Apr 21, 2013

Scenes from a drunken bus pub crawl

I have to hand it to my friends Scott and Richelle – they sure know how to throw a party.  For the last few years, in fact, they've organized a rolling party of sorts for their annual pub crawl by bus to the famous Fast Eddie’s Bon Aire in Alton, Ill.  They call it the annual Fast Eddie’s Party Bus Trip, and if you’re fortunate enough to get an invite, for a mere $30 you can be cruising from bar to bar and back in style. 

It's no short bus.  

Apr 18, 2013

A Commoner Reviews the Peotone Bier Stube

UPDATE:  I've recently learned the Peotone Bier Stube has closed, according to various reports on Facebook and other social media sites.  While I (among many other followers) hope this restaurant reopens, for now please consider this blog entry only as an homage to a great German restaurant.  If I learn of its reopening, I will post another update to my blog.

If you've never heard of Peotone, Ill., it’s a small community that, despite being in affluent Will County south of Chicago, has remained largely untouched by the urban sprawl that continues to encroach upon it.  In fact, it’s probably one of the first signs of rural Illinois farm town life you’ll find driving southbound on Interstate 57. 

If you have heard of Peotone, it may be because it’s the proposed site for a third airport to serve the Chicago area (the airport in Gary, Ind., would actually be closer but who realistically wants to fly into Gary?).  So, if certain politicos have their way, the landscape of Peotone could change drastically in the next decade. 

What I hope doesn't change about Peotone is a little gem of a German restaurant and beer garden called the Peotone Bier Stube, located on Illinois Highway 50 as it runs through town (Side note:  If you follow Hwy. 50 north, you eventually find yourself on Cicero Avenue in Chicago).  Peotone is probably not on most people’s short list for delicious, authentic German food, but then again, those people aren't seeking out the uncommon in a commoner’s travels.   

Apr 11, 2013

Gino’s East … and dillydallying in downtown Chicago

One thing I love about downtown Chicago is that you never have to stray more than six blocks from wherever you’re staying to find everything you need for a fun one-night or weekend getaway.  Case in point:  my recent stay at the Inn of Chicago.  So, when it came time for me to venture out for the evening, my options seemed limitless.  But once I realized I was just four blocks south of the original Gino’s East, my choice for dinner became a no-brainer. 

A single slice of Gino's East Supreme, with your choice of pepperoni or sausage (pictured here), green peppers, onions and mushrooms.

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...