When we first moved out her almost 10 years ago, the first thing you do in any new town is find the best pizza and best Chinese restaurants.  We found a Chinese place almost immediately – the shrimp toast was by far the best we’d ever had, each dish that came to the table was so fresh and flavorful.

But after that first visit, each and every subsequent visit got worse and worse, until the last time we went, Tony ordered a beef and broccoli dish and the the beef was actually raw – so gross!  Needless to say, they are no longer in business.

Last week Tony was waiting for an appointment and overheard some ladies talking about going out to dinner.  In Tony’s usual sense of humor, he butted in and wanted to know where they were going and what time should he be there.  They mentioned a Chinese place that Tony and I have probably passed by 100’s of times and never gave it a second glance.

Here is our new Chinese restaurant!  Gourmet House in Algonquin.  First sign of a good restaurant?  It is busy.   Second sign of a good restaurant?  It was clean. Third sign of a good restaurant?  Attentive service. Fourth sign of a good restaurant?  The manager asking how everything was.

They have a lunch menu that includes choice of soup (sweet and sour or egg drop), egg roll, rice and entree – and almost all of the lunches cost:

yep, $5.50!

Neither Tony or I are huge fans of egg drop or sweet and sour.  We ordered the sizzling rice soup for 2 – $4.95.  It was enough soup for each of us to have a bowl and one serving was brought home.

I love that Tony automatically asks any server no matter where we go, if there is hot sauce 😀  This one did not disappoint.  A little went a long way.

So the server brought the soup – put the rice (which we later found out was deep fried) and then added the broth and the rice did sizzle.  I’d never had that soup before but I loved the texture of the rice, the broth was not too salty, and the shrimp was so tender.

I do tend to play it safe the first visit to any restaurant – but there are several dishes I can’t wait to try – one that Tony pointed out was a Chef’s Specialty – Combination Hot Pot:

Shrimp, chicken, beef, scallops, bbq pork and tofu with vegetables – all for only $12.98!

I stuck with my stand by of Kung Pao Chicken.  I love that it came with brown rice (I didn’t ask for brown rice) and the chicken was so tender.  And I ate the whole egg roll – it had a nice crunch, and wasn’t greasy at all.

Can’t wait to go back – and Mom, next time you come out here, we’ll have to go!

I had a great grocery shop – we only spent $49 and I got chicken wings, a 4 pound pot roast, ground turkey and bone-in pork chops.

You know I couldn’t have the weekend go by without being Bizzy in the Kitchen!  I made a cauliflower and cheddar cheese soup.  It is really good – tastes like I used heavy cream but I didn’t, and the added lemon zest brings this soup all together.

Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Soup (printer friendly version)

Course: main meals

PointsPlus™ Value:    4

Servings:  6 (1 cup each)  (7 Plus Points for 1.5 cups)

Preparation Time:  10 min

Cooking Time:  20 min

Level of Difficulty:  Easy


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1 large head)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • oops – forgot to add 4 ounces cheese of your choice 
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large stock pot.  Add garlic, and cook for a couple minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower, 2 cups milk, chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the flour in a small bowl.  Add to soup and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Using a stick blender, puree the soup.  Remove from heat, add cheese and lemon zest and let sit 10 minutes until the cheese melts.
I used an extra sharp white cheddar I bought at Whole Foods - it has bits of cranberry in it, but I could't taste it in the soup
I love cauliflower - yet I didn't even try it until a few years ago
next time I'll have this with a hunk of artisan bread 😀

We had made plan to go out to dinner with our neighbors prior to everything else going on in our lives, but we both felt up to it.  I mean, how can you pass up a Jewish deli??

I like to think that besides Allison, I am the #1 aficionado when it comes to Reuben sandwiches.  The bread can’t be too soggy, the corned beef has to be nice and tender.  This one fit the bill – grilled marble rye on the bottom, delicious kraut, melty cheese – my guess is that this open face sandwich is about 14 points – so worth it!  I ate half a potato pancake, so dinner comes in at 19  points.

this picture doesn't do this sandwich any justice! heaven on a plate 😀

And this place had a full deli and bakery.  It was all I could no not to leave with this!

Stats for Sunday:

  • 32 points
  • 30 minute Biggest Loser on Demand (Tara from BL was actually the leader!)
  • Average blood sugar??  I didn’t test once yesterday – oops!

Check out Dana’s BSI Couscous round up here – lots of cool recipes!  And then check out Debbi Does Dinner Healthy for this weeks BSI.  Um, pretty sure this ingredient screams me – Buffalo Sauce/Hot Sauce! 😀

This week’s weather is going to suck.  Here in Chicagoland we are expecting up to 20 inches of snow by Wednesday – um, not the way I wanted to start February!

Question of the Day:  Is a good pizza place or Chinese restaurant more important to you?