northwest Indiana, over 50, Uncategorized

Restaurant provides comedy with Polish sausage

By Jane Bokun

At Big Frank’s Sausage in East Chicago, Indiana you can get more than Polish sausage, there’s big-time, nightclub-like entertainment as well.

“We started doing some comedy shows in the restaurant,” says owner Stan Stefanski.  “I knew one of the comedians and set up a show. On the ticket, along with the shows, there’s a full bar and Polish food buffet in the modest restaurant on 1417 Carrol Street in East Chicago.”

“We plan on doing another comedy event in the summer,” Stefanski said.

Comedian Nick Gaza often shows off his comedy stylings at Big Frank’s Sausage. He often brings in friends from shows such as Comedy Central.

“The comedy was great,” said patron Pam Grkinich.

Right now, Stefanski is focused on the restaurant and its beefy golabkis (or hamburger and cabbage rolls) along with fluffy pierogis and potato pancakes garnished with sour cream and apple sauce. Big Frank is not around. He’s the restaurant’s namesake and brother of Stan. He also provided the secret sausage recipe.

“We’ve been open for about five years and so far, the restaurant’s been successful,” Stan Stefanski said.

Indeed, customer Ismael Bonilla eats frequently at Big Frank’s along with his friend. George Hook.

“I’m a vegetarian and Stan suggested I try the mushroom pierogis,” Bonilla said. He also likes the cabbage and noodle dish.

Along with potato, sauerkraut, spinach, meat, mushroom and cheese pierogis, there are belly buster subs, homemade Polish sausages, deli dogs, pizza and much more. Food can be eaten in or taken out of the restaurant. There also are Polish groceries, deli meats and homemade sausage to take-out. Patrons wanting to join in Big Frank’s events should check the web page at

“There’s something for everyone here,” agreed George Hood.

When opened: July

Location: 1417 Carrol St., East Chicago

Phone: (219) 378–9556


northwest Indiana, over 50, Uncategorized

Shh! Latest new foods at Disney

By Jane Bokun

Frozen 2 will debut in theaters on November 22, so parents and grandparents will want to be ready for a good time with their kiddos in their local theaters.

I have a good friend at Disney who gives me the low down on everything new at the happiest place on earth from when we were both reporters at the Tampa Tribune. I, of course, want to pass it along to you. Who knows when you’ll be struck with hunger pangs in Disneyland or Disney World?

Elsa’s Frozen Wave – yum!

Let’s start with new foods: in the Magic Kingdom Park (available starting Nov. 8):

  • Olaf’s Frozen Hot Chocolate Cake (Main Street Bakery, available all day) – gluten-friendly chocolate cake layered with chocolate crispy pearls, chocolate panna cotta, and marshmallow fluff
  • Sven’s Carrot Cake (Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café, Exclusive to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) – carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting, sugar carrots, and a chocolate piece

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Leaning Palms

  • Elsa’s Frozen Wave – cotton candy vanilla milkshake with whipped cream, fall and winter sprinkles, and a white chocolate coins

Disney Springs, The Ganachery (available starting Nov. 15)

  • Chocolate Olaf – creamy milk chocolate Olaf filled with mini pumpkin spice marshmallows frolicking in a pile of chocolate leaves
  • Pumpkin Spice Ganache Square
  • Chocolate Ganache Pop – salted caramel ganache pop

Disney Springs, Marketplace Snacks

  • Olaf Dole Whip Slushy – vanilla soft-serve on top of blue raspberry slush with Olaf chocolate piece and chocolate chip buttons

Disney Springs, Amorette’s Patisserie

  • Anna and Elsa Petit Cake – cinnamon-nutmeg chiffon cake with Calvados caramel mousse, cranberry-cherry pate de fruit, and roasted hazelnuts
  • Arendelle Anna Petit Cake – cinnamon-nutmeg chiffon cake with Calvados caramel mousse, cranberry-cherry pate de fruit, and roasted hazelnuts

Epcot, Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

  • 4 Pack Mini Spirit Cupcakes – 
    • Earth – chocolate cupcake with cookie crumbles and candy rocks
    • Wind – vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and fall leaf sprinkles
    • Fire – chocolate cupcake with fire buttercream
    • Water – vanilla cupcake with blue buttercream and sugar bubbles
  • Fall Cheesecake – lemon cheesecake with graham cracker crust topped with Olaf and fall leaf sprinkles
  • Caramel Mousse – sea salt caramel mousse with vanilla cake crust and white chocolate piece
  • Frozen Orange Vanilla Cream Soda – served in a souvenir sipper
  • Sven’s Apple Cheesecake – apple-filled cheesecake


  • Dark Sea Chocolate Cake (Beach Club Marketplace and The Market at Ale & Compass at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort) – chocolate cake with caramel cream cheese swirl, a dulcey chocolate mousse dome, glaçage, and a white chocolate glaze
  • Frozen Waves Cupcake (available starting Nov. 17 at Everything POP Shopping & Dining at Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort) – chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate ganache and topped with vanilla mint buttercream and sanding sugar
  • Frozen Fractals Cupcake (available starting Nov. 1 at Food Courts at Disney’s All-Star Resorts) – blue confetti cupcake with shades of blue frost buttercream and a white chocolate piece
  • “Frozen 2” Pumpkin Spiced Donut Tart (Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort) – vanilla tart shell filled with pumpkin custard and topped with a spiced donut cake top, cinnamon glaze, and chocolate leaves
  • Hidden Truth Cupcake (Good’s Food to Go at Disney’s Old Key West Resort and The Artist’s Palette at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa) – chocolate cupcake with blackberry ganache, blackberry buttercream, white chocolate garnish, and blue and white sprinkles
  • Water Spirit Cupcake (Food Courts at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort and Centertown Market at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort) – chocolate cupcake filled with white chocolate mousse and topped with vanilla buttercream, crispy pearls, and a white chocolate garnish
  • Enchanted Forest Leaves (Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) – maple leaf-shaped sugar cookie sandwich filled with maple and praline buttercream and garnished with a chocolate coin
  • Fall Into Winter Dessert (available starting Nov. 24 at Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge) – spiced cheesecake with a caramel apple compote, embossed fondant, and sprinkles

For more information on all of the locations listed above, visit the Walt Disney World Resort website or check out the My Disney Experience mobile app. 

northwest Indiana, over 50, recycled clothing, Uncategorized

Mouth-watering designer duds at affordable prices

By Jane Bokun

One of the most popular new and used clothing stores in Indiana will soon celebrate six years in business.

The reason for the boutique’s success is fairly easy to deduce: it’s fabulous fashion with high end labels and affordable prices,” says Diane Gross, who owns Eco Chic Boutique along with her friend Trish Caruso.

Eco Chic Boutique owners

The two women met while they were young mothers with entrepreneurial goals thinking of a series of money-making ideas such as the Perfect Playhouse. When the kids were grown, both women decided to start a clothing boutique in Dyer, Indiana. Originally, Caruso was a hair dresser who owned her own shop, and Gross was an administrative legal assistant.

Now, they are like a family. If there’s a problem, they work it out. So far, in the light-colored, 4,000-square-foot pristine boutique, it’s working with both new and used designer clothing, jewelry, shoes, and even accessories like a fascinator hat. There are multiple sizes including plus sizes for women who want basic tops, casual, work wear or party clothes. The shop recently opened up a new department for mothers of the bride or groom that offers better labels in gowns, dresses and more.

The boutique takes in clothing including Chico’s, Anne Taylor, and even St. John knits by appointment. Prices are based on both condition and label. Some of the labels are from places as far away as Italy or Paris. It’s the prices that keep customers and consignors coming back.

Designer Duds

One customer named Maria says she shops for all her clothes at Eco Chic and often recommends the personalized customer service to her friends.


Both Gross and Caruso are constantly talking to new customers and guiding them towards complete outfits for any occasion. Maria says every stitch of clothing she’s wearing comes from Eco Chic.

“I was just going out to the pharmacy, but I thought I had to stop in Eco Chic Boutique,” she says.

The store used to have painting parties and comedy shows, but now has taken a turn toward the clothing women want to have.

They get along, Caruso says, like an old, married couple.

“There’s a lot of give and take,” Gross agrees.