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Day 30 - Springfield, Illinois

Ziggy and I are in our home states' neighbor, Illinois. We're going to spen some time here and then take a train to Peoria and then a river boat up to Chicago for the weekend.

Illinois was the 21st state in the USA and it became a state on December 3, 1818. Springfield, the capital city of the great state of Illinois is located on historic U.S. Route 66. Centrally located along the Sangamon River, Springfield has the dynamic energy of a prospering city, full of adventure, history and fun!

We met up with subscribers Lori, Jo Ann, Joyce B., and Nacy G. from Chicago. We all took a tour of the Illinois State Museum located in Sprinfield. But before entering, Ziggy had to put her hat on.

A tour guide greeted us and to me, the most interesting was when she spoke of President Lincoln. She said, "Lincoln said, “My friends – No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.” An emotional Abraham Lincoln opened his farewell remarks to the citizens of Springfield, Illinois with these words on February 11, 1861. Lincoln was leaving his friends and neighbors of twenty-four years, and the home that he and his family had lived in for seventeen years, to serve as president of a nation on the verge of Civil War."

We had to get a move on because our train was leaving in 10 minutes for Peoria so we said our good-byes. Nancy G. had some shopping to do so she stayed behind.

When we got to Peoria, we hopped a riverboat and took a nice leisurely trip up to Chicago. It was fun just hanging out on the deck. It brought back alot of memories of when I worked on the river back when I was in college. I made many trips up the Illinois River.

When we got to Chicago, I asked Ziggy what she wanted and she didn't hesitate. "A Chicago Style Hot Dog!"

"OK Ziggy. But I want some Chicago Style Beef!" I said.

Tender, garlicky and full of oregano 'n stuff! Start this one a day ahead; the beef slices need an overnight stay in da gravy to be at their best. And please don't overcook the roast! As it rests right out of the oven and as it's reheated it'll stop mooing! Serve on crusty Italian sandwich rolls; add sauteed peppers if you like, but too much more and it starts looking like a Philly steak 'n cheese, a whole other beast. Prep time includes overnight marinating. Here's the recipe!

Chicago-Style Italian Beef
Serves 7 to 8

The Main Stuff
1 (5 lb) rump roast (please don't use chuck roast, too stringy and greasy)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

The Gravy
2 cups boiling water
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt (bouillon can be salty - taste first!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Sprinkle the roast with garlic powder, oregano and pepper, then cook roast, uncovered, in a shallow roasting pan, about 30 minutes per pound.

Roast will be very rare-- don't overcook it!

Let cool slightly, then thinly slice.

Add to the roast's pan drippings: the boiling water, bouillon cubes, oregano, thyme, pepper, Tabasco sauce, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.

Simmer for 20 minutes, scraping up the browned bits.

Taste for salt and add some if you wish.

Add the sliced beef; cover and marinate in da gravy overnight.

Reheat the next day and serve in crusty Italian sandwich rolls.


A hot dog is a hot dog is a hot dog. But it is what you put on it that makes it become a treasure. I know you'll come up with your own condiments, but here's the real Chicago Style Hot Dog. Of course, you have to serve them up with fries. Here's the recipe.

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs
Serves 4 to 8

8 Vienna all-beef hot dogs
2 pounds Idaho potatoes, unpeeled and straight cut
(3 inches long by 1/2-inch thick)
8 hot dog buns with poppy seeds
1 cup minced onions
1 cup brunoise fresh tomatoes, seeded
1 cup yellow mustard
1 cup sweet pickle relish
Sport peppers, to taste
Celery salt, to taste

Preheat the fryer. Fill a stock pot 3/4 of the way full with water and bring to a boil. Add the hot dogs, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until the hot dogs are plump, about 6 to 8 minutes. Fry the potatoes until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally for even browning. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the hot dogs in the buns. Start topping the hot dogs with 2 tablespoons of each: onions, tomatoes, mustard and relish. Top with sport peppers to taste and sprinkle a little celery salt on top. Place each hot dog in the center of a piece of deli wrap. Place the fries next to the hot dog. Wrap the dog and the fries up tightly and serve.

Woof, woof, woof, Mr. Hot Dog man,
Mustard and peppers and a pickles ain't banned.
Get em at a ballpark,
Get em on a corner,
Get em and eat em when ever you can.


We're going to hang out here for a while and then shoot over to the Mississippi for a real tow-boat trip down to Vicksburg and the over to Jackson, Mississippi Monday. See ya there Monday!


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