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? 

BLUES & BBQ

Living in the Iowa City area means there is almost always something going on. If there isn't a Hawkeye event, you can bet that there is something else you can find to do. That being said, living here for almost 6 years (with a 9 month absence) it was time for me to pay my dues and actually start participating in the great things this community has to offer. This leads us to North Liberty's Blues & BBQ Festival

From the beginning, I was surprised by the size of this event, I was expecting our typical Iowa City ped mall festivals - I was wrong. You are instantly greeted with endless blow up slides & obstacle courses and a petting zoo. I apologize for the lack of atmosphere pictures, I was there for one reason and I wasn't about to waste my time on a cute goat...I wanted the BBQ.  

I made the suggestion that we take a lap before deciding on where we were going to get our grub. It was great to see the IC local, Mosley's , with a smoker that would put many to shame...I knew my dad was jealous. Although I knew I could get some great meat from their tent, I couldn't allow myself to do that when it's down the street from me. 

Luckily, I had Ethan with me so we could get a few things and sample throughout the day. 

Round one: Waffle Bowl from Honeybadger BBQ and brisket sandwich from Cynful Smokers .

The waffle bowl was unique with a fried waffle bowl, baked beans, pulled pork & topped with slaw. The brisket sandwich is pretty self explanatory. I would say the winner was the brisket sandwich. The waffle bowl had great flavor, but was attractive more for its uniqueness rather than its great smoked bbq flavor. The brisket sandwich was killer - great thick cuts of brisket and the soft bun was a great combo. 

Festival lemonade is always a winner, especially when its 80 & sunny with zero breeze. We got refills anddd our dosage of sugar for the week. 

Round two: pulled pork nachos from Honeybadger BBQ (again) and ribs & beans from Smoke-N-Grill on Wheels. 

The nachos served stadium style, topped with the same pulled pork as the waffle bowl & sauce. The ribs & beans were easy but solid. Once again, the meat was the winner. The ribs were fall off the bone good & a good bbq bean combo always makes me go weak in the knees. 

Don't worry, we didn't forget about the beer. I was so enamored by the beer options & tent in general. I'm a beer snob so no Bud or Miller in site was great for me. I'm not gonna lie, I wanted the most bang for my buck so I went with the 7.0% Reunion Brewery IPA & E went for the Firetrucker Brigade Ale. Both were great, I could have sat and sampled all the beers from the tent all day...they didn't let you do that, I'm just saying that I could.  

Our efforts were strong but the BBQ and beers got the best of us and we tapped out & surrendered  to our beds with Netflix instead of Blues. 

Overall, it was n awesome time. The atmosphere was great, the food options were endless, the beer selection was on point, and the music was perfection. We were treated to some great covers from this guy who could jam on his guitar, rock a harmonica, and had a killer voice under the beer tent. we missed on the blues later, but going off of all the snap stories the greatness of music carried on seamlessly throughout the night. The only thing that would have made this day better was if my parents were there. Dave would have been in pure heaven with the beers & bbq and Cindi would have been dancing the night away to the blues. 

Let's just say Blues & BBQ will be on my calendar next year.