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Ted Leo/Mother’s Day Weekend

I don’t know if you know this, but I have been trying to see Ted Leo play for a good part of this year.  First, he had a show scheduled in St. Louis in February, I couldn’t go.  Then he played with his band at a festival in Champaign, we couldn’t afford the tickets until the last second.  I spent the whole week cleaning a basement to get the money.  When I tried to buy a ticket, I was informed that I couldn’t buy any for the single show, I now had to buy a festival ticket, which was twice as much, and could no longer afford them.

BUT THEN I found out that the show in February had been canceled anyway, so Ted Leo was coming back for a makeup show!  So Brian and I went and it was magical.



We arrived right before the first band started, and both opening bands were pretty good and fit with Ted Leo very well.  As soon as we took a spot near the back, Ted Leo came out and stood five feet from me.  When I told one of my co-workers that I was missing work on Monday to go to a show he said, “Yeah, i’m going to see U2 in July!”  Pffft, is Bono going to come stand five feet from you?  Not nearly as exciting.  Brian wouldn’t let me throw my bra, Chicago Diner cake, my bra loaded WITH Chicago Diner cake, or my PPK button at him, so I just tweeted excitedly and then watched the show.


Apparently Ted Leo (by the way we never refer to him as Ted, always Ted Leo) talks a lot, which he apologized for at least four times.  An apology wasn’t necessary, as he was funny and personable.  He mostly talked about KISS and cold gin, and when his distortion pedal was too quiet he said that it was some ‘weak Nirvana shit’, and then said, “Yeah, I said it!” He played ‘Me and Mia’ second and then said, “I thought I should just get that one out of the way.”  He threw in a cover of Angelfuck by The Misfits at the end of a song and that made Brian really happy.


He was also assertive with the audience, which I thought was very cool.  Some guy in the front took pictures the whole time and finally after a few songs, Ted Leo was like, “You know i’m not going to do anything but stand here with my guitar, right?  After awhile it gets a little uncomfortable.”  When someone asked him to play Since U Been Gone (his very popular Kelly Clarkson cover), he refused and said that song haunts him everywhere he goes.  He also didn’t take any requests at the end, because he said he really wanted to play the last two songs on his setlist.  It sounds dickish, but he was really nice about it and I believe this is what the kids call “keepin’ it real”.


He didn’t seem to be selling merch, so I didn’t get a shirt and had to use my cash for practical things like gas money and food.  🙁


The only negatives were the audience.  It was in a bar so you would think the alcohol would help, but hardly anyone was even moving, or singing along, or looking like they even liked being there.  A guy in front of me stood behind his girlfriend the entire time, creating a wall with their heads, and he also kept backing up and pushing a girl into me.  Apparently she didn’t care, but if you’re at a show and it’s NOT packed and they have plenty of space in front of them, if someone is backing into you, don’t move.  Let them back into you and then in theory, they will realize they’re too close and will move.  Unless you’re Brian, you’ll end up with your elbow in a 6’5″ linebacker because the guy doesn’t know what personal space is.  Seriously, Brian’s elbow ended up in this guys stomach and he still wouldn’t move away from him, and I don’t mean like he was throwing elbows, I mean he had his arms crossed and the guy ended up THAT close to him.  So Brian just yelled ‘yeah!’ and ‘woo!’ extra loud all night.


The moral is, don’t be a dick.  Be aware that there are people around you and they probably don’t want you stepping on their toes and rubbing on them!


Overall, it was worth me spending my weekend driving all over Illinois and I would do it again.  If you have the chance to see Ted Leo, with or without The Pharmacists, do it!


To move backwards, to go to St. Louis, first I had to drive down to Carbondale and pick Brian up.  It was finally warm here so it was a good weekend to road trip.  I wore skirts all weekend because I was sick of the cold and having to wear pants and sweaters.  Brian made me biscuits and gravy for Mother’s day:


We picked up a package of the Field Roast apple and sage sausages to go with them.  I’ve had Field Roast slices before, but not these and…they were gross.  I haven’t had a sausage in at least 18 years, but I thought they were too meaty and I ended up feeling sick for most of the afternoon.


When it came to dinner time, obviously I wanted to eat in St. Louis since we were going there for the concert anyway.  The problem was, it was Sunday, the show wasn’t until 9:00, and most places that we could kill time in (The Galleria), would be closed by 6:00.  So that crossed a lot of things off of our list.  We decided to go to Pi Pizzeria, but when we got there at 7:00 it was packed, and there was a 45 minute wait just to be seated.  So we just went to Whole Foods.


I swear, on my tombstone it will say, “She always ended up eating at the Whole Foods Deli.”  I didn’t really want anything on the hot bar (Not for $8 a pound anyway), so I got some simple spring rolls, a drink, and of course, CAKE.  I tried to eat the muffin for breakfast, but it tasted like there was no sweetener in it at all, and then I realized there were two spots of mold on it.


And this is what I wore.  I had a hard time picking out which black vegan t-shirt to wear, but in the end I went with the one that was actually clean.


And that was the end of my St. Louis adventure, hopefully the next time I go it will be on a weekday so i’ll be able to blow all of my money on soap and food like the good lord intended.

posted: May 10, 2011
under: food, life, music, pictures, vegan in illinois

The Coffeehouse – Bloomington-Normal, IL

I’m very lucky that Brian’s sister is a professional stylist who runs a salon in Bloomington.  Even luckier, is that she is doing this in a town that has a great little vegetarian cafe with plenty of awesome vegan options!  Thank god for college towns, am I right?

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in, is that the place is huge.  You’ll have no problem finding a place to sit, and they have free wi-fi.  And fun art to look at!

I will say that while their menu looks awesome, the quality of the food is usually not consistent.  I’ve gotten the tofu scramble three times, and each time it had a little less tofu in it (and it’s not seasoned much at all).  It was also pretty greasy, but I kind of like that, though other people may not.  My sister-in-law likes to get the falafel pita, and she says it suffers from the same consistency problem (although one of the times she thought it wasn’t good, I ate it and thought it was fine).  The vegan pancakes are always good, however, all but one time we’ve ordered them, they’ve brought a side of butter out with them.  Which is just…weird.  They don’t seem to keep Earth Balance around, but the pancakes are moist enough to not need them.

Same dish, totally different looking.

They have a dessert case, but the only vegan items i’ve ever seen are chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake.  The cake is good, but it’s not very rich.  This is good if you can’t handle super rich desserts.  You’re able to get a chocolate fix without feeling like you’re going to die afterwards.  I do wish they had a better variety of vegan goods, like a muffin or two, but it’s still better than no desserts at all.

They have a menu online, but the last time I went there they had made a few changes to it.  The new menu doesn’t mention having vegan french toast available, for one.  They have some items that weren’t marked ‘vegan’ before that now are (like the spicy tofu sandwich, which if you read the description it seems to be vegan anyway).

The spicy tofu sandwich lives up to its name!

So overall, The Coffeehouse isn’t perfect all of the time, but if you’re driving through the area I would definitely stop here and try it out.

posted: September 14, 2010
under: food, pictures, vegan in illinois

Carbondale, I want to be inside of you.

A few weeks ago, I took a bus down to Carbondale to spend the weekend with my husband.  Carbondale is a small town in southern Illinois, but it’s a college town so there are actually a few things for vegans to get excited about!  My hometown (which I am grudgingly living in for now) is five times as big and has not even half the options.  The health food store here is small, and has the driest, saddest vegan baked good ever.  The eating out options are fine, but there isn’t any place specifically for vegetarians.

I was only in Carbondale for 38 hours, but I managed to stuff myself pretty hardcore.

The first place we went to was Longbranch Coffee House, a vegetarian cafe.  Unfortunately they don’t have a website or menu online (and our table was too small for me to get pictures with my portrait lens), but I do remember that the number of options that were already vegan or could be made vegan were a little slim.  But i’m a creature of habit anyway, so even if they have one thing that I like that I can eat, i’m happy.  I had a veggie calzone (no vegan cheese, just cheeseless), and the dough was to die for.  So, so good.  I checked out the bakery case at the front and if any of the items were vegan, they weren’t marked as such.

The health food store was just down the block, so we went in there.  A quick glance over the bulk section revealed no nooch or gluten – the two things that I can’t get from regular grocery stores that I consider absolute musts.  The only vegan cheese was Veganrella, which I didn’t even know still existed because most stores stick to Follow Your Heart or have moved onto Teese and other newer products.  Then I looked at the deli case to see if they had any vegan items.  They had tofu salad made with Vegenaise…and HONEY.  I have this habit about loudly bitching about fucking hippies and their need to put honey in fucking everything, and Brian saw the label before I did and started giggling.  I didn’t see much else in the way of vegan items.  On the way out, the woman behind the counter offered me some local cheese.

I don’t anticipate going there very much.

Then we got to go to the Co-Op.  The clouds parted and the angels sang.  It was amazing.  Not only did they have everything I expected, but they had more!  Chocolate covered ginger, vegan sandwiches and wraps, a daily vegan pizza special (that day was olive, and I hate olives so I passed), and more importantly CAKE.  Often times when i’m feeling down, or bleeding and murderous, I often complain that I can’t just get a single piece of cake.  I have to make a whole cake or batch of cupcakes (which I can halfsies, but still) myself.

Since I wasn’t staying long I only got the essentials.  You know, chocolate and sugar.  And a sandwich (called John Lennon) for the bus trip home.  Chocolate cake, a mini-carrot cake, chocolate covered ginger, carob energy bites, and my sandwich (baked tofu, peanut butter, and roasted peppers).  The chocolate cake was a smallish portion, but it was a little over $1 so that’s okay.  I went back before my bus ride to get another piece and they were all sold out (b00).  So I got two pre-packaged cake donuts instead.

After the sugar coma that ensued, I was happy when I found out Lent was coming up, and I decided to do the low-sugar, gluten free thing I did last year.  But come Easter, I am all over that place again.

The only bad experience was the indian buffet.  Brian was all excited to take me, and it turned out to be a total bust.  They only had eight or nine trays, and like an idiot I plopped rice down on my plate without looking at the other food first.  I’m naive and have had good luck with indian food so I just assumed it would be safe, if only for one or two dishes.  They had one bean dish that had meat in it, more meaty things, and then things that clearly had dairy in them.  I ended up with plain rice, spicy cabbage that was too hot for me to even eat, and plain salad.  I ate as much as I could while trying not to cry, and it was $9!  And seriously, what kind of indian place has meat in the chickpea dish?

But overall, it was a pleasant experience and I would really like to sell our house so I can move there already!  Mostly so I can see this handsome dude all the time:

posted: March 1, 2010
under: family, food, life, pictures, vegan in illinois

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