Sunday, August 1, 2010

Road Trip: Part 8

Morning broke early. I was curious about a grocery store behind the Chinese restaurant, so we headed over there to see if it was open. The sign on the door helpfully said that it was open “am to pm.” It was ten to eight, so we figured we’d give them a chance to open and drove down the street to see what else we might find.

A small bakery caught my eye, and I went in. It looked like a real bakery and smelled like a real bakery. A display case held a decent variety of tempting sweet rolls. I already had my thermos filled with coffee from the hotel, so I bought a maple-frosted long john and a giant cherry turnover.

There weren’t any prices listed, but I expected that the two would cost five or six dollars. Nope. Just $2.55 including the tax. Best bargain of the trip, and decent baked goods. The coffee, by the way, was fair and I had to settle for Coffee Mate instead of cream. But it was hot and fresh and free, so I can’t complain.

We went back to the grocery store, and there was still no movement. We waited a few more minutes, and three people showed up and let themselves in. A few more minutes…still no sign of life. No more lights turned on, no visible movement inside. We gave up and hit the road.

The trip from Bloomington to our first metro-Chicago should have taken two hours, but some road construction about half-way there has us creeping along for about an hour, and we traveled about three miles in that time. Then it opened up and we were flying again.

Our first family hosts greeted us with glee and we settled in for a nice catching-up chat while we nibbled home made zucchini bread and plotted out evening dining options.

We decided to order pizza in, but then we found out that two of our host’s favorite pizza places had recently closed – one had just shut down the weekend before – so we relied on some guesswork and suggestion they’d had from friends.

The pizza came from a place called Abruzzi Restaurant & Lounge in Rosemont.

We ordered, and the pizza was more expensive than anyone expected, and our hosts weren’t enthused about the quality compared to their favorites that had closed. Of course, those places didn't close for lack of business, but that the owners were ready to retire and there was no one to carry on. So our hosts weren't the only ones mourning the loss of those places.

 On the other hand, it was the best pizza we’d had in a long time, and we were less critical of the pie’s flaws.

Yes, it could have been better, but taste is a relative thing. This one was just fine with us.