I've always tried to leave the bar/food reviews to Marty and after you read this, you may understand why! But I'm going to do something a little different here, so please bear with me. It took me five consecutive days to put this together. That's quite a commitment on my part, if I do say so myself. (Snicker...)
I live very close to the Morton/East Peoria city limits, just off of Meadows Avenue. That little stretch of road is one of Central Illinois' hidden gems. While the names of businesses may change, nothing else does. They don't tear down buildings and put up new ones. All the businesses are in buildings that have been there for decades. And right now there are several great places on Meadows Avenue that include: The Burger Barge, The Unique Tap, Mud Puddle Pizza, Kari's Irish Pub & Grill, TnT's and The Country Saloon. Marty has taken us to a lot of those places and he's taken us to the same place that I'll be spending the next five days at.
Just about all of those places are within five minutes of my home. Meadows Avenue Tap is one of the closer ones. I stumbled in there about six months ago while my wife Moonbaby was at the hospital with my daughter, having a baby. I should note here that my daughter was having a baby, not Moonbaby. But I figured that they certainly didn't need me there and besides, I was hungry. I stopped in at "The Tap" and from that first step, I became a Meadows Avenue Tap regular.
They offer a different food special every day and I thought it would be fun to go there every day for a week and try them all. Marty's a guy that went to 365 different bars in 365 days, well, I’m a guy who’s going to go to the same bar for five days in a row! And here we go!
Here's the sign that lists each day's special. As you can see, these prices would make that asshole Ronald McDonald blush. Time to get started.
Monday is wing day. They come in five varieties: mild, hot, BBQ, sweet chili or lemon-pepper.
Today's bartender is Brittney. Here she is serving up an ice-cold pint of Fat Tire.
Here's kitchen bosslady, Rachel with my basket of wings. I got the hot ones because, well, I'm a pretty rough and tough guy
Okay. I guess maybe I'm not so rough and tough after all. These things are pretty damned hot! Plus, they're some of the plumpest, meatiest wings I've ever seen. I'll just take the other half home and nibble on them the rest of the afternoon. And lament being a wimp.
Today is cheeseburger day. And who doesn't like cheeseburgers? They come with several choices of cheese and a mountain of fries.
My bartender today is Rachel. (Not to be confused with Chef Rachel). It's also $1 domestic bottle day! Things are already off to a great start!
And here's the aforementioned Chef Rachel with my burger. I got it with American cheese, because in my opinion, that's what belongs on a good, old fashioned cheeseburger. And that looks like a really good burger.
WOW. That was a great burger! Nothing fancy, just a perfectly done one. The meat is obviously freshly ground and cooked to perfection. I like mine "drug through the garden" and the lettuce, mater and onion were fresh and crispy. And the bun was toasted. (That's very important.)
"Wild Game Wednesday" gives you three choices to eat. They have frog legs, alligator bites or buffalo burger. The only one of those things that I've never eaten is alligator. There's a reason for that. While they make fine shoes and purses, I've never had the desire to eat one of those leathery animals.
I was farting around and didn't get photos, but Brittney is behind the bar and Chef Rachel is in the kitchen. And being a sucker for pretty girls, I let them talk me into the gator bites. Yikes!
Well, they look harmless enough. Oh the sacrifices I make for M.B.I.P! Here goes nothing...if I don't make it out of this meal alive, tell Moonbaby I love her.
Holy swamp shit! These things are delicious! The light breading is loaded with spices and they have a somewhat dense texture. And, yes, they taste like chicken. To me, they actually taste somewhat like the great chicken gizzards that The Penguin Tap use to serve. I was trying to finish them, but some angry guy next to me was crowding in. Probably a PETA member and definitely a cannibal!
I'm actually quite familiar with Taco Thursday. I love tacos and being notoriously cheap, I can sniff out a bargain. This is one of the best bargains around. Well seasoned meat and plenty of fresh toppings. And they're cheaper than a candy bar!
It looks like word is getting around about Taco Thursday. That big long bar is pretty full. I'll have to get a table because I'm being joined today by...
My good friend, Ben! As you can see, he's damn glad to be here. Actually, Ben and I are pretty much regulars on taco day. It's about the only time he can get me to buy him lunch!
Our bartender for today is Gypsy. She's bringing me a two buck, 16 ounce can of Busch.
And she's wearing one of the taco shirts that they have for sale here. Very cool and very funny!
Believe it or not, there's 4 tacos under that pile. Somehow I lost the photo of the empty basket, but trust me, it was empty. These are really good.
The final day of my quest. In addition to the tenderloin basket that's offered today, they have a catfish dinner. Whole fried catfish are getting kind of hard to find these days, everybody seems to serve fillets.
Rachel's back behind the bar today and she's set me up a nice tall glass of Erdinger. I ordered this beer for two reasons: 1. I've never tried it. 2. Because I get to keep this cool glass.
I went with the catfish dinner and it sure looks promising. It comes with fries, cole slaw and hush puppies. What a feast!
And it was great. The fish is lightly breaded and cooked to perfection, the slaw is creamy and fresh and the hush puppies are outstanding.
Well, that concludes my week of taste testing. But the specials aren't over just because the weekend is looming ahead in the horizon. They have a homemade pizza special on Saturdays and on Sundays they serve their $1.50 chili dogs. In addition to the specials, they have several other sandwiches and appetizers on their menu.
Many thanks to the beautiful and fun ladies of Meadows Avenue Tap for putting up with me all week. They were helpful and patient. And the customers here are as friendly as any place I've ever been. I'll be making return trips frequently.
Happy trails, everybody!