It’s chilly November, thoughts start drifting toward turkeys, cooking, and the “S” word. Brrr…well have I found an oasis for Chicagoans who are weary of wind chill factors and fighting the crowds for those precious holiday bargains. Do you head for O Hare and head for warmer climes? No just head to Schaumberg to a tropical haven called Bahama Breeze. It was the fabulous Swai Rai who turned us on to this place. She went there in the middle of the summer. We were recently invited by the nice folks there to experience Rumtober. Tropical drinks and snacks at the end of October? We are so there!!
Walking in the door, you are enveloped with white wicker and palm trees. Think warm, think Florida. Coincidentally, Bahama Breeze is located mostly in Florida. I have been going to Florida since I was about ten years old, so I was right at home. It also provided the perfect escape from the cold . Color is everywhere in the decor with the painted fish lamp at each table. It’s a sensory voyage . There is also an outer patio complete with a fireplace to keep things mellow. And what ‘s the best way to mellow out? Have a cocktail!
Bahama Breeze prides itself on its cocktails. Each one is an experience in itself. “Rumtober” is a variation on the traditional Octoberfest. It promised to be a celebration of rum and rum cocktails.We were part of a parade of tropical libations. The fruit juices were freshly squeezed. No canned or frozen here. We started with a lively number called a Mojito Cubano. Its feature was a freshly muddled piece of sugar cane in the drink. It had a tangy zip to it, but was still refreshing with the crushed ice. I like a fruity sweet drink and was I excited with the next one. It was called the ultimate pina colada and it was the best of two drinks. It had the tropical coconut taste of a pina colada that was mixed with a strawberry daiquiri mixture that made it scrumptious.The Bajamarita was a delicious slushy mixture that had a cactus juice chaser that came with it. “Rumtober” even had its own concoction with two kinds of rum in it. The “Curly Tail” was named after the colorful little lizards that inhabit the islands. It was garnished with a rum infused slice of pineapple to further enhance the island experience. Each drink also came with a tiny rubber lizard to keep.
With all those cocktails, you had to have something to munch on and we got a chance to try some yummies. I can’t stop talking about the awesome coconut shrimp. It came with a sweet mustard sauce that was just plain delicious. Our entree was the specialty of the day, shrimp and grits. Owner Juan took great pleasure in explaining each course and also presenting us with giftees. The grits had cheese on them and were filled with mushrooms and large pieces of shrimp. Finish them with crunchy french cut beans and you have got a meal.
Ending the meal was a difficult choice with all the nommie desserts at BB. Jen embraced her chocolate lover with the chocolate island. Luscious chocolate mousse on a fudge brownie with milk chocolate sauce. I went more traditional with a delicious piece of Rebecca’s key lime pie.
Bahama Breeze Island Grill has 36 locations. The Schaumberg location is the only one in Illinois. Coincidentally most of them are in Florida, with the flagship being on International Drive in Orlando. Bahama Breeze also uses the influence of all of the islands, not just Caribbean. The fish used on the menu is fresh and so are the fruits. Plantain chips are also included on the menu as well. A special thanks to Juan, his wife, and our fun host , Rick. Bahama Breeze Island Grill is located just down the road from Woodfield Mall. Take a break today!!