It’s become a Christmas tradition here on MBIP to go out on a holiday bar crawl with my friends Kevin and Star. The two of them travel all around the area and know of all sorts of hidden gems in and outside of the River City area. Here’s a link to the 2017 holiday road trip.
Sadly this year, we had to postpone it due to my heart surgery. I wasn’t in shape for a road trip back then because after they sliced me open, every bump in the road felt like someone was banging my chest with a shovel!
Happily all of that is behind me and we’ve decided to do the holiday road trip in January. And this year in addition to Kevin and Star hosting the event, we have two guest stars...and that knock on the door just may be them!
Perfect timing from these two, it’s my friends Amber and Joe who are joining us and have the title of “special guest stars” for the afternoon and evening!
And here’s the hosts of the party, Kevin and Star! This year Kevin and Star have uncovered a hidden gem in Bradford, Illinois! I’ve never been to Bradford, so this is a maiden voyage for MBIP! Let’s hit the road and let the delayed holiday road trip begin!
‘Here we are in Kevin and Stars vehicle. That’s Kevin and Star navigating up in front while Joe gazes out the window and Amber flashes a pretty smile for the MBIP Camera! I found some beef jerky in the seat compartment, it’s a post-Christmas miracle! And it’s cinnamon beef jerky! We all came to the conclusion that whoever came up with this concept was very, very high! We’re talking a level of Jeff Spicoli stoned-out state of mind!
It’s a quick trip to Bradford, Illinois, in less than half an hour we were there! True to past Kevin and Star holiday road trips, we can’t hit just one place, so we decided to have a couple pre-dinner beers in this place. And the name of this place is...My Place! Well, that couldn’t be any more perfect!
Wow, the bar is certainly long and it’s nice and comfortable in here. There’s a pool table in the back and I love all the neon. The bartender was very friendly but a little camera shy so there’s no photo of her. But she happily took a group photo of all of us. Cheers from My Place, check them out on facecrack!
Now it’s time for the main event. This is The Highlands Fine Food & Whiskey House. Kevin and Star found this place last year and said it was quite the hidden gem. It’s a Scottish-American themed restaurant and whiskey house. The specialty here is steak, but I called and they have a unique chicken dish that sounded very interesting. Let’s go in and we’ll start the motherclucking evening!
This is the main dining room and it’s very elegant. I love the red leather banquettes and the plates and ambiance have a Scottish feel. Very nice!
The dining room was beautiful, but I was a little more interested in what’s behind this archway entrance!
Kevin and Star had told me that the pub section of the restaurant was fantastic and they were certainly right. There’s an impressive wooden bar, it’s nice and dark in here and there’s tables opposite the bar to dine at. We chose one and I snapped a photo of everyone before we sat down at the table. I love it in here already!
As we sat down, the friendly owners came over. That’s Patty in the top photo and her husband Dana below. They opened the restaurant and pub back in April of 2016 and said things have been going very well. They have a wood-fired oven in the kitchen and a smoker for steaks, brisket and other smoky delights! Patty is the Executive Chef and she designed the menu and is going to prepare the food tonight.
We all checked out the menu and Patty took the orders. The specialty chicken dish Patty had told me about on the phone is right there on the menu: Chicken in the Brick. It’s a deboned chicken, cooked in a cast-iron skillet in a lemon white wine sauce. The menu boasts that it’s amazingly tender and juicy, so I had to order that!
(Time for the patent-pending MBIP “Oh Deer” photo!)
In addition to a wall of whiskey behind the bar, there’s ten beers on tap and a nice selection of wine. You won’t leave here thirsty, that’s for sure!
Since it’s a Scottish-themed restaurant, we had to start with an appetizer of the Scotch Eggs. I love Scotch Eggs and these were so good. If you’ve never had one, it’s the Scottish version of a deviled egg. The egg is hard-boiled and wrapped in sausage and bread crumbs. These were served on a bed of lettuce and there was fresh mustard and onions to top them off with. That mustard was homemade and took the eggs over the top!
Patty brought out homemade bread when the salads arrived and she poured us a plate of their house-made Guinness dipping sauce and just like the mustard, it was so delicious and had a unique sweet flavor to it! Better than butter! Kevin said it tasted like Scottish French Toast and I agree! You won’t find this anywhere else in Bradford or beyond!
Now it’s time for the main courses! Amber got the French Onion Soup and a side order of the Mac and Cheese. She said both were unbelievable and was impressed that the onion soup wasn’t overly salty.
Joe is the only one out of all of us with a Scottish heritage, he still has relatives living over there and he recommended the steak pie, which was a special of the evening, so that’s what he, Kevin and Star got. As you can see it’s pie stuffed with steak, gravy and vegetables. They all loved it and it reminded me of a high-end, gourmet pot pie.
Now it’s on to the Chicken in the Brick. It looks simply amazing and I got a side of Au Gratin potatoes and they were unbelievable. The potatoes were sturdy slices and the cheese sauce was so rich and velvety. Now it’s time to see if this chicken is as good as it sounds on the menu.
Well, they didn’t lie! The chicken is crisp on the outside and so tender, flavorful and juicy on the inside! The lemon white wine sauce complimented it perfectly and gave it a delicious and unique taste! I’ve never had chicken like this and I definitely will be coming back here for more!
They bill themselves as a Whiskey House and you can get specialized flights of whiskey in here. We asked Dana to prepare us one and there he is behind the pour pouring away. Check out all of the whiskey in here! If you’re a fan of whiskey you need to get to Bradford pronto!
Here he is with our personalized flight. The flight comes on a wooden tray and each selection is marked on the tray. Dana gave us a great explanation and backgrounds of the four different selections he chose for us. It was a lot of fun hearing about them and then sampling the different whiskies. My favorite was a whiskey called “Widow Jane,” so I quickly jumped off of the flight...
And went straight to the main source! Thanks to Dana and Patty for a marvelous meal and a wonderful evening at Highlands, we’ll definitely be back!
Thanks to Kevin and Star for hosting, driving and discovering yet another hidden gem! And thanks to Amber and Joe for joining us as the special guest stars of this post-holiday adventure!
Four Dixie Chickens—It’s hard to find unique chicken dishes, but the Chicken in the Brick is definitely a taste you can only find at Highlands in Bradford. It’s less than a half an hour from Peoria, so it’s well-worth the drive! And try the whiskey flight for dessert, you won’t be disappointed!
176 W. Main Sreet
Related Posts: 13 Months of Chicken @: EatandEvolve, Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern, Slim Chickens, Destihl Brewery, Chili’s, Shelton’s, Sky Harbor Steak House, McDonald’s/Chik-fil-A, Bernardi’s Pub, Harold’s Chicken Shack, Lariat Steakhouse, Donnelly’s Irish Pub, Thanh Linh, Grandpa John’s Rib Shack, Birdie’s Bar & Grill, Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill, Midway Duck Inn, Ludy’s Kickapoo Creek Saloon, Jubilee Cafe, Rizzi’s and Agatucci’s.
Staying true to the holiday theme of the evening, Kevin and Star gave me this very cool gift for the MBIP World Headquarters! It’s a Budweiser wall mount bottle opener and it came with a bag of honey mustard pretzels (I ate them before I took the picture) and a Budweiser Clydesdale glass!
Check out the maiden bottle opened and poured. I love it and it’s a cool addition to the MBIP World Headquarters, thanks so much Kevin and Star!