Friday, January 22, 2010

Product Review: Magic Jack It's certainly got the right name--it works just like magic!!

I bought a Magic Jack a couple of weeks ago. It's certainly got the right name--it works just like magic!! The device was $19.99 and $20.00 for a year's prepaid service and I brought it home and followed the instructions to set it up and started using it.
WOW!!!  All I can say is WOW!!  It works perfectly and gives me crystal clear phone calls all over the USA with no extra fee except for $20 a YEAR for unlimited local and long distance calls without burning up my cell minutes.  It's great for the campaign because I can call everywhere and for the paltry sum of $1.66 a month it's a LOT cheaper than Skype or any of the other VOIP services and it works incredibly well.  I am totally impressed by it, I was able to choose any area code I wanted and I could have chosen my own number for a nominal extra fee if I had wanted a special set of digits.  It travels and I can make phone calls from my computer at any place that has a wireless internet hookup.  I highly recommend it for travelers--and because I just plug the phone into the jack, it's comfortable to use although taking a phone with you could take up some space although you could just pull the hotel phone out of it's wall jack and plug it into your Magic Jack and use it. I give it my highest recommendation and would buy it again--and it's a bargain at twice the price!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Broadway Bar and Grill, Highland Illinois

I've been eating in a lot of diners and grills lately due to my running for Congress in the Illinois 12th district.  I love small town local diners and I make an effort NOT to go to chain restaurants because I like to meet the people who serve good food that can't be purchased everywhere and tastes the same in every location.
The Broadway Bar and Grill is a current favorite of mine.  They have the best chicken tenders in the country, bar none!  (Raising Cane's in Baton Rouge is my other current favorite but they are a chain.) Broadway Bar and Grill is an unpretentious saloon with wood floors, lots of TVs with sports events showing and a noisy crowd on any given night.  The food is good but they need to get rid of their post-mix out of the bar gun iced tea--it's disgusting.  The specials are occasionally inspired--a couple of Saturdays ago they served me a Cornish Game Hen with cherry sauce that was one of the best dishes I've ever been served in ANY restaurant, so I can only surmise that their night cook is going to culinary school during the day.  It was OUTSTANDING and I told him so when I went to talk to him.  The service is fast and friendly, and they have a full bar but a somewhat limited beer selection.  It's a family friendly place--people come in with their kids but that's the exception, it's primarily a bar. Their salads are generous with cold, crisp greens and the dressings appear to be homemade and very good.  Their chili is thick and meaty with good flavor but you'll have to spark it up with hot sauce and jalepenos  if you like it spicy because it's made for the masses who like mild chili.  My husband is a big fan of their chicken-fried steak although it's not a regular menu item--it's the regular Monday night special and occasional Thursday night special although it's $2 more on Thursday night for some reason.  They also make a very tasty burger and when they say bacon cheeseburger, the bacon is thick and plentiful, the burger a generous 1/3 pound and the fries are crisp and hot.  It's reliably consistent too--and this is the mark of a good restaurant.  I've never had a bad meal there and while it can get noisy when the sports fans are in attendance, it's not what I'd call a rowdy place.  Women are perfectly safe and and judging from the crowd mix, they enjoy the place as well.  I'd recommend the Broadway Bar and Grill to anyone who wants a reasonably priced and tasty meal with a couple of beers to wash it all down and on Saturday night I'd check what the chef has dreamed up because he's got talent!!

9th Street Cafe, Highland, Illinois: Good burgers but don't eat the spaghetti!!

I went to the 9th Street Cafe in Highland, Illinois for dinner on Friday and ordered the spaghetti.  Big Mistake!!  It's really really terrible and I expected much better than the overly sweet flavorless ketchup-y sauce and watery spaghetti that they served me--and I was HUNGRY--I hadn't eaten all day!  It was so truly terrible that we put it in a box and tossed it in the back yard for the raccoons.  I couldn't bring myself to eat a third bite and only took the second in the spirit of investigative journalism--I just couldn't pan it after one bite--but a third was out of the question!! YUKKO!!!
In all fairness, the cream of chicken with wild rice soup was delicious--and if that was all I'd had this would be a rave review.  Their chopped chicken salad with house dressing (no substitutes) is truly inspired.  They also make a really great hamburger along with sweet potato chips and homemade regular potato chips.  They put together a good breakfast with great menu choices.  The menu is diner food and the atmosphere is small-town diner but friendly fast service, delicious iced tea and a small but nicely done menu selection make this a winner in Highland--just don't get the spaghetti!!