Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest

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Ralph Melton
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Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Wed, 07/11/12 11:26 PM
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We had been planning in a vague way to drive around the Midwest a bit in August. On Monday, we sat down to start planning an itinerary, and we discovered that we could attend the Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove, MN - but only if we left on our road trip this Sunday. So we've shifted our planning into high gear, and I'm reading the website and trip reports (especially wanderingjew's) and trying to make plans.
 
This is the itinerary we're planning:
Sunday, July 15: Go through Ohio with a stop in Columbus, ending in Cincinnati. 
Monday, July 16: through Indiana up to Chicago.
Tuesday, July 17: mostly in Chicago and/or Milwaukee, with some driving down into Iowa.
Wednesday, July 18: south through Indiana to Kansas City.
Thursday, July 19: Kansas City, with dinner at Stroud's.
Friday, July 20: ambling northward through Iowa
Saturday, July 21: northward to Walnut Grove, MN
Sunday, July 22: east to Minneapolis
Monday, July 23-Wednesday, July 25: moseying through Wisconsin
Thursday, July 26: progressing through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Friday, July 27: driving down through the lower peninsula
Saturday, July 28: through northern Ohio to Edinboro, PA
Sunday, July 29: home again
 
Although I would welcome general suggestions for places to eat and things to do, I also have some specific questions: 
 
- What's extra good on a Monday in Indianapolis? I was so fixated on Hollyhock Hill (whose website says that it's closed on Mondays) that I'm having trouble choosing another spot.
- Would folks like to meet up with us in Chicago on the evening of Monday, July 16? I know that it's short notice, but we'd be happy to let locals pick the spot. We would also be happy to have local company during our Chicago touring the next day. (If folks are interested in meeting us in the evening in Milwaukee, we could come down to Milwaukee on Monday, July 23 or Tuesday, July 24, though perhaps not both.)
- What barbecue places in Kansas City ought we to try? We tried Arthur Bryant's on a previous trip and were disappointed, so I would prefer to try somewhere else.
- what tourist stops would y'all recommend on the drive from Kansas City to Walnut Creek, MN?
- if I want to sample lutefisk, where should I find a great lutefisk experience? 
- How might I find a restaurant selling chicken booyah in the middle of the week? It seems like the sort of thing that gets prepared for church suppers on weekends, but our schedule would not likely permit that.
- Is cudighi so distinctive an Italian sausage that I should seek it out in the Upper Peninsula?
 
I have hopes of making a time-lapse video of our travels, after seeing coworkers of mine do their own time-lapse video of a drive through the Mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately, the accelerated schedule raises questions of whether the car mount will arrive in time.

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 1:10 AM
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As of right now, Monday, July 16th is open for us, although Tuesday the 17th is not.  The schedule is just the opposite for your return trip to Milwaukee; busy on Monday the 23rd, free on Tuesday the 24th.  I'd like to see who else is available and what they suggest before I offer my two cents.
 
Just a quick look at your itinerary indicates a problem or two (or maybe you planned it this way):
"Wednesday, July 18: south through Indiana to Kansas City."--This will have you going east when you want to go west--Unless your plan is to go south to I-70 and then head due west, through St. Louis and on to KC.  Or did you mean to type "Iowa" where you put "Indiana"?
 
I would replace Arthur Bryant's with LC's.  Focus on the Burnt Ends, Beans, and Fries.  A single order of each will nicely feed both you and Lori.
 
Keep us updated on your schedule so we can plan accordingly.
 
Have a great trip!
 
Buddy

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 1:42 AM
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Ralph Melton


We had been planning in a vague way to drive around the Midwest a bit in August. On Monday, we sat down to start planning an itinerary, and we discovered that we could attend the Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove, MN - but only if we left on our road trip this Sunday. So we've shifted our planning into high gear, and I'm reading the website and trip reports (especially wanderingjew's) and trying to make plans.

This is the itinerary we're planning:
Sunday, July 15: Go through Ohio with a stop in Columbus, ending in Cincinnati. 
Monday, July 16: through Indiana up to Chicago. Stop in Columbus, IN to see the architecture. It's all over town.
Tuesday, July 17: mostly in Chicago and/or Milwaukee, with some driving down into Iowa. Stop in Milwaukee to see the Art Museum. It's on the lake and it's spectacular. Try to drive up to Sheboygan for some Brats and Charbroiled steaks or down to Racine for the architecture and Kringles.
Wednesday, July 18: south through Indiana to Kansas City. In IN go to Huntington for the Pork Tenderloin and the Dan Quayle Museum (just kidding).
Thursday, July 19: Kansas City, with dinner at Stroud's. See the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the new Concert Hall. Next to the Nelson-Atkins is Winsteads. It's a classic.
Friday, July 20: ambling northward through Iowa. Atlantic, IA. Lots there. Check Roadfood. Terrific Art Museum in Des Moines as well as the Capitol and the Library and the Sculpture Park.
Saturday, July 21: northward to Walnut Grove, MN
Sunday, July 22: east to Minneapolis. Al's Breakfast. Hell's Kitchen. Key's Cafe.
Monday, July 23-Wednesday, July 25: moseying through Wisconsin. Norske Nook in Osseo for the best pies in the world!
Thursday, July 26: progressing through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Friday, July 27: driving down through the lower peninsula
Saturday, July 28: through northern Ohio to Edinboro, PA
Sunday, July 29: home again



buffetbuster
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 8:03 AM
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Photog-
You gave some excellent advice, including the architecture in Columbus, IN, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City.  I am surprised to hear you recommend the Norske Nook so highly for pie.  When was the last time you were there?  I was there two years ago and didn't care for them at all.
 
Have you been to the Stockholm Pie Company in Stockholm, WI?  It is my favorite pie shop in the country.

buffetbuster
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 8:07 AM
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Ralph & Lori-
According to Kopp's flavor forecast, you can expect strawberry and chocolate chip cookie dough on July 17th.  Sure sounds like a good enough reason alone for a Milwaukee visit! 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 07/12/12 8:29 AM>

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 8:23 AM
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Ralph, do any of your possible routes place you in the Indianhead Country of northwestern WI?  Or were you going to head pretty much due east from Minneapolis?

wanderingjew
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 8:56 AM
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Ralph and Lori
 
Sounds like a fantastic trip.  I'm itching for another midwest trip, I can never get enough of that part of the country. And as I found there are many  excellent undiscovered places that aren't on the roadfood website or in the books.
 
I can answer some of your specific questions.
 
I agree with Buddyroadhouse
LC's is my must go to bbq joint in Kansas City
 
I was going to suggest Kopper Kettle in Morristown IN in lieu of Hollyhock Hill, however they too are closed on Mondays.  Are you looking just for pan fried chicken?
If not then Gray's Cafeteria is a must.
Another place I enjoyed was The Roost in suburban Fishers. I went at dinner time because they only serve their dinner menu at dinner.
(4 out of 5 stars on Yelp and 90% approval rating on urbanspoon)
 
http://www.sahms.com/locations/the-roost/
 
I can't help you with Lutefisk although Davydd and Nancypalooza think I'm the expert for some bizarre, odd, strange reason. Although I think this is something you can only get during the winter months.
 

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 9:07 AM
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Ralph Melton


- if I want to sample lutefisk, where should I find a great lutefisk experience? 

"Military intelligence", "jumbo shrimp", "great lutefisk experience".  Pick the oxymoron of your choice.
A Lutheran church in Wisconsin or Minnesota might be your best bet, but it would probably have to be a special event on a Saturday or Sunday.
 
Ralph Melton

- How might I find a restaurant selling chicken booyah in the middle of the week?

I asked a coworker in our Green Bay location and according to her there are "a bunch" of places that serve it as a regular menu item.  Off the top of her head she named Golden Basket and Bay Family Restaurant on Military Avenue and Julie's on Velp Avenue, although there it's only on the menu 4 days a week.  Of course, if you're not planning on visiting Green Bay this isn't much help.

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 10:45 AM
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BuddyRoadhouse


As of right now, Monday, July 16th is open for us, although Tuesday the 17th is not.  The schedule is just the opposite for your return trip to Milwaukee; busy on Monday the 23rd, free on Tuesday the 24th.  I'd like to see who else is available and what they suggest before I offer my two cents.

Just a quick look at your itinerary indicates a problem or two (or maybe you planned it this way):
"Wednesday, July 18: south through Indiana to Kansas City."--This will have you going east when you want to go west--Unless your plan is to go south to I-70 and then head due west, through St. Louis and on to KC.  Or did you mean to type "Iowa" where you put "Indiana"?

I would replace Arthur Bryant's with LC's.  Focus on the Burnt Ends, Beans, and Fries.  A single order of each will nicely feed both you and Lori.
 
 
Let's pencil in Monday the 16, then.
 
I did mean to type "Iowa" for the route from Chicago/Milwaukee to Kansas City.
 
I'm so glad to see some consensus on LC's. I'll certainly give it a try.

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 10:48 AM
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photog


Ralph Melton


We had been planning in a vague way to drive around the Midwest a bit in August. On Monday, we sat down to start planning an itinerary, and we discovered that we could attend the Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove, MN - but only if we left on our road trip this Sunday. So we've shifted our planning into high gear, and I'm reading the website and trip reports (especially wanderingjew's) and trying to make plans.

This is the itinerary we're planning:
Sunday, July 15: Go through Ohio with a stop in Columbus, ending in Cincinnati. 
Monday, July 16: through Indiana up to Chicago. Stop in Columbus, IN to see the architecture. It's all over town.
Tuesday, July 17: mostly in Chicago and/or Milwaukee, with some driving down into Iowa. Stop in Milwaukee to see the Art Museum. It's on the lake and it's spectacular. Try to drive up to Sheboygan for some Brats and Charbroiled steaks or down to Racine for the architecture and Kringles.
Wednesday, July 18: south through Indiana to Kansas City. In IN go to Huntington for the Pork Tenderloin and the Dan Quayle Museum (just kidding).
Thursday, July 19: Kansas City, with dinner at Stroud's. See the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the new Concert Hall. Next to the Nelson-Atkins is Winsteads. It's a classic.
Friday, July 20: ambling northward through Iowa. Atlantic, IA. Lots there. Check Roadfood. Terrific Art Museum in Des Moines as well as the Capitol and the Library and the Sculpture Park.
Saturday, July 21: northward to Walnut Grove, MN
Sunday, July 22: east to Minneapolis. Al's Breakfast. Hell's Kitchen. Key's Cafe.
Monday, July 23-Wednesday, July 25: moseying through Wisconsin. Norske Nook in Osseo for the best pies in the world!
Thursday, July 26: progressing through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Friday, July 27: driving down through the lower peninsula
Saturday, July 28: through northern Ohio to Edinboro, PA
Sunday, July 29: home again


 
Many thanks for all the suggestions. I think that we're more likely to visit Sheboygan in the 'rambling through Wisconsin' phase of the second half of the trip - are there worthy brats to be found north of Sheboygan?

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 10:51 AM
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buffetbuster

Have you been to the Stockholm Pie Company in Stockholm, WI?  It is my favorite pie shop in the country. 

 
We've definitely included Stockholm Pie Company on our list because of your recommendation. A pie recommendation from you is not to be ignored.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 10:55 AM
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As much as I enjoy the Charcoal Inn and some other places around Sheboygan, my favorite place may be Gosse's for brats and tortes.  The chicken dinners I saw on other plates looked excellent, too.

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 10:58 AM
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ScreamingChicken


Ralph, do any of your possible routes place you in the Indianhead Country of northwestern WI?  Or were you going to head pretty much due east from Minneapolis?

 
I don't know anything about that area, so I hadn't been planning for it. But we've got four days in which to cover 500 miles; we don't have to take a direct route at all. (My level of planning for that stretch has been to say "okay, we can definitely make that drive comfortably, and I'm sure we can find things to do; we can fill in the details later.") What do you recommend in that area?

Michael Hoffman
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 11:01 AM
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When you come through Columbus lleechef and I would be happy to treat you both to Beanie Burgers at the Gahanna Grill. And how can you stand to miss a visit to the G&R Tavern in Waldo for one of their fantastic fried bologna sandwiches. Who knows, between us we might even get lleechef to take a bite of the bologna.
And Do try to carve out a visit to Port Clinton on Lake Erie for the perch and walleye sandwiches and onion rings at the Jolly Roger on your way back through northern Ohio.
<message edited by Michael Hoffman on Thu, 07/12/12 11:14 AM>

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 11:04 AM
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wanderingjew


I was going to suggest Kopper Kettle in Morristown IN in lieu of Hollyhock Hill, however they too are closed on Mondays.  Are you looking just for pan fried chicken?
If not then Gray's Cafeteria is a must.
Another place I enjoyed was The Roost in suburban Fishers. I went at dinner time because they only serve their dinner menu at dinner.
(4 out of 5 stars on Yelp and 90% approval rating on urbanspoon)

http://www.sahms.com/locations/the-roost/  

 
I don't feel a need to get pan fried chicken in Indianapolis; I am willing to assume that Stroud's can satisfy all of my fried chicken needs. Thank you for the recommendation for Gray's Cafeteria.

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 11:32 AM
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ScreamingChicken


Ralph Melton


- if I want to sample lutefisk, where should I find a great lutefisk experience? 

"Military intelligence", "jumbo shrimp", "great lutefisk experience".  Pick the oxymoron of your choice.
A Lutheran church in Wisconsin or Minnesota might be your best bet, but it would probably have to be a special event on a Saturday or Sunday.

 
Perhaps instead of 'great', I should have chosen the word 'definitive'. To illustrate what I'm looking for, I'll tell a story about scrapple:
The one time I've tried scrapple, it was in a nasty restaurant that couldn't even do pancakes well. I didn't like it, but that means little about whether I'd like other scrapple. So if I'm going to try lutefisk, I'd like to try it at a place where people who like lutefisk get lutefisk, instead of some dismal place where no one can distinguish the lutefisk from the peach cobbler. (I assert without firsthand evidence that if you can't distinguish lutefisk from peach cobbler, neither the lutefisk nor the peach cobbler are any good.)
 


Ralph Melton

- How might I find a restaurant selling chicken booyah in the middle of the week?

I asked a coworker in our Green Bay location and according to her there are "a bunch" of places that serve it as a regular menu item.  Off the top of her head she named Golden Basket and Bay Family Restaurant on Military Avenue and Julie's on Velp Avenue, although there it's only on the menu 4 days a week.  Of course, if you're not planning on visiting Green Bay this isn't much help.

 
Great! Many thanks for the pointers!

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 11:46 AM
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Michael Hoffman

When you come through Columbus lleechef and I would be happy to treat you both to Beanie Burgers at the Gahanna Grill. And how can you stand to miss a visit to the G&R Tavern in Waldo for one of their fantastic fried bologna sandwiches. Who knows, between us we might even get lleechef to take a bite of the bologna.
And Do try to carve out a visit to Port Clinton on Lake Erie for the perch and walleye sandwiches and onion rings at the Jolly Roger on your way back through northern Ohio.

 
We genuinely appreciate the invitation, but I can't accept until we do some more careful planning. We have some family friends in Columbus that we need to visit, and planning with them tends to be a challenge. But we would be glad to join you if we could.

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 11:59 AM
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Ralph Melton

ScreamingChicken


Ralph, do any of your possible routes place you in the Indianhead Country of northwestern WI?  Or were you going to head pretty much due east from Minneapolis?


I don't know anything about that area, so I hadn't been planning for it. But we've got four days in which to cover 500 miles; we don't have to take a direct route at all. (My level of planning for that stretch has been to say "okay, we can definitely make that drive comfortably, and I'm sure we can find things to do; we can fill in the details later.") What do you recommend in that area?

Well, it's a very popular tourist destination so there's quite a bit to choose from.  We're actually going to be up there the week of July 22 and we usually stick to the Cable/Hayward area, and I'm currently in the middle of figuring out some new places to try.  Places we've enjoyed in the past are Brick House Cafe, The Rivers Eatery, and Rookery Pub, although I wouldn't say that they have strongly regional menus.  Buffetbuster's Wisconsin trip report from last year covers some of the area as well, so it might be worth a look.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 12:13 PM
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While working your way through Wisconsin, I highly recommend spending a night at Stout's Island Lodge.  Something I will never forget.

TJ Jackson
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 12:39 PM
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If you have not been to Cincinnati before, you need three things, mainly, and more or less ordered by priority:
 
1) Cincinnati Style Chili
2) Goetta
3) A double decker sandwich
 
There are other items of interest, but for a first time visitor with 1 or two meals here, this is what you should target
 
All three can be had at virtually all hours at Camp Washington Chili, which is visible from I-75 so you won't chance getting lost.
 
If you still have time for more stops, I recommend - in this order
 
1) Findlay Market
2) Jungle Jims
3) either Aglamesis Brothers or Graeter's for ice cream.  I favor the century old Aglamesis on Madison Road in Oakley, but Graeters is far better known nationally
 
Do not let anyone talk you into Montgomery Inn, Frischs, or LaRosa's.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 2:20 PM
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I love lutefisk and I live in Minnesota.  This is a food I would suggest you skip at this time of year.  Lutefisk's origin was a Scandinavian winter survival food.  Historically (and I think this is largely the case nowadays) lutefisk wouldn't be served in the summer when fresh cod are abundant.
 
Few (if any anymore) restaurants serve lutefisk at all, much less year-round.  I'm not an expert, but it's likely because it's not simple to prepare and there just isn't the demand for it.  I suspect some chefs/restaurant owners may also fear it will stink up their restaurant. The essence of lutefisk supper kitchen isn't for everyone.
Lutefisk suppers generally start up in October and go through Christmas. I religiously attend the annual Fall lutefisk supper at Moe Lutheran Church near Clear Lake, Wisconsin in late-October.  My advice would be to wait until you're in Minnesota/Wisconsin and try it at that time of year.
 
I would love to help you find some great food here in the Twin Cities. If you have any way of narrowing down what you want, I'm better with specifics than just trying to name a bunch of places, especially since nothing people say is "unique" to Minnesota (e.g. the awful Jucy Lucy, walleye and so on) are any good.
 
One thing I always recommend, especially to Roadfood types, is Stockmen's Truck Stop in South St. Paul for their corned beef hash.  It's a great representation of the non-canned style (hand-cut chunks of meat, etc).  The rest of the food is in the "very good truck stop" category, almost entirely scratch-made 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The menu is immense.  It's also not too inconvenient when heading east out of the Twin Cities.
p.s. - I also LOVE scrapple.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 2:37 PM
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First of all, thanks, everyone, for all the great recommendations! I'm looking forward to seeing as many of y'all as we can and checking out some great places. I love Graeter's, and am planning that we visit Knopp's too.
 
Ralph is definitely being indulgent by agreeing to go the Wilder Pageant.  It's a dramatization of some of the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm sure I'll love it, and if nothing else, Ralph will enjoy a good nap under the stars (it's an outdoor show). So, I hate to say this, but I will...
 
Lips that touch lutefisk probably won't touch mine for hours! 

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 2:43 PM
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TJ Jackson


If you have not been to Cincinnati before, you need three things, mainly, and more or less ordered by priority:
 1) Cincinnati Style Chili
2) Goetta
3) A double decker sandwich

There are other items of interest, but for a first time visitor with 1 or two meals here, this is what you should target

All three can be had at virtually all hours at Camp Washington Chili, which is visible from I-75 so you won't chance getting lost.

 
Yes, but http://www.campwashingtonchili.com/ says "NOTE: WE WILL BE CLOSED FROM JULY 1 - JULY 15 FOR VACATION", which makes me hesitant to rely on it, to say the least. (Irrelevant aside: one of our first restaurant photos - from 2004, long before we joined this site - shows us being travelin-manned at Camp Washington Chili.)
 
We've tried Cincinnati chili at Skyline Chili, but goetta is one of the reasons that I'm planning to be in Cincinnati at breakfast time.

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 2:46 PM
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icecreamchick

Lips that touch lutefisk probably won't touch mine for hours!  

 
It is for SCIENCE! 

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 2:50 PM
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OK. Perhaps another time.

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 2:59 PM
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MSPD

I love lutefisk and I live in Minnesota.  This is a food I would suggest you skip at this time of year.  Lutefisk's origin was a Scandinavian winter survival food.  Historically (and I think this is largely the case nowadays) lutefisk wouldn't be served in the summer when fresh cod are abundant.

 
Thank you for this recommendation. Given that advice, I'll probably sacrifice the pleasures of eating lutefisk for the pleasures of kissing Lori.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 3:33 PM
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Michael Hoffman
When you come through Columbus lleechef and I would be happy to treat you both to Beanie Burgers at the Gahanna Grill.
Now why would you encourage them to get a Beanie Burger, a sandwich we both agree is a messy pile of overkill?  Better to get the Academy Burger with Swiss cheese, bacon, and grilled onions.  Or, they could just get a straight burger and custom adorn it to their tastes, preserving the flavor of the excellent quality beef served at Gahanna Grill.
 
The Beanie Burger is (I know you know Michael, this is for the benefit of the newbies) a bacon Cheeseburger with grilled onions, not too different from the Academy Burger, but then topped with a scoop of cole slaw--another cup of which is also served on the side!  It is a ridiculous mess to eat, and the slaw does nothing to help the flavor or integrity of the Burger; if anything, it is a detractor.  If I wanted that much cabbage at one sitting, I'd move to Germany and be done with it.  The Beanie Burger is the Burger equivalent of one of those million Scoville unit hot sauces: The only reason to put one in your mouth is to win a bar bet.
 
The Gahanna Grill makes great Burgers.  The Beanie Burger is not their strongest offering.
 
Buddy

Michael Hoffman
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 3:59 PM
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Buddy, I always mention the Beanie Burger because people have heard of it. Personally, I get a regular cheeseburger with grilled onions. It's the same burger minus the mess. Some people love the Beanie, and as far as I'm concerned it's an experience. I had one. I haven't had one since.

MSPD
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 6:01 PM
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Ralph Melton

Thank you for this recommendation. Given that advice, I'll probably sacrifice the pleasures of eating lutefisk for the pleasures of kissing Lori.

Sounds like it's probably a good idea.  Enjoy your travels!
 

TJ Jackson
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Thu, 07/12/12 10:30 PM
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Ralph Melton

Yes, but http://www.campwashingtonchili.com/ says "NOTE: WE WILL BE CLOSED FROM JULY 1 - JULY 15 FOR VACATION", which makes me hesitant to rely on it, to say the least.

ERK! Sorry about that.
 
Instead, head over to Price Hill Chili or Blue Ash Chili.  Pretty sure Price Hill serves both items all day long, but Blue Ash says breakfast items not served between 11am and 2pm. 
 
Blue Ash has some of the best double deckers in the city, imho
 
Have you tried Cincinnati-style chili in each of the three main ways it is consumed here?  as a cheese coney, over spaghetti, and au naturale? (the chili, not you)

X1
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 6:41 AM
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If you figure out the Kopp's day, I could probably meet you there. 
 
Off the top of my head, other Milwaukee places you might want to try are Nite Owl (closed on Mondays), Maria's Pizza, Ilija's Place (Serbian food), Polonez (Polish food), and I'm sure there will be an ethnic festival of some sort at the Lakefront when you're here. 
Outside of Milwaukee, I recommend a stop in Racine for Kringles, Fred's World's Best Burgers in Burlington, a stop at the New Glarus Brewery in New Glarus, as well as (also in New Glarus) The New Glarus Bakery, Maple Leaf Fudge and Cheese Shop, Roef's Meats, and Hoesly's Meats. Also, in Monroe, Baumgartner's for lunch, and the newly-remodeled Alp & Dell for cheese and other WI goodies. 

ayersian
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 8:29 AM
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Ralph, I'm very envious of your trip already, and you haven't even left!  A few random thoughts:
  1. I agree about the lutefisk.  We had it once at a friends' potluck in MN, and it was only because I requested it, and my friend's grandmother made it for us.  It's boiled fish and I was honored to try it, but it's not a taste I'm dying to have again.  It should be likened to your brains & eggs from Big Ed's in Raleigh: glad we tried it but probably never again.  However, I'd be interested in finding a restaurant that actually serves it as a regular menu item!
  2. I also agree on LC's for burnt ends, as they are my favorite.  If you have time, Niecie's is also a great stop for fried chicken, pork chops, and sides, though call ahead for the pig ears if interested.  When we went and ordered the pig's ear sandwich, our server said they were out and that I should've called ahead to reserve some!
  3. If you have time around Milwaukee, the drive out to Holy Hill Cafe in Hubertus is well worth the trip.  Not only is their Fruits of the Forest pie one of the best I've ever had, the church and grounds are breathtaking -- by far one of the most memorable RF stops anywhere.
  4. When in Cincy, don't forget CajunKing and Graeter's for ice cream, in that order!    Chris

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 9:36 AM
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I would love to meet up with all, 
on a weeknight I can probably hit most anywhere in Chicagoland,
but Milwaukee might be a bit too much of a drive....
I'm free both 16 & 17, and 23 & 24 (I think)
 

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 11:48 AM
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Ralph Melton


- if I want to sample lutefisk, where should I find a great lutefisk experience? 


My wife works with a woman who's lived here in Stoughton forever so on a whim I asked her, and to my surprise she named 3 local restaurants that have been known serve it occasionally (but not consistently, as special EPA permits would probably be required).  So if this is something you really want to look into you could contact:
 
Sunrise Family Restaurant, 608-877-1930
Koffee Kup, 608-873-6717
Sugar & Spice Eatery, 608-873-9299
 
And since you'd no doubt have to make it up to Lori I suggest a visit to Fosdal Home Bakery as well.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 12:44 PM
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Holy Hill is a must, if possible. The cafe is awesome, and the views are stunning. Bob and i have had another bad news situation-the transmission on our 5 year old car blew....however, I have learned the bus system and would love to meet you, if possible! Now that I am back in the city, very easy to meet up!
 

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 12:51 PM
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TJ Jackson


Ralph Melton

Yes, but http://www.campwashingtonchili.com/ says "NOTE: WE WILL BE CLOSED FROM JULY 1 - JULY 15 FOR VACATION", which makes me hesitant to rely on it, to say the least.

ERK! Sorry about that.

Instead, head over to Price Hill Chili or Blue Ash Chili.  Pretty sure Price Hill serves both items all day long, but Blue Ash says breakfast items not served between 11am and 2pm. 

Blue Ash has some of the best double deckers in the city, imho

Have you tried Cincinnati-style chili in each of the three main ways it is consumed here?  as a cheese coney, over spaghetti, and au naturale? (the chili, not you)

 
Thanks for the recommendations. I believe that we've failed to visit one of those before, but I can't recall which one.
 
We have tried Cincinnati chili on hot dogs and spaghetti; I don't think we've tried it unsupported.

TJ Jackson
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 1:04 PM
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"in a bowl all buy its lonesome" is by far the least common way cincinnati-style chili is consumed locally, so no biggie. 
 
Since you've covered that ground already, then, your priorities should be
 
Goetta
Double deckers
Aglamesis Brothers ice cream (dont listen to Chris, what does he know? *laff*)
 
 

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 1:18 PM
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Thanks for all the great ideas, and I am really hoping to meet up with folks as we go.
 

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 1:40 PM
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Ralph and Lori,
You've heard from a chunk of The Contingent now, and they are ready to meet you.  I'm sure as more check in on this thread, there will be more showing interest.  Now it's up to you to keep us updated on your travel progress so we can plan accordingly.  Also, giving us some ideas of what you'd like to eat will be helpful in picking the right place.
 
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
 
Buddy

TJ Jackson
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 2:47 PM
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who the heck is icecreamchick?

Michael Hoffman
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 2:49 PM
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It's a secret.

ayersian
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 3:05 PM
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TJ Jackson

Aglamesis Brothers ice cream (dont listen to Chris, what does he know? *laff*)

Hey, TJ!  That's hilarious!  I just feel bad that I haven't had a double-decker yet...   Chris

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 3:08 PM
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TJ-
If icecreamchick is talking about kissing Ralph, it better be Lori!

buffetbuster
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 3:10 PM
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Chris-
I am happy to report that Graeter's is now available here in some Pittsburgh grocery stores.  Needless to say, I usually have a pint or six of black raspberry chip in my freezer.  No doubt that the Meltons do, too! 

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 3:27 PM
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TJ Jackson


who the heck is icecreamchick?

Offer to buy her a cone and she'll tell you!


TJ Jackson
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 4:24 PM
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buffetbuster


TJ-
If icecreamchick is talking about kissing Ralph, it better be Lori!

The way I read it, she's talking about NOT kissing him
 
 
 

TJ Jackson
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 4:25 PM
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ayersian

TJ Jackson

Aglamesis Brothers ice cream (dont listen to Chris, what does he know? *laff*)

Hey, TJ!  That's hilarious!  I just feel bad that I haven't had a double-decker yet...   Chris

Aglamesis is just simply better - imho :-)

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 4:26 PM
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You know you can also buy Graeter's here in Chicagoland at Sunset foods...
(which also sells Roadhouse BBQ sauce I believe....)

TJ Jackson
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 4:32 PM
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Yeah, Graeters is becoming a national brand, unfortunately

Michael Hoffman
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 4:39 PM
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lleechef and I just got back from the Graeter's here in Gahanna. Peach all around.
 
Giant Eagle and Kroger both stock Graeter's. Velvet, too.

trzhotel
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 4:52 PM
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This is the menu board from the Dinky Diner in Decatur City, Iowa. Its less than half a mile off I-35 in the southernmost part of Iowa.The location is convenient.
 
The Dinky Diner is a later model of the Valentine Diner company, twice as wide as the earlier prefabricated railcar diner models.
 
This is the daily specials, they have a regular menu and pies. Notice the selection of salads:


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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 10:50 PM
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TJ - I wash Ralph's socks. Enough said! ;-)

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 11:40 PM
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BuddyRoadhouse

 Ralph and Lori,
You've heard from a chunk of The Contingent now, and they are ready to meet you.  I'm sure as more check in on this thread, there will be more showing interest.  Now it's up to you to keep us updated on your travel progress so we can plan accordingly.  Also, giving us some ideas of what you'd like to eat will be helpful in picking the right place.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Buddy

 
We've got some updates to our plans to share: 
 
Apparently the Wilder Festival in Walnut Grove soaks up all the available lodging for many miles around, and therefore we will be staying for two nights at a B&B in New Ulm. Because of this, we will probably be attending the Bavarian Blast in New Ulm on Sunday, July 22. It appears that we will miss the wiener dog racing and the sauerkraut eating contest - and even I cannot tell whether I'm saying that with deadpan humor or genuine regret.
 
Folks have suggested enough nice things in Milwaukee that we are happy to return there. So we will plan to dine with folks in Chicago on the evening of Monday, July 16, and we'll plan to dine with folks in Milwaukee on the evening of Tuesday, July 24.
 
As to what we'd like to eat: we are largely happy to eat where the local Roadfooders recommend. Lori needs there to be options on the menu that are not capsaicin-spicy at all; our usual rule of thumb is that if I detect any heat at all, it's too spicy for Lori.
 
But I think you're requesting more specific guidance, so I'll try to provide:
In Chicago, I felt we missed out on Chicago-style pizza when we were there last year; the only local style of pizza we sampled was the pizza pot pie at Chicago Pizza and Grinder. I know that there are several styles of Chicago pizza, so this doesn't wholly narrow it down. (And if it's better to go somewhere else, we can get pizza on our own.)
 
In Milwaukee, I'm curious about the options for Serbian food, because I don't know much about Serbian cuisine. (Though we did eat at Serb Hall on the tour.) But again, my tastes are wide-ranging, and this is a suggestion, not a restriction.
 
After dinner in Milwaukee, I would like to get a drink at the Safe House. I know it's a gimmick bar, but it's a cool gimmick that is not available in Pittsburgh, and I have fond memories of the Safe House from 1997.

Ralph Melton
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 11:47 PM
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One more thing I'm going to try to do on this vacation: I have plans (that may or may not work well) of taking a time-lapse movie of the whole road trip using my iPhone. (I've got a tripod that coworkers have used to hang an iPhone from the rear view mirror, but I'm investigating other options as well.)
 
There are so many places that we've seen on our travels that look nice, but not nice enough to justify stopping; I'm excited at the prospect of having photos from a sample of these places.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Fri, 07/13/12 11:54 PM
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Ralph,
 
Go to Ilija's Place for Serbian in Milwaukee.  It is always an experience, and the food puts it over the top.
 
Jim

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Sat, 07/14/12 12:05 AM
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Ralph,
 
Try to hit the west shore of Michigan on your trip.  It will be gorgeous in August.
 
There are a few Roadfood reviewed places and a bunch more to be reviewed.  Charlevoix needs to be discovered
 
Jim

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Sat, 07/14/12 12:10 AM
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Ralph and Lori, I "third" the idea of having dinner at Ilija's Place during your Milwaukee visit. Forget about Serb Hall, Ilija's is the real deal. I wish I could go and meet you, but I'll be in Canada when your caravan comes to town.

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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Sat, 07/14/12 1:59 AM
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Ralph Melton
Folks have suggested enough nice things in Milwaukee that we are happy to return there. So we will plan to dine with folks in Chicago on the evening of Monday, July 16, and we'll plan to dine with folks in Milwaukee on the evening of Tuesday, July 24.

So it sounds like Ilija's on Tuesday the 24th, and some kind of Chicago style pizza on the 16th.
 
Being a Monday, Burt's is closed so that's out of the question.  At the risk of sounding too partisan, I've got to say, there are no other Chicago style pizzas that appeal to me.  But that's just me.  I know there are plenty of other places out there that are enjoyed by lots of people.  So if you've got something in mind Ralph, I'll be happy to go along.
 
I do know a couple of places in town that serve stuffed pizza which I like very much.  Definitely not the classic Chicago pan-style, but darned tasty.
 
Or, there could be some other option not yet on the table.  Is there a specific ethnic cuisine that is lacking in Pittsburgh that might be in abundance here?  We've had some amazing meals lately.  There's a Peruvian place (not necessarily spicy, if that's a concern) that leaps to mind.  We were there a couple weeks ago with abe_froeman and Mr. Maki, along with some of their friends and my mystery daughter.  From apps to entrees it was absolutely fantastic!  We also have a plethora of authentic taquerias, pupuserias, and carnecerias.
 
If south of the border bores you, we have plenty of eastern European joints of our own (Milwaukee doesn't hold the license you know).  Plus Asian and Middle Eastern food from Japan to Egypt.
 
There are great Burgers to be had as well--on a par with Tessaro's, no less!
 
Give us your thoughts Ralph and Lori, and we will do our best to provide.
 
See you next week,
Buddy

X1
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Sat, 07/14/12 5:42 AM
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If someone can can get me a count for Ilija's Place ASAP, I will call. We generally need less than 1 day's notice for a group of about 10, but we DO need a full day's notice for Burek, as I recently, regretfully, found out. 
I can call Ilija and make the reservations and also order the Burek, at least one cheese and one cheese and spinach (Hey! No spices! Lori can eat Burek to her heart's content!), or more depending on how many are joining us. I fully intend to have leftovers, as Burek just keeps getting better. 
I will not, however, be able to make it to the Safehouse afterwards. I work at 7 AM and am usually up by 4.30 AM, so late nights on weeknights just do not happen. Sorry.
 
SO...who's in for Ilija's? 

X1
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Re:Ralph and Lori Tour the Midwest - Sat, 07/14/12 5:46 AM
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Also, for Tuesday, Kopp's Flavors of the Day:
 

Red Raspberry

A natural raspberry flavor with sweet, tart berries

Chocolate Trüffel

A connoisseurr's imported trüffel flavor with delicate chocolate flakes.
 

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