Our family trip from the Rockies to New Orleans started with Buffalo burgers and ended with Beignets.
Bison or buffalo? Different answers are given by different people but basically in the restaurant business the terms are used to mean one in the same. One menu offered buffalo ribs and bison burger, another offered buffalo meatloaf and bison burger.
We had one of our delicious Bison Burgers at The Brown Palace Ship Tavern.
In addition to bison and buffalo, Denver supports one of the biggest beer industries in the nation.
The first brewery opened in 1859, a year after the city was formed, with seven breweries opened by 1875. The Coors Brewery in Golden opened in 1873, three years before Colorado became a state. Cantaloupes, watermelon and cattle were also being introduced to the area around that time, followed by Palisade peaches and sugar beets. In 1908 Pumpkin Pie Days were celebrated but the Dust bowl in 1935 temporarily slowed down growth in the area. Today, a trip to the “History Colorado Center” shows just how this state became what it is today.
The overnight trip on Amtrak from Denver to Chicago took us through Hastings, Nebraska in the middle of the night, where Kool-Aid was invented in 1927 by Edwin Perkins. In the morning, while having breakfast we passed through Osceola, Iowa, the town named after the famous Florida Seminole leader. Breakfast in the dining car is all about the scenery outside the window but in case you are curious, here are the photos:
Traveling to Chicago (where the word “skyscraper” originated in 1885) through the heart of America’s agriculture belt is a great way to see the lonely farm houses in the middle of cornfields and the wind farms outside the city. (We chose to ride Amtrak as a way to see parts of the country you don’t usually see from a plane or a car, but it is quickly losing its appeal due to poor quality accommodations and service.)
After we left Colorado Springs we heard on the news that wild fires were ravaging the area, when we arrived in Chicago we were greeted with the threatening weather of hail and tornadoes. The impending inclement weather kept us close to the hotel for dinner but we were able to enjoy local craft beers in the hotel lounge after dinner.
Jack and I stopped in at Hugo’s after a late morning jog for an early lunch. Had I known how fresh and flavorful the food was I would have jogged around town with camera in hand just to snap a few photos to share with you, but for Hugo’s I don’t think photos alone would tell the story so you will just have to stop in for lunch or dinner, if you are in the area.
I had an open-faced steak sandwich with grilled tomatoes and Jack had the tuna melt. When our food arrived we both agreed, it was one of those meals you won’t soon forget, even though Chicago offers so many other great dining options. The steaks on the menu are from Gibson’s Steakhouse next door, which offers outside dining that stretches around the restaurant for great people watching from State Street to Rush Street.
“The Hancock Tower” offers a view that outshines the food.
For a Taste of Chicago, “Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria” provides a mail-order catalog with nationwide delivery of all your “windy city” favorites.
Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s) is so rich in history you could spend as much time there as in the Field Museum (funded by Marshall Field).
In the 1920’s, Marshall Field’s offered seven dining options in the store and it all started with a department manager, Mrs. Hering, seeing the need for a place where unescorted women could get a bite to eat, so they could continue shopping without having to return home to eat. Harry Selfridge, before opening Selfridges in London, worked for Field’s and suggested opening a tea room which served among other things, Mrs. Hering’s Chicken Potpie.
Riding on “The City of New Orleans” from Chicago to New Orleans sounds so much more romantic than it actually is. Due to the difficulties AmTrak is having with it’s accommodations and dining, it’s sad to say the service and train conditions get worse each year instead of staying the same or improving. So we no longer recommend using Amtrak for family vacations.
Riding on “The City of New Orleans”.
Passing through the town of Mattoon, I discovered it is known as the home of the original Burger King.
At one time refrigerated cars were re-iced at Fulton, Kentucky. The town is separated from Fulton, Tennessee by a street that runs through the two towns.
Arriving in Memphis, Tennessee in the morning gave us a wonderful look at the city known as the “Birthplace of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of the Piggly Wiggly”.
We passed through McComb, Mississippi, once called the “Florida Parishes” since this area and southward belonged to Florida until six years after the Louisiana Purchase.
As we traveled along the longest single railroad curve in the United States, New Orleans was our final stop.
A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without a stop at Cafe du Monde for Beignets and Cafe au Lait, no matter the time of day.