IC BLOCK PARTY

Who knew drinking in the streets could be so much fun...

Iowa City Downtown District always has something going on - different festivals multiple times a year to get the community together. These festivals have lots of activities, beer gardens, food carts, and live music. This year, they threw one for the books...the Downtown Block Party. 

This "party" had lots of activities including a sand volleyball tournament, dueling pianos, a fashion show, ping pong tables, tether ball, and so much more...ALL in the streets of our downtown. Here's a glimpse at the layout of the whole day...oh and did I mention the best part?! YOU COULD DRINK IN THE STREETS!!

All you had to do is purchase a $10 cup, receive a wristband, and then you could purchase a drink from one of the outside vendors. A lot of the restaurants had tables set up selling food & booze...well beer & wine only. 

Like I mentioned there was a lot to do and see - like an on going beach volleyball tournament in the middle of the streets. I opted out of playing, but it was fun to watch...as long as you weren't getting hit in the head by a wild serve. 

First stop was outside of Java House for Clinton Street Social Club's $1 oysters...yup, you read that right. ONE DOLLAR. It was Ethan's first time to give them a try, I think it may have been his last. BUT, I sure enjoyed mine. 

Our go to for the night was Pullman's frosé. Probably one of the "pricier" options of the night, but $7 for a cocktail is never bad in my book. I think we each had 3 of these...damn it was great. 

Next up was PiZan Pizza. This is a new joint in town where you order Subway style - pick what you want and they cook it right there. We went with the Average Joe - red sauce, fresh mozzi, Graziano's sausage, Citterio pepperoni, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, 86 mushrooms (not my choice). Overall solid quick pie...and it was under $10. 

E was still a little hungry so he went for Mama's Deli . He grabbed two tacos - pulled pork and chicken. 

The best part about this event was that there was always something to do and people to see. I'm always a fan when I get to see this gem of a human and all of her Iowa City friends...

This was one hell of an event. Great food & drinks, plenty of things to do, being able to be free and walk around with some frosé in hand, while chatting with everyone around! I think they thought of it all, they even had FREE parking until 10 am the next day to allow peeps to leave their cars and get them the next day, safety first!

IOWA CITY...CAN WE DO THIS EVERY WEEKEND? 

Big Grove Iowa City

For all of yall that aren't in the Iowa City area - let me fill ya in....downtown IC is constantly growing. Every time I find myself heading that way, there is something being constructed. Usually I'm only semi-curious, however when I heard Big Grove was opening up a location in Iowa City, I was more than just curious - I was pumped. Time had gone by and in all honesty, I forgot it was happening until the day had come that it was open.

Let me start off by telling you this place is beautiful & huge. Formally a warehouse, space is not a problem, plus there are pingpong tables to pass the time as well as a killer stage for live bands. I mean can we talk about that wood wall & graphic - LOVE IT! 

I went for the PRALINES & RICHARD (10.5% abv - oops) and it was perfection. It's described as: Richard the Whale with roasted pecans and almonds combine with the vanilla from the barrel. That's how you get our play on a famous ice cream flavor. 

The food set up is a little different based off of international street food. You also go up to order & pay for food and then receive a buzzer to know when your food is ready. I can imagine there will be some haters about this - but I am a major fan. 

We wanted to try a bit of everything so we went for - chips & guac, pollo chipotle & pork belly tacos, & the pastrami sandwich (House made pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island, rye bread)

The tacos - top: pollo chipotle tacos (Roasted chicken thigh, chipotle sauce, pepitas, cojita cheese, white onion, cilantro wrapped in a housemade corn tortilla) & bottom: pork belly tacos (crispy Pork belly, adobo, slow simmered salsa verde, grilled pineapple, white onion, & cilantro wrapped in a housemade corn tortilla)

Holy Hell - these were good. The pollo chipotle was just a tad spicy for Ethan & I since we have very baby spice levels. The pork belly was unreal though - so flavorful. Also, I love the corn tortillas, they were thin but held everything together and obviously home made. 

The guac & pastrami sandwich :  (House made pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island, rye bread)

Guacamole is self explanatory - but it was damn good. The pastrami (which we were interested in because the house made pastrami at Big Grove Solon is AMAZING) was so good. I usually stay away from things with swiss and sauerkraut but this gooey mess was worth every single bite. 

I can't wait for the summer where beers & outdoors are what fill my day to day. this will definitely be a new hot spot for me, as well as many people in iowa city. 

Backpocket Brewing

When I was playing volleyball at the University of Iowa, I was fortunate enough to have some great parents that came as often as they could. They would come in on Friday morning, we'd grab lunch (at a new spot each time) I'd play some volleyball, they'd go to the football game Saturday, I'd play some more volleyball and we would hang out at the Marriott. Now, in the same parking lot from the Marriott is this brewery called, Backpocket - where they obviously serve beer and pizza pies and we'd order up the beer cheese and a few pies to eat in the hotel room. 

As you all know I love myself some pizza. Something else you might also know is that our family (especially my dad) loves them some beer. So, when dad was in town for a few days and we needed to grab a good quick bite (that wasn't downtown), I knew BP was the place to go. 

This was the first time I was able to head back and give them a try since they changed up their pie menu. 

BBQ CHICKEN - Sriracha bourbon bbq sauce, chicken, jalapeno, goat cheese, pecorino, red pepper sauce. 

Now I originally chose this pie because E loves him some BBQ chicken - didn't go as far as to check the Sriracha & jalapenos. For a kid that doesn't like heat this was a big "oops". None the less, it was a good pie, I didn't love the bbq sauce but the heat of the jalapenos (that we picked off) brought some good extra flavor. 

MARGHERITA - fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce

Lets be real, can you go wrong with a margherita pizza? If so, chances are you shouldn't have a pie place homie. Anyways, basic but good. 

FLAMBE caramelized onions, pork belly, fresh mozzarella, pecorino, bechamel sauce

I originally ordered this one for Dad (pork belly duh!), but it turned out to be my favorite. I LOVE a white sauce on pizzas, however that is one of the few things Ethan won't do at for our home pies (that and mushrooms) so receiving that was a pleasant surprise. I just wanted to hoard all of the pork belly pieces to myself, it was different & delicious. 

 

All in all, the new pies were great. It's quick & easy & tasty. Also, I love how they cut them in an almost zig zag - you got a bit of everything in each piece. 

Rise n°1 Round 2

New traditions can be scary, but not when they involve souffles.

First off, I can't get over how cute this place is. It's the little things that can make or break an atmosphere and their bread plates & cloth napkins make it. 

It all started off with some great bread (how cute is their bread board) and some prosecco. 

First Course
Tomato Basil Soup - Tomato basil soup with "marshmallow" souffles & pesto drizzle

Second Course
Crab souffle - crab, boursin cheese with red peppers & chives
Stuffed poblano - Poblano pepper stuffed with shrimp & grits with a goat cheese souffle

Third Course
Pumpkin Souffle - pumpkin dessert souffle with a cream drizzle & side of freshly whipped cream

Pullman Sundays

It's been one of those weekends...

When there isn't enough food that I can shove down my pie hole that will fill me up. So after a night of cocktails on the 30Hop rooftop (after a Hawkeye W), it was decided that my foodie friend & I were gonna go for some Sunday eats. 

James, my foodie friend, had never been to Pullman...well he has had the asparagus. Not to shoot down the asparagus, but it's not the showstopper of the menu. As y'all know, I have been to Pullman a time or two, however I have not had their burger.  Side note: Pullman's full ambiance is parallel to Au Cheval's in Chicago, which is also known for the best burger around. Long story short, when James mentioned Pullman, I was completely down to grub on a burger. 

James got the breakfast tacos: flour tortilla, scrambled egg, mojo pork, salsa, cilatro, cheese & fresno aioli

James was also very obsessed with this jalapeño garlic reduction that they served on the side. They looked beautiful & by James' face on the first bite...they tasted just as good. 

Contemplating if I wanted to really have a burger, I realized I hadn't ordered a burger out at a restaurant in over 2 years!! So, what did I do? I asked our waitress if I should go for the Pullman burger or just go for the Mo Burger...so I went for it. The mo burger had: TWO 4oz beef patties, smoked fresno aioli, avocado, cheddar, bacon jam. 

I don't think words are even necessary to describe how amazing this burger was. The bun was soft & doughy, the sauce & avocado were creamy, and that bacon jam brought texture and some insane flavor. 

Do yourself a favor & go get some mo'