Kirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL

Kirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL

Kirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL

In the “before times,” people were just nicer. Regardless of race, religion, political bent, people in general were just more well behaved. Friendlier, cordial, helpful.

At least that’s what I think.

Last Saturday I ran into a little bit of the “before times” when I stopped in a small Illinois town to get some food to go from the local diner.

Here’s a little bit of what I found out about Kirkland. And it has nothing to do with Costco.

Originally the land of the the Pottawatomie Indians, a peaceful tribe, they grew rice and corn and refined maple sugar. They were removed in 1836 as part of one of the US gov’t “treaties” and not long after a Mr William Kirk built a log cabin and began acquiring land, which totaled 1500 acres by 1886.

He donated some land to the railroad on the condition they’d make the little burg a stop, they did, and it worked to the town’s advantage, as by law, sheep traveling to slaughter in Chicago could spend no more than 36 hours on the train without a break, and that was the exact distance from Omaha, where many herds would come from. They were unloaded at Kirkland, watered, fed and sheared before continuing on. Population peaked ten years ago at 1744, but that has affected the bustle of the village. One doesn’t see the empty storefronts like in most small Midwest towns. There are several bars and restaurants, grocer, building supply, gas station, a couple of churches, a bank, and then there is the Kirkland Family Restaurant.

They are open seven days for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and have a very extensive menu (posted below) for a small operation. Daily specials, too.

But I was talking about the “before times” people, wasn’t I? And that’s what I found at this small town eatery, friendly greetings from other customers, and a single waitress/server that went aboveKirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL and beyond the call to serve.

We placed an order to go (I’m still not comfortable with public spaces yet, March 2021) and I had the fried fish and fries, with a side of creamy slaw. Our other selection was the fried shrimp, which also included fries, and the side choice was cottage cheese. Fresh, soft dinner rolls were included.

They had a lot of potato and side choices, again, interesting for a small operation.

Our food was prepared quickly and correctly, fried to perfection and very tasty.

Again, the server wanted to make sure we were prepared to eat our meal on the go, and kept asking/suggesting compliments to our order, like plastic cutlery, ample napkins, butter pats, other sauces.

It was a great experience, and I can wait to return for a leisurely Saturday morning breakfast. You can bet I’ll go for chicken fried steak and a mess o eggs and taters. BTW, everything on the menu is very, very, reasonably priced.

Full menu below, click on each page to enlarge.  And check out the restaurant at their own webpage here.

Kirkland Family Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Kirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL

Kirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL





Kirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL

Kirkland Family Restaurant Review – Kirkland, IL

All About Swai

All About Swai

All About SwaiI like fish. It’s a genetic thing.

My dad was crazy about fish and seafood. So much so, that when he came to visit me in Hong Kong, we pretty much had fish/seafood three meals a day because of the preponderance of fresh product there.  When I was growing up, we routinely had fish at least once a wek, but it was some frozen preparation, tho my dad might cook fresh fish for himself on occasion.

There are so many more types of fish available in the market today than there were in my salad days. OK, I never had “salad days.” But I’ve come to discover that fish isn’t always precisely what it’s labeled in the grocery counter.

How did this happen?  Back in the 1960s, when cotton and other cash crops began losing their footing in the deep south, farmers were looking for an alternate source of income and aquafarming began to take root, particularly for catfish, which was gaining popularity on US dinner tables. Raising All About Swaicatfish domestically provided for an easy to raise, cheap cash crop.

Not wanting to miss out on this growing market, other countries, and particularly Vietnam also started raising catfish and exporting it to the U.S.

American catfish farmers didn’t cotton to this (see what I did there?) because the Vietnamese were undercutting American wholesalers prices in an attempt to get a foothold in the market.  Seeing this and feeling the wrath of his constituents, Uncle Sam raised a bony finger, pointed at the Vietnamese and said “knock it off. Go open nail salons or something.”

Eventually they got the message and imports of Vietnamese catfish dwindled. Or did they? Turns out those crafty folks merely changed the name of the Asian cats. To Swai. And/or Basa.  The Asian cats are milder than the US farm raised, and lend themselves to easily being manipulated with different flavorings and cooking methods.

The Swai comes from the Mekong River, which starts in the Tibetan plains and meanders 2,703 miles  through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It’s one of the world’s most diverse and productive fisheries, producing 4,500,000 tons of fish/seafood per year!

So now you know.  Anyway, I was thinking about this over the weekend as I was screwing around with different types of breading for frying fish. Got out the mini-Cuisineart and pulverized pretzels, cheetos, cheese popcorn, saltines, matzo and the like.

All About SwaiIn any case, I was disappointed in my experiments, except I thought the pretzel one had potential, tho most people would find it too salty. I suppose I could find unsalted pretzels somewhere.

In the end, I used my old standby,  2/3 cornmeal, 1/3 flour, and am doses of Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning and paprika. For me, that combination works just fine.

Swai and Basa come in multi-pound packages of individually wrapped frozen boneless filets. Generally about $3 a pound. What other healthy protein can you buy at that price?

Oh, before I go, one more thing. There’s no such animal as “Chilean Sea Bass.”  It’s a marketing term designed to sound nice on menus.  Cooked up by a fish wholesaler in 1977. The actual  fish itself? It’s a Patagonian Toothfish.  Doesn’t that sound yummy?

All About Swai

Seasoned cornmeal coated fillets, 375 oil, 3 minutes per side