In my last post, I told you about being contacted by Room214.com for a short spot on the Blahg about the Travel Channel's "Man v. Food"episode featuring some of Springfield's favorite eateries. I was promised a "Man v. Food" T-shirt for spreading the word. Well, it arrived! You can see me, to the right, using it to intimidate my fridge.
We left for vacation they day after the episode aired and got around to watching it a few days after we got back, as part of our post-vacation recovery. It's funny to see your town on a national television show. Being both the capitol of Illinois and the hometown of Abe Lincoln, Springfield gets its fair share of airtime on various shows, so seeing Springfield on TV is nothing new. Seeing Springfield on "Man v. Food" was different, though, because it was about places I've been to and enjoyed with friends, rather than a museum or historical site (I enjoy those too, by the way).
Adam's first stop was the Cozy Dog Drive-In, mythical (and disputed) birthplace of the corn dog. Cozy dog, I tend to forget about you, because you're off my regular path. You can thank "Man v. Food" for reminding me of how great your corn dogs and burgers are. It was interesting to learn about the invention of the patented cozy dog food handler (a.k.a. the semi-automatic cozy dog maker), created by Ed Waldmire, the original owner of the Cozy Dog. The business is still in the family, too, which is great to see.
Next was D'Arcy's Pint, which is a favorite of mine. Here, the show featured the horseshoe. A horseshoe, for you outsiders, is a piece of bread, generally Texas toast, on a plate and topped with your choice of meat. Next, golden French fries are piled high. Finally, the ENTIRE THING is topped with a gooey, irresistible cheese sauce. The cheese sauce is what sets D'Arcy's shoes apart from many of the other horseshoes in town. "Man v. Food" featured the hamburger shoe. Personally, I think Adam would have enjoyed the buffalo chicken shoe more. I was a little surprised, in fact, to learn the hamburger shoe is the best seller. I make my way to D'Arcy's every few weeks. I don't get a horseshoe every time, however, for two main reasons. The first is that D'Arcy's has many other wonderful things to dine on besides cheese-covered fries, bread and meat. The second reason is I don't want to die. Great tasting food is always terrible for you, and the horseshoe is no exception. If you visit Springfield and dare to try this delicacy, start off with the ponyshoe which, as the name implies, is a smaller version. This is generally what I get, because being taken out of a restaurant in a wheelbarrow is embarrassing. Have your first one at D'Arcy's but be prepared to wait for a table during dinner hours. A friend of mine even started a D'Arcy's Pint Fan Club Facebook page, so join up!
Lastly, Adam visited Joe Rogers Chili Parlor on Ninth Street. The second half of the show took place here because Adam's challenge was to top the record-setting score of downing five bowls of Joe Rogers "Firebrand" chili. I've had Firebrand, too. Yep, it's hot! I remember this used to be called something like the J.R. Special, but it was re-labeled Firebrand a few years ago. I don't know the entire story behind it, so if you do, please leave a comment!
The Joe Rogers portion of the show starts off with a lesson on how they make the chili at Joe's. It was neat to see behind the scenes. Afterward, Adam works the crowd a bit before the big challenge. The woman whom he convinces to try a spoonful of Firebrand is the wife of one of my co-workers. I lol'd hard at her reaction.
Adam is good at hamming up the situation and does it in an entertaining way. During the Firebrand challenge, I can only imagine the pain as he's downing the bowls. He starts to suffer early on, but I think he's really serious about it around bowl three. He is a professional eater of hot and spicy food and probably has a bit higher tolerance than us mere mortals. One bowl is enough for me. A bowl full is a lot of chili and I don't think I could fit more than one. Sadly, he couldn't beat the record of five bowls of Firebrand. He did tie, however, so congrats to him!
Joe Rogers has much more than just incredibly hot chili. You can get several levels of spice and I guarantee you'll find one to your liking. You can also get chili dogs, tamales and a few other items. Bring cash on your trip to Joe Rogers because they don't take plastic. They are open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday.