Sunday, October 25, 2009

Boone Drug and Soda Fountain

One of a dying breed... an old fashioned drug store with a lunch counter! Boone Drug (617 W King) originally opened in 1919. Like many pharmacies at the time, they included a soda fountain and lunch counter. Unlike many of those pharmacies, they continue to serve food and ice cream today.

We snagged a bright yellow booth and was waited on by a young girl in a paper hat. Delightful!

The menu is typical lunch fare such as burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and wraps. With a side of codeine.

They seemed to training some new people, so the food took awhile to come out, but it was really good. I was expecting mediocre average lunch fare, but everyone was really happy with how their food came out.

Cooking up meth and burgers

Richie got a burger of course. It's so cute, it almost looks fake with that round bun and green lettuce poking out.

Straight from an Archie comic.

and Richie IS Jughead

He also tried some Blue Sky Root Beer.

I got a blackened chicken wrap. That sucker was spicy! Like snot was running out of my nose spicy. And, as you can see, the veggies were very fresh and not from a bagged salad.

My only complaint is that they claim to be a soda fountain, yet didn't offer any homemade soda concoctions. They did have ice cream floats and shakes though.

So it was a pretty neat place to visit for lunch. It's one of those places old people probably love to take their grandkids to so they can tell them boring stories about getting sodie pops there as youths. The drug store part came in handy too, as I was able to pick up some Tums and hydrocortisone after we ate.

Troy's 105 Diner

Our first greasy joint from our trip to North Carolina was the ultra shiny and neon Troy's 105 Diner in Boone. Troy's used to be one of a chain of diners called Mel's. You don't see many of these gems in the Midwest, so of course we had to stop and check it out.

The atmosphere inside is pretty old school cool. I was hoping to enter a 50's time warp, but it didn't really deliver. The Marilyn posters were kinda cliche and the clientele weren't greasers, just old southerners.

The menu has sandwiches and burgers named after dead people which is always charming. Really gets my stomach growling.

I got the James Dean Asian Chicken Sandwich. Not sure if there's any reason it's named after him, maybe he had a penchant for pineapple... or Asians? Anyways, it was quite tender and the grilled pineapple was awesome.

I washed it down with a butterscotch shake, because you can't go to a diner and not order a shake. It was very butterscotch-y, but I was too cold to eat much of it.

To amuse himself and himself alone, Richie got a Richie Valens Reuben. He said it was pretty good, so I asked him if it was better than The Buzz Coffee Shop's reuben and he said No.

The fries were okay, nothing special.

Overall the food was good enough, but like many diners, they don't really specialize in anything spectacular. It's a worth a trip for the friendly kitschy atmosphere. I mean, it's worth the trip if you find yourself in Boone, not worth the 12+ hr drive just to eat there.

Fat Sandwich Company

This is a grease lover's dream come true..The Fat Sandwich Company in Champaign Illinois. They make sandwiches with virtually every greasy or fried bar food you can imagine. Of course they are located in a large college town, because this is, plain and simple, food for drunks.

The menu is a bit overwhelming because each uniquely named sandwich contains a variety of junk. The combinations are crazy and limitless. You can smoke a Fat Joint that has chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, ham, egg, mayo, and ketchup. Or pleasure yourself with a Fat Sorostitute- a Sub with buffalo chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, and ranch dressing. You can, of course, build your own disgustingly awesome sandwich as well with ingredients such as mini corndogs, cheesesteak, mac n cheese bites, cheez whiz, hashbrowns, and pizza bites. check their website for more crazy combos. Did I mention every sandwich is also topped with a hearty serving of fries? Yep, right on top of the whole sandwich.

Here's one fresh from the deep fryer/oven
Bigger than a plate.

Richard chose to consume the Fat Magnum- double cheeseburger, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, bacon, egg, mayo, ketchup, and fries...

Looks appetizing, right?
Well the tastes all kind of mesh together and you end up with an odd but sort of satisfying combination. For most of the people stuffing one in their face, they just need something to soak up the alcohol and probably aren't too picky about taste.
Richie thought it might be better if all the foods weren't prepackaged frozen foods. Nonetheless, he enjoyed the challenge. (He ate about half of it)

Good God

So he left with a full belly, as most will. Next time, I think I will attempt to eat a burger or chicken breast on a krispy kreme. I just wasn't quite up for it at the time. All-in-all it's a fun place to visit and try. Not the best quality of sandwich and foods, but you will leave full.

I should mention that they have an absolutely ridiculous food challenge in which a person must consume the Big Fat Ugly within 15 minutes. What is the Big Fat Ugly, you ask?

Not this guy

It's a humongous sandwich on two buns with basically everything on the menu.
four cheeseburgers, a double cheesesteak, chicken cheesesteak, gyro meat, grilled chicken, bacon, sausage, pork roll, mozzarella sticks, chicken finger, chicken nuggets, macaroni-and-cheese bites, fried mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, pizza bites, onion rings, hash browns, American cheese, ketchup and mayonnaise.

I found this picture of it

and Here's video of some fool trying to eat it

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bread Basket

The Bread Basket bakery opened in 1996 and has since expanded into a café location at Cumberland Square in Bettendorf. The bakery specializes in breads made with no artificial flavors or preservatives.

The breads can also be found at the Freighthouse Farmer’s Market where I have purchased a couple loaves of wheat and Midwestern Blend, a bread made of “whole wheat flour, whole oats, sunflower, flax and pumpkin seeds, millet, and a touch of honey and molasses.” Beware, the guy in the market booth will almost force you to taste test every one of their breads, so come hungry. You can also find loaves in Hy-Vee stores, you’ll pay a little more, but the taste is worth it.

After a meeting in Bettendorf, I stopped by their café (2306 Spruce Hills Drive) to peruse their sweet baked goods. Gotta love baked goods.

Coffee, of course

Cute little cafe

Though late in the day, they still had a decent selection of sweets, but my eyes immediately latched onto the cupcakes. Unlike big cities, we do not have many bakeries in the area, let alone cupcake stores, so I was happy to see these guys… or girls. I guess cupcakes would be feminine?

They had just 3 flavors left-a cookies n cream, carrot cake, and 2 raspberry cupcakes, so I went with raspberry.

I tend to eat just the tops of cupcakes and muffins. I don’t mess around. I didn’t want to buy a cupcake and sit alone dissecting and mutilating it with a fork, so I went to my car and destroyed it. Well, most of it.

The frosting was light and fluffy with a slight hint of raspberry. The little chocolate on top started to melt into it, yum! The cake was just yellow and a little dry, probably because it was late in the day and the baking seems to be done in the morning. I’d like to stop by some morning to try a fresh cinnamon roll. They also serve deli wraps and sandwiches made on their bread during lunch time.

This place is definitely not a greasy joint, but sometimes you need a little fiber after all that grease. Plus, we are leaving for North Carolina and I wanted to have an update before then. We shall return with greasy joints from the sort-of south in 10 days.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Burger Barge

Ahh finally we made a trip to East Peoria to visit the infamous Burger Barge. In the 4 yrs Richie lived in Peoria, for some reason, we never ate there. We got the chance when his mom called me and asked me if we could meet them in Peoria for a surprise birthday dinner. I chose the Burger Barge as our destination.

Though not a barge, or shaped like a barge, it is by the river. ON a nicer night we would have sat out on their poop deck. heh heh. The decor is kitschy riverboat mixed with Nascar and neon lights. Unfortunately, it was too dark to get decent pictures.

The menu is a mishmash of crazy burgers and sandwiches. Click here to view. Richie considered "buying The Farm" which means ordering a 9 oz burger, a butterfly porkchop, and chicken breast on a bun. I think the Red WHite and Moo would be the most challenging to eat, two 9 oz burgers sandwiching a butterfly pork chop. There is no way you could get your mouth around that. Though they specialize in burgers, they also have sandwiches called barges that are made with chicken, steak, or fish.

I got a Caribbean Chicken Sandwich that had grilled chicken, pineapple, ham, lettuce, and tomato on their special pelican bread. Made with real pelicans, i hope.

Stick a fork in me

Obviously not a fancy joint, the food is served on lunch trays and wax paper. Does nothing to detract from the taste.

Richie got the Tavern burger, which includes a 9 oz burger, onions, cheese, bacon, grilled ham, and a fried egg. I will miss him after his coronary at 40.

Single patty burgers and sandwiches cost 5-7 dollars and doubles 7-9. Fries are extra and also unnecessary. You can, however, get them directly on your sandwich in an "anchor pie." And if you can't decide between pizza or burgers, you can get an anchor pie smothered in pizza sauce and toppings. (You fat slob.)

Many of the ceiling tiles in the restaurant are full of graffiti and a trip to the bathroom was a treat. Most of the tiles were filled with men-bashing quotes, trashy, yet slightly entertaining.

They put in a chalkboard to encourage non-permanent graffiti, so I pissed and wrote a nice little message.

I look forward to returning to the Burger Barge to try another crazy concoction..well I'll probably just get chicken again. But watching someone make a pig out of himself is amusing enough. (see: Man Vs. Food)

Bonus- who doesn't like photo grazing? Check out the cake I've been noshing on for the past 4 days

and obligatory Richie making a dumb face picture....