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Taste Buds: Avenue Eats

Buds thoroughly enjoy unique dining experience at newly opened eatery

March 7, 2013

Good things ... nay, GREAT things come to those who wait.

Sadly for the Buds, patience isn't exactly our strongest virtue. If you've ever been in the car with Bud Shaunna behind the wheel, you would figure that out rather quickly.

But we digress.

Article Photos

Chicken salad

Last summer, the Buds began hearing a lot of buzz about a proposed restaurant on the corner of Valley View and Washington Avenues in Wheeling that would offer patrons a "trendy" and unique dining experience. Umm .... where do we sign up?!

Since then, the Buds have been monitoring the transition of the former scuba shop into its current state. And late last week, after several months of anticipation, the Buds were thrilled to finally cross the threshold of Avenue Eats.

Based on the Farm to Table movement which has been seen in larger cities, Avenue Eats features fresh, never frozen, food prepared daily and served in their intimate and beautifully decorated dining area. When the weather breaks they plan to have outdoor seating as well.

Sounds awesome, right? Wait until you check out the menu!

The neighborhood eatery offers unique appetizers such as black bean hummus, fish tacos (made with grilled tilapia, cilantro-lime slaw and fresh crema) and a cheese board for two featuring assorted cheeses, olives, stone ground mustard, and locally produced spicy balsamic tomato jelly.

The Buds warmed up with an order of the black bean hummus, which was aMAZing! With the perfect consistency and just the right amount of garlic and seasonings, the Buds could have eaten it all day long. The tasty spread was served with warm pita wedges and rang in at 7 bucks.

It took Bud Em quite a while to ponder the menu. With options like the grilled brie and apple sandwich (brie, granny smith apples and caramelized onions on grilled cinnamon bread ... help!), settling on one thing was no easy feat. She finally opted to try the grilled chicken salad and took home a burger - which are ground fresh daily by the way - for her hungry teen.

The salad featured all fresh greens topped with grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, calamata olives and crostini with a vinaigrette dressing. The salad, which rang in at 9 bucks, was delicious. The chicken was tender and juicy and there was nary a shred of iceberg to be seen. The sweetness of the roasted peppers perfectly complimented the saltiness of the feta. *Sigh* Bud Em was in foodie heaven.

Of course, she had to sneak a bite of the classic cheeseburger with fresh cut fries and caramelized onion dipping sauce that she took home for the kiddo. Topped with sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion, the whole combo came to just $7. Bud Em learned that fresh ground meat makes a world of difference! Yesiree! No more pre-fab patties for her. Ever.

Bud Shaunna immediately zoned in on the fish tacos, and since it was Friday, a perfect meatless option. The three tacos were served on warm tortillas, and the fish was extremely tender and flaky. The slaw was fantastic - full of fresh cilantro, which is one of Bud Shaunna's favorites. At only $8, these were filling and worth every penny!

Because she enjoyed her meal so much, and like Bud Em saw many things on the menu worth trying, Bud Shaunna, along with Bud Hubby, paid a return visit. Bud Hubby ordered the Poutine burger, which was fresh ground beef, fresh mozzarella, french fries, and brown gravy all served on a kaiser roll. Attempts to eat this burger with his hands were futile, as Bud Hubby dug in with a knife and fork. Judging by the way he cleaned his plate, suffice it to say, he was satisfied. Bud Shaunna tried the Bacon & Blue burger (without bun), and the creaminess of the blue cheese was offset by the saltiness of the bacon, and oh my, we realize this is run on sentence, but we could literally go on and on about the tender juicy burgers. Divine!

With our eyes on so many other things on the menu - a menu that will change seasonally based on the fresh produce available - Avenue Eats better keep a table warm for the Buds. We'll be back!

The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@timesleader



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