Monday, February 16, 2009

Springfield, IL: You Can Take Our Land, But You Can Never Take Our Freedom Sandwich

Darcy's Horseshoe Before

One of the highpoints of travel has to be eating local specialties. Any time I am at a bar or restaurant I make sure to ask if they have some ridiculous food or drink item that is their specialty. Generally if you find a local to take you out they will automatically take you to the restaurant that makes shots in a flaming coconut or has a scale model of the Eiffel tower made out of French fries and cheese.

Or a giant pile of heart attack.

Springfield, IL is home to many wonders. The capital of the great state of Illinois cuts an imposing figure in the skyline which appeared, to Jack and me as we were driving in to the city, to be a giant hand flipping us the bird. Ahh southern Illinois.

Springfield, for some time, was also home to one of the most amazing people I know, Ms Abby Rae Lacombe who is responsible, in some fashion, for the excellent Front Porch Sitters blog and is also a dear, dear friend of mine. Abby, being an ex-Springfieldian, joined us for our show in Springfield and, consequently, introduced me to a sandwich which may, some day, be directly related to me necessitating open heart surgery.

I use the term sandwich very, very loosely. The Horseshoe, which is so famous it has its own Wikipedia page is more of a pile of delicious heart-attack on some Texas toast. The ingredients, from what I can remember are: one huge slab of Texas toast topped by a couple of hamburger patties, covered in French fries and then smothered in some kind of white cheese sauce. There were also some onions in there, I believe. In any case it is an imposing heap of bar food which even I, who fears no burger, could not finish in one sitting.

The best Horseshoe (which, according to Wikipedia, is also known as the “freedom sandwich”) as per Ms Lacombe, is to be found at D’Arcy’s Pint. A relatively unremarkable bar, save for the heaping piles of cardiac arrest they serve on a regular basis, I will blame D’Arcy’s Pint on my death bed as my arteries finally give up the ghost, shaking my fist in futile rage at the Horseshoe for being so damn delicious.

(I should mention that I recently found this website where the Horseshoe should definitely hold a place of distinction if it does not already.)