Erie Choir, consisting of Bob Wall, James Hepler, John Booker and myself, took a quick tour of the mid-west that would have made Bob Seeger proud. I certainly didn't expect to see so much snow in April, but besides from the treacherous drive home the last day, the tour was drama free. This is mostly about what we ate. .
After playing we went to a diner Josh told us would be open late. It was in an Exxon. I had the "breakfast sandwich". I don't believe the cheese was melted. At 2am though, it tasted pretty good. Some dyed-blonde brahs came in who had earlier made fun of our mini-van. Don't hate on the stow and go brahs. **1/2
We arrived at the bar we were playing in time to get a few "Happy Hour" drinks, which is sadly illegal in NC. The bar also served pizza, "Chicago Style". They gave us a free pizza, which was stuffed with cheese and pepperoni, while the top was half pepperoni, half sausage. Two slices was enough to satiate each of us. . ***1/2
Columbia, MO (On the way to Omaha)
Stopped at an IHOP that was difficult to find amidst an overdeveloped nightmare that made New Hope Commons seem quaint. I had the whole grain pancakes. ***
Steve P. totally took care of us, letting us crash at his lovely home as well as recommending two places to eat that were both on point. Saturday night he took us to Bangkok, a reasonably priced Thai restaurant that was very tasty. I can never remember the name of any Thai dishes beside Paad Thai, so I'm at a loss to recall what I ate, though it had noodles and a brown sauce I think. ****
The next morning he recommended a hippie brunch place that again was the right call. I had some Huevos Rancheros. I had to specify that I wanted real cheese and not soy. Service was good, but I'm sure Finn's order would have gotten fucked up here somehow, since he is cursed.
Des Moines, IA
There wasn't a lot happening in downtown Des Moines on Easter Sunday, so we opted for the nearby and economical Spaghetti Works which gives you access to the salad bar and never ending pasta for a reasonable price. I guess great minds think alike, as our friend Dan McCarthy wandered in and joined us. Dan played with us in Omaha and Des Moines under the moniker, McCarthy Trenching. He's a super nice guy and very talented. I kept things simple with a marina sauce and sweet sausage, while Hep was a little more daring, going for the Beer and Cheese sauce. Dan got a meatball. ***
Greater Minneapolis Area, MN
With a day off we headed north towards Minneapolis. We drove around Clearlake, IA looking for Buddy Holly's crash site. We then went to the Mall of America, which honestly wasn't as impressive as we'd hope it would be. At the time it was built it must of have been considered really big, but now, it seems just kind of big. It does have a roller coaster. We saw "Blades of Glory" which we all agreed was pretty funny.
That night Judd took us to some swank joint in Uptown, to take advantage of the $5 specials, which no one beside myself did. I had a quesadilla, which like pizza, is pretty hard to screw up.***
Julie and Nathan had suggested a couple of places to eat while in Minneapolis. We took the Skyway to a place called "Hell's Kitchen" which was a little pricier than we wanted. I ordered the porridge, which was really good and not too expensive. The waitress asked if we were a band. We reluctantly admitted we were.***1/2
That night we hit up another Julie and Nathan suggestion, Everest on Grand, a Nepali restaurant. It was part of Hep's never ending quest to eat every possible type of animal. The Yak dumplings he got were delicious though. I got a noodle dish that was damn good too. ****
After we drove through a snow blanketed Wisconsin, Adam joined us for a quick meal at a taqueria near the bar we were playing. Mexican in Chicago is always a good choice and I had tacos asada, carnitas and adobado which helped the taco truck withdrawal I was well into by that point. ****
The next morning, Adam took us to a place called Flo's near his place. Meal of the tour by my estimation. It was sort of Mexican brunch, but that doesn't really explain what it was or how good it was. I had eggs, frittata style, with a green chile sauce, black beans, pico de gallo. Really doesn't sound that special, but it was awesome, as was everything everyone else got.
Bob got some Huevos Racheros. The eggs were fried. Adam got some chorizo omelet.
The bartender suggested the Lebanese joint down the street. At first I thought it was overpriced, but realized I was looking at meals intended for more than one person. I got two sandwiches, Shish Kabob and Shish something else, both were really good, though the sandwich seemed more like an egg roll. No complaints though. The other dudes got some pizza. ***1/2
Somewhere South of Detroit, MI
Stopped at a Bob's Big Boy for breakfast. I played it safe with some eggs and toast. Hep ordered the Big Boy Burger. The waitress, noting the Ohio plates on our rental van, informed us that they did not serve said burger with tartar sauce, as was the custom in Ohio apparently. A gentleman sitting behind us apparently witnessed a bug crawl out of his food, proclaiming "Awww, hell no!" in a voice reminiscent of Cedric the Entertainer. I think we established that the Big Boy's chain is in fact a rung below IHOP, Denny's, etc. **
Okay, this is an easy town to get overwhelmed in, food wise. Upon getting into town, we were near Pitt and checkedout the Original Hot Dog Shop. Bob got a hot dog with bacon on it. I got some ridiculous chicken sandwich. I didn't even see all the burgers I could have ordered. Came with a ton of fries. Washed it down with some beer. It was Friday afternoon and finally sunny and I was happy I wasn't at work.***1/2
That night, we played at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern and had some awesome pierogis. Will was trying to goad Bob into ordering the Polish Sampler, but Bob wisely stuck to the pierogis. ****
The next morning, Will(aka The Red Caped Rocker, Basil Pipperton) had us stop by the Strip in Pittsburgh, which was a happening place on a Saturday morning. De Luca's offered a quintessential breakfast and all were pleased. I got sweet sausage with my eggs. ****
Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
Our last stop of the tour was at Kenyon College and Andrew took us to their dining hall, which was temporarily located in a gym. Hep and John had played Kenyon before and claimed the real dinning hall resembled something out of Harry Potter. We could eat as much as we'd like, and it was pretty upscale for a cafeteria, but having just come from Pittsburgh, I ate a normal amount of food, pasta and salad, rather than stuff myself. I got some good dessert that wasn't labeled. Like custard with oreo crumbs or something. ***
Thanks to Josh, Steve, Patrick, Jacob, Judd, Adam, Will and Andrew and everyone else who came out to the shows.
By the way, the Choir plays this Thursday at the Reservoir and Philly and NYC on Friday and Saturday.