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. 

Trumpet Blossom & Pullman Brunch

Mama Bedell came into Iowa City, so a girl's day/weekend was obviously in order. You could say I am a mini me (taller) version of my mom - taste in clothes, tv, and especially our love of food (her go to is mac n' cheese). 

Our first stop was to Trumpet Blossom Cafe, which is the cutest little vegetarian & vegan restaurant downtown. We had been there one other time and now its our favorite pit stop whenever dad isn't in town. 

They have a great beer selection and fun cocktails - Cindi went for a bloody mary & I had the special Wandering Sage. Since it is an organic joint they make their tomato juice in house, Cindi wasn't obsessed with the chunky freshness but still enjoyed it. My cocktail was amazing - muddled herbs, tequila, lemon, simple syrup, maple & grapefruit bitters. I'm a tequila drinker, but don't stray away if you're not, there is no tequila punch due to the citrus and sage. 

We were there during their limited menu time and got the Fresh Green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and Nachos to split. The salad was simple, just very fresh and crisp and the vinaigrette was very thin and had more of a balsamic vinegar base, which I prefer. The nachos were blue corn tortilla chips with creamy cashew cheese sauce, black beans, greens & peppers, served with cilantro-lime creme & mango-habanero salsa. Having not a clue as to what "creamy cashew cheese sauce" would taste like, but I was pleasantly surprised. The nachos overall were very light, but didn't lack any flavor. The mango-habanero was a great combination of sweet & spicy - but you should take my opinion on "spicy" very loosely.

Lastly, walking out the door instead of mints they serve ginger chews. If you like ginger (sushi ginger or anything ginger) give these bad boys a try - obsessed wouldn't even begin to describe it. 


Saturday morning we headed over to Pullman for breakfast. Cindi had never been and I had never tried their breaky, so we decided to give it a shot - and we were definitely not disappointed. 

Mama B went with bloody round 2 and I opted for an Irish coffee. I've only had an Irish coffee one other time and that was at The Buena Vista  in San Fran. It's the perfect way to warm up on a semi chili day, with a caffeine & alcohol kick, delish. In normal Bedell fashion, we scanned the menu beforehand...a few times. 

huevos.jpg

I went for the Huevos: two sunny side eggs, potatoes, sofrito, black beans, avocado, house salsa, fried tortilla. We all know that sunny side eggs & avocado is my ride or die. The sofrito (a Spanish sauce used as a base - typically onions, tomatoes, garlic, and oil) brought so much flavor to the rice & beans and also made the potatoes creamier rather than the typical breakfast potato. Even though you can't see them, the deliciousness is buried under the two eggs. Lastly, the tortilla - they crumbled the second I bit down and then instantly melted in my mouth. 

Mama B went for the Salmon Benedict: English muffin, smoked salmon, poached egg, hollandaise sauce (OTS), dill, served with potatoes O'Brien. I was too busy demolishing my own meal that I didn't try much of hers - but by her comments it was an A plus as well. 

This was a perfect way to end a Mama Bedell weekend in IC.