Tuesday, June 7, 2011
With summer break now having reached us, I recently made a comprehensive list of activities for the progeny and me to do so that we're not constantly cooped up inside the house killing each other while Mrs. Hackknife is away on business travel. A few of said activities take place just a short distance down I-80 from us in Joliet, home of a newly-christened minor league baseball team called the Slammers (their mascot is a blackbird or a magpie or something dressed in a prison jumpsuit - see, among other things, Joliet is fairly well-known for its historical prison). While Hackknifette was having some quality time with Grandma, I had made arrangements to take Hackknife Jr. to a Slammers matinee, that is, until he decided at the 11th hour that he didn't want to go (despite my reassurances that real criminals would not be playing the game). As a substitute, I managed to talk him into visiting Joliet's Iron Works Historic Site, one of the more unusual urban parks that you'll ever come across, with walking paths snaking among the ruins and foundations of a 19th-Century steel mill (almost like visiting Pompeii without the rude Europeans and smoldering volcano).
From there, we needed some nourishment, so I took us past our favorite local hot dog stand (Hey! Hot Dog, reviewed earlier this year) to another long-time Joliet favorite, Ace Drive-In, serving up hot burgers and cold root beer since 1949. Unlike Hey! Hot Dog, there is no indoor seating at Ace, only carhop service (if you're so inclined) or shaded picnic tables, which were perfect for us on this breezy, warm Spring day. After perusing the food offerings, I got Hackknife Jr. his usual plain hot dog, while I opted for the house specialty beef barbecue (kind of like Sloppy Joe) on a French roll. We split an order of fries and tried out their frosty mug root beer to wash everything down. I quite enjoyed the beef sandwich, especially the roll, which had either been slathered in butter or soaked in beef gravy (possibly both) before adding the meat. My little buddy downed most of his hot dog and we both agreed that the fries were good, small, yet nicely crisp. While there, we ran into fellow foodies Phil and Karen V., celebrating a Kindergarten graduation along with their brood - since they're certainly no strangers to good eats, I knew I had validation (above and beyond my taste buds, that is) that my dining choice was solid on this occasion. We'll be back sometime this summer (possibly after a Slammers game) to nosh on burgers.....