In Springfield, Ill., the last stop on our vacation after St. Louis and Chicago, eating a horseshoe is commonplace. It's a crazy dish that I'm still having dreams about and is served at just about every restaurant. We went to D'Arcy's Pint, where if I'm being totally honest...I didn't eat a full horseshoe. I ordered a ponyshoe -- a half portion -- but it was still enormous.
Horseshoe: Texas toast topped with the meat of your choice, fries and cheese sauce = HEAVEN. I went with the Deluxe Pony, which also included seasoned ground beef, grilled onions and bacon. This is the main reason why I need to be able to run again.
My husband is a big history nerd, so we made a special stop in Springfield to check out anything and everything related to Abraham Lincoln. It was quite a culture shock after spending several days in Chicago, but Springfield turned out to be a really cool place and we had a surprisingly good time. But Trea and I have a good time wherever we go. Literally, we entertained ourselves for quite a while with just a statue of a dead president and a camera.
We spent hours at the presidential library and museum...where, oddly enough, there's a wax replica of the entire Lincoln family, with volunteers standing by offering to take your picture. This was both hilarious and disturbing.
And never be fooled by a city's nickname. The wind is not just limited to Chicago. The entire state of Illinois was out to ruin my hair and all my photos.
Walking around downtown near the old state capital building.
We spent all afternoon at the Lincoln tomb, which is in one of the most beautiful cemeteries I've ever seen. I don't know why, but I've always loved cemeteries. They're so peaceful. I used to go to a little cemetery near my college campus to write when I was in school because I could just be quiet and reflective there. So yes, it's probably a weird thing to do on vacation, but we spent forever after we saw the tomb just walking around the cemetery, gawking at elaborate mausoleums and reading headstones. Odd to say that it was fun, but it actually was.
And on a happier note, we experienced another culinary tradition of the Midwest that forever changed my life: Maid-Rite. The Maid-Rite sandwich shop in Springfield opened in 1924 and claims to be the first drive-thru in the U.S. A Maid-Rite is a loose meat sandwich, which sounds disgusting, but is actually one of the best things that's ever happened to me. There's seasoned ground beef, mustard, pickle relish and onion on a little steamed bun. Also? This Maid-Rite makes their own root beer that they serve in a frosty mug! I think I actually liked this meal better than the horseshoe. It was so good!
We loved Springfield, and one of these days, I hope to go back if for nothing else than just to eat Maid-Rites and horseshoes!
Have YOU ever eaten a horseshoe? Or a loose meat sandwich?