Wednesday, June 03, 2009

My Star-Studded Trip to Central Illinois!

Obviously, being stuck in Los Angeles, I look forward to visiting my family in Central Illinois because it gives me an opportunity for celebrity sightings. And this trip didn't disappoint. OK, so most of the sightings were in Chicago but it was still part of my trip to Central Illinois.

First, let me mention my flying experience. Other Eric convinced me to fly out of Burbank, arguing that any inconvenience caused by having to change planes is compensated for by not having to drive in traffic to LAX. But he didn't mention the awful planes you have to fly on. Every plane I got on was smaller and shittier than the one before. I don't recommend Delta connecting through Salt Lake City. The people working for Delta are wonderful but their planes are awful.

And I have to say that if the good people of Utah would stop spending all their money telling Californians whom they can marry, maybe they could afford to spruce up their airport a little. What a dump. Don't get me wrong, I think the Utah desert is gorgeous; it's just where they've tried to approximate civilization that they run into problems. I'm just joking; the Burbank airport makes the Salt Lake City airport look like the Taj Mahal. And I know without Utah we wouldn't have the Osmonds and Other Eric's life would be that much less joyful.

Anyway, I survived the flights (all four of them) and I even got to take Amtrack in Illinois, which was fun! I don't get to ride trains often and I enjoyed it. Apparently, all the guys on the train with the matching sweat pants were just-released prisoners and I got to sit next to one! Jealous?

The first celebrity sighting was at Avec.

As you can see in the picture, there are communal tables so our group of five shared a table with another group of five. I was sitting at the head (or foot) of the table and sitting directly across from me at the other end was the Black Hammer, herself, Antonia Lofaso from Top Chef season four! Sitting next to her was the season four winner, Stephanie Izard! Sorry, I didn't get a picture or talk to them; we decided to let them enjoy their meal. But it was very exciting to be sitting at the same table with them! The food, by the way, was very good.

The next day my sister and I walked up Michigan Avenue and did some shopping with Joan Cusack at H&M! I love her! And she was with her family shopping in the men's section so I was picking out shirts next to her for quite a while. I bought quite a bit because the store had a better selection than H&M in Los Angeles.

After driving down to Sullivan, which is in Central Illinois, somewhere south-east of Decatur, we went for drinks at Jibby's Bar & Restaurant, which was founded in 1947 by a guy named Jibby (obviously). I remember my grandparents talking about eating there. The place saw a lot of stars over the years because of Sullivan's Little Theatre on the Square but it was a little run down.

Well, last year TLC's Doug Wilson bought the place and remodeled it and it just reopened. The place looks great and the appetizers we got were delicious. And we got to talk to Doug! He obviously loves Sullivan (his home town is nearby) and he loves working the room! He was a very gracious host and talked to us about the remodel and his future plans for expanding. We had a great time!

My sister did actually get a picture of Doug, though it was by accident. She was taking a picture of my cousins and some drunken stranger next to us yelled at Doug to come over for a picture so she took a picture of Doug posing with the drunk guy. I'll post it when she emails it to me.

The other thing I have to mention is playing Cornhole, which is like horseshoes but you toss bags filled with corn into a hole in a board. I don't know if it is just popular in the Midwest because the Wikipedia page has been deleted. I can't imagine why there would be a problem with a page about cornholing. Anyway, it was fun!

Well, that's enough excitement for one post. I'll be back this weekend with a new Fashion Show recap!


Cliff O'Neill said...

So confused. Hawaii, Arizona & now Illinois. You boys are from all over, ain't cha?

Oh, and, yes, "cornhole" (the bag-toss game) is really popular here in Ohio as well. Insanely so. I just don't get it. Not to mention the name.

eric3000 said...

Really, you're not a cornhole fan, Cliff? LOL! I thought it was pretty fun but the high-stakes tournaments they apparently have do sound a little crazy.

And yeah, I grew up in Hawaii but my parents are from Illinois and most of my extended family is there. Oh, and you left out Ohio; Other Eric grew up in Ohio as well as Arizona.

Cliff O'Neill said...

I just don't get the game. ... Plus, these college kids down the block (on an urban street) tend to take over the sidewalk with their freakin' games. I just walk right through 'em without stopping.

Do I sound really resentful? Cuz I am.

And, yes, I FORGOT about Other Eric's Ohio connection!

jojo said...

Cornhole is down here in Atlanta too. Everyone seems to play it over the summer. One bar I go to they play in the parking lot some evenings and they have a cornhole arcade game inside!! As you can imagine as the night goes on the skill level decreases... lol.

Eric said...

My Ohio sting was brief; only until 5. My Arizona stint was longest in terms of my formative years but now I've lived in California longer than anywhere.

eric3000 said...

Atlanta, too? Maybe we're just out of the loop here in Los Angeles.

Eric said...

I meant to say stint, not sting. Clearly.

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