After an intense trip to Chicago I was excited for the short cruise down I-55 to get to my hometown Springfield Illinois where my Mom currently resides. Since my sister, my Dad, and my extended family all live in Chicagoland I rarely get to go all the way down to Springfield so I was really excited to spend the better part of the week at my Mom’s for a couple reasons.
Number 1), Mom’s glorious pool.I spent all day, every day laying in the pool soaking up the non-threatening midwest sun and watching big fluffy clouds move across the sky. It was ideal. Since my foot is still non-functioning my Mom and my friend Keil made me delicious lunches like this barbecued eggplant sandwich with amaranth greens and sweet onions (inspired by a post on i eat trees). Homemade pizza with garden picked tomatoes & basil
I also had my Chicago Whole Foods haul that kept me happy throughout the week, especially the green olive bread.
Number 2) Favorite restaurants
Besides getting to hang out at my Mom’s house there is another huge benefit to trips to Springfield, I also get to go to my all time favorite the restaurant, the Magic Kitchen.The magic kitchen is out on the North end of Springfield in a shack and it is a place that nearly all of my friends and family hold dear to our hearts. I checked on facebook and I got comments from friends that live in New York, Utah, Chicago, and Texas all jealous that I was at our beloved restaurant. I thought maybe I had built up the food in my head a little bit, after all, it is the first place I ever tried tofu. It is probably the first place I ever even heard of Thailand for that matter. 20 years later, nothing compares to the spicy, salty, tangy, sweet food at the Magic Kitchen. One bite made me start loving humanity all over again and I had just about given up. I love the Sweet and Sour Tofu the best, pineapples, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and mushrooms all fried to perfection in their non-sticky sauce. It is what Sweet and Sour should be.If you are ever driving through central Illinois or stopping in Springfield to check out the Abe Lincoln museum, stop in (they are closed Mondays) and let me know if you think I am being overly nostalgic or if you think it is the best Thai in the US.
We also tried a new Japanese – Thai restaurant called Osaka. It was a cute place and the Japanese menu and sushi menu both had vegetarian options but I really wanted Thai food again and was happy that they use the big fat rice noodles. Love!
I also saw that they had a martini called the “Lake Springfield” which I couldn’t resist. The lake is a hot button issue in town. We used to all swim in it as kids but it was always really polluted. At some point when I was in school there was a leptospirosis outbreak from people who were swimming in a triathlon and many people stopped swimming in it and eventually even the public beach closed. I remember even as a kid you wouldn’t dare wear a white bathing suit because it would end up green after swimming in the lake. Yuk! Even though it is all really depressing I thought it was hilarious that Osaka named their cocktail after the lake, it is good to know that someone in town has a sense of humor. It was surprisingly delicious….and definitely resembled the lake.
Number 3) Driving around
Growing up in Springfield our top activity was always driving around so I was really happy that my Mom indulged me in this activity. We went to a lot of farmstands and picked up different kinds of sweetcorn, tomatoes, peaches and anything else that looked good.
We even went to one farmstand where you can just pick out whatever you want and leave the money in a dropbox. My Mom wanted me to go though all these boxes of things from my childhood and decide if there was anything I wanted to keep. My favorite was this poem I wrote in kindergarten.I still wish all the hamsters in the world loved me and that I could talk to them.
There was a lot of stuff I just couldn’t get rid of that made it back to Austin.
It was a good trip.