Can’t Schwing Schwa?

I’m a fantasy foodie. The kind of gal that loves to make and bake the finer things in life but is trapped in a world consisting of piles of paper wrappers, frozen chicken breasts, Kraft American Cheese Slices and Diet Coke.

I love sifting through magazines and cookbooks while my kids terrorize the children’s department at Borders. I wistfully dream of the day I’ll be able to eat my way through the city and surrounding ‘burbs without having to book a sitter a month in advance.

So, while I really enjoyed the recent review of Schwa, I recognized it for what it wasósomething that will NEVER happen. One, I can’t wait around for Michael Carlson to call me back. Two, trying to convince my husband that “horseradish foam” is, in fact, high cuisine is a laughable task. And three, if I want bacon bitters with ice cream, I can probably find it a lot cheaper at the Wisconsin State Fair.

So instead of leaving stalker-like love notes on Carlson’s answering machine, I took the kids to Meatheads.

You won’t find anything close to fine dining at Meathead’s newest location in the Willow Festival Plaza in Northbrook, but I can promise you’ll get a seat and a meal that’s pronounceableóall in the same day.

I’ll be frank: This is a plain Jane destination. The decor is family friendly, food comes in baskets, and you’ll need to get your own drink from the pop station in back. But, if you’re a mom out and about, want a 30-minute break that doesn’t involve McDonald’s and like a “custom burger” experience, it fits the bill.

Would you like a slice of avocado or a fried egg to top your beef patty? Meatheads has you covered. Cajun fries to go with a jalapeno topping? Sure! Kids would rather have a dog? Meatheads delivers, foot-long style.2 girls at Meatheads in Northbrook, IL

Our lunch bill was about $23 not too shabby for these four carnivores. And while the kids munched away, this foodie could fantasize, with cucumber wasabi dipping sauce for my fries.

Close by: The Glen Town Center, Kohl Children’s Museum, Pinstripes, Home Goods