Aug 26, 2012

Random reflections on the 2012 Illinois State Fair

It seems like I’m always at least a week overdue on posting about recent events.  For instance, just as Springfield’s annual Blues & BBQ Festival ends this weekend, I’m just getting around to putting down my thoughts on our city’s biggest annual event of the year – the Illinois State Fair.

The main gate of the Illinois State Fair

Aug 21, 2012

A commoner’s recap of Eduardo’s, DeKalb, Ill.

I still have a lot of catching up to do to cover the various places I visited this summer.  For instance, I tagged on a little side trip to DeKalb, Ill., on my way back from the Algonquin Art Fair around July 1.  Why DeKalb, you ask?  Because a former travel companion attended Northern Illinois University there, and I thought it would be a nice bonus to check out the place on our way back.  I like to think I do have some nice qualities that manifest themselves once in a while.

Anyway, this posting is not about NIU or other points in DeKalb, although I did find a great bargain on Tito’s Vodka and stocked up on Old Style beer at American Liquors near the campus.  Actually, most prices there were pretty reasonable.  College kids have a limited budget, you know.     

I continue to digress, because after we drove around the campus, we waited out the opening of the restaurants along the main drag of downtown to grab an early dinner and, since I was still feeling my Mexican restaurant mojo, decided to try Eduardo’s.  

Eduardo’s is apparently on offshoot of an older Mexican restaurant standby from DeKalb’s past, Rosita’s.  They’ve made Eduardo’s a more modernized version of the original, with a large, well decorated formal dining area as well as a nice spacious bar area off to the right when you walk in.  Guess where we sat?

A nice spacious seating area in the bar room, with several TVs for a sports bar feel.  Cater to the masses, I suppose.

Aug 14, 2012

A Commoner Reviews Gumbo Shop, New Orleans

I’ve had the idea for this blog posting in my mental archives for a while, and it recently sprung up again when a friend asked me to provide a list of “must do” experiences in the Big Easy.  Who knew people actually thought I know what I’m talking about? 

Anyway, if you’re going to try one of New Orleans’ signature dishes, why not consider a place that names itself after it?  Talk about putting your reputation on the line … And in the case of the Gumbo Shop, their reputation is well deserved. 

Aug 11, 2012

Scenes from the 2012 Downhome Music Festival

Well, I’m back to full blogging capacity, which means I have my computer fully operational again and Internet in my new place, so I can post from home.  And with the Downhome Music Festival already a week behind us, I figured I’d better post about it before it was too late. 

In its second year, the event was expanded to the Downhome Music, Beer & Arts Festival for 2012, with all the action taking place between the two sponsor bard – Brewhaus and Celtic Mist.  And while they’re still working some of the kinks out from an organizational standpoint (as a volunteer this year, I experienced some of this first-hand), the music and beer really provide a full day and night of fun. 

Since I was working a gate the first half of the festival, I decided to devote much of this blog post to what’s really at the heart of the festival – the bands.  That’s because the proceeds from the event go to the local musicians who play in it. 

Aug 7, 2012

A perfect 10th edition of Things Discussed At The Brewhaus

While I await the technical capabilities to do more complicated blogging, here’s the tenth and most recent offering of topics that have been hotly debated – or at least somewhat mulled over – during the consumption of our favorite beverages:

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...