On the Road: Pit Stops

In the course of our Great American Adventure, of course we had to eat.  Some of these stops were intentional (Cincinnati and Decorah), the others (Illinois) were pure circumstance.  Sure we could have stopped at Subway, but if you have the extra 10 minutes to drive out of the way, why not go for it?  It’s possible to eat well and still eat cheaply when you’re out on the road.

Champaign, Illinois

Maize Mexican Grill

12 counter seats on a street corner always looks like a good meal idea to me.

Maize 1 Maize 2 Maize 3 Maize 4

Marcus’ burrito, my three tacos (asada, chorizo and fish) as well as the chips and salsa were a grand total of $11.  I will take that combination any day over Chipotle.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Eli’s Barbeque

Eli's 1Eli's 2

When Brian and I were workshopping dinner plans for our evening in Cincinnati, Yelp (and all other signs) pointed to Eli’s, which doesn’t have a proper sign.  What they do have is the likeness of a pig.  Close enough.

For $30 we got two pulled pork sandwiches, 5 ribs, two sides of jalapeno cheese grits, jalapeno cheddar cornbread, baked beans and two sides of slaw.  Can I get an Amen?!  This establishment was BYOB, so we of course made sure to grab a few six packs of Kentucky Bourbon Brown Ale as well.

Peoria, Illinois

3 Reales

3 Reales 23 Reales 1

This little restaurant was actually in the mercado.  There’s always something festive about eating lunch 10 feet away from the butcher’s cases.  Two taco plates with rice and beans and chips and salsa?  $12.  I swear to God it will never get old.  Chorizo tacos are my love language.

Decorah, Iowa

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Toppling Goliath was actually what brought us to Iowa – we’ve been meaning to plan a trip there for a while, and this was the easiest way to sneak it in.

Toppling Goliath

Over the course of two hours we got to try a number of their beers and they were all So Excellent.  I’ve heard good things about what they’re brewing, but I also hear good things about breweries whose beers I loathe, so it was wonderful to be able to walk out 100% satisfied.  If you’re in the area or even if you’re not, this is a great place to make a trip to.

I believe that most of the beer that leaves their taproom is in Growlers, but we were happily able to grab a bottle of SOSUS to bring home to Minnesota.

Mabe’s Pizza

My understanding is that Mabe’s is a Decorah stalwart, well beloved by many.  After beer, pizza was the only logical choice, so we ordered a cheese steak pizza and a taco pizza.

Mabes 1Mabes 2

In case anyone is wondering, the whole Doritos on top of a pizza is a fun idea, but in practice, mostly you just end up eating the Doritos and the pizza separately.  While this was not the most exceptional pizza I’ve ever eaten, but I suspect that given the age of the establishment, they were probably making “non-traditional” pizzas before they were cool.  Someone had to lead that charge.

Are there any meals you try to seek out when you are on the road?


One response to “On the Road: Pit Stops

  1. You had me at Kentucky Bourbon Brown Ale.

    I love that you do this. We often have our pooches with us, so that can make things challenging (especially in the summer.) But otherwise, we always try to just push on through to get where we are going. We really need to do this on our next roadtrip. The only issue if we stop for dinner or a brewery is decided who gets to drink and who has to drive! 😉

    PS – That guy in the window at Maize looks surprised!

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