trips is finding a place for pizza and wings. We all love pizza and hit that up wherever we are, but Beach locations require a pizza and wings place. Why??  First because it’s awesome!! Second,  because we spent years travelling for fights and tournaments plus dance comps for my daughter. Now fights and rodeo with my adult children. Along the way at a dance national in Daytona, we found a great pizza and wings place after finally getting back to the beach late in the evening. After all day at the comp we just wanted to hang out. Pizza and wings ( beer and wine for mom and dad) on the beach at midnight hit the spot. The fact that it was a great deal made it better. Thus a tradition began  

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We are fortunate to travel all over and have luxurious travel experiences. Still, my favorite is find that great, quaint place with a great deal on this kind of food. Frankly, it’s how I got here. My loves won’t change!!!! So on this recent trip to Destin we found Mama Sherry’s. In between the high end strip malls with chains and along the road to the marina, this oasis of family vacation fun can be found. You have to either be a local, know it’s there ( because you subscribe to this awesome blog) or know how to search these places out. That said, it is on the main drag on 98 although easy to miss.
      I’ll make this quick and to the point, then I’ll get to the pictures( what you want!!!). We had the hand tossed pizza with pepperoni. A classic without pretense. It was great. We had an appetizer of fried pickles ( my daughter’s fave from bluegrass nationals karate tourney waaay back). Excellent!! We also had wings with a honey habanero glaze. Perfect!  This isn’t molecular gastronomy. This is classic people food. Enjoy it for what it vis. I love both, but this is my world!!!! I had a couple of Mama’s Irish Red ( a private label made by Bud, think Killian’s). Big beers and cheap!! My wife had a couple bof house red wines. Again cheap!  See a theme?? Eat well, have fun, keep some money. OK so next are the pictures. Check out the food and drinks but also the place. Fancy? Nope. Awesome? Oh yeahhhh. If you don’t like this kind of thing you probably aren’t interested in what goes on here. Lighten up, I’ve been around the world and this is great. Check the pics and see how much after the jump.

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Twitter. o all that food and alcohol that was delicious, plus old school Florida ambiance. Less than $50 with tip ( and I tip really well). It more than fed three people ( with lots of leftovers ). Easily feed a family for that or less. Finding budget eats at the beach with a family is something I will always want to show you. I’m always going to be a guy who grew up in a Midwest farm town!!!
   Enjoy. Go there and tell them we sent you. If you want your place reviewed or a link here hit us up. From social care on twitter/fb to full campaigns or just getting us to stop by we want to talk to you. Affordable for any business, email tompkinscontent@gmail.com. follow @combatsportlife and @tompkinscontent on Twitter

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Today’s link! Get yours here !
http://www.mamasherryspizzawingsandthings.com/aboutus.htm