Sep 20, 2011

Things discussed at the Brewhaus, Vol. 3

Gather around, fellow conversationalists, barstool philosophers and bullsh*t artists, as we review the latest list of topics recently discussed at my favorite watering hole: 

Sep 9, 2011

Random thoughts from the 2011 Springfield Ethnic Festival

One of my favorite local events every year – and one that symbolizes to me the end of summer – is the annual Ethnic Festival held Labor Day weekend at the Ethnic Village inside the Illinois State Fairgrounds.  

For those who aren’t familiar with the layout at Ethnic Village, bands play under a large gazebo in the center of the grounds.  The booths where the food vendors are located encircle the border of the festival.  Each booth has a sign prominently displayed that indicates the culture/nationality represented by the food for sale. 

Lately, however, the event seems to have lost some of its luster.  In some ways, it has almost become an afterthought of a larger ethnic festival included as part of the State Fair.  Still, despite fewer food vendors than during the fair, the entertainment still makes it worthwhile, and it’s a good complement to the motorcycle races that take over the grandstands at the fairground over the same weekend. 

Here are a few more observations I had over the Friday and Sunday night I attended: 

Sep 8, 2011

Random thoughts from the 8th Annual Old Capitol Blues & BBQ

My last blog entry touched upon a great German restaurant Gypsy and I dined at in Evansville, Ind.  During that trip, I was also on the lookout for a great barbecue joint (I always am), and we had even ventured across the Ohio River to Henderson, Ky. the next day looking for a place that was highly recommended on

Well, as they say in the movie "Stripes," the directions got all screwed up and one thing led to another and the next thing you know we were eating at a place unknown to me that ... well, let's say left a lot to be desired.  Gypsy's pulled pork smelled like the barnyard the pig came from.  the one positive was the appearance of chopped mutton on the menu -- a damn rare thing, so much in fact that I had never had barbecue mutton before and had to try it.  It was good, but it wasn't worth the entire trip.

How this has anything to do with the annual Blues & BBQ Fest held Au. 26 and 27 in Springfield, Ill. is that is just worked my appetite up that much more for the good stuff.  And this festival always delivers because of the many vendors competing for your taste buds.

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...