|Monday, July 30th, 2012|
11:04p - Melton Midwest Mosey, July 16: Cincinnati to Cleveland by way of Gnaw Bone
Lori: We discovered broken plumbing in our hotel room last night (Hyatt Place, but eh, stuff breaks anywhere). Unfortunately, we discovered it around 11:30 pm, after we'd unpacked and were well on our way to bed. No maintainence people were on-duty, so we ended up having to move around midnight. Ugh.
So, we got a later start than we'd have liked this morning, arriving at Camp Washington Chili about five minutes after they'd stopped serving breakfast.
The cook took pity on Ralph and still made him a side of goetta, which we both enjoyed. We ordered two of their specialties from the lunch menu -- a three way (spaghetti, chili and cheese) and two coneys (hot dogs with chili, mustard, cheese and onions). Camp Washington's chili is spiced chiefly with cinnamon and cumin, with a touch of something hotter. (Ralph: it was watery enough that it was very prone to splatter. I didn't like that.)
All of our dishes were fine, but the crisp-crusted goetta was the standout there. It was like a nice fried sausage with twice the fried and half the sausage.
We were glad to have finally tried Camp Washington, having been travelin-manned there in 2006.
We next made a quick stop at Graeter's for some peach ice cream. Mmmmm, Graeter's. We didn't have the time to visit Aglamesis Brothers this trip, but hope to visit another time.
Next we drove along some of Ohio and Indiana's by ways in search of the Gnaw Bone Sorghum Mill. We had built up a mental image of what the Sorghum Mill would be like. We imagined there'd be tours and a quaint little gift shop. We were wrong. The Gnaw Bone Sorghum Mill is an outlet for sorghum products made on-site (we think), but we might've had different expectations had we known the full name of the place: The Gnaw Bone Sorghum Mill and Flea Market. Among the treasures for sale were yard geese and their holiday-themed wardrobes (we passed), moonshine jelly (we thought about it), and a vintage, never-used Epilady for the grand sum of $3.00 (meep!). There was also an assortment of church and community cookbooks. We already have too many cookbooks, so we resisted.
We bought some jelly and the famous apple butter to try at home, and a persimmon pudding with a separate container of cream cheese icing to enjoy in the car. The young man who checked us out advised heating the pudding in a microwave for 15 seconds. Instead, we just sat it on our dashboard, which warmed it almost as quickly. The persimmon pudding was an English-style pudding with a dense texture that resembled a spice bread. We didn't find it much different from a pumpkin bread, and it lacked a strong flavor. Still, we're glad to have tried it.
Visiting Gnaw Bone also took us into some real back roads. Not so rural that the roads only had numbers, but enough that we turned off Greasy Creek Road to Bear Wallow Road. It was a pretty drive through a wooded area, and we enjoyed our time there.
We had a recommendation from Wandering Jew to try the Gray Brothers' Cafeteria just outside of Indianapolis, IN, so we stopped there for a late lunch. It was by far the fanciest cafeteria building we've seen to date with its Tudor architecture.
Going in, it was clear that the Gray Brothers is a place where one cannot go hungry accidentally. When you enter their long buffet line, you are greeted first by salads, then an impressive selection of pies and desserts, with an emphasis on pie. We inferred that the scheme here is to sell diners on dessert before they see the mammoth-sized entrees, flanked by a mouth-watering collection of cafeteria classic sides.
Ralph got the immense pork tenderloin. "I have shared pizzas smaller than this," he pointed out. (Ralph: it was delicious, with a nice combination of tender meat and breading, like a chicken fried steak that's trying to be polite for company.) I got the roast beef, and was kind of aghast when the server cheerily piled 4 or 5 thick slices on my plate -- this was about a week's worth of roast beef for me! I wish I could have hung on to it - it was tender and flavorful, and would have made great sandwiches. We enjoyed several standout sides, including a creamy mac and cheese, sweet-tart Harvard beets (served hot, which surprised Ralph), and deviled eggs. For dessert, we sampled two pies, the banana cream pies and apricot. Both were very good. However, the most notable thing about our meal was that we were unable to finish anything - too much good food, not enough appetite!
We then set off for Chicago to meet up with other Roadfooders for Chicago pizza, a gathering put together by the very kind Buddy Roadhouse. Driving along I65, we were admiring the graceful rows of windmills, hoping we'd be hungry for the pizza at 7. Little did we know...
Traffic stopped pretty abruptly. We waited 10 minutes, then 20. Eventually, we decided to turn off the engine to conserve gas. It was around 100 degrees, humid, and shadeless. In a word, UGH. People began getting out of their cars, trying to learn what was going on. About an hour and a half into this, word trickled down that there was an accident involving an SUV and an 18 wheeler, and the highway was closed, could be closed for up to three hours. We were already worried about how late we would be for dinner in Chicago. We looked at a map, and decided to make the illegal U-turn on to the opposite side and route around the disaster. The hapless bus driver stuck just ahead of us said he would too, if he weren't 45 feet long. BuddyRoadhouse helped save the day by recommending a route and some ways to beat the Chicago traffic.
Finally, we arrived at Nancy's two hours late. We were not fashionably late...in fact by then, we were too sweaty and bedraggled to be fashionably anything! Our mood was greatly improved when we were greeted by ALL the Roadfooders who came out, and a fresh, hot pizza timed to match our arrival. We were actually surprised and touched that everyone stayed, and it really turned a bad experience into a good one.
Ralph: Unfortunately, I was thoughtless and didn't take pictures of the group. This is the only picture of people I took. This includes ChiTownDiner and the Roadhouse family, but it does not include irisarbor and her family.
This pizza was stuffed pizza, so called because there's a layer of dough between the toppings and the sauce. I found the upper layer of dough very thin and almost undetectable; I'd love for BuddyRoadhouse to expound on why he prefers the stuffed pizza over the Chicago deep-dish pizza
Lori: Unfortunately, I was tired & hot enough that all I remember about the pizza was that it was great, and the company was even better. After Nancy's, the night owl Roadhouse family took us to the Omega diner for dessert and more good conversation. We then drove to our hotel and crashed hard. We realized later that the time zone shift helped explain why we were crashing relatively early.
Time-lapse video of the drive from Cincinnati through Indiana:
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