Sunday, May 24, 2009

Starved Rock

Yesterday we went to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois. It's located along the Illinois River and legend has it that the rock derives its name from when a band of Illini was trapped in the 1760s on the rock by a band of Potawatomi trying to avenge the death of the Ottawa Chief Pontiac. The Illini then scrambled to the top of the rock, where the Ottawa and allied Potawatomi laid siege until the Illiniwek starved to death.

Anyhoo - it was HOT yesterday, there were tons of people, and the area doesn't seem to have recovered from recent flooding so it was ridiculously muddy (we should've taken photos of our muddy feet just from trying to get in and out of the parking lot).

It was good fun, complete with a couple of beers at the Starved Rock Lodge (think the Overlook from the Shining). We followed it up with a jaunt into town where we found ourselves amongst - in this order - hordes of bikers, a couple of wineries, and finally the most amazing Cajun restaurant either of us have ever been to. It's called the Cajun Connection, and it's run by Cajun Ron McFarlain who's a displaced Louisianan and travels regularly back down to Cajun Country to get all sorts of goods like gator, catfish, "bubba" shrimp, crawfish, etc. Ron's an awesome host and chef, and when I asked if he'd ever been contacted by Diner's, Drive-in's and Dives he said, "I don't need the extra business!". That's how good this place is. Oh, and don't even get me started on the pecan pie - best I've ever had. And you don't even notice the tabasco sauce in it.