Between Travel for martials, writing and just enjoyment I get to eat tons of different places. From Elegant to dive bar I enjoy all the different places. I like the variety and enjoy seeing and tasting it all.
Pour House was great. My wife, son Zakk and I had all judged a martial arts tournament in Warrenville Illinois and happened on this place in Naperville afterwards. It was perfect to unwind after a long day at the tourney. My sons fiancé Danielle was with us as well. Made for a great time.
The menu was wide ranging with a pub bent and lots of different shareables. I had the Nashville hot chicken wrap. Really good breaded chicken, cayenne plus lettuce(cucumber tomato red onion) in a flour tortilla. Great portion and just enough spice. My wife and son both had the fish and chips. They loved it and they have eaten fish chips all over lol. If they vouch for it it’s good. Dani had a chopped salad and loved it, but who eats salad in a bar??!! Just kidding.
Ill toss a few pics here and then discuss the rest after the jump.
Old Town Pour House has over 90 beers on tap. If you know me, you know that is instant excitement for me! Its is also an extremely varied list and excellent. I had a Brick Stone APA and Pinball from Two Brothers. Awesome on both counts. If you love trying different craft beers, you will love this place.
The interior is very well done and has plenty of space. Nice bar area and lots of TV’s without being over done. It also had one of the coolest patios I’ve seen in awhile ( we were tired and it was hot so we will try that next time).
Definitely check this place out f you are in the area. Contact us if you would like us to come to your place. From food to resorts and anything else. Follow us on twitter @combatsportlife
I love doing these random walk pieces as it shows my readers what a place really looks/feels like, not the glossy or pr stuff ( don’t get me wrong I love doing our reviews and pr work for travel companies/hotels/restaurants). These are just fun and real.
We go to Chicago often. From fighting events and martial arts tournaments to my days in the trading world. Also healthcare conferences for my wife and often just to hang out. We love it and have been over a good portion of the whole Chicagoland area. This pictorial is mostly shots of River North and the walk as well as some Mag mile. Also the awesome Eataly. I’ll do a separate piece on it all by itself. Amazing experience. Gourmet grocery, multiple restaurants plus wine and craft beer!!! Trust me. Also some shots from a great dinner in the classic O’Callaghans Pub. Great experience. Check out the pics and enjoy(ps if you want us to come to your place hit us up here or on twitter @combatsportlife to set something up. Great pr for your place. Twitter is our primary so check it out)
I do a ton of random walk features everywhere we travel to. Like I always say it’s a great way to get to know how a place looks and feels. Not just the stock media photos every travel blogger gets and tries to write an article around.
I took about 3000 pictures while we were in Nashville. A solid 2200 of them were inside the Gaylord. So much history. Glitz, music and just an unusual feel that I don’t find often . The pics in this post are just from all over the complex(truly one of the largest places I have ever wandered around. Go there, hang out and just see what you run into. No plan, no agenda just wander. Enjoy the pictures and then book a trip there.
There isn’t a reason to not stop by this place if you’re in Nashville. It’s like walking through a cool, glitzy museum with food and booze! Better yet, stay at Gaylord Opryland
This place is literally walking distance(yep I do that on occasion ) in the small town I live in. I travel often as you know, but when we are home I hit it often. Great restaurant and sports bar on one side of the street , awesome old style brew pub on the other. I’ll do a full post on the whole operation when I have time to get down there and spend take taking pictures and talking to Justin Taylor about the history. In the interim here are some thoughts on a recent meal, and pics from a few trips.
First it has world class beer in a casual yet hip environment. Truthfully it is a beer that I order anywhere they have it across our region. As a guy who has travelled the globe to fight and train that should tell you a bit! So well done. When I first moved to town this place was a really cool home store. Antiques, and great home products. The people that owned it were featured nationally in a magazine for their home(3500 people in town at that time). I love the building. It sat for years. Then This place happened. The downtown area changed for the better in an incredibly positive way. Foodie and craft beer culture while retaining our small town roots.
This trip we ate in the sports bar. Sweet chicken chili wrap for me. Italian beef for Sandy. Guess what? Ohhh so good. My fave Hail to the Chief IPA and it was our kind of relaxing night. This is one of the reasons we love living here. We travel and eat at the Nobu/Brady’s of the world but this is our home. Can’t beat it. Take a look at the pics and expect soooo many post about this place in the future!
This is truly a destination place. If you make a trip here, good chance you’ll see Myself and Sensei Sandy as well as some other Transcend fighters. We always meet up here. Great food. GREAT BEER!! Classic building. Get here!
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I didn’t get a chance to do a full review of this great place since my wife started to feel the effects of too much sun when we go there. I’ll definitely be back to do a full write up but wanted to show it and say just a bit.
First thing to say, Super Cool! McGuires has a great look and an awesome menu. It is quite large and there are so many things to look at. I love places that are visually stimulating and fun. This place hits it. Add to that there awesome craft brews and you just can’t beat it. The food was great. The beer was even greater. I also have to say that the service was excellent. Since Sandy didn’t feel well, our waitress go our stuff wrapped and ready to go at warp speed with a smile. Incredible.
Take a look at the pictures of our stop at the Destin location. Talk after the jump.
If you are in Destin Florida, check this place out. I mean it. So cool, so good and so fun! Want us to come to your place and live tweet or write about it. Get in touch. Email email@example.com and follow @combatsportlife on twitter!
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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This place has been around for awhile. It was one of the early restaurants/bars to start when downtown Champaign began to makes it’s come back. They also have a much larger one at the edge of downtown with a huge arcade and multiple levels. It is very cool but for Sandy and I these days (kids all grown up!) the downtown location is more our speed. It’s a great weeknight stop for us.
They have a large menu but known for thin crust pizza. Tuesdays are half price pizza night! A great deal to have a couple drinks and an inexpensive and excellent pizza. When we stopped recently we had both endured crazy days so I didn’t get as many pictures for the usual post but the point is give it a shot. Lot’s of pool tables, video poker/slots and a cool old building. It’s quiet and lively at the same time but that feel that only comes from being in a place in a very old building.
Before the pictures let me just say the Pesto Margherita was an excellent choice. My wife is more of a thin crust person than me but I loved it. Mozzarella, provolone with romas and basil! A couple of Half Acre IPA’s and the night was perfect. No matter how many luxe places we travel to in our crazy life, this kind of thing is still my favorite.
If yo are in the area check this place out. Just enjoy a nice relaxing evening. Can’t beat it. A few minutes from the University of Illinois campus and in the heart of the tech / gaming offices in the downtown. It’s worth a trip.
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When are not traveling, we love to relax in Downtown Champaign. Great bars and restaurants and a cool place just to wander around. As i’ve said before, traveling to all the places we do actually helps us look for more treasures in our own area.
Great burgers, pizza and drinks from two great places. Guidos has a great menu and bar. Lots of screens, cool look and great outdoor seating. It also has a gorgeous downtown view especially when it is snowing. I’ll do a piece on that this winter. The esquire is a classic old school bar with a broad age range and fantastic food. They also have great outdoor seating. You can’t go wrong with either one.
Check out the pictures that also include the awesome Ten Thousand Villages store and just street shots. Talk after the jump.
Get yourself down in this area if you live nearby or if you are just visiting. Take advantage of the cool things, culture and food we have here. It’s a great place to just enjoy yourself!
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Check out the very cool champaigncenter.com for more info on the area.
When I say hideaway I mean it in a very cool way. Off the street in an alley but right downtown. Think speakeasy but cool and clean lol. It truly is a destination location and one you should go to! You will see when I start posting pictures in a minute.
I know the Farren family personally as our daughters danced together on a comp tem and we travelled all over the country. They also keep horses at the stable my son owns. They are really cool and unusual people. It makes them great restaurant owners! Actually I have been going here though long before I knew them from those activities. Pretty much since it opened and I found it on accident. An awesome accident.
Years ago I think it was storage for another set of restaurants nearby (ill have to ask Carolyn). It gives it that hideaway warehouse feel with a cool ambience. On to the food though! Year after year they win the best burger award in all the local media. The burgers are awesome but there is so much more. Thinks bistro hip foodie while maintaining a cool bar food pub stance. You will find tech hipsters , finance people and older folks after a college football game. Heck, obviously you also find old retired fighters lol.
On this trip I go the Sante Fe chicken sandwich. Full disclosure, I often get that. A great chicken breast on fresh bread with an awesome pesto. A bit of peppers and cheese and it is perfect. It just has the right amount of pop with creaminess, flavorful without being heavy. Sandy had the mushroom and cheese and it was perfectly done. Too rich for me but right up her alley! Add in a great beer from Triptych ( another of our great local craft brewers ) and the meal was just awesome. Always is. Check the pictures and we will talk after jump.
If you want to get great magazine foodie level food at bar prices, check this place out. It is worth the trip. I might be a regular but you should try it at least once. If you are in central Illinois you should be a regular!
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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