Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Road Trip through Food

We've just returned from a 13 day road trip through the Midwest. It was a great trip filled with time spent with lots, actually ALL, G's of family and friends that we were dearly missing. But no trip would occur for us without also enjoying lots of good food. It was a long trip with lots of great highlights but we're going to focus on the food from the trip for this post....to distract me from all the loads of laundry to do, emails to caught up on, etc....

Our first food stop started in St. Louis where G picked me up from the airport to start what we titled our "Heatwave Adventure" due to crazy temperatures that were happening out there when we started our trip. 

That first night we met up with some family friends and had dinner at McGurk's Irish Pub in the Soulard area of town. (Sadly, I was still adjusting to arriving to St. Louis and the intense heat, I think the car read 104 degrees when G picked me up at the airport, and I didn't remember to take photos.)

After dinner G & I went to the Broadway Oyster Bar which our friends recommended 

as a good place to sit outside, hear some blues and enjoy a cocktail. It was a great first night to start off our trip. And having come from the Pacific Northwest where it had been in the low 60's up until I left sitting outside at 10:00 p.m. and having it be 90+ felt pretty great I must admit. 

Day 2: we woke up to what felt like being in an incredible sauna outside.

 All I can say is; it was HOT!!! Like, you can't breath kind of hot. We made our way over the St. Louis Arch and did the mandatory trip to the top. 

After our nerve wracking walk in the clouds we took a cab back over to the Soulard area again to try another recommendation by our St. Louis friends to Bogart's Smokehouse.

 Just the aroma hanging around outside was indication that this was going to be a good choice.

We both went  with the pulled pork sandwich and 

topped it with their Sweet Megan Ann's sauce.

I choose the try the coleslaw and potato salad as my sides. G tried the baked beans and coleslaw. The pork was perfectly moist and flavorful not too overpowered by the smoke flavor. So good that even though our traveling space was limited we purchased a bottle of the sauce to bring home.

After lunch it was time to head down to Southern Illinois for a few days with G's parents where we spent the 4th of July. Of course it was so outrageously hot down there that all fireworks in the county were cancelled. 

But even without the fireworks G's family still held the family BBQ that afternoon to celebrate. We come to Anna and we have lots of pulled pork, it was a great spread.

After a few days of sweltering we headed up to Chicago to visit the city and G's little sister and were hoping for a little relief from the heat. 

Another must stop while in the midwest for G is to LaBamba for what are known as "Burritos As Big As Your Head."
So we stopped in 

Champagne, Illinois to indulge in this craving for G.
Late in the afternoon we arrive to the city looking for a "wishful" cool breeze.

But that was not the case initially. 

We arrived, checked into The W on Lakeshore drive and immediately headed up to their Whiskey Sky bar on the 33rd floor to indulge in a Jalapeño margarita for me and a gin & tonic for G.

For dinner we hooked up with G's sister's family and hit our fav spot for Italian beef sandwiches; Portillo's.

Not only is Portillo's a must visit spot for us anytime we are in Chicago,

we also have it shipped out annually for our family Chelan vacation so my family is now all Portillo's fans given it's really half way across the nation. We can't tell you how great this was it was sooooo good. But sadly our diets having not included this type of food much lately made partaking in burritos and Italian beef both in one day a bit too uncomfortable for our systems that night.

Day 2 in Chicago included a lovely long walk along Lake Michigan and some time with G's sister and niece and a good hometown friend of his for lunch 

at another of our fav Chicago spots; Giordanos Pizza.

There is just no getting pizza like this at home. Our favorite is the stuffed spinach. It definitely hit the spot. After a bit of play in the park and some shopping G and decided we couldn't be in Chicago and not pay a visit to a Rick Bayless restaurant although we did have "different" dinner plans for the evening.

We walked over to Frontera Grill and luckily although it was Saturday evening we did find a place at the bar. (Yaaay for us! But sadly it was a dark venue and all I had was the iPhone so the photos don't do justice to our drinks and food.)

I had the Topolo Margarita to start and G had a Mezcal Margarita.

We decided to have a second drink and order an appetizer as our plans included a later dinner. We went with the half order of Oysters & Ceviche Platter.

For being land locked, even though we were at a Rick Bayless restaurant, we were impressed with how wonderfully sweet and delicious the oysters were.

Then there were the two cevices; The Frontera Ceviche and the  Tropical Tuna. Both were so wonderfully fresh, refreshing and sweet. We loved the start of our evening out in Chicago.
After our starter we went back to our room to get cleaned up to go try and walk into Girl and The Goat. One of my hopes from our trip to Chicago being the Top Chef fan that I am.

We were so excited when we walked in at 8:30 that we were able to get right in. Another score for us given we didn't make reservations for the evening. 


We ordered a bottle of Oregon made wine that we love to kick off our dinner.

There were many great choices on the menu it was difficult to choose. But we made some good choices of the small plates to share.

First with the squash blossom rangoon. So perfect, so much better than any crab rangoon version we've ever had.

Then when we had the grilled baby octopus that was so tender and flavorful.

Next we had the wood fired broccoli that was fantastic. Surprisingly it actually was topped with crispy rice krispies. It was so good we are trying to figure out how we can get the same flavor from our grill but we haven't figured it out yet.

Lastly, we had her famous pig face. Oh so yummy, made with crispy pulled pig face "pork", crispy potatoes and a poached egg. It was much more delicious than the name makes it sound. 

What a great night we had. In the morning we got up and checked out of the hotel and had a great breakfast with G's sister's family at Flo. I had a wonderful tamale scramble with poached eggs.

And G had his all time fav breakfast Huevos Rancheros.

Chicago will always be a place that we visit and enjoy family and great food.

Next we were headed to Kansas City to visit G's family. On the way we stayed a night in Iowa. I truly never thought I'd be driving through Iowa or having a dinner out. We did find  a little Italian restaurant luckily open on a Sunday night, evidently quite a feat in Iowa. 

I didn't get a photo of our dinner, only the wine. Rodney Strong was about as good as it got for a reasonable price range on a Sunday night. Overall we were happy with our Iowa dinner out. 

We made it through Iowa to Kansas City for a great dinner and good wine with G's cousins that we hadn't seen in awhile. 

Next on the route was Denver, Colorado to hang with more of G's family. It was a pretty great evening with some much missed cousins.

We ordered in G's new fav Denver Pizza from Fat Sullys.

We also shared some special wines that evening.

The next morning we took a great walk around the city park in Denver.

 We then walked over and had some chorizo breakfast burritos and coffee around the corner.

We then headed for Boulder to connect with some friends we hadn't seen in 7 years. 

We met up for lunch at Mountain Sun Brewery.

 It was great to see them, meet their beautiful daughter and be back in Boulder, another city we love.

There we had some great sandwiches. I had the Buffalo Blue Chicken burger it was amazingly good actually. Loved it.

That night we hung low with G's cousin and made a great dinner, more about that later.

The next day we started off for the very last leg of our LONG road trip headed to Park City, Utah for a few days. 

G had some ski bum years almost 20 years ago in PC so nostalgia for him and was planned to allow me some sun & relaxing time.

We got checked into our resort on the mountain. 

Headed out for the sun and sadly so did every ill-behaved child in the state of Utah evidently so relaxation didn't occur. 

The next day the sun didn't arrive so we headed into town and had lunch at the Wasatch Brewery, had drinks that evening with some of G's old PC friends before experiencing a 8 hour electric black out on the mountain. PC was both great and a tad disappointing in what it was planned to be.

From Park City it was a 14 hour drive straight home. We were both really ready to be home! G had been gone 21 days, me 13, it was a long.... but great trip. 

So many great times with family, friends and some fantastic food was had by us both.


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