Dinner and the game
Well we made it to Peoria by about 5pm. Without a lot of effort we managed to find Carver Arena where the game was going to be played. We wanted to find something to eat first and from my research the day before it looked like there should be a few restaurants near the arena.
We parked in the parking garage across from the arena and made our way out to the sidewalk. When we had driven around the block we had seen a couple of restaurants next door. Both looked to be Italian like restaurants.
We decided to try Antonio's. The menu showed pasta and pizza. So after getting seated we were greeted by our waiter Russell. The menu looked simple enough. You could either custom order your pasta - pick a pasta + a sauce + ingredients or you could order a pizza. So trying to be nice, I asked our waiter what he recommended. To our surprise he explained he had only been working at the restaurant for 2 hours and didn't really know the menu that well.
We later learned that this was the restaurants first night to be opened and they were still working out the kinks.
Since we had had pizza on my birthday we opted for pasta. I ordered a simple penne pasta with marinara sauce. Carla ordered papparrelle with roasted peppers and spinach. So after a bit of struggle Russell managed to write down what we had ordered.
Our dinner was suppose to include an all you can eat salad and bread. After about 10 or 15 minutes it started to become clear that we weren't going to get either. The table next to us which had a different waiter had got their salad. So when Russell appeared again I asked where the salad was. At which point it became clear he had forgotten. So quickly the salad appeared.
Now at this restaurant they were trying to do the salad different by tossing it at the table with a range of gourment vinegars and oils. Personall I wasn't too impressed with the assortment. I guess I am somewhat a purist and not a fan of orange infused oil or fig based balsamic vinegar. So I opted for olive oil and red wine vinegar. Carla decided to risk it and try the currant based balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
The salad was OK. Nothing great, but edible. Now it was suppose to be all you could eat. Not sure how we could eat more than one helping since they didn't leave any of the salad dressing fixins. So a slight flaw in their plan?
Of course the bread never came. And it seemed a bit too much at this point to even try and ask.
And since the salad was late arriving, the entrees appeared almost immediately after our salads. At this point Russell seemed a little stressed at trying to wait on multiple tables at the same time.
My pasta was good. It should have been as it was pretty simple. Carla's should have been easy as well. It was good, but little did she know when she ordered spinach that she should have specified how leaves of spinach as they only put one in the dish.
So overall the food was OK. The service needed lots of work.
While waiting for our food, we witnessed a number of different people also having dinner before the game. At one table near us was a couple who did not seem happy. They seemed to be going through the motions.
At another table near two couples shared a table. It took us a few minutes to put our finger on who these people reminded of us. But we quickly realized that these were the "beautiful local people". These were the people who peaked in high school or college and didn't move on. So the woman were all gussied up with too much make-up and the guys had the paint on smiles.
It was a quick reminder of the difference between living in the bigger cosmopolitan cities and the smaller cities like Louisville or Evansville.
After dinner we headed over to the game.
The game was great fun. Carver Arena is nice arena for basketball and the people in Peoria really come out for the basketball games. So the place was nearly packed with people wearing Bradley red shirts. We found our sits near the top. Of course we were surrounded by Bradley fans. To make matters worse, they have some silly tradition to stand until the first time-out. So for the first few minutes we couldn't see. To make matters worse, the guy behind us was the kind of guy who made comments out loud to nobody in particular.
So at halftime we moved to some empty seats near the other Evansville fans. There were about 20 other fans in the upper deck behind the endline.
Unfortunately Evansville lost, but a fun night regardless.