Great Food, Great Drinks At Dublin ONeils (Cool Pub setting)

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Dublin ONeil’s in Downtown Champaign is a regular stop for Sandy and I. We love the downtown area and a good pub is just a go to place for us always. Yes we travel the world and hit five star restaurants but a pub is home!. This one just happens to also hit the culinary excellence mark. Unusual items with great prep and presentation.

The interior has that warm pub feel that makes you want to have a pint or a taste of whiskey. The fact that Dublin Oneil’s has also hit the mark with food is a bonus. From a true Irish breakfast to various puddings and a great burger. On the weekends there is a cool brunch menu that puts the place right up there on my list.

On this trip my wife Sandy had the corned beef and cabbage. Not like what you normally see. Traditional flavor but in an elegant presentation worthy of any foodie publication!! THE important part was that it was soooo tasty. I had a turkey sandwich. Let’s go a bit further about what it actually was. Turkey with brie and carmelized onion with strawberry jalepeno jam! Served on French toast and topped with a sunny side up egg. Yep, almost indescribable. A mimosa for her and a Big Thorn Farm Illinois pale ale for me. Finished with Irish coffee cake cheesecake! Let the pictures do the talking. Talk after

Stop by Dublin Oneils today. Just great food and drink in a place that will make it a great experience



Spending Time At Nashville Palace (Legendary)

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Over the years I’ve hear a bit about this place. Some friends of mine have played here. It is known as the place Randy Travis got his start(plus washed dishes). That doesn’t even cover it. Live music all day and I mean really good live music.

It has a cool bar in the front with a small stage and dance floor. In the back is a LARGE stage and dance floor where they have bigger events. The front area is where I spent my time. Classic Nashville country cool. Pictures and posters from legends that have been there and all sorts of memorabilia. I’ll let the pictures speak in a moment (i’m not a great writer, just an old fighter lol). You can’t help but love the place. And it has great food.

We stayed across the road from it recently at Gaylord Opryland. Sandy had a healthcare leadership conference there and I was training fighters in the area(huge surprise). As I wandered in my downtime I decided to stop and have a beer (or more) and check the place out. I knew I had to take Sandy back for dinner. The bartenders showed me around and told me all about it. I was hooked! My plan was set and knew we were going back that night. Only a few people there in the afternoon yet a great musician on stage and great staff.

When we went back for dinner it got even better. More great music. Great and well priced drinks and awesome food. We both had the chicken on biscuits( I had the Nashville hot version). Sooo good. A really cool classic idea and well done. Also very cheap. I’ll let the pictures speak here for a bit. Talk after the jump.

This place gets my highest reference. Cool, classic and tasty. Just go here if you are in Nashville and give it a shot. Nothing but a good time!!


A Great Meal And Experience At The Old Bank Restaurant/Bar

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Yes I’m Talking about the one in tiny Leroy Illinois. I live about 20 Minutes away. Yes it is a world class experience, and that’s coming from a guy who has been all over the place. To put it in perspective, my wife and I once ate at Nobu, Jean Georges, Sushi Samba and Costa Di Mare in a four day period! We’ve been all over. This place is awesome.

I had been to the other places that were housed here but this group now has taken the food to a great level. It’s part of Epiphany Farms and the commitment shows. Great products and presentation In a cool,  classic bank building. The service is great, the place is great to just look around and the food is hype worthy. Yes I’m an old retired fighter so my opinion may be suspect but I’ve got a bit of global experience.

Sandy had the wing special. Yes wings like a sports bar, but NOOOTTTT! The sauce was was out of this world. Trimmed with great local produce. A bit of Korean influence with the heat hitting you after it was in your mouth a minute. WOW!

I had the pork belly sandwich. First I don’t usually eat things that are fatty(too much weight cutting in the day so it stuck with me). Second I’m a bit of a snob on the bbq side of things as my family cam off the rez in Oklahoma and smoked everything. This was truly perfection in the world of pork belly sandwiches. Great produce and sauced mixed in with meat that was just right. Washed down with a great IPA from Destihl and it was a great night.

This place seriously went on our regular rotation list as well as our culinary faves list. Still stunned at the level here. Take a look at the pics and we will talk after the jump.

Go check this place out. Make a trip here just to go. It is absolutely worth it. Vibe and food. Vibe and food. Trust me.

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Delectable Sauce That Is Incredibly Easy (blue cheese and serrano pepper)

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My wife loves sauces. Over the years I have worked to build my skill set in that department. As a long retired fighter who plays pretend chef, I go through all kinds of sauce recipes and the science behind them. A plus from that activity is that I slowly have learned how to make sauces from many things quickly and easily. Whatever is around! Once you understand the basic principles and science of how they go together it isn’t hard. The best part??!! The easy throw together ones get rave reviews lol. Give it a shot. Nothing to lose. Take a look at this idea. Goes great on shredded chicken and sandwiches.

As always, adjust per taste and size of your hungry crown. I measure by handfuls and how deep the pot/pan is. I’m a fighter/trainer who likes food, not a  writer for a gourmet magazine lol.

Take three heaping spoons of sour cream. Two handfuls of blue cheese crumbles. A handful of shredded cheddar. One chopped serrano pepper. Cover< just below the top of the pile with milk in your sauce pan. Bring the heat fairly high quickly. Stir constantly as it liquefies. A fairly smooth mix. As it starts to bubble, shut the heat off. Let it thicken a minute and serve. It’s that simple. Give it a shot. Take a look at the result.


Enjoying Fat City Bar And Grill (indoor tailgate before the game)

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I’ve been going to this place for a long time. In fact since it was a dive music bar called the Alley Cat. It was a bit famous back then for some of the unusual acts that played there. Then it go a heavy remodel and became fat city. Kind of a sports bar with live music and gaming. They have also recently added another building called City Center which has national touring acts both country and rock as well as local heroes.

It is a great place to grab a burger and a beer. Lots of seating and a great menu at a great price. A very good bar selection as well especially for a sports type place. it’s just a cool place to hang out and relax or on some nights if you lie to get rowdy lol. Not really a rowdy guy anymore other than in the ring but it is a fun place for all ages.

On a recent Saturday my wife and I decided to skip the usual tailgate parties and here before the game. A few beers and a great meal was perfect before heading to Memorial Stadium for the game. Actually it was the best part as the Illini played terrible that day(love em but it’s fact lol). It was nice to sit there and relax while checking all the screens for other games going on around the country. Perfect.

She had the buffalo chicken salad which was huge and quite good. Spicy but not overly which is how she likes it. Plenty of food. Plenty of flavor. I had a double burger with cheese and bacon(yeah I’m a healthy cook but I have my weaknesses!). Add fries and it was awesome. Lots of food done right for less than $8. Hard to beat.

As for beer I had both a Green line (goose) and A nice Lagunitas IPA and she had a the Leinies Grapefruit Shandy. She liked it and she rarely drinks beer! So many choices and a great list. Check out some pictures and we will talk after the jump


Give Fat City A shot if you are in the area (Champaign/Urbana) Check out the concert schedule on their website and make a trip of it. Maybe you’ll see us there.

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Check Fat City Bar and Grill out!


A Quick Review Of Golden Harbor (authentic Chinese in the Midwest)

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Awesome, authentic and incredible. Golden harbor is just a simple looking place. Lots of little group tables and a few large round group family style tables. The cool part is the signage. IN an age where most Chinese food places are basically Americanized fast food, this place caters to our large Chinese and Asian community here. Truly caters .If  you are a real and truly adventurous foodie then it caters to you as well. A true food experience  There is an American menu but the adventure starts with the Chinese menu. Broad and delicious. All the signs in Chinese and menus prove what I mean. Come here to eat and experience what the food of this beautiful culture has to offer.

Before my wide ranging career in martial arts, it was just the standard fare for me. Eating with people from all over th world, in their homes or guided by them in restaurants taught me so much more. Watching what they ate(rarely on the menu) to asking questions. That brings me to this awesome place. From unusual seafood combinations to tons of tripe dishes it is the real deal. Thai dishes and a large number of plates from Taiwan(not the standard fare).

Ill keep my bad writer review short here and talk with pictures. I had the Chengdu chicken and my wife had the Generals tofu. We also had vegetable dumplings. I’ve  also had the baby squid here and a tripe dish that I can’t remember the name. All awesome. My dish had tons of peppers in it but strangely was not over powering in heat level. I love spice but like complexity. It had that on very level. My wife’s tofu dish was truly the best tofu prep I have ever had. Perfectly cooked. As a former pro fighter that has travelled everywhere, I have eaten lots of tofu. The BEST!    The dumplings aere moist and yet done. No clue what they were filled with but it was delicious. I’ll let the pictures tell the story and we will finish up after the jump.



Seriously, if you are anywhere near this part of America check this place out. Heck message me here and we will hang out! I like it that much. Ok now the standard business. If you want a link or ad on here we can do that. Want live tweets and pr from our large twitter following? We can do that. Think radio remote but cooler, cheaper and more effective.On location or just ads. Facebook, twitter and blog features. Email and follow @combatsportlife on twitter. Hit me up at Bob Tompkins on FB.

Go here now!!!!!!

A Quick Review Of Cowboy Monkey ( a great meal in a very cool place)

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This building has changed over the years. As a bar or restaurant it started as The Blind Pig about 25 years ago. A small little quirky club. The owner went on to open a very cool brew pub in town and sold this place. After a couple of different things, The Cowboy Monkey moved in. It is so cool and much larger now ( heck I remember when this space was the kitchen for a big Chinese restaurant). Inside it is both early 20th century retro and hip modern at the same time. Outside is even cooler. A large beer garden type area that is open with people walking back and forth to other bars surrounding it and often live music in the streets. Downtown Champaign has a very cool and lively atmosphere and yet not rowdy.


The menu is hip as well. Its jazzed up tex/mex with a touch of baja and carribean. Served in an always visually appealing way and it is delicious! The whole place just gives you a relaxed vibe but also a visual experence that always kind of refreshes me. A great beer list. A fantastic cocktail list with lots of new hip twists on classics. For this meal i went with the great Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. A good crisp beer with the hoppiness i like but not taking away from the food. My wife had a pomegranite margarita. Gorgeous looking and she said it was great.
Im going to mostly let pictures do the talking here, especially abut how gorgeous the food is. First the food. I had the capistrano tacos. Three corn tortillas with spicy chicken,cheddar cheese with salsa and guacamole. It also comes with a dish of pickled red cabbage. Just finishes it perfectly. Truly a great dish. Sandy had the baja steak tacos. All the same except with great steak and chihuahua cheese, roastec red pepper/cilantro. Also fantastic. Check out the pictures and we will talk after the jump.

I travel all over and eat all over. Im blessed to do so but this place in my backyard is way up on the list. Cool, fun and delicious. Come check it out.
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The awesome Cowboy Monkey

The coolest western lifestyle store out there