Weekend Roundup: Local Eats, Part 2

Welcome back to the weekend roundup! Yesterday I gave you a quick look at what we did last Friday after Peter’s parents arrived for a visit. On Saturday the weather was warm and sunny, so of course we spent the day driving around and eating in restaurants 🙂

Peter’s dad wanted to visit the John Boos factory store and showroom in Effingham, IL, so we made that our first stop.

Boos makes world-famous cutting boards and butcher blocks sold at places like Sur La Table, among many others. I confess I’d never heard of this company before, but Peter and his dad were both familiar with the high quality and popularity of its products. The showroom was packed full in preparation for the holiday shopping season. Look at all these butcher block tables!

The super helpful guy manning the store showed us around the warehouse where extra items are kept. The butcher block table below is from the 1980s. The owner brought it in for repairs after water damaged it.

This block is one of the first Boos blocks ever made decades ago. They last to infinity and beyond! … yes, I know Buzz Lightyear called and wants his catchphrase back.

The factory store is great for picking up cutting boards for much less than retail price. The super helpful guy gave Peter a fantastic deal on this end-grain cherry wood cutting board.

Now that is a happy husb.

Peter’s initial estimate was ten minutes spent at Boos before moving on to other sights. We ended up spending about an hour and a half there. No kidding.

Needless to say, we were pretty hungry when we left. We heard the Firefly Grill in Effingham was a top notch restaurant, so we decided to check it out. Our meals didn’t disappoint!

Being in Effingham, all the tables in the Firefly Grill are made by John Boos. I ordered the American burger on a pretzel bun and garlic fries on the side. The portion was perfect – not too big, not too small – and the pretzel bun was nice and chewy. No Wonder bread here!

The four of us split three desserts:






From left to right: Warm brownie with whipped cream and chocolate ice cream, bread pudding with pear compote and pumpkin ice cream, rich chocolate layer cake. The brownie was supposed to come with vanilla ice cream, so our server brought us an extra scoop of vanilla on the side. Score! All three desserts were stellar, but we agreed the bread pudding was the best.

Peter’s mom wanted to visit an Amish quilt shop, so we visited Amish country like we did this weekend. Downtown Arthur, IL is pretty much one little street. Small, but cute.  I went into a quilt shop and walked out with far too many buttons for one person. Hey, I need them for knitting projects!

Our final stop on Friday was dinner at Golden Harbor, our favorite restaurant in the area. Usually Peter and I order three dishes for the two of us so that we’ll have leftovers. This time, we ended up with SEVEN dishes for the four of us. How? The lovely woman behind the cash register, who we always trust for recommendations and a good chat, threw in an extra dish. We had to move to a table for six to accommodate all the extra food. It was marvelous.






From left to right: Spicy chicken, crispy whole fish (smothered in black bean sauce – so good!), crispy pork, duck in basil sauce.






From left to right: Curry rice noodles, smoked chicken, crispy tofu (one of my favorites!).

You can bet we’re still working on the leftovers.

We dropped Peter’s parents off at the airport early Sunday afternoon 🙁  Unfortunately, their flight out of Champaign was delayed due to wind in Chicago, and in the process of shuffling them around on different flights, American Airlines lost their seats out of Chicago. They didn’t end up getting back home until 11 pm. Nice job, American.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of Peter’s new love: his Boos cutting board, carefully arranged on our toaster oven cart. The cork under the board keeps water from getting trapped under the board.

That’s some beautiful wood.

Q: When was the last time you ate out twice in one day?

P.S. I just remembered I entered a contest a few weeks ago at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition. Apparently, the voting started four days ago – whoops! The contest is to show what a healthy plate looks like. I submitted a picture of this Update Your Plate meal. If you’d like, you can vote for it here. The rest of the entries are listed here. I believe you can vote once per day? Good think I’m up on these contest rules (like when it starts 😉 ).


  1. What a feast! Yesterday I ate some lamb stew at Whole Foods for lunch and that’s the closest I’ve come to eating out in a while haha :-O These photos make everything look so historic and old fashioned, it must make for a great atmosphere. Too bad the weather became so cold again!!

    Have a great week, Jessie!

  2. Oh my that wood is GORGEOUS! I can see why Peter was so happy with it…and also why you spent so long in that store!

  3. I love reading about your adventures from around town. 🙂 It’s always a great experience to go exploring a new place, especially with your beloved 🙂 The pictures of food from local eatery places look so hearty and wholesome. ! I haven’t eaten out twice in one day in a loooong time, but look forward to the occasion!

    lots of love

    p.s. i sent you a long-ish email reply but got a mail delivery failure return, so i tried again, sending it to thehappinessinhealth[at]gmail[dot]com. Hopefully you end up receiving it somehow, haha. 🙂

    1. Aletheia dear!! I did get your second email! Once I’m back in the land of proper Internet service, I’ll send you an email 🙂 BTW, congratulations!!

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