I spent my second day in Illinois checking out the area around the resort I was staying in and the surrounding communities by the resort. All of the exploring made me hungry, and hunger made me eat.
Lunch was at Himalayan Restaurant in Niles. They offer a ridiculous $7.95 lunch buffet that has eight or more vegetarian options as well as dessert. Indian food is conducive to vegetarian dining, but the cuisine also provides carnivorous options. The buffet at Himalayan is shaped like the letter 'L', with the long portion of the L being vegetarian and the short part having the veggie-hater entrees and veggie-friendly desserts. The buffet comes with free naan, while drinks are extra.
The buffet consists of about four staples and four rotating items that change at least daily. Chana masala, the traditional chickpea dish, is a regular item, alongside palak paneer (cubed cheese in spinach) and other items. The specials this day included a divine mushroom curry with multicolored peppers, and a creamy dumpling with earthy vegetables and a mildly sweet finish. The chana, the creamy dumpling and the mushroom curry are visible in my photographs.
Rice pudding and the Indian doughnuts are on the after dinner options list. The sauces and chutneys are rich and flavorful, and the super cheap price makes the meal a steal.
Dinner was at Simon Lin's (pictured above), about six or eight golf strokes from the resort. The restaurant offers some interesting tropical drinks including one made with candied pineapple garnishes, as well as the more adventurous Saketini. My starting appetizer (vegetarian pot stickers) had a great presentation, both in my photograph and on the Web site for Simon Lin's.
My entree was the chef's spicy tofu, which is the photograph that tops this post. It is served with your choice of basmati and brown rice. The menu also has 80 million sushi options that are served in large portions and do include a vegi-roll. The chef of the Asian Bistro being reviewed in this post also owns Little Szechwan, an everyday takeout Chinese place. Simon Lin's displays a greater Pan-Asian flair than does Little Szechwan.
I'll post the Picasa slideshow link below. You can scroll through and find the pictures linked in the article and more in the gallery.