See Wilco. Take down beers. Those were our chief priorities when Jeff, Ryan, Jeremy and I road-tripped to Tulsa last weekend. And with four guys in a car together, you know the snack action isn’t going to be pretty. It can’t be a good idea to recap what all we dominated on the trip, but nevertheless, here goes.
- Smokey Ben’s Barbecue: The house specialty is Hot Mommas -- short, fat, spicy sausages that are ridiculously delicious. Seriously, if you ever get to go to Smokey Ben’s and try them, let me know what you think. You can also tell me how to get there, since the only reason we found this joint in the first place is that Jeff and Ryan historically refuse to print out directions, meaning we inevitably get lost.
- Road Snacks: I thought this would be a good excuse to try some new varieties of Archer Farms potato chips I saw at Target -- schezwan barbecue and cheddar bacon. Couldn't actually tell if either flavor tasted like what it was supposed to taste like, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility that they did. Jeremy wouldn't let us eat them in the car.
- The Soundpony: Right next door to Cain’s, the place where Wilco was playing, was this bicycle enthusiast bar that had for sale beers, hot dogs being cooked on one of those carousel grillers -- and bikes themselves. I think Ryan pointed out that if you’re buying a bike at the same place where you drink, you probably aren’t all that serious about cycling to begin with.
- Random Street Vendor Outside Cain’s: Making a bold move and choosing to have my dog Chicago style, the guy fixing it might’ve set a world record for speed when he was throwing on all the toppings. A solid Chicago dog to be sure, especially considering it was from a cart in downtown Tulsa.
- Cain’s: Didn’t eat there, but it would be remiss not to mention that you can buy beer here a sixer at a time, still in the rings. And that is the coolest.
- Whataburger: After checking out a few other downtown dives after the show, I passed on a Whataburger run with Jeff and Ryan. Nice guy that he is, though, Jeff thought I might like a burger so he got an extra triple. Then upon getting back to the hotel and discovering I'd crashed out while he was gone, Jeff threw the wrapped-up burger at my head like 90 miles an hour loudly demanding, “You eat that! You eat that burger!” Terrified, I made it maybe three bites in. Ultimately it was a lost cause.
- Mary Jane’s Pizza: At some point, Jeremy ordered a pepperoni and sausage pizza. How the pizza was when it was hot, I cannot say. I can tell you it was pretty good about seven or eight hours later when I woke up. Is there a breakfast better than cold pizza? Apparently Mary Jane’s is open until -- wait for it -- 4:20 in the morning. Not really my thing, but I can appreciate their commitment to the joke.
- Arby’s: My fellow road-trippers are all wrong -- potato cakes are a world of awesome beyond curly fries. My Jamocha shake ruled me the rest of the day, familiar comfort for the ride home.
Also worth noting is that there is either a Subway or a Sonic and usually both about every fifteen miles or so on whatever backwoods route Jeff and Ryan had us taking to Tulsa. While the Subway storefronts tend to blend in by holding shop in what looks like temporary tract housing, Sonic is always the newest, shiniest, gaudiest thing in town -- standing out even more since without exception they're built by property that is fairly dilapidated if not abandoned altogether. Okay, it may not seem all that interesting to you, but it starts to take on an increasing air of strange fascination the more Subways and Sonics you pass.
And yeah, Wilco was good, too. But that goes without saying.