Scary Baby and I took a semi-spontaneous eight day road trip at the end of July. I drove (and she rode) over 2,000 miles.
Driving from one city to the next anticipating our next meal was the only way we survived the car trip. Meals that we ate from recommendations on urbanspoon.com and roadfood.com were almost always the best. A little computer research was worth the time.
Besides eating, we attempted to mix in some education. So much to learn on a car trip together…
Map reading, navigation skills, budgeting, history, communication and conflict resolution were our main topics throughout the trip.
Here are some food highlights of our trip to the great Midwest.
Pancake Pantry – Nashville, TN
One of our most favorite meals. And not just because we drove around in circles in Nashville for 40 minutes and it was way past lunch time. Scary Baby talked about her silver dollar pancakes for days. Said they “might” be better than the Humpfreeze pancakes which means they have to be fabulous.
Adding pecans to pancakes wherever you go is highly recommended. You might not be able to see it with our stellar photography skills but Pancake Pantry puts pecans in the syrup!
I had to send my eggs back – over medium eggs seem to be difficult to get right depending on where you eat. I love them and that means a runny yolk with a solid white. I can’t do jiggly, runny whites. Eww. In spite of that mistake which was corrected, the food is really delish.
Gigi’s Cupcakes – Nashville, TN
Love their packaging.
They looked great in the bakery case. Though they didn’t travel well in the backseat.
White Midnight Magic and Raspberry Buckle were our picks. Scary Baby only ate half of hers. Claims it would have been better the day of purchase. Unfortunately we ate them the next morning in our hotel room. Cupcakes for breakfast are absolutely acceptable on road trips!
Garrett’s Popcorn – Chicago, IL
Scary Baby’s personal food highlight. No line, right downtown on a 100 degree day. Warm popcorn. She picked cheese and I picked caramel with cashews. How did we forget to take pictures of the popcorn?
We walked 2 more blocks to a 7-Eleven where Scary Baby had her first Slurpee®. I have to confess the banana piña colada Slurpee I felt compelled to order because I really the combo sounded great was disgusting. OMG – I didn’t realize it was made with banana soda so it was fizzy. Gross. Thankfully, I bought a back-up Coke.
Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier – Chicago, IL
Fun to walk through Navy Pier at night when it had cooled down to a breezy 90 degrees. Bonus fun was taking Scary Baby on her first taxi ride from our hotel downtown. Harry Caray’s Tavern was very marginal. I would have been happier with a Chicago hot dog. I forgot until after we got home that I really wanted to go to Superdawg but alas, we were on the wrong side of town.
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery – Janesville, WI
BONUS LESSON: Scary Baby now knows where the newly announced Republican Vice Presidential candidate is from.
Yes, it’s a chain but not in Georgia. They have perfected breakfast and I know because I had it twice. Egg perfection on both visits but different locations! Brioche french toast anyone?
And they have pie.
Scary Baby is still talking about the chicken noodle soup and the pie.
Johnny Pamcakes – Rockford, IL
A brief history lesson for Scary Baby meant I had to introduce her to swedish pancakes. It’s a Rockford specialty that I love. My “Swedish Connection” breakfast was delicious. Are you getting the idea that I really love breakfast for lunch? 🙂
Winner of Best Breakfast Meal on Entire Trip.
In addition to delicious food cooked exactly the way we ordered it, this family-owned restaurant did everything right. From the hostess to the waitress and the chef and kitchen staff, it was a well-oiled machine where everyone was friendly and they all helped each other on a very busy Sunday afternoon.
Even if Scary Baby was less than impressed with the pancakes and said “they’re like crepes and I really don’t like those that much either.” She order a bagel with cream cheese and one swedish pancake. She can’t be related to me.
Culver’s – multiple locations in several states.
Maybe, just maybe we had Culver’s custard more than
once three times. But who counts when you’re on vacation and it’s one of the hottest summers of our lifetime.
Lynn’s Paradise Cafe – Louisville, KY
A personal recommendation from my friend Laura inspired us to visit this fun and funny restaurant. We have rarely driven through Louisville at meal time in all our years of traveling to visit family so this was a treat on our last day on our way home. My breakfast was good not great – I had to send the eggs back. Yes, it would be easier to order scrambled as PhilBillPaul has kindly pointed out several times. But I really like over medium eggs and think restaurants should know how to cook them correctly.
The highlight was an order of Bourbon Ball French Toast made with cinnamon swirl bread, bourbon vanilla sauce, chocolate sauce, pecans, strawberries and bourbon whipped cream that was featured on Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay“.
Order tip: I asked if they did a 1/2 order because I knew after a full breakfast, I couldn’t eat a whole order. It wasn’t on the menu but the waitress said yes and brought the perfect-sized 1/2 order. YUM!
Scary Baby had scrumptious macaroni and cheese.
Click here for Lynn’s Paradise Cafe macaroni and cheese recipe on their website
I made it for dinner last night.
Pizza, Wisconsin cheese curds and a few other meals and we rolled ourselves home.
Later this week, I’ll show you what else we did on our trip
and how much weight I gained as we ate our way through the Midwest.
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