Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good eats, drinks on Seminary Street

Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 – Galesburg. Famous for being the birthplace of Carl Sandberg and for hosting one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates is a favorite stop-over point when I'm returning from train trips to the Southwest.

But for the short haul from Chicago to Ottumwa, I thought it would be novel idea to avoid the crowd and madness of boarding the afternoon California Zephyr, and opt to take the morning Illinois Zephyr to Galesburg, chill for awhile, then catch the California-bound train at a much less harried station. Also it would afford my first ride aboard the single-level Amfleet cars that Amtrak runs east of the Mississippi River, except for a couple of runs in Missouri.

With Chicago being bereft of Wells Fargo ATMs, the first order of business once in Galesburg was to make an ATM run for pocket money. Once that matter was settled I made my way to Seminary Street for a bite to eat.

At Uncle Billy's Bakery I was taken aback by the wide selection of cookies, muffins, breads, Danish and other sweet treats, but atop the counter I spied a hand-written sign touting "savory" bear claws. Intrigued, I ordered one and from the first bite I knew I made the right choice. Savory indeed, with onions, cheeses and assorted herbs enrobed in a buttery crust I set aside the fork and went at it with my fingers. I could eat this every morning.

Sharing the same commercial space as Uncle Billy's, Cornucopia Natural Foods has always been a place worth checking out whenever I had free time in Galesburg. With a decent selection of natural food products, vitamins, homeopathic herbs and tasty deli items, Cornucopia is likely the most tricked out natural foods outlet between the Chicago suburbs and Everybody's in Fairfield, Iowa.

I was considering the veggie lasagna when I spotted the one thing that I was denied the pleasure of in the course of my eating adventures in Chicago: spanakopita! I ordered up a square, and at the advice of my server got it warmed in the microwave.

Flaky, spinachy, with bits of feta throughout, each forkful was a delight upon the palate. Memories of the inedible hockey puck loosely labeled a spinach pie that I couldn't finish at Mr. Greek Gyros [see blog post] washed away as I slowly savored each and every bite.

Uncle Billy's savory bear claw.

A fine spanakopita from Cornucopia Natural Foods.
I killed some time hanging around the train station until 2pm when my favorite bar in Galesburg opened.

Many the time I've wheeled my luggage into the welcoming confines of the Seminary Street Pub to wash the dust in my throat down with a pitcher of beer. With one of the longest horseshoe counters I've laid eyes upon, The Pub (as the neon lights in the window proclaim) is a long brick walled bar with lots of curios and other assorted oddities adorning a shelf high up the north wall, and a plethora of vintage and reproduction signs peppered on the opposite side.
I ordered up a pitcher of Bass, nibble on some popcorn, and knock down a shot of whiskey generously offered by a BNSF engineer on his downtime. When asked by the barkeep, I requested Jameson for my free shot, but she mistakenly poured Jim Beam instead. Oh well. Down the hatch!
Uncle Billys Bakery on Urbanspoon Cornucopia Natural Foods on Urbanspoon Seminary Street Pub on Urbanspoon
Photos from the Picasa Web Album: Sept. 2010 Vacation

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