Day trip to Springfield, Ill. – “Cozy dogs” and my first “shoe”

Last weekend, we loaded up the car for a day trip to visit my sister Carrie and her boyfriend. They have been living all over the country, often in cool cities like Seattle and Boston. And now? Springfield, Ill. Not the most exciting place, and Sarah and I just visited there just over a year ago , but we still had fun. And we got to do two things I didn’t get the chance to do last time we were there: Eat corn dogs at Cozy Drive In and eat a “shoe” at another restaurant (yes, both items involved horribly unhealthy meals).

After arriving, we walked around the downtown area to visit the city’s farmer’s market. It was really hot that day, and about lunch time, so we headed to our first big destination, Cozy Drive In.

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Cozy Drive In is a novelty along Route 66. And it’s the birthplace of the corn dog. Yes, the first person to go, “Let’s shove a stick down the center of this hot dog, roll it in cornmeal and dunk it in the fryer,” was at this location.

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It was a kitschy place, and the corn dogs (“Cozy Dogs”) were pretty good. Glad to have finally had the chance to eat there.

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Being so hot out, we were desperate for an indoor activity. So we drove over to Chuck E Cheese and got a bunch of tokens to kill a couple hours.

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I had fun getting my butt kicked at “pop a shot” basketball, playing against Eli. Carrie’s boyfriend also was popular with Oliver, who made Eli join him as he climbed through the tunnels that lined the ceiling.

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Next, we headed back to Carrie’s place for a while. Neither of the boys would nap, so we just hung out for a little while until dinner time. We headed to a Mexican restaurant. It sounded like good food, but I was a little disappointed because I had always wanted to try a “shoe.” Just about every restaurant offers a shoe, and the city is known for it. We had even previously watched an episode of “Man v. Food” in which host Adam Richman visited Springfield, Ill., to down one of these bad boys (he also went to Cozy Drive In).

Basically, it’s a piece of bread with a hamburger patty on it, topped with french fries and nacho cheese. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Well, much to my delighted, the restaurant we picked offered a “Mexican shoe.” This bad boy featured two fried tortilla, each with a giant hamburger patty on top of it. Each mound was piled high with french fries, queso cheese and fresh salsa. It looked fantastic. Here’s the “before” picture:

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I couldn’t quite finish the thing – it was HUGE. But I did pretty well. Here’s the “after” pic:

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With dinner over, we got back into the car to head home. We had a lot of fun, though all that fried food really made Sarah and me nauseous for the drive home and the rest of the night. The next day was filled with a lot of fresh fruit and salads to make up for it!

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